Ottoman High Command 1914–18


Map Code: Ax00380

In 1913, following the loss of the bulk of their remaining European territory in the Balkan War, a coup d’état placed the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP) in charge of the Ottoman government. Within the CUP, real power resided with the so-called ‘Three Pashas’ Enver, Talaat and Djemal, who respectively assumed responsibility for the War, Interior and Naval Ministries. Both the Sultan and Grand Vizier became largely tangential figures in the prosecution of the war, and the triumvirate provided decisive, if erratic war leadership (each commanding armies in battle at various points, with mixed results). The Ottoman Empire was still a pre-industrial economy in 1914, its armed forces ill-equipped and supplied, its rail network embryonic, manufacturing and agriculture primitive. This considered, its war performance over four fronts has generally been highly regarded, particularly where stubborn defence was required – the Gallipoli campaign being a prime example.

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