NEW BOOK : The Bulgarian Contract

The Bulgarian Contract: the secret lie that ended the Great War

By Graeme Sheppard

SCS members will already appreciate the pivotal role the Macedonian front played during the end-stage of the Great War, and how a mere six weeks after Bulgaria’s collapse the entire conflict was over. But what they will not know, and will be surprised to learn, is that the success of the Balkan breakthrough that September depended upon a secret and hitherto unknown act of political deception, a masterly and cunning piece of misinformation known as the contract, archival evidence for which has only recently been discovered in the UK by the author.

This welcome new book, The Bulgarian Contract, reveals how two British POWs, junior officers injured and taken prisoner at Kosturino, provide compelling eyewitness testimony of what occurred behind enemy lines. Their own tale alone makes for a marvellous story. In September 1918, escaping their prison camp in Bulgaria (at the third attempt), they threaded their way unscathed through roads jammed with fleeing soldiers and entered a chaotic Sofia. There, the pair walked into the enemy’s war ministry and brazenly announced that they had come to take possession of the capital on behalf of His Majesty the King. They then demanded the best rooms at Sofia’s Grand Hotel, where in the dining room that evening they displaced a host of sullen German senior officers already seated for dinner. Centre-stage, the pair raised glasses of champagne and toasted “Long live England – vive les alliés.” To which the Germans could only stare back miserably. It was giddy stuff. But though unaware of the fact at the time, over the previous year the two friends had witnessed at first-hand a momentous act of Balkan propaganda that not only had a profound influence on the Bulgarian soldiery, but also on an increasingly fragile mind at Germany’s high command, the OHL, on that of de facto dictator, Erich Ludendorff, who on a decisive Sunday – 29 September 1918 – as the private notes of his alarmed staff officers reveal, was a man close to the brink.

By uncovering the contract and the architect behind it, the book describes nothing less than a second Balkan catalyst. For just as surely as assassination in Sarajevo proved to be the advent to the Great War, the contract forced its precipitous end, without which the November 11 armistice would not have come about, and the conflict would have continued into 1919, costing hundreds of thousands of more lives.

Title: The Bulgarian Contract; the secret lie that ended the Great War

Author: Graeme Sheppard

Publisher: Earnshaw Books

  • e-book on 1 March 2021
  • paperback on 1 June 2021

ISBN-13: 978-988-8552-86-3

Website address:

Author: Robin B

Robin's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Robin joined the SCS in 2003 and served on the committee for 18 years as journal and web editor. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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