November 11, 1918, in the Middle East

AHA Session 37
Thursday, January 4, 2018: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Columbia 8 (Washington Hilton, Terrace Level)
Leonard V. Smith, Oberlin College
The End? The Ottoman Day of Armistice
Mustafa Aksakal, Georgetown University
November 11, 1918, Viewed from Tehran: Iranian Responses to the Armistice
Oliver Bast, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle
The Egyptian Armistice: From Autonomy to Independence
Aimee Genell, University of Miami
Leonard V. Smith, Oberlin College

Session Abstract

Over past decades, scholarship on the Great War’s end in Europe has yielded a rich literature on the ambiguities of the military armistice, the social costs of war, and the process of mourning. The centennial has now brought the Middle Eastern theater of the war into clearer focus, for its importance not only to the trajectory of war in Europe but also in gauging the war's traumatic impact on the peoples of the Middle East. However, aside from elite and diplomatic views of the war’s end in the Middle East, exemplified by Erez Manela’s The Wilsonian Moment and David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace, little notice has been given to how Middle Eastern peoples experienced November 11, 1918. Our panelists draw on recent research into Persian, Arabic and Turkish sources to compose a portrait of how Middle Eastern peoples experienced the end of the Great War in the critical weeks before the Paris Peace conference opened. This was a liminal moment of reckoning with what had been the greatest cataclysm to befall the region until the present day. We look at how Middle Easterners grasped the moment before the imperial, racial and national agendas of Big Four at Paris were imposed. We consider, too, how today's implosion of Middle Eastern government and society may be linked to those paths not taken and dreams deferred.
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