World The Life and Legend of Sir Basil

World War I characterized as the “first modern war”1. Advanced machine guns, bombs, tanks, attack aircraft and submarines were widely used in the First War. It is also accepted as the first “total war”2, where most of the nations mobilised all resources for the war. The map of Europe has been changed by 1919, as big empires brought to the end and new countries, nations were formed. Involvement of the USA in the war arose the country as the world’s new economic power. Soviet Russia was formed. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles plant the seeds for fascism, World War II and for other 20th century conflicts, like the Vietnam War.

On September of 1914, Britain withdrew its Naval Mission from Turkey.  Mission role was modernised and strengthen both country’s naval defences, together with an “Armstrong” and “Vicker” subsidiary, “The Imperial Ottoman Docks”, “Arsenals and Naval Construction Company”3. By this time, fully paid for two modern battleships “Reshadieh” and the “Sultan Osman” had already been built and with their Turkish crews ready to board in order to move to Turkey were waiting at Armstrong’s and Vickers yards in Britain. But later Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary of State, “acknowledging Turkey’s financial and other losses, conveyed his government’s ‘sincere regret’, indicating that compensation for such losses would be given ‘due consideration’.”4 

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While it made Turkish leaders unhappy, it pleased Germans. At that stage Turkey was neutral. Germany took advantage of the situation. They had a two battleship the “Goeben” and “Breslau” in the Mediterranean and ordered to head for Constantinople and provided Turkey with those two battleships as “replacement” with an entirely German crew under German control.5 It caused distress to British and Allied ambassadors in Constantinople protested it the breach of neutrality and Turkey’s hostility in accepting the German ships.6 Turkey request

1 Brynn Holland. “History Vault: WWI: The First Modern War”  April 8, 2017

2 “Total War” The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica 

3 Anthony Allfrey, Man of Arms: The Life and Legend of Sir Basil Zaharoff,  p 95, 135, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1989.

4 Winston Churchill, “The World Crisis”, Vol 1, p. 208-9, (1911-14) Thornton Butterworth, London 1927

5 Barbara Tuchman,” August 1914, The First Month of the First World War”, p 158/9, Papermac, London 1980

6 Winston Churchill, “The World Crisis”, Vol 1, p. 492,  (1911-14) Thornton Butterworth, London 1927