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C H A P T E R X German Efforts to Secure Economic Predominance HE ECONOMIC penetration of the Ottoman empire by German business interests made very little progress be­ tween 1914 and 1918, nor was the German government very successful in harnessing the natural resources of its Turk­ ish ally for the war effort of the Reich. While a great deal was said and written in wartime Germany about the feasibility and desirability of converting the Ottoman empire into a major market and raw materials supplier for the Reich,1 attempts to implement such plans almost invariably ran into political or technical snags. Indeed, in some areas the positions and influ­ ence secured by German financial, industrial, and commercial interest groups prior to 1914 were actually eroded in the course of the war. The promotion of Germany's multifarious economic in­ terests in the Ottoman empire after the outbreak of World War I was of course hampered from the very start by the ab­ sorption of most of the German resources in the national war effort, but even if investment capital, export commodities, and suitable personnel had been in more plentiful supply, the net results would probably have been quite similar. As Ahmed Emin [Yalman] correctly observed more than thirty years ago, 1 Most of the pamphlets, booklets, and scholarly monographs on this subject appeared during the latter half of the war. For repre­ sentative samples see Albert Ritter, Berlin-Bagdad: Neue Ziele mitteleuropaischer Politi\ (Munich, 1916), a reprint of a pamphlet first published in 1913; Reinhard Junge, Die deutsch-tiir\ischen Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (Weimar, 1916); Ernst Marre, Die Tiir\en und Wir nach dern Kriege. Ein pra\tisches Wirtschaftsprogramm (Berlin, 1916); Max Blanckenhorn, Syrien und die deutsche Arbeit (Weimar, 1916); Josef Hellauer, ed., Das Tiir\ische Reich (Berlin, 1918). For a review of the "Orient-Propaganda" in wartime Germany cf. Meyer, pp. 21821 and passim·, and Rathmann, Stossrichtung, pp. 41-61, 179-95, and passim, the latter highly polemical but rich in factual information. ' 3:7 ' Cfforts toward Economic Tredominance all leading figures of the Union and Progress regime were united in their determination to whittle down foreign influ­ ence in the country, and throughout the war a "very acute suspicion of German post-war designs was dominant in all minds." The Germans were therefore forced to proceed very cautiously in their search for economicgain and power.2 The determination of the lttihad ve TeraWi Party to curtail the economic influence and privileges traditionally enjoyed by foreign interest groups was very clearly revealed by the uni­ lateral abrogation of the capitulatory system in the fall of 1914, but this proved to be merely the beginning. Indeed, the longer the war lasted the more outspoken and energetic the Porte be­ came in asserting itself to the outside world, and the brunt of this "aggressive nationalism"—to use Emin's phrase—was borne just as much by Turkey's allies as by her declared enemies. Although during the first year of the war the Ottoman em­ pire was for all intents and purposes physically isolated from the Central Powers, German business circles and journalists wasted no time in forging ambitious plans for the economic "development" of the Sultan's lands. Long before the collapse of Serbia opened a secure line of communication to Constanti­ nople, several new private organizations had sprung up in the Reich whose avowed purpose it was to stimulate German-Ot­ toman trade and to secure valuable objects for exploitation by German firms. In March 1915 the Deutsche Levante-Verband was founded in Berlin to coordinate future efforts of that sort. Shortly thereafter a so-called Deutsches Vorderasien-Institut constituted itself under the patronage of prominent business­ men, journalists, and politicians, among them Director Albert Ballin of the HAPAG and Gustav Stresemann. In a mani2Emin , pp. 113-14. Cf. his wartime pamphlet for German readers, Die Tiirkei (Gotha, 1918), in which he warned, at least by implication, against underestimating the national pride and will to independence of his fellow Turks. * 3I8 * Cfforts toward Economic tPredominance festo to the public the Institut expressed the hope that Ger­ many's share in the "reorganization" of the Ottoman econ­ omy would increase greatly after the war and declared it more important than ever that the attention of all German circles who were "interested in the political, intellectual, and eco­ nomic" opportunities for national action be directed to Asia Minor.3 To make sure that these and some of the older Orientminded...

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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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