Oct 3, 2018 in History

The effects of the First World War, which occurred between 1914 and 1918, and its treaties have had profound impacts on the human history. In Europe, where the war started, several antagonistic nations, such as Britain and France, frustrated the Germans’ attempt to dominate the region (Palmer, 1994). The war equally affected the Middle East as demonstrated by the collapse of the powerful empires, such as the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the region for more than four centuries. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the power vacuum in the Middle East resulted in conflicts between the residents and external invaders.

During the mid 19th century, Europe’s invasion on Ottoman Empire caused numerous conflicts between the superpowers and the Empire’s leaders. The Empire had played a crucial role in international politics and unification of the Middle East. Under the Ottoman leaders, the Empire easily managed its international relationship. The region’s oil fields were the main attraction for Europe’s invasion in the Middle East (Palmer, 1994). The Ottoman Empire’s control of the key areas of invaders’ interest led to various conflicts between the invaders and the Ottomans leaders. The inhabitants felt threatened by the superpowers’ interference in their territories. Initially, Serbia and Bulgaria broke away from the Empire. Russia had supported the two countries due to its interest in parts of the Mediterranean waters. Afterwards, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece created the Balkan League. This resulted in the emergence of several warring parties. However, by 1914, the Empire abandoned its hesitant impartiality towards the antagonistic parties (Palmer, 1994). Subsequently, the Empire declared a holy war over Russia, France, and their allies. With the Germans’ support in inventions, weaponry, and military power, the Ottoman Empire officials were considerably motivated in their quest to regain their lost territories and possibly seize the opportunity to expand their Empire’s territories. Upon realizing the official’s plans, the British planned a pre-emptive attack. They deployed the Anglo-Indian forces in the Tigris and Euphrates channels to guard the Persian oil pipelines, which were of significant important to the British. In 1915, the Ottoman’s forces failed attack on the British forces, which resulted in immense humiliations and losses (Palmer, 1994). Originally, the attack’s objective was to ignite the Islamic revolution across the Suez Canal.

In 1915, the British forces successfully forced the Ottoman Empire out of Istanbul. However, they suffered massive losses in their attempt to take over the Ottoman’s capital, Gallipoli. As a result, the British forces had to withdraw from the war as the Ottoman forces outnumbered and overpowered them. They withdrew to the Kut-el- Amara town, south of Baghdad. The British Political objectives had outweighed the military deliberation, and as a result, their military lacked logistical support in the capture and retaining of Baghdad.

At the end of the war, the British had occupied Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Jordan. In addition, the antagonistic nations encountered several effects of the war. The Russian economy was facing numerous challenges, while the French forces’ numbers were significantly reduced, leading to the British dominance in the region. The British then settled in the conquered territories causing continuous conflicts between the settlers and the inhabitants. Throughout history, the British settlement in the Middle has been related to the current conflicts in the region. Several Arab nations believe that Britain and other Western powers neglected their contribution during the creation of boundaries in the Middle East (Palmer, 1994). In 1914, the British colonial official supported the settlement of the Jews in Palestine leading to fierce responses from the Arabs. Consequently, the Ottoman Empire’s collapse compromised the Islam’s ability to unify the Arab world. This resulted in nationalistic opinions across Ottoman’s former territories. However, critics still argue that nations, like Jordan and Iraq, have never been parts of the British inventions. They suggest that the nations’ actualization was caused by the British and the Hashemite compromised agreements to foster their own local needs. Hence, if Germany had defeated Britain in this war, the Ottoman Empire would not have collapsed but would have expanded across Asia. Besides, if the British government had allowed the inhabitants to determine their own leadership, Balkanization would have been witnessed across the Middle East. Similarly, peace observers argue that all Western interventions in the Middle East after the collapse of the Ottomans Empire were prone to failure.

The fall of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East ushered in an era of conflicts. Following the collapse of the Empire, the control of the regions depended more on the Western powers. The region was divided among Britain, France, and Russia. This crated tension between them and the inhabitants, as witnessed by the series of rebellions executed by the inhabitants. Afterwards, the emerging nations across the region witnessed ensuing battles with the colonists. The effects of the foreign invasion on the Middle East politics are still witnessed to date, as the modern conflicts between the Arabs’ nations and the Western powers were because of the Ottoman Empire’s collapse.

Palestine has persistently opposed the presence of the Jews in their territory. This has resulted in continuous conflicts between the two parties. With these conflicts, the Middle East peace status has remained unstable. Moreover, the colonial settlements in the region have created a diversified society with different religions and cultures. Due to the religious and cultural conflicts among these settlements, skirmishes have continuously erupted in the region. Presently, Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged, in the attempt to bridge the gap created by the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The Tail Wagging the Dog

The diplomatic problem of the “tail wagging the dog” has resulted in several debates among scholars. These ideologies argue that a few individuals (Zionist) control the US foreign policies by continuously manipulating the government to advocate for “a greater Israel” (Lesch, 2007). These ideologists suggest that the US and the Western powers’ interest in the Middle East are to enhance Israel’s dominance in the region. The proponents of these ideologies oppose the critics, who suggest that the Western powers’ interests were only in the control of the Middle East oil reserves during the recent Iraq and Afghanistan invasions (Lesch, 2007). Moreover, these ideologies assert that the 9/11attack on America was a pretext used to justify the US invasion on the Middle East. They suggest that oil has never been the main reason for the US invasions in the Middle East, but rather its interest in a powerful Israel in the Middle East (Lesch 2007). In my opinion, this ideology contains flaws because it does not account for the rise in global petroleum prices and the fall in the value of the US dollar.

The Century of War

Before the 20th century, the military’s role in supporting scientific research was limited. However, from the early 20th century, the European powers became more interested in military sciences leading to innovation and increased budgetary allocations in military researches (Hillenbrand, 2010). With the increased military funds, research has transformed effectively since the First World War. These transformations have considerably enhanced successful military operations over time. During the First World War, powerful nations advanced use of chemical weapons in warfare. During the course of the war, the British and German scientists competed in the development of more lethal chemical weapons, such as chlorine and nitrates gases. The advancement in chemical weaponry significantly affected the warring nations, as all the parties witnessed its impacts. With the new powerful technologies, trench warfare tactics replaced the aggressive field tactics. Consequently, the use of tanks and the reduced number of military personnel deployed in the war was evident. In physics, there were several inventions aimed at solving various military problems (Hillenbrand, 2010). Considerable advancements in the invention of the wireless communication significantly enhanced long distance communications. At the end of this war, there were considerable achievements in meteorology. With the invention of aircrafts, meteorologists were able to analyze the weather effects and wind in gas attacks.

A massive funding of the military was witnessed during the Second World War. The European powers shifted their attention from chemistry to physics. The USA, through the Manhattan project, funded a complex scientific project (Hillenbrand, 2010). The joint venture between the British and the American governments proposed the development of atomic bombs. The physicists, involved in this project, analyzed the chain reaction nature exhibited in unstable elements and convinced the military for more funding. As a result, the scientist developed an atomic bomb, which considerably changed the art of warfare from the use of artillery to atomic bombs. With the development of the radar system, the detection of the enemy ships and aircrafts was significantly simplified. Other superpowers, before the end of the war, adopted the rocketry technology, initially developed in Germany. Correspondingly, military research led to the technological advancement in various disciplines. Funding was also witnessed in other fields of science. This resulted in the invention of the computer technology. There has been the improvement of several technological inventions over time leading to their mass production for public use. Such inventions include various electronic devices, like radio, telephones, and computer, which were results of military researches (Hillenbrand, 2010).

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