Italo-Turkish Diplomacy and the War over Libya, 1911-1912


In 1911 Italy, an aspiring Great Power, attacked Ottoman Libya. Italian diplomacy had long anticipated this attack, but Italy's military was ill-prepared for it. The Ottoman Empire, distracted by internal dissension and by the expansionist designs of its Balkan neighbours, was woefully unready.
This study examines how the belligerents dealt with the military and diplomatic stalemates into which the Libyan War degenerated, stalemates which were ended only by the outbreak of the First Balkan War in 1912, when the Ottomans were obliged to make peace with Italy to face more dangerous enemies nearer home.
The Italo-Turkish War was the first armed clash between the lesser Great Powers immediately before 1914, leading inexorably to the deterioration of the Balkan situation and to Sarajevo. This is the first study based on the archives of the Ottoman Foreign Ministry for the period, as well as on better-known Italian sources.

Review Quotes

' ...lucid and carefully researched book...' John Wright, Arabic Service, 1990. ' ...a thorough and detailed account...the most complete now available and is unlikely to be superseded for a long time to come.' M.S. Anderson, BSOAS, 1992. ' ...the book offers a compelling account of how the Italians "won" what M.S. Anderson termed "one of the most unjustified [wars] in European history."' Ann Pottinger Saab, Middle East Journal, 1991. ' ...c'est bien l'éclairage ottoman qui valorise cet ouvrage...' André Martel, Rev. Franç. d'hist. d'outre-mer, 1991. ' ...liefert einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Forschung...' Franz-Josef Kos, Quellen und Forschungen, 1992. ' ...a valuable addition to the diplomatic history of the period, not least for the insights which it provides into Ottoman foreign policy.' M.E. Yapp, JRAS, 1992. ' Dieses Buch, das durch einen vorzüglichen Index erschlossen ist, liefert eine lesenswerte, genaue und detailgetreue Darstellung der europäischen Diplomatie um den italienisch-osmanischen Krieg und erarbeitet klar und nachvollziehbar die Strategien der beteiligten Mächte.' Reinhard Schulze Zeitschrift der Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, 1994.


students of European and Middle Eastern history.