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Ataturk: An Intellectual Biography

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When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk became the first president of Turkey in 1923, he set about transforming his country into a secular republic where nationalism sanctified by science--and by the personality cult Ataturk created around himself--would reign supreme as the new religion. This book provides the first in-depth look at the intellectual life of the Turkish Republic's founder. In doing so, it frames him within the historical context of the turbulent age in which he lived, and explores the uneasy transition from the late Ottoman imperial order to the modern Turkish state through his life and ideas.

Shedding light on one of the most complex and enigmatic statesmen of the modern era, M. Sukru Hanioglu takes readers from Ataturk's youth as a Muslim boy in the volatile ethnic cauldron of Macedonia, to his education in nonreligious and military schools, to his embrace of Turkish nationalism and the modernizing Young Turks movement. Who was this figure who sought glory as an ambitious young officer in World War I, defied the victorious Allies intent on partitioning the Turkish heartland, and defeated the last sultan? Hanioglu charts Ataturk's intellectual and ideological development at every stage of his life, demonstrating how he was profoundly influenced by the new ideas that were circulating in the sprawling Ottoman realm. He shows how Ataturk drew on a unique mix of scientism, materialism, social Darwinism, positivism, and other theories to fashion a grand utopian framework on which to build his new nation.

Now with a new preface, this book provides the first in-depth look at the intellectual life of the Turkish Republic's founder.

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Hanioglu M. Sukru
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M. Sukru Hanioglu is the Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His books include A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire.

List of Figures and Tables ix
A Note on Transliteration and Personal and Place Names xi
Turkish Pronunciation Guide xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. Fin-de-siecle Salonica 8
Chapter 2. Das Volk in Waffen: The Formation of an Ottoman Officer 31
Chapter 3. The Scientism of the Young Turks 48
Chapter 4. From Wars to the Great War: A Hero Is Born 68
Chapter 5. Muslim Communism? The Turkish War of Independence 86
Chapter 6. The Secular Republic 129
Chapter 7. Nationalism and Kemalism 160
Chapter 8. Turkey and the West 199
Conclusion 226
Bibliography 233
Index 255