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Ryan Gingeras

Autor(a) de The Last Days of the Ottoman Empire

10 Works 118 Membros 2 Reviews

About the Author

Ryan Gingeras is Associate Professor in the National Security Affairs Department in the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Obras de Ryan Gingeras


Conhecimento Comum



The Hapsburg and Russian Empires both collapsed at the end of the First World War, but the Ottoman Empire ended the war still at least nominally in charge of its own territory. Despite being on the losing side and being widely known as "the sick man of Europe", there seemed to be no immediate prospect of the Sultan being forced to step back. The main modernisers of the Ottoman state, the Committee of Union and Progress ("Young Turks"), who had come to power in 1908, were in disgrace in 1918 because of the large-scale human-rights abuses committed under their leadership against Armenian and Greek Christians, Kurds, and other non-Turkish-speaking or non-Muslim communities. Yet, four years later, and after a lot of at best misguided intervention by Britain, France and Greece (and hundreds of thousands of people on all sides killed and millions made homeless), everyone seemed to be quite happy to see the Sultan displaced by an authoritarian, nationalist Ankara government led by Mustafa Kemal, with an ideology that seemed to have a lot in common with that of the CUP.

Ryan Gingeras takes us through the complex events of 1918-1923, which involves a lot of back and forth as there were usually several different conflicts going on in parallel in different corners of what had been the empire. The Turkish state has long been determined to control what historians have to say about its origins (basically, you weren't allowed to go beyond Mustafa Kemal's own account of events) and has typically kept academics out of late Ottoman records because of sensitivities about the Armenian genocide; that has softened a little under Erdoğan, who identifies more with Ottoman history than with Kemal, but it's still problematic, and it means that most outside accounts have had to lean heavily on what was written by foreign occupiers or Armenian and Greek exiles. Gingeras tries to compensate for this built in bias and dig down into what Turks themselves thought about the situation through the memoirs of officers in the Ottoman and Nationalist armies, but there's still a lot of speculation involved.

It's difficult to come to any conclusions from this book, except that all parties — states and individual leaders — seem to come out of it equally badly. The Ottoman Empire was a mess, and every attempt to resolve that mess seems to have made things worse by overlooking the human effects of what was being done. It certainly undermines any idea we might have had of Mustafa Kemal as an enlightened reformer. He was a successful fighter and an opportunistic negotiator with foreign powers, who came home from Lausanne with treaty that legitimised ethnic cleansing (as "population exchange"). Not exactly an enlightened role model for the twentieth century.
… (mais)
thorold | Jul 22, 2023 |
A book which contains good information dealing with not only the Turkish politics of the period but also good coverage of the North African, European and Arab lands. The Ottoman state was an entity collapsing on many fronts. Not yet settled after the Balkan War of 1912, WWI derailed any further attempts to create a modern and multi-ethnic Polity in Anatolia. If coupled with “A Peace to End Al Peace”, by David Fromkin, you will gain a good perspective on the events in this area.
DinadansFriend | Nov 25, 2018 |



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