State Formation in the Arab Parts of the Former Ottoman Empire since the World War by Origin, Significance, and Viability


Die Staatenbildungen in den arabischen Teilen der Türkei seit dem Weltkriege nach Entstehung, Bedeutung und Lebensfähigkeit (State formation in the Arab parts of the former Ottoman Empire since the World War by origin, significance, and viability) is a study examining the formation of the Arab states of the Middle East in the aftermath of World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Anticipating the demise of the Ottoman Turks in the war and fearful of an ascendant Russia, between November 1915 and March 1916 Great Britain and France negotiated the secret Sykes–Picot Agreement, which divided the Ottoman Arab provinces outside the Arabian Peninsula into British and French spheres of influence. At the end of the war, Syria (which included Lebanon) became a French mandate, while Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq were made British mandates. The book also discusses the non-mandated states in the Arabian Peninsula, including the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz, and the realm of the House of Saud (which at the time also included the Emirate of Jabal Shammar in the north and the short-lived Idrisid Emirate of Asir in the southwest). The resurgent House of Saud later annexed Hejaz and in 1932 established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In addition, the book examines the Arab nationalist movement and the struggle for independence from the Turks. It concludes with a long bibliography and a list of documents pertaining to the various agreements that have shaped the Middle East. The author, Erich Topf (1904‒83), was a German jurist who was active during the Nazi era. He was born in Magdeburg and studied at the universities of Berlin and Göttingen. In his short foreword, he stresses the importance of the region for German foreign policy. While acknowledging the “consequences of a lost war,” he argues that “the obvious duty” of rebuilding Germany “should not limit our horizon only to the immediate region of Middle Europe.”

Last updated: April 29, 2016