Bulgaria Table of Contents
The ancestors of the modern Bulgarians established a respectable martial tradition during centuries of combat with the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. After Russian armies freed it from Ottoman control in the late nineteenth century, Bulgaria became an independent military force in the Balkans. Bulgaria's neighbors viewed it as the major regional power with outstanding territorial ambitions; for that reason, they joined forces to offset Bulgarian military power before 1914. Bulgaria participated actively in combat operations as a German ally in World War I. Although again allied with Germany in World War II, Bulgaria did not join in German offensive operations. After World War II, Bulgaria came under Soviet military influence and joined the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact in 1955 (see World War II , ch. 1). In that capacity, Bulgaria became an integral part of Soviet military and political policy toward the southern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO--see Glossary). Although the end of superpower confrontation in Europe had loosened the bilateral military connection to the Soviet Union by 1991, extensive military ties remained.
Data as of June 1992