Violence and civilians during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913)

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Series Details Volume 20, Number 6, Pages 547-563
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 1944-8953 (print) | 1944-8961 (online)
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A number of studies have approached violence against civilians during the Balkan Wars as a traditional example of ethnic cleansing. Although ethnic cleansing was present during these conflicts, it presented some distinctive characteristics. The shifting of boundaries between what was considered criminal behaviour provided an opportunity for a variety of groups to apply violence for several reasons. Thus, the investigation of the role of combatants and their incentives for committing violent acts should be conducted in conjunction with the agency of the local people. As argued in this article, the main reason for the extended level of violence against civilians was the combination of two historical occurrences. These were the brutalization from the experience of combat and the recent historical background of Rumeli.

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