ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Abdurrahim Aydın, Tuncay Zorlu

Keywords: Ottoman Empire, First World War, Sultan Abdulhamid II, Ministry of War, General Supplies Department


Supply of military weapons, equipment, spare parts and ammunition had always been of a crucial importance for the Ottoman Empire. This issue came to be a part of an international diplomacy from 19th century onwards when the Ottoman governments were forced into a position to choose allies from European Powers who were in rivalry in providing military materials. Many companies from France, England and Germany competed with each other in order to have the greatest share from the military supplies market in the Ottoman Empire. Such German companies as Krupp, and Rheinische Metallwaren und Maschinefabrik in Düsseldorf; French company Sxneider/Le Creusot; and British Armstrong/Vickers Company were among them. However, German weapon companies stood out in meeting the needs of the Ottoman military. In the reign of Abdulhamid II, the German company of Krupp came forward in selling artillery weapons in particular after the 1880's, and turned out to be the dominant power in the end of the century, while the other German companies dealt in the various other military materials such as rifles, ammunitions, spare parts, wagons, factory workbenches. Levazımat-ı Umumiye Dairesi (General Supplies Department) which functioned as attached to the Harbiye Nezareti (Ministry of War) during the early years of the 20th century was in charge of the supply and distribution of primary materials which were necessary for the provisioning of the army. This department was not only involved in the provisioning and equipment of the army during the WWI, but played an important role in procuring the technical equipment for the setting up and development of military factories as well as establishing connections and cooperation with Germany to this end, through its branches. It is possible to reach many correspondences about these cases in ATESE Archives which is attached to the General Staff. This study aims to provide some examples concerning the activities of the above-mentioned department and military factories and procuring the wartime equipment in particular, based on the primary sources.