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Southern Dobrudzha, situated in north-eastern Bulgaria next to the frontier with Romania, and recognised as the perpetual land of the Bulgarians and the cradle of Bulgarian statehood, comprised one of the very important territories lost by the Bulgarians after the First World War. In contrast to the Western Borderlands (encompassing the districts of Caribrod and Bosilegrad) and the region of Strumica (Pirin Macedonia) as well as Western Thrace, which had been permanently cut off from the Bulgarian state and incorporated into Yugoslavia and Greece, respectively, the Bulgarians managed to regain Southern Dobrudzha thanks to a conducive international situation as well as the determination and skills of their diplomats. This indubitable success of Sofia's foreign policy deserves a more in-depth analysis since it constitutes a sui generis extraordinary event in international relations in Europe during the initial stage of the Second World War. The reason for its exceptional nature lies in the fact that in 1940 Bulgarian-Romanian negotiations made it possible to attain one of the chief targets of Bulgarian revisionism in conditions when the European Continent was in the throes of a war and the West was submitting to demands made by the Third Reich.
'East-Central Europe' is a political term coined after World War I in response to the need to name the territory between Germany and Russia, the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black seas, on which, after the fall of the Habsburg, the Hohenzoller and the Romanov Empires, new countries emerged. There is lack of uniformity among historians exploring the history of the macro region with regard to the establishment of the borders of this territory, due to their frequent changes that occurred after critical historical events. The macro region of East-Central Europe possesses specific attributes which determine its identity. These, such as geographical position, ethnic composition, religious aspect etc., are noticeable almost at first glance. However, the region also displays qualities which are perceptible only after careful historical analysis. For instance, the specific character of East-Central Europe stems from its so-called civilizational youngness, which results from a few centuries delay, in comparison with Western Europe, in adopting Christianity. What dominates here is underdeveloped agriculture and belated technology, the consequence of, among others, the refeudalization from the 16th Century. In addition, East-Central Europe is an area, in which there was a temporary loss of statehood by its nations, and, after the regain of the statehood, conflicts undermining the countries- sovereignty and safety appeared. During World War II, most of East-Central European countries lost their sovereignty (the incorporation of Baltic countries by the Soviet Union; occupation of Poland, Czech, Yugoslavia and Albania), and the remaining countries (Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria) became the satellites of the Third Reich. When, finally, peace was established, the East-Central European macro region experienced communist enslavement. Yet, the rule of repressive ideological system stimulated, by means of creating underground organizational structures as well as multiple and consistent armed uprisings engulfing more and more social classes, the birth and development of liberation struggle. Furthermore, against the background of considerations on the notion and identity of East-Central Europe, the article attempts to reveal the roots and the mechanisms of the formation of pejorative schemata about the macro region generated by political and scientific elites on the West.
The incorporation of a major part of Macedonia into Serbia and Greece as well as of Southern Dobrudzha into Romania in the wake of the Balkan wars, and in particular the loss of Western Thrace and the Western Borderlands after the first world war, determined the prime trend of the foreign policy pursued by the Bulgarian governments in the interwar period. The policy in question focused on a revision of the Treaty of Neuilly and regaining the lost territories. The realisation of this fundamental objective proved possible in the course of World War n, with the assistance of the Third Reich. The economic and military power of Nazi Germany rendered the abolition of the Versailles system credible. On the other hand, an open alliance with the Third Reich threatened Bulgaria with finding herself in the midst of the war and with attacks launched by the pio-Versailles powers and the Balkan states. Hence, initially, Sofia declared neutrality and oscillated between the Nazi coalition, on the one hand, and Great Britain, France and the Balkan countries, on the other in the hope that the existing configuration of forces would make it possible to at least partially realise her territorial claims. Once these calculations proved to be illusory, and the acceptance of Moscow's offer would signify communist rule, the Third Reich appeared to be the only factor capable of resolving the complicated question of Bulgarian national and territorial claims. Thanks to the support offered by Hitler and Mussolini, in 1940 the Bulgarians were capable of regaining Southern Dobrudzha without entering into an alliance with Berlin. A further realisation of Bulgarian territorial claims took place after Prime Minister Bogdan Filov signed the act of access to the Tripartite Pact (1 March 1941).
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