The Treaty of Neuilly
The Treaty of Neuilly, strictly the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, was signed with Bulgaria after World War One had ended. The treaty was signed on November 27th 1919.
As Bulgaria had been one of the allies of Germany during World War One, the victorious nations were in no mood to be either sympathetic or charitable to Bulgaria. As with the other settlements after the war, land was taken from Bulgaria and reparations were required.
Western Thrace was handed over to the ‘Big Three’ nations and was eventually handed to Greece.
Land in western Bulgaria was given to the future Yugoslavia – at the time of Neuilly what was to become Yugoslavia was called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Bulgaria also had to recognise the legal existence of the new state and cession of land was seen as recognition that Bulgaria had forcibly occupied parts of Serbia between 1915 and 1918 and this was part of Bulgaria’s punishment.
Like Germany and Austria, Bulgaria was required to reduce its army. Post-Neuilly, the Bulgarian Army was limited to just 20,000 men.
Bulgaria was ordered to pay reparations of £100 million.
When the Bulgarian people learned of the terms of the Treaty of Neuilly, they were outraged. However, they were not in a position to do anything about the terms in 1919. When World War Two broke out, Bulgaria sided with Nazi Germany and reclaimed all the land taken from her by the Treaty of Neuilly. By the time World War Two ended, Bulgaria’s effective independence was also ended. Stalin imposed a pro-communist government in power – part of his protective block around the USSR and it was to be many more decades before Bulgaria was to enjoy any form of real independence.