German Soldiers in the Balkans, 1914-1918

by Oliver Stein

This section of the exhibition is about western soldier’s encounter with a region that, while lying within Europe, was regarded as an intersection between the Orient and the Occident. During the First World War, many nationalities including Germans, Britons and Frenchmen reached the Balkans. The following will cover German soldier’s contact with the Bulgarian allies and the Balkan peoples in the occupied areas.

The Balkans as a crisis region

As early as the 19th century, the diverging interests of the Great Powers as well as the local ethnic conflicts ...

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Gerhard Hetzer

On the Romanian Campaign of the Central Powers 1916/17

A French-language guidebook about Romania, published in Bucharest in 1940 before the territorial changes of the second Vienna award, explained the battlefields of summer 1917 in Moldavia as sites of victories that the Romanian force, which was inferior in numbers and equipment, achieved against German and Austro-Hungarian troops. In a museum in Mărăşeşti, the Croix de Guerre that Marshall Joffre awarded the city in 1920, with its railway junction that had been fought over three years previously, was shown. The meaning of these memoirs for Romanian self-confidence, wounded by earlier defeats and then the ...

Gundula Gahlen

The Letters and Diaries of Lieutnant-Colonel August Dänzer from his Time in Transylvania and Romania 1916/17

For a long time the proceedings in the west during the First World War received more attention from western historians than the seemingly more “conventional” war on the Eastern and Southeastern Fronts. Only over the last ten years, however, researchers have started to analyze these regions. Yet the research about southeastern Europe and the theaters of war in Serbia, Romania and Macedonia is still in its infancy. Additionally, as is the case with Romania, the letters and diaries of soldiers deployed to this region during the First World War have hardlybeen accessible to the general ...

Deniza Petrova

“Not a Central European Theatre of War”: The Balkans as a Cultural and Travel Experience in the Notes and Letters of August von Mackensen and Hans von Seeckt 1915-1918

A Bulgarian war correspondent wrote about military roads and signposts in the Balkans in 1916:

”On tall rods, rammed into the ground, are mounted signs in various languages: Bulgarian, German, Turkish, Russian… They are all brief and yet say a lot – those, who are intimately acquainted with war, which often made them wanderers in foreign lands.” (Yovkov, Krǔstopǔt [Crossroads], p. 497)

Many of the ”wanderer“ wrote their “travel experiences” down. While simple soldiers described their impressions of foreign lands and peoples primarily on field postcards and in letters to their ....