On the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, one of the bloodiest battles of World War One and often referred to as ‘Churchill’s folly,’ a new book by former Archives By-Fellow, Dr Warren Dockter seeks to overturn the widely-accepted consensus that Churchill was indifferent to, and even contemptuous of, matters concerning the Middle East.
Churchill and the Islamic Wold: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East, sheds light on an important yet little known aspect of Churchill’s life and career. Analysing the future Prime Minister’s experiences of the East, including his work as Colonial Under-Secretary in the early 1900s, his relations with the Ottomans and conduct during the Dardanelles Campaign of 1915–16, his arguments with David Lloyd- George over Turkey, and his pragmatic support of Syria and Saudi Arabia during World War II, Dr Dockter suggests that Churchill’s policy making was often more informed and relatively progressive when compared to the Orientalist prejudices of many of his contemporaries.
Using material from the Churchill Archives Centre, Dr Dockter’s book challenges the popular depiction of Churchill as an ignorant imperialist when it came to the Middle East, showing how he left a lasting legacy in the region, which continues to be felt in Middle Eastern politics and British policy today.
Dr Warren Dockter is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall and former Archives By-Fellow at Churchill College, whose research interest lies in British Imperialism in the Middle East during the late nineteenth and twentieth century. He has written widely on Sir Winston Churchill, and is regularly published in The Telegraph.