Austria-Hungary Disintegrates – The Ottoman Empire Leaves the War I THE GREAT WAR Week 223

Austria-Hungary Disintegrates – The Ottoman Empire Leaves the War I THE GREAT WAR Week 223


Six weeks ago, the Central Powers looked to
be in okay shape, even though Germany was taking a pounding on the Western Front, but
when things changed, they changed fast. Bulgaria has left the war and this week, another
central power follows suit. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. Last week the Allied military leaders tried
to hash out armistice terms for the western front. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm tries to quell
growing civil unrest at home by freeing political prisoners, and in the field, one battle ends
in the West, even as the Italians launch a major offensive on their front. Also, by the end of last week on the Palestine
Front the Arab forces under Sharif Hussein had reached the outskirts of Aleppo. British General Edmund Allenby’s army was
also pretty near. Mustafa Kemal was the city’s defender. On the 25th, the Arabs in the city rose in
revolt, wanting to welcome their hopeful liberators as free men. Kemal urged his troops to fight street by
street. The commander of his opposition was Nuri es-Said
who, like Kemal was a graduate of the Constantinople Staff College, and will far in the future
be Prime Minister of Iraq. Anyhow, eventually Kemal realized that there’s
not much he could do to hold the city and ordered his Ottoman forces to pull out, knowing
that any further advance would lead into Anatolia- the Turkish heartland. Five miles from town he turned at Haritan
and his Turkish and German troops stopped Allenby’s advance, but on the 26th, the
British occupy Aleppo. The Ottoman were being threatened all over. On the 28th, British troops reach Dedegatch
with the intention of invading the Empire from Europe and attacking Constantinople. By the end of the week, two British and 2
French divisions (Stevenson) reach the Maritsa River, the border with Bulgaria. To the east on the Tigris River, on the 30th,
an Ottoman army surrenders to the British. “It was apparent to London that the Turkish
War would soon end and there was belatedly great interest in the seizure of Mosul, with
its oil resources… General Marshall was “put on notice” to
gain as much ground as possible in the event of an armistice with Turkey. [Turkish commander] Hakki Bey was… in no
mood to either fight or attempt to break out. He, therefore, decided to surrender his force… The British cavalry brigade made for the now
totally undefended city of Mosul and occupied it on November 1, 1918” (“Ordered to Die”) On October 26th, three Ottoman negotiators
reach the island of Mudros in the Aegean to begin armistice talks with the Allies. General Charles Townshend is with them. He has been a captive since the British defeat
at Kut and the Ottomans asked for his help with the armistice. Talks take place aboard the Battleship Agamemnon
and on November 30th, an armistice is signed, and for the Ottoman Empire this war is now
over. Hostilities officially end at noon on the
31st. Under the armistice terms, the Ottomans must
open the Dardanelles and Bosporus to allied warships, allow military occupation of the
forts there, demobilize their forces, release all POWs, and evacuate the Arab provinces-
most of which were already under Allied control. The newspaper the Times would later point
out that there were a couple of weaknesses; it did not drive home to people living in
Anatolia how complete the Allied victory was, and it didn’t address the security of the
Armenians. I would like to now point out that the British
occupation of Mosul on the 1st is a violation of the armistice. But the Ottomans aren’t the only ones asking
for an armistice this week, though they are the only ones getting one. Lemme backtrack. On the 27th, in the fighting on the Italian
Front, British and Italian troops managed to cross the Piave River. Now that the weather had improved and the
waters subsided, the Gordon Highlanders made the first breakthrough, wading from Papadopoli
Island to the east bank under a creeping barrage. The crossing was so unexpected that it caused
chaos and even terror in the defenders. Bridgeheads were established and by the 29th
they had pierced the Austrian 2nd line and taken 11,000 prisoners. It was the 29th that the Austrian official
history wrote was the crisis day. Until then they had mostly held at the Piave
and Monte Grappa had held. In fact, at Monte Grappa, by the end of the
month, the Italian 4th army had taken over 20,000 casualties in a real bloodbath. Thing is, the Allies were attacking an army
as it disintegrated. Hungarian troops had been allowed to go home
at the end of last week, those that remained often refused to go into the lines. This example spread to Czech and Slav units,
and then the German and Austrian units refused to fight since they felt like they were just
replacing the Hungarians who went home. Every day was thus easier for the Allies. From the 29th on it was a general Austrian
retreat, and that day, 600 Italian, French, and British aircraft bomb and machine-gun
the retreating columns of men with no cover or protection.. It was a massacre, much like the attack on
Ottoman forces leaving the River Jordan last month. By the 30th the number of POWs taken was growing
by the tens of thousands. Vittorio Veneto fell at the end of the month
and the Austrians abandoned their now outflanked positions on Monte Grappa. (Gilbert) Emperor Karl telegraphed to the
Kaiser in Germany, “My people are neither capable nor willing to continue the war. I have made the unalterable decision to ask
for a separate peace and an immediate armistice.” Well, the Austrians ask for an armistice,
but they don’t get it yet. The Italians are stalling for time to take
as much territory as they can. But Karl’s people are mostly no longer his
people. On the 29th, a Czech national council takes
over in Prague. The Austrian troops in the castle lay down
their arms. The next day, the Croatian parliament at Agram
declares that Croatia and Dalmatia are now part of a national state of Slovenes , Croats,
and Serbs. The German name Agram is changed to the Slav
name Zagreb. In the Slovene city of Laibach a similar declaration
is made and the name similarly changed to Ljubljana. Within hours, Sarajevo declares it too has
joined. On the 30th, Karl asks Hungarian leader Michael
Karolyi to form a new Hungarian government; the link between Austria and Hungary is formally
severed. Also that day, Karl gives the Austrian fleet
to the Southern Slavs and the Danube Flotilla to Hungary. That night his armistice delegation arrives
in Italy. On the 31st while he’s away, there is revolution
in Vienna, while in Budapest Former Hungarian PM Count Istvan Tisza is assassinated in his
home. And in the port of Pola the 31st, the Southern
Slavs took over the fleet and then watched with horror as an Italian torpedo boat, which
either didn’t know or didn’t care that those ships were no longer imperial, sank
the battleship Viribus Unitis at anchor, killing several hundred sailors. At the end of the week, Serbian soldiers take
the heights above Belgrade and open fire on the Hungarian monitors patrolling the Danube. This war actively began four years ago with
the Austrians shelling Serbian positions on these very heights. As for the Kaiser, the 30th he went to Spa
while German politicians discussed his abdication in favor of his son, with Germany ruled by
a Council of Regency. Most in the Reichstag favored this. Many of them felt that he should sacrifice
himself so his dynasty could survive. When the Kaiser got wind of this, he was pissed
off; he declined, with Army Chief of Staff Paul von Hindenburg’s support. Quartermaster General Wilhelm Groener had
a different proposal – that the Kaiser should go to the front and look for death. Meaning he should head for an active war zone
and find a trench or something and get himself killed fighting. Even if he were just badly wounded, this would
really rally the people to him and his dynasty. Martin Gilbert writes, “Hindenburg thought
this a bad idea. The Kaiser’s views are not recorded.” As for the German naval order I mentioned
last week that fleet commander Franz von Hipper put together, for a huge all out final attack
by the whole High Seas Fleet on the British Grand Fleet: It is approved by Naval Chief
of Staff Reinhard Scheer the 27th and issued on the 29th. The fleet assembled that afternoon in preparation
for setting off the next day. A raid on the Thames and the Flanders coast
would take place at dawn the 31st while later that day they would take on the British Fleet. However, by the evening of the 29th, the men
were in a state of sedition, many convinced that their commanders would sacrifice them
to sabotage armistice negotiations. Many refused to return from shore leave, and
there were mutinous demonstrations aboard several ships. In fact, aboard two battleships there was
outright mutiny. The mutineers gave up when torpedo boats pointed
their guns at the ships, but von Hipper cancelled the order and told the fleet to disperse as
he felt he could no longer count on the navy’s loyalty. Ships of the 3rd Battle Squadron arrive in
Kiel at the end of the week. An armistice that was in those sailors’
thoughts was on other minds too. American Commander John Pershing still worried
about the Germans re-starting things in the spring. On the 30th, he says the advance should continue
until the German army unconditionally surrenders. “An armistice would revivify the low spirits
of the German army and enable it to reorganize and resist later on.” British and French PMs David Lloyd George
and George Clemenceau did not agree; they were confident of setting crippling armistice
terms on the Germans, even if they did not actually lay down their arms. Supreme Allied Commander Ferdinand Foch too,
he said he did not make war for the sake of making war, and if he could get the conditions
he wants with an armistice, then so be it. There were those who mistakenly thought peace
was already here. On the 27th an American artillery battery
under Captain Harry Truman, future President, was moving from one zone to another when his
men got the French edition of the New York Times. Its bold headline proclaimed the armistice
was on. Just then German shells exploded on both sides
of the road. A Sergeant said to Truman, “Captain, those
god damn Germans haven’t seen the paper.” And the week comes to an end with a beginning
– a new American offensive on the River Meuse, which I’ll talk about next week. This week saw the Austrians retreat from the
Allies in Italy, even as their army and empire collapsed into burgeoning nations. It also saw the Ottoman Empire leave the war. I would say “and then there were two”,
but that’s not true. Austria can no longer fight, so there really
only is one. Germany. Last man standing. Ludendorff said a month ago, “We cannot
fight the whole world.” Well, he won’t have to, he’s gone from
power, but the soldiers? How long can they? If you want to learn more about the Ottoman
Empire in World War 1, our friend Can actually launched a YouTube channel about exactly that. You can click right here for their “Prelude
to War” video. Our Patreon supporter of the week is LT Marshall
Faulds. Thank you for your support on Patreon over
the years which made this show possible and made it even better along the way. Don’t forget to subscribe, see you next
time.

100 Replies to “Austria-Hungary Disintegrates – The Ottoman Empire Leaves the War I THE GREAT WAR Week 223”

  1. How can the ottoman empire leave the war??? You fight till the end?? Germany cant leave the war. If youre at war, you fight untill one side is defeated.

  2. Imagine Indie you were a young trouper, like my Grandfather, a hundred years ago. You look back at Ypres, Somme, Vimy, Paschendale, You think of friends you have lost, and how close you are to the end. You have given yourself up as all ready dead long ago, but now you have a chance to be alive. It is only hours or days away and it will be over. No more gas or shells, it will be finished, and you will have survived the horror. But your officers are telling you to go forward, and ahead of you is Mons. Enjoy the week.

  3. If you guys don’t continue this channel into the 20s and the affects of the war I will be very mad they plenty to cover like the Russian civil war and the many other wars that was caused by world war 1.

  4. 28Sorry, seems that you've made a mistake – independent Czechoslovakia was proclaimed on the 28th of October, not on the 29th!

  5. Hello! Correction: Czech national council declared independence on 28th october. This is our national day of independence. Thx

  6. Not a single word about the new formed independent Czechoslovakia on October 28th 1918….. I have watched every episode since the first one, I have been looking forward to this moment, of Indy proclaiming Czechoslovakia…… I must say, for the first time I am really dissapointed from you.

  7. I don't know if this was mentioned before. Will this series end with the armistice or will it end with the Treaty of Versailles?

  8. 10:48 There is no period after S, is there? I thought Harry Truman's middle initial us just S, and doesn't stand for anything.

  9. Zagreb was all ways named Zagreb, since it was the capital city of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia

  10. In October 1918, the Austro-Hungarian army was in disarray. The Empire was indeed crumbling. But front-line Austro-Hungarian soldiers on the Piave river held fast, with their teeth and nails when they run out of ammo. They fought with valor… for one week. It took all the energy, blood and valor of the Italian soldiers to dislodge them from the Piave river. But no replacements would come for Austro-Hungarians. On Piave, it was a real battle, which was won by Italy. Afterwards, it was an Austo-Hungarian rout.

  11. I'd like to know more about the Italians bombing of the Austrian army fleeing the country. Not much of it is told in Italy

  12. Mr.Andy I am a die hard fan of your channel since The Great War first week. I am a Turkish man. After this week by week show ends. Would you please make a week by week Turkish war of independence and Our Father Ataturk's life, please.

  13. One hundred years ago, in this very moment, the Italian supreme command released the Victory Bulletin.
    One hundred years later, VIVA L'ITALIA. 🇮🇹

  14. Independent Finland had their first common municipal election in late 1918. Non socialists got 64% of votes and socialists 36%. Next year 1919 in parliament election socialists did surprisingly well (just year after disaster of Civil War) getting 38% of votes and SDP was again clearly biggest party in parliament ( 80 of 200). Finnish historians generally are rethinking the era of 1919-1938 and see it now much more positive. For instance GDP in 1938 per capita was double compared to 1913. Even depression of 1930's was not so severe as in many other countries.

  15. Now that the cowards and losers have left the war, Germany can finally push unhindered and kick France out of the war! Victory is near, I say!

  16. Weird to think that the empire that stopped the Ottomans from taking over Europe would die fighting with the Ottomans against most of Europe.

  17. Still remember men celebrating in the streets of my town when the war ended. The next memory I have is everyone in my family wearing masks because of the Spanish influenza. How time flies. I might also be the oldest man on youtube.

  18. The end is nearing my friends, most of us have been here since the very first episode, since the very first day of The Great War a hundred years after. But let’s not be sad that the series is ending, but let’s rejoice that a hundred years ago, the lost generation was finally put to rest.

  19. Too bad for Foch, considering he didn't get the conditions he wanted. He even outright said that it wasn't a peace agreement with the Treaty of Versailles, it was just a 20 year pause. Fast forward to September 1st, 1939, he was right.

  20. im starting to wonder what you guys will do after you finish talking about the whole war now that its about to end

  21. Finally cought up on the series a few days before the end of the Great War. Took long but I did it. Btw was the Ottoman armistice on October 30 or November 30?

  22. Indy,

    Kudos to you and your team for The Great War Episodes. It has been a great 4 years and 3 months. I am having Great War Withdrawals now that the shooting stops in 3 days and the remaining Central Powers collapse.

    Are you going to create "Out of the Trenches" episodes for the 5 treaties the officially ended the war?

  23. Only found the channel in March of 2018, so have been playing catch-up for months. And now I am, on the 8th of November. Sunday's 100th anniversary was a huge motivation. Thank you Great War Team! I may have disagreed with certain things said (and wrote too often in response), but this has been a great educational tool for my kids and "fun" for me. Every week interesting and Indy's insights forced me to think anew. A gift worth even more than I could afford through Patreon.

  24. "The Kaiser's views are not recorded." Classic line. At this point the vast majority of Germans didn't much care about the Kaiser's views or were willing to drive him to the front.

    4 years with the names the same again. Shelling on rivers of Belgrade, La Cateua, and the rest. Was it worth it? Of course not. But was the world better for the fall of the Kaiser, AH Empire, Russian Czarists, and Ottomans? Yes. Sadly winning the opportunity to shape a glorious future doesn't mean you will grasp the nettle. Wisdom, moderation and compromise didn't grow in the future leaders during this four years. That is the tragedy

  25. I`m a bit confused, why didn't you mention, that in 1 November started Civil War between poles and ukrainians over Galicia.

  26. @flow @thegreatwar @TGWTeam it says at 2:57 that the armistice was signed on November the 30th, but Wikipedia claims 'On 30 October 1918, the Armistice of Mudros was signed' what is true? what an I misunderstanding?

  27. I have been binge watching every episode of this show just so that I could be caught up in time for the 100th Veterans’s Day. It was worth the five months of time! Thank you, Great War. You have shown me what we can do with History!

  28. *Why were the Brits bombing, and massacring Hungarian, Czech, Slav troops who were walking in large numbers AWAY from the war to go home? What's the point?*

  29. I absolutely loved this series from the first days of the war, but as an Italian I’m quite disappointed on how you apparently underestimate the military achivements of our people 100 years ago

  30. inaccurate informations about vittorio Veneto battle. british and french had a minor role (and there where italian troops on the western front as well) and the battle was very harsh, the result wasn't obvious at all

  31. 3:07 Armistice is signed on 30 November, hostilities end on the 31st…………of November ? Guessing that was meant to be October since Mosul was occupied on 1st November in contravention of said Armistice 🙂

  32. 7:20 I'm pretty sure the italian sailors couldn't know the change of flag as they left port before that happened

  33. Its understandable why the Hungarians just went home: they didnt want to take part in WW1, even more unfair is how they lost 3/4 of their land and 2/3 of their population even thought they didnt want to take part in WW1.

  34. by far and away to most professional and best war series (all of them) on YouTube. Well done Indy and team.

  35. @2:40 Moudros is not an island, but it is a town ON the Greek island of Lemnos. Sorry for the pedantic comment.

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