Bulgaria has been gripped by war weariness for some time now. It joined the war to avenge its defeat by Serbia in the Second Balkan War of 1913 and its leaders were initially pleased to conquer Macedonia in 1915. If the war had come to an end then Bulgarians would have been happy but instead it has dragged on, with the country now suffering food shortages and other privations. Bulgarians increasingly came to feel that they are being subordinated to German interests and are enduring great hardships to benefit others, a point rammed home by the lack of attention paid to Bulgarian interests when Germany made peace with Russia and Romania.
The Vardar offensive in the southern Balkans shattered Bulgarian resistance there. The Germans declined to send any troops to the aid of their Balkan ally, citing the primacy of the Western Front. Austria-Hungary is experiencing its own travails and is also unable to help the Bulgarians. Allied troops have crossed the Bulgarian border and their advance appearing to be unstoppable. Meanwhile disorder is rife within the country as mutinous soldiers demand an end to the war. Fearing total defeat and revolution, Bulgaria’s leaders now accept the inevitable and agree an armistice with the Allies.
Bulgaria’s defeat is a disaster for Germany and Turkey, as it severs the only land link between the two powers. It also leaves Constantinople vulnerable to attack by the Allied armies in the Balkans. Moreover Austria-Hungary is now vulnerable to an assault from the south by the Allies (including resurgent Serbian forces seeking vengeance for their country’s occupation). Bulgaria’s fall may well mean that the end for Germany’s other allies is not far off.
map (Wikipedia: Liberation of Serbia, Albania and Montenegro (1918))
Bulgarian delegates at the armistice talks: Ivan Lukov, Andrey Lyapchev and Simeon Radev (Wikipedia: Armistice of Salonica)