Iraq between the Two World Wars: The Creation and Implementation of a Nationalist Ideology

Iraq between the Two World Wars: The Creation and Implementation of a Nationalist Ideology

Iraq between the Two World Wars: The Creation and Implementation of a Nationalist Ideology

Iraq between the Two World Wars: The Creation and Implementation of a Nationalist Ideology

Excerpt

This is a book of historical interpretation. As such, it seeks to answer the question: Why did a group of army officers, who had seized control of the government of Iraq in 1941, proceed to wage a disastrously futile war against Great Britain? Why did these officers reject the British and liberal democratic values, turning instead to a militaristic Germany, whose political ideology stood at the extreme edge of Romantic nationalism?

On the surface, the answer seems obvious. As a victor in World War I, although responsible for the creation of the modern state of Iraq, Britain, in consort with France, was instrumental in dividing up the Arab areas of the former Ottoman Empire and of occupying Iraq. To the officers, educated in Istanbul and returning to Iraq to play a leading role in the new state, who were first and foremost pan-Arab nationalists, dreaming of the unity of an Arab nation encompassing the Fertile Crescent and Arabia, the situation was intolerable and smacked of betrayal by the same politicians in Whitehall who were ostensibly leading Iraq to full independence. For while the facade of independence and of political democracy existed, the British exerted control in the background--through the Embassy where the British ambassador reigned primus inter pares and via a covey of British advisors who were directly involved in areas from political administration to landholding adjudication and the suppression of tribal revolts. Thus, Iraq was only nominally independent, so when the opportunity arose and the British Empire seemed about to be overrun by the Axis powers in 1941, the Iraqis turned to Germany. The enemy of the enemy is a friend.

But why Germany? Why not Japan or Italy? To students in non-Western countries, Japan was the paradigm, admired as a state that industrialized and modernized in a . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.