|A photo from the siege before it ended|
Background- The Ottoman Empire was once the supreme power in not only the Middle East but all of the Mediterranean, North African and Europe. By the 19th Century though with the rise of France, Britain and Russia the Ottomans had become 'the sick man of Europe'. Ethnic clashes weakened the empire further and from 1894 to 1896 there were the Hamidian Massacres where the Ottoman government killed 100,000 to 300,000 Armenians years before the aforementioned Armenian Genocide. In 1909 the a revolutionary group wanting to modernize the Ottoman Empire but keep it's traditions and empire called the Young Turks seized power making Mehmed V a figurehead Sultan. Germany however provided aid and support to the Ottoman modernization in an attempt to win an ally in the Middle East against the strength of France and Britain who were closely linked to the Ottoman Empire. France, Germany and Britain all sent aid to the crumbling empire, even when it went to war in the Balkans from 1912 to 1913, but Germany started to gain closer links. Britain and France had formed the Allies with the Ottoman Empires long standing rival Russia and the Ottoman government had lost faith in its former allies who had profited from the empire's collapse; Britain actually drew Egypt and Cyprus as notable examples into the British Empire's sphere of influence. This allowed a pro-German faction in the government to get a foothold but the government was still largely pro-British until though until blood was spilled in the streets of Sarajevo. Following the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, war seemed to almost break out in Europe which meant Britain recalled the ambassador allowing German diplomats to sway the Ottomans onto the Central Powers with the pro-British faction now isolated without the ambassador. When war broke out in Europe violations of Ottoman neutrality from both the Germans and the British drew Europe's old man into a war which would spell it's end, a grueling siege and the massacre of many innocent people.
The Armenian Genocide
|An image of the notorious death march|
Response- Almost daily the New York Times reported the massacre of Armenians and Theodore Roosevelt described as 'the greatest crime of the war'. The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief was set up which managed to rescue 132,000 orphans in its first year alone and managed to rescue 2 million refugees. This was one of the most documented relief missions but there were others such as numerous Turkish officials refusing to carry out deportation orders and the governor of Aleppo, Mehmet Celal Bey sent telegrams demanding shelter for those being deported after he was removed from office after refusing to deport people and the governor of Ankara Hasan Mazhar Bey too refused to deport Armenians. Reports from German envoys who refused to censor the crimes managed to get widespread publicity, particularly Armin T. Winger. Following the war Turkey's first President, Ataturk, denounced the massacres also calling it a 'shameful act'. Numerous officials were court martialled following the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and here is the following statement from it:
The Court Martial taking into consideration the above-named crimes declares, unanimously, the culpability as principal factors of these crimes the fugitives Talaat Pasha, former Grand Vizir, Enver Efendi, former War Minister, struck off the register of the Imperial Army, Cemal Efendi, former Navy Minister, struck off too from the Imperial Army, and Dr. Nazim Efendi, former Minister of Education, members of the General Council of the Union & Progress, representing the moral person of that party; ... the Court Martial pronounces, in accordance with said stipulations of the Law the death penalty against Talaat, Enver, Cemal, and Dr. Nazim.However many later had their charges dropped although some were later re-trialed in Malta and two were assassinated. Today though recognition of the event being a genocide is contested with only 24 countries as of 2015 recognizing it as genocide although areas of other countries have recognized the event as a genocide such as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the UK, 43 US states and the Van municipality in Turkey. Although regardless the event has the unfortunate honor of being the first mass atrocity of the 20th Century.
The Gallipoli Campaign
Repercussions and Legacy- The immediate effect was a massive moral boost for the Ottomans. The crumbling empire had managed to deliver a crushing blow on the Allied troops which strengthened support for the Ottoman regime. Winston Churchill became dishonored thanks to his failed campaign and he was forced out of office to go fight as a Lieutenant-Colonel and if it wasn't thanks to his friend David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister a few years later he probably would never have returned to politics. He even stated on his first day back in politics that he didn't feel that he belonged there and it was plague him for the rest of his life. It was also largely seen as Australia and New Zealand finally showing the world that they were separate entities from the British Empire as ANZAC fought by themselves in, as stated earlier, a baptism of fire so it set the two nations as being their own. To mark this the 25th April is celebrated as ANZAC Day. In years to come military planners would look to Gallipoli to avoid future mistakes with the D-Day landings and Britain's invasion of Argentina during the Falkland's War being planned to avoid the same mistakes that happened at Gallipoli.
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