Kaizer's Zealous Eyes on Kabul
As World War-I raged in 1915, the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ottoman Turkey) sent a secret mission across Europe and Persia to Afghanistan. The purpose of their assignment was to persuade the Afghan Amir, Habibullah Khan, to declare full independence from Great Britain, join the Central Powers, and destabilize the British war machine, India. Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer and Werner Otto von Hentig who led the expedition and met with the Amir on October 26th, proposed a Hindu-German conspiracy plan to provoke a nationalist revolution in India and undermine British influence in the subcontinent.
The British deemed the mission a serious threat to their Empire and tried to block the trekkers in Persia en route to Kabul. To ensure Afghanistan would remain neutral, Britain deployed intelligence and diplomatic plans to defy the Central Powers’ aim in India. At the end, the expedition failed, Hentig and Niedermayer headed back home.
Hentig and Niedermayer took different routes to avoid being intercepted by the British and Russian patrols in Persia. Hentig made the route over the Hindu-Kush for 130 days' journey by foot and horseback through Gobi Desert and China to Shanghai and then stowed away on an American vessel to Honolulu, then to San Francisco. Finally reached Berlin on 9 June 1917.
Meanwhile, Niedermayer escaped towards Persia through Russian Turkestan. Robbed and left for dead, a wounded Niedermayer was at times reduced to begging before he finally reached friendly lines, arriving in Tehran on 20 July 1916. This book gives a gripping account of the expedition.