Independence to Communist Rule
On March 3, 1878, Turkey signed a treaty of capitulation, the San Stefano peace settlement. This settlement ensured the political liberation of the Bulgarians in Moesia (between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains), northern Thrace and Macedonia. Under the sovereignty Bulgaria had its own church and state. The nation of Bulgaria felt free, united and poised for a great future.
Even so, a mere five months later this dream was shattered. To satisfy claims from England and Austria, the Berlin Congress of the European superpowers took control of three main provinces with only Moesia and the region around Sofia remaining.
The First and Second Balkan Wars in 1912-1913 led to the the loss of Bulgarian territory. Although, until World War II in 1939, Bulgaria continued to pursue the dream of restoring the lands of the San Stefano settlement.
During World War II Bulgaria was a reluctant ally of Germany. The government did not send troops into combat and declined deportation of Bulgarian Jews. In September 1944, while the Bulgarian government was conducting peace talks with its Allies, The Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria. Power in Sofia was seized by the Fatherland Front, a Communist-led coalition.
In 1946, despite resistance from democratic forces all aspects of the economy fell under Communist control. The Bulgarian monarchy was abolished and the Communist Party won the election. Nevertheless, the Bulgarian model was in some ways very different from the Soviet system. This model paying more careful attention to agriculture, raising the rural populations living standards and the country’s achievements in foreign trade.
The Soviet Union would continue in power for the next 45 years with Bulgaria becoming a staunch USSR ally. Even so, after such deep rooted oppression and loss of individual freedoms, hope’s light still remained a small burning ember in the hearts of many Bulgarians. This ember growing brighter as Bulgaria sought hard after true unity, freedom and dignity as a unique people group and ultimate independence for their country.
Stay tune for my next post…
Freedom for Bulgaria, Government and Economics.
[This post is part of the Heart for Bulgaria series. An overview of our research on the country of Bulgaria.]