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1918 - Constantinople Liberated

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by Tuor View Post
    I don't see the problem with Greece taking Constantinople and all of the European Ottoman Empire.


    And given the British/French willingness to give much of Anatolia to the Greeks after the war you'd think they'd have no problem assisting Greece by sea with taking Constantinople, or at a minimum cutting the Turks off from resupplying the city.
    Maybe in 1918. I recall one of the reasons the Brits & French packed up & departed in 1919 is the support for any more warfare or military adventures was so low mutinies were feared amoung the Anglo/French occupation units in Turkey. Again its been nearly thirty years so I cant recall the complete details of the end of the occupation. One other fragment I do recall was the Italian government briefly sent some expiditionary units to the coast of Asia Minor. The had theri own morale problems and departed everywhere but Roades.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Originally posted by Phebe View Post
    Reminds me of the old '20s jazz song --

    It's Istanbul, not Constantinople,
    No, you can't go back to Constantinople,
    Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
    Any more!
    (And it's nobody's business but the Turks.)

    I can hear the beat just reading the lines!
    And even if that last line is not part of the song, it's accurate. They won the battle, they call the shots. Simple as that.

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  • Tuor
    replied
    I don't see the problem with Greece taking Constantinople and all of the European Ottoman Empire.
    On 11th June 1917 Constantine abdicated and left the country. The throne was taken by his son Alexander, who agreed to work with Venizelos. Eleftherios Venizelos, returned to Athens to form a government and on 29th June 1917, declared war against the Central Powers. By July 1918 the Greek Army had 250,000 men fighting in Macedonia.
    And given the British/French willingness to give much of Anatolia to the Greeks after the war you'd think they'd have no problem assisting Greece by sea with taking Constantinople, or at a minimum cutting the Turks off from resupplying the city.

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  • Wolery
    replied
    Having studied modern Greek history, as well as Byzantine history, Greece taking Constantinople would be a feat. It is not that the Greek can't fight, it's that Greeks fight each other even when everything is at stake, a tradition that goes back to the before the Persian Wars, of which Manzikert is a prime example.

    While I cannot remember the names, the King and the PM undercut each other in the wake of WWI so that the already unwise advance to Ancyra was doomed, and also the army could not be reorganized to defend Smyrna.

    Supposed the Greeks worked together. The Greeks could take Thrace, but would have to uni latterly cleanse it of Turks. But would this stop the Turks form cleansing Anatolia. I'm sad to say without a substantial genocide of Turks, Anatolia could not be held. They outnumbered the Greeks 5:1 (I think maybe more) and only in Smyrna and Trebizond did the Greek hold a majority. Even going back to the borders of Manuel I Comnenus would have required a horrific defeat for the Turks and the death of Ataturk AND probably the Turks fragmenting.

    Forced population exchange was coming, it had too. Two races of man cannot long live under one flag without one totally dominating the other (like how England dominates Scotland in every area except bagpipe music, Scottish PMs not withstanding). The lines were destined to be drawn to the dismay of the Greeks. How much is the question.

    And by that I mean the Greeks would have liked ALL of Anatolia to recreate a Byzantine like state.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    One frequently reads how the Allied fleet had its lead ships past the last mine belt when the withdrawl order was signaled. I dont know what the Turkish view of this was.

    Results of the fleet steaming on the Istambul? Well, in 1982 our amphibious warfare instructor gave a two hour lecture on everything that went wrong in the Gallipoli operation from the prespective of modern amphibious warfare doctrine. So Gallipoli would not become a case study in ten ways to screw up a amphib. op.

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  • Phebe
    replied
    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
    In fact, I think it only fell twice since Constantine made it his city.
    It is disappointing that the Turks changed the name, but oh well...
    Reminds me of the old '20s jazz song --

    It's Istanbul, not Constantinople,
    No, you can't go back to Constantinople,
    Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
    Any more!
    (And it's nobody's business but the Turks.)


    I like this idea but I'd prefer it take place earlier, when first planned, with heavier military: the British Royal Navy intended to sail right into Constantinople and take over the place.

    They failed because of ONE LITTLE TURKISH MINING SHIP. The Royal Navy got all the mines out laid across the straits, but at night just before their incursion, a Turkish boat got in there and secretly laid mines parallel with the banks, where no one supposed there would be any ------ and it took out at least two big Navy ships, I'd have to check, but the damage was terrible and the Navy retreated at this point.

    Afterward followed the failure of Gallipoli; it was pretty much a debacle, but if the Royal Navy had been able to get through the straits and into Constantinople, I think they could indeed have held it and.........liberated it.

    After 500 years might be a little late to talk of liberation, but conquest, anyway.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Assuming the Greeks do take control of Ionia & Istambul ect... and hang on to it all, means in 1940 the Greek nation is much larger, a bit wealthier, and has perhaps a bit more international prestiege. Would Mussolini consider war with Greece then?

    If Italy does blunder into war with Greece, the eventual outcome is still likely to be German intervention. Would a truncated Turkish nation decide to throw in with the Axis to recover 'Its' territories? That has bad implications for the British position in the Middle East.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    My point was that the Ottoman's were hardly an oppressive regime that anyone needed to liberate the population from .
    Ok, that fits.

    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    The Armenian genocide that occured during the war seems out of character and more in line with the general xenopobia that took place amongst all the combatants.
    The Armenian thing was partially from a emerging 'Turkish' nationalism. As opposed to the tolerant or imperial Ottoman attitude. There were other reasons but I'd have to dig out some books to expound. Its been nearly thirty years since the modern Middle Eastern History courses & professor McDaniels

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  • The Purist
    replied
    My point was that the Ottoman's were hardly an oppressive regime that anyone needed to liberate the population from . The Armenian genocide that occured during the war seems out of character and more in line with the general xenopobia that took place amongst all the combatants.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    " I'm not sure why you want to "liberate" Turkish territory from the Turks 500 years after the fact. "

    Hmmm.... a lot more research is necessary, but I recall the Constantinople metro area was more than a bit cosmopolitian & international in character. a look at a 1904 ethniic/language survey shows the area of the Bosphorus Straits region as having Greeks the more numerous, tho not a majority. Across Asia minor of 1900 the 'Turks' were not universal. Rather Seljuks, Ottomans, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, & miscl others created a regional pastiche. In the 1920s the Turks abandoned the Ottoman tradition of ethic accomodition and local autonomy for their new policy of 'Turkish' cultural homogenity.

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  • Tuor
    replied
    One interesting thing about Hagia Sofia, and perhaps a sign of tolerance and grudging admiration at times for the architecture of opposing religions, is the fact that it was not torn down after the Ottoman conquest, but rather converted to a mosque. I haven't yet been there, but when in Spain was struck by an analagous situation, the 1286 reconquest of Cordoba and placing a church in the middle of the great mosque. In neither case did the conquerors tear down their opponents structures (as was sadly done in Afghanistan with the buddhist statues). It's a remarkable feeling to be in the mosque area at Cordoba and then go into the superbaroque chapel, I imagine not unlike going to hagia Sophia, especially now that it's a museum.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Constantinople was indeed a mostly dead city when it fell.... but that in itself is a pretty amazing testament to the durability of that city's defenses. And it was a fairly close-run thing in that final siege.

    If done right, this siege would make a good movie. It has all the right elements... I could go on for a Dozen threads about 1453. Did you know that this was the last year of the 100 years war, and that more time had passed between the first and the final Muslim attacks on that city than has passed since it fell?

    In fact, I think it only fell twice since Constantine made it his city.
    It is disappointing that the Turks changed the name, but oh well...

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  • Imperial
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    The Hagia Sofia was converted to a Mosque and the icons painted over because of the prohibition on worshiping 'images'. The problem with the Eastern Orthodox Church at the time was that the "art" had become objects of worship rather than representations of the various saints and episodes of the New Testament. Its called idolatry. Even Catholicism has a prohibition against "idol worship", that is why iconism is not practised in the western Church.
    That problem was made up by the iconoclasts who in turn were influenced by Islamic precepts regarding the portrayal of prophets. The accusations of idolatry are nonsense since they can be superficially raised against any object that is included in religious rites.

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  • The Purist
    replied
    I'm not sure why you want to "liberate" Turkish territory from the Turks 500 years after the fact.

    The Hagia Sofia was converted to a Mosque and the icons painted over because of the prohibition on worshiping 'images'. The problem with the Eastern Orthodox Church at the time was that the "art" had become objects of worship rather than representations of the various saints and episodes of the New Testament. Its called idolatry. Even Catholicism has a prohibition against "idol worship", that is why iconism is not practised in the western Church.

    As for desecration,... that's not really an argument,... nor is it accurate.

    here is a good bit from wiki (a starting point at least)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Constantinople

    and the following quote can be found therein,

    ...Byzantine historian George Sphrantzes was in the city, and witnessed the fall of Constantinople. He later recalled in his chronicle about the fall of the city, what happened at the end of the third day of the conquest:
    On the third day after the fall of our city, the Sultan celebrated his victory with a great, joyful triumph. He issued a proclamation: the citizens of all ages who had managed to escape detection were to leave their hiding places throughout the city and come out into the open, as they were remain free and no question would be asked. He further declared the restoration of houses and property to those who had abandoned our city before the siege, if they returned home, they would be treated according to their rank and religion, as if nothing had changed.[57][58]
    The loss of the city was a massive blow to Christendom; the Pope called for an immediate counter-attack in the form of a crusade, but when no European monarch was willing to lead the crusade, the Pope himself decided to go; his early death eliminated the possibility of a counter-attack.
    With Constantinople beneath his belt, Mehmed II had acquired a great, rich city albeit one in decline due to years of war. The Capital allowed the Turks to establish a permanent supply base in Christian Europe. Further advances into Hungary and the principalities bordering the two kingdoms would have been difficult, if not impossible, without the harbors of Constantinople bringing in supplies and serving as a fortified center from which to administer the empire and strategy.
    Far from being in its heyday, by then, Constantinople was severely depopulated as a result of the general economic and territorial decline of the empire following its partial recovery from the disaster of the Fourth Crusade inflicted on it by the Christian army two centuries before. Therefore, the city in 1453 was a series of walled villages separated by vast fields encircled in whole by the fifth-century Theodosian walls. When the Ottoman troops first broke through the defenses, many of the leading citizens of these little townlets submitted their surrender to Mehmed's generals[59]. These villages, specifically along the land walls, were allowed to keep their citizens and churches and were protected by Mehmed's special contingents of Janissaries. It was these people who formed what the Ottomans called a Millet, a self-governing community in the multi-national Ottoman Empire of which Constantinople was to become the capital. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque, although the Greek Orthodox Church remained intact, and Gennadius Scholarius was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople....
    The Crusaders did far worse when they sacked Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and a host of other eastern Christian and Muslim places of worship.
    Last edited by The Purist; 14 Oct 09, 13:21.

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  • mojolocobell99
    replied
    The 1453 desecration by the Ottoman Turks

    Originally posted by Half Pint View Post
    Liberated or occupied? Liberated from whom?
    It is said that the Hagia Sophia so moved the Russian Czar that he converted all of Russia to Orthodoxy, when Constantinople fell the Turks promptly desecrated the cathedral and white-washed the mosaics.

    Liberated from whom should be obvious from the first thread, but in case its not, from the Turks.

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