The breakthrough on the Salonika front and the German armistice, 1918

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In his memoirs, Erich Ludendorff, the 1st Quartermaster General of the German army, stated that events in Bulgaria forced the German high command to take ‘grave decisions’. The allied attack in the Balkans which led Bulgaria to seek an armistice was, in Ludendorff’s account, the reason he sought a speedy end to the war. This account was challenged at the time, and has been challenged since. When on 28 September 1918 Ludendorff told the officers of 3 OHL of his decision to seek an armistice they expressed surprise and disbelief. So did the new chancellor, Max von Bayern. They believed that the situation in the west, which was the principal front, could be stabilised. Indeed even Ludendorff expressed doubts about his own initial response. He tried to revoke his demand for an immediate cessation of hostilities but by then it was too late. And when he wrote his memoirs he provided other possible explanations for the war’s outcome. He described the allied victory at Amiens on 8 August 1918 as the ‘black day of the German army’, and then went on to say that Germany had lost the war because it had been stabbed in the back by revolution at home. So how important was the Balkan front in deciding the outcome of the war, and how does it fit into the other possible explanations for allied victory?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Macedonian front, 1915-1918
Subtitle of host publicationpolitics, society and culture in time of war
EditorsBasil C. Gounaris, Michael Llewellyn-Smith, Ioannis D. Stefanidis
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429331084
ISBN (Print)9780367353780, 9781032196084
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameBritish School at Athens - Modern Greek and Byzantine studies


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