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Research at St Andrews

Le Front du Moyen-Orient: The Middle East in French Great War Strategy, 1914-1918

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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France's presence in the Middle East during the First World War was less of a military actor that influenced the outcome of the campaigns and more a symbol of its political aspirations in the region. The theatre demanded further mobilisation of its already strained national resources and coordination with its allies. Its military presence in the Middle East reflected its foreign policy goals in the region while the actual gains it made were the reward for its efforts on the western front, where it was the principal military player. A study of the Middle East front from the French perspective, therefore, holds interesting lessons on military means and political objectives.

France participated in the Dardanelles operation and responded to calls for a Syrian expeditionary force not because of military or naval considerations but for imperial reasons. It was French colonialists, rather than the military within the state machinery, who saw the protection of French interests in the Middle East as part of their strategic goal. Evidently, political ambitions were in play but cloaked by the plea of military necessity. Nevertheless, the decision to send a French contingent to fight the Ottomans had strategic consequences because France was now unequivocally pitted against the Ottomans and it had to now think in terms of the defensive systems needed to protect French conquests in the aftermath of the war.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Great War in the Middle East
EditorsRobert Johnson, James Kitchen
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe 8th New Research in Military History Conference: Hosted by the British Commission for Military History - University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Nov 201718 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in First World War history


ConferenceThe 8th New Research in Military History Conference: Hosted by the British Commission for Military History
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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