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Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism

Attraction and Repulsion

By Israel Gershoni

Publication Year: 2014

This collection rethinks old paradigms and widely accepted assumptions about the Arab response to fascism and Nazism, bringing to light Arab support for the Allied forces during World War II and its effect on the fate of the Middle East.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xii

The subject of Arab responses to Fascism and Nazism, particularly Egyptian responses, has guided my scholarship over the past two decades. I have attempted to understand how Egyptians perceived totalitarian regimes and positioned themselves vis-à- vis these forces. The further I delved into...

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pp. xiii-xvi

This volume is the result of an international workshop, “Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism, 1933–1945: Reappraisals and New Directions,” held at Tel Aviv University and the Open University of Israel in May 2010. I am indebted to the Israel Science Foundation of the Israel Academy of...

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Introduction: An Analysis of Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism in Middle Eastern Studies

Israel Gershoni

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pp. 1-32

Arab responses to Fascism and Nazism during the interwar era and World War II have preoccupied scholars of the Middle East since the early 1950s. A basic assumption that underpinned ongoing scholarly curiosity was that Arab contacts and experiences with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany...

PART 1. Syria and Lebanon

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1. A Challenge to the Local Order: Reactions to Nazism in the Syrian and Lebanese Press

Götz Nordbruch

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pp. 35-54

The Lebanese and Syrian public closely followed developments in National Socialist Germany. Nazism, as a political regime and an ideology, was a regular topic in local debates; it was scrutinized for signposts with potential directions for future reform and the local political culture in...

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2. Against the Tide: The Secret Alliance between the Syrian National Bloc Leaders and Great Britain, 1941–1942

Meir Zamir

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pp. 55-72

On December 15, 1940, Nuri al-Sa‘ id, former Iraqi prime minister and now foreign minister, sent a letter to the prime minister, Rashid Ali al-Gailani, who headed the pro-German camp, following the escalating tension between Iraq and Great Britain. Referring to the mood that had prevailed...

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3. Memoirs Do Not Deceive: Syrians Confront Fascism and Nazism—as Reflected in the Memoirs of Syrian Political Leaders and Intellectuals

Eyal Zisser

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pp. 73-98

Nassuh Babil (1905–1986) was one of Syria’s leading journalists during the first years of the country’s independence. He was the owner and editor of Damascus’s leading daily newspaper in those days, al-Ayyam, which he purchased in 1932. He also served as chairman of the Association of Syrian...

PART 2. Palestine

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4. More than the Mufti: Other Arab-Palestinian Voices on Nazi Germany, 1933–1945, and Their Postwar Narrations

René Wildange l

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pp. 101-126

The story of the “grand mufti,” al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni, is the most famous— or infamous—example of Arab collaboration with Nazi Germany. Various historians have shown the extent of Husayni’s pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic activities in Germany and the Balkans during the war. He is regularly...

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5. The Spanish Civil War as Reflected in Contemporary Palestinian Press

Mustafa Kabha

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pp. 127-138

The Palestinian press included in its reports references to the Spanish Civil War, recognized as an internationally constitutive event, although it vied for space with the Palestinian revolt of 1936–1939. The war in Spain was usually portrayed as part of journalistic coverage of ongoing events...

PART 3. Iraq

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6. Iraqi Shadows, Iraqi Lights: Anti-Fascist and Anti-Nazi Voices in Monarchic Iraq, 1932–1941

Orit Bashkin

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pp. 141-168

The grandmother of the protagonist in Khalid Kishtainy’s autobiographical novel, Tales from Old Baghdad: Grandma and I, suffers from insomnia. Having been married to a Turkish officer and longing for the return of the glorious days of the Ottoman Empire, the grandmother relies on the...

PART 4. Egypt

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7. The View from the Embassy: British Assessments of Egyptian Attitudes during World War II

James Jankowski

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pp. 171-194

Some appreciation of Egyptian attitudes regarding World War II and its protagonists can be obtained from the assessments of Egyptian public opinion found in the reports of British officials posted in Egypt. British evaluations of the mood of the Egyptian public during the war provide...

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8. The Rise of Homemade Egyptian Communism: A Response to the Challenge Posed by Fascism and Nazism?

Rami Ginat

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pp. 195-216

From the late 1930s, links between international communism and the last remnants of the Egyptian communist movement had hardly existed. This state of affairs would affect the course of the latter’s development. At the same time, the existing labyrinth of Anglo-Egyptian relations and the...

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9. “The Crime of Nazism against Humanity”: Ahmad Hasan al-Zayyat and the Outbreak of World War II

Israel Gershoni

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pp. 217-242

A commonly held theme in the narration of Egyptian intellectual history in the interwar era is that the 1930s ushered in “the shift of Egyptian intellectuals to Islamic subjects.”1 This trend coalesced and expanded in the latter part of the 1930s and the beginning of the 1940s, as it was expressed...

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10. The War and the Holocaust in the Egyptian Public Discourse, 1945–1947

Esther Webman

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pp. 243-268

Post–World War II Egypt was a country of great expectations for the fulfillment of its national aspirations in accordance with the promise epitomized in the advent of a new era of world order. Although its parliament resolved to join the war on the Allies’ side in February 1945 with a very...

PART 5. Other Arab Voices

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11. The Tiger and the Lion: Fascism and Ethiopia in Arab Eyes

Haggai Erlich

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pp. 271-288

The “Ethiopian Crisis” of 1935 had a tremendous impact on global history. It destroyed the “collective security” concept of the League of Nations and opened a chain of developments that eventually led to the outbreak of World War II. In Arab societies of the Middle East, the international...


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pp. 289-344

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 345-354

About the Contributors

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pp. 355-358


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pp. 359-368

E-ISBN-13: 9780292757462
E-ISBN-10: 0292757468
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292757455
Print-ISBN-10: 029275745X

Page Count: 394
Illustrations: 6 photos, 20 line drawings
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 885128081
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Arab Responses to Fascism and Nazism

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Arab countries -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • Fascism -- Arab countries.
  • National socialism -- Arab countries.
  • Political culture -- Arab countries.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Political aspects -- Arab countries.
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