A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (20th Anniversary Edition)

A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (20th Anniversary Edition)

by David Fromkin

Paperback(20th Anniversary Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805088090
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/21/2009
Edition description: 20th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 688
Sales rank: 141,576
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 8.04(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Historian David Fromkin (1932-2017) was a professor at Boston University and the author of several acclaimed books of nonfiction, including The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners. He lived in New York City.

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Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Fromkin gives his readers a sweeping account of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the contemporary Middle East, defined as Egypt, Israel, Iran, Turkey, the Arab states of Asia, Central Asia and Afghanistan (pg. 16). Fromkin mainly focuses on the decision-making process of Europeans and Americans who, between 1914 and 1922, determined the fate of the region without any input of its inhabitants (pg. 17, 400). The area that the much-diminished, anachronistic Ottoman Empire occupied in 1914 was one of the few territories that the European empires had not yet shared among themselves (pg. 24, 32). The European powers did not wait for the fall of the Ottomans before arguing about their respective zones of influence in the region after the war. Statesmen such as Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Kitchener, T.E. Lawrence, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin played leading roles in re-shaping the region. Winston Churchill - at times unintentionally - had the most enduring impact on its cartography (pg. 19, 25, 73, 385-388, 493-529, 558-567). After losing the patronage of Britain against Russia, the weakened Ottoman Empire, anxious to pursue its modernization while living in fear of Western powers' designs, convinced Germany to become its partner in 1914 (pg. 33-50, 75, 142). Fromkin convincingly demonstrates that Churchill was not to blame for pushing Turkey into the arms of Germany (pg. 54-76). Britain and allied powers believed that the Ottoman war would be a sideshow that could be easily managed (pg. 83, 115, 119-123) but they were repeatedly proven wrong (pg. 200-203, 215, 248, 289, 301). The poorly executed attack on Turkey at the Dardanelles could have considerably shortened the duration of the war (pg. 127, 264). Churchill was the scapegoat for the fiasco and was demoted within the government (pg. 128, 154, 159, 161-162, 233). After resigning and spending a few months in the wilderness, Churchill, who was perceived as dangerous across the board, was brought back to the government at the insistence of Lloyd George, the new British Prime Minister (pg. 166, 234, 265-266). Kitchener and his Lieutenants acting on his behalf in British Cairo imposed their design on government's policy towards the Middle East at the expense of the India Office (pg. 88-95, 106-110). Britain would rule the region indirectly after the fall of the Ottoman Empire (pg. 85). Like the French, Kitchener and his men wrongly assumed that the Moslem Middle East would be glad to be ruled by Christians (pg. 93-94, 102, 106). The British looked at Hussein, the Sherif of Mecca and its Emir, as the ideal candidate for the position of 'Pope' of Islam (pg. 105). The British leadership wrongly believed that Islam was a single entity and that temporal and spiritual authority could be easily split (pg. 96, 104). The Arabs misled the Allies about their true strength to fight the Ottoman Empire. This cost Britain dearly because their core competency was only guerilla warfare against the Turks, until the capture of Jerusalem (pg. 186-187, 219-222, 309, 313, 377-378, 396). Over time, the British became disillusioned with Hussein. However, they supported two of his sons in the fulfillment of their ambitions (pg. 326-329, 506-512). Britain entered into negotiations with France, Russia, and later Italy that ultimately resulted in the cursed Sykes-Picot-Sazanov agreement and other secret treaty understandings to share the spoils of victory in the Middle East (pg. 189-199, 267, 287, 330, 334-335, 342-344, 373-379, 391-402). The Allies had no intention to pay the price Hussein demanded for his support to the allied cause (pg. 186, 227); only lip service was paid in the field to the nominal pro-Arab independence policies of London during and after WWI (pg. 325, 345). The French and Russians showed similar contempt for Arab and Islamic aspirations of independence in the Middle East in the same period (pg. 378, 435-440, 463-490). Much to t
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guarantee that you'll know more about the Middle East than any of our politians after reading this book. Reads like a novel. Couldn't put it down.
NomadGorman More than 1 year ago
Before reading this book, the puzzle of how the modern Middle East came to be had quite a few pieces missing! Little did I realize that decisions made during those crucial years, from 1914 through 1922 when the world was engaged in the Great War, accounted for the political form of the modern Middle East. In fact, it had somehow escaped me that the Ottoman Empire, that ruled most of the Middle East in 1914, was dismantled in 1922, following the conflict of the Great War, and that the negotiation of the subsequent armistice treaties gave us the collection of countries we have there today . It is well known that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, launched the Great War, the first World War. Subsequently, a tangle of alliances among the European nations, that had created a fragile geopolitical structure, had deconstructed. Europe was thrust into war. In western Europe, the war soon became one of exhaustion as trench warfare dragged on. What is less well know is that soon after the war had begun, the Ottoman Empire signed a treaty of alliance with Germany and thus joined the Central Powers. Professor Fromkin weaves an intriguing story of the complex and multifaceted events that occurred throughout every corner of the Middle East. Dozens of crucial battles were fought, bargains were made, treaties were executed, kings were crowned, boundaries were drawn, countries were created. The British government was the leading player in this high stakes game but the British government was itself multifaceted. Power bases existed in London, Cairo, and New Delhi, each with their own agendas and world views. For me, the book's greatest revelation was that the Eastern front of the Great War was where the action was! While the Allied and Central Powers forces were bogged down in their trenches in France and Belgium, the battles and troop movements, the strategic decision making, and the drama of war occurred in the theatres of the East. The second great revelation was the story of the role that the United Kingdom played in the founding of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. There was a belief that this could be done without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, so that the resulting populations could live together in peace (a somewhat naive belief considering more recent history). Prime Minister David Lloyd George himself was a Christian Zionist as were many other members of the Cabinet. It must be pointed out that this book is an incredibly complicated, detailed, tightly reasoned, intricate, and well told tale. When the reader comes to the end, it is almost necessary to turn to the beginning and start again! Certainly there is a benefit to rereading chapters and reviewing episodes. This is a big, rich, deep, complex investigation into the events in a small slice of the history of the world that have shaped the destiny of millions of people ever since.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Fromkin from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and an expert on conflicts has written a marvelous book that thoroughly delineated the policies of the dominant powers in the early 1900s, which led to the creation of the modern Middle East. Mr. Fromkin discusses how the seeds of conflict were created by the colonial powers, in order to ensure their continuous dominance over the Middle East and its natural resources. This book subtly addresses the politics of discord creation, and the importance of well designed conflicts in attaining the desired results. Peace to end all peace is a great reading for the history buff who is interested in an elitist perspective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A concise, exciting, well-written condensation of the creation of the modern Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. Fromkin's scope is vast but the prose never gets lost or loses its verve. Anyone interested in understanding all the current yammering about the 'arbitrary' nature of modern Middle East borders will do well to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a first class, detailed analysis of how the Middle East as we know it today was formed. I would highly recommend that this book is read together with Efraim Karsh's "Empires Of The Sands; The Struggle For Mastery Of the Mid-East, 1789 - 1923", for a thorough grounding in this subject. Recent events have shown that, whether we like it or not, matters pertaining to the region are going to affect us all in one way or another. With this in mind, it is disturbing that most people possess an overwhelming, innocent, ignorance or apathy in relation to the background of the region and the context of ongoing disputes and military struggles. This book provides an excellent public service in bringing essential information to the public's attention. Without books like this, such an ignorance of regional matters such as the Palestinian-Israeli issue and Islamic Fundamentalism can give rise to a distorted understanding of these matters, making the public at large so vulnerable to disinformation and propaganda. The author covers the hatreds, disputes, rivalries, vested self-interests and hidden agendas of those individuals and nations involved and responsible for carving out and mapping the region during the post First World War years. The decision making process is covered in detail with reference to recently opened archives of hitherto official secret documents and private papers. This is essential reading for an accurate comprehension of the region. Some matters will astound you, especially the level of appeasement shown by my own British Government towards the regions' Arabs and how the British, with a swipe of the pen, literally gave away the vast majority of land promised as a new Jewish state, to form the new country of Transjordan. Read on and digest. Once you have read this and the book outlined above by Efraim Karsh, might I respectfully recommend that you then proceed to read Joan Peter's remarkable account of the region entitled, "From Time Immemorial; The Origins Of The Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine". Thank you.
ke-cin on LibraryThing 25 days ago
What I enjoyed about this book besides the content is that the writing (for non-fiction history) is not pedantic. It is very readable without sacrificing the quality of the research.
margaretnic on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Others have already said it, but I'll say it again: this is a superb account of the high-handed dealings of the colonial powers, during and just after World War I, which shaped the modern Middle East. Besides being meticulously researched and very well written, the book tells a fascinating story which brims with ironies. Fromkin notes that the British asked the Arabs to trust them, yet the British didn't trust the Arabs, nor did they trust the French or the Russians; in fact, individuals at various levels of the British government didn't even trust each other, and often they misunderstood or flat-out didn't know each other's views. At every turn, throughout that period, the British and the French were deceiving each other, individuals within their governments were deceiving other individuals in the same government, and all of them were deceiving themselves. It's hard to keep all the twists and turns straight, but every chapter brings new insights. One finishes the book with sadness at what happened, but with the satisfaction of finally understanding what went wrong--and why the Middle East remains a power keg today.
ts. on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The last 2 chapters were disappointing.In the last one he makes a quick 10 page conclusion of everything that I thought was just poor;I have a feeling he had a deadline to meet and those last 10 pages he regurgitated the night before it was due.All in all,it was interesting, but very, very dense. I would say university history class level.I would say that I know more now on the history than I did before, but there was such a huge mass of information that you really need to stick to this book and not stop for too long or you'll just forget everything.Despite the poor conclusion, he did say something interesting there:Basically he said that the current system was never meant for Arabia.The Europeans had concurred the world, and the last place to concur was the Middle East.They had concurred America, north and south,Australia, New Zealand, east Asia, Africa...Everything was colonized by them.They believed in this secular nation-state, which worked in Europe, but had never been introduced to the Middle East.First Islam conquered the whole area, and then the ottomans took over for 700 years.Also, the fact that all the leaders were put in place by the English and French meant that the local people had no faith in their politicians, and didn't understand their borders.For example, the Saudi-Jordanian border is the site of where Ibn Saud tried to invade what is now Jordan,but Jordan had king Abdullah, put in place by the English, so the English sent airplanes and tanks and armored vehicles and massacred Ibn Saud's bedouins.They did this to save face. They could not have their puppet being killed or crushed. It would simply make the Brits look weak.The site of that battle became the border of Jordan and Saudi Arabia:hence the names, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.Basically 2 local dynastic tribal leaders tried to adapt to this European idea of nation-states and took their areas of control and turned them into countries.So basically what I think he was trying to say in his conclusion was that that form of government was never meant for the Middle East and won't last long.He was saying that the Europeans underestimated the only unifying factor in Arabia, which was Islam.They would never have believed that a bunch of wahhabi bedouins could invade the hejaz, or that the muslim brotherhood would be so strong today, or the Afghani mujahedeen, or the shia revolution in Iran... He also said that it was like Europe in the 5th centurythe roman empire crumbled and then Europe spent 1000 years warring against each other trying to find a comfortable solution, and it evolved this idea of secular nation states.Anyway, I came off with the feeling that the English and the French screwed up everything, and have the blood of millions of deaths on their hands, and that the countries that exist today are sad jokes.The whole area was part of Greater Syria for 2 weeks. All the Arabs there united under 1 government right in between Egypt and Iran.And I think that's how it should end one day.So to summarize:Pros:Good book.DenseWell researchedCons:As one reviewer mentioned, too euro-centric for a book about the Middle-East.The part on Ibn Saud taking the Hejaz and naming himself king, for example, was about 2 pages long!Also, he seems to quickly mention things that were of utmost importance, such as Ibn Saud collecting vast amounts of money from the British. He does not connect the dots here, because what this means is that Ibn Saud would have had little money to pay his troops and to buy weapons if the British had not payed him off as handsomely as they did, and hence, the world would not know a Wahhabi Saudi Kingdom in control of Islam's two holiest cities. And that, is something worth a chapter or two.
nbmars on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This masterful narrative by David Fromkin describes the formation of the modern Middle East between the years 1914-1922: the fabrication of Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia by Britain, the setting of the frontiers of Syria and Lebanon by France, and the creation of the borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan by Russia. Fromkin contends that the conflicts that unsettle the region today are largely a result of the presumptuous manipulation of peoples and places by the imperialist ambitions of the Triple Entente. The first prize to be divvied up was the Ottoman Empire. Even before the war, secret pacts divided the ¿Sick Man of Europe¿ among the allies in anticipation of its seemingly inevitable demise. But one of Britain¿s largest mistakes was underestimating the Turks, both as a military actor and as a people capable of self-determination, in part because of racism. Another racist current coloring events was a pervasive anti-Semitism among the British governing classes. It caused them to believe that Jews were conspiring with the Germans, the Turks, and of course the Russians for power. (Although many Bolsheviks were born into the Jewish religion, they could be identified as Jews in ¿racial¿ terms only.) As Fromkin notes, ¿The Foreign Office believed that the Jewish communities in America and, above all, Russia, wielded great power.¿ This led them to bizarre misunderstandings of the motives and goals of their adversaries, and to policy formation geared toward an accommodation of the non-existent Jewish conspiracies they saw looming around every corner. The story, told from the perspective of British involvement, begins with the decision by the War Minister, Lord Kitchener, to partition the Middle East after the War. After Lord Kitchener¿s death in 1916, David Lloyd George (Chancellor of the Exchequer and later Prime Minister) and Winston Churchill (serving in several different capacities) played larger roles in the British enterprise in the Middle East. ¿Winston Churchill,¿ Fromkin writes, ¿above all, presides over the pages of this book: a dominating figure whose genius animated events and whose larger-than-life personality colored and enlivened them.¿ Fromkin firmly opposes aspersions on Churchill¿s reputation that arose from his policies in WWI. Contrary to statements of Churchill¿s contemporaries (with their own reputations to protect), Fromkin¿s research shows that Churchill first opposed the Gallipoli option, then tried to make it contingent on a joint army-navy operation, then tried to salvage what was left with what he was given. When disaster ensued (a suspension of the failed campaign after a quarter of a million casualties on Britain¿s side and a similar amount on Turkey¿s), Churchill was made the scapegoat for the ill-conceived and miscarried engagement.Churchill¿s worth was recognized by British leaders, however, and he continued to help formulate policy even after he left the government. After the war, Churchill alone recognized that Britain¿s terms could not be imposed if Britain¿s armies left the field; and he most forcefully argued that the Moslem character of Britain¿s remaining troops in the East must be taken into account lest the army¿s loyalty be compromised.Woodrow Wilson comes off poorly in Fromkin¿s telling -- his insistence on attending peace negotiations upset protocol and added nothing to the process, since he came with ¿many general opinions but without specific proposals¿.¿ ¿Lacking both detailed knowledge and negotiating skills, Wilson was reduced to an obstructive role¿.¿ Naïve and ill-informed, he was manipulated by Lloyd George into furthering Britain¿s imperial aims. Back home, Wilson ¿committed one political blunder after another, driving even potential supporters to oppose him.¿ Nevertheless, Wilson¿s ¿Fourteen Points¿ played an influential role in the politics of Europe.Fromkin ends his fascinating account by observing that following WWI, ¿administration of most of the planet was c
JustMe869 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I was disappointed in this book. It was much too Euro-centric.
patito-de-hule on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A few years ago, Osama bin Laden made a remark about 80 years of injustice. What happened 80 years ago? How did the Middle East come to be as it is now? Fromkin tells us an important piece of that story. This is the story of World War I with primary emphasis on the Ottoman Empire and how the Allies came to divide up the Middle East. It is a very well written book with clear relevance to our own times.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
World War One brought about the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine (including a somewhat conditional Jewish Homeland), and the Transjordan were carved out mainly by the British. Turkey established itself as a separate entity including both European (East Thrace) and Asian parts. David Fromkin leads the reader through the changes that occurred between 1914 and 1922 in meticulous detail. Indeed, this reader found the book¿s main shortcoming to be the welter of specific facts that sometimes obscured the larger picture. Fromkin¿s book was published in 1989 so that it has an interesting historical perspective. The Iranians had thrown out the Americans and the so-called Afghan Arabs had played their (exaggerated) role in pushing the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, but 9-11 remained over a decade in the future. Nonetheless, Fromkin detected the strength of Islam as the most important force in the region. Fromkin notes that the Middle East was the final area of the world to fall to Western (mostly British) imperialism. He also observes that this extension of Western power had long been anticipated with the main question being which country would get how much. In the end the British obtained more paper power than they could reasonable have hoped for, but then they found that by 1922 they had neither the will nor the wherewithal to exert that power. The Great War drained them of both. The British, and to a lesser degree the French and Americans, created weak countries and left major issues such as the fate of Kurds, Jews, and Palestinian Arabs unresolved. An even more fundamental challenge remained and remains. In every other area of the globe subjected to Western dominance, Western forms and principles prevailed, but Fromkin notes that ¿at least one of those assumptions, the modern belief in secular civil government, is an alien creed in a region most of whose inhabitants¿have avowed faith in a Holy Law that governs all life, including government and politics.¿ Fromkin puts his finger right on the problem that the West has in understanding much of the region. Even more daunting, Fromkin argues that the Middle East still has not sorted itself out after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. He notes discouragingly that it took Western Europe about more than a millennium to ¿resolve its post-Roman crisis of social and political identity¿. The region¿s politics lack any ¿sense of legitimacy¿ or ¿agreement on the rules of the game ¿ and no belief, universally shared in the region¿that the entities that call themselves countries or the men who claim to be rulers are entitled to recognition as such.¿ The last such rulers were the Ottoman sultans.With regard to the current troubles in Iraq, one fervently wishes that someone in Washington had appreciated the penetrating analysis by the British civil commissioner Arnold Wilson in 1920 about the area just then being called Iraq. While he was called upon to administer the provinces of Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul, he did not believe they ¿formed a coherent entity¿. As he saw it the Kurds of Mosul would never accept an Arab leader, while the Shi¿ite Moslems would never accept domination by the minority Sunnis, but, to directly quote Wilson, ¿no form of Government has yet been envisaged, which does not involve Sunni domination.¿ And on and on it goes.The book features a number of familiar figures, Winston Churchill most prominent among them. Fromkin¿s favorable treatment of Churchill strongly suggests that Winston was repeatedly ill-served by subordinates, bad luck, and bad press. By 1922, Churchill was finished as a British politician (or so it seemed). Other major figures include Lord Kitchener, David Lloyd George, T.E. Lawrence (about whom many questions are raised). A plethora of lesser known British and French military and civil leaders abound in the pages of Fromkin¿s lengthy tome, not to mention the odd Russia and German. Tur
brewergirl on LibraryThing 6 months ago
I found this book very helpful in understanding the history of the Middle East. I certainly can't claim to be an expert, but my fuzzy comprehension of history and geography was brought more into focus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engaging and informative, this is one of those books that stays with you for a long time.
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A dispassionate account of English foreign policy vis-vis it's political adversaries in the Great Game geopolitics of the early 20th century as it led the charge to carve-up the Ottoman Empire, with regards to the ethnic aspirations of its diversied populace; the aftermath established the taproots of modern Christian-Moslem mutual distrust.
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