Turkey in the First World War

Testament of Enver Paşa

In Sarıkamış, when Turkish troops were freezing to death, Enver Paşa was worried not only about the outcome of the campaign but also about his own life. He was 34 years old, commanding an army, and could meet his death anytime. He took some pieces of paper from a notebook and wrote his testament.

The testament does not have a date, but from the event he describes we can guess that it was written some time between the 26th and 28th of December 1914. It is addressed to the government, but it is not known if the document ever reached the Sublime Porte. It is also not known if it was the original one or just a draft. It is possible that he wrote it with the purpose of having it submitted to the government after his death.


“To the Government,  

My plan was to force the Russians to retreat by sending a corps twice as strong and consequently annihilating the enemy, which was pursued by the XI Corps and a cavalry division. IX and X Corps have successfully completed the movement. The enemy was attacked at, however could not be beaten.  Now I am waiting for the XI Corps and the cavalry division. If they come on time, I will destroy the enemy. However, in case if the enemy attacks our weakened troops before they arrive, it would mean that the Army is perished.  

Until now, soldiers and officers fought flawlessly. They executed all the maneuvers. If God also helps, success is inevitable. But if I fail, I shall die with my last soldier. In that case my testament is: I believe I have done my duty and I die with this belief. Resist the enemy until the very end. In any way, we will be successful at the end of the day. I am dying without regretting what I did and with my heart at ease. Long live my religion, my country and my Padişah! 

If you shall be interested in helping those I leave behind, note that the allowance of my wife Sultan Efendi is not enough. In order to secure her welfare, I kindly ask you to at least transfer my salary from the High Command to her account. Also I kindly ask you to secure the welfare of my parents and some charity to be done under my name so that I can achieve divine grace. I am praying for the rise of my religion and my people - my only purpose was working for their ascent – and I greet all those who know me. Long live Islam and the Ottoman nation and the Padişah of Ottomans, Sultan Mehmet Han! 

                   E   n   v   e   r  

I have no wealth whatsoever. Whatever I have, I leave it to my wife Sultan Efendi. 

                  E   n   v   e   r” / © Altay Atlı / this page is last updated on June 26, 2006