Who's Who - Vasil Radoslavov

Vasil Radoslavov Vasil Radoslavov (1854-1929), the Bulgarian politician, was for five years a close aide of Tsar Ferdinand I and served as Bulgarian Prime Minister twice before ultimately being dismissed by Ferdinand, thereafter seeking exile in Germany.

Born in Lovech, Radoslavov took a degree in law at Heidelberg in Germany in 1882.  Two years later he was appointed Minister of Justice in Karavelov's and Bishop Kliment's cabinets.  He served in this capacity for two years, again serving as Minister of Justice in 1894.

In 1899 Radoslavov was appointed Minister for Internal Affairs in Ivanchev's cabinet, remaining in his post until 1900 when he became premier of the Kingdom of Bulgaria for the first time, his term chiefly being noted for the extent of its corruption.

Following the conclusion of this term of office Radoslavov remained out of power until, in 1913, his markedly pro-German (and anti-Russian in the light of the Second Balkan War of the same year) views struck a chord with Ferdinand who appointed him premier for the second time.

Working in tandem with Ferdinand (who took an active interest in shaping foreign policy), Radoslavov coerced the Bulgarian parliament into ratifying of a sizeable Austro-German loan in the midst of the July Crisis of 1914.

For the remainder of 1914 and into 1915 Radoslavov played his diplomatic cards artfully, managing to convince Allied diplomats of his earnestness is remaining neutral in the European war now underway.  In reality he, along with Ferdinand, always intended to ultimately support the Central Powers.

With Bulgaria having finally entered the war in September 1915 (thus sealing Serbia's fate), Radoslavov found himself under increasing pressure from his German allies to make available various resources to aid Germany's war effort.

This, combined with shortages at home, led to a rapid diminishment in personal support both in parliament and in the country at large, unpopularity that was merely fuelled by his decision to commit Bulgarian resources to the fight against Romania in the autumn of 1916.

Nevertheless Radoslavov's government managed to cling to power until, with the publication of the punitive terms of the Treaty of Bucharest levied by Germany against Romania in May 1918, Ferdinand lost patience with his Prime Minister and appointed a fresh government in June 1918 under Malinov.

In early October Radoslavov was obliged to flee to Berlin.  Although sentenced to death by the Stamboliski regime in 1922 (under the Law for Trying of the Perpetrators for the National Catastrophes) he was formally pardoned in 1929, the year he died, still in exile.

The financial cost of the war is said to have amounted to almost $38 billion for Germany alone; Britain spent $35 billion, France $24 billion, Russia $22 billion, USA $22 billion and Austria-Hungary $20 billion.  In total the war cost the Allies around $125 billion; the Central Powers $60 billion.

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