The Balkan wars (1912-13) represent, together, the first total war of the Ottoman state. During this conflict, the Ottomans endeavoured to enlist all its citizens into the war effort. The aim of this study is twofold. First, to explore Ottoman propaganda and the set of symbols it employed to promote patriotism and cohesion among soldiers and civilians. Second, by using memoirs written by army officers, contemporary press articles, literature produced by and for non-Muslims, theatre plays, etc., it will dwell upon the responses from below to this propaganda, and the reactions of the different groups inside Ottoman society to the mobilization, to the war and to the military disaster.
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* An earlier version of this paper was read at the workshop ‘The Ethnic Break-up of the Ottoman Empire’ directed by Reşat Kasaba, Fikret Adanir and Sarah Abrevaya-Stein at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies - the Mediterranean Programme, Florence, 21-25 March 2001. I would like to thank the directors of the workshop and the participants for their stimulating comments and suggestions. I would like also to thank the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for financial support for the research upon which this article is based.