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Firstly let's learn about the Ottoman Empire's economic situation before the
Capitulations: Economic concession. It first started in 1536 between the
Ottoman Empire and France. Later, most of the European countries had this
economic concession. It was not useful for the Ottoman Empire but the empire
could not cancel it because of its weakness.
Before the war, because of the capitulations foreign merchants cleared
through the customs without paying any tax. This weakened the Turkish
merchants. When the World War I started, the Ottoman Empire stopped
Also huge depts weakened the economy of the empire. Most of the depts paid
by Turkey later. There were very rare railways and automobiles in the
country so transportation was a great problem.
Most of the other powerful countries had colonies. Because of that their
economies grew rapidly. Also they used the advantage of the industrial
revolution. So the Ottoman Empire could not resist them.
European sailors discovered new trade routes. Because of that the Ottoman
Empire's economy damaged.
What caused World War I?
The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand triggered World War I. But
the war had its origins in developments of the 1800's. The main causes of
World War I were:
The Rise of Nationalism: Nationalism was one of the reasons of the World
War I which is the belief that loyalty to a person's nation and its
political and economic goals comes before any other public loyalty.
Nationalism created two new powers - Italy and Germany - through the uniting
of many small states. On the other hand, nationalism weakened the eastern
European empires of Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Ottoman. Those empires
ruled many national groups that clamored for independence. The Balkan
Peninsula or the "Powder Keg of Europe" because tensions there threatened to
ignite a major war. Rivalry for control of the Balkans added to the tensions
that erupted into World War I.
Military Forces: Nationalism encouraged public support for military
build-ups and for a country's use of force to achieve its goals. By the late
1800's, Germany had the best trained army in the world. In 1898 Germany
began developing a naval force that was big enough to challenge the British
navy. In 1906, the British navy launched the Dreadnought, the first modern
battleship. The Dreadnought had greater firepower that any other ship of its
time. Germany rushed to construct on just like it. Advances in technology
helped aid in making military forces stronger. Machine guns and other new
arms fired more accurately and more rapidly that earlier weapons. By the end
of the 1800's, technology enabled countries to fight longer and bear greater
losses that ever before.
Alliances: A system of military alliances gave European powers a sense of
security before World War 1. They formed these alliances with each other for
protection and guarente that other members of the alliance would come to the
country's aid if attacked. Although alliances provided protection, the
system also created certain dangers. If war came, the alliance system meant
that a number of nations would fight, not only the two involved in a
dispute. Alliances could force a country to go to war against a nation
without a reason.
The Triple Alliance was made up of three countries, Germany, Italy, and
Austria-Hungary. They all agreed to go to war if attacked by Russia.
Bismarck also brought Austria-Hungary and Germany into alliance with Russia.
The agreement was known as the Three Emperor's League and was formed in
1881. They all agreed to remain neutral if any of them went to war with
another country. In 1890 when Bismarck left office it gave a chance for
Russia and France to form an alliance. In 1894, France and Russia agreed to
call up troops if any naiton in the Triple Alliance mobilized. Russia and
France also agreed to help each other if either were attacked by Germany.
On June 28, 1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian
terrorist named Gavrilo Princip. The Archduke's assassination triggered the
outbreak of World War I.
On July 28 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Because of
Austria-Hungary's alliance with Germany, Serbia seeked help from Russia. In
1914 Russia vowed to stand behind Serbia, but first Russia gained support
from France. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914, in response
to Russia's mobilization. Two days later Germany declared war on France. The
German Army swept into Belgium on its way to France. The invasion of Belgium
caused Britian to declare war on Germany on August 4. Germany's plan for a
quick defeat of France while Russia slowly mobilized was called the
Schlieffen Plan. This plan called for two wings of the German army to crush
the French army in a pincers movement. A small left wing would defend
Germany alongs its frontier with France. A much larger right wing would
invade France through Belgium; encircle and capture Paris; and them move
east. Belgiums army held up the Germans for only a short time. By August
16,1914, the right wing of Germany could begin its motion. It drove back
French and British forces in southern Belguim and swept info France. But
instead of swinging west around Paris, one part of the right wing pursued
retreating French toops toward the Marne River. This maneuver left the
Germans exposed to attacks form the rear.
Meanwhile, General Joseph Joffre, commander of all French armies, stationed
his forces near the Marne River east of Paris and prepared for battle. This
battle was later known as the First Battle of the Marne, beginning on
September 6 and ending September 9 when German forces started to withdraw.
The First Battle of the Marne was a key victory for the Allies because it
ended Germany's hopes to defeat France quickly. The German army halted its
retreat near the Aisne River. From there, the Germans and the Allies fought
a series of battles that became known as the "Race to the Sea". Germany
tried to reach the English Channel and sabotage supply lines between France
and Britian. But the Allies stopped the Germans in the First Battle of Ypres
in Belgium. The battle lasted from mid-October until mid-November. By late
November 1914, the war reached a deadlock along the Western Front as neither
side gained much ground. The deadlock lasted nearly 3 1/2 years.
Both the Allies and the Central Powers developed new weapons, which they
hoped would break the deadlock. In April 1915, the Germans first released
poison gas over Allied lines in the Second Battle of Ypres. The fumes caused
vomiting and suffocation. After the introduction of the poison, gas masks
were used. Another new weapon was the flame thrower, which shot out a stream
of burning fuel.
In 1917, first France and then Britain saw their hopes of victory
shattered. Austria-Hungary drove the Italians out of its territory in the
Battle of Caporetto in the fall and revolution in Russia made the Allied
situation seem even more hopeless.
The most important country in the World War I was USA. Because they changed
the winner of the war.
At the start of the war, President Wilson had declared the neutrality of
the United States. Most Americans opposed US involvement in the European
war. But the sinking of the Lusitania and other German actions against
civilians drew America sympathies to the Allies. German military leaders
believed that they could still win the war by cutting off British supplies.
They expected their U-boats to starve Britain into surrendering within a few
months, longer before the US had fully prepared for war. Tension between the
US and Germany increased after the British intercepted and decoded a message
from Germany's foreign minister, Arthur Zimmermann, the German ambassador to
Mexico. The message known as the "Zimmermann note", revealed a German plot
to persuade Mexico to go to war against the United States. The British gave
the message to Wilson, and it was published in the US early in March.
Mobilization The US entered the war unprepared for battle. Strong antiwar
feelings had harmpered efforts to prepare for war. Government propaganda
pictured the war as a battle for liberty and democracy. During World War I,
US Government agencies directed the nations economy toward the war effort.
President Wison put financier Bernard M. Baruch in charge of the War
Industries Board, which turned factories into producers of war materials.
Manpower was a chief contribution to the United States to World War I. The
country entered the war with about 126,000 men. It soon orginized a draft
requiring all from 21 through 30 years old to register for military service.
The age range was broadened to 18 through 45 in 1918. Many men enlisted
voluntarily, and women signed up as nurses and office workers. The US armed
forces had almost 5 million men and women by the end of the war. Few
soldiers received much training before going overseas because the Allies
urgently needed them. Before US help could reach the Western Front, the
Allies had to overcome the U-boat threat in the Atlantic. In May 1917,
Britian began to use a convoy system, by which cargo ships went to the sea
in large groups escorted be warships. The U-boats proved no match for the
warships and Allied shipping losses dropped sharply.
The end of the war on the Eastern Front increased German hopes for victory.
By early 1918 German forces outnumbered the Allies on the Western Front. In
Spring, Germany staged three offensives. Ludendorff counted on delivering a
crushing blow to the Allies before larger numbers of Americans reached the
front. Germany first struck near St.-Quentin, a city in the Somme River
Valley, on March 21,1918. By March 26, British troops had retreated about 30
miles. In late March, the Germans began to bombard Paris with "Big Berthas".
The enormous guns hurle shells up to 75 miles. In April, after the disaster
at St-Quentin, Allied leaders appointed General Ferdinand Foch for France to
the supreme commander of the Allied forces on the Western Front. A second
German offensive began on April 9 along the Lys River in Belgium. British
troops called off the attack on April 30. Germany attacked a third time on
May 27 near the Aisne River. By May 30, German troops had reached the Marne
River. American soldiers helped France stop the German advance at the town
of Chateau-Thierry, less than 50 miles northeast of Paris. During June, US
troops drove the Germans out of Belleau Wood, a forested area near the
Marne. On July 15 German troops crossed the Marne. On July 18 Foch ordered a
counter-attack near the town of Soissons.
The critical point in World War I was the Second Battle of Marne. This
battle was fought from July 15 through August 6, 1918. After winning the
battle, the Allies advanced steadily. On August 8, Britian and France
attacked the Germans near Amiens. By early September, Germany had lost all
the territory it had gained since spring. In mid-September, Pershing led US
forces to an easy victory at St.-Mihiel. The last offensive of World War I
began on September 26, 1918. Almost 900000 US troops participated in heavy
fighting between the Argonne Forrest and the Meuse River. Ludendorff
realized that Germany could no longer overcome the superior strength of the
The Allies won victories on all fronts in the fall of 1918. Bulgaria forces
under the command of General Edmund Allenby triumphed over the Ottoman army
in Palestine and Syria. On October 30, the Ottoman Empire signed an
armistice. The last major battle between Italy and Austria-Hungary began in
late October in Italy. Italy defeated Austria-Hungary near the town of
Vittorio Veneto with the help of France and Great Britian. Austria-Hungary
signed an amistice on November 3. Germany teetered on the edge of collapse
as the war continued through October. Britian's naval blockade had nearly
starved German people and widespread discontent led to roits and rising
demands for peace. In the early morning on November 11,1918, the Germans
accepted the armistice terms demanded by the Allies. Germany agreed to
evacuate the terrorities it had taken during the war; to surrender larger
numbers of arms; and other war materials; and to allow Allied powers to
occupy German territory along the Rhine River. Foch ordered the fighting to
stop on the Western Front at 11 am. World War I was over!
Triple Alliance $(1914-18)
New Zelland 378,750,000
South Africa 300,000,000
Colonies of England 125,000,000
Central Powers $(1914-18)
Ottoman Empire 1,430,000,000
During the war, enemies of the Ottoman Empire could supply their soldiers
and resources from their colonies. So, military losses seriously affected
the Ottoman Empire. For example; in the Gallipoli Campaign, according to the
Turkish sources, the Allies' total casualties are 187.000 soldiers. The
Turkish causality is 57.084 soldiers in the land attacks and 179.000
soldiers in the naval attack and totally 211.000 soldiers. In these wars,
many educated, intellectual Turkish people had died. Their loss had
negatively effected Turkey in coming years.
Because of the geographic situation of the Ottoman Empire, army had to
fight in a large number of fronts. Some of them were for the empire's
protection, some of them were for helping their allies. Also the Arabic
people in Hicaz region were provoked by Lawrence T.E. (an English spy) who
is known as Lawrence of Arabia. These places were important because they
have petroleum resources. So, the Ottoman Empire had to use an army for
Because of the war, the Ottoman Empire's economic relations with the other
countries stopped. The empire had to create its resources from itself.
Most of the commodity which are imported before the war, now had to be
supplied from Anatolia.
During the war, because of the mobilization, most of the economical
processes were under the control of government. To supply the army's
necessities, the empire sometimes bought, sometimes confiscated. Most of the
commodity and services were used for army so the economic level of the
people in Anatolia decreased.
As a result; not only the Ottoman Empire was in war but also the economy
was weak so the people of Anatolia could not survive easily.
On October 30,1918 The Ottoman Empire signed the Mudros Armistice which had
heavy terms that spelled, in brief, unconditional surrender. On the 13th of
November, allied battleships and cruisers anchored in the İstanbul harbor.
The city was unofficially occupied. That same day, Mustafa Kemal, a
full-general at the age of 37, the brilliant tactician of the Dardanelles
and other fronts, disembarked from the train which brought him back home
from the southern front. He said to his adjutant: "Don't worry young man.
They shall go the way they came."
After the world war I, Mudros and Sevres treaties damaged the Ottoman
Empire's "sick" economy. By the help of these treaties a lot of new
countries gained advantage from capitulations and had authorization to
occupy every place they want in the empire.
According to Sevres Treaty, the Ottoman Empire's economy will be adjusted
by a commision whose members are England, France, Italy and the Ottoman
Empire. This means the empire will not have a freedom economically. Hicaz
region will be independent. This means there will be no petroleum resources
in the country. Bosphorus will be governed by a special government
consisting of members from Europe. This special region will have its own
flag, economic structure and army. So it will not be useful for the empire
any more. The Ottoman country was only the middle Anatolia so it was very
hard to industrialize for the empire.
Fortunately, by the help of the Independence War, these treaties were
cancelled: The views expressed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 were
that Turkey would be divided up. Meanwhile in the Aegean region the Greek
Army was advancing swiftly, equipped by Great Britain with the most modern
weapons of the day, the French were rapidly occupying in southeastern
Anatolia and in the east the Army of the Armenian Republic was advancing.
The Ottoman government, implementing the terms of the armistice, was against
any form of resistance on the grounds that it would "anger" the enemies. The
Ottoman governments have no power or decisiveness. Therefore the Turkish
nation must decide its own fate and map its own future. The only path to
this goal is the founding of a new state based on the sovereignty of the
nation. On his return from the front to İstanbul, Mustafa Kemal Pasha
realized the hopelessness of the situation, and that the time had come to
put into action the plans he had nourished since his youth. He decided to go
into Anatolia and pursue the struggle from there. In the early months of
1919 Anatolia was a hotbed of troubles, and Mustafa Kemal requested that the
government assign him to go and deal with them. This request was accepted,
and he left İstanbul with this understanding.
On May 19, 1919 he set foot in Samsun. Mustafa Kemal Pasha was now in
Anatolia, to unite it and reconcile antagonistic factions. His first step
would be to bring about the congresses he had planned, one by one. An
association known as the Legal Society for the Defense of Anatolia and
Rumelia wanted the Ottoman Parliament to convene and establish peace
conditions, but in this matter Mustafa Kemal was not hopeful. Nevertheless
the Parliament, in the National Oath of January 28,1920, asked for a peace
in which all borders were removed that threatened the territorial integrity
of Turkey. Only if this condition were met could peace talks be held. The
Entente Powers, who had thought the Eastern Question was resolved, were
greatly disturbed by this action taken under the influence of the Anatolian
National Movement, and in their anger occupied İstanbul on March 16,1920.
Thus for the first time in 467 years the city no longer had the status of
Ottoman capital. Not long before this, on December 27, 1919, Ankara had been
made the center of national resistance, and it was now time to found a
National Parliament. The Entente Powers dictated the final peace of the
World War I, the Peace of Sevres (August 10,1920), which the Ottoman
government was forced to sign. Under the terms of this peace, all of eastern
Thrace, plus İzmir and the Aegean region, were ceded to Greece. The straits
were to be managed jointly, without the participation of the Turks. In
addition, a large part of the country's eastern territory was ceded to
Armenia, which had been established in Russia. Southern Anatolia was to be
settled by French, Italian and British populations, so that only a small
Ottoman State was left in Anatolia.
This peace roused the patriotic fervor of the Turks even more, and the
youthful army of the new state began to win its first victories. The
Armenian army, which had occupied Eastern Anatolia at the end of World War
I, was expelled from these territories and signed a peace at Gümrü on
December 3, 1920, while the progress of the Greeks, who had set their sights
on Ankara, was brought to a halt. The first diplomatic contacts with the new
Turkish state now began to be made, as the Soviet Union, impressed by the
victories that Turkish National Assembly Army have cited, signed an aid
agreement at Moscow on March 16,1921. Meanwhile the French advance in the
southeast was put to a definitive halt by the Turkish militia. These
developments led Greece, at the instigation of Great Britain, to prepare a
major new offensive, and they advanced as far as the Sakarya River near
Ankara. Meanwhile the National Assembly was temporarily relieving Mustafa
Kemal of his powers so that he could devote his attentions to the war as
Commander in Chief. The Greeks renewed their offensive on August 23,1921,
and were repulsed on September 13 after 22 days and nights of fighting in
which no quarter was given. With this victory, a thousand years of the
Turkish presence in Anatolia were confirmed. After this victory won with the
meagerest of means, the French signed a peace with Ankara on October
20,1921, while the Italians also evacuated from the territory they had
occupied. This left the Greeks and British alone. The following year, in
September, 1922, the Greeks were expelled from Anatolia as the result of a
grand Turkish offensive. The British were determined to remain in eastern
Thrace and the straits at all costs, but thanks to the wise policies of the
Turkish government they found themselves isolated. They were thus compelled
to sign an armistice, at Mudanya on October 11,1922. There was all the
difference in the world between this armistice and that of Mudros signed
some four years previously.
After his victory at the Battle of the Sakarya, Mustafa Kemal was given the
rank of Marshal by the National Assembly and in addition was awarded the
title of Gazi. This title is reserved by the Islamic world for only its
Mustafa Kemal Pasha wanted to sign a peace which would confirm the
independence and freedom from conditions of the new Turkish state, while the
Allies, preparing to meet in Lausanne, aimed for an agreement which would
take the Treaty of Sevres as its model, even though the Turkish National
Assembly did not recognize this treaty. In order to divide the Turks at the
conference, the Entente Powers had also invited the İstanbul government.
This was taken as an outrage by the Turkish National Assembly, which had no
choice but to legally dissolve the Ottoman Sultanate. This they did on
November 1, 1922. Thus the Ottoman Sultanate, which had already expired in
fact, legally too became a thing of the past. So now, there was only one
government in Turkey, that founded by the Turkish National Assembly.
The Turkish state was represented at Lausanne by a national hero, İsmet
Pasha (İnönü). The Turkish delegation stood alone, for England, France and
their allies had formed a common front in order to preserve their interests.
There was no one to back Turkey's cause, so that İsmet İnönü and the rest of
the delegation were compelled to wage a diplomatic battle like that of the
Sakarya. The peace signed at Lausanne on July 24,1923, put an end to the
centuries-old Eastern Question, and gave the new Turkish State complete
independence. The forces of occupation in İstanbul, which had arrived on
November 13, 1918, departed on October 2, 1923, saluting the Turkish flag as
Turkey had no resources for the Independence War so Turkish National
Assembly tried to get resources from the people of Anatolia. The name of the
orders which are used for this purpose is Tekalif-i Milliye. Turkish people
gave 40% of their goods or riches to Turkish National Assembly for the
Independence War. They were guns, shoes, cables, cotton, cattle animals,
clothes, petroleum, diesel, tires, cells, sulfiric acid, straw, flour,
barley, rope, sugar, soap, salt, candles, horseshoes, nails... After the war
Turkish National Assembly gave back all these commodity to Turkish people.
After the Independence War most of the foreign businessmen and merchants
left Turkey. The number of qualified workers decreased. Because of that
Turkey had to educate its own workers again. The only economic process was
agriculture during these days.
Despite the unrecoverable situation of economy, Turkey could win the
Independence War. Turkish people did not fight with their guns only. They
also fought with their commodity and riches. This made the Independence War
special. Also it was special because Turkey was against imperialist
countries. This war affected the whole world. After the Independence War
most of the colonies of the imperialist countries tried to be independent.
This event changed the world's economic structure.
Conclusion: The Ottoman Empire was a "sick" man before the world war I. The
government thought that they could gain a lot of things by the help of the
war by choosing the right side. But Germany was the wrong choice. Although
they have a great army, they had disadvantages for the war: They have not
got so much colonies. Also USA entered the war. Because of these reasons
Germany lost the war. Although the Ottoman Army fighted bravely, the empire
lost too. Not only the war but also the Sebres Treaty damaged the economy.
The Ottoman economy became worse. Fortunately, Turkish National Assembly
could win the Independence War. By the help of this war, Sevres Treaty was
cancelled. Otherwise, it will be impossible to recover the economy.
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