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The First World War in the Middle East

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
Hurst (June 2014)

The First World War in the Middle East is an accessibly written military and social history of the clash of world empires in the Dardanelles, Egypt and Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia and the Caucasus. Coates Ulrichsen demonstrates how wartime exigen­cies shaped the parameters of the modern Middle East, and describes and assesses the major campaigns against the Ottoman Empire and Germany involving British and imperial troops from the French and Russian Empires, as well as their Arab and Armenian allies.

Also documented are the enormous logistical demands placed on host societies by the Great Powers’ conduct of industrialised warfare in hostile terrain. The resulting deepening of imperial penetration, and the extension of state con­trols across a heterogeneous sprawl of territories, generated a powerful backlash both during and immediately after the war, which played a pivotal role in shaping national identities as the Ottoman Empire was dismembered.

This is a multidimensional account of the many seemingly discrete yet interlinked campaigns that resulted in one to one and a half million casualties. It details not just their military outcome but relates them to intelligence-gathering, industrial organisation, authoritarianism and the political economy of empires at war.

  • Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is a visiting fellow in the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He researches Gulf politics and foreign policies at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, and is also an Associate Fellow on the Middle East North Africa Program at Chatham House and an affiliate faculty at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.

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