Bulgaria Braces for Torch-Lit Rallies on WWI Treaty Anniversary
Nationalist VMRO party is organizing rallies across Bulgaria as the country is marking 97 years since the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, which it signed after losing the First World War.
In Varna, a copy of the treaty will be burnt by VMRO members and supporters not far from the city center, Darik Radio reports.
Believed to be one of the most sinister dates in the country's history, the Neuilly-sur-Seine document (widely known as the Neuilly Treaty) dealt with the Third Bulgarian Kingdom for its role as an ally of the Central Powers in World War I.
It was signed on November 27, 1919 at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, and is seen in Bulgaria as the ultimate disaster for the Bulgarian nation's strife for national liberation and unification.
With the Neuilly Treaty Bulgaria's claims to wide swaths of territories in Macedonia, Thrace, and Dobrudja, largely populated by Bulgarians, suffered a terrible defeat.
In addition, the treaty required Bulgaria cede Western Thrace, a region with an area of 8 578 square km to the Entente, (which ceded it to Greece at the San Remo conference) thereby cutting off its direct access to the Aegean Sea.
An area of 2 563 square km on Bulgaria's western border had to be ceded to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the so called Western Outlands.
The treaty also forced Bulgaria to return Southern Dobrudzha, which had been captured during the war and restored the border set by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913). (Southern Dobrudzha was restored to Bulgaria in 1940.)
Bulgaria was also required to reduce its army to 20,000 men, pay reparations exceeding 0 million, and recognize the existence of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The signing ceremony was held in Neuilly's town hall.
In Bulgaria, the results of the treaty are popularly known as the Second National Catastrophe.
Bulgaria regained South Dobrudzha as a result of the Treaty of Craiova in 1940.
Its discontent about the settlement after World War I eventually led it into an alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II when it temporarily reoccupied most of the Bulgarian-populated territories it had been forced to cede earlier.
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