Recent history and World Wars
World war I
In 1912–1913 the First Balkan War broke out when the nation-states of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro united in an alliance against the Ottoman Empire.
As a result of the war, almost all remaining European territories of the Ottoman Empire were captured and partitioned among the allies. Ensuing events also led to the creation of an independent Albanian state.
Bulgaria insisted on its status quo territorial integrity, divided and shared by the Great Powers next to the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) in other boundaries and on the pre-war Bulgarian-Serbian agreement.
Provoked by the backstage deals between its former allies Serbia and Greece on allocation the spoils at the end of the First Balkan War, while it fights at the main Thracian Front, Bulgaria marks the beginning of Second Balkan War when attacked them.
The Serbs and the Greeks repulse single attacks, but when the Greek army invaded Bulgaria together with an unprovoked Romanian intervention in the back, regardless of the single won battles, Bulgaria collapsed. The Ottoman Empire also used the opportunity to recapture Eastern Thrace, establishing its new western borders that still stand today.
The First World War was sparked in the Balkans in 1914 when members of Mlada Bosna, a revolutionary organization with predominately Serbian and pro-Yugoslav members, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo. That caused a war between the two countries which—through the existing chains of alliances—led to the First World War. The Ottoman Empire soon joined the Central Powers becoming one of the three empires participating in that alliance.
The next year Bulgaria joined the Central Powers attacking Serbia, which was successfully fighting Austro-Hungary to the north for a year. That led to Serbia’s defeat and the intervention of the Entente in the Balkans which sent an expeditionary force to establish a new front, the third one of that war, which soon also became static. The participation of Greece in the war three years later, in 1918, on the part of the Entente finally altered the balance between the opponents leading to the collapse of the common German-Bulgarian front there, which caused the exit of Bulgaria from the war, and in turn the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ending the First World War.
World war II
With the start of the Second World War all Balkan countries, with the exception of Greece, were allies of Nazi Germany, having bilateral military agreements or being part of the Axis Pact.
Fascist Italy expanded the war in the Balkans by using its protectorate Albania to invade Greece. After repelling the attack, the Greeks counterattacked, invading Italy-held Albania and causing Nazi Germany’s intervention in the Balkans to help its ally.
From late 1940, Hitler wanted Belgrade to unequivocally choose sides. Pressure intensified, culminating in the signing of the Tripartite Pact on 25 March 1941.
Two days later, Prince Paul was deposed in a coup d’état and his nephew Peter II was proclaimed of age, but the new government, headed by General Simović, assured Germany it would adhere to the Pact.
Hitler nonetheless ordered the invasion of Yugoslavia. On 6 April 1941, Belgrade was bombed; on 10 April, the Independent State of Croatia was proclaimed; and on 17 April, the weak Yugoslav Army capitulated.
After the invasion, the Yugoslav royal government went into exile and local Yugoslav forces rose up in resistance to the occupying Axis powers. Initially the monarchy preferred Draža Mihailović and his Serb-dominated Četnik resistance.
However, in 1944, the Tito–Šubašić agreement recognised the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia as a provisional government, with the status of the monarchy to be decided at a later date.
Three regents—Srđan Budisavljević, a Serb; Ante Mandić, a Croat; and Dušan Sernec, a Slovene—were sworn in at Belgrade on 3 March 1945. They appointed the new government, to be headed by Tito as prime minister and minister of war, with Šubašić as foreign minister, on 7 March.
On 29 November 1945, while still in exile, King Peter II was deposed by the constituent assembly. The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was internationally recognized as Yugoslavia while Peter II became a pretender.