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2SO3 October 18.docx

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McMaster University
Martin Horn

2SO3 October 18 The Great Powers employ troops from their imperial empires. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck Ottoman Empire - Dominant power in the middle-east since about 1500 - Steadily been shedding territory from 1700 onward Levant, Mesopotamia - Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, southern Iraq - Ottoman possessions in 1914 - Sultans are religious figures Caliphs Sunni Muslim - Sultans are leaders of this world Istanbul (Constantinople) - Imperial capital Young Turks 1908 - A movement seizes power in Istanbul, wanted internal reform - Viewed by European states with considerable unease - Used to the sick man of Europe staying in bed - Disastrous wars halt them before WWI – dispossess Ottoman of most of their remaining territories and their part of Africa - Want to regain what had been lost through WWI - Want to reassert authority of Istanbul over territories Kurds, Armenians, Arabs - Different religious faiths the YTs don’t know if they can rely on - Sows seeds of suspicion Germans see the middle east as a way to strike at the British Suez Canal - Germans want to threated British ownership of this - Get the sultans on your side and declare holy war on British - British know this is vital for them – need to control it - Oil in southern Mesopotamia – Anglo-Iranian oil company -> BP – necessary for Royal Navy Russians want what they have always wanted, they want to control the Dardanelles and take Istanbul – would allow them to reclaim Byzantine Empire Many competing for the Middle East Ottomans enter the war Caucasus – Russians press the Ottomans here - Turks begin offensive in Dec 1914 but there are lots of mountains and lots of snow – not prepared and suffer terribly Dardanelles - British try to take Istanbul through here and Euphrates/Tigris rivers while the Turks attack Suez Canal 4 offensives at one, not good for Turks, a lot of failing 1915-16: mixed military fortunes in the Middle East - Very powerful Turkish resistance and Allied bungling Mustafa Kemal - Command on the Caucasus front, stabilizes it Baku – Caspian Sea - lost to the Russians but regained T.E. Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia Hashemite clan and Sherif Hussein bin Ali – Arab Revolt 1916 - while they revolt, British move into Israel Battle of Beersheba Oct 1917 - Key blow struck by cavalry charge - Australians in the Middle East - Cavalry not yet completely useless - B continue to Jerusalem and Damascus by end of the war - In Mesopotamia, things not going so well. Got too ambitious and General Charles Townshend pushed up the river North, too far from supply lines – trapped and outnumbered at Kut in 1916. His force is Anglo-Indian and he is forced to surrender. British move more troops from India, retrieve the situation and continue the push in 1
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