Addendum: Promises, Promises

Taylor Downing on the effects of the Great War on Middle Eastern history.

The First World War and the years immediately following was a crucial era in shaping the modern Middle East. This period witnessed the creation of most of the states in the region (in forms which have largely survived until the present) out of the ruins of the Turkish Empire and it saw the foundations laid for much of the tension and instability that characterises the area today. The Imperial War Museum has recently opened a major new, long-term, exhibition called The Middle East, which examines these years by looking at the military campaigns which led to Turkish defeat and at the contradictory promises made by the allied powers during the war. At the end one is left in no doubt of the contemporary relevance of the exhibition, pondering the implications of deeds performed and promises made in the heat of war.

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