Some Claims of Liman von Sanders On The Gallipoli Campaign

Some Claims of Liman von Sanders On The Gallipoli Campaign

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The Gallipoli campaign is still a widely studied issue in Turkey and abroad. Gallipoli reminds us of the Anafartalar hero Mustafa Kemal and the legend of the victory written by the Turkish soldiers despite all the impossibilities. It is little known that the Turkish troops were commanded by a German general called Liman von Sanders, and the fact that there were a lot of German officers in his command chain should be remembered. Nevertheless, incomparable to the number of the Turkish soldiers and much less than them, there were a small number of German troops who fought and lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign. In fact, when the knowledge and the related documents of the period then are analyzed, it will not be wrong to conclude that the German public opinion is not aware of this fact, or has little interest in it. Moreover, some significant knowledge and comments can be found in the memoirs of the German officers that served in the campaign, but few German historians who are interested in Gallipoli are knowledgeable about them.

The letters written by Liman von Sanders, having three different dates, obtained from the German archives, in relation to the publication of “The Gallipoli War” by the German officer Carl Mühlmann form the focus of this study. In his letters, Sanders suggests some interesting claims about the Gallipoli wars. These are as follows: Enver Pasha risked the fate of the Ottoman Empire by opposing the deployment of an army in Gallipoli; Mustafa Kemal, who executed Sanders’ orders only, attributed the accomplishments of the war to himself without giving credit to anyone else, resulting in exaggeration; it was the Germans who deployed and directed all the artillery units in the Anafartalar region; it was “only the Germans” who ruled the command chain during the war.

In our study, the work of the German officers who fought during the campaign, notably Sanders, Mühlmann, and Heuck has been studied and assessed in relation to the claims posited in Liman von Sanders’ letters.

Keywords: Çanakkale Savaşları; Mustafa Kemal; Liman von Sanders; Carl Mühlmann; Alman Subayları

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