World War I and the Ottoman Home Front

with Yiğit Akın

hosted by Chris Gratien and Seçil Yılmaz

While World War I was the result of a political conflict, it touched the lives of nearly every segment of Ottoman society in often tragic ways. Yet, the lived experience of Ottoman citizens on the home front is often an ignored aspect of the war's historiography. In this episode, Yiğit Akın offers a social history perspective on the conflict, focusing on basic questions like food, labor, and resources as they related to the war and giving particular attention to the experience of women and internally displaced peoples.

Yiğit Akın is an Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Georgetown University (see
Seçil Yılmaz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at City University of New York studying disease and medicine in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey (see

Episode Music: Erkan Oğur, "Hey Onbeşli" and "Yemen Türküsü"

Citation: "World War I and the Ottoman Home Front," Yiğit Akın, Chris Gratien, and Seçil Yılmaz, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 119 (August 23, 2013)

Other OHP resources on the First World War

#86 Indian POWs in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War
#103 Komitas: a Biographical Mixtape
#85 Christmas and Diplomacy during World War I
#22 Jafar al-Askeri: Modernization, Martial Discipline and Post-Ottoman Iraq
#11 World War I and the Ottoman Empire: the Arab Provinces

archival documents

"Women and the War Effort in the Ottoman Empire"
"Holy War on its Head: a French Call for Jihad"
"Ottoman War Stories: A Letter from a Concerned Mother"


Yiğit Akın, Chris Gratien and Seçil Yılmaz
Kurtuluş, Istanbul, July 2013
Akın, Yiğit. The Ottoman Home Front During World War I Everyday Politics, Society, and Culture. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University, 2011.

Aksakal, Mustafa. The Ottoman Road to War in 1914: The Ottoman Empire and the First World War. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Beşikçi, Mehmet. The Ottoman Mobilization of Manpower in the First World War: Between Voluntarism and Resistance. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Yanikdağ, Yücel. Healing the Nation: Prisoners of War, Medicine and Nationalism in Turkey, 1914-1939. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013.

Gingeras, Ryan. Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1912-1923. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Tamārī, Salīm. Year of the Locust A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 


Ottoman soldiers headed to the front, 1914

Ottoman soldiers receiving rations

The funeral procession of an Ottoman army officer

Activites of Red Crescent in Palestine during World War I

Women sift through dirt and dung for grain during Great Syrian Famine

Palestinians pushing locusts into a trap

Christian orphanage at Baquba, Iraq


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