History of Turkey During World War II (1933—1952)

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Background

The First World War (1914—1915)

Nazi Germany Empire (1933—1945).

In the First World War (1914—1918), Turkey was the only major ally of the Germans, and as a result had lost much of it's territory for having allied itself to such a power.[1] It in fact was only one of five European nations that was neutral towards the Nazis, the others being Spain, Sweden, Portugal, and Switzerland.[1][2] Even well before the Second World War began, the Germans were highly and politically well informed on the events going on in Turkey. In fours years from left wing to far right the Germans reported positively on Turkey with at least 2,200 publications over a four year period just from one newspaper alone. This meant at least one article a day was dedicated to Turkey, it's history and politics (or at least three every 2 days). The Germans even used language and vocabularly they usually reserved for White Germans, attempting to equate Germany with the Turkish people as much as possible.[3] Nazi newspapers too talked about Turkey in a very respectful manner. Hans Trobst, who was the only German mercenary in the employment of the Turkish secular military wrote about the country in the far right "Heimatland" and "Volkischer Kurier".[4] Prior to the Nazi takeover, these newspapers were negative regarding Ataturk's struggle against the Greeks, French and British. This all ceased on December 2nd, 1920, since they had been bought out by the Nazi party who were hugely sympathetic towards Ataturks cause. Some of the earliest front page headlines were "Heroic Turkey" and "Turkey—The Role Model".[5] However, prior and during the start of the Second World War (1939—1945), Turkey tried as much as it possibly could to be neutral.

The First World War was an important historical precedence that lead to the Turkish independence movement, so soon after it's end in 1918.[6] A mere five years after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and the Sultan had shamelessly aligned himself as a puppet of the British, the Turks won their independence, which culminated in the defeat of Britain, France and Greece, enshrined in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923).[6] This superceded the humiliating Treaty of Sevres (1920).[6][7] This latter treaty was incredibly harsh, much like that of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) on the Germans,[8] which was designed to punish than sue for terms of peace. The Turks were only allowed to have an army the size of 50,000 men. This included staff, officers, trainers and depot troops. Reinforcement troops also had to number no more than 15,000 men and legion troops no more than 35,000 men.[9] Of these men, only 1,150 were to have rifles per 1,000 men, one revolver per man, and fifteen machines guns (heavy or light); limited to 10 per legion (defined at 25% the strength of the total number of legion soldiers allowed); with 50,000-100,000 rounds per weapon. Field guns or heavy guns were banned by the treaty outright. The Sultan was allowed a personal bodyguard of 700 men.[10] Turkey was also ordered to pay £. T. Gold 143,241,757.[11] Furthermore, large swathes of Muslim lands were to go to the direct control of the allied powers. In total, there were 433 articles of imposition stipulated.[12] Although powerful enough to rip this treaty apart the Turks could not afford a struggle to win back it's other territories such as Iraq, and the Aegean Islands.[6]

Ottoman Empire (1299—1920).

Anglo—Turkish Pact (1938—1939)

Outdated Turkish aircraft (1938).

In 1938, the Turkish armed forces consisted of 20,000 officers, and 174,000 men, largely still equipped with World War I weaponry.[13] The Turkish were so short on rifles that they had asked buy 150,000 rifles from the UK.[13] In 1937, the Turkish only 131 fighter planes, of which 65-66 were modern airfcraft.[13] Turkey wanted to increase this force to around 300 by 1938, given that they already had 300 moderately trained pilots.[13] Their navy was in an even more dire condition, with only one battle cruiser, four destroyers and five submarines.[13] By February 1938, the Turkish, aware of an oncoming war increased aerial defence spending by £7,000,000 pounds, and £5,000,000 pounds on military equipment.[13] In May 1938, the Turkish received additional military funding from the British, amounting £6 million pounds.[13] The Turks actually needed at least £21 million pounds from the UK in order to be able to meet costs.[13] With regards to the Germans arming the Turks; the promises were never fulfilled, forcing Turkey to look outside.[13] When World War II began, the personal strength of the Turkish air forces were 8,500 officers and 450 pilots, with 370 aircraft.[14] In September 1939 the British agreed to fund £25 million pounds into Turkey's military.[15] From this deal the Turks were able to purchase 258 aircraft (complete with fuel), 2,500 mines with 2.5 tonnes of charge each, 200 torpedos, 700 depth charges, 36 naval assault craft, 25 patrol boats, 4 torpedo boats, 3 coastguard boats, 6 minesweepers and 2 minelayers.[13]

History

The Tripartite Straits Crisis (1932—1943)

The bosphorous straits were hugely important for both the Soviets and the Germans as well as the Turks, with all wanting to control the strategically important route. This increased the tension between the Soviets and the Germans; not to mention the already several successful German invasions of Soviet sphere's of influence. The two powers were also diametrically opposed to one another, one was communist and the other fascist. It became inevitable that the two powers would clash, but where,[n. 1] was the question. Hitler chose the option for a direct invasion on the Soviet lands, after being guaranteed Turkish neutrality, which was the best he could achieve. When the war began between the Germans and Soviets, the Turkish president was hugely relieved.[6] The Germans were attacking Turkey's longest known enemy in it's history, without so much as involving Turkey directly into the conflict.[6] The Germans, which the Turks were still distrustful of, also did not manage to get embroiled in a Nazi invasion of their lands.[6] With the Soviets busy trying to defend themselves, and the Germans busy invading the Soviet Union; and with the conflict later reaching into stalemate and then Germany losing, Turkey managed to avoid the two powers attacking it's territory.[6] When Inonu heard that Hitler had invaded the Soviets; he burst into a fit of laughter; "for nearly ten minutes" which demonstrated "a release of tension by someone who had been under enormous stress for the last two years".[6] Thereafter the Turkish took on a Pro-German stance in order to deflect irking the Germans.

The Bosphorous; a strategic sea route.
Nazi—Turkish non-aggression Pact (1941).

Prior to the invasion, Hitler tried as much as he could to cause tensions between the Soviets and Turks, in order to push the Turkish away from the communists.[16] By 1940 the Germans even thought of attacking the Turks directly should they form an alliance with the communists, but this never materialised since the Germans had separated the two already, and also wanted to first deal with eliminating the Soviet Union before it was Turkey's turn.[16] Germany also tried to divide them in other ways as well. The German propaganda ministry published several literature in order to convince the Turks over to their side.[17] They published "Signal", "Turkische Post", "Beyoglu", "Istanbul" and "Yeni Dunya".[17] The Germans also broadcasted several radio programmes within Turkey, massaging historic ties and friendship, praising even Ataturk himself.[17] The Nazis also showed themselves as the alternative to the communists, whom Germany would fight against, should their expansion continue in order to protect Turkey.[17] The focus on trade grew increasingly, with Germany increasing its export and imports from the Turks from 13.5% and 23.3% respectively in 1932 to 44% and 46% on average for the next 1935 and 1938.[17] In stark contrast, Britain only imported 3% of Turkey's total produce and exported 11% of their products.[17] It is interesting that total trade during the war between the Soviets and Turkish actually continuously declined from 4%/4% in 1938 to 0%/0% by 1945, whereas with Germany it was 44%/48% in 1938 to 0%/1% in 1945.[17] With the British it increased from 3%/11% in 1938, to 15%/23%, and with the US from 12%/10% to 44%/18%.[17]

President Inonu ignored the Germans before the Soviet-German war, as much as he could at every opportunity, which even culminated in German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, to threaten to destroy Turkey "within a week" if they did not respond back and ally with them.[16] Turkey staunchly ignored his tirades, despite fully knowing well that the Nazis were invading dozens of countries and were serious about their threats.[16] The Turkish president and Hitler even exchanged correspondence in order to ease tensions between the two by March 1941, with Turkey increasingly worried about a German invasion of their territory.[16] This was even after assurances were made personally by Hitler himself that he would respect Turkey's borders.[16] In relief the Turks found themselves safe after Hitler had indeed honoured his agreement, and stayed well away from the Turkish lines when he entered Bulgaria.[16] Even when Greece and Yugoslavia were invaded in April 1941, Turkey remarkably felt completely at ease.[16] It was so at ease that it even ignored Churchill's requests to invade Germany, with Inonu proclaiming that the "adventure" would amount to nothing for his people.[16] In what seemed like a turnaround for Hitler (since in the summer of 1939 he had espoused anti-Turkish feelings), by May 5th, 1941, he was openly praising the Turks given how important they were becoming to the geopolitical context, vis-a-vis the Soviet Union.[16] The politiking culminated in the June 18th, signing of a Nazi-Turkish Non-aggression Pact (1941).[16] This pact meant nothing; the Nazis broke theirs with the Soviets after 4 days.[18]

A satirical comic showing Hitler with a room full of broken promises.

Nazi—Turkish Trade (1933—1945)

Europe (1939).

Britain was so worried about Turkey's exports to Nazi Germany that they offered a £16 million pound deal, with at least £6 million pounds going towards military purchases in May 1938.[16] By January 1939, the Germans tried to outbid the British, offering RM 150 million reichmarks, with at least RM 60 million reichmarks dedicated to military products, in addition with offers to buy agricultural products, at 30% above global market prices.[16] Throughout the war however, Turkey was not significantly developing any proper political relations with the Nazi empire.[16] The British exploited this by forming an Anglo-Turkish Treaty in May 1939, much to Germany's annoyance.[16] The Nazis protested by not honouring their arms exports at all, and after Turkey had refused to renew the August 1939 trade agreement between the two, but eventually settled their differences.[16] The importance of this trade is emphasised by the fact that the Germans had heavily traded with Turkey well before the outbreak of World War II. In 1939, the Turkish population census recorded that there were 17,820,950 Turkish citizens living in the country, with 13,475,000 million (70%) living in rural areas.[19] As a result, self sufficiency proved impossible given how spread the Turkish population was outside of it's Urban areas.[19] For this reason, the Turks needed foreign currency to shore up their accounts in a short amount of time.[19] Germany came to it's aid, supplying 78% of it's wool yarns and tissues, 69.7% of it's iron and steel, 61% of it's machines and apparatus, and 55.4% of it's chemicals.[19] In return, the Germans bought 75% of new wool, 70% of it's cotton, and 70% of it's chrome.[19]

Turkey produced approximately 20% of the global chromite ore supply (estimates range from 16%[1]-19%[20] of global economic output).[20] It was a crucial ingredient in the production of military products such as tanks (since stainless steel contains up to 18% chromium[16]); which 33% of chromium ore bought from Turkey by Nazi Germany was directed to by 1944.[20] Trade was brisk, between 1939 and 1943, the gold reserves of the secular Turkish republic rose from $88 million dollars to $221 million dollars.[2] This was the fourth largest increase in gold reserves out of the five neutral nations, which one historian has claimed is linked as evidence to the extent of Nazi looting during the war (not all of the $221 million dollars was made from Nazi Germany).[2] The largest increase was witnessed by Switzerland at 537%, whereas Turkeys was 133%.[2] In terms of the amount of gold Turkey made from Germany, in 1939, the secular republic only had 27.4 tonnes of gold (27.400 kg), but by 1945 it accumulated a healthy 216 tonnes (216,000 kg) of gold bullion.[20] Although it was not known to the Turks,[n. 2] it is alleged some of the gold came from concentration camps.[20] If trade was in todays prices, this amounts to $8.7 billion dollars in gold trade in total.[1] However others claim that Turkey never received more than $15 million dollars in gold (most of which was said to have been looted in Belgium).[21] Turkey never returned, nor was asked to return, any gold.[2] In 1933, Nazi Germany bought 11.7 tonnes of chromium ore, and between January and August 1939, just prior to the invasion of Poland, it bought 96.2 tonnes.[20] From 1936, 64,500 metric tonnes (mt), 58,400 mt (1937), 68,500 mt (1938) and 114,500 mt (1939) of chromite ore were sold.[22]

Ataturks bust.

Aftermath

Creation of Israel (1948—Present)

Palestinian loss of land (1946-2010); an immediate consequence of WWII.

Historically, the Jews in Turkey were never persecuted and even helped in the formation of the Young Turks Movement in 1908 (the same movement would later be accused of an alleged "genocide" against the Armenians).[23] The Jews also later supported the war of independence, betraying the Christians in favour of the Muslims.[23] Ataturk even praised Turkish Jews for their contributions towards the movement.[23] When World War II started, many European Jews fled to Turkey.[23] When Israel was created in 1948, at the expense of the Palestinians who would undergo a colossal loss of land and subsequent genocide attempts of their own at the hands of the Jews, Turkey became the first Muslim country to recognize it.[23] The two countries good relations continued[23] (along with Azerbaijan; another Turkic state) well into the next few decades until Israel committed several massacres, mass murders, and wars against non-Jews in Palestine in an effort to ethnically cleanse Israel, including the 2008 flotilla attack. Israel only apologized after Obama forced it's hand. Israel's belligerent attitude towards non-Jews has ironically even seen it's government come out in support of a "shoah/holocaust" against Palestinians. In World War II however, Turkey rescued 115,000 Jews from Europe.[24] When this figure is broken down, 15,000 were French Jews who were allowed to settle in Turkey, along with 100,000 Eastern European Jews.[24] Turkey however, also deprived 2,000 Turkish Jews of their citizenship, but refused to do so for 3,000 others, who were all on an arrest warrant list made by the Germans at the height of Nazi power.[25]

Turkish—Soviet Relations & NATO

Turkey was at strains with the Soviet Union, even before the war began. The communists had adopted an expansionist policy, which would go on to disrupt many different countries throughout the USSR's tenure until it's demise in 1991. The Polish had already suffered a joint Nazi-Soviet coalition to takeover the country even during the war. The Turks had, at least politically, attempted to survive this threat by making a treaty with the communist empire, known as the Treaty of Friendship (1925);[26] this was renewed in 1935 again as the situation in Europe gradually worsened.[26] For a time, this meant the Turks only had the Italians to worry of.[26] The Italians had openly declared hostility several times towards the Turks, and even went on to horrendously invade Muslim Albania.[26] This was primarily also down to the fact that the fascist Italians had already invaded Ethiopia. The Italians themselves wanted Iraq, and being former Ottoman territory, they did not want Turkey to get it back. Eventually Italy was taken out of the equation as Hitler's forces and influence grew to massive proportions.[6] During this time, Turkey opened up even more in their relations with Britain, and then France.[26] The British guaranteed protection to the Turkish if war broke out in the mediteranean in the May 1939 treaty, however Turkey was not obliged to do the same if Britain was invaded.[26] Turkey signed a similar deal with France in June 1939.[26] Fortunately for the Turks, when the French were invaded (and surrendered to the Nazis within a month), this worked out for them.[26] As Russia was invaded and then started winning, the Turks felt threatened.[26]

Soviet-Turkish relations (1925—1935).

Other Observations

  • Turkey was far more concerned with the threat of the Italians should war break out than Germany just prior to the outbreak of the war. This was primarily down to the fact that the fascist Italians had already invaded Ethiopia. Italy had also threatened to invade Turkey in 1925, which the Turks took seriously after the invasions of Ethiopia occurred, if they should decide to take back Iraq. Political developments continued between Turkey and it's neighbours and eventually Italy was taken out of the equation as Hitler's forces and influence grew to massive proportions.[6]
  • Not wanting to ally themselves to the Axis powers, or the allies, Turkey became proficient at cleverly avoiding either side. In 1943 for example, Inonu was heavily pressured into siding with the allies, but cleverly out-manouevered Churchill by agreeing with him on everything, but asking for absurdly large amounts of munitions and equipment until the British gave up in 1944.[18]
  • Turkey showed remarkable restraint and Inonu did not fall for the emotive Nazi tricks. There were 40 million Turks trapped in the Soviet Union, but despite this Inonu refused to get involved in freeing them, knowing full well the costs of such an adventure. After the war, Turkey was able to join NATO, and became a large part of it's military size.

Timeline

Background

The First World War (1914—1915)

Nazi Germany Empire (1933—1945).

In the First World War (1914—1918), Turkey was the only major ally of the Germans, and as a result had lost much of it's territory for having allied itself to such a power.[1] It in fact was only one of five European nations that was neutral towards the Nazis, the others being Spain, Sweden, Portugal, and Switzerland.[1][2] Even well before the Second World War began, the Germans were highly and politically well informed on the events going on in Turkey. In fours years from left wing to far right the Germans reported positively on Turkey with at least 2,200 publications over a four year period just from one newspaper alone. This meant at least one article a day was dedicated to Turkey, it's history and politics (or at least three every 2 days). The Germans even used language and vocabularly they usually reserved for White Germans, attempting to equate Germany with the Turkish people as much as possible.[3] Nazi newspapers too talked about Turkey in a very respectful manner. Hans Trobst, who was the only German mercenary in the employment of the Turkish secular military wrote about the country in the far right "Heimatland" and "Volkischer Kurier".[4] Prior to the Nazi takeover, these newspapers were negative regarding Ataturk's struggle against the Greeks, French and British. This all ceased on December 2nd, 1920, since they had been bought out by the Nazi party who were hugely sympathetic towards Ataturks cause. Some of the earliest front page headlines were "Heroic Turkey" and "Turkey—The Role Model".[5] However, prior and during the start of the Second World War (1939—1945), Turkey tried as much as it possibly could to be neutral.

Ottoman Empire (1299—1920).

The First World War was an important historical precedence that lead to the Turkish independence movement, so soon after it's end in 1918.[6] A mere five years after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and the Sultan had shamelessly aligned himself as a puppet of the British, the Turks won their independence, which culminated in the defeat of Britain, France and Greece, enshrined in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923).[6] This superceded the humiliating Treaty of Sevres (1920).[6][7] This latter treaty was incredibly harsh, much like that of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) on the Germans,[28] which was designed to punish than sue for terms of peace. The Turks were only allowed to have an army the size of 50,000 men. This included staff, officers, trainers and depot troops. Reinforcement troops also had to number no more than 15,000 men and legion troops no more than 35,000 men.[9] Of these men, only 1,150 were to have rifles per 1,000 men, one revolver per man, and fifteen machines guns (heavy or light); limited to 10 per legion (defined at 25% the strength of the total number of legion soldiers allowed); with 50,000-100,000 rounds per weapon. Field guns or heavy guns were banned by the treaty outright. The Sultan was allowed a personal bodyguard of 700 men.[10] Turkey was also ordered to pay £. T. Gold 143,241,757.[11] Furthermore, large swathes of Muslim lands were to go to the direct control of the allied powers. In total, there were 433 articles of imposition stipulated.[12] Although powerful enough to rip this treaty apart the Turks could not afford a struggle to win back it's other territories such as Iraq, and the Aegean Islands.[6]

Anglo—Turkish Pact (1938—1939)

Outdated Turkish aircraft (1938).

In 1938, the Turkish armed forces consisted of 20,000 officers, and 174,000 men, largely still equipped with World War I weaponry.[13] The Turkish were so short on rifles that they had asked buy 150,000 rifles from the UK.[13] In 1937, the Turkish only 131 fighter planes, of which 65-66 were modern airfcraft.[13] Turkey wanted to increase this force to around 300 by 1938, given that they already had 300 moderately trained pilots.[13] Their navy was in an even more dire condition, with only one battle cruiser, four destroyers and five submarines.[13] By February 1938, the Turkish, aware of an oncoming war increased aerial defence spending by £7,000,000 pounds, and £5,000,000 pounds on military equipment.[13] In May 1938, the Turkish received additional military funding from the British, amounting £6 million pounds.[13] The Turks actually needed at least £21 million pounds from the UK in order to be able to meet costs.[13] With regards to the Germans arming the Turks; the promises were never fulfilled, forcing Turkey to look outside.[13] When World War II began, the personal strength of the Turkish air forces were 8,500 officers and 450 pilots, with 370 aircraft.[14] In September 1939 the British agreed to fund £25 million pounds into Turkey's military.[15] From this deal the Turks were able to purchase 258 aircraft (complete with fuel), 2,500 mines with 2.5 tonnes of charge each, 200 torpedos, 700 depth charges, 36 naval assault craft, 25 patrol boats, 4 torpedo boats, 3 coastguard boats, 6 minesweepers and 2 minelayers.[13]

History

The Tripartite Straits Crisis (1932—1943)

The Bosphorous; a strategic sea route.

The bosphorous straits were hugely important for both the Soviets and the Germans as well as the Turks, with all wanting to control the strategically important route. This increased the tension between the Soviets and the Germans; not to mention the already several successful German invasions of Soviet sphere's of influence. The two powers were also diametrically opposed to one another, one was communist and the other fascist. It became inevitable that the two powers would clash, but where,[n. 3] was the question. Hitler chose the option for a direct invasion on the Soviet lands, after being guaranteed Turkish neutrality, which was the best he could achieve. When the war began between the Germans and Soviets, the Turkish president was hugely relieved.[6] The Germans were attacking Turkey's longest known enemy in it's history, without so much as involving Turkey directly into the conflict.[6] The Germans, which the Turks were still distrustful of, also did not manage to get embroiled in a Nazi invasion of their lands.[6] With the Soviets busy trying to defend themselves, and the Germans busy invading the Soviet Union; and with the conflict later reaching into stalemate and then Germany losing, Turkey managed to avoid the two powers attacking it's territory.[6] When Inonu heard that Hitler had invaded the Soviets; he burst into a fit of laughter; "for nearly ten minutes" which demonstrated "a release of tension by someone who had been under enormous stress for the last two years".[6] Thereafter the Turkish took on a Pro-German stance in order to deflect irking the Germans.

Nazi—Turkish non-aggression Pact (1941).

Prior to the invasion, Hitler tried as much as he could to cause tensions between the Soviets and Turks, in order to push the Turkish away from the communists.[16] By 1940 the Germans even thought of attacking the Turks directly should they form an alliance with the communists, but this never materialised since the Germans had separated the two already, and also wanted to first deal with eliminating the Soviet Union before it was Turkey's turn.[16] Germany also tried to divide them in other ways as well. The German propaganda ministry published several literature in order to convince the Turks over to their side.[17] They published "Signal", "Turkische Post", "Beyoglu", "Istanbul" and "Yeni Dunya".[17] The Germans also broadcasted several radio programmes within Turkey, massaging historic ties and friendship, praising even Ataturk himself.[17] The Nazis also showed themselves as the alternative to the communists, whom Germany would fight against, should their expansion continue in order to protect Turkey.[17] The focus on trade grew increasingly, with Germany increasing its export and imports from the Turks from 13.5% and 23.3% respectively in 1932 to 44% and 46% on average for the next 1935 and 1938.[17] In stark contrast, Britain only imported 3% of Turkey's total produce and exported 11% of their products.[17] It is interesting that total trade during the war between the Soviets and Turkish actually continuously declined from 4%/4% in 1938 to 0%/0% by 1945, whereas with Germany it was 44%/48% in 1938 to 0%/1% in 1945.[17] With the British it increased from 3%/11% in 1938, to 15%/23%, and with the US from 12%/10% to 44%/18%.[17]

A satirical comic showing Hitler with a room full of broken promises.

President Inonu ignored the Germans before the Soviet-German war, as much as he could at every opportunity, which even culminated in German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, to threaten to destroy Turkey "within a week" if they did not respond back and ally with them.[16] Turkey staunchly ignored his tirades, despite fully knowing well that the Nazis were invading dozens of countries and were serious about their threats.[16] The Turkish president and Hitler even exchanged correspondence in order to ease tensions between the two by March 1941, with Turkey increasingly worried about a German invasion of their territory.[16] This was even after assurances were made personally by Hitler himself that he would respect Turkey's borders.[16] In relief the Turks found themselves safe after Hitler had indeed honoured his agreement, and stayed well away from the Turkish lines when he entered Bulgaria.[16] Even when Greece and Yugoslavia were invaded in April 1941, Turkey remarkably felt completely at ease.[16] It was so at ease that it even ignored Churchill's requests to invade Germany, with Inonu proclaiming that the "adventure" would amount to nothing for his people.[16] In what seemed like a turnaround for Hitler (since in the summer of 1939 he had espoused anti-Turkish feelings), by May 5th, 1941, he was openly praising the Turks given how important they were becoming to the geopolitical context, vis-a-vis the Soviet Union.[16] The politiking culminated in the June 18th, signing of a Nazi-Turkish Non-aggression Pact (1941).[16] This pact meant nothing; the Nazis broke theirs with the Soviets after 4 days.[18]

Nazi—Turkish Trade (1933—1945)

Europe (1939).

Britain was so worried about Turkey's exports to Nazi Germany that they offered a £16 million pound deal, with at least £6 million pounds going towards military purchases in May 1938.[16] By January 1939, the Germans tried to outbid the British, offering RM 150 million reichmarks, with at least RM 60 million reichmarks dedicated to military products, in addition with offers to buy agricultural products, at 30% above global market prices.[16] Throughout the war however, Turkey was not significantly developing any proper political relations with the Nazi empire.[16] The British exploited this by forming an Anglo-Turkish Treaty in May 1939, much to Germany's annoyance.[16] The Nazis protested by not honouring their arms exports at all, and after Turkey had refused to renew the August 1939 trade agreement between the two, but eventually settled their differences.[16] The importance of this trade is emphasised by the fact that the Germans had heavily traded with Turkey well before the outbreak of World War II. In 1939, the Turkish population census recorded that there were 17,820,950 Turkish citizens living in the country, with 13,475,000 million (70%) living in rural areas.[19] As a result, self sufficiency proved impossible given how spread the Turkish population was outside of it's Urban areas.[19] For this reason, the Turks needed foreign currency to shore up their accounts in a short amount of time.[19] Germany came to it's aid, supplying 78% of it's wool yarns and tissues, 69.7% of it's iron and steel, 61% of it's machines and apparatus, and 55.4% of it's chemicals.[19] In return, the Germans bought 75% of new wool, 70% of it's cotton, and 70% of it's chrome.[19]

Ataturks bust.

Turkey produced approximately 20% of the global chromite ore supply (estimates range from 16%[1]-19%[20] of global economic output).[20] It was a crucial ingredient in the production of military products such as tanks (since stainless steel contains up to 18% chromium[16]); which 33% of chromium ore bought from Turkey by Nazi Germany was directed to by 1944.[20] Trade was brisk, between 1939 and 1943, the gold reserves of the secular Turkish republic rose from $88 million dollars to $221 million dollars.[2] This was the fourth largest increase in gold reserves out of the five neutral nations, which one historian has claimed is linked as evidence to the extent of Nazi looting during the war (not all of the $221 million dollars was made from Nazi Germany).[2] The largest increase was witnessed by Switzerland at 537%, whereas Turkeys was 133%.[2] In terms of the amount of gold Turkey made from Germany, in 1939, the secular republic only had 27.4 tonnes of gold (27.400 kg), but by 1945 it accumulated a healthy 216 tonnes (216,000 kg) of gold bullion.[20] Although it was not known to the Turks,[n. 4] it is alleged some of the gold came from concentration camps.[20] If trade was in todays prices, this amounts to $8.7 billion dollars in gold trade in total.[2] However others claim that Turkey never received more than $15 million dollars in gold (most of which was said to have been looted in Belgium).[21] Turkey never returned, nor was asked to return, any gold.[2] In 1933, Nazi Germany bought 11.7 tonnes of chromium ore, and between January and August 1939, just prior to the invasion of Poland, it bought 96.2 tonnes.[20] From 1936, 64,500 metric tonnes (mt), 58,400 mt (1937), 68,500 mt (1938) and 114,500 mt (1939) of chromite ore were sold.[22]

Aftermath

Creation of Israel (1948—Present)

Palestinian loss of land (1946-2010); an immediate consequence of WWII.

Historically, the Jews in Turkey were never persecuted and even helped in the formation of the Young Turks Movement in 1908 (the same movement would later be accused of an alleged "genocide" against the Armenians).[23] The Jews also later supported the war of independence, betraying the Christians in favour of the Muslims.[23] Ataturk even praised Turkish Jews for their contributions towards the movement.[23] When World War II started, many European Jews fled to Turkey.[23] When Israel was created in 1948, at the expense of the Palestinians who would undergo a colossal loss of land and subsequent genocide attempts of their own at the hands of the Jews, Turkey became the first Muslim country to recognize it.[23] The two countries good relations continued[23] (along with Azerbaijan; another Turkic state) well into the next few decades until Israel committed several massacres, mass murders, and wars against non-Jews in Palestine in an effort to ethnically cleanse Israel, including the 2008 flotilla attack. Israel only apologized after Obama forced it's hand. Israel's belligerent attitude towards non-Jews has ironically even seen it's government come out in support of a "shoah/holocaust" against Palestinians. In World War II however, Turkey rescued 115,000 Jews from Europe.[24] When this figure is broken down, 15,000 were French Jews who were allowed to settle in Turkey, along with 100,000 Eastern European Jews.[24] Turkey however, also deprived 2,000 Turkish Jews of their citizenship, but refused to do so for 3,000 others, who were all on an arrest warrant list made by the Germans at the height of Nazi power.[25]

Turkish—Soviet Relations & NATO

Soviet-Turkish relations (1925—1935).

Turkey was at strains with the Soviet Union, even before the war began. The communists had adopted an expansionist policy, which would go on to disrupt many different countries throughout the USSR's tenure until it's demise in 1991. The Polish had already suffered a joint Nazi-Soviet coalition to takeover the country even during the war. The Turks had, at least politically, attempted to survive this threat by making a treaty with the communist empire, known as the Treaty of Friendship (1925);[26] this was renewed in 1935 again as the situation in Europe gradually worsened.[26] For a time, this meant the Turks only had the Italians to worry of.[26] The Italians had openly declared hostility several times towards the Turks, and even went on to horrendously invade Muslim Albania.[26] This was primarily also down to the fact that the fascist Italians had already invaded Ethiopia. The Italians themselves wanted Iraq, and being former Ottoman territory, they did not want Turkey to get it back. Eventually Italy was taken out of the equation as Hitler's forces and influence grew to massive proportions.[6] During this time, Turkey opened up even more in their relations with Britain, and then France.[26] The British guaranteed protection to the Turkish if war broke out in the mediteranean in the May 1939 treaty, however Turkey was not obliged to do the same if Britain was invaded.[26] Turkey signed a similar deal with France in June 1939.[26] Fortunately for the Turks, when the French were invaded (and surrendered to the Nazis within a month), this worked out for them.[26] As Russia was invaded and then started winning, the Turks felt threatened.[26]

Other Observations

  • Turkey was far more concerned with the threat of the Italians should war break out than Germany just prior to the outbreak of the war. This was primarily down to the fact that the fascist Italians had already invaded Ethiopia. Italy had also threatened to invade Turkey in 1925, which the Turks took seriously after the invasions of Ethiopia occurred, if they should decide to take back Iraq. Political developments continued between Turkey and it's neighbours and eventually Italy was taken out of the equation as Hitler's forces and influence grew to massive proportions.[6]
  • Not wanting to ally themselves to the Axis powers, or the allies, Turkey became proficient at cleverly avoiding either side. In 1943 for example, Inonu was heavily pressured into siding with the allies, but cleverly out-manouevered Churchill by agreeing with him on everything, but asking for absurdly large amounts of munitions and equipment until the British gave up in 1944.[18]
  • Turkey showed remarkable restraint and Inonu did not fall for the emotive Nazi tricks. There were 40 million Turks trapped in the Soviet Union, but despite this Inonu refused to get involved in freeing them, knowing full well the costs of such an adventure. After the war, Turkey was able to join NATO, and became a large part of it's military size.

Timeline

Sources

Footnotes

  1. ^ Turkey could have been invaded by the Germans, or the Soviets. Or Hitler could have invaded the Soviets as he had done so many other countries and won in a matter of weeks. Another option would be that the Turks and Soviets would ally together against the Germans, which is what Hitler believed. The other option was for Hitler to ally himself with Turkey, which he pursued with vigour. The Soviets could also have attacked Turkey as well and simply taken the Straits, but as of yet Stalin did not believe the Nazis would dare to attack his lands and was therefore unprepared.
  2. ^ Details of the holocaust were not well known during the war, or even decades after it. See the following sources; the Turks, and the other neutral nations would likely have known nothing of genocide ongoing within Nazi Germany.
    1. Baumel Judith Tydor Laqueur Walter; Walter Laqueur; Judith Tydor Baumel (2001). The Holocaust Encyclopedia. Yale University Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-300-13811-5.
    2. David Whitten Smith; Elizabeth Geraldine Burr (21 August 2014). Understanding World Religions: A Road Map for Justice and Peace. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-4422-2644-9.
    3. G. Calvin Mackenzie (3 March 2016). The Imperiled Presidency: Leadership Challenges in the Twenty-First Century. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-4422-6075-7.
  3. ^ Turkey could have been invaded by the Germans, or the Soviets. Or Hitler could have invaded the Soviets as he had done so many other countries and won in a matter of weeks. Another option would be that the Turks and Soviets would ally together against the Germans, which is what Hitler believed. The other option was for Hitler to ally himself with Turkey, which he pursued with vigour. The Soviets could also have attacked Turkey as well and simply taken the Straits, but as of yet Stalin did not believe the Nazis would dare to attack his lands and was therefore unprepared.
  4. ^ Details of the holocaust were not well known during the war, or even decades after it. See the following sources; the Turks, and the other neutral nations would likely have known nothing of genocide ongoing within Nazi Germany.
    1. Baumel Judith Tydor Laqueur Walter; Walter Laqueur; Judith Tydor Baumel (2001). The Holocaust Encyclopedia. Yale University Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-300-13811-5.
    2. David Whitten Smith; Elizabeth Geraldine Burr (21 August 2014). Understanding World Religions: A Road Map for Justice and Peace. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-4422-2644-9.
    3. G. Calvin Mackenzie (3 March 2016). The Imperiled Presidency: Leadership Challenges in the Twenty-First Century. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-4422-6075-7.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Christian Leitz (2000). Nazi Germany and Neutral Europe During the Second World War. Manchester University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7190-5069-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Glen Yeadon (2008). The Nazi Hydra in America: Suppressed History of a Century: Wall Street and the Rise of the Fourth Reich. Lulu.com. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-930852-43-6.
  3. ^ a b Stefan Ihrig (20 November 2014). Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination. Harvard University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-674-36837-8.
  4. ^ a b Stefan Ihrig (20 November 2014). Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination. Harvard University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-674-36837-8.
  5. ^ a b Stefan Ihrig (20 November 2014). Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination. Harvard University Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-674-36837-8.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Murat Metin Hakki (2007); Online page created by Damian Bracken. SURVIVING THE PRESSURE OF THE SUPERPOWERS: AN ANALYSIS OF TURKISH NEUTRALITY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. Chronicon 3 (1999-2007) pp. 44–62. Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University. ISSN 1393-5259.
  7. ^ a b Treaty Series No. 11 (1920). Treaty of Peace with Turkey. Signed at Sevres, August 10, 1920 (With Maps). His Majesty's Stationary Office. H.M. Stationary Office (UK Treaties Online). p. 1. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  8. ^ International Realations. Krishna Prakashan Media. p. 27. ISBN 978-81-85842-70-7.
  9. ^ a b Treaty Series No. 11 (1920). Treaty of Peace with Turkey. Signed at Sevres, August 10, 1920 (With Maps). His Majesty's Stationary Office. H.M. Stationary Office (UK Treaties Online). p. 36 Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b Treaty Series No. 11 (1920). Treaty of Peace with Turkey. Signed at Sevres, August 10, 1920 (With Maps). His Majesty's Stationary Office. H.M. Stationary Office (UK Treaties Online). p. 42 Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  11. ^ a b Treaty Series No. 11 (1920). Treaty of Peace with Turkey. Signed at Sevres, August 10, 1920 (With Maps). His Majesty's Stationary Office. H.M. Stationary Office (UK Treaties Online). p. 58 Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  12. ^ a b Treaty Series No. 11 (1920). Treaty of Peace with Turkey. Signed at Sevres, August 10, 1920 (With Maps). His Majesty's Stationary Office. H.M. Stationary Office (UK Treaties Online). p. 1-100. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Selim Deringil (7 June 2004). Turkish Foreign Policy During the Second World War: An 'Active' Neutrality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 35–40. ISBN 978-0-521-52329-5.
  14. ^ a b William Green; John Fricker (1958). The air forces of the world, their history, development and present strength. Macdonald. p. 281.
  15. ^ a b Selim Deringil (7 June 2004). Turkish Foreign Policy During the Second World War: An 'Active' Neutrality. Cambridge University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-521-52329-5.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Christian Leitz (2000). Nazi Germany and Neutral Europe During the Second World War. Manchester University Press. pp. 88–92. ISBN 978-0-7190-5069-5.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p John M. VanderLippe (1 February 2012). Politics of Turkish Democracy, The: Ismet Inonu and the Formation of the Multi-Party System, 1938-1950. SUNY Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7914-8337-4.
  18. ^ a b c d Mustafa Kibaroğlu; Ayșegül Kibaroğlu (2009). Global Security Watch--Turkey: A Reference Handbook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-313-34560-9.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bulent Gokay (22 November 2006). Soviet Eastern Policy and Turkey, 1920-1991: Soviet Foreign Policy, Turkey and Communism. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-134-27549-6.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l George M. Taber (15 December 2014). Chasing Gold: The Incredible Story of How the Nazis Stole Europe's Bullion. Pegasus Books. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-60598-711-8.
  21. ^ a b Glen Yeadon (2008). The Nazi Hydra in America: Suppressed History of a Century: Wall Street and the Rise of the Fourth Reich. Lulu.com. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-930852-43-6.
  22. ^ a b Christian Leitz (2000). Nazi Germany and Neutral Europe During the Second World War. Manchester University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7190-5069-5.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Yucel Bozdaglioglu (1 June 2004). Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Identity: A Constructivist Approach. Routledge. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-135-94159-8.
  24. ^ a b c d STANFORD J. SHAW (2001). TURKEY AND THE JEWS OF EUROPE DURING WORLD WAR II. Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. Retrieved March 20th 2016.
  25. ^ a b Hans-Lukas Kieser (26 December 2006). Turkey Beyond Nationalism: Towards Post-Nationalist Identities. I.B.Tauris. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-84511-141-0.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Alan Axelrod; Jack A. Kingston (2007). Encyclopedia of World War II. H W Fowler. p. 834. ISBN 978-0-8160-6022-1.
  27. ^ a b Olivier Roy (2005). Turkey Today: A European Country?. Anthem Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-84331-172-0.
  28. ^ International Realations. Krishna Prakashan Media. p. 27. ISBN 978-81-85842-70-7.

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