The Great War and the Middle East
Lecture: The Great War in the Middle East
Speaker: Dr Rob Johnson
Location: Pembroke College, Oxford
A joint event with the Pembroke History Society.
Many of the most commonly accepted assertions about the First World War in the Middle East are more often stated than they are truly tested. Drawing on detailed research into the strategic and operational course of the war in the Middle East, Rob argues that, far from being a sideshow to the war in Europe, the Middle Eastern conflict was in fact the centre of gravity in a war for imperial domination and prestige. Moreover, contrary to another persistent myth of the First World War in the Middle East, local leaders and their forces were not simply the puppets of the Great Powers in any straightforward sense. The way in which these local forces embraced, resisted, succumbed to, disrupted, or on occasion overturned the plans of the imperialist powers for their own interests in fact played an important role in shaping the immediate aftermath of the conflict - and in laying the foundations for the troubled Middle East that we know today.
Dr Rob Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War (CCW) research programme at Oxford University (www.ccw.ox.ac.uk ) and a Senior Research Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. The CCW Programme brings together academics, policy makers and armed forces professionals in the study of war, pursuing a variety of research themes including the future character of war, war and the state in a connected world, non-state warfare, strategy and war, and the moral and legal dimensions of war. Rob Johnson’s primary research interests are in the history of strategy and war, and their contemporary applications. A former British army officer, he is the author of The Great War and the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2016) as well as several other works on conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. He has examined strategic decision-making in a variety of contexts and publications, and draws attention to the local perspectives as well as the difficulties of making strategy based on a selective reading of history.
This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception and the opportunity to buy a copy of Rob Johnson's book The Great War in the Middle East (published by OUP in October 2016).