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Title: Deutschland Über Allah
Author: Benson, E. F. (Edward Frederic)
Date of first publication: 1917
Date first posted: July 1, 2013
Date last updated: February 3, 2021
Faded Page ebook#20210234

Produced by Chuck Greif (This file was produced from images available at The Internet Archive)








IT was commonly said at the beginning of this war that, whatever Germany’s military resources might be, she was hopelessly and childishly lacking in diplomatic ability and in knowledge of psychology, from which all success in diplomacy is distilled. As instances of this grave defect, people adduced the fact that apparently she had not anticipated the entry of Great Britain into the war at all, while her treatment of Belgium immediately afterwards was universally pronounced not to be a crime merely, but a blander of the stupidest sort. It is perfectly true that Germany did not understand, and, as seems likely in the light of innumerable other atrocities, never will understand, the psychology of civilised peoples; she has never shown any signs up till now, at any rate, of “having got the hang of it” at all. But critics of her diplomacy failed to see the root-fact that she did not understand it merely because it did not interest her. It was not worth her while to master the psychology of other civilised nations, since she was out not to understand them but to conquer them. She had all the information she wanted about their armies and navies and guns and ammunition neatly and correctly tabulated. Why, then, since this was all that concerned her, should she bother her head about what they might feel on the subject of gas-attacks or the torpedoing of neutral ships without warning? As long as her fumes were deadly and her submarines subtle, nothing further concerned her.

But Europe generally made a great mistake in supposing that she could not learn psychology and the process of its distillation into diplomacy when it interested her. The psychology of the French and English was a useless study, for she was merely going to fight them, but for years she had been studying with an industry and a patience that put our diplomacy to shame (as was most swiftly and ignominiously proven when it came into conflict with hers) the psychology of the Turks. For years she had watched the dealings of the Great Powers with Turkey, but she had never really associated herself with that policy. She sat quietly by and saw how it worked. Briefly it was this. For a hundred years Turkey had been a Sick Man, and for a hundred years he had been kept alive in Europe by the sedulous attentions of the Physician-Powers, who dared not let him die for fear of the stupendous quarrels which would instantly arise over his corpse. So there they all sat round his bed, and kept him alive with injections of strychnine and oxygen and, no less, by a policy of rousing and irritating the patient. All through the reign of Abdul Hamid they persevered: Great Britain plucked his pillow from him, so to speak, by her protectorate of Egypt; Russia tweaked Eastern Rumelia from him; France deprived him of his hot-water bottle when she snatched at the Constantinople quays, and they all shook and slapped him when he went to war with Greece in 1896, and instantly deprived him of the territory he had won in Thessaly. That was the principle of European diplomacy towards Turkey, and from it Germany always held aloof.

But from about the beginning of the reign of the present German Emperor, German or rather Prussian diplomacy had been going quietly about its work. It was worth while to study the psychology of the Turks, because dimly then, but with ever increasing distinctness, Germany foresaw that Turkey might be a counter of immense importance in the great conflict which was assuredly drawing nearer, though as yet its existence was but foreshadowed by the most distant reflections of summer lightning on a serene horizon. But if Turkey was to be of any profit to her, she wanted a strong Turkey who could fight with her (or rather for her), and she had no use for the Sick Man whom the other Powers were bent on keeping alive but no more. Her own eventual domination of Turkey was always the end in view, but she wanted to dominate not a weak but a strong servant. And her diplomacy was not less than brilliant simply from the facts that on the one hand it soothed Turkey instead of irritating, and on the other it went absolutely unnoticed for a long time. Nobody knew that it was going on. She sent officers to train the Turkish army, well knowing what magnificent material Anatolia afforded, and she had thoroughly grasped the salient fact that to make any way with Oriental peoples your purse must be open and your backshish unlimited. “There is no God but backshish, and the Deutsche Bank is his prophet.”

For years this went on very quietly, and all over the great field of the Ottoman Empire the first tiny blades of the crop that Germany was sowing began to appear. To-day that crop waves high and covers the whole field with its ripe and fruitful ears. For to-day Turkey is neither more nor less than a German colony, and more than makes up to her for the colonies she has lost and hopes to regain. She knows that perfectly well, and so do any who have at all studied the history and the results of her diplomacy there. Even Turkey itself must, as in an uneasy dream, be faintly conscious of it. For who to-day is the Sultan of Turkey? No other than William II. of Germany. It is in Berlin that his Cabinet meets, and sometimes he asks Talaat Bey to attend in a strictly honorary capacity. And Talaat Bey goes back to Constantinople with a strictly honorary sword of honour. Or else he gives one to William II. from his soi-disant master, the Sultan, or takes one back to his soi-disant master from his real master. For no one knows better than William II. the use that swords of honour play in deeds of dishonour.

The object of this pamphlet is to trace the hewn and solid staircase of steps by which Germany’s present supremacy over Turkey was achieved. Apart from the quiet spade-work that had been going on for some years, Germany made no important move till the moment when in 1909 the Young Turk party, after the forced abdication of Abdul Hamid, proclaimed the aims and ideal of the new régime. At once Germany saw her opportunity, for here, with her help, might arise the strong Turkey which she desired to see, instead of the weak Turkey which all the other European Powers had been keeping on a lowering diet for so long (desirous only that it should not quite expire), and from that moment she began to lend, or rather let, to Turkey in ever increasing quantities the resources of her scientific and her military knowledge. It was in her interests, if Turkey was to be of use to her, that she should educate, and irrigate, and develop the unexploited treasures of human material, of fertility and mineral wealth; and Germany’s gold, her schools, her laboratories were at Turkey’s disposal. But in every case she, as in duty bound to her people, saw that she got very good value for her outlay.

Here, then, was the great psychological moment when Germany instantly moved. The Young Turks proclaimed that they were going to weld the Ottoman Empire into one homogeneous and harmonious whole, and by a piece of brilliant paradoxical reasoning Germany determined that it was she who was going to do it for them. In flat contradiction of the spirit of their manifestos, which proclaimed the Pan-Turkish ideal, she conceived and began to carry out under their very noses the great new chapter of the Pan-Germanic ideal. And the Young Turks did not know the difference! They mistook that lusty Teutonic changeling for their own new-born Turkish babe, and they nursed and nourished it. Amazingly it throve, and soon it cut its teeth, and one day, when they thought it was asleep, it arose from its cradle a baby no more but a great Prussian guardsman who shouted “Deutschland über Allah!”

Only once was there a check in the career of the Prussian infant, and that was no more than a childish ailment. For when the Balkan wars broke out the Turkish army was in the transitional stage. Its German tutors had not yet had time to inspire the army with German discipline and tradition; they had only weeded out, so to speak, the old Turkish spirit, the blind obedience to the ministers of the Shadow of God. The Shadow of God, in fact, in the person of the Sultan had been dragged out into the light, and his Shadow had grown appreciably less. In consequence there was not at this juncture any cohesion in the army, and it suffered reverse after reverse. But a strong though a curtailed Turkey was more in accordance with Prussian ideas than a weak and unformed one, and Germany bore the Turkish defeats very valiantly. And that was the only set-back that this Pan-Prussian youngster experienced, and it was no more than an attack of German measles which he very quickly got over. For two or three years German influence wavered, then recovered, “with blessings on the falling out, that all the more endears.”

It is interesting to see how Germany adapted the Pan-Turkish ideal to her own ends, and by a triumphant vindication of Germany’s methods the best account of this Pan-Turkish ideal is to be found in a publication of 1915 by Tekin Alp, which was written as German propaganda and by Germany disseminated broadcast over the Turkish Empire. The movement was organised by Kemal Bey in 1909 as a branch committee of the Union and Progress Party at Constantinople, and its headquarters were in Salonica, where the deposed Abdul Hamid was subsequently confined. Another branch, under Zia Bey, worked at Constantinople. Kemal Bey collected a group of young and ardent writers, who exploited the idea of a restoration of a national and universal Turkey which should unite all Turkish elements, and, as was hinted even then, extirpate the other nationalities, such as the Armenians, which were a menace, or might conceivably be a menace, to complete Turkish autocracy. The young writers were supplemented by a group called Yeni Hayat, or the “Young Life,” who worked for the restoration of national traditions. Certain opposition was met with, but this was overcome, and at once Kemal Bey and his assistants had the Koran translated into Turkish, and the prayers for the Khalif—in Arabic no longer, but in Turkish—were distributed throughout the Empire. Knowing full well that, apart from language, the religious bond of Islam was one of the strongest uniting forces, if not actually the strongest, at their disposal, they proclaimed that the true faith was the Turkish and not the Arab version. With a stupendous audacity they claimed this difference between the two, namely, that the Arab conception of Allah was the God of Vengeance, the Turkish conception the God of Love. The Turkish language and the Turkish Allah, God of Love, in whose name the Armenians were tortured and massacred, were the two wings on which Turkey was to soar. Auxiliary soaring societies were organised, among them a Turkish Ojagha with similar aims, and no fewer than sixteen branches of it were founded throughout the Empire. There were also a Turkish Guiji or gymnastic club and an Izji or boy scouts’ club. A union of merchants worked for the same object in districts where hitherto trade had been in the hands of Greeks and Armenians, and signs appeared on their shops that only Turkish labour was employed. Religious funds also were used for similar economic restoration.

Turkey then was to be for the Turks, and so was a great deal more than Turkey. They claimed that of the 10,000,000 population of Persia one-third were Turks, while the province Azerbaijan—the richest, most active and enlightened district of Persia—was entirely Turkish. Similarly they regarded the country south of the Caucasus as Turkish, since Turks formed 50 to 80 per cent. of its population. Kasan, in fact, was Turkish, and if the Turks in the plain of the Volga, in the Crimea, and in the Caucasus were welded into Turkey, a nation of between forty and fifty million would be formed—Osmanlis all of them.

Germany saw, Germany tabulated, Germany licked her lips and took out her long spoon, for her hour was come. She did not interfere: she only helped to further the Pan-Turkish ideal. With her usual foresight she perceived that the Izji, for instance, was a thing to encourage, for the boys who were being trained now would in a few years be precisely the young men of whom she could not have too many. By all means the boy-scout movement was to be encouraged. She encouraged it so generously and methodically that in 1916, according to an absolutely reliable source of information, we find that the whole boy-scout movement, with its innumerable branches, is under the control of a German officer, Colonel von Hoff. In its classes (derneks) boys are trained in military practices, in “a recreational manner,” so that they enjoy—positively enjoy (a Prussian touch)—the exercises that will fit them to be of use to the Sultan William II. They learn trigger-drill, they learn skirmishing, they are taught to make reports on the movements of their companies, they are shown neat ways of judging distance. They are divided into two classes, the junior class ranging from the ages of twelve to seventeen, the senior class consisting of boys over seventeen but not yet of military age. But since Colonel von Hoff organised this boys of the age of seventeen have become of military age. Prussian thoroughness therefore saw that their training must begin earlier; the old junior class has become the senior class, and a new junior class has been set on foot which begins its recreational exercises in the service of William II., Gott and Allah, at the age of eight. It is all great fun, but those pigeon-livered little boys who are not diverted by it have to go on with their fun all the same, for, needless to say, the Izji is compulsory on all boys. Of course they wear a uniform which is made in Germany and is of a “semi-military” character.

The provision of soldiers and sailors, then, trained from the early age of eight was the first object of Germany’s peaceful and benign penetration. As from the Pisgah height of the Pan-Turkish ideal she saw the promised land, but she had no idea of seeing it only, like Moses, and expiring without entering it, and her faith that she would enter it and possess it has been wonderfully justified. She has not only penetrated but has dominated; a year ago towns like Aleppo were crammed with German officers, while at Islahie there were separate wooden barracks for the exclusive use of German troops. There is a military mission at Mamoura, where all the buildings are permanent erections solidly built of stone, for no merely temporary occupation is intended, and thousands of freight-cars with Belgian marks upon them throng the railways, and on some is the significant German title of “Military Headquarters of the Imperial Staff.” There are troops in the Turkish army to which is given the title of “Pasha formation,” in compliment to Turkey, but the Pasha formations are under the command of Baron Kress von Kressenstein, and are salted with German officers, N.C.O.s, and privates, who, although in the Turkish army, retain their German uniforms.

This German leaven forms an instructional class for the remainder of the troops in these formations, who are Turkish. The Germans are urged to respect Moslem customs and to show particular consideration for their religious observances. Every German contingent arriving at Constantinople to join the Pasha formations finds quarters prepared on a ship, and when the troops leave for their “destination” they take supplies from depôts at the railway station which will last them two or three months. They are enjoined to write war diaries, and are provided with handbooks on the military and geographical conditions in Mesopotamia, with maps, and with notes on the training and management of camels. This looks as if they were intended for use against the English troops in Mesopotamia, but I cannot find that they have been identified there. The greatest secrecy is observed with regard to these Pasha formations, and their constitution and movements are kept extremely veiled.

Wireless stations have been set up in Asia Minor and Palestine, and these are under the command of Major Schlee. A Turkish air-service was instituted, at the head of which was Major Serno, a Prussian officer. At Constantinople there is a naval school for Turkish engineers and mechanics in the arsenal, to help on the Pan-Turkish ideal, and with a view to that all the instructors are German. Similarly by the spring of this year Germany had arranged to start submarine training in Constantinople for the Turks, and a submarine school was open and at work in March. Other naval cadets were sent to Germany for their training, and Turkish officers were present at the battle of Jutland in June, 1916, and of course were decorated by the Emperor in person for their coolness and courage.

A complete revision of the Turkish system of exemption from military service was necessary as soon as Germany began to want men badly. The age for military service was first raised, and we find a Turkish order of October, 1916, calling on all men of forty-three, forty-four, and forty-five years of age to pay their exemption tax if they did not wish to be called to the Colours. That secured their money, and, with truly Prussian irony, hardly had this been done when a fresh Army order was issued calling out all men whether they had paid their exemption tax or not. Still more men were needed, and in November a fresh levy of boys was raised regardless of whether they had reached the military age or not. This absorbed the senior class of the boy scouts, who hitherto had learned their drill in a “recreationary manner.” Again the Prussian Moloch was hungry for more, and in December the Turkish Gazette announced that all males in Asia Minor between the ages of fourteen and sixty-five were to be enrolled for military service, and in January of this year, 1917, fresh recruiting was foreshadowed by the order that men of forty-six to fifty-two who had paid their exemption money should be medically examined to see if they were fit for active service. Wider and wider the net was spread, and in the same month a fresh Turco-German convention was signed whereby was enforced a reciprocal surrender in both countries of persons liable to military service, and of deserters, and simultaneously all Turks living in Switzerland who had paid exemption money were recalled to their Germanised fatherland. By now the first crops of the year were ripening in Smyrna, and in default of civilian labour (for everyone was now a soldier) they were reaped by Turkish soldiers and the produce sent direct to Germany.

Already in August, 1916, certificates of Ottoman nationality had been granted to Serbians resident in the Empire who were willing to become Ottoman subjects, and their “willingness” was intensified by hints that incidents akin to the Armenian massacres might possibly occur among other alien people. They had to sign a declaration that they would not revert to their former nationality, and thus no doubt many Serbs passed into the Turkish army. Further enrolments were desirable, and in March, 1917, all Greeks living in Anatolia were forcibly proselytised, their property was confiscated, and they were made liable to military service. Unfortunately all were not available, for of those who were removed from the villages where they lived to military centres ten per cent, died on the forced marches from hunger and exposure. That was annoying for the German recruiting agents, but it suited well enough the Pan-Turkish ideal of exterminating foreign nationalities. When trouble or discontent occurred among the troops it was firmly dealt with, as, for instance, when in November, 1916, there were considerable desertions from the 49th Division. On that occasion the order was given to fire on them, and many were killed and wounded. The officer who gave the order was commended by the Prussian authorities for his firmness. Should such an incident occur again, it will no doubt be dealt with with no less firmness, for in April, 1917, Mackensen was put in supreme command of all troops in Asia Minor. Simultaneously in Berlin Prince Zia-ed-Din, the Turkish Sultan’s heir, presented a sword of honour to the Sultan William II. Probably he gave him good news of the progress of the German harbour works begun in the winter at Stamboul, and himself learned that the railway bridge which the Turks proposed to build over the Bosphorus was not to be proceeded with, for the German high command had superseded that scheme by their own idea of making a tunnel under the Bosphorus instead, which would be safer from aircraft.

Such up to date, though in brief outline, is the history of the progress of the Prussian octopus in Turkish military and naval matters. In October, 1914, just before Turkey came into the war, she had been mobilising for three months, while Enver Pasha continued successfully convincing our Ambassador in Constantinople of his sincere and unshakable friendship for England, and had 800,000 men under arms. Already, of course, German influence was strong in the army, which now was thoroughly trained in German methods, but that army might still be called a Turkish army. Nowadays by no stretch of language can it be called Turkish except in so far that all Turkish efficient manhood is enlisted in it, for there is no branch or department of it over which the Prussian octopus has not thrown its paralysing tentacles and affixed its immovable suckers. Army and navy alike, its wireless stations, its submarines, its aircraft, are all directly controlled from Berlin, and, as we have seen, the generalissimo of the forces is Mackensen, who is absolutely the Hindenburg of the East. But thorough as is the control of Berlin over Constantinople in military and naval matters, it is not one whit more thorough than her control in all other matters of national life. Never before has Germany been very successful in her colonisations ; but if complete domination—the sucking of a country till it is a mere rind of itself, and yet at the same time full to bursting of Prussian ichor—may be taken as Germany’s equivalent of colonisation, then indeed we must be forced to recognise her success. And it was all done in the name and for the sake of the Pan-Turkish ideal! Even now Prussian Pecksniffs like Herr Ernst Marre, whose pamphlet, “Turks and Germans after the War,” was published in 1916, continue to insist that Germany is nobly devoting herself to the well-being of Turkey. “In doing this,” he exclaims in that illuminating document, “we are benefiting Turkey.... This is a war of liberation for Turkey,” though omitting to say from whom Turkey is being liberated. Perhaps the Armenians. Occasionally, it is true, he forgets that, and naively remarks, “Turkey is a very difficult country to govern. But after the war Turkey will be very important as a transit country.” But then he remembers again and says, “We wish to give besides taking, and we should often like to give more than we can hope to give.” Let us look into this, and see the manner in which Germany expresses her yearning to impoverish herself for the sake of Turkey.

All this reorganisation of the Turkish army was of course a very expensive affair and required skilful financing, and it was necessary to get the whole of Turkey’s exchequer arrangements into German hands. A series of financial regulations was promulgated. The finance minister during 1916 was still Turkish, but the official immediately under him was German. He was authorised to deposit with the Controllers of the Ottoman National Debt German Imperial Bills of £T30,000,000 and to issue German paper money to the like amount. This arrangement ensures the circulation of the German notes, which are redeemable by Turkey in gold two years after the declaration of peace. Gold is declared to be the standard currency, and no creditor is obliged to accept in payment of a debt more than 300 piastres in silver or fifty in nickel. And since there is no gold in currency (for it has been all called in, and penalties of death have been authorised for hoarders) it follows that this and other issues of German paper will filter right through the Empire. At the same time a German expert, Dr. Kautz, was appointed to start banks throughout Turkey in order to free the peasants from the Turkish village usurer, and in consequence enslave them to the German banks. Similarly a German was put at the head of the Ottoman Agricultural Bank. These new branches worked very well, but it is pleasant to think that one such was started by the Deutsche Bank at Bagdad in October, 1916, which now has its shutters up. Before this, as we learn from the Oesterreichischer Volkswirt (June, 1916), Germany had issued other gold notes, in payment for gold from Turkey, which is retainable in Berlin till six months after the end of the war. (It is reasonable to wonder whether it will not be retained rather longer than that.) These gold notes were accepted willingly at first by the public, but the increase in their number (by the second issue) has caused them to be viewed with justifiable suspicion, and the depreciation in them continues. But the Turkish public has no redress except by hoarding gold, which is a penal offence. That these arrangements have not particularly helped Turkish credit may be gathered from the fact that the Turkish gold £I, nominally 100 piastres, is now worth 280 piastres.

Again, the Deutsche Orientbank has made many extensions, and is already financing cotton and wool trade for after the war. The establishment of this provoked much applause in German financial circles, who find it to be an instance of the “far-reaching and powerful Germano-Austrian unity, which replaces the disunion of Turkish finance.” This is profoundly true, especially if we omit the word “Austrian,” inserted for diplomatic reasons. Again we find Germany advancing £3,000,000 of German paper to the Turkish Government in January, 1917 for the payment of supplies they have received from Krupp’s works and (vaguely) for interest to the German financial minister. This too, we may conjecture, is to be redeemed after the war in gold.

In March of this year we find in the report of the Ottoman Bank a German loan of £1,000,000 for the purchase of agricultural implements by Turkey, and this is guaranteed by house-taxes. In all up to that month, as was announced in the Chamber of Deputies at Constantinople, Germany had advanced to Turkey the sum of £142,000,000, entirely, it would seem, in German paper, to be repaid at various dates in gold. The grip, in fact, is a strangle-hold, all for Turkey’s good, as no doubt will prove the “New Conventions” announced by Zimmermann in May, 1917, to take the place of the abolished Capitulations, “which left Turkey at the mercy of predatory Powers who looked for the disruption of the Ottoman Empire.” Herr Zimmermann does not look for that: he looks for its absorption. And sees it.

The industrial development of Turkey by this benevolent and disinterested Power has been equally thorough and far-reaching, though Germany here has had a certain amount of competition by Hungary to contend against, for Hungary considered that Germany was trespassing on her sphere of interest. But she has been able to make no appreciable headway against her more acute partner, and her application for a monopoly of sugar-production was not favourably received, for Germany already had taken the beet industry well in hand. In Asia Minor the acreage of cultivation early in 1917 had fallen more than 50 per cent, from that under crops before the war, but owing to the importation of machinery from the Central Powers, backed up by a compulsory Agricultural Service law, which has just been passed, it is hoped that the acreage will be increased this year by something like 30 per cent. The yield per acre also will be greatly increased this year, for Germany has, though needing artificial manure badly herself, sent large quantities into Turkey, where they will be more profitably employed. She has no fear about securing the produce. This augmented yield will, it is true, not be adequate to supply the needs of Turkey, who for the last two years has suffered from very acute food shortage, which in certain districts has amounted to famine and wholesale starvation of the poorer classes. But it is unlikely that their needs will be considered at all, for Germany’s needs (she the fairy godmother of the Pan-Turk ideal) must obviously have the first call on such provisions as are obtainable. Thus, though in February, 1917, there was a daily shortage in Smyrna of 700 sacks of flour, and the Arab and Greek population was starving, no flour at all was allowed to be imported into Smyrna. But simultaneously Germany was making huge purchases of fish, meat, and flour in Constantinople (paid for in German paper), including 100,000 sheep. Yet such was the villainous selfishness of the famine-stricken folk at Adrianople that when the trains containing these supplies were passing through a mob held them up and sold the contents to the inhabitants. That, however, was an isolated instance, and in any case a law was passed in October, 1916, appointing a military commission to control all supplies. It enacts that troops shall be supplied first, and specially ordains that the requirements of German troops come under this head. (Private firms have been expressly prohibited from purchasing these augmented wheat supplies, but special permission was given in 1915 to German and Austro-Hungarian societies to buy.) A few months later we find that there are a hundred deaths daily in Constantinople from starvation and 200 in Smyrna, where there is a complete shortage of oil. But oil is still being sent to Germany, and during 1916 five hundred reservoirs of oil were sent there, each containing up to 15,000 kilogrammes. But Kultur must be supplied first, else Kultur would grow lean, and the Turkish God of Love will look after the Smyrniotes. It is no wonder that he blockade of Germany does not produce the desired result a little quicker, for food is already pouring in from Turkey, and when the artificial manures have produced their early harvest the stream will become a torrent.

But during all these busy and tremendous months of war Germany has not only been denuding Turkey of her food supplies, for the sake of the Pan-Turkish ideal; in the same altruistic spirit she has been vastly increasing the productiveness of her new and most important colony. There is a great irrigation work going on in Konia, and another at Adana financed by the Deutsche Bank. Ernst Marre gives us a capital account of this, for Adana was already linked up with the Bagdad railway in October, 1916, which was to be the great artery connecting Germany with the East. There is some considerable shortage of labour there (owing in part to the Armenian massacres, to which we shall revert presently), but the financial arrangements are in excellent shape. The whole of the irrigation works are in German hands and have been paid for by German paper; and to get the reservoirs, &c., back into her own control it has been agreed that Turkey, already completely bankrupt, will have to pay not only what has been spent, but a handsome sum in compensation; while, as regards shortage of labour, prisoners have been released in large numbers to work without pay. This irrigation scheme at Adana will increase the cotton yield by four times the present crop, so we learn from the weekly Arab magazine, El Alem el Ismail, which tells us also of the electric-power stations erected there.

The same paper (October, 1916) announces to the Anatolian merchants that transport is now easy, owing to the arrival of engines and trucks from Germany, while Die Zeit (February, 1917) prophesies a prosperous future for this Germane-Turkish cotton combine. Hitherto Turkey has largely imported cotton from England; now Turkey—thanks to German capital on terms above stated—will, in the process of internal development so unselfishly devised for her by Germany, grow cotton for herself, and be kind enough to give a preferential tariff to Germany.

A similarly bright future may be predicted for the irrigation scheme at Konia, where will arise a sugar-beet industry. Artesian wells have been sunk, and there is the suggestion to introduce Bulgarian labour in default of Turkish. As we have seen, Hungary attempted to obtain a monopoly with regard to sugar, but Germany has been victorious on this point (as on every other when she competes with Hungary) and has obtained the concession for a period of thirty years. A similar irrigation scheme is bringing into cultivation the Makischelin Valley, near Aleppo, and Herr Wied has been appointed as expert for irrigation plant in Syria.

Indeed, it would be easier to enumerate the industries and economical developments of Turkey over which Germany has not at the present moment got the control than those over which she has. In particular she has shown a parental interest in Turkish educational questions. She established last year, under German management, a school for the study of German in Constantinople; she has put under the protection of the German Government the Jewish institution at Haifa for technical education in Palestine; from Sivas a mission of schoolmasters has been sent to Germany for the study of German methods. Ernst Marre surmises that German will doubtless become compulsory even in the Turkish intermediate (secondary) schools. In April, 1917, the first stone of the “House of Friendship” (!) was laid at Constantinople, the object of which institution is to create among Turkish students an interest in everything German, while earlier in the year arrangements were made for 10,000 Turkish youths to go to Germany to be taught trades. These I imagine were unfit for military service. With regard to such a scheme Haul Haled Bey praises the arrangement for the education of Turks in Germany. When they used to go to France, he tells us, “they lost their religion” (certainly Prussian Gott is nearer akin to Turkish Allah) “and returned home unpatriotic and useless. In Germany they will have access to suitable religious literature” (Gott!) “and must adopt all they see good in German methods without losing their original characteristics.” Comment on this script is needless. The hand is the hand of Halil Haled Bey, but the voice is the voice of Prussia! Occasionally, but rarely, Austrian competition is seen. Professor Schmoller, in an Austrian quarterly review, shows jealousy of German influence, and we find in October, 1916, an Ottoman-Austrian college started at Vienna for 250 pupils of the Ottoman Empire. But Germany has 10,000 in Berlin. At Adana (where are the German irrigation works) the German-Turkish Society has opened a German school of 300, while, reciprocally, courses in Turkish have been organised at Berlin for the sake of future German colonists. In Constantinople the Tanin announces a course of lectures to be held by the Turco-German Friendship Society. Professor von Marx, of Munich, discoursed last April on foreign influence and the development of nations, with special reference to Turkey and the parallel case of Germany.

So much for German education, but her penetrative power extends into every branch of industry and economics. In November, 1916, a Munich expert was put in charge of the College of Forestry, and an economic society was started in Constantinople on German lines with German instructors. Inoculation against small-pox; typhoid, and cholera was made compulsory; and we find that the Turkish Ministers of Posts, of Justice, and of Commerce, figureheads all of them, have as their acting Ministers Germans. In the same year a German was appointed as expert for silkworm breeding and for the cultivation of beet. Practically all the railways in Asia Minor are pure German concerns by right of purchase. They own the Anatolian railway concession (originally British), with right to build to Angora and Konia; the Bagdad railway concession, with preferential rights over minerals; they have bought the Mersina-Adana railway, with right of linking up to the Bagdad railway; they have bought the Smyrna-Cassaba railway, built with French capital. They have secured also the Haidar Pasha Harbour concession, thereby controlling and handling all merchandise arriving at railhead from the interior of Asia Minor. Meantime railway construction is pushed on in all directions under German control, and the Turkish Minister of Finance (August, 1916) allocates a large sum of paper German money for the construction of ordinary roads, military roads, local government roads, all of which are new to Turkey, but which will be useful for the complete German occupation which is being swiftly consolidated. To stop the mouths of the people, all political clubs have been suppressed by the Minister of the Interior, for Prussia does not care for criticism. To supply German ammunition needs, lead and zinc have been taken from the roofs of mosques and door-handles from mosque gates, and the iron railings along the Champs de Mars at Pera have been carted away for the manufacture of bombs. A Turco-German convention signed in Berlin in January of this year permits subjects of one country to settle in the other while retaining their nationality and enjoying trading and other privileges. In Lebanon Dr. König has opened an agricultural school for Syrians of all religions. In the Horns district the threatening plague of locusts in February, 1917, was combated by Germans; and a German expert, Dr. Bucher, had been already sent to superintend the whole question. For this concerns supplies to Germany, as does also the ordinance passed in the same month that two-thirds of all fish caught in the Lebanon district should be given to the military authorities (these are German) and that every fish weighing over 6oz. in the Beirut district should be Korban also. The copper mines at Anghana Maden, near Diarbekr, are busy exporting their produce into Germany.

There is no end to this penetration: German water-seekers, with divining and boring apparatus, accompanied the Turkish expedition into Sinai; Russian prisoners were sent by Germany for agricultural work in Asia Minor, to take the place of slaughtered ‘Armenians; a German-Turkish treaty, signed January 11, 1917, gives the whole reorganisation of the economic system to a special German mission. A Stuttgart journal chants a characteristic “Lobgesang” over this feat. “That is how,” it proudly exclaims, “we work for the liberation of peoples and nationalities.”

In the same noble spirit, we must suppose, German legal reforms were introduced in December, 1916, to replace the Turkish Shuriat, and in the same month all the Turks in telegraph offices in Constantinople were replaced by Germans. Ernst Marre, in his “Turks and Germans after the War” (1916), gives valuable advice to young Germans settling in Turkey. He particularly recommends them, knowing how religion is one of the strongest bonds in this murderous race, to “trade in articles of devotion, in rosaries, in bags to hold the Koran,” and points out what good business might be built up in gramophones. Earlier in this year we find a “German Oriental Trading Company” founded for the import of fibrous materials for needs of military authorities, and a great carpet business established at Urfa with German machinery that will supplant the looms at Smyrna. A saltpetre factory is established at Konia by Herr Toepfer, whose enterprise is rewarded with an Iron Cross and a Turkish decoration. The afforestation near Constantinople ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture is put into German hands, and in the vilayet of Aidin (April, 1916) ninety concessions were granted to German capitalists to undertake the exploitation of metallic ores. Occasionally the German octopus finds it has gone too far for the moment and releases some struggling limb of its victim, as, for instance, when we see that in September, 1916, the German Director’s stamp for the “Imperial German Great Radio Station” at Damascus has been dis-carded temporarily, as that station “should be treated for the present as a Turkish concern.”

A “Trading and Weaving Company” was established at Angora in 1916, an “Import and Export Company” at Smyrna, a “Trading and Industrial Society” at Beirut, a “Tobacco Trading Company” at Latakieh, an “Agricultural Company” at Tripolis, a “Corn Exporting Company” in Lebanon, a “Rebuilding Commission” (perhaps for sacked Armenian houses) at Konia. More curious yet will be a Tourist’s Guide Book—a Baedeker, in fact—for travellers in Konia and the erection of a monument in honour of Turkish women who have replaced men called up for military duty. Truly these last two items—a guide book for Anatolia and a monument to women—are strange enterprises for Turks. A new Prussian day is dawning, it seems, for Turkish women as well, for the Tanin (April, 1917) tells us that diplomas are to be conferred on ladies who have completed their studies in the Technical School at Constantinople.

It is needless to multiply instances of German penetration: I have but given the skeleton of this German monster that has fastened itself with tentacles and suckers on every branch of Turkish industry. There is none round which it has not cast its feelers—no Semitic moneylender ever obtained a surer hold on his victim. In matters naval, military, educational, legal, industrial, Germany has a strangle-hold. Turkey’s life is already crushed out of her, and, as we have seen, it has been crushed out of her by the benevolent Kultur-mongers who, among all the Great Powers of Europe, sacrificed their time and their money to the achievement of the Pan-Turkish ideal. Silently and skilfully they worked, bamboozling their chief tool, Enver Pasha, even as Enver Pasha bamboozled us. As long as he was of service to them they retained him; for his peace of mind at one time they stopped up all letter-boxes in Constantinople because so many threatening letters were sent him. But now Enver Pasha seems to have had his day; he became a little autocratic and thought that he was the head of the Pan-Turkish ideal. So he was, but the Pan-Turkish ideal had become Pan-Prussian, and he had not noticed the transformation. Talaat Bey has taken his place; it is he who in May, 1917, was received by the Emperor William, by King Ludwig, and by the Austrian Emperor, and he who is the mouthpiece of the German efforts to make a separate peace with Russia. Under Czardom, he proclaimed, the existence of Turkey was threatened, but now the revolution has made friendship possible, for Russia no longer desires territorial annexation. And, oh, how Turkey would like to be Russia’s friend! Enver Pasha has been thrown aside for contumacy, and I cannot but think it curious that when on April 2, 1917, he visited the submarine base at Wilhelmshaven he was very nearly killed in a motor-accident. But it may have been an accident. Since then I cannot find that he has taken any more active part in Pan-Turkish ideals than to open a soup-kitchen in some provincial town.

I have left to the end of this essay the question of Germany’s knowledge of and complicity in the Armenian massacres. From the tribune of the Reichstag on January 15, 1916, there was made a definite denial of the existence of such massacres at all; on another subsequent occasion it was stated that Germany could not interfere in Turkish internal affairs.

In view of the fact that there is no internal affair appertaining to Turkey in which Germany has not interfered, the second of these statements may be called insincere. But the denial of the massacres is a deliberate lie. Germany—official Germany—knew all about them, and she permitted them to go on. The proofs of this are here shortly stated.

(1) In September, 1915, four months before the denial of the massacres was made in the Reichstag, Dr. Martin Niepage, higher grade teacher in the German Technical School at Aleppo, prepared and sent, in his name and that of several of his colleagues, a report of them to the German Embassy at Constantinople. In that report he gives a terrible account of what he has seen with his own eyes, and also states that the country Turks’ explanation with regard to the origination of those measures is that it is “the teaching of the Germans.” The German Embassy at Constantinople therefore knew of the massacres, and knew also that the Turks attributed them to orders from Germany. Dr. Niepage also consulted, before sending his report, with the German Consul at Aleppo, Herr Hoffman, who told him that the German Embassy had been already advised in detail about the massacres from the consulates at Alexandretta, Aleppo, and Mosul, but that he welcomed a further protest on the subject.

(2) These reports, or others like them, had not gone astray, for in August, 1915, the German Ambassador in Constantinople made a formal protest to the Turkish Government about the massacres.

There is, then, no doubt that the German Government, when it officially denied the massacres, was perfectly cognisant of them. It was also perfectly capable of stopping them, for they were not local violences, but wholesale murders organised at Constantinople. Germany had indeed already given assurances that such massacres should not occur. She had assured the Armenian Katholikos at Adana that so long as Germany had any influence in Turkey he need not fear a repetition of the horrors that had taken place under Abdul Hamid. Had she, then, no influence in Constantinople, or how was it that she had obtained complete control over all Turkish branches of government? The same assurance was given by the German Ambassador in April, 1915, to the Armenian Patriarch and the President of the Armenian National Council.

So, in support of the Pan-Turkish ideal and in the name of the Turkish Allah, the God of Love, Germany stood by and let the infamous tale of lust and rapine and murder be told to its end. The Turks had planned to exterminate the whole Armenian race except some half-million, who would be deported penniless to work at agricultural developments under German rule, but this quality of Turkish mercy was too strained for Major Pohl, who proclaimed that it was a mistake to spare so many. But he was a soldier, and did not duly weigh the claims of agriculture.

The choice was open to Germany; Germany chose, and let the Armenian massacres go on. But she was in a difficulty. What if the Turkish Government retorted (perhaps it did so retort), “You are not consistent. Why do you mind about the slaughter of a few Armenians? What about Belgium and your atrocities there?”

And all the ingenuity of the Wilhelmstrasse would not be able to find an answer to that.

I do not say that Germany wanted the massacres, for she did not. She wanted more agricultural labour, and I think that, if only for that reason, she deprecated them. But she allowed them to go on when it was in her power to stop them, and all the perfumes of Arabia will not wash clean her hand from that stinking horror.

Here, then, are some of the problems which those who, at the end of the war, will have to deal with the problem of Turkey must tackle. It is just as well to recognise that at the present moment Turkey is virtually and actually a German colony, and the most valuable colony that Germany has ever had. It will not be enough to limit, or rather abolish, the supremacy of Turkey over aliens and martyrised peoples; it will be necessary to abolish the supremacy of Germany over Turkey. To do this the victory of our Allied Nations must be complete, and Germany’s octopus monopoly of Turkish industries severed. Otherwise we shall immediately be confronted with a Germany that already reaches as far as Mesopotamia. That is done now; and that, before there can come any permanent peace for Europe, must be undone. Nothing less than the complete release of that sucker and tentacle embrace will suffice.

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[The end of Deutschland Über Allah by Benson, E. F. (Edward Frederic)]