1930 02 The Worldwide Fascist Surge (not just the future Axis Powers, but worldwide)


#1

Author: Not Decided
Status: In Research

Please post any ideas or research for this episode that you want to contribute in this topic. If the episode hasn’t been assigned to an author yet, you can note your intent to write in the string too, and we will contact you to discuss.


#2

Is this episode confined to 1930 or it can be expanded to the whole 30’s?


#3

Topic is the main focus, we need this episode before the German elections of 32 though to understand the context.


#4

I have some thoughts, but there are mostly from after 1930 (Stavisky Affair, Popular Front, etc…)


#5

@avalantis Valentis, first of all if I haven’t said it before income way: you’re a bright star in the TimeGhost heaven. Your commitment is hugely appreciated.

Please share, as stated earlier this episode needs to focus more on the topic and less on the years it falls into.


#6

I think this will be a perfect time to talk about the communist terror in Bulgaria between 1923-1925, as it can be viewed as a catalyst for the boosting of nationalism and showing the dangers of communism. It can begin with the 1923 attempted counter coup, the brutal crushing of it; then move on to the various socialist-backed terrorist attacks, most notably the bombing of the Sveta Nedelya. These events also lead to Georgi Dimitrov’s exile from Bulgaria and he would later be put on trial for the burning of the Reichstag, so having some early background on him would help.

There can also be a follow-up on the IMRO as they were split into two warring factions at that time, again thanks to socialist backing.


#7

Lovely idea - can you give us more details?


#8


#9

Yeah, Dimitrov (I’ve also seen his name written as Dimitroff) was in many ways a socialist idealists, completely devoted to the cause. During WW1 he was a young deputy in the Bulgarian Parliament and used his position to hold anti-war speeches to the troops at the front. After the war he became the leader the Bulgarian Communist Party which was technically a coalition partner of the Agrarian Government. When that government fell he tried to organize a counter-coup, but it failed (I’ll post all the juicy details on that later) and he fled the country alongside Vasil Kolarov (also a key Bulgarian communist, but without the international recognition of Dimitroff). After that he became an active member of the Communist International and because of that he was trialed for the Reichstagsbrand. He was defending himself without an attorney (I also read long ago that he didn’t speak much German and had to learn it while awaiting trial) and for fiery defense of the ideology was made head of the Comintern.

Those are pretty much the basics, I’ll try to get some more details on the trial itself. There is also some… interesting details about his personal life, most notably him being a ladies man who constantly cheated on his wife but…

‘Hide your wives, Dimitroff is coming.’ - Ljubica Dimitrova (his own wife)


#10

Not really a fascist surge, but an interesting episode of fascist-inspired right-wing radicalism in Finland:
The years 1929-1932 in Finland saw the rise and fall of the right-wing Lapuanliike or the Lapua movement. Starting as general anticommunist sentiment and nationalist activism among peasants in Ostrobothnia, the movement materialized after the Young Communist League of Finland arranged agitation in the town of Lapua, leading to the locals ripping their red shirts off and driving them out.


“Unclothing”, Vaasa 1930


“Red officer Nieminen is repairing his pants”, Vaasa 1930

Lapuanliike began organizing and holding anticommunist meetings. The movement was spontane and received wide support among the population, though some chose to drive their cause in illegal ways: shutting down työväentalo’s (workers houses?), breaking socialist presses and brutalizing local leftists. Lead by charismatic farmer Vihtori Kosola, who was designed by some to become a dictator, reflected in the saying “heil Hitler, muil Mussolini, meil Kosola” (they have Hitler, others Mussolini, we have Kosola), the movement organized “The Peasant March” on Helsinki. 12 000 peasants around Finland gathered on the Senate Square and were received by president Relander, prime minister Svinhufvud and general Mannerheim.


Vihtori Kosola


The Peasant March


The March received at the Senate Square

The demands that communism be rooted from Finland were met with action, for after the summer 1930 most of the leading communists in Finland were jailed on “suspicion of treasonous actions”, communist papers were made illegal and many workers houses were shut down. In october the government passed The Law for the Protection of the Republic along with anti-communist laws, shutting down all professional and political organizations on suspicion of being communist and denying communists the right to vote.

Lapuanliike’s preferred method of intimidation was known as “muilutus”, after Jussi Muilu, and it consisted of kidnapping and forcibly transport communists across the eastern border. The kidnappings and transportations were often violent and caused three deaths in total. The violent tendencies of the movement gradually ate its popularity and after the muilutus of the first Finnish president Ståhlberg the movement lost most of its political support. Lapuanliike became more anti-governmental and there were rumours of a planned coup d’état.

In february 1932 a workers house meeting was interrupted with gunfire by a group of some 400 White Guard members. Led by leutnant Artturi Vuorimaa, the troops refused to surrender to the authorities and issued a declaration of rebellion in Mäntsälä, demanding that “marxist social-democratic agitation” be rooted from Finland and stating that “marxism must be defeated and it will be defeated, even if we must first do away with the social order and its representatives that support and protect marxism”. The rebels were joined by Lapuanliike and received political support from the National Coalition. The leadership of Lapuanliike declared that peace in society could no longer be secured unless the government be disbanded and issued an order of mobilisation through the White Guard: across the country some 7 000 men took to arms.


Rebel machine guns in Mäntsälä


Rebels and machine guns in Mäntsälä


Tanks of the Finnish armed forces in Helsinki

Finnish leadership was divided in their response to the rebellion; armed forces commander Aarne Sihvo demanded that the revolt be crushed militarily, while jäger major general Hugo Österman and jäger colonel Per Zilliacus knew that if the government ordered the armed forces against the rebels, a group of leutnant colonels would disobey. Fearing war between the White Guard and the Finnish army, White Guard commander Lauri Malmberg offered his resignation, which was denied by president Svinhufvud.

image
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, “Ukko-Pekka” (“Old man Pekka”)

Svinhufvud was respected by the right and Lapuanliike had helped him win the elections, but, lawyer by profession, he could not let finnish democracy be trampled on and see the country slide into yet another civil war. The president took to the radio and held a speech in which he noted that “the White Guard will suffer unpredictable damage if some members begin fighting against the order which they have promised to defend in spirit and blood” and promised that if the rebels “immediately return to their homely tasks they will not be punished, unless they are instigators”.
Rebel nests began disintegrating and Svinhufvuds promise was kept, as the rebels were allowed to leave without being disarmed or catalogued. The leadership of Lapuanliike surrendered on 7th of march and were jailed, while Lapuanliike itself was banned with the very laws it had first pressured the government to accept in 1930.
The rebellion in the young republic was put down, this time with diplomacy and nearly without bloodshed unlike in 1918; the only casualty was Lapua leader Kustaa Latvala who shot himself as a disappointed protest when the rebels dispersed.


President Svinhufvud holding a New Year speech


#11

Summary of Eric’s Hobsbawm “The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991” - Chapters 3. Into the Economic Abyss and 4. The Fall of Liberalism

Since late 19th century, the alienation and disappointment of the middle and lower middle class, which felt crushed between the few powerful wealthy capitalists and the growing, assertive working class, led to a fear about losing their economic position and this fear led to a hate against modernity in general. The seeds of future Fascism and Nazism were sown.
After WW1, the Radical Rightist movements were born as an answer to October Revolution and the rise of communism. The Great War and its brutalization paved the way for more extreme ideas, which seemed horrendous to the 19th century world, a world having faith in progress, science and reason. Μany reserve officers returning from the war, and belonging to middle class or petit bourgeois, viewed their war life, their uniform, their discipline as the best thing they did in their lives, their defining moment (the most famous example being Adolf Hitler). Those “Rambos” (as Hobsbawm names them) were the voting reservoir for the Far-Right parties.

For the majority of interwar Europe, the prerequisites for a functional Democracy; a basis of consensus among the people about the system of governance and the social system, and prosperity, were absent.

There were strong authoritarian sentiments among the Right, especially in Catholic Church, the anticommunists and the anti-liberals. Examples can be found in Finland and General Mannerheim, Hungary and Admiral Horty and General Piłsudski in Poland. Those regimes were parliamentary democracies, but with strong conservative and authoritarian elements.
Their distinction with Fascism/Nazism is that the latter is based on the masses, starting from the lower steps of social ladder. Also, the Fascists/Nazis, challenged the old hereditary traditional conservative institutions; the Church or the Monarchy are presented as outdated, the new champions of old values must be raised by merit, and from the people’s ranks.

The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties was unstable. It was very difficult to find buyers for the vast quantity of industrial products. First, because farmers, who are still numerous, sell cheaply their products and thus earn minimal income. Then, despite the effort made (especially in the US) to raise wages, this raising is at a slower pace than the growth rate of output. This has the effect that products cannot be absorbed by the market, and prices are constantly on the rise.
The Crash of 1929, apart from the closure of many factories and banks, caused economic destruction for agricultural, non-industrialized nations, who based their economy on agricultural exports. This led to state protectionism, which further destabilized world trade. The most important consequence of the Great Depression was that the world abandoned economic liberalism.
At the same time, USSR, detached from the worldwide economic system, was growing (in the period 1928-1938, the soviet share in the worldwide production of processing products rose from 5% to 18%), plus zero unemployment. Even the capitalist countries begun to believe that a central state control was essential for the economy.
Unemployment in 1932-1933 (worst period of the Great Depression)
• 22%-23% in Britain and Belgium
• 24% in Sweden
• 27% in USA
• 29% in Austria
• 31% in Norway
• 32% in Denmark
• 44% in Germany
At the same time, most nations either do not have unemployment benefit (like USA), or this benefit is tiny.

So, three pathways appeared to the desperate of early 30’s:
• Communism
• Capitalism without Liberalism
• Fascism.
The economic demands of Versailles to Germany, made the latter to depend herself upon American loans. When the Depression came, and the loans stopped, Germany was destroyed. The unwritten agreement between the state, capitalists and Labour Movement was finished when the first two saw no alternative but to cut expenses; the unemployment which followed was the final blow to Democracy. The Nazis, who were nothing but a marginal phenomenon in German politics, rose to prominence. After the elections of 1930, the democratic powers lost the majority in the Reichstag, as the Nazis and the Communist greatly increased their votes. In 1932, less than 1/3 of the voters voted for democratic parties. When the Nazi Party acquired power, it didn’t follow the rules of the old political game, but supressed every opposition. For the Nazis, the enemy was not just Communism, but modernity in general, the enemy was every other who was no Nazi; Communism was the convenient bogey.

Nazi theory was not its strong point, as more and more fascist/nazi movements ephasized the supremacy of instict and will against Reason, the complete opposite notion in comparison with 19th century ideals.

Despite the establishment of Italian fascism in early 20’s, the real rise of worldwide fascism occurred after the rise of Hitler in a strong industrialized power like Germany. After 1933, Nazi Germany became a beacon for the Rightists in general, as Soviet Union became an example for many Leftists after 1917.
Fascist/pro-fascist/quasi fascist regimes in Europe during the 1930’s.
• Falange in Spain under Francisco Franco (1937–1975)
• Fatherland Front in Austria under Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg (1934–1938)
• 4th of August Regime in Greece under Ioannis Metaxas (1936–1941)
• Iron Guard (founded in 1927), in conjunction with the Romanian military dictatorship in Romania under Ion Antonescu (1940–1941)
• Ustaše in Croatia under Ante Pavelić (founded in 1930, terrorist acts in Yugoslavia before WW2, in power during 1941–1945)
• National Union in Portugal under António de Oliveira Salazar (1933–1974)
• Hlinka Guard in Slovakia under Jozef Tiso (founded in 1913, turned pro-fascist in late 1930’s, in power 1939–1945)
• Arrow Cross Party in Hungary under Ferenc Szálasi (founded as Party of National Will in 1935, banned in 1937, reconstituted as the Arrow Cross Party on 15 March 1939)
• Nasjonal Samling Party in Norway, from Vidkun Quisling, in 1933.
• Rexist Party in Belgium, founded in 1935.

Initially the Comintern believed that the Great Depression was the final crisis of Capitalism, after which, the system would completely collapse, and the Communism was about to take its place. But the isolationist policy that it imposed to the national communist parties (so isolationist that many socialist parties were branded as “social-fascist”) led to the fragmentation of anti-fascists and the unobstructed rise of Nazism to Germany. The rise of Fascism throughtout Europe and the persecution of the Communists in the whole continent, forced Comintern to change course. In 1934, the Communists received new directives, that they should form “Popular Fronts” with all anti-fascist powers, with the aim of stopping the fascist and to establish diplomatic relations with USSR.

South America

USA, from a symbol of Liberty and counterweight to European Colonial powers, became, by late 19th century, the sheriff of the continent, controlling economy through American oil and banana corporations, and through her armed forces. Plus, the Great Depression affected the US image in Latin America. Now the new role model was Nazi Germany and its successful battle against the crisis and unemployment. Many countries had Populist regimes, sometimes based on the Armed Forces, like Getulio Vargas in Brazil, Marmaduke Grove in Chile, the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana in Peru and, immediately after WW2, Huan Peron in Argentina. Those regimes, though, had not as enemy the working class, but the local oligarchs, and thus became quite popular among the workers.

Japan

Japan was already a society believing in racial superiority and need for purity, the complete obedience to the state and the divine emperor. The lack of resources on Japanese territory prompted the expansionist/imperialist policy of Japan during the 30’s.


#12

Summary of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent: Europe’s 20th Century, Chapters 1, 2, 4

The new nation-states that were born after 1918, were as multi-ethnic as their imperial predecessors, but with the crucial difference that, being born in nationalism, they were less tolerant to their minorities. On the other hand, the minorities, not feeling part of the new countries, followed their revisionist aspirations, in the same nationalistic spirit. All those, combined with the fact that Democracy was not established in Europe, but in fact it was something brand new, without roots, created an explosive mixture.
European parliaments in interwar Europe: Fragmented with many parties, the latter having different ideological identity and, many times, different national identity and representation. Each party viewed the other as an enemy, with no intention of debating. Inability of conciliation between them, inability of forming majority governments, inability of voting laws, inability of the governments to form a program, many elections.
WW1: It brought to surface and exalted a culture of violence, which found herself at odds with “sluggish bourgeois parliamentarism”. The Great Depression made things worse. Michael Oakeshott observed that “Liberalism was out of touch with the people”, and that was the case when the people who suffered the most were seeing, for example, the destruction of stock of industrial and agricultural products, or limiting their output (to raise their prices), while they were hungry.
Sigmund Neumann wrote: The political parties of Germany were rather contrasting than communicating. Every team of supporters, activated in the context of more and more militant party organizations, having their own banners and placards, viewed in hostility the other parts of the society. Political debate and coalition governments were more and more hard to make as “any discussion loses its meaning when the interlocutor has already decided his position even before the start of the conversation… the result was that the spiritual foundations of Liberalism and Parliamentarism were shaken”. Moritz Bonn pointed out that the legislative paralysis “makes stronger and louder the voices which demand a dictator, who will want to make things that the nation wants to be done, without being captive of the financial groups’ power, or even of a majority”. Democracy, seemed to divide the nation, instead of uniting it (S. Neumann, Die deutschen Parteien: Wesen und Wandel nach dem Kriege, Berlin 1932, pp. 110-12; Bonn ibid, p. 82; Kelsen, “Die Krise des parlamentarischen Systems”, listed in J. Bendersky, Carl Schmitt: Theorist for the Reich, Princeton, New Jersey, 1983, p. 110).
Thus, Democracy, instead of uniting the differences, it promoted them. As Hermann Müller, Chancellor of Weimar Germany said in 1930: “It was a Democracy without democrats”.
The renewed isolationism of USA, and the concern of Britain and France about the rise of Communism, led to an indifference towards the rise of fascism. In fact, many Liberals became fascisms out of fear about the communism.
On the other side, the schism in the Left, between Socialist and Communisms, from the events of 1918-19 in Germany and the rest Europe, weakened them both. The Popular Front came to late for Germany, it couldn’t save Spain from Franco and died were it begun, in France.
The European farmers were not as impoverished as their Russian counterparts and thus not so susceptible to Communist ideals. Most farmers were bastion of Conservatism, except for the Bulgarian Agrarian Party, and the landless farmers of Hungary, Po Valley, and Spain (in fact the matter of land redistribution was one factor that led Spanish landowners and the Church to the Far Right and became a cause for the Spanish Civil War).

Radical/Conservative Right: Recognized, respected and worked with the traditional sources of power (Monarchy, Parliament, Church etc)
Fascism/Nazism: Used the traditional sources of power as a mean to reshape society to its norm.

I have a bit tight schedule until November from my regular job, I hope this will help…


#13

The Worldwide Fascist Surge - The Greek case

Greece after WW1 and the Greco-Turkish War is a completely transformed nation. For the first time ever, “nation” and “state” were identified as one and the same. The Anatolian Catastrophe and the exodus of Anatolian and Pontic Greeks from their homeland to Greece, resulted in 1,5 million refugees, the ¼ of the total population. The majority of the Greeks now lived in Greece. A portion of the WW1 territorial gains was ultimately kept by the Treaty of Lausanne. Around 90.000 Bulgarians left Greece and c. 50.000 Greeks left Bulgaria after an agreement for a voluntary population exchange, according to the Treaty of Neuilly and 354,647 Muslims were compulsory exchanged with the Anatolian Greek refugees.The country was economically destroyed from the war and could hardly sustain the new population. The refugees, having a different cultural background (and sometimes lingual background as well), lost everything in a day and had to restart their lives from zero. Greece, to install the huge number of refugees, was forced to proceed in land redistribution, so that every citizen had a minimum property. The arable land was not much, but a society of few rich and many small and medium-sized incomes was created. This was the most absolute agrarian reform implemented in any European capitalist interwar state.
The refugees in the cities lived in slum districts on the outskirts, and they became a cheap labor force for the emerging Greek Industry. As was natural, they evolved into a large proletariat, from which a considerable part strengthened the newly formed Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
Since 1924 the monarchy in Greece was abolished, and a republic was established. But this republic was not a result of the society’s democratization, but the outcome of the quasi civil war which tore apart Greece during WW1 between the Royalists and the Venizelists, the liberal followers of Eleftherios Venizelos. The public outrage for the Anatolian Catastrophe blamed the Royalists leaders, who were tried and executed, and king George II was exiled.
The new regime was rather anti-monarchist than republican; senior military officers were struggling for influence, politicians were seeking their favor to control the state machinery, one putsch after another undermined the parliament and the only thing that kept all fractions united was anti-monarchism. On the other hand, the People’s Party, which represented the royalists, had no respect for the republic and its only two goals were to take revenge against their republican opponents, and to bring back the king.
The Great Depression caused the fall of the Venizelists and the rise of the People’s Party. After two unsuccessful Venizelist coups, the royalist military officers took their revenge. They purged the army from the republicans/antimonarchists and they brought back king George, restoring the monarchy in 1935 by, perhaps, the most rigged referendum in Greek history.
The Depression led to the rise of the Labour Movement and KKE; the mass strikes panicked the establishment, who turned to an ex-general, Ioannis Metaxas. Metaxas was educated in Preußische Kriegsakademie, and he was the mastermind of the Greek General Staff during the Balkan Wars. He is considered by many to be the best professional officer modern Greece produced but, above all, he was an extremist and absolutist, who played central role in WW1 quasi civil war, by essentially acting as agent of Germany and by organizing the royalist militias which attacked Venizelists and the Entente forces.
Greece never had a fascist party and fascism in Greece never gained a noteworthy popular support. A mild Antisemitism existed, but never had a widespread support and was not as sinister as in Central and Easterm Europe, apart few nasty incidents in Thessaloniki. Metaxas had small popular renosance and became prime-minister of minority governments by royal appointments (after five ex-prime-ministers had died in 1936) and the tolerance of the Parliament, with the task of suppressing the Communists.


A mοther weeps over the dead body of his son, during the Tobacco workers’ strike in Thessaloniki, May 9, 1936. The Police was ordered to hit the strikers with firearms.

Metaxas took by surprise the People’s Party and the Liberals who eventually came into agreement about forming a government and, under the auspices of the king (Metaxas was the childhood tutor of the king), he declared a state of emergency and suspended the Parliament and the Constitution, establishing a fascist regime, on August 4, 1936.
Metaxas declared that the 4th of August Regime was the “Third Greek Civilization” (after Ancient Greece and the Byzantine Empire). He adopted fascist titles, as “the First Peasant”, “the First Worker” and “Arhigos”, i.e. “Leader” among others. He declared that parliamentary democracy was obsolete, he imposed the Nazi salute, permanent censorship, he burned books declared prohibited, (even ancient Greek classics, particularly every reference to the Athenian Democracy, like Pericles’ Funeral Oration) he established a fascist youth organization, the EON, and above all, he hunted down in brutality and jailed the communists and other democratic dissenters. Concurrently he attempted to assimilate the Cham Albanian minority of Epirus and the minority of the Slavic speakers of Macedonia.

Emblem of EON

Flag of EON


Young members of the Greek National Organisation of Youth (EON) hail in presence of Ioannis Metaxas.

Nevertheless, his regime was not based on the popular support and a fascist party, like the rest fascist regimes of Europe, but on the armed forces and the king’s authority. There was no expansionist aspirarition. Antisemitism was absent in the regime, and a Gleichschaltung was never attempted.
However, he had the support of the royalists and conservatives, while most of the people were exhausted from the unstable Democratic regime and its many coups.


Metaxas on the stairs of the old Parliament House, having took off his hat, with members of his cabinet, the so called “Labour Battalions” (the regime’s Labour organization) and the National Youth Organization. They give the fascist salute, propably during a playing of the national anthem.

In his foreign policy, despite being pro-German (one of his first acts was to invite Joseph Goebbels in Greece as official guest, also Nazi Germany was the main importer of Greek products), he understood that, despite his WW1 deeds, he had to rely on Great Britain, as Greece was a maritime nation and the king was anglophile. London was pleased to have a friendly regime in Eastern Mediterranean but could not provide substantial military support to Greece. Thus, Britain accepted the (essentially pro-British) neutrality policy of Metaxas. Nazi Germany viewed favorably Metaxas, as well. But they could not counter British influence, so they accepted Metaxas policy of neutrality, as better than a hostile Greece.

September 21, 1936, a Greek newspaper announces the arrival of Goebbels in Greece.

Goebbels with his family, Metaxas and Greek ministers.

http://www.mixanitouxronou.gr/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/P1840761.jpg
Goebbels visiting Acropolis.

http://www.mixanitouxronou.gr/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Metaxas_Joseph-Goebbels-_Sept.-1936.jpg
Goebbels with Metaxas.


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Stojadinović, Metaxas, Comnen. Balkan Pact summit in Ankara, March 1938.

The Greek neutrality was effectively terminated by Fascist Italy. Mussolini included Greece in his imperialistic ambitions and when Italy annexed Albania, on April 7, 1939, it was evident that Greece was next. So, two fascist regimes, Italy and Greece, were at odds, and (spoiler alert) during WW2 Greece not only fought for the Allies, but she achieved the first Allied victory of the war and was, until Operation Barbarossa, the only other Allied nation of Britain during her “Darkest Hour


#14

Even (the apparently imaginary) Australia flirted with the far right, in the form of the New Guard from early 1931 to 1932. DH Lawrence had a run-in with them, when he visited Australia. Later on, he was to fictionalised the experience in his book ‘Kangaroo’.


Eric Campbell at a New Guard rally doing the fascist salute in 1932 (probably in the Sydney Town Hall)

Random factoid: Apparently, they had used my school’s footy ovals for practicing drill.


#15

I recently wrote a piece to the TGW team about obscure war stories from Bulgaria in the last days of WW1 and since one of them includes Hristo Lukov (kind of, sort of), the founder of the fascist UBNL I decided to post it here as well. It can give some interesting insights on fascist propaganda at the time.

I am including most of the relevant parts of my research to give the full context:

As part of the Sallonica Agreement, Bulgaria had to surrender 100 000 from their soldiers in Macedonia as POWs, however that did not happen and the final number was much closer to 10 000. This all happened because of one single man: a young telegrapher from the town of Gorna Oryahovitsa. Instead of telegraphing the order ‘Surrender to the nearest Entente soldiers’ he instead transmitted the following order ‘Fight your way back into Bulgaria with all available supplies and equipment’.
(…)
At the dawn of September 28th, Colonel Velichko Velichkov (his memoirs are also the main source) met up with remnants of the 18th and 20th infantry regiments near the old Serbian border. Colonel Hristo Lukov, commander of an artillery regiment, also may or may not have been there. They managed to set up some defenses and even managed to receive supplies from the city of Kyustendil. On the following morning the soldiers spotted a single Serbian battery preparing to fire on them. When it did, Colonel Velichkov’s men retaliated with their own artillery batteries which actually outnumbered the Serbian ones and were of higher caliber.
After the initial response things calmed down and two Serbian cavalry men carrying a white flag approached the soldiers and stated that “A truce has been signed. Your men are to surrender!”
The colonel responded: “I have received no word of this and if you try to advance we will stop you! You can see that our batteries are ready. Tell this to your commander.”
The negotiator, visibly taken aback by this returned back and before long Serbian machineguns opened fire and the Bulgarian position followed suit. The Serbians once again opened fire with their single battery, but was outmatched by the Bulgarian guns which managed to silence it.
The Serbs once again tried to negotiate and this time the brigadier general, Junior Colonel Tomich was among them. His demands we clear: “The truce has been signed! Surrender!”
Colonel Velichkov however reiterated his previous answer and this caused the Serbian commander to turn back ‘pale and visibly angry’. No further fighting was reported and this was the last engagement that Bulgarian took part in WW1.

Context to Hristo Lukov comment: In 1933 now General Hristo Lukov would go on to form the Union of Bulgarian National Legions - a pro-fascist Nazi party. To further boost his own credibility, Lukov did some ‘alterations’ to the previous engagement. Now, the story was that the Serbian forces were marching towards Kyustendil and that all of the Bulgarian soldiers had abandoned their positions, except for Hristo Lukov! He still had the remaining artillery pieces from the regiment and thus he single headedly arranged the defence of the city (which mind you is anywhere between 30-60 kilometres away from Lukov’s supposed position at Tsarevo Selo). He singlehandedly loaded and fired the four big guns at the unsuspecting Serbs and eventually saved the city. In later years he would alter his story to say that he received help from “four sheepherders” which he randomly stumbled by.


There were other nationalist parties before that year, but they are a bit tougher to research since it’s hard to give a solid answer as to which of them can be marked as nationalist and ultranationalist.
Union of Bulgarian National Legions:


#16

Any progress about the episode?


#17

We’re still playing catch up with what we have on camera (your amazing research on the Greco Turkish War is part of it).


#18

After September, I’ll have spare time from my regural job to write something more cohesive, or to update research, if more material is needed here