The evolution of British strategy for Palestine, 1914-20.

John Richmond

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The thesis discusses how the management of information available to the Asquith and Lloyd George Governments on Palestine, which because of its importance to the defence of the Suez Zone was an area of crucial strategic importance to the British Empire and should at least be British influenced, between 1914 and 1920, evolved into a strategy designed to acquire Palestine as a British dominated region within the British Empire. The thesis also discusses how Britain’s original intention to support an Arab revolt against the Ottomans, and thereby create a friendly country in Palestine which would protect Suez, evolved into a strategy that sought to acquire Palestine itself. The thesis is divided into four chapters. The first chapter deals with the appointment of Lord Kitchener as War Minister and how a changed foreign policy, forced on the Government by the Ottoman Empire’s alliance with the Central Powers, was brought under his control, which enabled him to create a new British Vice-Royalty in North Africa and the Middle East. It also discusses British relations with the Arabs, responses to Arab nationalism and the obstacles to Lord Kitchener’s desire for a new Vice Royalty presented by French interests that resulted in the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, dividing the Ottoman Middle East territories between Britain and France. The second chapter covers the history of the British Government’s involvement with Zionism together with the reasons and strategic implications for British support of Zionist aims of restoration in their ‘Promised Land’, British misconceptions of Jewish and Arab nationalism, British clashes with the French, and the nature of Arab nationalism in Palestine. The third chapter examines how the Paris Peace and San Remo Conferences led to a British mandate and changes to the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The final chapter examines the conflict between Arabs and Zionists over land ownership; the Military Government’s handling of these disputes, and the consequent effect on British strategy to govern Palestine. Ultimately, British success in Palestine would be determined by the efficacy of their methods in dealing with the contentious issues of land, since both Arabs and Zionist claimed sole ownership.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Martin, Vanessa, Supervisor
Award date1 Apr 2011
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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