MAPS: 1914AD – 1960AD Middle East

Middle East 1914AD – 1960AD 


The decades since 1914[1] have been ones of great change for the Middle East.

The Ottoman empire sided with Germany and Austria in World War 1 (1914-8), and afterwards was broken up amongst the nations of Turkey,[2] Syria,[3] Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq[4] and Saudi Arabia.[5] All except Turkey and Saudi Arabia were at first under British or French control. Iraq became independent in 1933.

After World War 2, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt[6] and Jordan became independent. In 1948 the British left Palestine, under fire from both Arabs and Jews. The Jews declared the independent state of Israel. Bitter fighting between Jews and Arabs followed, but Israel continued in being.

The politics of most Middle Eastern states has been autocratic, and frequently unstable. They have also been deeply affected by the Cold War, with some (Syria, Egypt) veering towards the pro-Soviet camp and others (the monarchies of the Arabian peninsula, Turkey, Iraq and Iran)[7] towards the West. Israel, on the whole pro-West, has retained a western-style parliamentary system.

The oil industry is transforming many Middle Eastern countries, especially in the Gulf region, giving them hitherto undreamed of wealth.


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