Remember Germans' role in Middle East

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Simon Guy’s article (“The Use and Abuse of the Arab Revolt”, June SR) is a timely reminder of the role of imperialism in the Great War in the formation of the Arab world today.

However I would just like to point out that it was not inevitable that the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers, but the result of an assiduous campaign by the Germans, heavily subsidised by German finance capital and fronted by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

As early as July 1914, Wilhelm had declared, “Our Consuls in Turkey and India, agents, etc, must inflame the whole Mohammedan world against this hateful, lying, conscienceless people of shopkeepers.” The building of the Berlin to Baghdad railway and its adjunct, the Hejaz railway, was meant to be a dagger aimed at the heart of the British Empire.

And although everybody has heard of Lawrence of Arabia, there were the German agents that the Kaiser referred to, such as Hans Luhrs and Oskar von Niedermayer, fomenting holy war in the region against the allied imperial powers, and coming very close to achieving quite a different outcome to this round of the “Great Game”.

Steve Guy
Brighton