Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Edgar Melton (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The two Serbian-Bulgarian treaties, concluded simultaneously in 1904, and known in the literature under the common name of "The Secret-Serbian-Bulgarian Treaty of Alliance of 1904" are the specific topic of this thesis. These treaties between the Kingdom of Serbia and the Principality of Bulgaria contained political, military and economic provisions aimed not only against the Ottoman Empire (a common rival of both countries), but also against Austria-Hungary. A significant feature of these treaties was their obvious pro-Russian orientation, shaped in provisions like unification of the telegraphic systems of both countries with that of Russia as well as the requirement for Russian arbitration between Bulgaria and Serbia if they were not able to reach agreement about the partition of the European possessions of the Ottoman Empire by themselves. Considering all this, with some of their provisions the Serbian-Bulgarian Treaties of 1904 resembled in many ways the Treaty of 1912 between the above-mentioned Balkan countries, which became the backbone of the creation of the Balkan League. The creation of the latter, on the other hand, was a significant step toward the breakdown of equilibrium in Eastern Europe, eventually leading to the outbreak of the First Balkan War, with its well known larger consequences. Seen in this light, the significance of the Serbian-Bulgarian Treaties of 1904 could be defined also as evidence that the Russian policy of creating alliances between the small Balkan Slav States, aimed not only against the Ottoman Empire, but also against Austria- Hungary, and, in this way, "encircling" the latter, could be dated from before the Bosnian Crisis (1908), as opposed to the prevailing attitude in the existing literature, that the Bosnian Crisis itself was the turning point of Russian foreign policy in this direction. Analyzing the military and other clauses of the Serbian-Bulgarian Treaties of 1904, their secret character, and the role of some Bulgarian statesmen, politicians and diplomats (especially of the Bulgarian Prince Ferdinand I), this thesis seeks to reveal how their successful negotiation was ever possible, in spite of the fact that in 1904 Bulgaria was ruled by the People's Liberal Party, a party with a pro-Austrian orientation. This orientation was clearly in opposition to a close rapprochement with the new pro-Russian, internationally isolated Serbian regime, established with a very bloody coup d'etat in 1903. In revealing this, this thesis also seeks to define the ways by which the Bulgarian and Serbian Foreign policies were subjected to those of Russia even at the time, when, because of its disastrous engagement in the Far East, the Russian Empire was seemingly abandoning its active policy in the Balkans. Initiated by the Bulgarian Prince Ferdinand and conducted by means of secret diplomacy by some Bulgarian and Serbian politicians, diplomats and military men with firm Pan- Slavic affiliations, this pro-Russian Serbian-Bulgarian rapprochement allowed not only the conclusion of the secret treaties of 1904, but eventually proved to be disastrous for the European peace.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of History

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

History Commons