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Chapter 18: Nationalism Around the World, 1919–1939
Gandhi's March to the Sea
Section 1 Nationalism in the Middle East
World War I was the final blow for an Ottoman Empire in its decline since the late eighteenth century. One of its final acts was an act of genocide, the slaughter of Armenians seeking independence. Nationalist leaders in the collapsing empire established the independent states of Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Britain and France withdrew their promised support for Arab nationalists and set up British mandates in Iraq and Jordan, and French mandates in Lebanon and Syria. Saudi Arabia had vast supplies of newly discovered oil and suddenly attracted Western oil companies that would bring the kingdom untold wealth. Palestine became a site of conflict beginning with the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, which declared Palestine the site for a Jewish homeland. Tensions between Jews and Muslims only worsened as Jewish immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution flooded Palestine.
Reading and Listening Skill: Identify Causes and Effects
Record reasons for the rise of nationalism in Africa and the Middle East and its effects in a chart like the one below.
Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
Impact of World War I
Nationalist movements brought immense changes to the Middle East in the aftermath of World War I. The defeated Ottoman empire was near collapse in 1918. Its Arab lands, as you may have read, were divided between Britain and France. However, in Asia Minor, the Turkish peninsula between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, Turks resisted Western control and fought to build a modern nation.
Massacre of the Armenians
"1915 Armenian genocide" resolution approved, 2:51
The U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a resolution recognizing the 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide. The Turkish President says the decision is unacceptable and is not regarded by the Turkish people as of any value.
Emergence of the Turkish Republic
In 1920, the Ottoman sultan reluctantly signed the Treaty of Sèvres, in which the empire lost its Arab and North African lands. The sultan also had to give up some land in Asia Minor to a number of Allied countries, including Greece. A Greek force landed in the city of Smyrna (now Izmir) to assert Greece’s claims. Turkish nationalists, led by the determined and energetic Mustafa Kemal, overthrew the sultan, defeated the Greeks, and declared Turkey a republic. Kemal negotiated a new treaty. Among other provisions, the treaty called for about 1.3 million Greeks to leave Turkey, while some 400,000 Turks left Greece.
President Kennedy - Speech about Ataturk, 1:56
“Atatürk” is the name that Mustafa Kemal gave himself when he ordered all Turkish people to take on surnames, or last names. It means “Father of the Turks.” In 1920, he led Turkish nationalists in the fight against Greek forces trying to enforce the Treaty of Sèvres, establishing the borders of the modern Republic of Turkey. Once in power, he passed many reforms to modernize, Westernize, and secularize Turkey. Atatürk is still honored throughout Turkey today—his portrait appears on postage and all currency. Why is Atatürk considered the “Father of the Turks”?
How did the Ottoman Empire finally end?
The Modernization of Turkey
Atatürk’s Reforms in Turkey
*Replaced Islamic law with European model
*Replaced Muslim calendar with Western (Christian) calendar
*Moved day of rest from Friday to Sunday
*Closed religious schools and opened state schools
*Forced people to wear Western-style clothes
*Replaced Arabic alphabet with Latin alphabet
*Gave women the right to vote and to work outside the home.
Westernization Transforms Turkey
Atatürk’s government encouraged industrial expansion. The government built railroads, set up factories, and hired westerners to advise on how to make Turkey economically independent.
To achieve his reforms, Atatürk ruled with an iron hand. To many Turks, he was a hero who was transforming Turkey into a strong, modern power. Others questioned Atatürk’s dictatorial powers and complete rejection of religion in laws and government. They believed that Islam could play a constructive role in a modern, civil state.
In 1924, Atatürk, as part of his reforms, constitutionally abolished the institution of the Caliphate. The title was then taken up by King Hussein bin Ali of Hejaz, leader of the Arab Revolt, but his kingdom was defeated and annexed by Ibn Saud in 1925. The title has since been inactive.
A summit was convened at Cairo in 1926 to discuss the revival of the Caliphate, but most Muslim countries did not participate and no action was taken to implement the summit's resolutions.
Though the title was adopted by the King of Morocco and by Mullah Mohammed Omar, former head of the now-defunct Taliban regime of Afghanistan, neither claimed any legal standing or authority over Muslims outside the borders of their respective countries. The closest thing to a Caliphate in existence today is the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an international organization with influence founded in 1969 consisting of the governments of most Muslim-majority countries.
Rashad Hussain is the current American representative to the OIC, the nominal Caliphate in the world today.
In 2004, Hussain was on a panel discussion on civil rights at a Muslim Students Association conference in Chicago. With him on the panel was Laila Al-Arian, a daughter of Sami Al-Arian, who on March 2, 2006, entered a guilty plea to a charge of conspiracy to help the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a "specially designated terrorist" organization, and was sentenced to 57 months in prison, and ordered deported following his prison term. During the panel discussion, and following Laila Al-Arain's comments, Hussain made critical statements about the U.S. terror prosecution of Sami Al-Arian, as well as other Muslim terrorism suspects, characterizing them as "politically motivated persecutions."
Hussain later acknowledged that he was accurately quoted in 2004 as calling the treatment of Sami al-Arian as an example of “politically motivated persecutions.” Hussain made the admission after Politico acquired an audio recording of the Muslim Students Association event, and his comments.
What radical step did Ataturk Take to modernize Turkey?
The Beginnings of Modern Iran
The success of Atatürk’s reforms inspired nationalists in neighboring Persia (present-day Iran). Persian nationalists greatly resented the British and Russians, who had won spheres of influence over Persia in 1907. In 1925, an ambitious army officer, Reza Khan, overthrew the shah. He set up his own dynasty, with himself as shah.
Like Atatürk, Reza Khan rushed to modernize Persia and make it fully independent. He built factories, roads, and railroads and strengthened the army. He forced Persians to wear Western clothing and set up modern, secular schools. In addition, he moved to replace Islamic law with secular law and encouraged women to take part in public life. Muslim religious leaders fiercely condemned Reza Khan’s efforts to introduce Western ways to the nation.
Reza Khan also persuaded the British company that controlled Persia’s oil industry to give Persia a larger share of the profits and insisted that Persian workers be hired at all levels of the company. In the decades ahead, oil would become a major factor in Persia’s economy and foreign policy.
How was Reza Shah Pahlavi's modernization of Persia different from Ataturk's transformation of Turkey?
Oil became a major factor throughout the Middle East during this period. The use of gasoline-powered engines in various vehicles during World War I showed that oil was the fuel of the future. Foreign companies began to move into the Middle East to exploit its large oil reserves.
Partly in response to foreign influence, Arab nationalism grew after World War I and gave rise to Pan-Arabism. This nationalist movement was built on the shared heritage of Arabs who lived in lands from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa. Today, this area includes Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco. Pan-Arabism emphasized the common history and language of Arabs and recalled the golden age of Arab civilization. The movement sought to free Arabs from foreign domination and unite them in their own state.
The Middle East, 1920s, Cf. http://www.phschool.com/webcodes10/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.gotoWebCode&wcprefix=nap&wcsuffix=2721
Population movements and foreign influences changed the Middle East after World War I.
(a) Turkey (b) Persia (c) Palestine (d) the Persian Gulf
2. Human-Environment Interaction
What natural resource was discovered in the Middle East around this time? What effect did its discovery have on the region?
3. Make Inferences
List the ways foreign influence affected the Middle East in the 1920s.
Arabs were outraged by the European-controlled mandates set up at the Paris Peace Conference. During World War I, Arabs had helped the Allies against the Central Powers, especially the Ottoman empire. In return for their help, the Allies led the Arabs to believe that they would gain independence after the war. Instead, the Allies carved up the Ottoman lands, giving France mandates in Syria and Lebanon and Britain mandates in Palestine and Iraq. Later, Britain gave a large part of the Palestinian mandate, Trans-Jordan to Abdullah for a kingdom.
Arabs felt betrayed by the West—a feeling that has endured to this day. During the 1920s and 1930s, their anger erupted in frequent protests and revolts against Western imperialism. A major center of turmoil was the British mandate of Palestine. There, Arab nationalists and Jewish nationalists, known as Zionists, increasingly clashed.
How were many Middle Eastern states created after World War I?
The Problem of Palestine
Two Views of One Place
Posters encouraged visitors and settlers to go to Palestine. At the same time, Palestinian Arabs tried to limit Jewish settlement in the area.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Brief History
Since Roman times, Jews had dreamed of returning to the land of Judea, or Israel. In 1897, Theodor Herzl (hurt sul) responded to growing anti-Semitism, or prejudice against Jewish people,in Europe by founding the modern Zionist movement. His goal was to rebuild a Jewish state in Palestine. Among other things, violent pogroms against Jews in Russia prompted thousands of them to migrate to Palestine. They joined the small Jewish community that had lived there since biblical times.
During World War I, the Allies made two conflicting sets of promises. First, they promised Arabs their own kingdoms in former Ottoman lands, including Palestine. Then, in 1917, the British attempted to win the support of European Jews by issuing the Balfour Declaration. In it, the British advocated the idea of setting up “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. The declaration noted, however, that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” Those communities were Arab. The stage was thus set for conflict between Arab and Jewish nationalists.
advocated—(ad vuh kayt id) v. supported or favored
From 1919 to 1940, tens of thousands of Jews immigrated to Palestine due to the Zionist movement and the effects of anti-Semitism in Europe. Despite great hardships, Jewish settlers set up factories, built new towns, and established farming communities. At the same time, the Arab population almost doubled. Many were immigrants from nearby lands. As a result, Palestine's population included a changing mix of newcomers. The Jewish population, which was less than 60,000 in 1919, grew to about 400,000 in 1936, while the Muslim population increased from about 568,000 in 1919 to about 1 million in 1940.
At first, some Arabs welcomed the money and modern technical skills that the newcomers brought with them. But as more Jews moved to Palestine, tensions between the two groups developed. Jewish organizations tried to purchase as much land as they could, while Arabs sought to slow down or stop Jewish immigration. Religious differences between Jews and Arabs heightened tensions. Arabs attacked Jewish settlements, hoping to discourage settlers. The Jewish settlers established their own military defense force. For the rest of the century, Arab and Jews fought over the land that Arabs called Palestine and Jews called Israel.
Why did the Balfour Declaration produce problems in Palestine?
Chapter 18 References
The End of the British Empire, Cf. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/empire/g3/default.htm
Video clips of Gandhi and other Indian leaders
The life of Gandhi
Find out more about African independence
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Brief History
Section 2 Preview
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Thursday: p. 557
How did Heisenberg's uncertainty principle challenge the Newtonian worldview?
Section 4 Assessment, #4