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C H A P T E R V I I I Germany's Financial Support W HEN THE Ottoman empire entered the war in No­ vember 1914 its state treasury was virtually empty. Although the Porte had often demonstrated before that it could survive with a minimum of funds (the delayed payment or nonpayment of government officials and of the Ot­ toman armed forces was a frequently used device), the Ger­ man government realized it would have to provide some fi­ nancial assistance if the Turks were to launch a really serious war effort. What the leaders of the Reich did not at all fore­ see was just how costly and troublesome it would become to keep the Turks financially afloat. Throughout the war an­ guished cries were to be heard in Berlin that a disproportionate share of Germany's resources was being drained off by the seemingly insatiable junior ally.1 In October 19x4 the German government agreed to loan the Porte T^ 5 million in gold if the Porte honored its alliance obligations without further delay. Because of the obstructionist tactics of Finance Minister Cavid Bey, the conclusion of a requisite loan contract was held up until after the Ottoman empire had intervened. By that time the Turks were no longer willing to accept the original German terms. When the Porte finally signed the loan agreement on November 10 it secured not only more favorable repayment terms but also a pledge from Wangenheim (which was most unwelcome to the Wil1 The primary evidence for this chapter is derived mainly from the Berlin foreign office file Ttir\ei 110, which contains thousands of offi­ cial and private documents (including the internal correspondence of the Deutsche Ban\ and of other financial institutions). Because of limitations of space only the most important documents will be cited in the following. On the financial problems of the Porte in the preintervention period, see Bayur, 111:1, 186-90. 27I Qermany's Financial Support helmstrasse) that in case of need a further gold loan with "analogous terms" would be granted by the Reich.2 Under the provisions of the November treaty Germany agreed to disburse immediately the Ύ£ 2 million it had shipped to Constantinople the previous month, while the bal­ ance of the loan would be paid out in six monthly instalments after December 1. Berlin soon came to rue this commitment, for the transportation of such large amounts of gold through the Balkans, and more particularly through Ententophile Ru­ mania, proved to be a complex and nerve-racking job. Al­ though virtually all of the German gold transports dispatched prior to February 1915 got through without major delays or incidents, the Wilhelmstrasse became increasingly nervous about the political situation in Rumania and in March sus­ pended all further shipments.3 As a result the gold payable to the Porte in April and May, the last two instalments of the loan, had to be scraped together from the vaults of the Deutsche Ban\ andfrom other sources in Constantinople.4 In the meantime the Germans had made strenuous efforts to persuade the Turks that in order to stretch out their limited gold supplies they should finance part of their war effort by the issue of paper money. Prior to World War I most of the money circulating in the Ottoman empire consisted of gold 2FO, Tur\ei no, Bd. 73, Wangenheim to FO, 30 Oct 1914, No. 1,168; 5 Nov, No. 1,230; 10 Nov, No. 1,306; Zimmermann to Wangenheim , 1 Nov, No. 1,089; 7 Nov, No. 1,171; Bd. 74, Wangenheim to Bethmann Hollweg, 14 Nov, No. 286; Bd. 76, Wangenheim to Said Halim, 27 Nov. 3 Ibid., Bd. 73, Zimmermann to Wangenheim, 7 Nov 1914, No. 1,173; 10 Nov, No. 1,204; Bussche to FO, 8 Nov, No. 566; 13 Nov, Nos. 598, 599; Bd. 74, Zimmermann to Bussche, 18 Nov, No. 707; Kuhn to FO, 30 Dec; Bd. 75, Wangenheim to FO, 31 Jan 1915, No. 265. iIbid., Bd. 76, Zimmermann to Helfferich, 15 March 1915; Wangen­ heim to Bethmann Hollweg, 18 March, No. 165; Bd. 77, Jagow to Wangenheim, 30 April, No. 854; Zimmermann to Helfferich, 4 May; Wangenheim to FO, 4 May, No. 1,048; 5 May, No. 1,051; Kaufmann to Talat, 12 May. Qermany's Financial Support and silver coins and foreign metallic money, and the idea of diluting that hard currency with paper bills not fully covered by gold naturally did not appeal...


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