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During the Great War, Germany, as the restorative physician, had a complete monopoly as to the remedies to be prescribed, while the other physicians of the European household, conspiring against the very existence of the patient, promptly decided on decapitation, and cast lots for his vestments. The unexpected recovery of the patient, the sudden changes in the physicians consulted, the return of the vestments, in part, to the patient—these constitute the salient points of the crisis in the Near East. If we may leave the field of metaphor in our discussion, and follow the essential points in the recovery in terms of more practical world politics, it is believed that the points involved in the settlement are not difficult of comprehension.
Turkey entered the Great War under German domination. In return for her adhesion to the side of the Teutonic powers there was promised a restoration of Ottoman control over Egypt, the Suez Canal, and over other outlying possessions such as Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers, taken from Turkey by the various Great Powers. The rehabilitation of Turkey under German economic control, the reassertion of the power of the Caliphate over many of the Moslem population fallen under alien control, expansion toward the east into Persia and toward India—all these were the promises made by the. Wilhelmstrasse in return for Turkish support. By Turkish participation in the Great War, the Black Sea, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles were barred to the Western Allies, while Russia, shut off from intercourse with her allies by German naval power in the Baltic and in the Straits, collapsed from the breakdown of her economic system. The role played by Turkey in the war was conditioned, therefore, not only by the resources at her command, of which the German General Staff made the greatest possible use, but also by the strategic position occupied by the Ottoman Empire in the great Berlin to Bagdad plan of German political and economic domination. In an attempt to break the strangle-hold on the economic life of Russia, which Turkey had through her control of the Straits, England and the Dominions sacrificed, in vain, over a hundred thousand men at Gallipoli. Under the scorching heat of the Tigris-Euphrates valleys, British armies toiled to wrest territory from the Turk, only to be thwarted at Kut-el-Amara, before reaching their goal at Bagdad. In vain were the allied endeavors of Britain and Russia against the TurcoGerman combination, and by the middle of 1916 the disruption of the Ottoman Empire was regarded as hopeless, and only a hope of territorial acquisition spurred the Allied Russian, French and British governments to agree to the partition of parts of the Empire among them. The secret treaties of July, 1916, awarded Constantinople and Armenia to Russia, Mesopotamia and Palestine to Britain, and Syria and Cilicia to France, while the massacres of Armenians beyond the territories set down for occupation by the Russian Imperial Government were winked at. One ray of hope was seen, however, in the revolt of the Bedouins of the desert against the oppressive rule of the Ottoman Government. The aid lent by the British to the organization of the Arab revolt, and the creation of the Kingdom of the Hejaz are beyond the scope of our inquiry, but they marked the first step in the awakening of the Arab tribes to distinct racial consciousness. The extension of the Arab revolt over Arabia, the triumphant advances of the British Armies in Syria and Mesopotamia, the establishment of the Armenian Republic and its sisters in the Caucasus, shattered the Turkish dreams of Pan-Islamic dominion, and, in consequence of the humiliating Armistice of Mudros, the Ottoman Empire reached the nadir of its political existence. Constantinople was occupied by the armies and navies of the Great Powers; the Straits, closed in wartime, were reopened, and a British garrison was stationed at Chanak, on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles,-a new and impregnable Gibraltar. By the might of the united Allied armies and navies the victory over the Turk had been won, and it was the aim of the Allies to secure it by a forceful, strict and just peace. Such was the situation at the close of 1918, when, for the first time in history, a great maritime flotilla lay peacefully at anchor off the Golden Horn.