Boris III


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(b. 30 Jan. 1894, d. 28 Aug. 1943).

King of Bulgaria 1918–43 As Crown Prince he commanded Bulgarian troops on the Macedonian front in World War I, and was defeated by Franchet d'Esperey's Allied troops. He became King on the abdication of Ferdinand I, at a time when the monarchy was weak. He kept a low profile, and only gradually increased his powers as various radical dictatorships failed one after the other. By 1934 he had come to control public affairs, and in 1935 he instituted a royal dictatorship. He tried to keep out of the growing European conflict, despite his country's military and economic dependence on Germany, and despite his original sympathies with Mussolini. Faced with military submission to Germany or joining the war on Germany's side, he chose the latter, as this allowed him greater independence. On 1 March 1941, the country joined the Tripartite Pact. However, he did not send his troops to fight against the Soviet Union, nor did he allow the deportation of Jews to Nazi concentration camps. The sudden death of this skilful visionary left his country directionless and greatly facilitated the Communist takeover in 1944.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.

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