Ottoman–German alliance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Ottoman-German Alliance)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Ottoman–German Alliance was an alliance between the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire that was ratified on August 2, 1914, shortly following the outbreak of World War I. The alliance was created as part of a joint-cooperative effort that would strengthen and modernize the failing Ottoman military, as well as provide Germany safe passage into neighbouring British colonies.[1]

Background[edit]

On the eve of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was in ruinous shape. As a result of successive wars fought in this period, territories were lost, the economy was in shambles and people were demoralized and tired. What the Empire needed was time to recover and to carry out reforms; however, there was no time, because the world was sliding into war and the Ottoman Empire was highly unlikely to manage to remain outside the coming conflict. Since staying neutral and focusing on recovery did not appear to be possible, the Empire had to ally with one or the other camp, because, after the Italo-Turkish War and Balkan Wars, it was completely out of resources. There were not adequate quantities of weaponry and machinery left; and neither did the Empire have the financial means to purchase new ones. The only option for the Sublime Porte was to establish an alliance with a European power; and at first it did not really matter which one that would be. As Talat Paşa, the Minister of Interior, wrote in his memoirs: “Turkey needed to join one of the country groups so that it could organize its domestic administration, strengthen and maintain its commerce and industry, expand its railroads, in short to survive and to preserve its existence.”[2]

Negotiating alliances[edit]

Most European powers were not interested in joining an alliance with the ailing Ottoman Empire. Already at the beginning of the Turco-Italian War in Northern Africa, the Grand Vizier Sait Halim Paşa had expressed the government’s desire, and the Turkish ambassadors were asked to find out whether the European capitals would be interested. Only Russia seemed to have an interest – however, under conditions that would have amounted a Russian protectorate on the Ottoman lands. It was impossible to reconcile an alliance with the French: as France’s main ally was Russia, the long-time enemy of the Ottoman Empire since the War of 1828. Great Britain declined an Ottoman request.[3]

The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V specifically wanted the Empire to remain a non-belligerent nation. However he was more of a figurehead and did not control the government. Pressure from some of Mehmed’s senior advisors led the Empire to align with the Central Powers. Whilst Great Britain was unenthusiastic about aligning with the Ottoman Empire, Germany was enthusiastic.

Treaty with Germany[edit]

Germany needed the Ottoman Empire on its side. The Orient Express had run directly to Constantinople since 1889, and prior to the First World War the Sultan had consented to a plan to extend it through Anatolia to Baghdad under German auspices. This would strengthen the Ottoman Empire's link with industrialized Europe, while also giving Germany easier access to its African colonies and to trade markets in India. To keep the Ottoman Empire from joining the Triple Entente, Germany encouraged Romania and Bulgaria to enter the Central Powers.[4]

A secret treaty was concluded between the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire on August 2, 1914. The Ottoman Empire was to enter the war on the side of the Central Powers one day after the German Empire declared war on Russia.[5] The alliance was ratified on 2 August by many high-ranking Ottoman officials, including Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha, the Minister of War Enver Pasha, the Interior Minister Talat Pasha, and Head of Parliament Halil Bey.[6]

However, there was no signature from the Sultan Mehmed V, who was nominally in charge of the army but had little power. The third member of the cabinet of the Three Pashas Djemal Pasha also did not sign the treaty as he had tried to form an alliance with France. Not all parts of the Ottoman government accepted the Alliance. Austria-Hungary adhered to the Ottoman–German treaty on 5 August. [7] Berlin grew annoyed as the Ottomans stalled, but offered two ships and a large loan. Finally the Ottoman Empire entered the war after its fleet on orders from Enver Pasha bombarded Russian ports on the 29 October 1914.[8]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Beckett, F.W. "Turkey's Momentous Moment" History Today (June 2013) 63#6 pp 47-53 pn October 1914.
  • Erickson, Edward J. Gallipoli & the Middle East 1914–1918: From the Dardanelles to Mesopotamia (Amber Books Ltd, 2014).
  • Johnson, Rob. The Great War and the Middle East (Oxford UP, 2016).
  • Miller, Geoffrey. "Turkey Enters the War and British Actions". December 1999.
  • Silberstein, Gerard E. "The Central Powers and the Second Turkish Alliance, 1915." Slavic Review 24.1 (1965): 77-89. in JSTOR
  • Strachan, Hew. The First World War: Volume I: To Arms. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press, 2003) pp 644-93.
  • Ulrichsen, Kristian Coates. The First World War in the Middle East (Hurst, 2014).
  • Van Der Vat, Dan. The ship that changed the world (ISBN 9780586069295)
  • Weber, Frank G. Eagles on the Crescent: Germany, Austria, and the diplomacy of the Turkish alliance, 1914-1918 (Cornell University Press, 1970).


Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Frank G. Weber, Eagles on the Crescent: Germany, Austria, and the diplomacy of the Turkish alliance, 1914-1918 (Cornell University Press, 1970)..
  2. ^ Alan Woods, The First World War: A Marxist Analysis of the Great Slaughter (2019) ch. 8.
  3. ^ Strachan, The First World War: Volume I: To Arms. Vol. 1 (2003) pp 644-93.
  4. ^ Hew Strachan, The First World War: Volume I: To Arms. Vol. 1 (2003) pp 644-93.
  5. ^ The Treaty of Alliance Between Germany and Turkey, Yale.
  6. ^ Gerard E. Silberstein, "The Central Powers and the Second Turkish Alliance, 1915." Slavic Review 24.1 (1965): 77-89. in JSTOR
  7. ^ Strachan, Hew (2001), The First World War, 1: To Arms, Oxford University Press, p. 670.
  8. ^ F.W. Beckett, "Turkey's Momentous Moment" History Today (June 2013) 63#6 pp 47-53