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C H A P T E R I V Political Evolution of the Alliance, 1914 to Early 1917 A s PREVIOUSLY mentioned, Turkish entry into the war in early November 1914 had been accompanied by urgent reL . quests for the modification of the existing German-Ot­ toman alliance treaty and for a formal pledge by the Reich that it, for one, would under no condition insist upon the restora­ tion of its capitulatory rights in the post-bellum period.1 With these requests the leaders of the Ittihad ve Tera\\i regime made the opening move in what was subsequently to become a highly successful campaign to extract far-reaching political, financial, and economic concessions and pledges for their coun­ try from the two Central Powers. Despite German and AustroHungarian reluctance the Porte almost invariably got most or even a13 it wanted in the end. As will be shown in this and fol­ lowing chapters, the Turks owed their success above all to the consummate skill with which they convinced Berlin and Vi­ enna that the preservation of political stability in the Ottoman empire and the continuation of the Ottoman war effort de­ pended directly on the extent to which the Central Powers complied with the Porte's wishes. GERMANY ACCEPTS NEW OBLIGATIONS, WINTER 1914-15 While the Turkish request in early November 1914 for the modification and extension of the German-Ottoman alliance received a sympathetic hearing from Wangenheim and Pallavicini and some of their immediate superiors in Berlin and Vienna, Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg initially was not at all receptive to the Porte's proposals: The current world conflict [he wired to the Wilhelmstrasse 1 See above, pp. 60-61. * I08 · The ^Alliance, 1914 to Carly 1917 and Constantinople] was provoked not least of all by the exaggeration and spread of the alliance system. After the res­ toration of peace ... [we] should try as much as possible to get rid of the cauchemar des coalitions. Under these circum­ stances we decided only with great reluctance to conclude a formal alliance with Turkey and consider a further extension of it basically undesirable. An extension of the alliance against all states would create a new basis for a new general system of coalitions, which we wish to avoid as a matter of principle. The preservation and protection of Turkey correspond to our own interests and belong to the basic principles of our policy which we must follow as previously, even without an extension of the alliance treaty. The current comradeship-in­ arms increases the solidarity of our interests in any case. If our armies emerge victorious from the present war, Turkey will have nothing to fear in the foreseeable future, not even from England, for the stakes of the struggle are the destruc­ tion of England's world supremacy. Should we be defeated or weakened, we would probably be unable—despite the al­ liance treaty—to protect Turkey against all coalitions and eventualities The alleged dissensions in the Ottoman cabinet, the chancellor continued, was no reason for Germany to accept additional obli­ gations, for the grand vizier himself had committed the Otto­ man empire to intervention by signing the original alliance treaty. All that Bethmann Hollweg was willing to concede was formal assurance to the Porte that Germany would not in­ sist on the restoration of the capitulatory system.2 Bethmann Hollweg's blunt refusal to renegotiate the al­ liance treaty caused considerable dismay in Constantinople. 2FO, Dt 128 Nr. 5 seer., Bd. 5, Wangenheim to FO, 2 Nov 1914, No. 1,205; Zimmermann to Jagow, 3 Nov, No. 927, 5 Nov, No. 960; Bethmann Hollweg to FO, 5 Nov, No. 97; Zimmermann to Wangenheim , 5 Nov, No. 1,141. See also Jagow to FO, 6 Nov, No. 343. • IO9 * The ^Alliance, 1914 to Zarly /9/7 On November 7 Wangenheim wired to Berlin that the chan­ cellor's decision should be reversed immediately, for unless Ger­ many made some concessions the interventionist ministers would be in serious trouble. In fact, he added, they had al­ ready expressed resentment and doubt of Germany's sincerity, especially since they regard the treaty issue as a mere formal­ ity for us, while for them the unity of their Party and hence their position vis-a-vis the army and the people, in short the entire outcomeof... [their policy], are atstake.3 As a result of Wangenheim's intercession (and a note from Vienna that it for one had already indicated a willingness to...

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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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