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RIVAL AMBITIONS OF THE ALLIES

This was a difficult matter to adjust. Before the war began, as we have already seen, a Treaty of Partition had been negotiated between Bulgaria and Servia, but conditions had changed materially in the interval and Servia now demanded a revision of the treaty and refused to withdraw her troops from Central Macedonia, which the treaty had marked for reversion to Bulgaria. In consequence the relations between the governments and peoples of Servia and Bulgaria were dangerously strained. The Bulgarians denounced the Servians as perfidious and faithless and the Servians responded by excoriating the colossal greed and intolerance of the Bulgarians. The immemorial mutual hatred of the two Slav nations was stirred to its lowest depths, and it boiled and sputtered like a witches' cauldron.

In Eastern Macedonia Bulgarians and Greeks were each eagerly pushing their respective spheres of occupation without much regard to the rights or feeling of the other Ally. Though the Bulgarians had not forgiven the Greeks for anticipating them in the capture of Saloniki in the month of November, the rivalry between them in the following winter and spring had for its stage the territory between the Struma and the Mesta Rivers--and especially the quadrilateral marked by Kavala and Orphani on the coast and Seres and Drama on the line of railway from Saloniki to Adrianople. They had one advantage over the Bulgarians: their troops could be employed to secure extensions of territory for the Hellenic kingdom at a time when Bulgaria still needed the bulk of her forces to fight the Turks at Chataldja and Adrianople. Hence the Greeks occupied towns in the district from which Bulgarian troops had been recalled. Nor did they hesitate to dislodge scattered Bulgarian troops which their ally had left behind to establish a claim of occupation. Naturally disputes arose between the military commanders and these led to repeated armed encounters. On March 5 Greeks and Bulgarians fought at Nigrita as they subsequently fought at Pravishta, Leftera, Panghaion, and Anghista.

This conduct of the Allies toward one another while the common enemy was still in the field boded ill for their future relations. "Our next war will be with Bulgaria," said the man on the street in Athens, and this bellicose sentiment was reciprocated alike by the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian army. The secular mutual enmities and animosities of the Greeks and Bulgarians, which self-interest had suppressed long enough to enable the Balkan Allies to make European Turkey their own, burst forth with redoubled violence under the stimulus of the imperious demand which the occasion now made upon them all for an equitable distribution of the conquered territory. For ages the fatal vice of the Balkan nations has been the immoderate and intolerant assertion by each of its own claims coupled with contemptuous disregard of the rights of others.



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