USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945Main MenuIntroduction: A Mural as WindowOn Diego Rivera's Detroit IndustryThe World Around 1914, Part I: the Journey of Young GandhiThe World Around 1914, Part II: The Era of Nationalism and Imperialism (1848-1914)The First World WarThe Long Russian Revolution (1917 – 1929)The Decline of the West? Europe from 1919 – 1929A New Middle East: The Rise of the Middle East State SystemChina Between Qing Collapse and WWIILatin America Between Boom and Bust (1911-1929)Africa Under Colonial Rule: Politics and Race from 1914‐1939The United States from The First World War to the Great DepressionThe Great DepressionThree Varieties of Radicalism in the 1930s: Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Imperial JapanThree Responses to Modernity: Ho Chi Minh, Ibn Saud, and Getulio VargasThe Second World WarSeth Rogoff5f001fc099cd635507b143be056702764af6929c
12017-06-23T21:53:34-07:00Introduction to A New Middle East: The End of Empire4plain2020-11-12T01:38:43-08:00In previous chapters, I have discussed the devastating effects of the First World War on Imperial Russia. The war placed enormous strain on Russia's military and the civilian population. Beyond the millions of casualties on the fronts with Austria and Germany, many more millions were cut off from vital sustenance. In a world of more complex agricultural connections and global commodities' markets, the disruptions caused by the First World War could and did have disastrous results. Historians have long argued whether revolution would have come to Russia had WWI not weakened it severely and undermined the legitimacy of its ruler and the ruling/military elite. Could Imperial Russia have reformed and modernized? The same basic question could be posed about the Ottoman Empire, an empire centuries older than Imperial Russia and built on the ideal of a unified Muslim political rule in the tradition of the original caliphate. It is arguable that there was no zone more devastated during WWI than the Ottoman Empire and its neighbor Persia. From a population of 21 million, it is estimated that five million people died (including some 1.5 million Armenians). Eighty percent of these fatalities were civilian deaths, caused by agricultural disruption, blockade, and famine. Deaths in Persia, a neutral state, reached the same proportions. Localized losses were even more extreme. In the area of Mount Lebanon, nearly half of the population fell to famine. Anger turned against the authorities in Istanbul. The legitimacy and the power of the Ottoman government collapsed.
By the end of the war, most of the former Ottoman territory was in allied hand, and most was controlled by the British. The meetings in Paris in 1919 would do much to create a new order in the Middle East and the Levant. A system of small Middle Eastern states was born. I hope you keep in mind as we work through the materials in this chapter how the state-creation process in the former Ottoman zone and in Persia relates or compares to the emergence of nation-states in Europe, Japan, and China. Part of studying history with a global scope is to see the world as both a set of localized phenomena and as part of a unified whole.