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Contemporary History Of The Middle East 1914 1982 Notes

History Notes > Contemporary History of the Middle East 1914-1982 Notes

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Post-war settlements in the Middle East The Husayn-McMahon Correspondence:Occurred between 14th July 1915 and 10th March 1916Husayn ibn Ali, the Sharif of Mecca o

Custodian of the Holy Sites and the dominant political figure in the HijazHenry McMahon, British High Commissioner in EgyptMcMahon tried to persuade Husayn to rebel against the Ottoman Empire; Husayn tried to persuade McMahon to guarantee the creation and recognition of an independent Arab StateHusayn to McMahon, 14th July 1915: o'England will fully acknowledge the independence of the Arab countries, bounded on the north by Mersina and Adana up to the 37th degree of latitude... up to the border of Persia; on the east by the borders of Persia up to the Gulf of Basra; on the south by the Indian Ocean, with the exception of the position of Aden which is to remain as it is; on the West by the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea up to Mersina. England is to approve the proclamation of an Arab Khalifate of Islam.'

McMahon to Husayn, 24th October 1915: o

'The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded [Christian populations]...
Subject to the above modifications, Great Britain is prepared to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sharif of Mecca.'

The Sykes-Picot Agreement:Mark Sykes - Conservative Politician, War Office minister and head of the Arab BureauFrancois-George Picot - French diplomatContents of the agreement are summarised in a letter from Edward Gray to Paul Cambon: o

France and Britain recognise an independent Arab State or Confederation of Arab states governed by Arabs; essentially divides the middle east into spheres of influence between Britain and France; internationalisation of PalestineRecognition of Arab independence coincides with Husayn-McMahonDivision of the Arabian peninsula into spheres of influence massively contradicts both the McMahon-Husayn correspondence and the recognition spoke of earlier in the Sykes-Picot Agreement

The Balfour Declaration:

INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST 1914-82From Arthur Balfour to Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd November 1917: o

'His majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.'Does not outline the establishment of a new state, just a national homeContradicts the Sykes-Picot agreements' proposed internationalisation of Palestine; contradicts the Husayn-McMahon correspondence in that Palestine was never explicitly excluded from the borders of the proposed and agreed on Arab Khalifate

The Turkish Settlement - Treaty of Sevres:10th August, 1920International Commission to govern the StraitsFrench and Italian spheres of influence in AnatoliaGreek occupation of Thrace and IzmirIndependence for ArmeniaSemi-autonomous KurdistanArab states become independentSevres results in a revolt against the treaty led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; fought a successful war against the occupying Greeks and caused another treaty to be issued

The Turkish Settlement - Treaty of Lausanne:24th July 1923International Commission to superintend the StraitsAll spheres of influence and capitulations abolishedThrace partitioned between Greece and TurkeyIzmir remains under Turkish controlArmenian and Kurdish independence proposals are droppedArab states become independent o

Remained from Sevres


Post-Lausanne issue concerning ArabiaSykes-Picot essentially divided the Middle East


'Small' Syria established under a French mandate with Sunni Muslims as the largest group; a republic installed; France ejected Faisal (son of Husayn ibn Ali) from-

Lebanon o-'Small' because established Lebanon is larger than its traditional borders, including some Syrian lands

Established as a republic; 'large' Lebanon established under a French mandate with Christians as the largest group

Palestine o

Small Palestine established under British mandate with mixed religious affiliations mainly Sunni Muslins, Christians and a minority of Jews; established as a monarchy; Balfour agreement written into the mandate of Palestine; tensions because Arab Caliph said that the Husayn-McMahon correspondence didn't exclude Palestine from the Caliphate


Being under a mandate technically coincides with the Sykes-Picot agreed internationalisation of Palestine as it was technically under the control of the League of Nations

Jordan o

Small state established with Hashemite ruler governing under a British mandate; nobody sure what to do with Jordan; established a monarchy - king Abdullah was the son of Sharif Husayn ibn Ali


Large Iraqi state established covering Mosul, Baghdad and Basra under Hashemite ruler with a very mixed population - numerous minorities e.g. Kurds in the North; monarchy established - King Faisal, son of Sharif Husayn ibn Ali; gained independence in 1932


Contested borders:Mosul o

Claimed by both Turkey and Britain under the Iraqi mandate-

Significant for oil; indication of British Imperialism?

Syria/Lebanon o

Lebanon was viewed as a creation of French imperialism by nationalist Syrians


Tensions over 'large Lebanon/small Syria'


Revisionists thought that Palestine extended across the river Jordan into the transJordan area

oSignificance of Oil; British trade route to India security; search for diplomatic alliances

Zionism; Arabs; European centrality; Imperialism


Emergence of the modern middle east (territorially and politically)

Historiography Renton and the Zionist Masquerade:Argues that the Balfour declaration was simply wartime propaganda o

'intended to be a wartime propaganda measure, which was based on a completely erroneous assessment of Jewry and Zionism''Zionist Masquerade' because the British government had little genuine sympathy for ZionismRenton argues that the British believed in worldwide Zionist influence and this was the main reason for wanting to appear sympathetic to them o

Political influence in both Russia (Bolshevik revolution and subsequent Communist rule) and the USA (Wall Street financiers)


'...the belief in and fear of Jewish was part of a wider conception in Whitehall of minority influence in foreign societies, and the very significant increase in conspirational thinking during the war.'Argues that the British didn't think about how to implement the Balfour declaration, just issued it; furthers own argument if true about propagandistic nature of BalfourHOWEVER o

There appeared to be a genuine British interest and sympathy towards ZionismDavid Lloyd George and Winston Churchill both notable Zionist sympathisers

Elie Kedourie and the Chatham House Version:

INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST 1914-82Chatham House is the Royal Institute of International AffairsKedourie argues that Arnold Toynbee, the Director of Studies at Chatham House, propagated an inaccurate view of relations between the west and the Arab world in the inter-war period o

Toynbee was obsessed with the notion that western ideas had destabilised eastern politics and societyo

Created a western guilt complex

On the use of Palestine, the Chatham House version asserts that receptivity to Zionist propaganda led the British to betray the ArabsExtremely pro-Arab/anti-British

Iran and Turkey: the Modernisers Road to the Turkish Republic:1908 - Young Turk rebellion o

The military demanded faster, western reforms


Secured the revival of constitutionalism1912 - Committee & Union of progress wins 'big stick' elections; new parliament favours modernisation; military has close ties to Germany and also massive influence in the new government - this ensures Ottomans enter WW1 on the side of the Germans1914-8 - Ottoman Empire joins WW1; ultimately defeated oArguably has a fairly successful campaign, especially the victory against the allies at the successful defence of Gallipoli

1919 - Greeks occupy Izmir and Mustafa Kemal assumes the leadership of the resistance o

Army was central to this resistance; Mustafa Kemal gained military power1920 - Allied forces occupy Istanbul, remove the Ottoman government and impose the terms of the treaty of Sevres1920 - Mustafa Kemal establishes an alternative Grand National Assembly in Ankara oh which he is made President o

Militarisation of modern Turkish politics1920-3 - continuous conflict between the Turks and the allies (including Greece & Russia)1921 - Grand National Assembly passes a new constitution (the sultan remained in power) and Mustafa Kemal defeated the Greek invasion of Anatolia1922 - Turkish forces force the Greeks out of Anatolia; Sultanate is abolished; Chanak crisis in Britain


Lloyd-George wants to commit to the Greeks occupation and threaten another war with the Ottomans; splits the cabinet, essentially causes the downfall of LloydGeorge's government1923 - Treaty of Lausanne signed which repealed many of the terms of Sevres and established the boundaries of the new Turkish state1923 - Grand National Assembly declares the creation of the first ever Republic in the Muslim world; Mustafa Kemal announced as president1924 - Grand National Assembly abolishes the Caliphate and the last Caliph (Abdulmecid) is exiled from Turkey o

Extremely significant event; so important; like Italy abolishing the papacy

Mustafa Kemal:Born in European provinces of the Ottoman empire o

Salonika, GreeceHis entire education was through the militaryBecame a member of the Committee of Union and Progress at its founding

Character of the Turkish Republic - Ataturk's Six Arrows:Republicanism (governing the state as a republic)Populism (siding with the will of the people instead of the elites)Secularism (separation of religion and politics)Revolutionism (radical changes)Nationalism (focus on developing a Turkish national identity; opposed multi-ethnic Ottoman empire)Etatism (state intervention in society)

Turkish Secularism:1928 amendment of the constitution removed the article stating that Islam was the official religionSartorial reform implemented o

Hat LawBanned the Fez - hat the wear a brimmed hat


Brimmed hats affected the traditional way in which Muslims prayed

Westernisation or Modernisation:

INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST 1914-821925 - Gregorian calendar replaced the Islamic calendar1928 - Latin alphabet replaces Arabic script oMassive increase in illiteracy

1934 - Swiss civil code adopted; legal equality between men and women was implemented

Authoritarianism of Populism:Ruled by the Peoples Party; 1937 it becomes the Republican People's Party1925 - Sheikh Said rebellion suppressed o

Suppression very authoritarian1926 - opposition Progressive Party dissolved by official decreeFailed assassination attempt in 1926 o

Revolutionary tribunals established and executed suspected enemies of the regimeShow trials were essentially purges of army officers

The collapse of central control in Iran:1906-7 - Introduction of Fundamental Laws in response to the demands for constitutionalism1908 - Muhammad Ali Shah dissolves the National Assembly; provoked uprisings1909 - Muhammad Ali Shah was deposed by Bakhtiari tribesmen and replaced by Ahmad Shah who established a new national assembly1914 - Outbreak of WW1 causes a battle for influence in Iran; occupied by the British in the south, Ottomans in the west and Russians in the north1915 - National Assembly dissolves itself in fear of Russian occupation

Rise of the Pahlavis:1878 - Reza Shah born in Alasht village1894 - joins Cossack regiment of the Iranian army1921 - Reza Khan marches on Tehran to restore Shah authority o1923 - Reza Khan appointed prime minister oAfter restoring order he becomes more trusted to the Shah as an advisor

His power came from his control of the military

1925 - under pressure from Reza Khan and the military the National Assembly proclaimed the end of the Qajar rule

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