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The Macedonian QuestionBritain and the Southern Balkans 1939-1949$
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Dimitris Livanios

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199237685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237685.001.0001

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Chronicle of Failures Foretold: Britain and Bulgar–Yugoslav Relations, 1939–1943

Chronicle of Failures Foretold: Britain and Bulgar–Yugoslav Relations, 1939–1943

(p.81) 3 Chronicle of Failures Foretold: Britain and Bulgar–Yugoslav Relations, 1939–1943
The Macedonian Question

Dimitris Livanios

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses two ‘failures’ of British foreign policy: the first concerns British attempts to construct a ‘neutral bloc’ in the Balkans, and bring about a rapprochement between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. These efforts failed for many reasons, including Bulgarian irredentism, the mutual distrust between Sofia and Belgrade, and the role of Turkey. The British insistence on not offering Macedonia to the Bulgarians played little role in this, as King Boris thought that only Russia and Germany would seal the fate of his country. The second British failure was their grandiose wartime plans about the future of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, which centred around the construction of a Balkan federation with the two countries (and Macedonia) as federal units. These plans reflected British wishful thinking rather than Balkan realities, and were abandoned after Russian opposition.

Keywords:   Balkans, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Britain, Germany, British foreign policy, Macedonia, Russia, King Boris

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