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Bibliothèque de l'Église apostolique arménienne - Paris
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( 1879 - 1936 )


Rafael DE NOGALES --- Cliquer pour agrandir
Rafael Inchauspe Méndez, known as Rafael de Nogales Méndez (San Cristóbal,Táchira, October 14, 1879 - Panama City, July 10, 1936) was a Venezuelan soldier, adventurer and writer. He travelled extensively and fought in many of the wars of his age. When a young man his father sent him to study in Europe and he attended to Universities in Germany, Belgium and Spain, and spoke various languages fluently. Despite this education, Nogales felt more attracted to the military profession and he began to travel where the news of a war took him. He took part in several conflicts in the last part of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th: he fought in the Spanish against the Americans in the Spanish-American War; in 1902 in the Revolución Libertadora of Venezuela; in 1904 in the Russo-Japanese War. He returned to Venezuela in 1908, after the military coup of Juan Vicente Gómez that overthrew his enemy Cipriano Castro. Even so, he went back to exile after making himself an enemy of the new president.
Rafael DE NOGALES --- Cliquer pour agrandir

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 Four Years beneath the Crescent
Titre : Four Years beneath the Crescent / auteur(s) : Rafael DE NOGALES - Translated from the Spanish by Muna Lee
Editeur : Sterndale Classics
Année : 2003
Imprimeur/Fabricant : 
Description : 15 x 23 cm, 356 pages, illustrations, index.
Collection : Sterndale Classics
Notes :
Autres auteurs :
Sujets : First World War - Foreign soldiers in Ottoman army
ISBN : 1903656192
Lecture On-line : non disponible

Commentaire :

This work is one of the most incredible accounts of World War I by a former officer of the Ottoman Army. Rafael de Nogales was a Venezuelian mercenary who fought against Russians on the Caucasian and Persian fronts, as well as British armies in Iraq and Palestine. He gives insights into the general Ottoman war effort, relations between Turkish and German allies, and much more.

In May 1915 Nogales commanded Ottoman artillery batteries bombarding Armenians besieged in the city of Van. The Armenian issue had a great impact on him, as he witnessed the slaughter of thousands in Van, Bitlis, Siirt, and other parts of Ottoman Turkey. Although Nogales was an anti-Armenian, his memoirs nevertheless provide invaluable insights into the genocide of Armenians in 1915.


MANY years ago I read a charming little book which related most delightfully the travels and adventures of a gentleman who traversed the Balkans, Asia Minor, and the Holy Land almost a hundred years ago. The author's quaint humor, his stately diction, and his rare experiences lingered long and pleasantly in my memory. Very recently, happening upon a new edition of the same work, I settled myself in eager anticipation of a happy rereading. To my annoyance I discovered that some one had written a Foreword to this literary treasure. "Why," thought I, "should this foreword be imposed upon me?" Annoyance grew to vexation and then to discouragement as I shouldered my way impatiently through the dry and devious passages of this unwelcome prefix to my favorite book.
And so, when my gallant friend, Nogales Bey, tendered me the honor of writing this foreword, I was loath thus to encumber his brilliant work. However, there seemed a certain propriety in granting his wish, due to the singular parallel in our respective wanderings and our almost invariable appearance on opposite sides of various conflicts. Beginning in 1898 when we were opponents at Santiago de Cuba, our experiences led contemporaneously to the Philippines and the Far East, then back to the Mexican Border, later to Albania, Greece, and Macedonia. In Palestine and in Mesopotamia he was with the Turks and I with the British. Later, his German war associates became my peace time friends.
In Four Years Beneath the Crescent, Nogales Bey has given us a story of many-sided qualities. To those who seek excitement in the brilliant exploits of the "soldier of fortune," he has presented adventures which challenge in dash and color the mad dreams of fiction. For the serious student of the distressing lapses which feature the progress of civilization, he offers unbiased and ruthless comment as to racial antipathies and clashes in the Near and Middle East. Especially illuminating are his observations as to the Armenian massacres, several of which he witnessed.
The lover of exquisite word pictures, the devotee of tales of travel, the connoisseur of archaeological and historical side-lights,—all these will find in Nogales Bey a kindred spirit whose remarkable flair for investigation is happily reinforced by a pen which is facile in expression and kaleidoscopic in contrasting brilliant colors.
Men of martial spirit will find much that is remarkable in this book. My former comrades of Field Marshal Allenby's campaigns in the Holy Land and of Maude's and Marshall's Forces in Mesopotamia will take decided issue with some of Nogales Bey's comment on the details of those campaigns, and in their non-concurrence I personally agree. But, oddly enough, this does not detract but rather serves to emphasize their interest and value, for the Bey has given us a complete and unrevised revelation of what our then enemy believed to be the situation. Knowing the intent and the significance of our own operations, we have here in several instances an amazing picture of how different it seemed to the other side.
To some it may seem strange that a foreigner and a Christian should have been intrusted with so many important missions in a Moselm army. This is a perfectly natural feeling, but the Turco-German High Command could easily recognize in our gallant Bey a fiery freelance strangely transmigrated from the endless strife of the Middle Ages. Known to the Germans through family and other ties, it was not strange that they gladly utilized his fierce energy and flaming spirit in an effort to overcome the ever-present inertia of the East.
I would add a word of warning to those who may perhaps read too superficially the vivid comment of Nogales Bey on the frightful details of the Armenian massacres. He means exactly what he says, but it must be observed that he discriminates most carefully in his indication of the type of Turk and Kurd who figured in those atrocities. His observations cannot be adopted as substantiating the claims of those empty-headed individuals who sweepingly condemn the entire Turkish people. For example, he is careful to say "there can be no doubt that the Turk, in spite of all his defects, is the first soldier and the first gentleman of the Orient," and as an eye-witness he testifies that "the regular army of the Ottomans was entirely innocent of the Armenian massacres."
February 1, 1926

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