chapter  3
21 Pages

World War I

BySusan Silsby Boyle

First World War was a grim conflict of unprecedented machine warfare. Millions died in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East due to fighting and starvation, including more than 30 percent of Syria's population. The British double-dealing that ruptured Arab trust began during the war. By the start of the revolt, Turks were already killing Arabs in Syria whom they suspected of "treasonable participation in activities of which the aims were to separate Syria, Palestine, and Iraq from the Ottoman sultanate and to constitute themselves into an independent state." Arabs felt betrayed by the November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration pledging British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and by the Sykes-Picot plan, a secret Anglo-French agreement for postwar dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, including Greater Syria, which was published by the Russians in December 1917. Zionism was a political movement based on invented traditions, in behalf of which shrewd political personalities lobbied a network of British officials.