WWI British Wartime Promises to Different Groups

This is a document outlining with the reasons behind the promises made and the treaties signed between the British and other parties (France, Russia, Italy, the Jews, the Arabs) during the beginning stages of WWI and before. 

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Party Reasoning Promise
Treaty of Constantinople (March 1915): offered Russia that control of the
GB wanted Russia to remain involved in
Dardanelle traits and access to warm-water port.
the war.
Russia o Russians recognized the rest of the Ottoman territory as French and
There was a fear that the Russians might
British zones of influence and agreed to British control of central
Sykes ­ Picot Agreement :
o 2 categories of control: direct and indirect.
o British would take direct control of Baghdad to the Persian Gulf and
GB started discussing future partition of
indirect control over the region that ran from the Egyptian border
France the Ottoman Empire in order to reassure
through the Persian Gulf.
their major ally.
o France would directly control Lebanon and coastal region of Syria up
to Iranian border.
o Palestine to be administered internationally.
Treaty of London (April 1915): promised Ottoman territory in return for their
support to the Entente powers.
Italy GB wanted to bring Italy in the war.
Saint-Jean Maurienne Agreement (August 1917): further promised
south-west Anatolia to Italy.
British started showing sympathy for the
Zionist cause for many reasons:
o Would help war effort because it
would appeal to the Russian Jews,
Balfour Declaration (November 1917): stated that the British government
who were influential
"viewed in favor of the establishment of Palestine of a national home for the
Jewish people."
Jews o Cause of the Jewish homeland
o Moved away from their promise concluded in Sykes ­ Picot and now
would attract support from the US
supported the idea of placing Palestine under direct British control
and put pressure via the American
after the war.
o Supporting the Zionist cause
would give the UK access to the
strategic region of Palestine.

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Mediterranean Sea and
Suez Canal
The Sharif ­ McMahon Correspondence formed the basis of the promises
made to the Arabs.
o For Hussein, Arab territory included all the Arab-speaking provinces
British were aiming to incite an Arab
east of Egypt.
Revolt to divert the Ottoman troops and
o McMahon claimed that the inhabitants lying west of Damascus were
weaken their war effort.
not purely Arab and therefore coastal region should not be regarded
Sharif of Mecca was contacted informing
as Arab territory.…read more


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