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Gotze Delchev's Early Years



Gotse (Georghi) Nikolov Delchev was born on January 23, 1872, in the town of Kukush, southeastern Macedonia. He received his elementary education in the local Bulgarian school of Kukush, and later entered the Gymnasium of Salonica. Here Delchev became one of the most popular of the students, not only in point of scholarship, but also as a youthful agitator and advocate of Macedonian independence. Delchev, while in Salonica, familiarized himself with the various revolutionary undercurrents in Europe, particularly that of socialism.

Notwithstanding his social concepts, in 1891 he entered the military school in Sofia. Here Delchev found himself in an entirely different environment. His life as a cadet and confinement to the barracks was monotonous. There was not the old variety of life and schoolmates with its variant influx of ideas of social concept. While in Military School he was not in a position to indulge in discussions of, nor to participate in any movement pertaining to the destiny of Macedonia. Notwithstanding the strict discipline, however, Delchev managed to secretly procure and read socialistic literature. In spite of his social philosophy of life, Delchev often expressed himself that the undelivered Bulgarians and the other races in Macedonia should be liberated from the unbearable yoke of Abdul Hamid; and that liberty was always brought with blood-and that such sacrifices must cheerfully be given for its attainment. "I conceive the world," said Delchev, "only as a place for cultural rivalry of the nations."

His activity while in the Military school had been severely censored. He was on several occasions called before the superior officer of the school for disciplinary insubordination. His early dismissal from the school was averted only by the intervention of influential individuals of Macedonian origin in the Principality. But in 1894 an incident occurred in the school which also resulted in Delchev’s expulsion. At that time the Bulgarian Ministry of War, in order to cut down on the budget, delayed the appointment of of the newly-graduated cadets. Some of the latter became angered with the procrastination. An anonymous letter was sent to the Minister of War, accusing him of the injustice done to the new officers. Although dlechev had nothing to do with the writing of the letter, he was, nevertheless, included among the guilty "ones." The administration of the school, upon a strict investigation, revealed the authors of the letter, and in order of dismissal found that "together with the junkers x.y.z. as authors of the letter, Georghi Delchev is also expelled."

While the Bulgarian intellectuals in the interior of Macedonia , under the leadership of Gruev, Toshev, Matov, Dr.Tatatrchev, and others, were organizing secret revolutionary committees in Salonica, Serres, Shtip, etc., Delchev, on the other hand, independenl and without knowing what was going on in Macedonia in this respect, undertook while in Sofia, to animate the spirit of organization among the immigrants. He visited most of the Macedonian intellectuals there and insisted upon the issuing of a newspaper in order to preserve the esprit de corps of the Bulgarian beyond the border. When he heard of the news that the first secret Central Revolutionary Committee was organized in Salonica, Delchev’s enthusiasm wa greatly animated. He immediately betook himself to the south-into Macedonia!


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