German-Ottoman Alliance ›



World War I was a global conflict. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand started a chain reaction of alliances across the globe. Networks of nations banded together, against others.

Germany and the Ottoman Empire both desired to be strong nations protected from surrounding empires.
Black and white photograph of a man wearing a heavily decorated German uniform and steel helmet standing next to a man wearing a decorated robe and fez hat. Both are surrounded by various men in German and Ottoman uniforms.
Photograph of Kaiser Wilhelm and Mehmed V.

Postcard, Picture. n.d. 1996.31.171. National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The Ottoman Empire was suffering after years of wars. It had lost land to expanding European imperial powers, especially Russia. In the months leading into the start of the Great War, Ottoman leadership learned of European intentions to eventually divide Ottoman lands among the Allied powers. The Ottoman Empire wanted to both regain lost land and prevent future losses.

Germany was eager to strengthen its economic power and weaken rival Great Britain. German leadership had ambitions for a larger empire and saw access to South Asia, through Ottoman territory, as a key to achieving this goal.

Scan of a map with countries and empires filled in with various colors
Map depicting nations allied with Germany from "Subject Nationalities of the German Alliance" by Richard Tilling, published in London in 1917.

Map from book. January 1, 1917. London, England. 2004.120.30. National WWI Museum and Memorial.