Page 3534

3534 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

felt toward any of the Allies; but, as we

have seen, Italy stood aside, and, from the

point of view of Teutonic relations with

Turkey, rendered her old partners a service by doing so.

The Turkish Government was divided

as to what course to pursue. It appears

that the Sultan, the Heir Apparent, the

Grand Vizier, and some other ministers

were for continued neutrality; but the real

power, at this time, was in the hands of a

sort of political machine composed of forty

members, known as the Committee of

Union and Progress, which had sub-committees in the provinces taking its orders

and carrying out its policies. This Committee was a survival of the "Young Turk

movement," which had, at one time,

seemed to be trying to establish liberal

institutions in Turkey. But the movement

had degenerated, and the Committee was

now nothing but a gang of thugs, who had

won power by assassination and judicial

murder. In January, 1913, they had gained

control by murdering Nazim Pasha, the

Minister of War. They dominated even

the Sultan, who was a mere figurehead. On

one occasion, the Sultan had attempted

to assert his independence, but was brought

to terms by intimidation. Thirteen "conspirators" and other criminals, some real

ones, others merely political offenders, were

sentenced to be hanged.

"Among them," says Ambassador Morgenthau, "was an imperial son-in-law.

Before the execution could take place

the Sultan had to sign the death

warrants. He begged that he be permitted to pardon the imperial son-in-law, though he raised no objection to

viseing the hangings of the other

twelve. The nominal ruler of twenty

million people figuratively went down

upon his knees before Talaat, but all

his pleadings did not affect this determined man. Here, Talaat reasoned,

was a chance to decide, once for all,

who was master, the Sultan or themselves. A few days afterward the

melancholy figure of the imperial son-in-law, dangling at the end of a rope

in full view of the Turkish populace,

visibly reminded the empire that

Talaat and the Committee were the

masters of Turkey. After this tragical

test of strength, the Sultan never attempted again to interfere in affairs of

state."

The leaders of the Committee were

Talaat, above referred to, Enver, and

Djemal. Talaat was the leading man

in this band of usurpers. According to

one account, he was a Pomak, that is,

a man of Bulgarian blood whose ancestors

had embraced Mohammedanism. He had

at one time been a letter carrier and

later a telegraph operator at Adrianople.

Though he sprang from poverty and in

his early life had not been accustomed

to use a knife and fork, he had acquired

some education and a certain amount of

European culture. Physically he was large

and very powerful, with a huge back and

perfectly enormous wrists. Though often

fierce and forbidding, he was sometimes