“So right away Salonika”: memories from the Balkan wars and W.W. 1


This verse of The Dubliners echoes the time in the '10's when, following the weakening of the Othoman Empire, european powers competed each other in gaining its European territories. Mainly the city of Thessaloniki, second biggest city of the empire and important harbour on the coast of the Thermaic gulf became the apple of Discord for all parts. To defend its own interest every party installed its own contingent on the territories around Thessaloniki: beyond the Turks, Greeks and Jews traditionally sharing the city, new populations appeared: English, Indians, Senegalese, French, Bulgarians, Serbians! As French official of the time Jean-José Frappa wrote “Thessaloniki was truly a crossroads of nations”! Life was difficult for the soldiers who had to fight fierce battles while dealin with every kind of difficulties: from humid climate and mosquitoes to diseases and bad nutrition. The numerous monuments and cemeteries confirm The Dumbliners' verses “So right away Salonika, right away me soldier boy”

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