Incident at Petrich

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War of the Stray Dog
Date19 - 29 October 1925
LocationPetrich, southern Bulgaria
ResultGreek forces withdraw from Bulgaria
Belligerents
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Kingdom of BulgariaFlag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Second Hellenic Republic
Strength
4,000Unknown
Casualties and losses
less than a dozen120[1]
some 50 Bulgarian civilians
 
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War of the Stray Dog
Date19 - 29 October 1925
LocationPetrich, southern Bulgaria
ResultGreek forces withdraw from Bulgaria
Belligerents
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Kingdom of BulgariaFlag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Second Hellenic Republic
Strength
4,000Unknown
Casualties and losses
less than a dozen120[1]
some 50 Bulgarian civilians

The incident at Petrich, or the War of the Stray Dog, was the short invasion of Bulgaria by Greece near the border town Petrich in 1925. The incident was a result of the minority problems that caused many disputes between Greece and Bulgaria in the post-World War I era.[2]

Contents

The incident

It allegedly started on October 19, when a Greek soldier ran after his dog, which had strayed across the border from Greece at Demirkap; thus, it is sometimes referred to as the War of the Stray Dog. The border was guarded by Bulgarian sentries, and one of them shot the Greek soldier. According to the Greek army a Greek captain was also shot.

Given the tense political climate, escalation was inevitable; in response, the Greek dictatorial government under General Theodoros Pangalos sent soldiers into Bulgaria and tried to occupy Petrich. He also sent message to the Bulgarian side demanding:

  1. The punishment of the Bulgarian commanders of the troops that shot the Greek soldiers.
  2. Official apology from the Bulgarian government for the incident.
  3. Six million Drachmas as compensation for the families of the victims.

Bulgaria was given 48 hours to accept the Greek demands.

International intervention

Bulgaria ordered its troops to provide only token resistance, trusting the League of Nations to settle the dispute. Otherwise some chetas of Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), together with the sentries, organised defence lines against the Greeks near Petrich, which prevented the Greeks from entering the town. Volunteers and war veterans from the whole region were summoned to join the resistance. On the other side Greece made it clear that it was not interested in Bulgarian territory, but demanded compensation.

The League did indeed condemn the Greek invasion, and called for both Greek withdrawal and compensation to Bulgaria. Greece acceded to this demand and a fine of £45,000 was imposed. Over 50 people were killed before Greece complied, mostly Bulgarian civilians. Greece complained about the disparity between its treatment and that of Italy in the Corfu incident in 1923, when the Italian armed forces occupied the Greek island of Corfu in retaliation for the murder of Italian general Enrico Tellini while he was surveying the Greek border with Albania.

References

  1. ^ Mihaylov, Ivan. Спомени III. Освободителна борба 1924 - 1934, Leuven, 1967, pp. 584-585.
  2. ^ "Една неизвестна война, завършила със...строеж". Списание "Български войн", бр.10 от 2005

See also