In August 1914, the German Kaiser’s secret service is plotting the first “Jihad” in modern history: by destabilizing Afghanistan, a Muslim revolution would spread into India and weaken the British Empire from the inside. To enact the plan, Berlin sets up the largest espionage operation ever seen: disguised as a wandering circus, a secret expedition force departs for Kabul.
One of the two expedition leaders is Wilhelm Wassmuss. A farmer's son and a linguistic genius, he believes the Kaiser's strategy is doomed to fail. He breaks off the expedition and:against official orders sets up his own operation in Southern Persia. Single-handedly forging an alliance, he mobilises the Persian tribes in a highly efficient guerrilla war. Riding side by side with the Persian Khans and their warriors against the British Empire, Wassmuss fights for his dream to build a unified Persian nation.
This film will probe into the many secrets that surround Wilhelm Wassmuss to this day. We will reveal the myth that still exists in today's Iran, where people revere him as "the man who's name comes right after God's". We will ask why British historians respect him as “his Majesty’s most excellent enemy in WW1”, ranking his achievements alongside the exploits of the famed T.E. Lawrence "of Arabia". And we will investigate why in his native Germany until today nobody acknowledges his achievements: are perhaps farmer's sons not supposed to become diplomats…?
We will find out if Wassmuss was just an adventurer, a rogue whose rebellion was based on selfish and futile dreams - or if he indeed played a crucial role in the tumultuous events that shaped the Middle East during WW1 and set the stage for the world as we know it today.
RIGHT AFTER GOD
DIRK VAN DEN BERG
directed and produced by
DIRK VAN DEN BERG
documentary, 90' & 52'
English, German, Farsi