New Article: Fantauzzo, British Soldiers, Liberal Imperialism, and the First World War in Palestine

Fantauzzo, Justin. “Ending Ottoman Misrule: British Soldiers, Liberal Imperialism, and the First World War in Palestine.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa 6.1 (2015): 17-32.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21520844.2015.1026244

 

Abstract

Historians have debated whether or not the First World War in Palestine and the battle between the British-led Egyptian Expeditionary Force and the Ottoman army was considered by contemporaries as a modern, twentieth-century crusade. But did British soldiers who fought in the First World War in Palestine actually view the war as a religious crusade against the Muslim Ottoman Empire? Or did they consider it a war of liberation, conducted to free Palestine’s oppressed population from the clutches of Ottoman misrule? This article argues that British soldiers, at least retrospectively, believed that they had fought in Palestine to liberate its population and to bring forth the righteous rule of the British Empire. Wartime propaganda that painted the Turk as an enemy of civilization had a far greater effect on shaping the memory of the campaign than did any language of religious conflict. With British rule, argued ex-servicemen, came all the benefits of liberal imperialism: democracy, religious freedom, and a free-market economy.

 

 

 

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