The troops of the Entente, having secured their numerical and technical supremacy, made a break-through in the Bulgarian positions at Dobro Pole from September 15 through 18, 1918. This speeded up the outbreak of revolutionary events which had come to a head. A considerable part of the retreating soldiers headed for Sofia with their arms to call to account the ones guilty of the imminent second national catastrophe. On September 24 the mutinous soldiers took the army headquarters in the town of Kyustendil and went on to Sofia. The government set free from prison the leader of the Bulgarian Agrarian Party Alexander Stamboliiski and his closest associate Raiko Daskalov, and sent them to reason with the soldiers. Instead of this, however, the two agrarian leaders headed the mutiny. On September 27 a republic was proclaimed in Radomir, Stamboliiski was elected president and Raiko Daskalov – commander-in-chief of the rebel army. King Ferdinand was forced to abdicate and leave the country to which he had caused immeasurable disasters and sufferings. The army of the mutinous soldiers came as far as Sofia, but it was routed there with the help of German troops.
On September 29, 1918 an armistice was signed in Salonika with the Entente. Bulgaria was occupied by the armies of the Entente. A year later a Peace Treaty was dictated to Bulgaria in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly and she was deprived of all of her newly-acquired territories – Aegean Thrace, the Strouma region, the Tsaribrod region and the region of Bossilegard, while southern Dobroudja remained under Romanian rule. The country was obliged to supply the victors with enormous quantities of food, coal, transport vehicles and was charged with an un-bearable load of reparations, coming up to the astronomical figure of 2,250 million French francs. Once again tens of thousands of refugees from the Bulgarian territories left under foreign rule swarmed into Bulgaria, which exacerbated the country’s economic and social problems.
Thus, ruled by the Austrian agent King Ferdinand and the bourgeois parties, the Bulgarian people had to live through their second national catastrophe, which was far worse than the first one.
Acute Social Conflicts
The country’s normal development was hindered by the economic backwardness ensuing from the despotic feudal system of the Ottoman Empire, the lack of signifi-cant capitals of its own, the dependence on the Great Powers which were fighting for supremacy on the Balkans and the merciless parcelling up of Bulgaria after the Treaty of Berlin. Colossal means were needed for restoring the country after its five centuries of foreign yoke, and these means were collected mainly by high taxes. The unsettled national problem necessitated the formation of a numerous army whose support was a heavy burden shouldered by the population, and the country’s economy. At the same time the Bulgarian capitalists, trying to compete with the foreign producers and having scanty material means at their disposal, subjected their workers and employees to inhuman exploitation. That is why, in spite of the doubtless economic and cultural progress achieved after the Liberation, Bulgaria was one of the most backward countries in Europe as regards the people’s living standards.