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Serbia: The graves of Serbian soldiers, who died during the siege of Adrianople, 1913 Source: Tchernoff (c)

The purpose of this project is to examine the military history, broadly defined, of the period between the Second Moroccan Crisis in 1911 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. These years witnessed what might appropriately be termed the ‘wars before the war’. Following the Second Moroccan Crisis in 1911 Italy fought the Ottoman empire in northern Africa and the eastern Mediterranean; the Balkan League took advantage of this conflict and declared war on the Ottoman empire in 1912; the Balkan League then fell apart and Bulgaria was defeated by its erstwhile allies in the summer of 1913. By the spring of 1914, observers predicted imminent conflict – but between Greece and the Ottoman empire rather than between the great powers. It is essential to put these conflicts at the heart of European and international history before the First World War. While the war plans of the great powers, the role of the military in foreign policy decision-making processes, and the arms races have been the subject of considerable research, other important areas of the military history of this period have been neglected, marginalised, or restricted to case studies based on one or two states. In particular the ways in which the experiences of the wars between 1911 and 1913 shaped popular, elite, and professional perceptions of warfare remain poorly understood.

Project Coordinator is Dr William Mulligan: