Generals and personalities

Tsar Ferdinand 1

In the Balkan wars, ever increasing areas of the declining Turkish Empire became independent in the second half of the 1800s. Bulgaria was like that too. In the new states, according to the customs of the time, a monarchical system was established. The rulers were mostly not scions of local families, but came from prestigious European noble families. For some reason, very often rulers of German origin came to the throne. This was also the case with Tsar Ferdinand, who came from the German princely house of Wettin. He was born in Vienna in 1861 and died in Coburg, Germany in 1948.

Bulgaria entered the war on the side of the Central Powers in October 1915. His goal was to regain the Macedonian territories annexed by Serbia, which he lost in the Second Balkan War. The Bulgarian troops fought against Serbia and then Romania, and tied up the Entente forces after their landing in Saloniki. Between September 15-18, 1918, the attack of the Entente tore apart the Bulgarian defense line. On September 29, Bulgaria capitulated and thus opened the path of the Entente to the north, in the direction of the Monarchy. I could not find any information about the tsar’s personal involvement in the war. Presumably, he entrusted the management of the force to specialists.

In the Great War, we hardly find badges with a Bulgarian connection. The reason for this could be that, unlike the Turkish troops, the units of the Monarchy did not come close to the allied Bulgarian troops. Two types of insignia were made with the portrait of the tsar. The Cyrillic inscription of the badge published here reads: In memory of the liberation of Macedonia, and the ruler’s name, Ferdinand I.

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