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C H A P T E R I X The Bagdad Railroad Α τ THE OUTBREAK of World War I the principal traffic ZA artery o£ the Ottoman empire, the German-built BagJ - -Vdad railroad, was still far from completion. Traveling southeastward from Haydar Pasha (on the Asiatic side of the Bosporus) one encountered the first stop in the Taurus Moun­ tains, where 37 kilometers of difficult terrain had yet to be cut or tunneled through. The next gap in the line, in the Amanus range, was even longer, with 97 kilometers of track remain­ ing to be laid. From the southern slopes of the Amanus, trains operated as far as the partly built Euphrates bridge near Djerablus. On the other side of the river a track to Tell el Abyad (100 km east of Djerablus) was finished, the next section, to Ras el Ain, nearing completion. Beyond Ras el Ain, there were 536 km of right-of-way (to Samara) on which very little work had been done so far, and only a small part of the requi­ site building supplies had been assembled at either end of the long gap.From Samara on to Bagdad the line was almost com­ pleted, full service beingstarted on it early in October1914.1 While the two concessionaires of the Bagdad line, the Anatolische-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (Anatolie) and its subsidi­ ary company, the Bagdad-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (B.E.G.),2 1 These data are derived from FO, Tiir\ei /52, Bd. 79, Memorandum by Otto Riese, 23 Nov 1914; undated memorandum about "Die Bagdadbahn," addressed to Zimmermann; Hennig, p. 9. See map, p. 286. 2The Anatolie (founded in 1888) and the B.E.G. (1903) were owned by an international syndicate dominated by the Deutsche Ban\ of Berlin. By an annually renewed contract the operational manage­ ment of both companies was handled by the General-Direktion of the Anatolie in Constantinople which in turn was responsible to an Ad­ ministrative Council (Verwaltungsrat) in Berlin. In 1914 the GeneralDire \tion was headed by Eduard Huguenin and his deputy, Franz J. The cBagdad rRailroad had reaped handsome profits during much of the prewar pe­ riod, they were facing a number of irksome financial problems by the summer of 1914. One of these derived from the fact that 119 million francs in Ottoman government bonds, the so-called Series III, had proved unsaleable during the preceding years, thereby undercutting the financial basis for much of the re­ maining construction work.3 Another, more troublesome, problem confronting the B.E.G. stemmed from its being tied down by an "operational revenue formula" (Betriebsschlussel) in the original concession which was increasingly working against the company. Under Art. 35 of the Bagdad Conces­ sion of 1903 the B.E.G. had been guaranteed by the Ottoman government an annual kilometric income of 4,500 francs. Any kilometric revenues in excess of this figure, up to 10,000 francs, had to be turned over in full to the Porte, while revenues above that ceiling were to be shared, with 60 percent of the sum in question going to the Porte. Because of mounting operating expenses which the company had not anticipated in 1903, this formula had begun to put a squeeze on its profits after 1911. Although negotiations with the Porte for an adjustment had been in progress for quite a while, nothing was settled when World War I broke out.4 As will become apparent below, the Giinther, the Administrative Council by the directors of the Deutsche Ban\, Arthur von Gwinner and Emil G. von Stauss. 3 See Miihlmann, "Die deutschen Bahnunternehmungen," pp. 38587 and passim·, FO, Tiir\ei /52, Bd. 91, "Kurze Aufzeichnungen iiber die Lage des Bagdadbahn-Geschaftes," Berlin, 24 Nov 1916; Bd. 94, Gwinner and Stauss to FO, 22 May 1917; "Die Bagdadbahn" (printed memorandum by the Administrative Council of the B.E.G., June 1917). Cf. Conker, pp. 28-29; Fischer, "Weltpolitik, Weltmachtstreben und deutsche Kriegsziele," pp. 319-21. 4 Cf. Miihlmann, "Die deutschen Bahnunternehmungen," pp. 386-87; Chapman, pp. 41-43, 212-14; FO> Tiir\ei 752, Bd. 91, "Kurze Aufzeichnungen ," 24 Nov 1916; Bd. 95, Gwinner and Stauss to Oldershausen , 5 July 1917; Bd. 100, Gwinner to Goeppert, 2 Jan 1918; same to same, 19 Jan. The r Bagdad T(ailroad Betriebsschliissel handicap alone turned into a nightmare for the company during the ensuing years. A foretaste of its wartime difficulties was experienced by the B.E.G. right after the war in Europe...

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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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