Briefe uber Zustände und Begebenheiten in der Türkei aus den Jahren 1835 bis 1839.
Von Moltke, Helmuth. 1800-1891.
Book ID: 6056
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Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter 19th century, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field. He is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army at the outbreak of World War I.
In 1835 on his promotion as captain, Moltke obtained six months leave to travel in south-Eastern Europe. After a short stay in Constantinople he was requested by the Sultan Mahmud II to help modernise the Ottoman Empire army, and being duly authorized from Berlin he accepted the offer. He remained two years at Constantinople, learned Turkish and surveyed the city of Constantinople, the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. He travelled through Wallachia, Bulgaria and Rumelia, and made many other journeys on both sides of the Strait.
In 1838 Moltke was sent as adviser to the Ottoman general commanding the troops in Anatolia, who was to carry on a campaign against Muhammad Ali of Egypt. During the summer Moltke made extensive reconnaissances and surveys, riding several thousand miles in the course of his journey. He navigated the rapids of the Euphrates and visited and mapped many parts of the Ottoman Empire. In 1839 the army moved south to fight the Egyptians, but upon the approach of the enemy the general refused to listen to Moltke’s advice. Moltke resigned his post of staff officer and took charge of the artillery. In the Battle of Nezib (modern-day Nisibis) on 24 June 1839, the Ottoman army was beaten (Muhammad Ali was defeated only once or twice in his lifetime). With great difficulty Von Moltke made his way back to the Black Sea, and thence to Constantinople. His patron, Sultan Mahmud II, was dead, so he returned to Berlin where he arrived, broken in health, in December 1839.
Once home Moltke published some of the letters he had written as Letters on Conditions and Events in Turkey in the Years 1835 to 1839. This book was well received at the time.
In 1840 Moltke had been appointed to the staff of the 4th army corps, stationed at Berlin and he published his maps of Constantinople, and, jointly with other German travellers, a new map of Asia Minor and a memoir on the geography of that country. He became fascinated by railroads and he was one of the first directors of the Hamburg-Berlin railway. In 1843 published an article What Considerations should determine the Choice of the Course of Railways.
Bibliographic reference: Atabey 823 for 1893 edition.