Academic journal article Military Review

ATATURK : Lessons in Leadership from the Greatest General of the Ottoman Empire

Academic journal article Military Review

ATATURK : Lessons in Leadership from the Greatest General of the Ottoman Empire

Article excerpt

ATATURK : Lessons in Leadership from the Greatest General of the Ottoman Empire, Austin Bay, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2011, $23.00.

Kemal Ataturk's place in history is little known in the West, and few military professionals study his campaigns. This volume does what it can to address this deficiency.

Born Mustafa within the borders of an Ottoman Empire that was already shrinking, he later named himself Mustafa Kemal, or "Mustafa the Perfect" when he began his studies. It would not be the last time he would change his identity to fit the times. He became an Ottoman officer, served in the army in a variety of roles, and made a reputation for himself as a military leader. Having served in a variety of assignments, from conventional warfare during the Balkan Wars to diplomatic missions, to insurgency efforts against the Italian invaders of Libya, he received a command in the strategic spit of land known as Gallipoli when the Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers.

His Ottoman division held offa powerful Allied invasion force. It is probably no exaggeration to say Atatürk saved the Ottoman Empire-or at least bought it some time. Through personal courage, astute understanding of the terrain, and sure knowledge of his own capabilities and those of the enemy, he was able to stop the invaders and force them into a stalemate, which only ended when the British withdrew their force from Gallipoli and the Allies gave up their idea of capturing Constantinople and knocking the Ottomans out of the war with one stroke. …

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