Contextualising the Ottoman Dynasty: Sultan Mehmed V Reşad and the Ottoman Princes in the Great War

  • Mustafa Serdar PalabıyıkEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy book series (PSMM)


This chapter discusses the role of Sultan Mehmed V Reşad and the Ottoman princes during World War I, focusing on their interaction with the Committee of Union and Progress (the CUP), which wielded political power in what had become a constitutional monarchy. It explores the background to Reşad’s coming to the throne, and reveals that the tradition perspectives on him as ruler need to be challenged. On coming to the throne, it was expected by contemporaries that he might prove to be an old and at the same time an inexperienced ruler, one easily controlled by the CUP, which had removed his predecessor and organised his instalment instead. This perspective has been adopted by much of the historiography on the last decades of Ottoman rule. However, this chapter provides an alternative interpretation, arguing that instead of being mere puppets of the CUP regime, the Sultan and the Ottoman princes created a very complex relationship between the CUP and the dynasty. The chapter demonstrates, in particular, how the Ottoman dynasty transformed itself before and during the war and highlights the popular impacts of this transformation. The main argument here is that the Ottoman dynasty in general, and Sultan Reşad in particular, had adapted themselves to the new era in Ottoman politics both domestically and internationally and this enabled to play a prominent part in sustaining morale during the Great War.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TOBB University of Economics and TechnologyAnkaraTurkey

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