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eBook The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, 1898-1918 epub

by Sean McMeekin

eBook The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, 1898-1918 epub
  • ISBN: 0141047658
  • Author: Sean McMeekin
  • Genre: History
  • Subcategory: Europe
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Penguin UK (May 24, 2011)
  • Pages: 480 pages
  • ePUB size: 1262 kb
  • FB2 size 1432 kb
  • Formats azw lrf doc mobi


Sean McMeekin's book helps us understand how such a pearl of murderous mendacity could ever have been uttered. The Berlin-Baghdad railway runs like a thread through the whole calamitous tale.

Sean McMeekin's book helps us understand how such a pearl of murderous mendacity could ever have been uttered. Its construction, begun in 1903, was repeatedly delayed for financial and technical reasons: 27 tunnels were required, many of them kilometres long through the Taurus mountains.

The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power is a book by Sean McMeekin, first published in 2010.

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The Berlin-Baghdad Express book. Sean McMeekin has written a classic of First World War history. This superb and original book is the reality behind Greenmantle' Norman Stone.

Germany saw the ambitious Berlin-to-Baghdad railway as a powerful tool to win World War I. But the doomed project wasn't completed until 1940. The railway debacle provides a colorful backdrop for historian McMeekin's look at the Great War from the German-Turk perspective; as a cast of ruthless characters illustrate Germany's attempt to topple what was then the largest Middle East power: the British Empire. Sean McMeekin shows how the ambitious plan to build a railroad from Central Europe to Mesopotamia was the key.

Sean McMeekin’s book helps us understand how such a pearl of murderous mendacity could ever have been uttered. The Berlin-Baghdad Express is also a phenomenally entertaining narrative

Sean McMeekin’s book helps us understand how such a pearl of murderous mendacity could ever have been uttered. Islamic ties to National Socialism can be traced back as far as Kaiser Hajji Wilhelm II (German emperor from 1888-1918) who, for not especially religious reasons, became infatuated with the Muslim world. The Berlin-Baghdad Express is also a phenomenally entertaining narrative. Featuring a dramatis personae that puts Indiana Jones to shame, McMeekin’s book opens up a window on to the vanished, all-but-forgotten world of German Orientalism and the band of scholar-adventurers who fanned out across the Middle East to win converts to the cause.

Told from the perspective of the key decision-makers on the Turco-German side, many of the most consequential events of World War I - Turkey's entry into the war, Gallipoli, the Armenian massacres, the Arab revolt, and the Russian Revolution - are illuminated as never before.

Sean McMeekin has written two previous books, both published by Yale University Press: The Red Millionaire and .

Sean McMeekin has written two previous books, both published by Yale University Press: The Red Millionaire and History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks. He splits his time between the USA and Turkey. I thought this book would be about the so called jihad Germany and Turkey tried to instigate against the British in the First World War, and about the Berlin to Baghdad railway. Instead we get a politically boring book, that has hardly any information on the construction of this so-called railway, or the military campaigns of the German's helping Turkey in Palestine, Mesopotamia and hardly anything about Gallipoli, or why the Turks were victorious there.

WINNER OF THE BARBARA JELAVICH BOOK PRIZE 'Sean McMeekin has written a classic of First World War history ... This superb and original book is the reality behind Greenmantle' Norman Stone The Berlin-Baghdad Express explores one of the big, previously unresearched subjects of the First World War: the German bid for world power - and the destruction of the British Empire - through the harnessing of the Ottoman Empire. McMeekin's book shows how incredibly high the stakes were in the Middle East - with the Germans in the tantalizing position of taking over the core of the British Empire via the extraordinary railway that would link Central Europe and the Persian Gulf. Germany sought the Ottoman Empire as an ally to create jihad against the British - whose Empire at the time was the largest Islamic power in the world. The Berlin-Baghdad Express is a fascinating account of western interference in the Middle East and its lamentable results. It explains and brings to life a massive area of fighting, which in most other accounts is restricted to the disaster at Gallipoli and the British invasions of Iraq and Palestine.
Comments: (7)
Marilore
Through The Berlin-Baghdad Express, Sean McMeekin provides an interesting perspective into how the German alliance with Turkey during WWI changed history and how events that occurred as a result of this alliance strongly impact our world to this very day. Although the title addresses the railway the Germans planned on building from Germany to Arabia via the Ottoman Empire, it is less about the planned railway line and more about this alliance. The purpose of the railway was to transport raw materials to Germany from the Orient to feed a united and growing German population while also enabling the Turks to more effectively transport and mobilize their troops in case of conflict with Russia and other foes, both internal and external.

The plan of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Max von Oppenheim was to stir up Islamic Jihad among the many Muslim subjects in the British and Russian Empires. By allying Germany with the Ottoman Empire and bringing the Turks on their side for the great war as well as spreading propaganda among Muslims in British India and Egypt as well as southern Russia and Central Asia, Max von Oppenheim believed that resulting Islamic uprisings in both Empires would lead to revolts and destruction, thereby, sealing a victory for the Central Powers during WWI.

However, this plan proved to be a disaster for a number of reasons. For one, there was no unity among the different Muslim tribes both inside and outside the Ottoman Empire. The different Arab tribes were at war with one another and these tribes did not appreciate the Turks ruling over the lands they inhabited. In addition, per the author, the Arab warriors proved unwilling to fight against the British. The neighboring Persians were also at odds with Ottoman Turkey. Secondly, the subjects of the increasingly impoverished Ottoman Empire were often dependent on receiving supplies from outside the Empire where the waters were controlled by the Royal Navy. Furthermore, the relationship between Germany and Turkey became increasingly strained largely due to disagreements about German officers running the Turkish military.

Sean McMeekin makes some interesting points at the end of the book. He indicates that the German spread of propaganda inciting Islamic Jihad in the early 1900s has triggered the extremist attitudes that exist in the Middle East and North Africa to this day. Also, if the Ottoman Empire had not joined the losing side in WWI, perhaps, it would have survived with there being a more stable Middle East today.
Rasmus
Not being a professional historian as some of the more negative reviewers seem to be I cannot comment accurately on some of the more intense criticisms. Overall I thought it was worthy effort mainly because the subject is just not dealt with in any detail in the standard WW1 histories. Most histories focus so heavily on Lawrence and Gallipoli from a British point of view that a novice might have no idea of the importance of the Caucasian front or even Mesopotamia. So for that I am thankful. The book certainly does a good job illuminating to some extent the utter complexity of the Near East theater in the War. I play a board game called 'Pursuit of Glory' (GMT games--check it out!) that deals with the Near East theater of the war and this book really enhanced my understanding of the game and what assumptions it makes. I do concur completely with the people who wondered why the novel 'Greenmantle' was referenced so frequently by a university historian! You don't see that very often. On the other hand maybe I will read that (plan to check on Amazon after this!). And the last chapter seemed to be almost a throwaway where McMeekin free associates on the possibilities that emerged from the mess of this conflict. Maybe he felt he earned a speculation chapter but it did detract the 'professionality' of the work somewhat. The pictures are cool, especially the train stations, but how about some actual trains or even the tunnel near Adana? That would have been fantastic! He also needed at least one photo of Liman Von Sanders and less of Max Oppenheim. The author seemed mildly obssessed with Oppenheim. Actually I just checked the book jacket, McMeekin is a professor of International Relations not History, at Bilkent University. Perhaps this explains some of the oddities of the work and his need to draw some rather tenuous (though not necessarily incorrect) connections to today in that last chapter.
Jay
This is about the eastern end of the WW1 fight and how this railroad influenced the start of the war, the jihad declared and the development of war in the Middle East as it was the best route Germany had to aid the Ottoman Empire and how the incompleteness of the railroad lead to failure in Suez of Ottoman troops. I found it helpful in understanding better the mess in the Middle East for us today.
Lightbinder
Excellent, I would recommend this book to anyone who has interest in WWI and current events. It is one of the best history books I ever read. I found many similarities in the political occurrences that led up to the war and during the wartime operations reflected in todays events.
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