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Espionage

(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…

Dardanelles

(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. Meanwhile, a military stalemate had set in on the Western Front. This led the British leadership to consider an alternative strategy, in which the Royal Navy would have a central role. The most influential advocate for a strategy against Turkey was First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. He sought to have a British naval formation penetrate the straits, and arrive at Constantinople. The capitulation of Turkey, moreover, would have far-reaching consequences. The badly equipped Russians cou…

Macedonia

(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 …

India

(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.…

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 …
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