The Italian-Bulgarian Clashes During World War II and the Minority Issue

Sonila Boçi


The territorial reconfiguration of the Balkans in Vienna (April 1941) did not fully satisfy any of the Great Powers’ interests. Italy had promised the Greater Albania but it was not able to include all the Albanian ethnic territories within the new and larger Albanian state. Bulgaria had significantly expanded its borders, but inspired by the medieval dreams about a Great Bulgaria, it kept on asking for more. The revisionist tendencies of Bulgaria created tension between the two Axis’ Allies, which risked causing a conflict between them in more than one occasion. Despite the Italy’s and Germany’s concession for a rectification of the demarcation line in the southeast of Shar Mountains (Šar Planina), the Italian-Bulgarian dispute continued with their ups and downs, and until the capitulation of Italy, there was not a real agreement for a demarcation line yet. There was only a military demarcation line established in the spring of 1943, signed up after a series of negotiations between the Italian general Dalmazzo and the Bulgarian general Bodjev. Bulgarian-Italian disputes were essentially territorial conflicts. When territories are under discussion, their population, especially the minorities turn into the "hot potato" of the situation. Both Italy and Bulgaria try to use the minorities for their political goals. Accusation and counter-accusation regarding the treatment of minorities were frequent.

Keywords: minority, territorial dispute, World War Two, Albania, Italy, Bulgaria.

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