“I am not a criminal, for I destroyed a bad man. I thought I was right."¹
This was the last word that Gavrilio Princip made after he performed assassination in Sarajevo, the man who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His fatal shot derived almost whole Europe into chaos for five years.
World War One, as we all know, it is the first large-scale military war which was centered in Europe. During these five years, millions of people (especially young men) were killed and injured. Overall, 30 millions of people were killed and wounded.² How this tragic event had happened? Most people claimed that it was because of assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which was the immediate ...view middle of the document...
Firstly, there were many ethnic groups in this peninsula. There were Serbians, Croats, Slovenes, Slovaks, Romanians and many other nationalities in this small area. And because each nationality has different cultures and beliefs, it caused many big and small disputes in Balkan Peninsula.
The next reason is the involvement of foreign countries. Peninsula, unlike to continent and island, has a distinctive feature. Because it has a role as a bridge which connects the continent and island, the peninsula was thought as an important place for development and trade. This resulted in the interference of Russia and other European powers and increased excessive anger and nationalism of some Balkan countries.
Finally, it is the religion distribution in Balkan Peninsula and I believe this is the most important one. Inside Balkan Peninsula, there are many countries with many religious beliefs.
|Country |Dominant Religion |Others (In order of dominancy) |
|Serbia |Eastern Orthodox |Roman Catholic, Islam, Protestantism |
|Albania |Muslims |Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics |
|Bulgaria |Bulgarian Orthodox Christians |Muslim, Roman Catholic, |
|Greece |Greek Orthodox Church |Greek Catholicism, Judaism |
|Montenegro |Christians |Sunni Muslims, Roman Catholics |
|Romania |Eastern Orthodox |Roman Catholic |
Religion Distribution in the Balkans³
As we can see on the table above, there is variety of religions mixed together in Balkan Peninsula. Moreover, all of them have more than one religion in their country which will cause ideological and religious conflict. And considering the war in the past in Europe was broke out mostly because of different religious belief, (e.g. The Crusades, Thirty Year’s War) it was obvious that conflict was unavoidable.
Therefore, based on these complicated ethnics, religion and cultural matters, it was indisputable that the Balkan Peninsula was a ‘Powder keg’ of Europe.
Balkan Troubles (1912)⁴
The nationalism in Balkans got more excessive as the First Balkan War broke out. In the early of 20th century, the Turkish Empire became weaker and weaker and it made some states of the Balkans to think it was time to kick out Turks out of the Balkan region. In order to achieve this, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia united together and formed a Balkan League even they were hostile to each other. The war finally broke out in October 1912 and...