|Don's Home History Remapping Europe and the Middle East after World War I|
In late June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia. An escalation of threats and mobilization orders followed the incident, leading by mid-August to the outbreak of World War I, which pitted Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (the so-called Central Powers) against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan (the Allied Powers). The Allies were joined after 1917 by the United States.|
War I ended in the defeat of the Central Powers in November 1918, more than 9 million soldiers had been killed and 21 million more wounded.
Source: World War I History - World War I - HISTORY.com
During WWI the combatants in the Middle East were on the one hand, the Ottoman Empire (including Kurds, Persians and some Arab tribes), with some assistance from the other Central Powers consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, and on the other hand, the British (with the help of Jews, Greeks, Assyrians and the majority of the Arabs), the Russians (with the help of Armenians) and the French from the Allies of World War I.
The Ottomans ran a multilingual, multireligious empire, ruled by a sultan who also bore the title of caliph--commander of all the world's Muslims. Having joined the losing side in the Great War, however, the Ottomans saw their empire summarily dismantled by European statesmen who knew little about the region's people, geography and customs.
Moreover, the post-war re-mapping bestowed legitimacy on a colonial settler movement, depriving the indigenous Palestinians of their right to their land and their ancestral home.
On November 2, 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration:
His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.