In the closing decade of the nineteenth century, thousands of young men and women entered modern Ottoman State schools determined to succeed within a state and system they pledged to protect and preserve. Their convictions, expectations, and efforts were shared by state elites in every European Great War combatant state. The Ottoman State schools and institutions that shaped them gave meaning to their lives and their struggles even after the state they had sworn to serve had disappeared. The story of their times, lives, and struggles properly begins, not with the Turkish or Arab nationalism they may have eventually espoused, but with the experiences they shared as self-identified protectors and servants of a doomed empire.
1. W.E. Gladstone, Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East (London: J. Murray, 1876), partly reproduced with commentary from Nazan Qi9ek, in Camron Amin, Benjamin Fortna, and Elizabeth Frierson (eds.), The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook for History (Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 416 22.
2. See for example Mustafa Kemal’s “Letter to the Syrians,” British National Archives [BNA], FO 406/41 no. 191, December 2, 1919. Many early Kemalist proclamations mention Gladstone.
3. Colmar von der Goltz, Das Volk in Waffen: ein Buch iiber Heerwesen und KnegfUhmng unserer Zeit (Berlin: R. V. Decker, 1884), Millet i Musellaha: Asrimizin Usul ve Ahval i Askeriyesi (Istanbul: Matbaa i Abtizziya, 1305 ).
4. Victor R. Swenson, “The Military Rising in Istanbul 1909,” Journal of Contemporary History, 5:n4 (1970), 171 84.
5. Stikrti Hanioglu, Ataturk: An Intellectual Biography (Princeton University Press, 2013), pp. 34 5.
6. Works of Bernard Lewis, Hamilton Gibb, and Harold Bowen, among many others.
7. Selim Deringil was first to put the Ottoman state in Hobsbawm’s story of the nineteenth century. “The Invention of Tradition as Public Image in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1808 to 1908,” in Comparative Studies in Society and History, 35 (1993), 3 29.
8. Quoted in Ute Frevert, A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription, and Civil Society, trans. Andrew Boreham (Oxford: Berg, 2004), p. 47. Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II shared this fear. Merwin Griffiths, “The Reorganization of the Ottoman Army under Abdtil Hamid II 1880 1907,” unpublished PhD dissertation, UCLA, 1966, pp. 111 12. Griffiths’ extraordinary thesis was written with the help and input of living Ottoman officer veterans in the 1950s and 1960s.
9. Erik Jan Ztircher, “The Ottoman Conscription System in Theory and Practice, 1844 1918,” International Review of Social History 43 (1998), 83 4, and Abdallah Hanna, “The First World War According to the Memories of ‘Commoners’ in the Bilad al Sham,” in Heike Liebau, Katrin Bromber, Katharina Lange, Dyala Hamzah, and Ravi Ahuja (eds.), The World in World Wars: Experiences, Perceptions and Perspectives from Africa and Asia (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 299 311.
10. BNA, FO 195/2445, December 7, 1912, Consular Report.
11. Frevert, Nation in Barracks, pp. 65 6.
12. I have drawn this description from Erik Jan Ztircher, “The Ottoman Conscription System in Theory and Practice, 1844 1918,” International Review of Social History, 43 (1998), 83 4.
13. The Ottoman army is beginning to get the attention it deserves. See espe cially Eugene Rogan, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914 1920 (New York: Basic Books, 2015), and the works of Edward Ericson, Mesut Uyar, Mustafa Aksakal, and Yticel Yanikdag.
14. Hikmet Ozdemir, The Ottoman Army 1914 1918: Disease and Death on the Battlefield, trans. Saban Karda§ (University of Utah Press, 2008).
15. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire: 1875 1914 (New York: Vintage, 1987),
16. Major works in Ottoman education include Benjamin Fortna, Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State, and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire (Oxford University Press, 2002), Sel9uk Ak§in Somel, The Modernization of Public Education in the Ottoman Empire, 1839 1908: Islamization, Autocracy and Discipline (Leiden: Brill, 2001), pp. 24 9. Somel and Fortna’s works on Ottoman education are outstanding and comprehensive, but neither inves tigates deeply military or provincial schools. Emine O. Evered, Empire and Education under the Ottomans: Politics, Reform and Resistance from the Tanzimat to the Young Turks (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012), makes a valuable contribution toward understanding military and provincial education.
17. Library of Congress, [LC], Abdul Hamid collection, “Statistical Abstract of Third Year Military High Schools for Adolescents.” This is actually a list with enrollments and opening dates of provincial idadi askeriyye schools in 1893, LOT 9519, no. 4, LC USZ62 81073 (b&w film copy neg.) www.loc .gov/pictures/collection/ahii/item/2003673270/
18. My reconstruction of the school system relies on a variety of sources includ ing Sel9uk Ak§in Somel, the Library of Congress Abdul Hamid collection, the Ottoman Ministry of Education year books, Salname i Nezaret i Maarif i Umumiye (Istanbul: various dates), cAbd al cAziz Muhammad cAwad, al Idara al cuthmaniyya fi wilayat suriyya, 1864 1914 (Cairo: Dar al macruf, 1969), and surveys of existing school buildings in Damascus, Beirut, Aleppo, Tripoli, Ankara, Edirne, and Istanbul between 1999 and 2014.
19. Somel, The Modernization of Public Education, Appendices 4 6, curricula of Ibtidai, Rti§diye, and Idadi schools 1904, pp. 297 309. Tahsin cAli, Mudhakkirat Tahsin cAli 1890 1980 (Beirut: al Mu’asasa al carabiyya lil darasat wal nashar, 2003), p. 15.
20. Somel, The Modernization of Public Education, p. 110.
21. Somel, The Modernization of Public Education, App. 4, p. 299.
22. See Stefan Weber, Damascus: Ottoman Modernity and Urban Transformation, 1808 1918 (Aarhus University Press, 2009), vol. II, p. 150. According to the Syrian provincial yearbook, Salname yi vilayet i Suriye. Def’a 27 (1311 ), the Damascus teacher training college opened in 1892. The build ing today houses the Syrian Ministry of Tourism. Weber’s remarkable book about Damascus is the most important scholarly work ever published on a late Ottoman provincial capital.
23. For details on uniforms, see Mahmud Sevket Pa§a, Osmanli Tegkilat ve Kiyafetler iAskeri (Istanbul: Mekteb i Harbiye Matbaasi, 1907).
24. Istanbul University Archival Collection, IU, Mekatibi Askeriye Sakirdaninin, 1318 (1901). military school Gazette and student log books, indicating all enrolled students, their cadet grade level, class standing, and marks in indivi dual courses. The Istanbul University collection is based on the contents of the personal library of Sultan Abdtil Hamid in the Yildiz Palace. The materi als were transferred in the 1950s.
25. IU, Mekatibi Askeriye §akirdaninm Umumi, Imtihanlannin neticelerini, Istanbul, 1318 (1901). I base the argument that non Muslim students may have been enrolled on an analysis of names, which are listed, complete with course grades, class standing, and town or region of origin, in the cadet books. At least a few of the listed students have names typically associated with Arab Christians.
26. Merwin Griffiths, “The Reorganization of the Ottoman Army under Abdtil Hamid II 1880 1907,” unpublished PhD dissertation, UCLA, 1966,” pp. 151 2. Erik Jan Ztircher, “The Ottoman Conscription System in Theory and Practice, 1844 1918,” International Review of Social History, 43 (1998), 437 49. Salim Tamari, “The Short Life of Private Ihsan, Jerusalem 1915,” Jerusalem Quarterly, 30 (Spring 2007).
27. Carter Findley, Ottoman Civil Officialdom: A Social History (Princeton University Press, 1989), pp. 154 7.
28. Findley, Civil Officialdom, p. 154.
29. Ali Haydar Midhat, The Life of Midhat Pa§a (London: John Murray, 1903), p. 176.
30. al Zawra (Baghdad newspaper), no. 1, 5 rabic al awwal, AH 1286, quoted in Abdul Wahhab Abbas al Qaysi, “The Impact of Modernization on Iraqi Society During the Ottoman Era: A Study of Intellectual Development in Iraq, 1869 1917,” unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 1958, p. 34.
31. Qaysi, “The Impact of Modernization,” pp. 58 9.
32. IU, Maarif Nezareti Salnamesi (Istanbul, 1316 ).
33. IU, Maarif Nezareti Salnamesi (Istanbul, 1318 ).
34. Jens Hanssen, “The Birth of an Educational Quarter,” in Hans Gebhardt, Dorothee Sack, Ralph Bodenstein, Andreas Fritz, Jens Hanssen, Bernhard Hillenkamp, Oliver Kogler, Anne Mollenhauer, and Friederike Stolleis (eds.), History, Space and Social Conflict in Beirut (Wuerzburg: Orient Institute Beirut, 2005), pp. 158 9; Donald Cioeta, “Islamic Benevolent Societies and Public Education in Ottoman Syria, 1875 1882,” Islamic Quarterly, 26 (1982), 46 7.
35. LC, Abdul Hamid collection, “Statistical Abstract of Fourth Year Military High Schools for Adolescents Rusdiyye.” This is actually a list of riigdiye askeriye schools in 1893 LOT 9519, no. 1, LC USZ62 81070 (b&w film, copy neg.).
36. Sawsan Agha Kassab and Omar Tadmori, Beirut and the Sultan: 200 Photographs from the Albums of Abdul Hamid II (1876 1909) (Beirut: Editions Terre du Liban, 2002), p. 60. Since 1926, the old Sultani School has been the Makkased Society girls’ college and the Society educates thou sands of Lebanese children.
37. Thamarat al Fanun, year 13, no. 630, July 6 and 19, 1887. Quoted in Kassab and Tadmori, Beirut and the Sultan, note 44, p. 195.
38. Kassab and Tadmori, Beirut and the Sultan, p. 60, and George Antonius, The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement (London: H. Hamilton, 1938) p. 41. cAbd al Aziz Muhammad cAwad notes in al Idara al cuthmaniyya fi wilayat suriyya that tuition was 20 to 30 gold pounds, for non boarding or boarding students.
39. Nadia von Maltzahn, “Education in Late Ottoman Damascus,” unpub lished MA thesis, Oxford University, 2005, p. 25.
40. Deringil, The Well Protected Domains, pp. 104 6.
41. cAwad, al Idara al cuthmaniyya fi wilayat suriyya, pp. 254 6.
42. LC, Abdul Hamid collection, “Statistical Abstract of Third Year Military High Schools for Adolescents,” LOT 9519, no. 4 [item] [P&P], and Griffiths, table: “Graduates of the Military Schools by Year, 1898,” p. 105.
43. Griffiths, “The Reorganization of the Ottoman Army,” p. 115.
44. Eugene Rogan, “A§iret Mektebi Abdhlhamid IPs School for Tribes (1892 1907),” IJMES 28 (1996), 83 107. Rogan’s article is the best investigation of the Tribal School.
50. Griffiths, “Reorganization of the Ottoman Army,” Annex I, pp. 175 7.
51. Yuval Ben Bassat, Petitioning the Sultan: Protests and Justice in Late Ottoman Palestine (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013). See Eugene Rogan, “Instant Communications: The Impact of the Telegraph in Ottoman Syria,” in Thomas Philipp and Birgit Schabler (eds.), The Syrian Land: Processes of Integration and Fragmentation: Bilad Al Sham from the 18th to the 20th Centuries (Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1998), pp. 113 28.
52. Klaus Kreiser, “Public Monuments in Turkey and Egypt,” Muqarnas, 14 (1997), 111. See Eugene Rogan, “Bringing the State Back: The Limits of Ottoman Rule in Jordan, 1840 1910,” in Eugene Rogan and Tariq Tell (eds.), Village, Steppe and State: The Social Origins of Modern Jordan (London: British Academic Press, 1994).
53. William Ochsenwald, The Hijaz Railroad (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980). Ochsenwald writes that Hijaz railway archives are unavailable in Damascus, which I confirmed in many conversations with Syrian state railway employees in 2006. I visited, surveyed, and documented the Qadam yard, and interviewed five or six senior employ ees in 2006.
54. Salname yi vilayet i Suriye. def’a 13 (1298/1880 81), p. 128, and al Muqtabas, 3 April 1910. Quoted in Weber, Damascus, vol. II, p. 150.
55. Family detail from an interview with grandson Mazin Ali Mumtaz al Daftari and May Ziwar al Daftari, London, May 8, 2016, and May al Daftari’s forthcoming book, Yasin al Hashimi: Sira wa dhikrayat, and Phebe Marr, “Yasin al Hashimi: The Rise and Fall of a Nationalist (A Study of the Nationalist Leadership in Iraq, 1920 1936),” unpublished PhD dissertation, Harvard University, 1966, p. 54.
56. The cadet books show class standing and marks or individual cadets. IU, Mekatib i Askeriyye, h1318 (1901). cAziz cAli was at the top of the class. Cemal Pa§a mentions him with admiration but also exasperation in his memoir. Djemal Pa§a, Memories of a Turkish Statesman, 1913 1919 (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), pp. 60 1.
57. Phebe Marr interviewed Taha al Hashimi in 1959. Marr, “Yasin al Hashimi,” p. 63. Majid Khadduri interviewed al Misri in the 1950s in Cairo. Al Misri confirmed his Unionist membership. See Majid Khadduri, “cAziz cAli al Misri and the Arab Nationalist Movement,” in Albert Hourani (ed.), Middle Eastern Affairs, 4 (London: St. Antony’s Papers, no. 17, 1965), pp. 140 63, and for Kemal, see Ernest E. Ramsaur, The Young Turks: Prelude to the Revolution of 1908 (Princeton University Press, 1957), p. 95. For cAzma, see Adham al Jundi, Tarikh al Thawrat al Suriyya fi cAhd al Intidab al Fransi (Damascus: Matbacat al Ittihad, 1960), p. 168.
58. Interview with grandson Mazin Ali Mumtaz al Dafatari and May Ziwar al Dafatari, London, May 8, 2016, and May al Daftari’s forthcoming book, Yasin al Hashimi: Sira wa dhikrayat.
59. TUrk Istiklal Harbine katilan tUmen ve daha Ust kademelerdeki komutanlarin biyografileri (Ankara: TC Genelkurmay Harp Tarihi Ba§kanligi Ya Yayin Yeri, 1989), pp. 1 2.
60. Piecing together Hashimi’s service record has been challenging. See Khayr al Din al Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim li Aashar al Rijal wa al Nisa’ min cArab wa al Mustacribin al Mustashriqin (Beirut: Dar al cIlm li al Malayin, 1990), vol. VIII, p. 128. Marr, “Yasin al Hashimi,” pp. 712, and Hanioglu, AtatUrk, pp. 82 3.
61. Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. VIII, p. 213, and Linda Schilcher, Families in Politics: Damascene Factions and Estates of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Stuttgart, F. Steiner, 1985), pp. 144 6.
62. Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. VIII, p. 213. :
63. Yusuf al cAzma, trans. Piyade Acemi Neferi Nasil Yeti^tirilir (Istanbul: Mahmud Bey Matbaasi, 1325 ), Wilhelm Rticker, Praktische Winke fur die Ausbildung des Infanterie Rekruten (Berlin: Mittler, 1909). Thanks to Mesut Uyar for this citation.
64. Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. VIII, p. 213. And Adham al Jundi,
Tarikh al thawrat al suriyya fi cahd al intidab al fransi (Damascus, 1960),
p. 168. :
65. Binba§i Yusuf Bey, Mesut Uyar Private Collection, Zat I§leri, Erkan i Harbiye Umera ve Zabitan Ktinye Defteri, no. 3. I record my thanks to Professor Mesut Uyar for the document.
66. Taha al Hashimi, Mudhakkirat Taha al Hashimi (Beirut: Dar al Ta’lica, 1967 78), pp. 6 8.
67. Laila Parson’s much anticipated book on Qawuqji’s life, The Commander: Fawzi al Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914 1948 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2016), is the last word on his extraordinary story.
68. Fawzi al Qawuqji, Mudhakkirat Fawzi al Qawuqji, reprint of both volumes of 1975 edition, edited by Khayriyya Qasimiyya (Damascus: Dar al Numayr, 1995), p. 15.
69. al Qawuqji, Mudhakkirat Fawzi al Qawuqji, p. 28.
70. Qawuqji, Mudhakkirat Fawzi al Qawuqji, p. 29.
71. Mustafa Kemal Atattirk is obviously the most famous example of this ten dency. The late and lamented Professor Khayriyya Qasimiyya in numerous conversations with me noted wryly that Qawuqji never lost his enthusiasm for the company of young women.
72. Fawzi al Qawuqji, Mudhakkirat Fawzi al Qawuqji, p. 31.
73. Kress von Kressenstein, “The Campaign in Palestine from the Enemy’s Side,” Royal United Services Institution Journal, 67:467 (1922).
74. Qawuqji, Mudhakkirat Fawzi al Qawuqji, pp. 70 1.
75. Jundi, Tarikh, pp. 253 4. BNA CO 730/150/6, “Profiles and Assessments,” YASIN Pa§a AL HASHIMI.
76. Fayiz Sara, Sacid al cAs, 1889 1936: Hayatahu Kifahahu (Damascus: manshurat wazara al thaqafa, 1993), p. 35.
77. Rogan notes in his article that most students entered the Tribal School between the ages of 12 and 16. Shallash’s self reported birth date of 1869, and his appearance in the first class (1892 8), make him 23 years old at the beginning of his eight year Istanbul education. It is likely that his biographical dictionary entry contains a misprint and that he was born in 1879, or later. Jurj Faris, Man hum fi calam al cArabi (Damascus: Maktab al Dirasat al Suriyya wa al carabiyya, 1957), p. 344, and Rogan, “A§iret Mektebi,” p. 86.
78. IU, Mekatib i Askeriyye, h1318 (1901). 74 entering students out of a class of 811 failed and washed out.
79. Faris, Man hum, p. 345.
80. Ahmad Djemal Pa§a, Memories of a Turkish Statesman, 1913 1919 (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), p. 63.
81. “Statistical Abstract of Third Year Military High Schools,” LOT 9519, no. 4, LC USZ62 81073 (b&w film copyneg.).
82. Ja‘far ‘Askari, et al., A Soldier’s Story: From Ottoman Rule to Independent Iraq (London: Arabian Publishing, 2003), p. 18. Translated from an edited Arabic manuscript memoir. Also Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. II, pp. 129 30.
83. Al cAskari, Mudhakkirat, p. 62. My translation.
84. Al cAskari, Soldier’s Story, p. 100.
85. Khadurri, “cAziz cAli al Misri,” p. 149. From a different perspective, see Djemal Pasha, Memoirs of a Turkish Statesman: 1913 1919 (London: Hutchison, 1922), pp. 6 64.
86. Al Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. VII, p. 326.
87. Philip Khoury, “'Abd al Rahman Shahbandar: An Independence Leader of Interwar Syria,” in Camille Mansour and Leila Fawaz (eds.), Transformed Landscapes: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi (New York: American University in Cairo Press, 2009), pp. 31 5, and Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. III, p. 308.
88. William L. Cleveland, Islam Against The West: Shakib Arslan and the Campaign for Islamic Nationalism (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1985), pp. 8 9, and Zirikli, al Aclam: Qamus Tarajim, vol. III, pp. 173 74.
89. Cleveland, Islam Against The West, p. 9.
90. Cleveland pays relatively little attention to this episode, though it was evidently important to Arslan. See Cleveland, p. 20, and Shakib Arslan, Sira Dhatiyya (Beirut: Dar al Talica, 1969). He included a photo of them together as the second illustration in his memoir.
91. Cleveland, Islam Against The West, p. 39.
92. Arslan, Sira Dhatiyya, p. 262. Quoted in Cleveland, Islam Against The West, p. 40.