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CHAPTER XII Summary A LTHOUGH the cultivation o£ Turkish goodwill and the ZA expansion of German economic influence in the OttoA . man empire had been basic ingredients of Wilhelmian Weltpoliti\ for many years, the World War I alliance of the Ottoman empire with the Central Powers was not the culmi­ nation of carefully laid German plans but instead a diplomatic improvisation. Faced with the likelihood of a general Euro­ pean war, Germany's leaders in late July 1914 abruptly set aside their misgivings about a close association with the decrepit Ottoman state and accepted the proffered military help of the Turks. Once a formal alliance treaty with the Porte had ac­ tually been signed Berlin naturally did its best to secure the promised Turkish assistance at the earliest possible moment and, having finally achieved that objective in late October, to make the most effective use of the military power and strategic location of its newly gained ally. Whether Germany's leaders in the following years expected too much of the Turks and burdened them with strategic tasks beyond their strength is an issue on which military historians have never been able to agree. It is beyond question, though, that the intervention of the Turks and their war effort during the following four years greatly helped the Central Powers to hold out as long as they did.1 During the first year and a half of the war German policy toward the Ottoman empire revolved almost exclusively around purely military considerations. To keep the Turkish armies in the field and have them supplement as effectively as 1 For appraisals of the Turks' overall contribution to the war effort of the Central Powers, cf. Larcher, pp. 636-37; Miihlmann, deutschtiir \ische Waffenbiindnis, pp. 243-47 and passim; and Germany's official military history, Der Weltkrieg 1914 bis igi8, xm, 442-43. Summary possible the general war effort of the Central Powers were practically the only issues the OHL and civilian leaders in Ber­ lin cared about. Hence their reluctance to do anything drastic about the anti-Armenian outrages of the Turks and their pas­ sivity regarding various other domestic developments in the Ottoman empire. It was only in 1916, and particularly after LudendorfPs entry into the German High Command, that German official interest in the Ottoman empire once again broadened. While the immediate military requirements of the war continued to be the central concern of Germany's leaders, some of them now also began to plan and to push for an ex­ pansion of German economic and political influence in the Ottoman empire. Because of the skillful and determined countermoves of the Porte, but also because of perpetual dissensions among the Germans themselves, these expansionistic efforts of the Reich produced only modest results. Among the few positive achievements were the conclusion of the German-Ottoman Military Convention (which implicitly committed the Turkish armed forces to rely primarily on German equipment and supplies in the postwar period) and the assignment of a few mining concessions in Turkey to German firms. On most other economic issues the Germans made no headway at all. Despite persistent coaxing by the OHL and the Wilhelmstrasse the Porte never made any binding commitments con­ cerning Germany's share in the future economic development of the Ottoman empire and stubbornly refused to liquidate the vast Entente holdings in Turkey for the benefit of German in­ terest groups. German banks and business establishments al­ ready entrenched in the Ottoman empire gained little or noth­ ing from the wartime partnership of the two countries; some of them, notably the Bagdad Railroad Company, were actually brought close to bankruptcy. In financial and monetary matters, also, the Turks kept Ber­ lin's ambitions effectively in check. They persistently refused to tamper with the privileged status of the Franco-British Summary Banque lmperiale Ottomane, declined to use uncovered paper money as Berlin would have preferred, and successfully re­ sisted all attempts by the German and Austro-Hungarian gov­ ernments to attach strings to the loans they granted to the Porte. By the spring of 1918, at the latest, many responsible German leaders were beginning to realize that the loans would probably never be repaid, though most of them hoped that the indebtedness of the Porte might some day at least be exploited as a lever for extracting some economic concessions from the Turks. Both before and during the war the presence of Gen. Liman von Sanders' military mission in the Ottoman empire was far...


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