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The Ottoman Road to War in 1914

The Ottoman Road to War in 1914
The Ottoman Empire and the First World War


Part of Cambridge Military Histories

  • Date Published: January 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521175258

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About the Authors
  • Why did the Ottoman Empire enter the First World War in late October 1914, months after the war's devastations had become clear? Were its leaders 'simple-minded,' 'below-average' individuals, as the doyen of Turkish diplomatic history has argued? Or, as others have claimed, did the Ottomans enter the war because War Minister Enver Pasha, dictating Ottoman decisions, was in thrall to the Germans and to his own expansionist dreams? Based on previously untapped Ottoman and European sources, Mustafa Aksakal's dramatic study challenges this consensus. It demonstrates that responsibility went far beyond Enver, that the road to war was paved by the demands of a politically interested public, and that the Ottoman leadership sought the German alliance as the only way out of a web of international threats and domestic insecurities, opting for an escape whose catastrophic consequences for the empire and seismic impact on the Middle East are felt even today.

    • A major contribution to the history of the First World War and the Middle East
    • Based on previously unused sources including contemporary Ottoman books, journals and newspapers
    • Will appeal to military historians and historians of the Ottoman Empire
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Overall, this work is an impressive and very valuable contribution to our understanding of the relationship between Germany and the Ottoman Empire, as well as their respective foreign policies, on the eve of the First World War.' H-Net

    Review of the hardback: 'What Aksakal offers is a meticulous analysis of the factors that induced the political leaders of the Ottoman Empire to enter the war on the German side in October 1914.' Erik-Jan Zürcher, Diplomacy and Statecraft

    Review of the hardback: 'In this new study, Mustafa Aksakal demonstrates with authority that the general apprehension of dissolution and partition that drove Ottoman officials in 1914 derived from the disastrous Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 … and was based on a plethora of very real threats and secret negotiations leading up to the Ottoman signing of the alliance with Germany on August 2, 1914.' Virginia Aksan, Insight Turkey

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521175258
    • length: 234 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 151 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: pursuing sovereignty in the age of imperialism
    1. The intellectual and emotional climate after the Balkan wars
    2. 1914: war with Greece?
    3. The Ottomans within the international order
    4. The Great War as great opportunity: the Ottoman July crisis
    5. Tug of war: Penelope's game
    6. Salvation through war?
    Conclusion: the decision for war remembered.

  • Author

    Mustafa Aksakal, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Mustafa Aksakal is Associate Professor of History and Modern Turkish Studies at Georgetown University.

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