How's the Start?


  • Total voters
    407
Funny you should say that about Submarines. First submarine to fire a torpedo while submerged was Ottoman. There were only 2 of them and they were horribly ill maintained which was problematic.

So Ottoman Empire was ahead but fell behind. (Istanbul subway system is similar I suppose)
What the two Nordfeldt submarines in 1886? Zaharof ripped the Ottomans off a few tens of thousand pounds for completely useless ships there...
 

Germaniac

Donor
Ottoman submarines were a joke, much like the rest of the ottoman navy, mostly a holdover of Abdul hanid fearing the admirals who abduladiz propped up
 
I have to say, I like what I'm reading so far! Hopefully Kemal will get his moment of glory in Tobruk.

Also, there's no way Italy would get involved in WWI if it loses here, right? Austria-Hungary would be able to focus entirely on the Russians (and Serbs, but they would/could be easily dealt with), maybe allowing Germany to keep more troops in the west.
 
I'll really surprised by the concession to the Greeks. But on the other hand this agreement effectively stops any chance of a balkan victory against the Ottoman imo.

Very interesting TL so far. Watching for more.
 
Funny you should say that about Submarines. First submarine to fire a torpedo while submerged was Ottoman. There were only 2 of them and they were horribly ill maintained which was problematic.

So Ottoman Empire was ahead but fell behind. (Istanbul subway system is similar I suppose)
Abdülhamid II loved submarines, because they lacked guns that could potentially be used in a military revolt.
He actively neglected the navy, because he feared that the foreign-trained naval officers would be a potential foe to his own power.
One cannot over-emphasize how much the Ottoman Navy declined during his reign. When the British naval mission arrived, some of the ships rusting at the anchor had small salad patches constructed to their decks!
 
Abdülhamid II loved submarines, because they lacked guns that could potentially be used in a military revolt.
He actively neglected the navy, because he feared that the foreign-trained naval officers would be a potential foe to his own power.
One cannot over-emphasize how much the Ottoman Navy declined during his reign. When the British naval mission arrived, some of the ships rusting at the anchor had small salad patches constructed to their decks!

To be fair, you know what they say about people who are paranoid about losing power. They end up losing power anyway.
 
Chapter 4: The Treaty of Vienna.
Chapter 4: The Treaty of Vienna.

***

“Foreign Minister Gabriel Noradunkyan, reached Vienna on the 3rd of January, 1912 amidst cold snowy winds in the grand city. There, he personally met Kaiser Franz Joseph I, who congratulated him on the current successful defense of Libya, and called him to ‘finish the war’ once and for all, promising Austro-Hungarian economic investment in the Ottoman Empire, after the war ended. Though Noradunkyan knew that Franz Joseph I was in no position to honor that comment, the very fact that he said as such, was a promising sign.

1608467690874.png

A photograph of Noradunkyan in Vienna in his diplomatic clothes

Finally, he met with Foreign Minister von Aehrenthal, as well as German Ambassador to Vienna, Heinrich von Tschirschky, and an Italian Demarche, as well as diplomats from Britain, France and Russia. The mood was quite good for in Noradunkyan, and there he made his move. He condemned the war in front of the diplomats, but he also brought up two very interesting points. The 1907 Hague Conference had forbid the usage of any ‘floating device’ to bomb or shell any place, and the Italians had done so, by launching bombs from their planes into Tripoli and Tobruk. His second point was also about Hejaz. Italian naval reinforcements had been going on attacking any coastal fort they saw in Hejaz, and Noraunkyan, condemned this, stating that the millions of Muslim pilgrims coming to Hejaz to go to Mecca and Medina were being put at risk. In this endeavor he called out to the governments of Britain, France and Russia, and to an extent Austria-Hungary as well (Austria-Hungary had a sizeable Muslim population in Bosnia), to take matters seriously in that regard.

1608467748045.png

Heinrich von Tschirschky

On the second point, Noradunkyan was very successful, one the first he wasn’t. The Dutch ambassador told him that The Hague could not do anything unless the war was first brought to an end. However on the second, his statement was taken very seriously. Foreign Minister Edward Grey who was contacting the diplomats in Vienna through telegraph would write:

…….The issue of Moslem pilgrims visiting their holy lands in Hejaz is one of utmost importance. We cannot allow the Italian Navy to move as it see’s fit in the region, as the Moslem’s already angered by a Christian country warring against a Moslem one, may be pushed over the edge. The temporal power of the Caliph in the Ottoman Empire is also one we must consider seriously, for our Empires, are full of Moslem subjects, and we cannot afford to alienate them…….

Austrian Foreign Minister von Aehrenthal, who was still very cautious over the Bosnian issue, agreed, and also voiced his opinion, that with Italy holding only a small toehold in Libya, both of which seemed likely to fall within the next few days, a return to the Status Quo should now be put on the table, with neither side giving any concession. French delegates in the Vienna Conference also took the Hejaz question seriously, as they did not wish to alienate their Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian subjects, and stated that they would support any withdrawal of Italian naval actions in the Red Sea. However unlike the British who were backing a full Italian withdrawal in the Red Sea without any repercussions to the Ottoman Empire, the French delegates also put out the need for the Ottoman fleet in the Red Sea to stay at port, to ensure the safety of the Red Sea for all passing by civilian ships, which may also include Italian transport ships. Noradunkyan protested vehemently, however as Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Sazanov also backed the French proposal, showing ‘concern’ over their own Muslim subjects living in Turkestan and the Caucasian mountains.

1608467815804.png

Sergey Sazonov

As such, the diplomats then presented Italy with a demand asking for all naval operations in the Red Sea on part of the Italian navy be stopped. Italian Foreign Minister San Giuliano protested against this move, and said that he could guarantee that the Italian Navy would not make any moves in the Red Sea, for he was not a part of the Military Staff. However by this point, Noradunkyan had enough of the Italian’s stubborn position, and he reminded San Giuliano of Italy’s own problems in Somalia and threatened that should the deal of no naval moves in the Red Sea be rejected then, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, also the temporal Caliph of the Muslim World, both Sunni and Shia as well as Ibadi, would declare Jihad against the Italians. This was a surprising move, as Noradunkyan was a Coptic Armenian, however as person who lived in the Ottoman Empire, he knew very well the temporal power the Sultan held, even in a constitutional monarchy.

1608467863313.png

San Giuliano

The threat was not an empty one. In front of the Italian delegation, the Ottoman Foreign Minister telegraphed the Sublime Porte to bring Sultan Mehmed V on standby should the Italian delegation not acquiesce to the agreement. Italian Eritrea was a hotbed of religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians, whilst Somali tribesmen continued to conduct a low level war in the region, especially in Jubaland. Any declaration of Jihad would Italy’s colonies descend in chaos again, and as such, San Giuliano finally agreed on the 5th, and in return for now Ottoman blockade of the Red Sea, the Italian navy was pulled out of the Red Sea.

After the tense negotiations, von Aehrenthal then proposed a tour of Austria proper for the Ottoman Foreign Minister promising a second conference in Vienna with the Italian diplomats, after the situation on the ground had changed suitably. Noradunkyan agreed and the Armenian would soon get a tour of Salzburg, Graz and Innsbruck before he returned to Vienna again to resume negotiations.” Ottoman Diplomacy in the Italo-Ottoman War.

“On the ground, the situation was turning. The Ottomans had around two months worth of supplies left, and knew that unless they made a bold move now, then the war was lost for them. Captain Mustafa Kemal Bey in Tobruk and Neshat Bey in Tripoli were in constant contact with one another, and both were in agreement that a new general assault was needed, to bring the theatre operations to an end. One letter from Mustafa Kemal to Neshat Bey reads:-

……The war is currently in our favor, with diplomatic channels depending on our forces to aid them with their words of fire in Vienna, we need to take firm action soon. My army in Tobruk has enough ammunition for 64 days, and enough rations to last for 98 days. However after that my army will cease to exist as suitable fighting force, so whatever we do, we must do it now, when we have time to spare, and ammunition to use……

1608467935249.png
Mustafa Kemal Bey in Libya looking at the artillery keep up the siege of tobruk

Neshat Bey agreed. The two commanders set the date of January 15 for the general assault on the Siege of Tripoli and Siege of Tobruk to begin. For the next week, the two commanders set about preparing their forces, propping them up, reinforcing their supply lines by coming into contact with the multiple Bedouin tribes in the region, most of whom supported the Ottoman Empire and their troops. On January 14’s morning, the ottoman guns went silent, allowing a slight reprieve for the Italian troops, however that was only because the ottoman guns were being moved around to get into a better position from where they could penetrate the Italian defenses in a better manner. At 6 pm, the Ottoman guns fired again, and for the entirety of the night the Ottoman guns shelled the Italian positions at Tobruk and Tripoli, not allowing them to sleep, whilst rotating their own gunners to allow them to get sleep. This was a part of their plan, to wear down the Italian defenders before the general siege.

1608468005607.png

ottoman artillery gunners during the dusk period starting a night long bombardment

The next morning in Tobruk, the battalions of the Ottoman 9th Infantry Division started a general assault on the western sector of tobruk, clashing with the forces that the Italians had pushed forward. The general assault on the western side of the city was not going anywhere, however they managed to pin the Italian troops down, whilst the rest of the Ottoman 9th Infantry Division started a massive assault on the eastern sector of the city, managing to gain some amount of ground. However in the western sector, the Ottoman troops started to get some progress made, when Imperial Prince Osman Fuad, managed to rally some Bedouin cavalrymen from the sidelines to aid them, and led a charge against the frontal redoubts of the Italian positions. The frontal redoubts were seized by the Ottoman and Bedouin troops by 2 pm that day, whilst the other battalions were now tying down Italian troops in the other sectors of the defenses, though they were not able to seize the frontal redoubts in the other sectors.

1608468072299.png

Imperial Prince Osman Fuad, the future Sultan Osman IV of the Ottoman Empire

The same day in Tripoli, Neshat Bey ordered the 6th Infantry Division, Ahmed Sharif’s Cavalrymen and the 3,000 troops which were the Tripoli garrison to start a massive assault on the city, and to force the redoubts, defending the city to fall back into the city. With greater number on Neshat Bey’s side, he did not use his troops in the conservative manner that Mustafa Kemal Bey had done, and instead used the infantrymen and the garrison troops to attack headlong at Italian positions, allowing Ahmed Sharif and his men to flank the Italians and pushed them out. With lethal close range artillery being fired by the Ottomans, sometimes in suicide attacks, the Italians by the end of the day were pushed out of the redoubts defending Tripoli, and by the end of the day, 1000 Ottoman troops, took control of the former Fort Hamidiye once again. With most of the Italian troops forced back into the city walls, the situation for the Italians turned grim.

In Tripoli, General Carlo Caneva, the overall commander of the Italian troops in Libya, finally agreed to order a general evacuation of Italian troops in Libya, and ordered the Navy to aid them. The Navy sent transport ships all the way to Tobruk and Tripoli, and throughout the night, the Italians started their evacuation.

1608468137763.png

Carlo Caneva

The next day, the Ottomans began to assault the positions again. This time they held the definite advantage. In Tripoli, without proper water, and with the evacuation going on, the morale was dripping among the Italian troops, and in Tobruk, the news of the Italian withdrawal had leaked into the Ottoman camp, raising their morale high enough to start encouraged assaults on the city. By 12 pm, the Italians evacuated the city of Tripoli, and the Ottoman troops entered the city victorious once again, with the Ottoman flag being flown in the city once again, though the Italian flag was torn down.

In Tobruk, the Italians held out during the entirety of the 16th, and managed to hold the lines. But that night they abandoned their positions and the city, boarding the ships that had arrived at port, and on the morning of the next day, Mustafa Kemal Bey and Prince Osman Fuad entered the city of Tobruk victorious and in high spirits.

The war on land had ended, and with the Ottomans victorious on land (barely, Mustafa Kemal would write that he had no reserves left when the Italians evacuated), the diplomats seized their chance.” The War in the Sands.

“The news that the Ottomans had pushed the Italians out of Libya was met with a wide spectrum of reactions. In the Sublime Porte the news was met with wild applause and caught up in the mood of the government, Sultan Mehmed V ordered festivities to be conducted in Constantinople that night and the people of the city came out to celebrate the victory.

1608468202720.png

a painting of the festival.

In Italy, Giovanni Giolitti responded apparently by not showing up to a cabinet meeting and the socialists and nationalists of the Italian population openly rioted, with the nationalists openly demanding a second invasion of Libya. However the Italian economy was in no position for a second invasion. What was estimated to be around 120 million in the past 4 months, had cost around 375 million for the Italian government, and economic and financial ministry of Italy was currently up in arms about the war.

In Vienna, the mood of the diplomats was that of finality. Austrian Foreign Minister von Aehrenthal called the war ‘ended’ and called for the Italians to commit themselves to what Aehrenthal called a ‘fair peace’ of the war. Noradunkyan also called out to the diplomats of Europe to mediate, calling them to force Italy to make peace. And by this point, they had to. Sergey Sazanov, the Russian Foreign Minister sent a telegram stating ‘The return to the status quo is absolutely necessary at this moment, and Italy must agree to it…..’. British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey called out for calm and stated that Italy now had to come to the table, and Germany started mediation, whilst France remained silent on the issue, not wishing to rock the boat, so to speak.

San Giuliano left Rome on January 20, and arrived at Vienna on February 13th, and there he met with Noradunkyan and the other Ottoman delegations who had arrived with the Ottoman Armenian as well. The Ottoman stance was pretty clear. Status Quo Antebellum with some amount of economic concessions, and San Giuliano tried to save face for Italy by forcing the Ottomans to give some economic concessions to Italy as well in Ottoman North Africa. At first, Noradunkyan was not budging on the issue, however as his Austrian and German benefactors were supporting a compromise, he slowly agreed. The Treaty of Vienna was signed on February 17th, and consisted of the following points:-

  • Italy and the Ottoman Empire to revert to Status Quo Antebellum territorially.
  • The Ottoman Empire to guarantee the rights of Italian merchandise in the Ottoman Empire.
  • The Italian government to forgive a third of the debt owed by the Ottoman Empire to Italy.
  • The Ottoman Empire to allow Italian economic investment in Libya.
  • Italian representation to be allowed in the OPDA once again.
1608468242962.png

the sigining of the Treaty of Vienna.

The treaty was a massive victory for the Ottomans, and a massive loss for the Italians. The repercussions of this war would be far reaching….” The Ottoman History.

***
 
Is Mussolini a semi-important political figure in the Italian Socialist Party about this time? Because with the disastrous war for Libya, the Italian socialists are going to be more influential.
 
Is Mussolini a semi-important political figure in the Italian Socialist Party about this time? Because with the disastrous war for Libya, the Italian socialists are going to be more influential.

Rising star within the Maximalist Wing of the PSI, Mussolini was. I think the current head was at the time, Constantino Lazzari.
 
Huh, “Allow Italian investment in Libya”? And what kind of Libyan would take such an investment and not expect to be dragged out by a mob?
 

Horseshoe

Banned
Wonder which alliance block the Italian blame more for not supporting them during the war French/Russian or German/Austrian affecting future negotiations when ww1 breaks out?
 
Top