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P R E F A C E F OR ALMOST exactly four years, the Ottoman empire partic­ ipated in the First World War as an ally of the Central Powers. The Turks'1 intervention on the side that lost the war destroyed their empire and opened the door to drastic political changes throughout the Near and Middle East. How­ ever, before they suffered defeat and the dismemberment of their empire the Turks played a remarkably active role in the European war and contributed, at least indirectly, to both its prolongation and intensification. By their military efforts and promotion of a potentially dangerous program of subversion in the Asian and African possessions of the Entente, the Turks tied down sizable British, Russian, French, and Italian forces which might otherwise have been used against the Central Powers in Europe. More important, the Ottoman army and navy successfully prevented the use of the Black Sea Straits for communications between Russia and her Western allies and thereby contributed substantially to the weakening and even­ tual collapse of the Russian war effort. Though they came to depend increasingly on financial and other assistance from Ger­ many and, to a lesser extent, the Dual Monarchy, the Turks' cobelligerency was of great advantage to the Central Powers and perhaps even a decisive factor in enabling them to hold out as long as they did. While the military developments on the Turkish fronts and the wartime policies of the Entente regarding the Ottoman em­ pire have been treated in numerous well-documented studies, the Central Powers' general relationship with their Ottoman ally has so far received little scholarly attention. This study 1 Although "Osmanlis" would be a more appropriate designation for the heterogeneous population of the Ottoman empire (and especially for its ruling elite), the term "Turks" will be used instead throughout this book in conformity with prevailing Western practice. As for the terms "Ottoman empire" and "Ottoman," I have taken the liberty of using them interchangeably with "Turkey" and "Turkish." Preface seeks to narrow the existing historiographic gap. It is con­ cerned primarily with the nature and results of Germany's war­ time policies in and with regard to the Ottoman empire. It also attempts to offer some insights into the character and achieve­ ments of the lttihad ve Tera\j{i (Union and Progress) Party which ruled the Ottoman empire from 1913 to 1918. AustriaHungary 's and Bulgaria's Turkish policies are dealt with only in passing, though an effort has been made to record those in­ stances when they impinged directly on the German-Ottoman relationship. The central question to which this book addresses itself is whether the Germans were really as influential or dominant in the Ottoman empire as most traditional works have suggested. Did Berlin, on the eve of and during World War I, have a de­ cisive voice in the formulation of the Porte's policies? To what extent did the Germans control the Ottoman armed forces? What economic power did they hold in the Turkish lands and what gains did they make during the war? What long-range plans did the Reich government and German economic inter­ ests develop with regard to the Ottoman empire? Was the ruth­ less persecution of the Ottoman Armenians during the war in­ spired or condoned by Germany ? These and related issues are the major concern of this study. No attempt has been made to describe the military events in the various Turkish theaters of war in detail. Historiographically, that is well-covered ground, and I have therefore purposely kept my references to front­ line developments, naval engagements, etc., to a minimum. My interest in the subject was first aroused when I looked through the newly opened wartime records of the German for­ eign office. The bulk of the documentation is taken from these and various other German government files, some of which are presently held in East German archives. In addition, I have consulted the wartime records of the Austro-Hungarian for­ eign ministry and the private papers of several contemporary figures. Permission to use the Turkish government archives Preface was not granted; it was therefore necessary to rely on trans­ lated, Turkish scholarly monographs and other secondary sources for information on the highly involved policy-making processes at the Porte. Wherever the available evidence was of dubious quality, the tentative nature of my conclusions has been indicated. Several topics have been omitted from the discussion. Ger­ man subversive activities in Persia and Afghanistan and...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400877591
Related ISBN
9780691051239
MARC Record
OCLC
966854685
Pages
450
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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