Discussion:
What explains the differences btwn French & British imperialism in the Mideast in WWI?
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Rob
2018-04-23 02:05:09 UTC
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From reading David Fromkin's, a "A Peace to End All Peace" and other works in english, there is a striking contrast between British and French approaches.

The British appear through WWI, the peace conference and the early Mandate years to be working overtime to actually conquer the place and make alliances and promises with local and international groups to justify their claims.

Hence you have the large British campaigns in the Middle East, but also the Hussein-McMahon correspondence, sponsorship of the Arab Revolt, but also the contradictory Balfour Declaration and even other overtures towards the Ottomans for a separate peace.

You have the British being intensely concerned that the French will exploit any British weakness or excuse to press claims to the Palestine Mandate (which at first included Transjordan).

Meanwhile, the French appear to be making claims to all of Syria as well as Palestine and northern Iraq, based on....mere desire and a remarkably self-assured sense of entitlement.

The French both invested less militarily in the region during the war (for understandable reasons) but *also* were less concerned with "winning friends and influencing people" than the British. They were anti Hashemite and anti-Zionist at the same time. I do not really know who they expected to be their constituency in the Middle East, beyond the quite small Maronite Christian minority.

What accounts for the French sense of entitlement in the Levant and self-assuredness, and Britain's respect for those claims that it could have easily denied by force, finance and diplomacy?

Why wasn't it France more worried about Britain or British puppets taking over Syria and Lebanon than Britain worried about France taking over Palestine and Jordan?
WolfBear
2018-04-23 02:07:16 UTC
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Post by Rob
I do not really know who they expected to be their constituency in the Middle East, beyond the quite small Maronite Christian minority.
The Alawites could have also been candidates for French patronage.
SolomonW
2018-04-23 09:56:25 UTC
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Post by Rob
You have the British being intensely concerned that the French will exploit any British weakness or excuse to press claims to the Palestine Mandate (which at first included Transjordan).
The Battle of Tel Hai, put a stop to French ambitions in Palestine.
Pete Barrett
2018-04-23 12:18:21 UTC
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Post by Rob
From reading David Fromkin's, a "A Peace to End All Peace" and other
works in english, there is a striking contrast between British and
French approaches.
Have you considered reading some in French? I haven't, either, but I
suspect the French may see things differently!
Post by Rob
The British appear through WWI, the peace conference and the early
Mandate years to be working overtime to actually conquer the place and
make alliances and promises with local and international groups to
justify their claims.
Hence you have the large British campaigns in the Middle East, but also
the Hussein-McMahon correspondence, sponsorship of the Arab Revolt, but
also the contradictory Balfour Declaration and even other overtures
towards the Ottomans for a separate peace.
You have the British being intensely concerned that the French will
exploit any British weakness or excuse to press claims to the Palestine
Mandate (which at first included Transjordan).
Meanwhile, the French appear to be making claims to all of Syria as
well as Palestine and northern Iraq, based on....mere desire and a
remarkably self-assured sense of entitlement.
The French both invested less militarily in the region during the war
(for understandable reasons) but *also* were less concerned with
"winning friends and influencing people" than the British. They were
anti Hashemite and anti-Zionist at the same time. I do not really know
who they expected to be their constituency in the Middle East, beyond
the quite small Maronite Christian minority.
What accounts for the French sense of entitlement in the Levant and
self-assuredness, and Britain's respect for those claims that it could
have easily denied by force, finance and diplomacy?
The French had been active in the area during the 19th century and
earlier (the Ottomans had been an ally, the Crimean War originated in a
dispute over French support for Catholic monks in Palestine, it was
French engineers who built the Suez Canal), while the British were
latecomers in comparison (who had little interest in the area before the
completion of the Canal gave them a quick route to India). That's
probably enough to explain the sense of entitlement.

As for why the British allowed it - 1918 wasn't 1818 or 1718; France and
Britain had been allies for 100 years, more or less, and had no wish to
start fighting again.
Post by Rob
Why wasn't it France more worried about Britain or British puppets
taking over Syria and Lebanon than Britain worried about France taking
over Palestine and Jordan?
--
Pete BARRETT
The Horny Goat
2018-04-24 00:34:57 UTC
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On Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:18:21 +0000 (UTC), Pete Barrett
Post by Pete Barrett
As for why the British allowed it - 1918 wasn't 1818 or 1718; France and
Britain had been allies for 100 years, more or less, and had no wish to
start fighting again.
Very true though the British did NOT have a good impression of French
martial abilities.

"The wogs start at Calais" was NOT considered a joke at that time.
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