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Setting the Stage for Ataturk: From Empire to Ashes? The Ottomans and WWI

November 9, 2015 at 6:30pm EST
Turkish Embassy, 2525 NW Massachusetts Ave., Washington DC
Speaker: Prof. Michael A. Reynolds, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University


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The Ottoman role in WWI was typically described as a series of errors and miscalculations, from the decision to enter the war through İstanbul's persecution of the war right up until its very end. In its reckless pursuit of irredentist goals, the conventional story goes, the Ottoman wartime leadership turned an empire to ashes. This lecture will reexamine the wartime record and suggest that İstanbul's strategic thinking was sounder and its performance ultimately more successful than has been acknowledged.

Michael A. Reynolds is associate professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University where he teaches Near Eastern and Eurasian and Russian history and politics. He is the author of Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1919 (Cambridge, 2011), a Financial Times summer reading book, Choice outstanding academic title, and recipient of the American Historical Association's George Louis Beer Prize. Reynold is currently working on a biography of Enver Pasha, the Young Turk triumvir and Ottoman Minister of War.