What was Lawrence of Arabia's real role in the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is some degree of dispute about the real role that T. E. Lawrence played in the Arab Revolt during World War I.  From the Western perspective, Lawrence played a very important role.  It was Lawrence who ensured that the British would supply the uprising with weapons and, more importantly, with gold.  It was Lawrence who helped to forge compromises between different tribes and different leaders to allow the uprising to go forward.  It was Lawrence who supplied both the strategic and the tactical abilities that made the rebellion a success.

Arab historians tend to feel that Lawrence’s role has been overstated.  They say that people like the future King Feisal were much more important.  They feel that Lawrence played only a supporting role and that he has been promoted in the West simply because he was a Westerner. 

There is no objective way to determine what Lawrence’s “real” role was because it is almost 100 years since the rebellion and because questions of responsibility for something like that uprising are inherently subjective.


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