World War I and the Collapse of the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire was among the biggest military and economic powers globally. While the effects of World War I are often under-examined, it was one of the factors that led to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. World War I illuminated the futile efforts of the empire as it tried to modernize and adapt to the changing times. The Ottoman Empire also fought on the losing end of World War I, therefore, contributing to its demise. World War I directly influenced the end of the Ottoman Empire, given that it fought on the losing end and could not adapt to the industrial needs that would have allowed its success.
As aforementioned, the Ottoman Empire fought on the losing side of the Ottoman Empire as it decided to side with Germany. In 1914, the Ottoman Empire abandoned its longstanding relationship with Britain. This result led to a crushing defeat of the Ottoman Empire only four years later. This occurrence was due to the Ottoman Empire lacking enough industrial might to produce weaponry, the iron, and steel needed to build railroads essential in the war effort.
The Ottoman Empire lacked sufficient resources to counter the onslaught of the Allies. The armistice of 31 October 1918 that ended the conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies would result in instability in the region. The British gained control of Ottoman strongholds, such as Syria and Palestine, while the French and Greek also occupied the Ottoman Thrace and Constantinople. Therefore, the empire’s leader, Sultan Mehmed VI, lost his powers. The Ottoman Empires’ armies were destroyed by Britain’s final onslaught on Syria and Palestine. This event would be the beginning of the end for the once-powerful Ottoman Empire.
Having been on the losing side of the First World War, the Ottoman territories were partitioned by the allied powers. The French and the British created protectorate from the territories once ruled by the Ottomans. Consequently, the interim Ottoman government came under pressure to suppress some nationalist groups, which resulted in a brutal civil war ended by the Treaty of Sèvres. The terms of the treaty destroyed the credibility of the interim Ottoman government, therefore, failing to stop the influence of the Allied forces on its territory.
The military powerful and ethnically diverse Ottoman Empire officially came to an end with the abolishment of the title of Ottoman Sultan. The Ottoman Empire initially entered the war, intending to establish itself as a sovereign state and extend its influence on the neighboring regions. Before this period, the Ottoman Empire was mostly agrarian and could not cope with the industrialized opponents. The Ottoman armies lost a significant amount of soldiers allowing the British to trump whatever resistance was left. World War I would have a devastating effect on the empire primarily because of its partnership with central powers.
Despite the Ottoman Empire already experiencing decline before World War 1, its decision to side with the central powers would cause its downfall. This agrarian empire failed to counter efforts by the largely industrialized allied powers. Insufficient resources to build railroads and weaponry were among the deciding factors. Furthermore, the loss of the central powers would mean that Ottoman territories split between the victorious allied powers. This aspect would result in the abolishment of the title of Ottoman Sultan. World War I was, therefore, a prominent deciding factor in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
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