Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Propaganda photo depicts German soldiers (under Hitler regime) being happily welcomed by Soviet civilians in 1941 during Nazi invasion of U.S.S.R.

Terrorists and dictatorial regimes depend heavily on media to keep their target populations calm and confused. That is, their own populations and other populations. Photo found on Wikipedia, but is part of today's German Archive.

Lurene's email in 2014:

APRIL 23, 1990

• Papers due first week of June

Lebanon 1920-1929 and WWII Period

1850-1861; 1914-1920 – Lebanon’s special status. First period of Syrian border.

British created Lebanon, semi-autonomous, with excuse of “saving” Christians. French in 1920 also were concerned, morally, politically, strategically, with Lebanon. Maronites wanted a greater Lebanon, then Beirut was not included. They wanted defense guarantees, as well.

August, 1920. Lebanese borders changed, expanded. Added the UPPER GALLILEE. This territory was mostly Shi’ite. Also added, Sunni area of Tripoli’s (port). To East, the Bekka Valley, Shi’ite and Sunni-French wanted to keep Christian majority. Whole sectarian structure changed.

1932 – 53% Christian 47% Muslim. (6.3% Druze, 6.3% Shi’ites)

1) Why did the French create Lebanon?
2) What is Lebanese nationalism?

Contradicting strains of nationalism. European, Christian wedge in Arab lands.

1926 – First Lebanese Constitution imposed by French. Article 95 speaks about proportional representation in the constitution. To this day it’s relevant.

1943 – Lebanon becomes independent.

But system, electoral, was reflection of 1932 census results. No proportion to representation. So, to conclude, the Lebanese nationalism expresses a certain oneness w/ Syria.

1936 – Agreement. Syria agreed Lebanon is separate entity. This was the French CONDITION for granting Syria independence. From Syrian view, imposed agreement. From Lebanese view, no clear movement to become part of Syria → PPS – popular Syria Party formed 1936 by Antun Sa’adah, Christian Lebanese.

Tried to form national movement to unify Syria, Lebanese under secular, fascist govt.

From the first day, Lebanese “identity” crisis.

→ Syria as an object for outside Activity 1936 on → two or three outside powers who did not really recognize Syrian independence: Iraq, Transjordan – both ruled by Hashemite rulers. Saudi Arabia the third power.

Why Saudis? Wanted no religious rival centers. Wanted control of Damascus. Dispute with Hashemites in J. and Iraq. Arab legitimacy out of Damascus – Saudi’s wanted control.

1936 – with arab revolt, emergence of two poles in mid-east. Saudi’s also wanted to fight the “Western enemy” through the only independent country in region. Wanted “throne”.

1936 – Abdullah in Transjordan wanted Syria – Jordan entity UNDER Jordanian crown. Abdullah meddled.

But Syrians:

1) No French/British dispute
2) British investment in Syria
3) Jordanians did not want to appear imperialistic

British did not want Germans in Region, so wanted quiet.

1939, Abdullah again wanted Syria for his Kingdom.

Abdullah’s reasons:

1) Free from French
2) Deserved a king
3) Unite Arab world under Hashemites
4) Also, wanted Holy sites under Hashemites

Saudis appealed to British to help with Abdullah.

British did not know that Hashemites were not well-loved by nationalists.

Saudi prince should become king of Syria – British, Germany said.

Dec. 1940 – Vichy regime takes Syria. Did not have any use for an independent Syria.

British really wanted Syria back in 1939, to enjoy pre-war I dominance. They said, if not the Saudis, then an Egyptian Prince, backed by Saudis and unprovoking of Hashemites.

Abdullah, exasperated, sold arms to Druze in Syria to gain influence. Hoped they would rebel against French. French knew very well what was going on. Knew British intelligence was in Druze area of Syria.

Abdullah was turned down flat on Syria.


I. Germany and the Syrian Campaign

• Rashid Ali Govt in Iraq collapses, Nazis withdraw
• Germans still on North African front
• German’s left Manteuffel’s liaison group in Syria over Vichy’s objections
• Syria under Vichy France, but not completely with the Axis. Italian control commission there, as well.

II. Axis Activity in Syria Depended on Franco-German Relations

• Paris Protocols – German-French agreements. French said these agreements were in Germany’s interest, since any agreement could aggravate Franco-Anglo relations.
• Weygand, Boisson (French) talk with Germans @ protocols 1941, June. France wanted from Germany:

1) Restoration of French sovereignty over France, except where German troops stationed.
2) Special status for Alsace-Lorraine until conclusion of Peace Treaty
3) Gradual release of war prisoners
4) Reduction of occupation costs
5) German public statement renouncing claims on Syria, North and West Africa
6) Abolition of control commissions in Africa or their weakening

 Hitler hints to Darlan, May 11, that German concessions to France must not weaken Germany

• British imperial and Free French troops to France’s mandated territories June 8, nulling any serious talks.

Nazi intentions/foundations late Spring, Summer of 1941

• Lack of trust, aversion to French Vichy govt.
• Alliance with Italy had claims on France, also obstacle to Franco-German relations
• Nazis did not believe French-English clash would occur
• Nazis hoped U.S.S.R. attack would erase their need for such compromises.
• Actually, after fall of Iraq, Germans wanted to withdraw to keep British out. (Germans were fighting there)

→ Germans used restraint in Syria, but Syrian troops had Gaullist sympathies, mainly. Allies feared German control of the Levant, so British and Free France launched operation “Exporter” on June 8. German’s pull back, not wanting to meddle in Vichy France, British conflict.

But Germans pressured Vichy to uphold strong effort. Vichy France did not want to anger Germans, because they controlled metropolitan France.

 Germany, after more talks, agrees to help Vichy France by bombing North Palestine, Alexandria, Haifa on British troops, ships, as France requests. But they don’t go all out on this.
 Germans wanted airport, airstrip in Syria. French say no.

June 22, 1941 Hitler invades Russia.

After June 22, 1941, French quit relying on German support. Vichy France took negative view of German help, anyway, because it was afraid of French troops in Syria and American’s reaction. Didn’t want British attack on North African French possessions, either.




Abdullah wanted to take over Syria. Why? Who would help – the British. But British did not want to control Syria through Abdullah. They backed the Iraqui Hashemites. They wanted Hashemites on their side, but not a commitment.

Iraqui attitude on Syria

• Since 1936, thought of themselves as superior to arab states.
• Independent in 1932
• Kings saw themselves as successors to King Faisal (of Syria)
• Wanted revenge
• Wanted Iraqui – Hashemite crown.

Iraq wanted to know what went wrong. Tried to calm Arab revolt in 1936, like the Saudis. This was beginning of Arab rivalry.

1935 – Nori al–Said, Iraqui prime minister, 1936 wanted to unite Iraq and mandatory Palestine. That union would eventually include Syria (including Lebanon).

Iraq leaders –

Faysal – died 1933
Ghazi – 1933-39
Regent Abdal-Ilah and Nurial-Said making decisions

1938 – French plan to bring Hashemite King to Syria. Why a king? (Lack of Syrian national feeling on this)

1943-1958 uniting (Iraq) the dominant idea

1943 –

British were against the Syrian Cresent Design. It was clear that the best bet was a fragmented mid-east. Supported Arab league, but Arab league a theatre for Egypt-Saudi/Hashemite Rivalry. But did not want, in 1941, to be seen as supporting fragmentation.

Development of Arab-Nationalism

Yearning for independence from Turks for Muslim-Arab entity. 1920-1945 – Get rid of Western powers (fr-Brit) and remove lines created by West. They succeeded in the former. Emergence of Arab Elites, new breed of nationalism. Each country developed a new, separate identity.

Syria still unsure of their role. 1945/48-1967-

1948 served as a painful remainder that unity not possible. Up to 1967, countries start going after THEIR interests. In 1967, the last united Arab effort.


• Effective Vichy resistance depended on Turkey; afraid of British/Turkish collaboration
• Turks would have occupied North Syria, but only by agreement of both belligerents. Turks didn’t want trouble with Germany.
• Vichy govt. wanted petro, which Germans stored in Turkey. Vichy ended up having to use ocean lanes. Vulnerable to British Air, Naval attack.
• Vichy also requested Berlin’s diplomatic aid with the Turks. Also requested Italy do this. Both turned France down because of competitive intrigue.

German Activities Among Arabs

• German Activity in Syrian Campaign concentrated mainly in Turks, Vichy.
• After fall of Rashid Ali in Iraq, Germans considered using Arabs to sabotage oil lines, pumps. Drawing Arabs into fight against British, Gaullist forces.
• Arab leaders generally antipathetic toward France, distrustful of English. Leaned toward Germans.
• But Vichy, France controlled Syria. Germany, Vichy collaborated. So Germans not popular with Syrian nationalists.
• Shukri Quwatli, nationalist leader in Syria, wanted to use German-supplied weapons against France.
• There were Arab fighters, but they would not cooperate with Vichy as Germans wanted.
• Germany. Complain, Rahn, that Syrians complacent.
• Germany had no intention of challenging France’s designs on Syria and Lebanon.
• Damascus fell to British (after battle) on June 21, 1941.
• The Axis lost Syria, but did not try very hard. Germans were busy in Russia and the Nazi aversion to the French played a role.#

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