Today in World history: the Armistice of Mudros (1918)

The Ottomans I think sometimes get a bad rap for losing World War I, because, hey, if you only go by the final result it was a pretty total Ottoman defeat. But the fact of the matter is that Ottoman forces generally acquitted themselves well for most of the war, especially in Europe and the Caucasus, and right up until the bitter end there was reason to believe that the empire, or at least a shrunken version of it, would survive. But when Bulgaria was forced to surrender in September 1918, and the Ottomans learned that Germany was on the verge of doing the same, a major Allied attack on Istanbul seemed like it was coming soon, and the Ottomans realized that they couldn’t withstand that.

The HMS Agamemnon at Mudros (Wikimedia Commons)

The Ottoman surrender, known as the Armistice of Mudros, was signed on October 30, 1918 on board a British ship called the Agamemnon in Moudros harbor on the Island of Lemnos. The Ottomans surrendered all their garrisons outside Anatolia, disbanded their army, gave up whatever territory they’d captured at Russian expense following the 1917 revolution, and gave the Allies the right to occupy Ottoman territory basically at will. The Allies occupied Istanbul and began partitioning the empire, a process that only ended when the Turkish War of Independence both deposed the last Ottoman sultan-caliph and ensured that Anatolia would remain united as the core of a new Turkish republic.


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