HST 504 - Week 7.docx
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HST 504 – Week 7
“direct and assimilation rule”
A Web of Unseemly Promises: The Hussein-McMahon letters, the Balfour Declaration, and the Sykes-
The Great War had profound impact on international relations not only in Europe but also around
the world. The war created a paradoxical situation.
On the one hand, all the Great Powers had no choice but to draw significantly on their colonial
resources for the war effort.
Millions of non-Europeans fought on the battlefields in Europe, while colonies mobilized for war
The Europeans relentlessly exploited their colonies as the war of attrition drained their own
capacity to manufacture goods and munitions.
On the other hand, by drawing them into the conflict, the war significantly transformed the
The growth of industrial production outside of Europe changed the socio-economic fabric of the
Many regions experienced tremendous industrialization and modernization, which fuelled
resentment towards the colonial overseers.
Amidst all the fighting, many (including Wilson and Lenin) concluded that imperialism was one of
the key causes of the Great War.
Yet, at the war’s end, the Great Powers did not believe that the right to self-determination should
apply to the colonized territories.
They all saw the war as an opportunity to expand at the expense of the war’s losers.
In the postwar years, they legitimized their colonial aggrandizements through a system of
territorial mandates under the League of Nations.
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