Palestine - the Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918, Edward J. Erickson

Palestine - the Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918, Edward J. Erickson

The Palestinian campaign was one of the longest campaigns of the entire First World War, beginning with the first Ottoman attack on the Suez canal in 1915 and continuing on to Allenby's famous campaigns of 1917 and 1918, which eventually forced the Ottoman Empire to sue for peace. Most accounts of this campaign are written from the British side, or look at the German involvement in the campaign, so this book, which examines the same campaign from the Ottoman point of view, is a useful addition to the literature on this subject. 

There is one flaw with this book, and that is the author's attitude to the Armenian Genocide. He doesn't entirely ignore the topic, although he never directly comments on it. Instead he gives a brief account of the Ottoman's army role in implementing part of that Genocide, written as if it was part of a valid military response to a real and serious security threat. This part of the book thus fails to address the tendency to deny the historical reality of the genocide on the part of the Turkish establishment, and even goes some way towards excusing the Ottoman actions. This fits in with a general tendency to be overly sympathetic to the Ottoman army, and is perhaps a result of his reliance on those parts of the Ottoman archives that are available to historians. This heavy use of Ottoman sources can also be seen in the tendency to put some of the blame for the eventual Ottoman defeat on their German officers.

Away from that section, this book is a useful look at the Ottoman view of the campaign - the reasoning behind the early Ottoman offensives, how they reacted to the later Allied offensive and how they were eventually defeated. The text isn't all that balanced, but as long as you remember than when reading, is still useful.

1 - Introduction
2 - 1914: Planning and Concentration
3 - 1915: The First Suez Offensive
4 - 1916: The Second Suez Offensive
5 - 1917: First and Second Gaza
6 - 1917: Beersheba, Third Gaza and Jerusalem
7 - 1918: Megiddo and Syria
8 - Combat Support: Logistics, Men and Airpower

Author: Edward J. Erickson
Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2016

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