Page 3533

3533 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

CHAPTER CLXXVIL- TURKEY ENTERS THE WAR.

IN an earlier chapter

we stated that German influence had long

been active in the Ottoman Empire. Germans not only viewed

the domains of the

Sultan as a suitable

region for commercial exploitation and

possibly for colonization but they cultivated the Turkish Government in the

hope of enlisting it alongside the Triple

Alliance in case of the outbreak of a

general war. Despite occasional setbacks,

they secured concessions for railroads

and managed to impress some of the most

forceful of the Turkish leaders with the

idea that Turkey would do well to lean

upon the strong arm of the Kaiser.

The Turkish people viewed the outbreak

of the war with mixed feelings. The

country had not yet recovered from the

effects of two disastrous wars, and the

more cautious shrunk from plunging into

a third. On the other hand, past history,

aside from German intrigues, rendered

the Turks generally more sympathetic

toward the Central Powers than toward

the Allies. The Balkan War in which

Turkey had lost most of her European

possessions was still recent, and it was

natural that the Turks should rejoice over

the troubles of her despoilers, Servia and

Montenegro. The shadow of the Russian

Bear had long hung over the land, and

Russia was one of the Allies. Against

France the Turks had no considerable

grudges of recent date, but some had not

forgotten that she held Tunis and Algeria,

once a part of the Ottoman dominions.

England had long been the "Sick Man's"

chief supporter against Muscovite aggressions, but England held Egypt, contrary

to Turkish views of the fitness of things,

had refused to permit Turkish troops to

pass through the country to Tripoli at

the time of the war with Italy, was now

allied with Russia, and, at the outbreak

of the present war, had taken over

two Turkish warships that were building in

British shipyards.

Under international law England's right

to do this was beyond question, and,

of course, she undertook to reimburse

Turkey; nevertheless, the act aroused

much feeling among the Turks. The

money with which to pay for the ships

had partly been raised by public subscription, and the Turks had looked forward to obtaining the vessels in order

to wreak vengeance upon Greece, which

had recently strengthened her navy by

purchasing two American pre-dreadnoughts, the Idaho and the Mississippi.

German agents made the most of the

opportunity, and violent attacks on the

British, "all emanating from the German

Embassy, began to fill the Turkish press."

Furthermore, Baron von Wangenheim,

the German Ambassador, urged the Turkish Government to buy the Goeben and

Breslau, whose escape from Messina to

the Dardanelles has already been described,

and incorporate them in the Turkish navy

in place of the ships taken over by England.

On the very day that the two cruisers

entered the Dardanelles, a Turkish newspaper announced the "sale." According

to Henry Morgenthau, the American

Ambassador to Turkey, "Wangenheim's

maneuver accomplished two purposes: it

placed Germany before the populace as

Turkey's friend, and it also provided a subterfuge for getting the ships through the

Dardanelles, and enabling them to remain

in Turkish waters. All this beguiled the

more ignorant of the Turkish people, and

gave the Cabinet a plausible ground for

meeting the objection of Entente diplomats,

but it did not deceive any intelligent

person."

Against one member of the Triple

Alliance, namely Italy, the Turks entertained feelings as bitter as those that were