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(2,831 words)

Author(s): Grey, Jeffrey
Australia Australia entered the First World War as a federal dominion of the British Empire (Commonwealth of Australia), having achieved that status in 1901. Although the Australian colonies had sent troops to the Boer War between 1899 and 1902, there was no military tradition in the sense of a high-echelon military leadership and administration and a defense policy, and precious little national experience of war. Yet, by the end of the First World War, almost seven Australian cavalry and infantr…


(1,185 words)

Author(s): Höpken, Wolfgang
Albania Compared to other ethnic groups in the Balkan region the Albanians were relatively late to develop national aspirations of their own. Religious divisions within the population, the lack of a unified social stratum that would support a “modern” national movement, and the traditional, deeply fractured structure of Albanian society with its regional and clan affiliations delayed the creation of a politically organized movement of national rebirth ( Rilindja), which only emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century. When the peace negotiations after the R…

Suez Canal

(398 words)

Author(s): Mönch, Winfried
Suez Canal A ship canal in Egypt, running between Port Said in the north and Suez in the south. The Suez Canal links the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean, via the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea. The canal was the target of Ottoman/German offensives launched from the Sinai Peninsula in 1915 and 1916, and from the beginning of 1917 the starting point for British operations against Palestine. It was of great strategic importance to the British Empire, as it was the shortest route between Britain and its colonies in East Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. After the Ottoman Empire’s entry in…

Ottoman Empire

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Erik-Jan
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers in November 1914. The real decision to take this step was not made by the cabinet, but by an inner circle of Young Turk politicians on October 25. Two days later, on the orders of minister of war Enver Pasha, a Turkish naval force under the command of the German Admiral Souchon attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet in its bases. The Turks later sought to justify this unprovoked attack by claiming that th…

Ambiguities of the Modern: The Great War in the Memoirs and Poetry of the Iraqis

(12,053 words)

Author(s): Khoury, Dina Rizk
Khoury, Dina Rizk - Ambiguities of the Modern: The Great War in the Memoirs and Poetry of the Iraqis Keywords: The Ottoman Empire and the Middle East | Society | Politics | Literature | Legacy | Violence against civilians | Pre-war period | Religion | Published memoirs and biographies | Science, Technology, and Medicine | Experience of combat The World in World Wars Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber , Katharina Lange , Dyala Hamzah and Ravi Ahuja , (2010) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2010 e-ISBN: 9789004188471 DOI:10.1163/ej.9789004185456.i-618.78 © 2010 Koninklijk…

Declarations of War

(276 words)

Author(s): Pöhlmann, Markus
Declarations of War 1914 July 28 Austria-Hungary on Serbia August 1 Germany on Russia August 2 German invasion of Luxembourg1 August 3 Germany on France August 4 German invasion of Belgium* August 4 Great Britain enters the war* August 6 Serbia on Germany August 6 Austria-Hungary on Russia August 7 Montenegro on Austria-Hungary August 11 France on Austria-Hungary August 12 Great Britain on Austria-Hungary August 12 Montenegro on Germany August 23 Japan on Germany August 23 Austria-Hungary on Japan August 28 Austria-Hungary on Belgium October 15 Montenegro on Bulgaria October 29 the …


(613 words)

Author(s): Bavendamm, Gundula
Espionage Clandestine gathering of information about the military opponent, usually through agents acting on behalf of intelligence services. In times of war espionage is regulated under international law. Articles 29 and 30 of the Annex to the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) recognized espionage as a legitimate means of warfare and required that a spy caught in the act must not be punished without a proper trial. In World War I the intelligence services of all belligerent nations recruited agents for o…


(1,004 words)

Author(s): Prior, Robin | Wilson, Trevor
Dardanelles Straits between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. After the outbreak of war in Europe, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire had envisioned joining the war on the side of the Central Powers. The arrival of two German warships, the Goeben and the Breslau, at Constantinople on August 10, 1914, reinforced this decision. For Turkey joining the war meant territorial gains at Russia’s expense; in the Caucasus, at British expense; as well as in Egypt. On October 27, the Turkish fleet put to sea against the Russian Black Sea base, thereby triggering war with the Entente. Mean…


(926 words)

Author(s): Loulos, Konstantin
Macedonia With the outbreak of the First World War, the multinational region of Macedonia became a battlefield of the Great Powers. Germany’s strategic goal of advancing eastwards and maintaining an open route to Turkey led to the establishment of the Balkan Front. For the various peoples living in the Balkans, this simultaneously represented a continuation of the struggle for Macedonia. This struggle resulted from a number of factors: the emergence of nationalisms in the 19th century, the founding of national states, and the all too be…

Sykes-Picot Agreement

(371 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, Erik Jan
Sykes-Picot Agreement An agreement between Great Britain and France concerning the postwar partitioning of the Arabian provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915 both allies agreed to formulate their war aims in the Middle East. The intention was to seek compensation for the territorial gains in the region that had been conceded to the Russian allies in the Treaty of Constantinople. The British government negotiated with the Sherif of Mecca concerning the creation of an Arab kingdom, trying to find …


(1,806 words)

Author(s): Cornelissen, Christoph
India In August 1914, the Indian subcontinent was the most important pillar of the British Empire. After the start of the First World War India’s importance to the war effort was apparent in the considerable numbers of Indian soldiers employed on the Allied fronts in Europe, Africa, and Asia. By the end of 1918, some 1.5 million Indians had been mobilized for the war. Of these, almost 900,000 belonged to fighting units. More than 60,000 Indian soldiers died in the war and about the same number suffered wounds. It was originally envisaged that only restricted use should be made of I…

Kitchener, Horatio Herbert

(622 words)

Author(s): Simkins, Peter
Kitchener, Horatio Herbert (June 24, 1850, Crotter House near Listowel [County Kerry, Ireland] – June 5, 1916, off the Orkney Islands; from 1914 the First Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome), British field marshal (minister of war). Kitchener’s early military career took him predominantly to the Middle East, where in 1892 he became Sirdar (commander in chief ) of the Egyptian Army. In this function he conquered the Sudan, and in 1898 led the successful military expedition to Khartoum (Battle of Omdurman). This brought Kitchener the status of …

Red Cross

(1,371 words)

Author(s): Mönch, Winfried
Red Cross The red cross on a white ground signifies neutrality in war, and thus protection. The Ottoman Empire introduced the alternative symbol of the red crescent on a white ground during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878, and also used it during the First World War. The red crescent continues to be used by Muslim states in place of the red cross, in order to avoid using the Christian symbol. The associations that had assumed the voluntary, and most importantly unpaid, task of caring for the wounded in war, as well as preparing for that activity in peacetime, w…

German Asia Corps

(568 words)

Author(s): Neulen, Hans Werner
German Asia Corps German Expeditionary Corps established for the purpose of recovering Baghdad. – After the capture of Baghdad by the British on March 11, 1917, the German and Turkish High Commands decided to set up the Army Group F (Yilderim) in order to recapture the capital city of the ancient caliphate. The German core unit was to be the Asia Corps (Pasha II), raised in Neuhammer/Silesia (modern Świętoszów). Initially commanded by Colonel Werner von Frankenberg und Proschlitz, the well-equipped…

Nationalities Question

(1,312 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Hans
Nationalities Question The nationalities question in Eastern and Southeastern Europe developed in the course of the 19th century from the greatly mixed population that inhabited Russia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Prussia in the German Reich, plus the newly independent states of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece – a great variety of nationalities, with their different languages, religions, cultures, and interests. Although the murder of the Austro-Hungarian he…


(996 words)

Author(s): Schwabe, Klaus
Armistice This term refers to the cessation of hostilities between the Entente Powers and the Central Powers in 1918. In fact, the Armistice agreements concluded by the victors with Bulgaria (on September 30 at Salonica, now Thessalonika), with Turkey (on October 31 at the port of Moudros on the island of Lemnos), with the Habsburg Empire (on November 3 in the Villa Giusti near Padua), and with the German Reich (on November 11 at Compiègne-Rethondes) made it impossible for the Central Powers to resume hostilities. In reality, therefore, armistice amounted to capitulation. It was Genera…

Kemal Pasha, Mustafa

(630 words)

Author(s): Hebestreit, Oliver
Kemal Pasha, Mustafa (March 12, 1881, Salonica [Thessalonika] – November 10, 1938, Istanbul; from 1934 Atatürk), Ottoman general and Turkish politician (state president). After completing training at the Military Academy ( Harbiye Harp Okulu) in 1902, Kemal Pasha was active as a young officer in the resistance against the regime of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. In 1905 he founded a secret military society that later amalgamated with the self-styled patriotic movement of the Young Turks under Enver Pasha. In 1908/1909, he took part in …

Caucasian Front

(1,438 words)

Author(s): Cem Oguz, C.
Caucasian Front Between 1914 and 1918 the Ottoman Empire fought on more than half a dozen fronts that were spread out over a vast geographical area, but the Caucasian Front was given high priority in the plans of the Minister of War Enver Pasha – as indicated by the fact that he increased the number of troops in the region at the beginning of the war and placed himself in command of the Ottoman Third Army in eastern Anatolia. Contrary to the original plan, the Third Army received reinforcements fr…

Command, Strategy and the Battle for Palestine, 1917

(7,696 words)

Author(s): Hughes, Matthew
Hughes, Matthew - Command, Strategy and the Battle for Palestine, 1917 Keywords: British command | Chief of the Imperial General Staff | David Lloyd George | grand strategy | Palestine campaign ISFWWS-Keywords: Middle East | Britain | Politics | The Ottoman Empire and the Middle East Abstract: This chapter examines the interchange between and within British command and grand strategy during the Palestine campaign of 1917, a significant military operation that drew off hundreds of thousands of Entente and Central alliance sold…

Proud Fighters, Blind Men: World War Experiences of Combatants from the Arab East

(11,533 words)

Author(s): Lange, Katharina
Lange, Katharina - Proud Fighters, Blind Men: World War Experiences of Combatants from the Arab East Keywords: Middle East | Experience of combat | Legacy | The Ottoman Empire and the Middle East | Religion | Military organisation of combat | The French and British Empires | Masculinity | Published memoirs and biographies Translocality Ulrike Freitag and Achim Von Oppen , (2010) Publication Editor: Brill, The Netherlands, 2010 e-ISBN: 9789004186057 DOI:10.1163/ej.9789004181168.i-452.24 © 2010 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands Lange, Katharina
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