In 1914 the Middle East was still dominated, as it had been for some four centuries, by the Ottoman empire; by 1923 its political shape had changed beyond recognition as the result of the claims of Arab and Turkish nationalism and of Zionism. This book examines that historic transformation, taking as its focus the work of three leaders. The Hashemite Emir Feisal hoped to head an Arab kingdom, but was thwarted by the French. The Turkish war hero Mustafa Kemal defied the imperial ambitions of the European powers to inspire a new Turkish nationalism, founding a secular republic on the ruins of the defeated empire. The Russian-born scientist Chaim Weizmann seized the chance to secure from the British in 1917 the Balfour Declaration, benefitting Zionism, and then successfully argued for a British Mandate for Palestine which would administer the territory.
TG Fraser is Professor Emeritus of the University of Ulster. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Andrew Mango was the author of the definitive biography Atatürk (2002). Robert McNamara is a lecturer in International History at the University of Ulster at Coleraine. His publications include Britain, Nasser and the Balance of Power in the Middle East from Egyptian Revolution to the Six Day War (2003).