The Nov. 4 issue of the New York Times published the book review Extermination States by S. S. Montefiore. It is about the book Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War by Alan Kramer (Oxford University Press).
Below is a quote from Montefiore's article:
"In some ways, the war against Serbia had been fought already in the two Balkan wars of 1912-13, caused by the nationalist goals of the region’s new states... The massacre of tens of thousands of civilians in Macedonia and Thrace by the Bulgarians was “not merely ... a short-term byproduct of war” but a “part of a longer-term project of nation-state construction.” Meanwhile, in crushing Serbia, Austria and Germany killed 250,000 soldiers and 300,000 civilians out of 3.1 million. No combatant faced higher per capita losses."
I'll let to historians to disprove these statements (though I bet that their contra-arguments will not be published by the New York Times or the Oxford University Press). Let me, as a lay person, add just a common-sense remark.
Nations, similarly to individuals, usually try to convince themselves and others that they do what is right while actually doing what they consider to be in their best interests. After World War I, the winners took from Bulgaria land populated by Bulgarians and gave it to Serbia. So portraying the Bulgarians as villains and the Serbs as cute innocent victims would serve well to justify this act.
But, guys, what year is now? Nearly a century has passed after these events. Isn't it already OK to write things nearer to the truth?
I am happy that I am working in the field of natural and not social sciences.
As for the New York Times, its anti-Bulgarian bias is no news. Let's remember the 2003 article Bush's Warsaw War Pact by Maureen Dowd, a gossiper unfortunately misled by somebody to think that she is a journalist:
"In diplomatic circles, our new allies from Eastern Europe are dryly referred to as ''Bush's Warsaw Pact.'' As one Soviet expert put it, ''Bulgaria used to be Russia's lapdog. Now it's America's lapdog.'' The Bulgarians were such sycophants to Russia that in the 60's they proposed becoming the 16th republic of the Soviet Union. Mr. Bush will not be the only one having trouble with the Bulgarian prime minister's name. We all will. In some press reports it's spelled Simeon Saxcoburggotski, and in others Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The tall, balding, bearded prime minister was formerly King Simeon II, a deposed child czar. He is a distant relative of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort, but not Count Dracula. That's our other new best friend, Romania. Is this a good trade, the French for the Bulgarians? Sketchy facts about Bulgaria rattle around: It has a town called Plovdiv; it wants to become big in the skiing industry; its secret service stabbed an exiled dissident writer in London with a poison-tipped umbrella -- a ricin-tipped umbrella, in fact; its weight-lifting team was expelled from the Olympics in a drug scandal in 2000; it sent agents to kill the pope... In ''Casablanca'' there was the Bulgarian girl who offered herself to Claude Rains to get plane tickets."
As you see, this so-called author blames Bulgarians not only for having been sacrificed to the Soviet Union after World War II but also for the way they are portrayed in old movies. This reminds me of primitive cultures where you can be held responsible for what you have done in somebody's dream.
UPDATE: People who had read Kramer's book told me that it described events in a more balanced way. Mentioning the "tens of thousands of civilians" allegedly massacred by Bulgarian troops, the author made it clear that this was alleged by Greeks and not confirmed by any independent source. It was Montefiore who, in his review, made Bulgaria the chief villain. It seems to me that, as long as we are a US ally and a Coalition member, we have a subscription for bashing by The New York Times!