#23: The Great War begins (1914)

But Turkey was already at war; the struggle in the Balkans had already begun. In fact, in 1908, directly after the proclamation of the Constitution, Austria had proclaimed her annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria had followed by proclaiming her full independence. These and following events exceedingly embittered and angered the Turks. They were warriors and the Christian nations wanted war: very well, they should have it. War. *War*. WAR.

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In the early spring of 1914, the Turks began mobilization. The German-trained General who arrived in Marsovan with his staff about the time the snows melted in the Balkans, to organize the forces in our district, said to me that Turkey had been quite unprepared in recent wars and added with a knowing smile that now they meant to be "ready for eventualities". The General often called on us at the College. He liked to sit in our pleasant garden and listen to our College band and the students liked to play for the authoritative Commander. Sealed circulars were placed in the hands of certain officials in the wards of the city and in the villages round about which were not to be opened pending further orders. But the curiosity of Turkish men is not less than that of American women. They opened and read the circulars on the sly and whispered the contents to their friends on the sly. After Sunday evening, August 4th, 1914, when the mobilization order was read out in the mosques, these circulars were produced and posted on the street walls where everybody could see them. They proclaimed that hostilities had begun; that the country was invaded, and the land laid waste; the villages were destroyed and the women insulted; the people, therefore, were called upon to rally to the crescent flag in defense of hearth and home and native land.

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When the College opened in September, eight teachers and several employees had been drafted for military service. Of our students during the preceding year, 36, including 7 of the 14 who graduated in June, were similarly called to the colors. Twenty-two alumni who had completed medical courses had been drafted as army surgeons. These were people of whom we knew individually, whereas great numbers, beyond the reach of our communication at that time under war conditions and strict censorship, were involved, and successive levies of soldiers continued till the end of the wars.

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