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Bulgaria: Development of the Armed Forces
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Development of the Armed Forces


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. 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

Last Updated: June 1992

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bulgaria was first published in 1992. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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