When Germany launched the Gorlice-Tarnów offensive, some hoped that this would knock Russia out of the war or at least force the Tsar to come to the negotiating table. Falkenhayn, Germany’s commander in chief, had more modest goals. As well as delivering a hammer blow to the Russians, he hoped that the offensive would tempt still neutral Balkan powers to enter the war on Germany’s side.
Now at last Falkenhayn’s hopes appear to be bearing fruit. Representatives of Bulgaria reach a secret agreement with Germany and Austria-Hungary to join with them in an invasion of Serbia. The Bulgarians see the Serbs as having robbed them of the spoils of victory in the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. Now they hope to have their revenge.
For Austria-Hungary the invasion of Serbia means that at last they will have their vengeance for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The Germans are more concerned to establish a secure land route through Serbia and Bulgaria to Turkey.
The Bulgarians are no fools. They insist that they will not attack Serbia until Germany and Austria-Hungary first begin an invasion of that country. Seeing how unsuccessful the Austro-Hungarians have been at their invasions of Serbia last year, the Bulgarians insist that this invasion of Serbia be commanded by a German. And the Germans have just the man for the job: Field Marshal August von Mackensen.
map (Robinson Library)