Role of the Islamic World in WWII

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Texas Jäger
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Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Texas Jäger » 15 Apr 2020 16:47

Much has been written on the topic of collaboration between individual Muslims like Rashid Ali, and the Axis Powers, but what was the general stance of the Muslim/Arab World to the war, whether the states or the people themselves if it could be summarized? Which side did the non-colonized countries fight? I can't find much information on this subject.

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balkanguy44
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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by balkanguy44 » 15 Apr 2020 21:55

Hello, Texas Jäger

I think the book "Islam and Nazi Germany's War" by David Motadel is perfect for answering your questions.

Kind regards,
BG44
Cheers,
BG44

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 15 Apr 2020 21:59

Come visit our sites:
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World War II Resources

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Texas Jäger
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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Texas Jäger » 15 Apr 2020 22:51

Thanks, but I know about the Mufti and he's one man and represented a small group of people, I mean an overview of the Muslim world. Like large movements or sentiments, or what the actual countries like Saudi Arabia were up to during the war.

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by OpanaPointer » 15 Apr 2020 22:57

Texas Jäger wrote:
15 Apr 2020 22:51
Thanks, but I know about the Mufti and he's one man and represented a small group of people, I mean an overview of the Muslim world. Like large movements or sentiments, or what the actual countries like Saudi Arabia were up to during the war.
It's what I had, so I tossed it out. If you check his wikipedia page you might find more breadcrumbs in the references. I always check them first to see how the article is sourced.
Come visit our sites:
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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Apr 2020 09:06

balkanguy44 wrote:
15 Apr 2020 21:55
Hello, Texas Jäger

I think the book "Islam and Nazi Germany's War" by David Motadel is perfect for answering your questions.

Kind regards,
BG44
I would endorse that. There are a couple of other issues.

1. Islam was not as powerful a motivation in the middle of the twentieth century as it is seen now. By the end of the C19th the Islamic world had seen its culture overtaken by Christian Europe, and by 1918 the ottoman Empire was gone and its old subjects part of European empires or protectorates. There were two responses. #1 to look at Attturk's nationalist secular state for inspiration. This would inspire a swathe of nationalist leaders in the middle east and North Africa e.g. -Nasser - the pan Arab Ba'athists. This appealed to much of the elites of these countries. #2 Reinvent Islam as a grass roots movement. The Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt and various theologians whose names I can never remember. These threatened the status quo in their societies as much as the reformation in the Christian world. They were not important in WW2.

2. Intelligent people regardless of religion or colonial status could see Nazi ideology was fundamentally racist and axis rule as likely to be cruel. This is something that comes through from the accounts of African and West Indian volunteers. Motadel refers to anti British Egyptians happiest to chant "Heil Rommel" when Rommel was far away.

3. Muslim populations were in better position to negotiate de-colonisation with the Allied colonial powers. Much of the British ruling class and popular opinion would concede that self determination was inevitable. Churchill signing up to the Atlantic Charter rather formalised that it would be a matter of time. Muslims from the Punjab were over represented in the British Indian Army. Supporting the British War effort from Muslim leaders could do no hard if they wanted to establish a south Asian Muslim state. Post 1942 French North Africa was pro allied as the French, somewhat cynically declared that they were all French and were going to liberate the fatherland. Most of the soldiers crying allah akbar on the battlefields on the western and southern fronts were fighting for the allies. It is only when you visit the cemeteries you realiase how many Muslims died fighting the Nazis.

The film "Days of Glory" tells the story of North African Muslims in Italy and France


This isn't the best version, but the only film showing the FEC taking the hills south of cassino

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Apr 2020 12:59

There is an interesting paper by Tarif Khalidi on The Arab World in The Great World War 1914-45, (2001)https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-World-Wa ... 0007116330 This is the second volume of an academic work looking back on the two world wars. Currently cheap on Amazon

Tarif Khalidi is a Palestinian Historian who now holds the Shaykh Zayid Chair in Islamic and Arabic Studies at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He was writing as the Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic and a fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He wrote about the Arab experience of of the two conflicts. "The First world was a period of massive injustice and betrayal, =great expectations followed by massive let downs. The second was a comic rerun of the first..... In WW1 the Arab World paid a heavy price for imperial collapse. In the second it sat on the sidelines." His witnesses, mostly children or young people at the time remembered shortages, skeletons begging food on street corners and betrayal by the Turks British and French. After the war and imperial collapse were they to be reborn as Arabs? Lebanese, Syrians Iraqis and Palestinians? Muslims?

During WW2 life was pretty good in the Arab world. Food was always available. There was a middle east food control and bread was always cheap. The build up of British military effort brought an economic boom . The Brits were employers, customers and suppliers.

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Texas Jäger
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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Texas Jäger » 17 Apr 2020 05:52

Thanks for all the responses. According to Wikipedia both Bahrain and Oman for example declared war on Germany. Does anyone know why? Was it just caving to British pressure?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declara ... rld_War_II
Also the Nazis apparently invaded Albania, so what was their official policy there?

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Andy H » 17 Apr 2020 14:47

Texas Jäger wrote:
17 Apr 2020 05:52
Thanks for all the responses. According to Wikipedia both Bahrain and Oman for example declared war on Germany. Does anyone know why? Was it just caving to British pressure?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declara ... rld_War_II
Also the Nazis apparently invaded Albania, so what was their official policy there?
Hi

Not sure 'pressure' would be the correct word in this instance. Given that they had RAF & RN bases respectively in situ when war was declared.

Regards

Andy H

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Texas Jäger
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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Texas Jäger » 17 Apr 2020 20:40

Andy H wrote:
17 Apr 2020 14:47
Texas Jäger wrote:
17 Apr 2020 05:52
Thanks for all the responses. According to Wikipedia both Bahrain and Oman for example declared war on Germany. Does anyone know why? Was it just caving to British pressure?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declara ... rld_War_II
Also the Nazis apparently invaded Albania, so what was their official policy there?
Hi

Not sure 'pressure' would be the correct word in this instance. Given that they had RAF & RN bases respectively in situ when war was declared.

Regards

Andy H
8O oh, well that explains it.

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Apr 2020 20:16

Was there any sort of cohesive "Islamic World" at the time?

Turkey had taken a lead by declaring a Jihad against the Allies in WWI, but it had been reduced to a little influential rump after the war.

Even the more focused Arab League wasn't founded until 1945.

The problem for the Islamic World seems to have been that it had no dominant leading nation and no common institutions.

As a result, while Transjordan and its small Arab Legion proved very useful to the British, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem threw in his lot with the Germans.

There seems to have been no "Islamic World" position in WWII, just a series of individual national positions.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Apr 2020 00:22

Texas Jäger wrote:
17 Apr 2020 05:52
Thanks for all the responses. According to Wikipedia both Bahrain and Oman for example declared war on Germany. Does anyone know why? Was it just caving to British pressure?
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declara ... rld_War_II
Also the Nazis apparently invaded Albania, so what was their official policy there?
I repeat from the paper by the Palestinian professor at the American University at Beirut. WW2 was a boom time for middle eastern arabs. The British administration were employers, supplier and customers.

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Apr 2020 11:57

Hi Texas Jager,

Bahrein and Oman were British Protectorates, like Zanzibar and most Malay states.

British protected states were a loose form of British rule. The local rulers retained absolute control over internal affairs, while the British exercised control over defence and foreign affairs. Thus the British were in a strong position to tip them into war on their side.

It was the Italians who invaded Albania, which they effectively controlled already, in April 1939. The Germans only occupied Albania out of necessity when the Italians signed an Armistice with the Allies in 1943.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Texas Jäger » 27 Apr 2020 13:11

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Apr 2020 20:16
Was there any sort of cohesive "Islamic World" at the time?

Turkey had taken a lead by declaring a Jihad against the Allies in WWI, but it had been reduced to a little influential rump after the war.

Even the more focused Arab League wasn't founded until 1945.

The problem for the Islamic World seems to have been that it had no dominant leading nation and no common institutions.

As a result, while Transjordan and its small Arab Legion proved very useful to the British, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem threw in his lot with the Germans.

There seems to have been no "Islamic World" position in WWII, just a series of individual national positions.

Cheers,

Sid
Leaving aside the Muslim troops that fought for other countries (Libyans for Italy, Bosnians for Germany, North Africans for France, Turkic peoples for the U.S.S.R. etc): did any Muslim nation field it’s own forces to the battlefield?

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Re: Role of the Islamic World in WWII

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Apr 2020 11:12

Hi TJ,

Iraq did, when the Germans induced it to attack the RAF airfield at Habbaniya.

The British had a few skirmishes with the Persians when they occupied Iran.

The Egyptian Army took part in the anti-aircraft defence of its own country.

The Arab Legion of Transjordan, under British commanders, played an active role in the occupations of Iraq and Syria.

Several of the Princely States in India were Muslim and provided battalions from their own armies to serve with the British Indian Army. A few saw combat service in Malaya, where they were initially on airfield defence, and at least one served at the front in Italy. Others undertook garrison duties in Italian East Africa, the Middle East and Cyprus.

Cheers,

Sid

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