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INTRODUCTION

  • Mustafa Aksakal

Extract

Scholars of the Middle East and North Africa are only too familiar with the momentous changes set in motion by the events of World War I. Given the number of new states and political movements that emerged in the war's aftermath, it seems only fair to describe it as “the single most important political event in the history of the modern Middle East.” Elizabeth F. Thompson recently likened the war's impact on the Middle East to that of the Civil War in the United States. To be sure, the passing of a century hardly proved sufficient for coming to terms with the legacy of either war. In fact, analyses and discussions of World War I in the Middle East have remained highly politicized, in school curricula, in academia, and in popular culture and the arena of public memory. History and historical interpretations are always contested, of course, and there is little reason to believe that accounts of World War I in the Middle East and North Africa will become less so anytime soon.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Mustafa Aksakal is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; e-mail: ma846@georgetown.edu

References

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NOTES

1 Gelvin, James L., The Modern Middle East: A History, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 182.

2 Thompson also remarks that the “Ottoman defeat in World War I caused the defeat of constitutionalism.” Thompson, Elizabeth F., Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013), 9.

3 Provence, Michael, “Ottoman Modernity, Colonialism, and Insurgency in the Interwar Arab East,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (2011): 205–25; Halabi, Awad, “Liminal Loyalties: Ottomanism and Palestinian Responses to the Turkish War of Independence, 1919–22,” Journal of Palestine Studies 41 (2012): 1937.

4 See also, in this regard, Çetinkaya's book on The Young Turks and the Boycott Movement: Nationalism, Protest and the Working Classes in the Formation of Modern Turkey (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014); and Brummett, Pamira, Image and Imperialism in the Ottoman Revolutionary Press, 1908–1911 (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2000).

5 This body of scholarship is too voluminous to recount here, but for a discussion of the war's historiography focusing on Turkey, see Alexandre Toumarkine, “Historiographie turque de la Première Guerre mondiale sur les fronts ottomans: problèmes, enjeux et tendances,” in Histoire@Politique: Politique, culture, société (January–April 2014): 1–20 (http://www.histoire-politique.fr).

6 Yanıkdağ, Yücel, Healing the Nation: Prisoners of War, Medicine and Nationalism in Turkey, 1914–1939 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), 1620.

7 Gelvin, James L., “World War I and the Palestine Mandate,” in The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 77.

INTRODUCTION

  • Mustafa Aksakal

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