World War I and the End of the Ottoman Order

  • Began with assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand June 28, 1914.
  • Led to Austria’s invasion of Serbia which in turn activated the
  • European alliance system.
  • Triple Entente – Britain, France, Russia
  • Ottoman Empire’s Role in World War I
    • Supported Central Powers
    • Greatest enemy was Russia
    • Formed secret Otto-German alliance against Russia to keep Russ. from taking land around the Black Sea
    • Empire dismembered by peace treaties following the end of WWI
  • The strength of Empire’s population, civilian and military, was manifested through its actions during the war. Over 1 million Otto soldiers were mobilized to achieve success on several different fronts. Domestically, the government introduced programs that had significant short and long-term impacts on the future of the Turkish republic. The CUP attempted to break the empire of its dependence on foreign economic aid.
  • The war also accelerated the transformation of social order. More women entered the workforce and mainstream professions. A new family law in 1917, giving secular state agencies control over family matters, recognized the right of women to divorce.
  • Ottoman Empire broken up based on the territorial agreements of Sykes-Picot Agreement

The Middle East in the War: An Overview of Military Operations

  • Because the Otto empire was so far-reaching, it was vulnerable in many areas and thus easily attacked. Ottoman and Russian armies were constantly at violent conflict until 1917.
  • Armenia –
    • Nationalist organizations in Russia and Anatolia looked at war with Russia as an opportunity to create an independent state. Armenian villagers within Anatolia were forced to evacuate toward the Syrian desert and found a not-so-willing home in Lebanon; specifically, Beirut.
  • The Allies attacked the Ottomans though were staved off during the conflicts in 1915. Gallipoli campaign allowed the future Ataturk to gain a beneficial reputation.
  • Britain continually pushed into Ottoman territory. After Townshend was forced to surrender an entire army to the Ottos in April 1916, another British expeditionary force captured Baghdad and brought southern Iraq under British control (1917).
  • Campaigns in Syria and around the Suez canal kept the Ottomans and British continuously at odds.
  • October 1918 – Ottoman Empire falls to British and Arab forces

Ottoman Wartime Administration in Greater Syria
  • Nov. 1914 the sultan caliph issued a call to jihad or holy war. He urged Muslims to unite behind the empire to fight the Triple Entente. This touted the belief that the Ottoman Empire was still the universal protector of Islam.
Jamal Pasha
  • Entrusted with extensive military and civilian powers
  • Commander of Ottoman Fourth Army – Damascus
  • Governor of the provinces of Greater Syria
  • Known as the Blood Shedder
  • Committed to the cause of Islamic solidarity
  • Deported large numbers of Arab leaders to Anatolia; imprisoned Arab notables whom he suspected of disloyalty – 11 were publicly hanged in Beirut, 1915
  • Caused the Greater Syrian Arabs to become fearful and submissive to Ottoman dominance