Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires 1908- 1918 by Michael A. ReynoldsThe break-up of the Ottoman empire and the disintegration of the Russian empire were watershed events in modern history. The unravelling of these empires was both cause and consequence of World War I and resulted in the deaths of millions. It irrevocably changed the landscape of the Middle East and Eurasia and reverberates to this day in conflicts throughout the Caucasus and Middle East. Shattering Empires draws on extensive research in the Ottoman and Russian archives to tell the story of the rivalry and collapse of two great empires. Overturning accounts that portray their clash as one of conflicting nationalisms, this pioneering study argues that geopolitical competition and the emergence of a new global interstate order provide the key to understanding the course of history in the Ottoman-Russian borderlands in the twentieth century. It will appeal to those interested in Middle Eastern, Russian, and Eurasian history, international relations, ethnic conflict, and World War I.
Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
The Fall of the Ottoman Empire. By , the Ottoman Sultan could claim rule over a domain that stretched from the deserts of Libya in Africa to the snow-covered mountains of Armenia and Kurdistan. This ruler controlled the oil fields and marshes of southern Iraq and the mountain valleys of Bosnia on the Austrian border. Between these geographic extremes, lay a vast and diverse empire containing multiple ethnic and religious groups, many of whom disliked each other more than they disliked Turkish rule. These groups, over the hundred years prior to , had begun to identify themselves as distinct national groups rather than as subjects of the Ottoman Empire.
The armistice of 31 October ended the fighting between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies but did not bring stability or peace to the region. The Sultan, Mehmed VI, feared he would be deposed. The Young Turk government led by Enver Pasha had collapsed in the days leading up to the armistice. Across what was left of the empire civil infrastructure, already badly strained by years of war, began to disintegrate. Law and order broke down completely in many places.
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It restored the Ottoman constitution of and brought in multi-party politics with a two stage electoral system electoral law under the Ottoman parliament., On October 30, , aboard the British battleship Agamemnon , anchored in the port of Mudros on the Aegean island of Lemnos, representatives of Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire sign an armistice treaty marking the end of Ottoman participation in the First World War.
The book deals with relations between France , Britain and the Muslim world, a topic that has become tragically topical over recent weeks. France and Britain were allies in World War I , but they were also bitter rivals when it came to dividing up spheres of influence in the hoped for break-up of the Ottoman Empire — something both nations correctly anticipated would be a result of an allied victory in the conflict. The wishes of the local population, whether they were Muslim, Christian or Jewish , were not considered to be a deciding factor at all. Britain wanted its chosen area, particularly Palestine , as a shield for the Suez Canal — a vital link to British India. It also wanted access to oil in present-day Iraq. France wanted access to the same oil and saw itself as a protector of Christian interests in Syria and Lebanon.