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C H A P T E R I I I The German Generals in the Ottoman War Effort, 1914-18 O N NOVEMBER 2, 1914, four days after Souchon's pro­ vocative attack 011 the Russian Black Sea coast, the Tsarist government formally declared war on the Otto­ man empire. The British and French governments followed suit a few days later, as did Serbia and the other smaller coun­ tries fighting on the Entente side. Already on November 3— that is, before London's and Paris's official declarations of war —an Anglo-French naval squadron subjected the outer forts at the Dardanelles to a brief but massive bombardment, while at about the same time skirmishes between Ottoman and Entente troops erupted along some of the eastern and southern frontiers of the Turkish empire. Full-fledged Ottoman partici­ pation in the great European war had thereby become an ir­ revocable fact. The course of the war in the Near and Middle East during the next four years has been depicted in numerous general and specialized studies, and no attempt will be made in this book to cover the military developments in the various Turkish theaters of war.1 Suffice it to say that the Turks fought (either alone or with the support of German and Austro-Hungarian troops) on over half a dozen widely scattered fronts, on most of which they held their own quite remarkably throughout much of the war. In Transcaucasia and eastern Anatolia, the Ottoman Third Army, which was later assisted by another Turkish army, cam­ paigned with limited success against strong Russian forces 1The most informative general surveys of the military events in the Near and Middle East are found in the pioneering study of Com­ mandant Maurice Larcher, La guerre turque dans la guerre mondiale (Paris, 1926), and in Miihlmann, deutsch-tiir\ische Waffenbiindnis. On naval developments see especially Lorey. Qerman Qenerals in the Ottoman War until the summer of 1917, both sides sustaining heavy losses in what was much of the time a war of maneuver. In 1916 the Russians penetrated deep into Ottoman territory and stayed there until late 1917. In 1918 the Turks exploited the revolu­ tionary turmoil in Russia to advance into the Transcaucasian provinces of the old Tsarist empire, where they planned to establish their rule either directly or indirectly.2 As will be shown later on, this expansionist drive not only produced very serious tensions between the Turks and their German allies but also weakened the Ottoman military effort at some of the other Asiatic fronts. In Mesopotamia the Turks from November 1914 on faced a slow but steady British advance from the Persian Gulf. Al­ though the Ottoman troops in the Euphrates-Tigris region (eventually known as the Sixth Army) won a temporary res­ pite through their victory at Kut-el-Amara in 1916, they lost Bagdad to the British in the following spring and were on the point of withdrawing from Mosul when the war ended.3 Incursions of Ottoman troops and German agents into Per­ sian territory during and after the winter of 1914-15 led to the opening of a new front. Sporadic fighting between Turks and Russians in Persia continued until the spring of 1917, when their reverses in Mesopotamia forced the Turks to withdraw. However, following the evacuation of Russian troops from Persia, the Turks in early 1918 reinvaded the northern prov­ inces of that unhappy country and maintained there a pre2 Useful specialized studies of the war in Transcaucasia include Felix Guse, Die Kaukasusfront itn Welthrieg (Leipzig, 1940); N. G. Korsun, Pervaya mirovaya voina na Kav\az\om fronte [The First World War on the Caucasian Front] (Moscow, 1946); and the relevant chapters in W.E.D. Allen and Paul Muratoff, Caucasian Battlefields (Cambridge, 1953). See also Firuz Kazemzadeh, The Struggle for Transcaucasia, /9/7-792/ (New York, 1951). s On the Mesopotamian campaigns see especially F. J. Moberly, History of the Great War: The Campaign in Mesopotamia, 4 vols. (London, 1923-27). Qerman Qenerals in the Ottoman War carious foothold against native opposition and British troops until the end of the war.4 In the Palestinian area the military situation until the sum­ mer of 1916 was characterized by sporadic offensive activities on the part of the Ottoman Fourth Army and of German and Austro-Hungarian units attached to it. Between January 1915 and August 1916 the Turks launched two major advances and several smaller raids to the Suez Canal; after...


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