1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Enver Pasha
ENVER PASHA (1881–), leader of the Young Turks, was of very humble origin. He was born in Abana, near the Black Sea, where his father was a bridge-keeper and his mother followed the despised profession of laying out the dead. His father was Turkish, his mother Albanian, and he had a Circassian grandmother. He entered the Turkish army as а subaltern without money or influence but gained admission to the staff college at Constantinople, and from there went to Salonika, the headquarters of the Young Turk movement. He fought with Bulgarian and Greek guerrilla bands, coming meanwhile in contact with the representatives of the new ideas, and finding in Talaat, the minor telegraph official, a politician after his own heart. In 1908, as aide-de-camp of Gen. Hussein Hilmi, he, with Niazi Bey, imported the flag of revolution in the Macedonian mountains, originally with the object of restoring the constitution of 1876, which had been disregarded by ‛Abdul Hamid, but also to save himself from a threatened arrest. ‛Abdul Hamid professed to yield and Enver entered Constantinople as a feted hero. But he realized that his time was not yet come. He went to Berlin as major and military attache, and there, from 1909 to 1911, he pursued his military studies and enjoyed a social career as a ladies' favourite. His stay was only once interrupted, when, in 1909, he hastened to Salonika, and with Mahmud Shevket undertook a brief and victorious campaign against the reactionaries, who hoped to regain unfettered power under ‛Abdul Hamid. After taking the capital and deposing ‛Abdul Hamid, Enver returned to Berlin. Having learned to speak good German, he took command at Benghasi in the Italo-Turkish War. He also wrote a book called Tripoli, dealing with this period. The Peace of Lausanne brought his work in Africa to an end. and he returned to Constantinople to find Turkey in the midst of the war with the Balkan States. During the Dec. armistice, Enver, then a lieutenant-colonel, was made chief-of-staff of the X. Army Corps, of which he soon was virtually in command. His attempt at a landing at Sharkoi (in the E. of the Gallipoli peninsula), on Feb. 8 1913, miscarried, as indeed did all Enver’s military enterprises. During the peace negotiations, when Kiamil, as Grand Vizier; took the wise course of deferring to the wishes of the British, Enver with his friends arrived in front of the Sublime Porte, shot the War Minister, Nazim Pasha, turned out Kiamil, forced himself upon the Sultan, and in collusion with the Young Turk Committee filled all the offices with Young Turks.
The new Vizier, Mohamed Shevket, was assassinated in June 1913, and this further enraged the Committee against the Old Turks and the Union Libérale. The body of the state was now purged of all elements which would not blindly carry out the policy of the Committee. More than 1,200 officers, among them 153 generals and colonels, were dismissed by Enver in one day. Enver put himself at the head of the troops, and in July 1913 made a triumphal entry into Adrianople, which had already been evacuated by the Bulgarians. On Jan. 3 1914 he promoted himself major-general and made himself Minister of War.
Now began a period of hasty measures and reckless decrees. At one time the Turkish script was altered, with the result that officers were unable to read their reports or orders; then the Enverie, a highly unpractical head-covering, reminiscent of a child’s paper hat, was invented and introduced; in March 1914 he demanded and obtained the hand of Princess Nadjie, the Sultan’s niece, made himself general of a division, and began, moreover, to take thought for his financial future. When at last he was forced to flee from Constantinople, the bridge-keeper’s son owned 320 houses in the city, and he had also acquired interests in banks and mines.
When the World War broke out Enver began to cherish strategical ambitions. In the winter of 1914–5 he led an entire Turkish army in the disastrous offensive in the snow-covered mountains on the Russo-Turkish border. With Liman von Sanders, the chief of the German military mission, his relations were strained. and the situation was not improved by certain Germans who flattered Enver and intrigued against Liman von Sanders. He became a megalomaniac to whom no one dared offer a word of advice. He had no share in the Dardanelles defence, but took all the credit for it. In internal politics he became, by degrees, the absolute ruler of the country. When the Turkish collapse came, he tied by way of Odessa to Germany. In 1919 he was condemned to death at Constantinople in contumaciam. In the same year, after a brief exile among friends in Germany, he fled to Russia. There at first he helped Denikin to maintain the independence of the Caucasus, but when the latter made a political approach towards the Entente, Enver left him, stayed for a short time in Azerbäijän, and was mixed up in adventures in Asia Minor. He was reported in 1920–21 to have been employed at Moscow as director of the Asiatic department in the Soviet Government, and to have posed at the Baku Congress of Oriental Peoples as the leader of a great Socialist movement in the middle east and north Africa.
- A German version was issued in 1918.