The Bulgarian uprising on Ilinden (20 July 1903) sounded the alarm in Athens, which realized -- albeit belatedly -- that education alone was not the most appropriate way of matching the dynamism of the Bulgarian committees.
The start of the Greek armed defensive can be attributed to the initiative of the metropolitan of Kastoria, Yermanos Karavangelis, Ion Dragoumis, a diplomat with the consulate at Monastir, and the Macedonian Committee, an ostensibly private organization with substantial state backing, based in Athens.
The manning of Greek bands with chieftains from Macedonia and volunteers from the Greek mainland and Crete led to a four-year undeclared and unconventional war between bands of troops, which tipped the balance of power in favor of Greece, but which at the same time provoked no end of European interventions.
Meanwhile, another front opened in northern Macedonia with fighting between Serb and Bulgarian bands.
The hostilities formally ended with the 1908 coup of the Young Turks, officers in the Turkish army who forced the drafting of a constitution (1909) in order to improve the administration of the Empire and smooth the relations among its peoples.