Hungarian Accounts from the Ottoman Fronts of the First World War

  • Gábor Fodor Hungarian Cultural Center in Istanbul
Keywords: war memoirs, Hungarian, Ottoman, World War I, Austro-Hungarian Army


Even though the annexation of Bosnia by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1908 raised the tension between the Monarchy and the Ottomans, Hungaro-Turkish political, economic, and cultural relations significantly improved from the beginning of the twentieth century until the end of the First World War. With the eruption of the Great War these friendly relations turned into a war alliance, where suddenly the battlefields became fields of joint effort. As a consequence, the outbreak of the war caused intensification of mutual visits and the arrival of Hungarian soldiers, journalists, and even artists and religious representatives in greater numbers in the Ottoman Empire.

In this paper the author mainly focuses on Hungarian accounts of different Ottoman fronts during the First World War, while not forgetting to put all these activities in the frame of the wartime alliance. War correspondents like Béla Landauer, István Dobay, and Jenő Heltai from different Hungarian journals, soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian Army like Dr Emil Vidéky and Dr László Király, the painter Géza Maróti, and even a military chaplain, Pál Schrotty left behind detailed memoirs of environments ranging from the picturesque Bay of Izmir to the desert of Palestine. These mostly unknown depictions reveal the cruelty of the war, research the healthcare system of the capital, and provide detailed accounts of the Berlin-Bagdad line and historical sites in the Empire, while also raising questions regarding the situation of Turkish women.


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Author Biography

Gábor Fodor, Hungarian Cultural Center in Istanbul

Gábor Fodor studied at the Departments of Turkish Philology and History of the University of Eötvös Loránd under Prof. Géza Dávid and Prof. István Vásáry. He graduated in 2011 and continued his studies in the doctorate school of the Department of Turkish Philology. In 2018 he defended his PhD thesis under the title of “The Armenian Question in the Light of Hungarian Sources, 1849–1939”. In 2015 he was appointed as the first director of the Hungarian Cultural Center in Istanbul, founded in the previous year by the Hungarian Government, where he is still working. His main fields of interest are Hungarian language memoirs on the Ottoman Empire and Turkish-Hungarian relations from the middle of the 19th century until the end of the WW1. His first book (with Tatjána Kardos) was published in 2019 under the title: Visit to the Ottoman Empire. Dr Dezső Bozóky’s Photographs (1905–1906).

How to Cite
Fodor, G. (2021). Hungarian Accounts from the Ottoman Fronts of the First World War. Archiv orientální, 88(3), 473-492.