The first book to present an analysis of Arab response to fascism and Nazism from the perspectives of both individual countries and the Arab world at large, this collection problematizes and ultimately deconstructs the established narratives that assume most Arabs supported fascism and Nazism leading up to and during World War II. Using new source materials taken largely from Arab memoirs, archives, and print media, the articles reexamine Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Iraqi responses in the 1930s and throughout the war.
While acknowledging the individuals, forces, and organizations that did support and collaborate with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism focuses on the many other Arab voices that identified with Britain and France and with the Allied cause during the war. The authors argue that many groups within Arab societies—elites and non-elites, governing forces, and civilians—rejected Nazism and fascism as totalitarian, racist, and, most important, as new, more oppressive forms of European imperialism. The essays in this volume argue that, in contrast to prevailing beliefs that Arabs were de facto supporters of Italy and Germany—since “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”—mainstream Arab forces and currents opposed the Axis powers and supported the Allies during the war. They played a significant role in the battles for control over the Middle East.
Israel Gershoni is a professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History and Kaplan Chair for the History of Egypt and Israel at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Dame and Devil: Egypt and Nazism, 1935–1940, volumes 1 and 2, and coauthor of Confronting Fascism in Egypt: Dictatorship versus Democracy in the 1930s.
"This is a terrific book—cutting-edge scholarship on a very important topic by a diverse group of respected scholars. . . . This is a collection that should be in every major library collection. . . . It will certainly be cited regularly in future works on the subject—and, not least, it is written in a style that will be very accessible to a very broad audience."
~Joel Gordon, Professor of History and Director of Middle East Studies, University of Arkansas
"Gershoni has written an important work, showing that history and human motivations are never simple, and that much of what we think we know about the past is probably wrong."
"A compelling new collection edited by Israel Gershoni . . . Its comprehensive overview of the topic, engaging prose, and historiographical rigor combine to produce a cumulative work highly recommended for specialists and general readers alike."
~American Historical Review
"[A] major contribution to the growing literature on this subject . . . Gershoni may be seeking to establish a revised narrative on this subject but there is a refreshing range of opinions in his volume."
~Middle Eastern Studies
Introduction: The Analysis of Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism in Middle Eastern Studies
Part I: Syria and Lebanon
1. A Challenge to the Local Order: Reactions to Nazism in the Syrian and Lebanese Press
2. Against the Tide: The Secret Alliance between the Syrian National Bloc Leaders and Great Britain, 1941–1942
3. Memoirs Do Not Deceive: Syrians Confront Fascism and Nazism--as Reflected in the Memoirs of Syrian Political Leaders and Intellectuals
Part II: Palestine
4. More than the Mufti: Other Arab-Palestinian Voices on Nazi Germany, 1933–1945, and Their Postwar Narrations
5. The Spanish Civil War as Reflected in Contemporary Palestinian Press
Part III: Iraq
6. Iraqi Shadows, Iraqi Lights: Anti-Fascist and Anti-Nazi Voices in Monarchic Iraq, 1932–1941
Part IV: Egypt
7. The View from the Embassy: British Assessments of Egyptian Attitudes during World War II
8. The Rise of Homemade Egyptian Communism: A Response to the Challenge Posed by Fascism and Nazism?
9. "The Crime of Nazism against Humanity": Ahmad Hasan al-Zayyat and the Outbreak of the World War II
10. The War and the Holocaust in the Egyptian Public Discourse, 1945–1947
Part V: Other Arab Voices
11. The Tiger and the Lion: Fascism and Ethiopia in Arab Eyes
About the Contributors
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