"... And yet fell all the forts to the infidels...": Disinformation, Propaganda and Political Power in the Ottoman-Habsburg War of 1663-1664

Kolcak O.

OSMANLI ARASTIRMALARI-THE JOURNAL OF OTTOMAN STUDIES, ss.165-192, 2014 (AHCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier

  • Cilt numarası: Konu: 43
  • Basım Tarihi: 2014
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.165-192


The Ottoman-Habsburg war of 1663-1664 was a struggle of military units fighting for two rival dynasties against each other as well as against the coercive technological limits in the XVIIth century. In terms of military efficiency, vital issues such as intelligence gathering and passing of orders among military units remained a somewhat unsolved problem due to apparent communication difficulties. Early modern military structures thus had to cope with false and unwarranted news which could easily affect the fighting spirit of troops. In a prolonged campaign season the common soldier became more and more exposed to rumors and hearsays in the military camp and tended to believe them much easier by each passing day. And because of similar communication hardships it took a rather long time for central administrations to correct a false piece of news circulating within the military camp and even beyond. Ottoman and Habsburg armies fighting along the Hungarian frontier in 1663-1664 were no exception to the rule. The existence of opposing personalities within both the Ottoman and Habsburg military who sought to use the "circulating disinformation" to their own political ends reveals a rather vague conflict between the leading actors of military enterprise and a group of discontents. In this respect, the ways by which the army members and a large body of people keeping an eye on the possible outcomes of the war dealt with false news, disinformation, and rumors without foundation could serve as explanatory examples on the nature of early modern political power.