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David Fromkin's well-researched book with a most ironic title, A Peace to End All Peace, takes the reader back to the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, its consequences, and the activity of the British in the Middle East after World War I. More than anything else, the Great Game of the British worked both sides of any settlement to the advantage of the British.
Thus, Fromkin's thesis seems to be that from the very beginning peace in the Middle East was doomed as the settlement that followed World War I satisfied no one and Britain worked for its own ends.
For the most part, Britain worked to maintain its passage to India and to prevent Russia and France from taking hold of territory in this area. In his review of Fromkin's book, Erich Brahm states,"While they promised to assist the Arab nations in self-rule, British leaders never believed that such self-rule could be attained." Major conflicts and issues came from such things as the Balfour Declaration which promised a homeland in Palestine to the Jews, but, at the same time, the British bureaucracy and army remained sympathetic to Arab claims. Another problematic agreement was the Sykes-Picot Agreement made secretly between England and France in 1916 which effectively divided the Arab Peninsula into areas for each of them. In 1917 the Bolsheviks exposed the secret agreement "the British were embarrassed, the Arabs dismayed and the Turks delighted."
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