[Reading] ➿ A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922 By David Fromkin – Saudionline.co.uk

A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922 quotes A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922, litcharts A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922, symbolism A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922, summary shmoop A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922, A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922 685e147b The Critically Acclaimed New York Times Bestselling Account Of How The Modern Middle East Came Into Being After World War I, And Why It Is In Upheaval TodayIn Our Time The Middle East Has Proven A Battleground Of Rival Religions, Ideologies, Nationalisms, And Dynasties All Of These Conflicts, Including The Hostilities Between Arabs And Israelis That Have Flared Yet Again, Come Down, In A Sense, To The Extent To Which The Middle East Will Continue To Live With Its Political Inheritance The Arrangements, Unities, And Divisions Imposed Upon The Region By The Allies After The First World WarIn A Peace To End All Peace, David Fromkin Reveals How And Why The Allies Came To Remake The Geography And Politics Of The Middle East, Drawing Lines On An Empty Map That Eventually Became The New Countries Of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, And Lebanon Focusing On The Formative Years OfTo , When All Even An Alliance Between Arab Nationalism And Zionism Seemed Possible He Raises Questions About What Might Have Been Done Differently, And Answers Questions About Why Things Were Done As They Were The Current Battle For A Palestinian Homeland Has Its Roots In These Events OfYears Ago

10 thoughts on “A Peace to End All Peace: Creating The Modern Middle East 1914-1922

  1. says:

    This is an odd book in many ways Not least because it is a history of the Middle East that is structured around a major character s life Now, you might think that such a life might well be someone who lived in the Middle East No chance, really, when you think about it books written in the West are much likely to focus on someone also from the West, even when discussing the history of the East It s just what we do The life chosen was that of Winston Churchill I m not trying to say that Churchill wasn t an important figure in the history of the Middle East at and around the time of the First World War Anything but However, for a book whose subtitle is the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the Modern Middle East it wouldn t be outrageous to expect that the author might have focused on someone other than an English politician This book is really about the British Government s role in mucking about in the Middle East during and shortly after the First World War As such, it is very comprehensive well, you know, says someone who is not all that aware of much of this history and so it might not be nearly as comprehensive or as accurate as l think Still, he gives lots of examples from documents, conversations, letters, diary entries and so on All this adds to an interesting account of many of the sorts of events and so on that we ve all heard something about over the years however vague or knowledge The problem is how British centred this is You don t really get nearly enough of a perspective even from other European nations involved in all this, you know, from say Germany or France in this long story of the fall of the Ottoman Empire Given Germany was an allay in the war, you might think of their relationship and the key players involved in that might have made it into this book but for every page on that there would have been 20 on British politicians.It is not that you hear nothing about the interests and manoeuvres of other powers in the region Clearly, they had interests and parts to play, but we often only hear of those to the extent that they relate to the British interests and actors So, while you come away from this with a fairly detailed understanding of Lloyd George s feelings concerning the likely problems associated with the future of the Middle East after the war, you don t get anything like the same detail of anyone else s opinion from any other nation, other than perhaps Stalin s But even this is hardly something you could really compare You do get endless detail on the motivations and reasoning of the British but pretty well only the basic actions of everyone else T.E Lawrence of Arabia fame gets a bit of a kicking here Not only are we told most of what we know of him from the famous film is basically rubbish, but he comes across as mostly a liar and self serving fool Churchill, however, is the hero of the hour, but one that is overall misunderstood or even the fall guy for the mistakes of others Again, this might well be an accurate assessment of him and his role during this phase of his political career, I don t really know, but this book had the smell of hagiography about it Let me give one example of what I had hoped this book would give me and why I ended up feeling that it didn t give me nearly what I wanted A case in point is around the Zionist movement and the relationship it had with the local Palestinians A long time ago a friend of mine from Lebanon told me the Palestinians couldn t really complain about Israel, as they had sold so much their own land to the Jews it is hard to know what else they could really have expected This is something mentioned in this book too So, I was hoping that I would get some idea of just how significant this sell off of Palestinian land to the Jews might have been I was hoping to get some perspective of what it might have amounted to Clearly, land was sold but how much was sold As a proportion of the total land area of Palestine was it perhaps ten per cent Twenty Or was it perhaps not a lot of the land, per se, but strategically important land None of these questions are answered It seems some land was definitely sold, but how much and what this all amounted to politically or economically or geographically is harder to say You see my point Was it enough to justify the Palestinians no longer having a claim to their homeland What is presented here is enough to make you think, as my friend had said, that they had it coming But I still don t really know.Zionism plays a very large part in this book both as something coming out of the British government s position given the Balfour Declaration, but also from Churchill s idea that Jews were likely to fall into 3 categories those that took an interest in the local politics of the country where they lived, those that wanted a Jewish homeland, or those that supported the Soviet Union Since the two main options were Zionist or Communism, Churchill supported the Zionists as a way to encourage the Jews away from Marxism I would have liked information on the overall implications of all this, but since Churchill is presented as a bit of a saint, it is hard to know if his perspective on even this theme might be considered wise, foolish or somewhere in between The problem I have with this book, then, is that I sort of don t trust what I m reading, even if I m left unsure Because the book is so strongly focused on the English, it is hard to know the motivations of any of the other players Other countries are presented as inconveniences to English policy, which is too often presented as if it was something other than fundamentally self serving I would have liked of the perspective of the Ottomans, Turks, Iraqis, Persiansyou know, Middle Easterners and while there was some of this, it all felt like it was far too little A book written from inside the Ottoman empire looking out would have been a book about what the title of this book implied One written from within Whitehall, not so much.

  2. says:

    Fromkin s thorough and highly exploratory piece on the creation of the modern Middle East is a delight for the armchair historian and academic alike With clear and well developed arguments throughout, a plethora of first hand documentation, and plausible theses, the book moves effectively through its three main tenets and leaves the reader with a better understanding of the situation at the time and in the current political as well as social denouement Fromkin argues three key points worth exploring below as it relates to the formation of the modern Middle East loss of the Great War post war treaty divisions and, the lack of foundational European imperialism Fromkin argues the aforementioned points effectively and leaves the reader to judge whose fault the entire mess could fall to, though it is doubtful the modern actors would take the credit for their predecessors A stellar piece of work that anyone with an itch for history would surely find captivating To the victors, the spoils So goes the adage and how true it is in this context Fromkin illustrates, through two thirds of the book, that the modern Middle East was greatly shaped by the side it for simplicity purposes, let us unite the Ottoman Empire as a cohesive and non porous entity chose in the Great War Turning to Germany, the Ottomans fought alongside the Kaiser in an attempt to hold its territory and defend the honour it had nurtures for half a millennium While many readers may be familiar with the European arena of war, Fromkin turns the focus of the book on the Asiatic region, specifically that territory under Ottoman control Taking direction from German military leaders, Ottoman armies were able, for a time, to hold off troops from Britain, France, and Russia, but did eventually fall victim to the larger defeat that befell the German military This was, inevitably, the first step towards reshaping the Middle East, as the victors took it upon themselves to claim ownership and direct rule over the defeated and deflated Empire The loss in the Great War did play a key role in shaping the modern Middle East, in that it allowed the intoxicated Powers to bandy about ideas for colonising the region in a way that had partially ruined parts of Europe and Africa The aforementioned adage could have potentially ruined modern political and geography harmony within the region, all due to the European power gluttony that took place as soon as the ink on the armistice documents was left to dry.Fromkin s second key argument related to the modern outcome of the region relates to the power sharing and territorial smorgasbord the victors imposed on the region France and Britain took special delight in carving up the region and negotiating treaties to shape these newly independent states in their own image The two other powers, the United States and Russia, were not as effective in wresting power for themselves the latter due to its democratic system whereby Congress would not uphold the treaties negotiated on Woodrow Wilson s behalf and the latter because of English French greed to keep any region from falling to the Bolsheviks , but did play a small role in the early stages of treaty negotiations While seen as a single entity in modern geography though keeping its independent states , the Middle East was turned into a sausage making experiment, jamming many ideas into one area in hopes that something productive might ensue This was not the case, nor did it effectively work in the short term Fromkin s arcing thesis for the book can best be summed up in his own words in the latter pages of this work The Middle East became what it is today both because the European powers undertook to re shape it and because Britain and France failed to ensure that the dynasties, the states, and the political system that they established would permanently endure In addition to this treaty negotiation venture, one area bandied about for long periods of time, but never effectively actioned was the role of a Jewish State Arguments were made by both Britain and France, outlining the importance of this the Balfour Declaration was also newly minted , but nothing came to fruition, even while its importance spanned pages of Fromkin s narrative Hindsight being what it is, could proper and thorough negotiations have been undertaken to effectively push for a Jewish State choosing the modern location of Israel , the coming home might have taken place, leaving the new German regime from enacting its atrocities and keeping Stalin from instilling his demented Soviet pogroms on the Jews All this can, again, be summed up by Fromkin s aforementioned quote and only goes to illustrate how poorly the victors handled the entire process.Fromkin s final argument about the development of the modern Middle East flows directly from its second After trying to instil order in the region with puppet governments and like minded leaders, the two European powers stood back and watched They let these regimes flounder and saw countless states revert to old ways, though this time without the umbrella of Ottoman guidance Fromkin makes a point and a simplistic one at that throughout, that these states were not only under Ottoman rule for centuries, but also that their ways of life were completely different from European political and social norms Nomadic rather than aristocratic survivalist rather than socially minded Muslim rather than Christian The great differences abound, which only go to show how this loose imperialism could not help but fail, especially when the two political puppeteers would not stand by their work and force its development in their own images Infighting amongst the allies did not help either, but it was this pathetic straw foundation on which these new nation states were placed that made their westernised failure all but inevitable Fromkin pushes this argument from the outset, that Middle Eastern divisions were not made to effectively help the various nation states to walk on their own two feet after Ottoman rule, but to expand a dwindling imperial dream of two European states whose influence in the world was itself fizzling out faster than anything else.As a final comment to the reader, while Fromkin s book is by no means a swift read, its attention to detail and strong arguments cannot be matched Read alongside Margaret MacMillan s PARIS 1919, the reader will see the power and failure of post Great War treaty making and might, if given the chance, help bolster the idea that much of the modern world s issues and challenges, at least from a political and civil unrest perspective in Europe and the Middle East all stem from the negotiations to redesign these regions from 1919 1922 Both books are powerful tomes whose theses leave a full on omelet on the faces of British, French, American, and even Russian politicians Well worth the invested time and effort of any curious reader.Kudos, Dr Fromkin for yet another stellar piece of work surrounding the Great War I have nothing but the utmost praise for you and all you do.

  3. says:

    This book was recommended in the article A Reporter s Arab Library , N Y Times Book Review, 30 Oct 2005.This is an excellent book, but will strike different people differently People used to reading serious history will find it easy to read the author s conclusions are clearly stated and supporting evidence easily located People used to reading novels will find it hard to read there is a bewildering variety of place names and personalities to keep track of People who derive a sense of satisfaction from understanding a complex situation will find this book satisfying the author makes a lot of things that appear in the newspaper clearer People who are dismayed, annoyed, or depressed by the spectacle of the great and mighty screwing up the world will find this book unpleasant it is the chronicle of a delicate international situation handled in the worst way possible, with the result of years and years of unnecessary and senseless murder and mayhem.Comparisons between the present situation and that portrayed in the book are unavoidable In each case, a tiny cabal of self proclaimed experts, whose ignorance was matched only by their self regard, managed to convince a credulous world of a preposterous conspiracy theory To be fair, compared to the belief, apparently held by many in powerful British circles at the time of WWI that the Ottoman Empire was secretly controlled by a cabal of Jews and Freemasons, believers in the claim that Iraq had WMD appear almost reasonable Another parallel self serving native political charlatans latched themselves to western policymakers like barnacles, unstoppable in their efforts to leech as much money and influence as possible from their clients And, finally, in the end, governments ended up supporting policies they knew to be failures out of bureaucratic inertia and a desire to save face.Read this book Understand the world It s your right as a citizen and a responsibility as a human being.

  4. says:

    The first two thirds of the book necessarily deals with diplomacy during the war Broken promises is a central theme in the post war new order in the Middle East Fresh off reading Ulrichsen, I could hurry this part The final 200 pages look at the emergence of each new country up to the general Middle East settlement of 1922 Did Fromkin, not a historian by trade, rely too much on official sources How relevant is this book to understand the modern Middle East I only qualify to offer an opinion on the second question The book is unquestionably relevant, especially in understanding the roots of the Israeli conflict, but the cutoff date leaves me in 2014 with an incomplete picture of Iraq Syria The new afterword to the 2009 edition is an equal tease, dating back to just before the outbreak of the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war Still, it was convenient to have this book republished just when we were again forced to ask ourselves Why do some people in the Middle East keep telling us that it s our own fault for what we did a good century ago. Nation building in the former lands of Mesopotamia certainly has not gotten easier, so in yet another 100 years we might face blame akin to the French British policy makers In the spirit of the time, open and total colonial mastery mastery was acceptable, in spite of the wartime moral defence of the rights of small nations such as Belgium However, imperial exhaustion and technological limitations made this unsupportable in the long run Today, we find ourselves with opposite obstacles.

  5. says:

    It took me a little longer than I expected to read this rather fascinating book as it slowed down to a crawl toward the end Most history readers are familiar with the dissection of the Middle East as well as parts of Europe as a result of the infamous Versailles Treaty At the beginning of the war, the Ottoman Empire, caught in the middle of this disruption, was already shaky at best and its own people couldn t decide which side they should take This was a empire that spoke many languages, had many religions, and no common cultural base, so it is not surprising that it was caught in a whirlwind of espionage, broken treaties, and inept leadership.Moving toward modern times, the effects of the above stated differences muddied the waters and prevented the creation of a cohesive agreement among the countries involved The Ottoman Empire disappeared and problems arose that still resonate today An interesting read which also looks beneath some of the myths of that troubled time Recommended.

  6. says:

    For those of us seeking to understand the middle east, this is an excellent presentation of how, after WWI, the Brits and French divided the area, created new countries, and set the stage for conflict and disaster Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia none of these were on the map in 1914 and all were there in 1922.Of particular interest to me were the chapters devoted to the quite significant role of Winston Churchill Fascinating insights into a remarkable person There were many detailed chapters that, for now, I skipped, but the book was still of great value.

  7. says:

    A Peace to End all Peace The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East is a superb work of synthesis history about how British Policy towards the Ottoman Empire and its many components evolved between 1912 and 1922 when the Ottoman Empire was formally dissolved Fromkin deals with the Turks, Jews, Arabs, Greeks and Armenians to the extent that he indicates what assumptions that the British made about these various groups His focus is on the territory that covers modern Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Syria and Jordan He does not truly examine either the Arabian peninsula or Egypt What he does do is to very carefully examine the four groups within the British camp the diplomatic corps, the military, the government of India and the British parliamentarians.Up until 1914, Britain s objective had been to protect the steadily weakening Ottoman Empire from the Austro Hungarian and Russian Empires that were taking territory from it The British saw no economic advantages and considerable expense from seizing any of the territories of the Ottoman Empire The military, the diplomats and the Indian Colonial administrators feared that the Jewish settlements in the Holy Land had the potential to anger the Muslims and destabilize the region The politicians tended to favour Jewish settlement either because of positive personal experiences with English Jews or because they accepted the Biblical assertions that God had intended for the Jews to live in the region.Chance determined British actions Turkey entered the war on the side of the Axis The British then successfully waged war upon Turkey occupying Mesopotamia Iraq , Syria Lebanon and Syria and Palestine Israel and Jordan Having spent heavily to win WWI, the British discovered that they lacked the financial means to pay for armies large enough to maintain order in the regions that they had captured Thus in 1922, after installing friendly regimes they departed leaving small military forces in Palestine and the Suez Canal zone.The prime problem was that the British operated with consistently bad intelligence and lurid imaginations A large faction within the Foreign Office believed through out most of the period that the policies of the Ottomans were controlled by a German Jewish cabal Another group in the Foreign Office believed that he same German Jewish conspirators controlled Communist Russia The Indian Office was convinced that the Muslims of India would revolt if the British deposed the Sultan who claimed to be the Caliph leader of Islam The military believed that the Arabs were incapable of governing themselves Fromkin a Jew is very fair despite his biases He makes clear his disdain for those who believed that German Jewish plotters were controlling events in Russia and Turkey However, he is also critical of those who refused to recognize legitimate Arab grievances Although grateful to Lloyd George and Balfour for supporting Jewish colonization in the Holy Land, he finds that their belief that the Bible sanctioned such an initiative to be overly simplistic Fromkin has written a fine book that does indeed explain how the Middle East was created His assertion that the mistakes of the period from 1912 to 1922 made the current problems in the region inevitable is nonetheless an overstatement.

  8. says:

    This book details the fall of the Ottoman Empire and creation of the modern Middle East The Ottoman Empire, like most empires built upon rapid acquisition by a warrior people the conquests of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane are other examples couldn t effectively manage after 500 years of trying their conquered territory.By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire was collapsing faster than a cheap deck chair beneath a fat man One of the architects of the new order circa 1908 , the Young Turks, was Mehmed Talaat He was described by a British diplomat with, a light in his eyes rarely seen in men, but sometimes in animals at dusk., thus revealing the British knack for the patronizing yet funny remark The Young Turks didn t last beyond the end of World War I and were eventually superseded by Kemal Ataturk and the Republic of Turkey.After World War I, the Europeans essentially did the same thing to the Middle East that they had done to Africa a few decades earlier they were also under the antiquated notion that if they won a war, they should be entitled to the spoils of victory They carved the Ottoman Empire up without any thought to the indigenous people who already lived there thus, creating borders and nations that had no logic beyond the drawing room And of course, this created problems that have plagued the Middle East and by extension the rest of the world to this day.

  9. says:

    An interesting history of the machinations that set the stage for the current Middle East I ve read gripping historical counts, but this is very detailed, and well thought out It traces the usually but not always well intentioned policies, the brilliant but ill informed and culturally ignorant politicians, and the unfortunate historical legacy of the Great Game played by the European powers that led to a division of peoples and power in the remains of the Ottoman Empire during and in the years immediately after World War I It was interesting to me primarily because at each stage the current outlines of the Middle East conflict become increasingly clear, and one sees how policies that appeared to make some sense at the time, at least from one perspective, were disastrous from another Perhaps the most profound observation comes at the very end, in Fromkin s comparison of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the collapse of the Roman Empire After the crumbling of Rome, it took nearly a millenium for the boundaries and balance of power to stabilize How long it will take for the Middle East is a question that has yet to be answered.

  10. says:

    We learn in great detail how the Middle East around the time of World War One looked from the point of view of British diplomats and politicians It is fascinating to see how such large decisions were made by a very small group of people, each with their own prejudices, although one can never be sure where the prejudices of the author creep into the narrative But at the end of all this detail, over a rather short period of time, I find it difficult to form a clear picture of what ultimately happened I see this book as being useful as part of a larger study of the history of this region, but it does not stand on its own very well.

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