The World at War – The Ottoman Empire Enters The Stage I THE GREAT WAR Week 15


Three months of war have devastated Europe,
and with conflict recently spreading to colonial territory in Africa and the Far East it grew
ever larger. It would grow many times larger this week though, and open up huge new theaters
of battle, as the Ottoman Empire entered the war. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. Last week we saw the Belgians flood the fields
of Northern Flanders to stop the Germans, further south on the Ypres salient the battle
raged on and on with the Germans readying a new offensive, while the French began to
move up to help the British. In the East, the Russians were driving back the Germans
in the north and the Austrians in the south, while the Russian ports on the black sea had
just been bombed- seemingly by the Ottoman Empire. On November 1st, Russia declared war on the
Ottoman Empire. Now, the thing about Turkey is that it was seen as backward and pretty
easy pickings for the Europeans who had a new found love of Middle Eastern oil. This
was an error. Enver Pasha, the Turkish Minister of War,
now practiced a French Revolutionary model of nationalism: a new language, a new interpretation
of history, and a wholly national future. He was willing to make large sacrifices and
use almost any means to achieve his goals, and Pasha actually tricked his government
into going to war. Last week, two German battleships were in
Turkish waters, and Pasha got the crews to wear fezzes, pretend to be Turks, and bombard
the Russian ports on the Black Sea, hoping the Russians would declare war on Turkey.
This worked and three empires were now fighting against Russia, but if you look at them- the
German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, and their respective
war agitators Helmuth von Moltke, Conrad von Hötzendorf, and Pasha, nothing worked out
the way they had dreamed and millions of their countrymen died as a direct result of their
actions. The first actions taken against the Turks
happened immediately. The Russians sent troops into eastern Turkey in what would become the
Bergmann Offensive, and on November 3rd the British and French bombed the Dardanelles,
though neither Britain nor France would declare war on the Ottomans for another couple of
days. One country with an historic grievance against
the Ottoman Empire was Serbia, only independent since 1878, and she declared war on the Turks
November 2nd. Now, Serbia was at the center of the beginning
of the whole war back in July, though we haven’t heard much from her since she managed to drive
the Austrian army from her land in September, but Austria-Hungary was about to try again.
On November 6th, General Oskar Potiorek launched an offensive on three fronts with 500,000
troops against half that number of Serbs. Potiorek had failed disastrously earlier in
the war, mainly through conceit and incompetence, and the confidence of his troops was low in
spite of their numerical advantage, but off they went. It’s really no surprise that the Austrian
army was demoralized when you see what was going on on the Russian front. After breaking
out of the siege at the fortress of Przemysl weeks ago, the Austrians had mounted a big
offensive against Russia, only to be driven back with terrible losses. In early November
they were once again pulling back from the River San to the fortress, with the Russians
slowly tightening the noose. I say slowly, but that’s a bit of a surprise
at this point, actually. Both the Austrians and the Germans had been astonished by how
well and especially how quickly the Russians had redeployed along the Vistula the last
two weeks of October to win the battles of Ivangorod and Warsaw. The Russian follow up
plan was pretty straightforward; continue to drive toward Berlin with their new reinforcements
from Siberia and Central Asia, and attack the Austrians further south between Krakow
and Przemsyl. One problem with this attack, though, was
railways. The Russians had been great at using the railways in central and southern Poland
in late October, but there were few railways in western Poland. This was a deliberate defensive
maneuver, but the Germans had destroyed what few there were while retreating. But in the end it was mainly because of the
unpreparedness of their rear that the Russians pursued their enemies too slowly, and as a
result the German armies managed to escape destruction and by November 8th, the Russian
advance was forced to halt when the rear was 150 km behind the front lines, which disrupted
the supply of both food and ammunition. On the Western Front there was nothing like
150 km between anything. In fact, the distance between the two enemies was often less than
150 meters, and the fighting was fierce and it would continue all week long. German Chief of Staff Falkenhayn began a new
offensive along the line in Flanders. One of his main goals was Gheluvelt, and on the
morning of October 31st the British were driven out of it and there was suddenly a real threat
of a German breakthrough, but amazingly, British reinforcements managed to turn the tide in
the afternoon and retake the town and secure the Menin Road. By the end of the day, it
was plain that the German advance had been stopped and the feared breakthrough to the
sea halted. The British spent that night digging in and fighting off German attacks, and the
next day, the right flank of the British lines was taken over and strengthened by French
troops. By the evening of November 3rd, much of the
German command had abandoned their hopes of a breakthrough after suffering 17,500 casualties
in three days. Interestingly enough, there were many German officers on the western front,
who believed that now would be a good time to reverse the Schlieffen Plan and instead
focus on the eastern front where a decisive victory might still be possible, but the Kaiser
and Falkenhayn still believed in the western victory, and on November 6th, the Kaiser himself
came to the region to encourage his troops[al]. While there, though, he made a blunder that
left a bad impression on many of his soldiers by chatting amiably in English to British
prisoners of war. Although the fighting on the Ypres Salient
would continue to mid November, several of the battles of the race to the sea were ending
this week. Along the line, the fighting was winding down at La Bassee, Messines, and Armentieres,
but all of these battles, all along the line that had already claimed hundreds of thousands
of casualties, were the real end of something big- they were the final battles of maneuvering
along the Western Front until 1918. One arena of battle where there would be constant
maneuvering throughout the war, though, was at sea. This week the war at sea reached South America
with the battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile. Early on in the war, the German East
Asia Squadron under Maximilian von Spee had abandoned its base in Tsingtao once the Japanese
had joined the British. Spee’s ships had headed east to disrupt commercial shipping.
On November 1st, Spee was engaged by a British naval squadron, despite the fact that the
British were hopelessly outclassed in ships, crew, firepower, and training. He sank the
ships Good Hope and Monmouth and 1,500 British sailors drowned. Spee’s casualties were
just three men injured. However, he used half of his supply of ammunition, and this was
irreplaceable, so in spite of a major victory, Spee was in a bad way. Tsingtao itself was also in a bad way. It
had been under siege by the Japanese and the British for nearly two months but at the end
of October the Japanese had begun shelling the city. The bombardment lasted for a week
before Japanese infantry could defeat the Germans. A great side note here: Gunther Pluschow,
one of the most interesting characters of the whole war, as pilot of the only German
plane at Tsingtao allegedly shot down a Japanese plane with his pistol. This was the first
aerial victory in aviation history. Pluschow then left the colony on the 6th carrying documents
and dispatches, but crash-landed in China. He escaped from China to the west but was
arrested by the British in Gibraltar and sent to a POW camp in Britain. After that he became
the only man in either world war to escape from Britain and make it back to Germany.
True story. In Africa, this week saw the battles of Tanga
and Kilimanjaro, which together were an offensive by British and Indian troops to take German
East Africa. Both battles failed spectacularly, especially the larger one at Tanga, where
the Germans were outnumbered as much as eight to one, but still won thanks to British incompetence
and lack of training, and the brilliance of German General von Lettow-Worbeck, who would
lead the German troops in East Africa until the end of the war without ever suffering
a defeat in spite of always being outnumbered. Lettow-Worbeck was a master of guerilla warfare
and spent much of the war launching raids that tied down tens of thousands of British
and colonial troops, preventing them from going to Europe to fight. So at the end of the week, the Germans are
stalled in the west and the Russians in the East. The Austrians are running from the Russians
but moving against the Serbs and with the Ottoman entry into the war and battles in
Africa and the Far East, the conflict becomes ever more global. Enver Pasha got what he wanted. The Ottomans
were now at war. For Pasha, the aim of the war was clear- a new Turkish nation would
be born from the struggle and bonded by the suffering. A nation that didn’t look to
the Arab world for guidance, but looked to itself. But while this goal was ultimately
successful, Turkey would lose a quarter of her entire population in the struggle- millions
of men, women, and children, many of them starving or freezing to death – and Enver
Pasha would never be the man to lead those who lived. See you next week. Eat more apples. And a little coda here. The western front
had been a stalemate for nearly two monthsm but before that it was very much a war of
motion. That really began to change at the Aisne River and the beginning of trench warfare.
Check that out right here if you haven’t already. And click subscribe to never miss
an episode.

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92 thoughts on “The World at War – The Ottoman Empire Enters The Stage I THE GREAT WAR Week 15”

  1. Selim Akkiz says:

    Favorite history channel as it is very entertaining and educational!

  2. brümmbär Orkun says:

    Austrians dont know how to fight right? What a shame as italians in ww2.

  3. Nubyrc says:

    WW 1 is a lesson in how ego will lead to defeat. All of it was a result of fear and ego. Choices made based on entitlement and bloated ideas, delusions of grandeur. To what end?

    The end of lives of people who could have got along otherwise.

  4. ReBeL GaMeR says:

    After 1700 ottoman start lose wars. Before they best emperia

  5. lastwordindicator says:

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but, if the photo of the Luger at 7:50 is indeed one of the two .45 cal. Luger's made for the United States Military to test while looking to upgrade the standard .38 cal.sidearm before adopting the model 1911 Colt, one of them being destroyed in testing and the other one surviving to this day in a private collection as a very valuable example of the only one of it's kind, it probably wasn't used in a WW1 aerial combat encounter between a German and Japanese plane?

  6. Lancashire AGoGo says:

    Seen by me

  7. LessCommonKnowledge says:

    Big mistake not reverse Schlieffening.

  8. TrumpCorp. says:

    Enver Pasha was a idiot..

  9. equarg says:

    Taking down another aircraft with only a pistol is either dumb luck or superb knowledge of an aircrafts weak spots.
    Prawns to that German pilot on being the first.
    Then to be the only German to Escape England and return to Germany during BOTH World Wars.

  10. dird89 says:

    What did he say to the British POWs in English though? 😮
    Fun fact: The Kaiser allowed a British POW to return to Britain to see his sick mother if he promised to return to the camp. The Brit kept his promise & returned~

  11. xylomeat says:

    1:25 "Two battleships". Wrong. Goeben was a battlecruiser, Breslau was a light cruiser. Some pretty bad fact checking is marring this otherwise good series .

  12. brian belton says:

    The Emden was pursuing a brilliant career, disrupting sea lanes wherever she went.  Gallant, elusive, she was a scarlett pimpernel of the sea.. .  .   .   said churchill.

  13. BOOMitsJack says:

    The Brits lacked in training? Bitch please

  14. A Jim Fan says:

    Can we get a proper video on the ottoman empire and its society before and during WW1? I wanna see it!

  15. KelvinCatoSoGreato says:

    a lot of those 1/4 of their population dead was their own doing via their genocide of their Christian citizens

  16. Samuel Leamer says:

    Can you do an episode on the Arabs in the Ottoman Empire during the war?

  17. Ethan Gibson says:

    what did the kaiser say in english to the prisoners?

  18. Brad Johnson says:

    The pistol you portrayed shooting down a Japanese plane is not .45 caliber it's 9 mm parabellum.

  19. Kyle Wit says:

    The slow trumpet and emphatic tone try to give heroic meaning to a pointless war. Millions died because of the greed of a few.

  20. BEASTIEMAN 420 says:


  21. Robert Martin says:

    World War One, the only war where an aviator could have made a kill with a frickin' handgun.

  22. E. Sharkas says:

    I wanted to comment on you calling enver pasha simply by "pasha" yet I found many comments mentioning this mistake, Pasha was an ottoman title, like "lord" in britain, but in turkish it came after the person's name not before it, it is not a family name,
    Any way, good job and great channel, simple mistake is nothing

  23. Josh Dinndorf says:

    gosh I always thought the race to the sea was the mediterranean.. does italy get involved?

  24. PrimusVsUnicron says:

    Technically this video covers the rise of Radical Islamic Terror

  25. Mesut Kurt says:

    Sizin alayinizi sikeyim amina kodugumun cocuklari



  27. Charles Ferdinand says:

    The Turks always bully and fucked the Greeks up, much like what happens between India and Pakistan (India always beats Pakistan).

  28. 8 987 768 908 120 says:

    #ottoman empire 😮😮😮 🇹🇷🇹🇷🇹🇷

  29. Daragh Logan says:

    there weren't 2 German battleships in the black sea, there was the battlecruiser SMS Göben (Goeben) and the protected cruiser SMS Breslau

  30. DerUnbekannte says:

    i whould have as austira hungary not attacke serbia instead i whould have surrounded their country with only 250-300k soldiers andbuild defensive structures while the rest of the troops saved could then be sent to push through italy easy or help against russia

  31. Mangros says:

    I see a lot of people making the same mistake.There was No Turkey at the great war time and it will not exist until 1923.People are using name "Turkey" for Ottoman Empire and this is wrong.Considering Turkey and Ottomans have a lot of differences from each other.

  32. Braver Delacroix says:

    7:38 Limit Break

  33. RCT一foxxFTW says:

    where is usa……….usa busy in pepering nuclear bomb

  34. Neiasaurus Creations says:

    Speaking English to German troops? It was all a conspiracy! The BRITS caused both world wars in an evil desire to get revenge on um… What's that one country that caused the war? Serb something? Serbdidww2? No no, that's not it… Oh whatever, it was a brit plot on that one country no one cares about. 😉

  35. Björn Larsson says:

    This is extremely political and anti-historic. Blaming the Turks' jihad against the entente on the germans, that's vulgar propaganda.

  36. Marcela Povian says:

    Need to take Constantinople

  37. O Fenómeno says:

    Meanwhile in Serbia…

  38. Jared Jams says:

    Dracula almost got em!

  39. Özgün Simge KÖK says:


  40. Musketeer009 says:

    You probably won't see this but 'Foch' is pronounced 'Fosh'. 'Ch' in French is the same as 'sh' in English.

  41. John Anon says:

    I hope theres a "Who did what" video on Gunther Pluschow.
    Too many firsts and also too many onlys, to ignore.
    Great video thanks indy and crew.

  42. yeniçeri askeri says:


  43. The Black Hawk says:

    Who's seeing this awesome episode in 2018

  44. -- says:

    A quarter of the population??

  45. Cody Morris says:

    A lot of people seem to not know this but we kinda have the Ottomans to thank for Europeans discovering America.

    If it wasn’t for them blocking the spice trade back in the 1300’s-1400’s, Portugal and Spain wouldn’t have bothered looking for other routes to India, meaning Columbus wouldn’t have needed to make is voyage in 1492. True story.

  46. Anani says:

    The guy calling Enver Pasha simply "Pasha" as if it's his last name is sooooo cringe hahahaha

    Things like this lower the credibility of the documentary. Which was already shallow enough.

  47. ömer Savas says:

    ottomans has many pasha his name ise enver pasha

  48. Cyber Crow says:

    Turks never looked to Arab world for guidance tho.

  49. Adolf Hitler says:

    Ananı siker o paşa

  50. tomas dailoff says:

    that german pilot was a woke guy

  51. Sama. Office says:

    Battlefield 1 anyone

  52. Phiphe Dude says:

    Music at 6:40?

  53. Charles Crowell says:

    "I order not into battle I order you to die." Mustafa kamel.

  54. Plak Deryasi says:

    Serbia has no dissatisfaction with the Turks.
    They served the Ottoman Empire for years.
    Worst of all, you should take a look at the Battle of Ankara.

  55. Tales To Astonish says:

    Indy why didnt you talk about the bees in The Battle of Tanga?

  56. Sem Koops says:

    Turkey lost a quarter of its population? I never knew that – poor people.

  57. Ryan Mulherin says:

    They surrendered 100 years ago today.

  58. Easedan900 says:

    I like your videos,

  59. Kerim Turan says:

    Yavaş ulan yavaş! takip edemedim atlı mı kovalıyor…

  60. Lost Ship says:

    7:50 A 45 cal Luger? They only ever made a handful of those officially as trial guns, did the German pilot actually own one? Or was it just he best looking image on google?

  61. Kamsat Gozegelen says:

    Remove porc

  62. Phiphe Dude says:

    Music at 6:35?

  63. Cameron Adkins says:

    What I learned.

    In war always make sure you prepare your rear…

  64. Gunshy55 says:

    Can you reveal the exploits of General Monash. (knighted in the field) by the King

  65. Drkirk Alsuri says:

    Could someone tell me a logical reason for the pasha to put his country in such a terrible war with his empire in a mesrable situation?

  66. paul productions says:

    Long live socialismo

  67. Mingle Dingle says:

    98% Pasha means General bla bla bla
    1% “history buffs” correcting the channel
    1% gud vid.

  68. Gregski says:

    Ironically one of the reason for Ottoman Empire to enter the war was… Azincourt…

    Okay, HMS “Azincourt” and HMS “Erin” (primo voto “Sultan Osman I” and “Reşadiye”)

    British build these battleships for Ottoman Empire. Both were almost ready. Turkish crews were already in UK ready to takeover. 29 July Winston Churchill ordered to seize ships.

    Turkish were not exactly delighted with this decision.

    Two weeks later they got nice gift form Germans (“Midilli” and “Yavûz Sultân Selîm”) so Turkish mood shifted on the Central Powers side.

  69. Chris T says:

    The Ottomans is not a world power but more accurately described as a regional power!!

  70. İsa Okutan says:

    Bu Enver paşaya atılan bir iftiradır bu. Biz savaşa girmesek bile ingiltere ve fransa boğazları ruslara vermek üzere anlaşmışlardı. Topraklarımızı kendi aralarında gizli (daha sonra bolşevikler dünyaya açıklayacak) anlaşmalarla anlaşmışlardı. Sıra almanlardan sonra Osmanlıya gelecekti. Eğer girmeseydik. alman zaferinden çıkan ingilizler, fransızlar ve tabi ruslar ( biz savaşa girmeseydik büyük ihtimalle çarlık rusyada yıkılmazdı) bize istanbulu bile bırakmazlardı. Bizde denişe düşen yılana sarılır misali almanların yanında savaşa girdik. bu yapılan savaşlarda şehit olanlar kuru bir ihtiras davası uğruna şehit olmamıştır.

  71. try again says:

    ‘Freedom or die’ Mustafa Kemal Ataturk 🐺🇹🇷

  72. JonatasAdoM says:

    Imagine someone calling him "general/commander pasha"

  73. Uncrowned Legend says:

    Işte böyle! tarih öğreneceksek bu adamın öğrendiği gibi öğrenmek gerekir, tamamen cephelerden butun generallere kadar.

  74. owo UwU says:

    I tried explaining to a dutch dude all this but i unfortunately realized all he wanted was to make fun of me


  75. Bzkxtt says:

    There is no proof of him ever killing someone mid-air.

  76. Honey Lucky says:

    turkey and pakistan take back ottoman empire..when british broke ottoman pakistan is not independent but our grand fathers fight with turkey pakistan is independent and we fight with turkey and take back ottoman again..inshAllah

  77. Cody W says:

    "triumph of the working class", 60 million Ukrainian peasants beg to differ…

  78. Floyd Hillman says:

    Sir, the two German ships that went to Turkey were the Geoben and Breslau, these ships were Cruisers not Battleships as in you WWI commentary. these ships ran as fast as they could before war was declared to neutral turkey for safe harbors.

  79. Josh Bennett says:

    It's crazy to think that the Germans recommending pulling out of France and Belgium were 100% right and that the plan would have likely worked. Yet it was dismissed without much debate.

  80. Pavel Klammert says:

    Just love you videos

  81. A.f. Aliluft says:

    What a man 7:37.

  82. Bones says:

    This is the hundreds of thousands of deaths guy!

  83. Paul Oakwood says:

    Pasha is a title, not a name. Turks place a title after an individual's first name, such as Enver Pasha (General) or Enver Bey (Mister.) This is a pretty basic error for an historical channel of your calibre to make.

  84. Eric Sell says:

    I KNEW IT! I know that music! That's the "desert" theme from the original Rome TW!

  85. Ahmet Akif DURMUŞ says:

    To all the comments about surname thing; we did not have surnames but we had lineage names usually was either a horde's name or a name of a rather known person from that lineage or simply a nickname to a lineage or a nickname to a person from that lineage like mine, durmuşoğlu means macdurmuş or o'durmuş, works both way.

  86. Mr. Ramfan says:

    By this time in history the ottoman empire was an empire in name only…

  87. Spencer Green says:

    "export WAR_WITH_RUSSIA=true" — Env-var Pasha

  88. Mike Reichert says:

    Why would anybody thumbs down this? This is the by far the best documentary on ww1…

  89. EmperorToBeFeared Blackmilitiaman says:

    Missing piece Russia declared war on ottoman s

  90. Kemâl 1942 says:

    1:50 His name is not Pasha,
    his name is Enver.
    pasha means general.

  91. first name last name says:

    Wow, this got recommended to me on the exact day but this video camera out in 2014… Suspicious.

  92. jay deister says:

    Thank you for the great analysis of the great war. Many history books avoid blame of generals, kings, monarchs, presidents, etc., assuming war and mass death is inevitable.

  93. John Labuda says:

    Hey Serbia declared war on the ottomans on my birthday!
    Almost 80 years before it though

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