100 years ago today: the Ottomans and WWI

I’m out for most of the day, but of you’re interested please go read Michael Collins Dunn’s great piece on how Winston Churchill helped drive the Ottoman Empire into an alliance with Germany:

One hundred years ago today, Austria declared war on Serbia, lighting the fuse that within a week would transform what Bismarck had called the Balkan powder keg into a Europe-wide explosion. It was one month exactly since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

On the same day, July 28, two men on opposite sides of Europe would take actions that would lead to the Ottoman Empire joining the German side. In London, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill initiated the idea of confiscating two Turkish battleships being built in British shipyards, one already complete and the other nearing completion, and adding them to the Royal Navy. Meanwhile on the same day in Constantinople, the most pro-German member of the Ottoman Cabinet, War Minister Enver Pasha, was proposing an alliance to the German Ambassador. Over the coming days Churchill’s move inadvertently would provoke popular outrage in Turkey, helping push reluctant members of the Cabinet into Enver’s pro-German camp.

Author: DWD

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