All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Andre Millard

Advisory Committee Members

Harriet Doss

Brian Steele

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


A vital attempt at continued peace after the First World War that I chose to focus on for my thesis is the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference. The British government wanted an inexpensive peace that suited its own interests, and they used emissaries, particularly Winston Churchill, Gertrude Bell and T. E. Lawrence to maneuver the Cairo Peace Conference of 1921 to that end. This thesis discusses how after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the British unofficially offered the Arabs autonomy via the Hussein-McMahon letters if they gave the British support against the Turks during the Arab Revolt. The Arabs fought against the Turks under the leadership of T. E. Lawrence but the British had little intention of following through with their promises. When the Sykes-Picot Agreement was made public, much of the Middle East which had formerly been under Ottoman control was divided between the British and the French into spheres of influence which these European countries would oversee under the League of Nations mandate system. Terrified at the idea of the Russians getting a foothold in the Middle East, the British were determined to get Arab rulers in place who could be manipulated by British authorities. One of the main goals of the conference was to decide who those rulers would be. Diplomat Gertrude Bell and Lawrence were instrumental in ensuring that two brothers of the Hashemite tribe, Faisal and Abdullah, were made the first kings of the countries of Iraq and Transjordan respectively. This thesis discusses how at the Cairo conference cost reduction was the primary goal, rather than laying the groundwork for future Arab autonomy. Under the mandate system, Palestine was declared to be under British administration, which along with increasing Jewish immigration led to increasing tensions in the region. The Cairo conference proved a success in terms of its short-term goals of cost reduction, but in terms of a long-term “peace,” the Cairo Conference failed, for it only exacerbated tensions in the Middle East for years to come.



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