tv World War I and Britains 1917 Middle East Campaigns CSPAN December 24, 2017 11:05am-12:06pm EST
they had this foundation and i was getting funding for the program to support the injured troops from 800 dead heads standing around the 930 club. i thought, boy, things have really changed. that is one of the things. >> watch the entire program sunday at 4:30 p.m. eastern. american history tv, only on c-span3. >> up next on american history tv, creighton university professor john calvert talks about the british campaigns in the middle eastern world war i. 1917 when on the year british forces captured gaza in jerusalem from ottoman empire. the national world war i museum and the moral in kansas city, missouri hosted this hour-long talk. as curator of education here
at the national world war i museum and memorial one of the , things i have the opportunity to talk about often is the enduring impact of world war i. clearly we are in an audience of , folks who are quite knowledgeable to the content or at least interested enough to come on your own free volition and spend an entire friday inside and talk about that. but what others find surprising sometimes is just how many of our headlines in 2017 are direct choicesto events and from the last conversation that we just had to the next. it is really easy to take these conversations outside of the museum, and outside of this auditorium, and talk about the
impact of world war i. not only on the 1930's, world war ii, but to events that are going on today, and events that are happening in the middle east . even talking about a global war really starts in 1917 when america joined the fight, it was truly a global war with all inhabited continents involved. it was also a definitive year for the middle east. you just again, have to be looking at today's headlines to see the impact of individual personalities, and choices made in rooms that might not have been anywhere in the middle east. just be to that today, we are ,oined by dr. john calvert
professor of history at creighton university, where he teaches courses related to islam and the middle east. his research focuses on islamic social and political movements and the british empire in the , middle east. he is the author of several books and articles. including the origin of radical islam, well acclaimed book, but my aerobic is really not focused. i encourage you to look inside your lovely packets. also, the rutledge history of terrorism. concerning the fate of the ottoman empire and the middle east in it could not be more 1917. timely or more relevant. it is with great pleasure that i introduce calvert. introduce, dr. john calvert. [applause]
dr. calvert: i would like to thank laura vote and her team. it really is an honor and a privilege to be included in such a distinguished group of historians and to speak to such a knowledgeable and informed audience. um, i want to begin by invoking a scene that unfolded in a world rural yorkolded in a shire churchyard in september of 2008. after a short prayer, men in hazmat suits working inside the and wiggled loose the headstone.
inside, were skeletal remains of sir mark sikes. during the war, he left his trace on the map of the world. he was the british government 's lead negotiator in a secret deal with france and led to the dismemberment of the ottoman empire. an imperial carve up that laid the groundwork for many of the conflicts that have plagued the region since. but it wasn't to chastise sir mark for the dragon teeth. rather, it was the manner of his just that intrigued them. nner of hishe matte death that intrigued them. while negotiating the terms of
the postwar settlement in paris, in 1919, sikes became one of the estimated 40 to 50 million victims worldwide of the so-called spanish flu. exhausted by constant travel and overwork, he was an easy mark for the virus. on february 15, in and out of delirium, he sent word to find out about how zionist matters were going. the next day, after making his confession and receiving the sikes had converted to catholicism, he passed away in his paris hotel room. just a short of his 40th birthday. the fact that sir mark was buried in an are medically in ad coffin -- was buried hermetically sealed iron coffin gave medical investigators some hope that they might find tissue to allow them to better understand did mutations and behavior of the virus. in order to inhibit the breakout of another pandemic.
as it turned out, they failed to the bulge the sought after -- they failed to diebold the divulge the sought after information. a crack in the top of the caskets lining precluded the investigators finding anything useful. it is not hard to ignore the symbolism. it was as though mark was summoned to witness almost 100 years after the act the wreckage wrought in the middle east. he, of course, was not the only statesman involved. but he was the most prominent, and he was ubiquitous, popping up like forced him everywhere -- popping up like forrest gump everywhere. especially in 1917. the year that decided the fate of the post-ottoman arab east.
at first blush mark sykes is a , unlikely impresario. he was a sin of a wealthy landowner and grew up in a world -- he was a son of a wealthy landowner and grew up in a world of servants. at cambridge, he was and in different student. he left the university without taking a degree. yet, he traveled widely. initially in the company of his father, and then on his own. travels ofduring his the ottoman empire that he gained his lifelong passion for the east. at the family estate in yorkshire, he had a dedicated turkish room full of all kinds of exotica and rick brak from his eastern journeys. people liked him. he was good to his friends. he was what the english in those
days called a hail fellow well met. the worst anyone set of him was that he was a dreamer. in te lawrence's words, imaginative advocate. after serving in the world war, he took out diplomatic postings in ireland and istanbul. in 1914, while serving as an intelligence officer, he caught the notice of secretary of state herbert kitchener. he decided to make use of his knowledge of the east. sykes thereafter immersed himself in nefarious art of diplomatic intrigue, gaining a reputation as a smart negotiator , and an expert on all things islamic, even though his knowledge of arabic and turkish was limited to a few phrases.
when he got to the war office, he found that britain's were plans for the middle east were notional and imprecise. we have never that britain had not intended to go to war against the ottoman empire. in fact, over the previous half-century, it has been britain's policy to keep the ottomans afloat against the expansionist designs of the russian czars. but now of course, the ottomans were in the german camps. was only when russia began insisting on a postwar partition of the ottoman empire, which eastern volatile eastern -- and when france , made a claim over greater syria, including palestine, that britain's government began to see the merit of forging an agreement that would safeguard its own interest in the east.
and what were those interests? well, security over the northern approaches to the suez canal. britain's lifeline to its empire, and detection of the newly-discovered oil fields at the head of the gulf. britain wasn't at all confident upt its ally france pumped as it was, on anti-british colonial lobby in paris would leave the land bridge linking sinai and the gulf should the ottomans be vanquished. so kitchener chose sykes to represent interest in the ensuing talks with france. syke's french counterpart who as a seasoned diplomat and keen advocate.
immediately, the discussions began. he spoke with sykes was on the spot by insisting on syria. in consultation with foreign office, sikes worked out a compromise. that compromise was that france should directly control the coastal areas of syria, the area marked in blue. britain would have corresponding rights within a southern mesopotamia in the area marked in pink or red as well as control over a tiny enclave. encompassing the ports. agreed that palestine, which was coveted by both powers, should be internationally administered zone, a smaller brown
details to be resolved postwar. in the extensive lands in between, the areas marked a and b, they recognized independent arab states, or semi-independent arab states. one would be in the orbit of france, that would be region eight. and the other in the region of great britain, in area b. client states, in effect. as the essentials of a agreement were in place, sikes travel to petrograd where he obtained russian approval and britain and france signed off on the agreement in may, 1916. britain's government did not mind at all that sykes had given
up palestine to a would be international administration. the feeling in the government was that it's bleeding french ally needed some type of awardaction, some type of to keep it going. in britain's foreign-policy establishment, including mark sykes, were not so sure. they felt that the agreement was far too generous to france. and soon after the deal was struck, sykes stated that he would do whatever it took to amend the palestine portion of the document in britain's favor. negotiatingykes was the imperial carve up of syria and mesopotamia, entirely separate negotiations were proceeding between britain and the sharif of husayen.
at issue were the terms of the possible arab revolt against the ottomans. now, the british agency in cairo hussein to be a good bet. and he was a prince of mecca. he looked after the holy mosques of mecca and medina on behalf of the ottomans. most important, he was unhappy of the heavy hand of the ottoman committee of unity and progress. the cup waskey -- putting him on a short lead. he did not like that.
he was quite willing to entertain this notion of engaging in an arab revolt against the sultan. in alliance with the british. the british believed that hussein's credentials would allow him to neutralize the ottoman call to jihad, which threatened to turn the muslims of south and central asia against their imperial masters. but he had an asking price. he wrote that he would only promised british creation after the war of an independent state. a state that included the arabian peninsula. also the persian gulf and all of greater syria and mesopotamia.
british officials in cairo replied to hussein that his request was feasible. they would indeed be willing to entertain the idea of an independent arab state. they ruled out coastal syria because of france's claim over it. british officials in cairo replied saying his request was feasible. they would be willing to entertain the idea of an independent state. they said they could expect to control all of mesopotamia which was a special concern to them. the rest, yes they could have it. so he believed that the british did back to creation of some form of arab state after the successful conclusion of the war against the ottomans. it was this vague promise of arab statehood that that the sharif on board. the sharif assume that during subsequent negotiations, he might get all or most of what he asked for. and so, in june 1916, listen a month after the signing of the
secret sykes agreement, the arab revolt got underway. several thousand dozen warriors attacking the ottomans, taking the red sea ports, and within a year, plunging northward into southern syria. britain did its best to sustain itsrevolt, supplying fighters with gold, weapons, includingdvisers, and lawrence. they did nothing about france and britain's proposed imperial carve up. unabashed by this duplicity, mark sykes designed the rebellion's flag, crafting a design that recall the glories of the early --
the message being that with british patronage, the arabs could replicate the glories of the past, and reemerge in the modern era as a great people. sykes appears to believe that the anglo-french provision for arab client states in the interior regions of greater syria, which he helped devise, would be ample reward. yet, in 1916, the possibility that the provisions of the sykes - picot agreement seemed remote. for one thing, the record of british arms in the middle east was dismal. not only had britain suffered , evacuating defeat the last of his troops in the peninsula in early january of that year.
, 13,000 anglo indian troops beaten-down by disease and starvation, had been forced into surrender and mesopotamia. humiliation made all the worse by the fact that british general townsend had offered the ottomans a one million pound ransom for the safe passage of his troops, and offered the ottomans refused to consider. -- an offer the ottomans refused to consider. then there was the ingrained prejudice toward eastern campaigns. chief of the imperial general staff, william robinson, was loathe to commit against the ottomans. eastlieved that the middle was a peripheral campaign to the great struggle going on in the thatrn fronts, the battles the dardanelles and mesopotamia he saw as black holes that swallowed up entire british
armies for no of sensible purpose. he was adamant that british forces in the middle east should cease any pretense toward aggression, and adopt instead, the security of the suez. and the oil fields. then came movement. politicians,bound but from a british general in the field. in late summer 1916, the war cabinet appointed lieutenant frederick stanley maude. he took command of the mesopotamian force. immediately, he began to organize the men and resources available to him for a renewed thrust with the aim of capturing baghdad the hallowed goal that , had eluded thompson. -- townsend. it gave him leeway that he
didn't know the full extent of maude's plan. so over the winter months of 1917, maude's invigorated force crept northward, supported on the tigris by a fleet of gunboats. despite the logistical sophistication of the operation, which included the building of a railway, the indian and british troops found it tough going. the sucking mud pulled them down. disease swept the ranks. but persistence paid off. leading to success, reaching line after line of ottoman defenders. like the american forces of
2003, maude's forces received little opposition in baghdad. in the face of superior firepower, the opposition simply melted away, but the british did find a city in crisis. as is the case during the american-led offensive, the hasty withdrawal of the enemy created a security vacuum in which looters were quick to take advantage. march 16, 1917 report from britain's "guardian" newspaper nald will of been written 2003 condition of "the new york times," or "the washington post." it read, many shops have been gutted and valuables have been cleared. the rebel was found engaged, tearing down bits of iron and wood. they even looted the seats from
the public garden. enough however, the british imposed their authority over the city and maude arranged a reentry of the city for this staged photograph. from his perch in london, mark sykes wrote a proclamation which fixed to of fixed -- af wassail over the city. the war cabinet had wanted a low-key decoration. sykes argued in favor of one that would appeal to an arab mind, which presented the british as liberators, not as conquerors. your palaces have fallen into ruins. your gardens have sunken into desolation. and your forefathers and yourselves have grown in bondage.
it is the witch of not only of my king and his peoples, but also of the great nations with whom his alliance that you should prosper, even as in the past, when your lands were fertile, and baghdad was one of the wonders of the world. sykes had a that good time writing this reclamation. it gave him an opportunity to indulge his romantic image of the islamic east and its peoples. later, he was somewhat embarrassed by his bombast, admitting that it "created a great deal of oriental and flowery language, not suitable to our modern climate." yet, there was political purpose behind the words. in inviting the arabs of mesopotamia to "assume the management of their affairs in collaboration with the political representatives of great britain," he aimed to's new the
way to british domination. as spelled out in the still secret franco-british agreement. now, the british victory in baghdad encouraged the war cabinet to reassess its moratorium on offensive action and egypt and palestine. since the spring and summer of 1916, british forces under archibald murray held in line that cut across the oasis of northeastern sinai. this was at the top of the map there. this line was deeply entrenched, and it was supplied by miles of will way and water pipes that have been constructed by the egyptian labor corps.
in the with mesopotamia back, robertson gave murray the go-ahead and advance into ottoman palestine. in cutting murray loose, robertson was following, to his chagrin, the orders of liberal prime minister lloyd george. whose government has replaced their government in 1916. lloyd george was distressed at the costly stalemate in france. and he called for a decisive victory in the middle east. one that would rally the british people behind his government, and add to his popularity. he was very much like his liberal, victorian era predecessor william gladstone. ,like gladstone, lloyd george
held the unspeakable turk in contempt then he looked forward to the day when britain might feast on the ottoman carcass. and would've been content with the reform that would destroy the ottoman empire. attacked gases ahead on at the end of march, but they were beaten back with a well fortified ottoman defenders. licking his wounds, murray tried again three weeks later, this time employing all of the weapons of industrial warfare, aircraft, artillery shells that fired a mixture of gases, and eight thanks, but yet again, the ottomans held fast. and so, these failures prompted lloyd george in july 1917 to replace murray.
lloyd george told him, give me jerusalem as a christmas present for the british people. work, eagerent to to fulfill his mandate. but rather than launch another full frontal assault on the gas a stronghold, he opted for a infantrythat sent in the desert.n it was probably the largest cavalry attack of the great war. and over the days that followed, british artillery bombarded gaza as a mounted infantry continued to roll up the ottomans to the east. by november 7, gaza was in british hand, and as we speak,
australians and new zealanders are gathered in israel, celebrating with their -- commemorating with their israeli hosts this very famous battle. now protected on the right flank by the hashemite regulars of the revolt, by this time, had emerged out of the peninsula in full swing, alan b's forces fought their way through the hills. entering the holy city on december 9, 1917, just in time for christmas. the capture of jerusalem was his crowning achievement. at thespace of a month cost of less than 20,000 casualties, allenby's forces have pushed 40 miles into enemy territory, and had taken the city of world historical significance.
in this compared favorably with developments in flanders. there, as matthew hughes points out in his book, after almost four months of fighting, and with the loss of 300,000 men, they advanced five miles and captured and obscured village called passion dale. many in the work continued to question palestine's importance to the war effort. robertson wondered why -- robertson wondered how the attribute to victory. it was a morale booster. on the days leading up to jerusalem's capture, sites was hard at work in london devising a victory celebration. again, he composed an official but this time
avoiding on the elaborate rhetoric and focusing on the practical issue of governance, taking care not to offend muslim sensibility. every proclamation would be taken to ensure a place where you would find the abraham a mosque --would remain under supervision. thatere sykes was noticing it transcended particularism. the british were protectors of the religions of the empires peoples, most especially islam. sykes also made sure that allenby didn't enter jerusalem as a mounted warrior, but would dismount and humbly advance the gate on foot. this is to be in stark, was in stark contrast to kaiser wilhelm, who during his 1898
rode to the holy city, through the gate triumphantly dressed in something resembling crusader garb. so the message was clear. allenby was a restorer of justice and fairness. the kaiser, the vain, and one who demanded respect for islam. yet, there was distance between 'he imperial purposes of sykes propaganda, and the way the occupation of jerusalem was received by the british public. the public, jerusalem was redolent of the old and new testament of hymns and sermons, sunday school classes, and the family bible, and the crusades. all over britain, church bells rang, announcing the taking of the city.
"punch" magazine published drawing of richard lionheart looking down over jerusalem. nodding contentedly, my dream comes true. this was the holy land of the protestant imagination, a region biblical remnants, which the palestine society had done so much to advance with its surveys and archaeological discoveries, dating from the 1860's onward. but as you can imagine, all of this talk about christian restoration of the holy land, distressed very much the war office. and they responded with a defense advisory note that told the british media in no uncertain terms, not to play up the crusader in christian themes. but to little avail, these themes continued regardless of this advisory note, so that by 1918, even the war office relented and allowed all of
these populist themes to persist. now the saga of 1917 had one final, important chapter. on november 2, as british and australia and forces were engaging the ottomans of the third battle of gaza, britain made yet another advance booking. the political arrangement of the postwar middle east. the balfour declaration. which promised zionists if britain would respond to the establishment of a jewish .omeland in palestine now, the approximate origins of the belford declaration traced back to the spring of 1917, when lloyd george sent sykes the task of working for the addition of palestine to the british area designated by the sykes-pico
accord. sykes jumped at the chance to revise this accord. by then, sykes had come to know about zionism, an ideology that at that time, barely 40-50 years old, which defined the jews as a singular nation deserving a political sovereignty. the goal zionists considered pressing given the incidence of anti-semitism in the world, especially in the russian empire were most european jews lived. in zionism, sykes saw an opportunity to nullify france's portion and an internationalized palestine. anportion in internationalized palestine. he thought a jewish enclave in palestine could function as a buffer, protecting egypt and the canal from imperial competitors. sykes was encouraged when he learned that the zionists were interested in british patronage,
without which they would be powerless to fulfill their dream. zionists did not know anything about the sykes-pico agreement. they simply wouldn't be any conflict with any power. there were, of course, other motives that prompted sykes and british statesman to support zionism. with theese have to do belief among many british, the jewish territorial nationalism, which might encourage jews away from the united states and russia to fully engage in the war until total victory. at the time, russia was in a state of unrest. and it was not certain to what extent the united states would sort of engage in the war. there was this idea among the
, back in jewish homeland in palestine, would mobilize the power of jewish financiers in the united states. course, this idea was an exaggeration of its unity and its ability to influence opinion. fewe were actually rave a zionists among the jewish population in europe or america. yet, the idea of international jewery was a common one, and reflected the genteel, anti-semitism that was current among the british upper class. but i must say, this was not an idea that the zionists, lobbyists in london made efforts to nullify. they saw that there was utility in this idea of a jewish block, heavily in favor of scientism.
zionism.s another factor leading to british support for zionism had to do with the visceral romantic and religious sensibilities of these same reddish statesman. despite this advisory note i was just talking about that dissuaded the media from literate -- religious pronouncements, men like sykes, leo emery, and foreign secretary belford, whose name was appended to the declaration, had the people of britain another instinct. and retracted the idea of having a hand in the return of the people of the bible to its ancestral homeland. lloyd george, the former chapel boy from north wales, famously quipped that he knew the map of the holy land better than he did that of france. trip tois 1904
jerusalem, sykes wrote "imagine how picturesque and interesting a walk in the city would be that the children of israel became to their ancient and handsome dress." sykes' mission to sabotage the palestine portion of the french-british agreement turned out to be rather simple and straightforward. during meetings in london, he convinced zionism's statesman to go directly to george pico and other french officials to argue the case. in the meantime, would take care of the introduction, quietly reinforced the zionist case over dinner drinks. ,n the end, i think do as much
to sokolow's charm, and their arguments for repatriation to the jewish people the french were won over, agreeing that the plan should be rescinded. but then again, with no troops in the region, the french would have been powerless to make a contrary case. it is at this point that the zionist got wind of the sykes-pico agreement. they got wind in april of 1917. just prior to the final dotting and crossing of the t's. they were shocked that palestine, which they assumed was going to be theirs, was going to be internationalized. britain, they pressed for the belfort declaration to make an official pronouncement on the matter. the declaration itself went through many revisions. every word had significant parity authors avoided the word "states," choosing a more
ambiguous phrase "national home." the extent of this jewish homeland was not made clear. it was to be somewhere in palestine. and although reference was made to the protection of the civil and religious rights of the indigenous native arab population, the declaration said nothing about the arab's political rights. in addition, the declaration promised, with the establishment of the homeland, no harm would come to choose in any other country. meaning the jews of great britain and other western countries. here is the intended target of this phrase, jews belonging to the british establishment, among the declaration's opponents, men cabinetin montagu, the minister, who fear that scientism might lead some or many within british society to
call his and others' patriotism into question. even accusing them of dual allegiance. are you loyal to the crown or jewish national home? in the declaration takes pains to make the point that this will not happen. conclude,, just to britain's conflicting agreements were finally exposed to the harsh lights. the belford declaration was a private letter sent to lord rothschild. but news of it immediately got eyebrowsing raised come as you can imagine, britishly with the bureau who supported the creation of a arab state, including palestine, under some former british tutelage. te lawrence spoke to this, "what
have you promised the zionists, and what is there program? with the acquisition of land for use by fear purchase, or appropriation?" he went on to predict acrimony between jews and arabs. the traveling consultant gertrude bell also decried the wrote, "i hatee the pronouncement. to my mind, it is a wholly artificial scheme divorced from relation to facts. and i wish it the ill success it deserves." as for the sykes-pico agreement, it was eventually published in bolsheviks, who found a copy of it in the czar archives. shortly thereafter the manchester guardian picked up a
story, and publicized it. the hashemites were crestfallen at the news. france'sbeen aware of ambitions in syria, but they expected britain to keep the french at bay, not sign off on french claims over the coastal strip. no sense of betrayal was very, very bitter, prompting a man like george antonius, the lebanese christian, author of "the arab awakening" who wrote , the agreement was a shocking document. it demonstrated greed allied with suspicion. that sentiment reverberates in the arab world today. all three agreements -- the
sykes-pico accord, the pledge, the bill forward declaration, were contingent on the success of british arms. british and colonial troops continue their advance through the deserts and mountains of mesopotamia. in october, british troops reached damascus, just ahead of the hashemites. several months later, the british handed northern syria over to its french ally, the anglo-french agreement had stipulated. at the conference in 1920, britain agreed to incorporate the belfort declaration into its mandate over palestine. so what were the british thinking and making so many contradictory promises? the british asked themselves the same question. we have got into an
extraordinary muddle. belford wrote that. perhaps we should not be so harsh though. we have to remember this was wartime, britain's only objective in 1917 was to win the great war. to that end come its statesmen were willing to promise anything to anyone who might give them an upper hand in the conflict, and grow the empire in the process. at the same time, it is not hard to see it work -- it is not hard to see a range of attitudes. racial, cultural, civilizational, the privileged european interests, over the self-determination of asian and african peoples. thank you very much. [applause] dr.: calvert: i'd be very happy to entertain questions.
>> first of all, thank you very much for a nice presentation. it is my understanding that there was to bit of the divide, friction between the office and the arab world. how to that friction playoff in -middle easttish ratted you during the war, as well as shaping how the british approached the postwar middle east? dr. calvert: thank you. very good question. yes, there was friction between the arab bureau in cairo and the indian office. primarily over mesopotamia. the british were interested in mesopotamia as a bridge to its indian possessions. there was also an interest of oil that i talked about. and the india office assumed mesopotamia fell within its orbit and were chagrined when , the arab bureau in cairo
planning for mesopotamia. and sort of taking control with reference to the arab revolt of that territory. in the end though, the indian office lost out, primarily because of their mismanagement of the ward mesopotamia. it was the indian office that was managing the drive of the tigris euphrates river valley towards baghdad, a campaign that ended in disaster. it was one of the great disasters to ever have the fall in the british empire. the forcing surrender of all of these thousands of troops. very few of whom survived the war. those taken prisoner were first march to camps in eastern anatolia. and only a handful survived. but yes, the conflict was acrimonious, primarily, it was about mesopotamia. you know, the indian office actually had big plans for
mesopotamia. they had this idea of transporting hundreds of thousands of indian peasants, and cultivating sort of the waste lands of the area, making it agriculturally fertile, and so forth. mesopotamia had been the breadbasket of the middle east, the center of civilization in the middle east, until it was laid to waste in 1258. baghdad was destroyed a strong , central authority. the irrigation canals silted up. agriculture died. the population was moved elsewhere. and bedouins moved in, and i think the india office had this idea of reviving mesopotamia, by making a part of its indian empire. >> thanks for the great talk. i know you are a scholar, contemporary jihadi ideology.
so i was wondering to what extent these contradictory agreements, and isis rhetoric appealing to its followers, if any? dr. calvert: it is interesting. couple of years ago, there was his isis video that circulated on the internet showing a bulldozer destroying the burn that divided syria from iraq. as you know, the modern middle used, the modern map of arab middle east, is roughly based on the lines charted out. as far as arab nationalists were concerned, these were artificial borders and so forth, dividing arabs from one another. people in the 1950's and 1960's believed that divided arabs are weak, but united, they are strong. the nationalism was a secular movement, but in recent decades,
we have a new, political phenomenon, political islam, expressed as jihadism. and they believe in the unity that the air world is a part, but still that all of the borders dividing muslims from one another, an including those created by sykes, are artificial and should be destroyed. they brought a bulldozer and. islam -- bulldozer in. that was islam's primary point of reference. bulldozers were brought in and symbolically, the borders were destroyed ending the sykes-pico. but whatever the political affiliation of somebody in the middle east is, whether it is an arab nationalist or islamist, they all know about the sykes-pico agreement. it is something that schoolkids learn about in school. the first of a whole series of the trails and duplicity perpetrated on the islamic world by western imperialism. it's held in very bad odor. >> thank you.
>> next question. yes. >> you mentioned gertrude bell. i'm sure there's a lack of time, but she spent her whole life traveling the middle east. and it was my understanding from reading her books, that she was pretty influential in drawing those lines. is that so? dr. calvert: that's quite right. she was the first female graduate of cambridge university. i think i'm right in saying that. she came from a privileged background, and had personal wealth at her disposal, and used it to travel throughout the arab world and persia, and turkey and anatolia in the pre-work years. -- in prewar years. she was an expert on the tribal affiliations of mesopotamia and syria. and that knowledge the war office found very, very useful,
so she became a consultant to the war office. involved in the postwar partition of the arab region. the final drawing of the boundaries, she was there at the cairo conference with winston churchill. i would say that gertrude bell wasn't necessarily a champion of arab self-determination. that the arabs were yet too undeveloped for full independence. she believed that the arabs required the extra tutelage that only a country like great britain could provide, and that perhaps down the road, arabs would be allowed full fettered independence, but for the time being, they required tutelage and help of great britain -- and the help of great britain. >> could you comment on the
german-turkish relationship, with regards to the berlin-baghdad express, and how that fits in with the silk road, which is a british orientation as you know? ,dr. calvert: right, umm, yeah, the germans had significant influence in the ottoman empire german offices trained the ottoman army. of course, german engineers helped plan and will the great berlin to baghdad railway, one of the great engineering feats of the century. it ranks with the union to civic, the siberian railway, the , engineeringfic feats in terms of mountain
railways. to bringallow him troops are very quickly to rebellious corners of the empire. one of the spur lines of that damascusent south into . the british in prewar days were interested in this railway. they are aware that the germans tried to establish strong influence in the ottoman air pet -- ottoman empire. 100 meters down was this bridge
that the germans and the ottomans were building. they were excavating the city, but also taking notes on what the germans and ottomans were up to in building this railway. the ottomans had a choice. they threw their lot in with the germans. it was a way as getting back at their old russian enemy. tohink the ottomans hoped regain some of the land they lost to the czar in the preceding centuries. .t was a fateful decision it meant that the ottomans were on the losing side of the war. in thankingin me our guest. >> monday, christmas day, on the c-span networks. queen elizabeth delivers for
annual christmas message. then cornell west and alan israel anddiscuss middle east peace. were kind of human values are to promote. there is one country in the world that is the focus of 90% of you and resolutions. that is israel. >> on book tv, world war ii veteran jerry yellen recalls his bombing missions over japan with pilotok "the last spider ." off whatuadron took led into a front. 20 fighter planes went down.
it's hard for me to tell you the truth of how i felt than, but i miss my airplane. we were there to fight. after the war that i suffered. >> on american history tv on c-span 3, lynn man well there -- manuel miranda excepts an award. -- accepts an award. quite you learn to trust your passion and let it lead the way. on -- christmas day on the c-span networks. >> tonight on c-span skew q and a, heritage foundation distinguished fellow lee edwards thenicles this time in
movement. corks he was a hail fellow well met. and he liked the party. he liked a drink or two. as long as you didn't talk about communism, you couldn't ask for a more fun guy to be with. but he was very serious about that. he was also someone who did not take advice very well. he consequently said things and even did things that hurt the cause of anti-communism for some time. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. history,n lectures in vincent peter munoz teaches a class on natural rights underpinning the american founding and constitution. it discusses
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