Kiril Temkov
Faculty of Philosophy,
University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Skopje


Pacifism is an invention of the more modern epoch. In the past, they used to think that it was people’s natural desire to wage wars and that their inevitable task was to kill other people. This has not yet been overcome in man’s nature, but people have started looking for ways to master the ugliness of war. For this purpose, they are making up rules for waging wars and creating bodies to temper passions and misunderstandings among the peoples whose policies, as Clausewitz defines, lead to war if they fail to achieve their goals by political means. The next step was to give birth to the idea of pacifism, which tends to persuade people not to be warring and that war should never be used as a method for resolving conflicts.

Following the numerous acts of charity as a part of the modern epoch thinking and acting - the Red Cross, public hospitals, general education, national libraries, help to the miserable and the handicapped and, today, ecological movements - the idea for founding organizations that would help reduce the danger of war and spread pacifistic ideas was born. One of these eminent forms is the Carnegie Foundation for Peace, founded in 1910 by the richest billionaire in America at the beginning of the 20th century, Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919). He gave a part of the huge fortune he had made from the production of steel to the construction of public premises, concert halls and libraries. In the same spirit, he created the Foundation for Peace with the aim of promoting the idea of pacifism and uncovering the military policy of different countries in various regions. Sometimes it monitors the conflicts and helps discern them. In doing this, it believes that it can help the warring sides and the others to evade military conflicts, which are always disastrous both for those that are in direct battles and for the population suffering on the trace of war. And every war is definitely transformed into a crime against the entire humanity, which, instead of abandoning it, is further expanding the idea and practice of war as the hardest and most ugly form of relations among people. One of the accomplishments of these engagements is that today we have started to identify humanism with a cessation towards intolerance and to resolutions achieved through wars.

We, in the Balkans, are even today in a serious situation of decades-long political, inter-ethnic and military conflicts that are not yet relenting. Force and energy are not directed towards construction, but towards threats and destruction. The war dogs constantly awake their ambitions to show their inhuman forces; words like “tolerance” and “understanding” are of the lowest value because many still believe that conflicts and wars are the most beautiful in the world. In such a situation the term tolerance has here become the highest ethical demand. Under these circumstances people recalled that many decades ago the Balkans was the battlefield of a terrible war that showed all the ugly faces of the waging of war. The “place d’armes” of the operations at that time were Macedonia and Trachia. The evil of the war was so great that the recently founded Carnegie Foundation for Peace sent its international commission composed of seven respectable members from different countries. Their task was to make a report on what had happened – as a lecture for the people, first of all as a lecture for those in the Balkans, teaching them not to live and act in such a way.

The report was made just after the Second Balkan War and covered the conflicts and immorality of the military activities in 1912 and 1913 as the reasons for waging the Balkan wars. Immediately after that, the First World War started in the Balkans. The Second World War was also waged in the Balkans, and in the meantime a number of military conflicts and civil wars both among and in the Balkan countries were waged – and now, at the end of the 20th century, new wars are still disturbing the spirits of humanity. On this occasion, the old report of the Carnegie Commission was brought out from the archives and republished, with an introduction from the President of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, Morton Abramowitz, and with a forward from the renowned American diplomat, George Kennan. The intention was to indicate to modern generations that the same things such as hate, fratricide bloodshed, ultimate destruction and inhuman acts had once been happening in the same region and among the same subjects. Moreover, the aim was to stop these degrading tendencies and activities once and for all, and to teach people how to live in peace and understanding, to give a chance to their own happiness, to refrain from violation and to start advancing instead.

This distinguished Report of the Carnegie Balkan Commission is now published under the title “Former Balkan Wars (1912 – 1913)” and, following its publication in Serbia and Bulgaria, it has been now published in the Macedonian language (translated by Sveto Serafimov and Hristo Ivanovski, ed. Kultura, Skopje, 2000, 463 pages). The book contains supplements analysing the separate aspects of the two Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913, written by the members of the Commission, with documentation about the events in addition to many charts, photographs and other materials. The book is of great historical significance both for the war and for political history, as well as for the expansion of pacifistic knowledge and methods. For Macedonia, this is an authentic story and documentation about the way in which the Macedonian territory was divided among its neighbours, in which process not a single political and war crime was spared.

In the first chapter, the origins of the First and the Second Balkan War in 1912 and 1913 are documented, with a brief historical review about the centuries-long, continual conflicts in these territories, and with a more consistent presentation of the events preceding the war conflicts. It presents the way in which the neighboring countries, now liberated from the Ottoman Empire, had agreed to start a war with the Empire. Later, the course of the First War and then the course of the inter-allies (Second) war are shown in relation to the way in which the distribution of the prey was carried out, an act that was completed with the Bucharest Agreement on 30 September 1913.

The second chapter covers criminal activities during the war, and the mutual crimes among the Greeks and the Bulgarians. The third focuses on the same aspects among the Bulgarians, the Turks and the Serbs. The fourth chapter, entitled “The War and the Peoples”, presents the military, annexing and assimilating tendencies of each of the parties with a separate description of the events in Serbian Macedonia and Greek Macedonia.

The fifth chapter gives an analysis of the political aspects of waging the war, and the attitudes of the allies with reference to international law at that time. The unprincipled base for starting the war is presented, including events of fraud, political and diplomatic games, as well as the terrible ways in which Military Law and international standards of humanity were violated.

The sixth chapter presents the moral and social consequences of the Balkan wars. In the first instance, general human and ethical problems are the focus since the bloodthirsty soldiers and ethnic hate accompanied by criminal acts demonstrated the lowest human forms of endless torture, plunder, killing, rape and deprivation of all rights and degradation. Thus the picture about the wars is completed, with the darkest dimension of a lack of human ethics and the use of every wicked means in order to demoralize both the population and the enemy.

The last supplement in the text refers to assumptions connected with Macedonia’s future. According to these parameters, the destructive results of the wars are detailed, and a relationship of care, protection, work, confidence and peace is suggested as a form of civilized life and conduct.

The supplements provide original documentation about the different aspects of inhuman behaviour during the war among the armies, and in relation to the population. They speak about the countless crimes committed during that period, about the lack of control in the conduct of the military troops and the accompanying irregular detachments. They uncover the deliberate instigation of conflicts, the setting fire to and plundering of inhabited places and the unnecessary killing and slaughtering of thousands of innocent victims, endless insults and rape, violation of people’s dignity and their expatriation from their property and homes. This is a list of horrible, sad, and miserable acts often made by regular armies that, although bound to Military Law, are incited by chauvinistic and bandit-like impulses and respond with hate and violence to every human existence.

These are dreadful events described in a tragic book that represents a horrible diary about our ancestors’ sufferings. Neighbours lead the conflicts, and their ultimate goal is the mutual extermination and destruction of all of life’s benefits. However, this is just one of the thousands of similar criminal, mutual acts committed by human beings who are deprived of moral and reason, of consciousness for the common spirit, and are driven instead by destructive goals lacking dignity and self-dignity. This is a document about sorrow and shame.

A whole century past, and practically the same ideas are re-born in the same region. They are driven by the same conquering goals, the same assimilatory explanations and the same ethnical and chauvinistic fervor, with an even greater groundless argumentation, with sophisticated criminal acts, with an identical justification of the crime and with the same ugly zeal to fight and kill. The least we can do in defending humanity and the spirit of pacifism as achievements of human civilization is to stop the logic of conflicts, conquest, killing, destruction and humiliation, and to establish the logic of reason, joint survival, progress and humanity.

People learn little from advice books, even less so from documented testimony. The extremely tragic testimony of the international Carnegie Balkan Commission must become the foundation for a different relationship with the past and a political and ethical reference about human misery and suffering. An even greater must is to replace the moral of destruction with the morals of construction, understanding and cooperation.