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Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination

Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination

Stefan Ihrig
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination
    Book Description:

    Early in his career, Hitler took inspiration from Mussolini—this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler has been neglected: Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, who inspired Hitler to remake Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Stefan Ihrig tells this compelling story.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-73582-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Prologue: Leaving “Enverland”
    (pp. 1-9)

    The year is 1908, a decade before our main story really begins. The Ottoman Empire is on the verge of revolution. The Young Turks are threatening to march on Constantinople if the 1878 Constitution is not restored immediately. Abdul Hamid II, the infamous bloody “red sultan,” concedes and the Young Turks effectively seize power in the capital and in the empire. The conflict between the sultan and the new regime lingers on until 1909, when a countercoup by the sultan is crushed and Enver Pasha, one of the Young Turk leaders, marches on the capital—the parallels to Caesar’s march...

  4. 1 Turkish Lessons for Germany: The Turkish War of Independence as a Major Weimar Media Event, 1919–1923
    (pp. 10-67)

    For German nationalists, World War I and the German-Ottoman alliance ended in a disaster of truly biblical proportions—in the literal sense, as illustrations in satirical journals of the time aptly show with their depictions of the apocalyptic horsemen over Germany, Germany as a “national Jesus” suffering under the degradations of the Entente, or a French Genghis Khan laying waste to Germany.¹ The sense of despair and the failure to understand events must have been paramount in these first years of the Weimar Republic. But World War I did not quite end everywhere in 1918. Violence continued in Russia with...

  5. 2 “Ankara in Munich”: The Hitler Putsch and Turkey
    (pp. 68-107)

    It was an unsuccessful endeavor and failed within five days. “To stage a putsch without a cabinet ready at hand was just childish,” remarked a commentator in Berlin just after the failure of the Kapp Putsch in 1920. This commentator was the former grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire Talât Pasha. Ernst Troeltsch, theologian and politician, was impressed by the clarity of the advice of this Turkish “master of revolution.”¹ Talât Pasha might have been right about the dilettantism of the failed Kapp Putsch, but he was not the Turkish voice the German far right was eager to hear at...

  6. 3 Hitler’s “Star in the Darkness”: Nazi Admiration for Atatürk and His New Turkey
    (pp. 108-146)

    It was a highly unusual and a highly symbolic trip upon which Ernst Röhm, head of the SA, embarked just shortly after the Third Reich came into existence. Unfortunately, it is also a trip about which we know next to nothing. But its destinations are known and they are quite telling. Officially, it was a “private trip,” but one with the highest ideological significance. This significance was further underlined by the fact that after having returned from Bolivia where he had served as a military advisor, Röhm did not often travel abroad. So why now? The answer is as easy...

  7. 4 The “Turkish Führer”: Nazi Hagiography and National Education
    (pp. 147-171)

    In December 1938 theHamburger Tageblattpublished an essay entitled “Führer and Nation.” The author developed ideas about the perfect Führer and the way he should govern, and about the nation. He then also shared some of his personal insights: “He who thinks more about himself than about the welfare of his country and his nation,” the author wrote, “is only a second- class human being…. Only he who works for the future without regard to himself or those around him, can lay the broad foundations for the future happiness and progress of his nation.” While all this was well...

  8. 5 The New Turkey: Nazi Visions of a Modern Völkisch State
    (pp. 172-208)

    “Just as Adolf Hitler had created the new Germany, and Mussolini the new Italy,” Reventlow’sReichswartwrote in 1933, “so the modern Turkey is Mustafa Kemal’s creation alone and at the same time it is proof of what a paramount Führer personality can make out of a country and a nation.”¹ This sentence encapsulates almost every aspect of the Nazis’ perception of the New Turkey. Given that its creation and goals were parallel to Hitler’s and Mussolini’s, that it was proof of the Führer principle, and that Atatürk was considered a model Führer, as we saw in Chapter 4, we...

  9. 6 The Second World War and Turkey: Another Spain?
    (pp. 209-222)

    World War II complicated everything, including German-Turkish relations. Already with the ascent of Ismet Inönü to the Turkish presidency at the end of 1938 things had changed. Various Turkish treaties with the enemies of the Axis furthermore did not favor a continuation of the positive Nazi images of Turkey. Turkish-German bilateral relations, which before 1939 had not significantly influenced the Nazi image of Turkey, took on a real zigzag course during the war.¹ Two photos symbolize this like no others. The first (Fig. 6.1) shows the reception of the new Turkish ambassador to the Third Reich at Tempelhof Airport in...

  10. Epilogue: First to Stone, Then to Dust
    (pp. 223-230)

    If we are to believe Hitler, Atatürk was his “shining star” in the darkness of the 1920s. Atatürk’s revolution and the New Turkey had fascinated the German nationalists and far right in the early Weimar years like almost no other topic during this time. Repeatedly a variety of newspapers had called for the application of “Turkish lessons” to Germany. Foremost among them were the newspapers of the National Socialists, who were strongly motivated by the Turkish War of Independence in their endeavors to “liberate” Germany. “Ankara-in-Munich” is one way to understand the Hitler Putsch. In his 1924 defense speech Hitler...

  11. Note on Sources and Historiography
    (pp. 233-236)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 237-302)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 303-306)
  14. Index
    (pp. 307-311)