A Meeting of Two Members of the Drei Kaiser Bund
GERMANY, Brandenburg-Preußen. Wilhelm II.
|Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 1428. Estimate $3000.
Closing Date: Monday, 7 January 2008.
Sold For $3250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
1888-1918. Æ Medal (107.56 g, 12h). Conference between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Sultan Mehmed V Rashad in Constantinople. Dated 1917. Crowned imperial eagle, coat-of-arms on breast, wearing Order of the Black Eagle / Tughra. Cf. Pere 1149. EF, a few scratches. Rare.
When the Ottoman sultan Mehmed V Rashad hosted Kaiser Wilhelm II in Constantinople on 15 October 1917, major strategic changes were taking place in their war with the Allied Powers. Franz Josef, the third member of the Drei Kaiser Bund, and a major element of the Central Powers was dead. His successor, Karl I, secretly entered into peace negotiations with the French. In March, revolution in Russia had forced the abdication of the Tsar in favor of a provisional government still committed to prosecuting the war on the Eastern Front. The Kerensky government, however, faced numerous difficulties at home, due to agitation by the Bolsheviks, and it remained unclear how much longer Russia would remain as a combatant. Once Russia was out of the picture, Germany could move its eastern forces to the beleaguered Western Front. Moreover, Mehmed V Rashad had no real power, and instead the Three Pashas, advisers to the sultan, conducted the war for the Ottomans. Although ambitious, they were poor commanders, and the Ottomans suffered defeats from both the Russians in the Caucasus as well as the Arabs and British in the Middle East. That same year, America entered the war on the side of the Allies. Still an unknown quantity at this point, their presence would surely conclude trouble for Germany’s war effort. The meeting between the two remaining members was a futile last-ditch effort to keep their alliance together.