From Military Downfall to Rejuvenation: The Balkan Wars and the Vision of the Ottoman Nation's Rebirth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter deals with the concepts of progress and modernization as discussed in the Ottoman writing on their military defeat during the Balkan wars (1912-13). By exploring various texts authored by leading Ottoman literati in the aftermath of the defeat, the chapter aims to analyse their interpretation of these concepts and the impact of the Balkan wars on their understanding of the meaning and role of modernization. It argues that those authors continued to perceive progress and modernization as major targets towards which the Ottoman nation should invest all its skills and efforts if it desired to safeguard its future. Yet, disappointed with European attitudes towards the Ottoman defeat and the terrible suffering of Muslim civilians, many of them imagined an Ottoman modernization from which Europe would be excluded. In its place, those Ottoman authors argued that Japan, as a non-European power that had successfully coped with the European threats to its sovereignty, should turn into the main model for the modernization of the Ottoman Empire.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBalkan Studies Library
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameBalkan Studies Library
ISSN (Print)1877-6272

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Brill Schöningh, 2024.


  • Balkan wars
  • defeat
  • Japan
  • modernization
  • national trauma
  • Ottomanism
  • rejuvenation
  • revenge


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