ebook The Art of War in the Balkans - Andrzej Krzak,Dariusz Gregorczyk

The Art of War in the Balkans

Balkan conflicts that took place at the end of the 20th century are closely connected with numerous disputes that occurred after the end of cold war in Europe. The aspirations to gain independence by the republics of Yugoslavian Federation opened „Pandora’s box”, which led to intensive military, ethnic, social, religious and cultural conflict in the Balkans. The words that the Balkans is particularly unstable region of Europe were confirmed. Armed conflict that took place in the Balkans at the end of 20th century was not something unusual. Aspirations and passions and unresolved disputes caused another war fought, above all, between Southern Slavs. One of the most eminent philosophers of the 20th century Karl R. Popper (1902–1994) thought that neither science nor any other method can’t predict the course of coming events. In one of his works entitled „The poverty of historicism”, he wrote: – the course of human history, to a large extent, depends on development of knowledge; – future development of knowledge may not be predicted using any rational and scientific methods; – we may not predict the future course of human history, therefore, creating theory of historical development is not possible. However, above disquisition does not exclude the possibility of carrying out historical, political or social forecasts. Therefore, learning history does not come down only to reconstruction of the past. It is something more. It may give rise to undertake interdisciplinary research on the problems particularly important for the world in an era of globalization. The word history (from Greek historeo – to examine, to learn, to return in mind to the past) is of subjective and objective meaning. Firstly, it is a reference to the events from the past, in narrower and general sense. Secondly, it is a science about human history in space and time. According to American historian, James Harvey Robinson, „history is everything we know about everything, everything humans have ever done, thought, expected or felt”. Great Greek historian, Thucydides (460–396 BC) wrote in his work „Peloponnesian War” that the goal of his work is, by „to be regarded it as useful by those who want to know the past and form a view on the same or similar events, which may happen in the future”. 6 The Art of War in the Balkans from the Middle Ages to the 21st century There is a saying of Cicero (106–43 BC) „historia est magistra vitae” (history is life’s teacher) and „if you don’t know history, you will always be a child”. Roman historian Polybius (200–118 BC) claimed that „knowledge of history prepares us to govern the state”. Therefore, the Romans used history to strengthen loyalty towards the state and pride of its expansion. J. W. Goethe claimed that „writing history is a method of liberation from the past”. He thought that if people are able to learn history well, then history will not repeat itself. Learning history understood in such a way would be one of basic elements of good civic education. There is no culture without history, and without knowledge of history, the fates of societies and nations can’t be understood. The Balkans is one of these places which, over the centuries, has played a significant role in the history of Europe and the world. It seems that a concept of repeatability of events is not only what ancient philosophy of the East is characterized by, but also many modern historiosophic theories. According to these theories, everything comes into existence and disappears, only ruins are silent. The view of cyclical recurrences of history can be found in Plato’s works, as well as Polybius’ works (a thesis on cyclical development of state systems: tyranny – aristocracy – oligarchy – democracy – tyranny etc.). The theory of repeatability of history was also used by Giambattista Vico („spiral of history”, the view on recurrence of barbarity). In recent years, the concept of cyclicality is becoming more and more popular, which is proven by popularity of a vision of approaching „new Middle Ages”. We may also hear more and more often about coming collapse of Western civilization, „twilight of the West”. It should be emphasized that the Balkans may be regarded as a region where such repeatability is particularly evident. Bloody conflicts and unresolved disputes determine the history of Balkan nations, dating back hundreds or even thousand years backwards. Cyclicality of the course of history is noticeable in in such events as: domination and collapse of powers (superpowers) and their fight (rivalry) with direct and indirect participation of Balkan countries, for example, 13th – 19th century – supremacy of Ottoman Porte; 19th–20th century - Balkan powder keg; the Eastern question – a fight for influence between England, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and France; 20th century - a fight for domination by large blocs - firstly central countries against Entente, then the Great Coalition – Axis countries, and finally the Soviet Union – United States (Warsaw Pact-NATO) and 21st century United States - Russia, return of Turkey (the idea of Neo-Ottomanism). Therefore, it may be assumed that undertaking the research on the art of war with reference to history of Balkan countries will be both an attempt to systematize current knowledge and to determine new trends. The research on military history of the Balkans should be of interdisciplinary character. They should contain elements related to political science, diplomatic games, psychological and geographical aspects, social conflicts. The Balkans, the bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, has been for ages particularly conflictual region. It was the place of clash of interests of national Balkan 7 Introduction countries and superpowers. From antiquity until the end of turbulent 20th century, the Balkans was still a subject of interest of international community and politicians. Campaigns and wars in the Balkan Peninsula have changed not only this region of Europe, but also of the whole world. Complicated ethnic relations, legacy of Turkish occupation, increasing ambitions of Bulgaria, called Balkan Prussia, Serbia claiming the right to territories that it had in medieval Europe, and Greece, dreaming about Byzantine glory – had to finally lead to the conflict, which spread outside political and geographical borders of the Peninsula. Otto Bismarck once said prophetic words: „On event in the Balkans will become a hotbed of another war” – long before outbreak of Balkan wars and the First World War predicted that events in this region, due to increasing conflict between Russia and Austria-Hungary and aspirations of Balkan countries, would lead to global war. It must be emphasized that the Balkan Peninsula, due to its former and modern significance, deserves to undertake research on its history in broader problem context. The Balkans is perhaps the only place in Europe, in which borders between the world of Western and Eastern culture, Christianity and Islam, Catholicism and the Orthodox faith have been outlined. All these differences had (and still have) considerable impact on history and life of nations living in the Balkan Peninsula. Living in so complicated and divided region, the leaders of Balkan countries were exposed to influence of external factors and subjects, which used their weaknesses. National revolutions in the Balkan Peninsula in the 19th century led to throwing off the yoke of Ottoman rule in the Balkans. This path was long and bloody. It also caused growing conflict between newly formed countries. Various political visions and developing nationalisms have become the same curse for Balkan nations, as the rule of Turks and actions of foreign superpowers. When the main enemy (Turkey) had disappeared, between Balkan countries started fighting between themselves. Large superpowers also fought for their influences and realization of their own goals. The element initiating the research process of this monograph was the determination of the subject and goal of the research and then formulation of research problems, questions and hypothesis. The subject of the research was a military history of Balkan Peninsula, which have significant impact on political history of Europe and the world - from the Middle Ages to modern times. It was necessary to carry out analyses and assessment of military campaigns and political and diplomatic actions in the Balkan Peninsula, which enabled to indicate the following research goals: • to determine the role of the Balkans in the course of planning military campaigns and operations and the degree of perpetration of the sides of wars and conflicts; • to show political and military meaning of the Balkans over the centuries; • to present political meaning of Balkan issues and its impact on the course of battles from the Middle Ages to modern times. Above perspective of subject and research goal and carrying out an analysis and critical assessment of subject literature enabled to formulate a research problem, 8 The Art of War in the Balkans from the Middle Ages to the 21st century which was a question: Whether and to what degree military actions in the Balkans from the Middle Ages to modern times had impact on history of Europe and the world? In order to solve above research problem, detailed problems were expressed in a form of questions in order to get answers for the following questions: • what were military and political conditions of warfare and battles in the Balkans? • in what way participants of war prepared to actions and in what way they used the area of the Balkans? • how concepts and plans of fight to conquer part of the whole of territory of Balkan countries were reflected in practice? • what was the impact of the lie of the land and climatic conditions of the Balkans on military actions? • what forms of actions were used during campaigns and operations in the Balkan Peninsula? • what experiences and conclusions from activities in the Balkans have and may have the impact on political and military relations for this region and Europe? Getting answer for the detailed problems mentioned above enabled to formulate a research hypothesis: Since the Middle Ages, the Balkans has been a conflictual region of Europe, becoming in the second decade of the 20th century a place of numerous military conflicts of global character. Contradictions that were growing within several hundred years in the Balkans led to geopolitical changes not only in this region, but also in Europe and on global scale. Various forms of military actions in the Balkans during conflicts and wars that affected this part of Europe have many recurring features, therefore, in the future, this region will become again an arena of struggle of many international subjects. This volume contains introduction, ten articles, analyses and studies and bibliography. It is a problem and chronological study presenting results of research on various forms of phenomenon of art of wars in the Balkans. The following subjects were presented in particular articles: Andrzej Krzak, Danuta Gibas-Krzak (Jan Długosz University in Czestochowa, University of Opole, Poland) developed methodological assumptions necessary for examination of the wars and conflicts. The authors of the article referred to the genesis of the research on the phenomenon of war that emerged after the Second World War, especially to the research of the French sociologist and philosopher, Gaston Bouthoul, who initiated the research within the scope of polemology in 1942. They presented the main methods and techniques applied in the research processes within the scope of the wars and peace. They emphasized the fact that general methodological directive indicates the necessity to examine military history together with the whole historical process. The most important methods were derived from methodological assumptions of historical sciences, security sciences, political sciences and international relations. 9 Introduction Moreover, the authors presented modern research prospects in the era of globalization with reference to the wars and conflicts in the Balkans. Brigadier General Fabiano Zinzone (NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, Italy) from an innovative point of view, described the most important military actions, conflicts and wars in the Balkan Peninsula from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. He synthetically presented the most important battles and campaigns in this region for the period of 700 years. Andrzej Dubicki (University of Lodz, Poland) presented the battle of Posada in 1330 between the forces of the Voivode of Wallachia, Basarab and Hungarian king, Charles Robert. He demonstrated that it is a significant element affecting the state of political discourse and historical narrative, adjusted to the needs of the politicians governing Romania now. It is an important identity element that has become a part of the vision of history supported by the state. Danuta Gibas-Krzak (University of Opole, Poland) characterized a notorious battle of Kosovo Field in 1389. She substantiated a thesis that factual description of the battle of Kosovo Field is based only on fragmentary information passed by the Serbian, Bosnian, Turkish and Byzantine chroniclers. The author of the article formulated a thesis that the battle of Kosovo Field contributed to the development of the art of war, both on the Ottoman and Serbian side. It enabled to develop Padishah’s army, which would continue the policy of conquering the Balkans in the next few years. The author formulated a hypothesis that the battle that actually ended with no winning side, paradoxically contributed to strengthening Serbian state, and not to its political paralysis as many researchers have claimed so far. Dariusz Gregorczyk (Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa, Poland) in his article, referring to the events of the Balkan crisis in the years 1875-1877, showed that the uprisings of the Balkan nations had big response among the Polish people. Polish people actively supported anti-Turkish uprisings in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and warfare of Serbia and Montenegro. The Poles, as the volunteers, fought in the Serbian army against Turkish invader,carrying on the tradition of the idea „for our freedom and yours”. The author emphasized that during the Balkan crisis, the Poles also participated in political and diplomatic actions that were taken by all superpowers at that time interested in this region of Europe. Veljko Blagojević (Institute for Strategic Research, Ministry of Defense of Republic of Serbia) presented the most important military and political struggles of the Balkan nations before the outbreak of the First World War. The author described the attempts to create modern societies in the Balkans, which has finally failed due backwardness and interference of great superpowers in the Balkan matters. The author analysed the circumstances of the failure to implement the idea of the Balkan federation at the end of the 19th century. Andrzej Krzak (Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa, Poland) presented characteristic features of military actions on the Balkan front in the period of the First 10 The Art of War in the Balkans from the Middle Ages to the 21st century World War. He indicated the specificity of warfare in difficult mountain area. Moreover, he described synthetically both military actions and diplomatic games in the Balkan Peninsula in the years 1914-1918. Dalibor Denda (Serbian Military Academy in Belgrade, Serbia) showed, based on archival materials from Belgrade and Freiburg in Germany, unknown episodes related to the status of the veterans of the Frist World War, who came from royal Serbian army. The author presented their position and social security created for them after 1918. It is a very interesting study that shows the position of Serbian soldiers returning after the war to civilian life. Tomasz Stala (University of Warsaw, Poland) was dealing with the issues related to the Second World War in the Balkans. He showed that despite objective problems such as: lack of uniform command of the resistance movements in the Balkan countries and common plans, SOE agents (Special Operations Executive) were able to persuade military and political leaders in the Balkans to act more intensively. The author, in an interesting form, showed that the specificity, size and activity of the resistance movements in particular countries were diverse. It resulted mainly from the attitude of local societies towards Germany. Greek resistance movementwas able to unit above political divisions to fight with the Nazis. In Yugoslavia, strong Tito’s guerrilla movement was able to eliminate political opponents, fighting against the invaders at the same time. Mateusz Rakowski (University of Warsaw, Poland) presented the newest aspect of the war in the Balkans, that is, asymmetric information warfare, in which manipulation techniques are applied. He showed various methods of misinforming public opinion that were applied against the societie sof all sides of the conflict. One of the most interesting aspects of the so-called media warfare in the Yugoslavian conflict at the end of the 20th century was the use of professional public relations agencies by the enemies of Yugoslavia. This volume has been created as a result of international cooperation initiated at Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa, within research team, „Polemos”. The editors of the volume thank Prof. Agnieszka Czajkowska, a dean of the Faculty of History and Philology at Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa and Professor Janusz Spyra (vice dean for science), who helped to publish this study and supported the authors with substantive guidelines and motivated to work on this Balkan volume, who was created at the Czestochowa University. Andrzej Krzak Dariusz Gregorczyk

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