[REWARD OF IRON CROSS MEDAL FOR WASSIF BEY FROM WILHELM II - SIGNED BY ADMIRAL SOUCHON] Typescript letter signed 'Souchon' sent to 'Kapitan zur See Wassif Bey'; includes .
[On Behalf of the Kaizer Wilhelm II] ADMIRAL WILHELM ANTON SOUCHON, (German admiral in World War I), (1864-1946).
Kommando der Flotte, Konstantinopel, den 12. August 1915.
Original typescript letter signed 'Souchon', addressed to Capitan, lieutenant colonel Vasif (Wassif) Muhiddin Bey [Kasimpasali]. Wassif Bey was a ship commander of Hamidiye cruiser before Rauf Orbay. 27x21 cm. In German. 1 p. "Kommando der Flotte" letterhead with bilingual in German and Ottoman Turkish. 8 lines. Signed 'Souchon'. This letter includes an indication that it honors the Kaiser (Wilhelm II) with the Iron Cross medal for Commander of Haamidiye, Wassif Bey. "Seine Majestät der Kaiser und König haben Euer Hochwohlgeboren in Anbetracht Ihrer tatkraftigen Arbeit im Interesse der Kriegsbereitschaft und Kriegsbereitschaft und Kriegsbedürfnisse der Marine das Eiserne Kreuz 2. Klasse zu verleihen geruht.". [i.e. His Majesty the Emperor and King have deigned your High Wellbeing to give the Iron Cross 2nd Class to the Navy in view of your hard work in the interest of readiness for war needs.]. Wilhelm Anton Souchon was a German admiral in World War I. Souchon commanded the Kaiserliche Marine's Mediterranean squadron in the early days of the war. His initiative played a major part in the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I. Wilhelm Anton Souchon was born on 2 June 1864 in Germany to a family of Huguenot ancestry. In July 1914, hostilities erupted between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Serbia. Rear Admiral Souchon, a native of Leipzig, feared being trapped in the Adriatic Sea in the event of other nations joining in the conflict. Because of this, Souchon took his two ships, the battlecruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Breslau, into the western Mediterranean. When World War I began on 4 August 1914, he bombarded the French-Algerian ports of Bône and Philippeville. He successfully eluded British attempts to corner him (see Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau) and on 10 August 1914, his small squadron arrived at the Dardanelles. After two days of negotiations, he was allowed to take his ships to Istanbul where they were subsequently transferred officially into the Ottoman Navy. Souchon was appointed Commander-in-chief of the Ottoman Navy and served in this position until September 1917. This gesture by Germany had an enormously positive impact with the Turkish population. At the outbreak of the war, Winston Churchill caused outrage when he "requisitioned" without compensation two almost completed Turkish battleships in British shipyards, Sultan Osman I and Reshadieh, that had been financed by public subscription. These ships were commissioned into the Royal Navy as Agincourt and Erin, respectively. On 15 August 1914, in the aftermath of Souchon's daring dash to Constantinople, Turkey cancelled their maritime agreement with Britain and the Royal Navy mission under Admiral Limpus, and left by 15 September. The Dardanelles were fortified with German assistance and the Bosporus was secured by the presence of Goeben (now Yavuz Sultan Selim). On 27 September 1914, the Straits were officially closed to all international shipping. On 29 October 1914, Souchon's fleet launched the Black Sea Raid, a naval attack which brought the Ottoman Empire into World War I. His ships laid several sea minefields and shelled the Russian Black Sea ports of Sevastopol, Odessa, and others, destroying the Russian minesweeper, Prut, in the process. British naval units quickly retaliated on Turkish merchant ships off Izmir (Smyrna). On 2 November 1914, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire. On 5 November, Britain followed suit and on 12 November 1914, the Ottoman government officially declared war on the Triple Entente. For the next three years, Souchon attempted to reform the Ottoman Navy while conducting a number of raids on Russian shipping, ports, and coastal installations in the Black Sea. Promoted to vice admiral, Souchon was awarded the Pour le Mérite, Germany's highest military order, on 29 October 1916. In September 1917, Souchon returned to Germany. There he received command of the Fourth Battleship Squadron of the High Seas F...