2354) The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com Edited by MARIAN KENT
Deakin University

Since The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire went out of print some years ago there has been continued demand by scholars and students for a reissue. This second edition responds to that demand. As neither those who contributed to the first edition of this volume nor those who reviewed it have wished any substantive amendments to be made to it, it remains essentially as when first published in 1984.

Of the many excellent works in related fields that have appeared since the volume first went to press, a few ought to be mentioned here. Among broad works on policy and diplomacy of the First World War, David Stevenson's The First World War and International Politics (Oxford, 1988) should be noted. On European economic penetration in the Ottoman Empire readers would find the following helpful: Roderic H. Davison's Essays in Ottoman and Turkish History, 1770-1920: The Impact of the West (Austin, Texas, 1990), S,evket Pamuk's The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism 1820-1913: Trade, Investment and Production (Cambridge, 1987) and Donald Quataert's Social Disintegration and Popular Resistance in the Ottoman Empire 1881-1908: Reactions to European Penetration (New York, 1983). On Italian imperial ambitions attention should be drawn to Marta Petricioli's L'Italia in Asia Minore: equilibrio mediterraneo e ambizioni imperialiste alla vigilia della prima guerra mondiale (Florence, 1983). Thomas Child's Italo-Turkish Diplomacy and the War over Libya 1911-1912 (Leiden, 1990) might also be mentioned. Shedding light on German-Turkish relations during the war, Ulrich Trumpener's article, 'Suez, Baku, Gallipoli: The Military Dimensions of the German-Ottoman Coalition, 1914-1918', appeared first in Keith Neilson and Roy A. Prete (eds), Coalition Warfare: An Uneasy Accord (Waterloo, Ontario, 1983) and later in Bela Kiraly and Nandor Dreisziger (eds), East Central European Society in World War One (New York, 1985). One important work on French diplomacy that should be mentioned is M.B. Hayne, The French Foreign Office and the Origins of the First World War 1898-1914 (Oxford, 1993). Finally, on Britain's imperial activities in the Middle East at this time there is my own Moguls and Mandarins: Oil, Imperialism and the Middle East in British Foreign Policy, 1900-1940 (London, 1993).

Marian Kent
Geelong, 1994


This volume originated some years ago in informal discussions among the three Australian contributors on European activities in the Ottoman Empire. Each of these contributors was engaged in university teaching and research in his or her particular Power's interests in the Ottoman Empire. It seemed a useful idea to consider an even wider co-operative venture in a formal publication bringing together specialists on the interests and activities of all the European Great Powers in the Ottoman Empire. This book is the end product of that idea.

Such activities by the European Great Powers have often been considered to be the cause of the Ottoman Empire's collapse after the First World War. It seemed desirable, therefore, to examine this belief in the context of a comparative, factual study, the product of precise research based on the widest range of archival and other sources. In such a way an informed and balanced answer could be attempted. The book aims primarily at the specialist reader, whether researcher or undergraduate. It is, none the less, hoped that it might be interesting and valuable to a wider readership.

In order to produce a work of original research that would provide authoritative and up-to-date interpretations of the subject fairly tight limits of time-scale were needed to give the work a manageable size and integrated form. The book follows a clear overall theme. At the same time the individuality of the separate chapters has been preserved, through each contributor pursuing an individual theme based on the particular national concerns of his or her Great Power. Cross-referencing helps the reader make comparisons among the chapters as he proceeds, and each chapter attempts to draw a conclusion on the relative responsibility of that Power for the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

In putting together the individual conclusions a consensus does emerge. The spreading of the exact proportions of responsibility will, however, inevitably involve some weighing up by the reader. It would appear clear, nevertheless, that responsibility must be shared, both among the Great Powers and between them and the Ottoman Empire itself. The vicious circle postulated in the first chapter seems a valid concept.

One matter that should be mentioned here is that of spelling. As anyone familiar with this field knows, there are wide variations in the spelling of places and personal names of this part of the world. The contributors have decided not to standardise these spellings. Each is writing from the standpoint of his or her particular Great Power and therefore it seemed appropriate to retain the forms of spelling (or of their anglicisation) normally occurring in the contemporary documentation of the individual Powers. The first chapter, on the Ottoman Empire itself, uses spelling acceptable to present-day Turkish scholarship.

It is not possible in a composite work for each contributor to make detailed thanks by name to the archive personnel, scholars and others who are always so helpful in any research undertaking. We are always indebted to such help. But as most of the editing of the draft chapters occurred while this editor was visiting the Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies of the University of Toronto special thanks are due to that department for its hospitality and to the University for use of its excellent resources at that time. This editor is also grateful to professor W.N. Medlicott, formerly of the London School of Economics, for his advice on the project. Finally, I should like to thank my colleague, Ray Duplain, who drew the maps.

Marian Kent
Geelong, 1982
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