Berlin-Baghdad Railway

   An Ottoman-German initiative to construct a continuous rail link between the German capital and Baghdad, securing for Germany access to the Persian Gulf and the Ottoman Empire a modern transportation infrastructure. In 1888, the Ottoman government granted a syndicate of German banks a concession to build a rail link from Constantinople, where the extant Oriental Railway terminated, to Angora. The link was extended to Konia in 1896. In 1903, The Baghdad Railway Company, a German-financed Ottoman organization, was commissioned to extend the line to Baghdad. The railway would strengthen Germany’s empire, allowing her to send troops quickly to her African colonies, and enable her to bypass the Suez Canal, potentially threatening Britain’s primacy in the Mediterranean and India. The project therefore contributed to the heightened international tension that eventually caused war in 1914. It was never completed, and the victorious imperial powers split among themselves the built sections after World War I.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
    Berghahn, V. R. Germany and the Approach of War in 1914. London: Macmillan, 1993;
    Macfie, A. L. The End of the Ottoman Empire. London: Longman, 1998.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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