Resources: Making the Modern Middle East

rsz_1maude_in_baghdadSummer Institute 2014

Making the Modern Middle East: World War I and its Aftermath

Friday, June 27-Sunday, June 29, 2014

Click the presentation title for abstract and additional resources

Battles – The Mesopotamian Front

This section of contains details of the major actions fought on the Mesopotamian Front – present-day Iraq – during the First World War.

Battles-The Palestine Front

This section of contains details of the major actions fought on the Palestine Front during the First World War.

Country Studies

The Library of Congress Country Studies include extensive information about all Middle Eastern countries, including historical overviews as well as information about government structure, economics, and demographics.

Specific countries can’t be bookmarked, so follow the link above and select the country of interest.

Empire to Nation States

Learn about the political history of the Middle East from the seventh to the twentieth centuries CE. Trace the rise of vast, diverse empires under Islamic rule and their transformation into nation-states.

How Were the Modern Nation States of the Middle East Created?

This article from PBS provides a brief summary of the creation of the modern Middle East that is appropriate for teachers and high school students.

Letters of Gertrude Bell

A collection of letters written by Gertrude Bell, a notable British figure who was instrumental in establishing the Hashemite dynasties in today’s Jordan and Iraq.

The Middle East during World War One

An article by Professor David R Woodward published by the BBC

The Middle East during WWI, by Professor David R Woodward

The Ottoman Empire called for a military jihad against France, Russia and Great Britain in November 1914. How did this affect subsequent Allied campaigns in the Middle East? David Woodward charts the demise of an empire and a dramatic shift in the region’s balance of power.

The Middle East Since 1914

A collection of primary sources about the Middle East since 1914.

Selected texts about WWI and the Middle East

A bibliography of primary and secondary sources about WWI and the Middle East.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by TE Lawrence

Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the autobiographical account of the experiences of British soldier T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), while serving as a liaison officer with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916 to 1918.

TE Lawrence Studies

This T. E. Lawrence Studies website is edited and maintained by Jeremy Wilson. Its content draws on the research archive formed through work onLawrence of Arabia, The Authorised Biography and the ongoing Castle Hill Press edition of T. E. Lawrence’s writings.

The Near East and the First World War

A collection of resources and articles about the Middle East and WWI from

Treaties and Documents from WWI and its Aftermath

Turkey in the First World War

A comprehensive website written by Dr. Altay Atlı, featuring a thorough account of Turkey’s involvement in World War I.

World War I Documents Archive

This archive of primary documents from World War One has been assembled by volunteers of the World War I Military History List (WWI-L). International in focus, the archive intends to present in one location primary documents concerning the Great War.

World War I Mini Simulation

This packet provides detailed instructions and information for running a World War I simulation in your classroom. The section on the Ottoman Empire provides great information about their involvement in the war.  Created by the Contemporary World History Project.

WWI Shapes the Middle East

This tutorial from Khan Academy includes 5 videos that take us from a declining Ottoman Empire to the modern Middle East which is still the center of many religions, cultures and conflicts.

British Library: World War I (multimedia)

Explore over 500 historical sources from across Europe, together with new insights by World War One experts.  (Limited resources about the Middle East)

The Great War: A 100 Year Legacy of World War I (news)

A collection of articles and resources from the New York Times.  Relevant articles include:

Promises and Betrayals (video)

This documentary by the Middle East History Channel highlights how British double-dealing during the First World War ignited the conflict between Arab and Jew in the Middle East.

The Gallipoli Campaign (multimedia)

A collection of resources about the Galliploi Campaign, including historical background, Turkish poetry in translation, images, and biographies of veterans.

The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn (images and video)

BBC Books, in association with the Musée Albert-Kahn, presents an astonishing collection of early true-colour photographs from around the world to accompany the acclaimed BBC television series. The episode about the Middle East can be viewed here.

World Digital Library (images)

The World Digital Library makes available significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

World War I Centenary (multimedia)

An Open Educational Resource supporting new directions in teaching World War I. (Limited resources about the Middle East)

World War One by the BBC (multimedia)

A comprehensive collection of resources about WWI. (limited resources about the Middle East)

psu logo edited 100 Years in Mesopotamia: A Century of Conflict in Iraq, 1914-2014

This two-week unit plan was created for 9th grade Modern World History. In this lesson, students will analyze the effect of World War I on present day Iraq and consider the larger question, “How did WWI and its aftermath shape conflict in the Middle East today?”

Armenian Genocide Resource Library for Teachers

A website created by the Genocide Education Project specifically with secondary school teachers in mind.  Many teaching resources are available on the site to download at no cost at all.  Included are various resource books and lesson plans, including our own, which can also be downloaded in their entirety at no cost.

Ataturk and the Rise of Modern Turkey

Lesson One:  This lesson is designed to review the concept of nationalism, introduce the terms of the Treaty of Sévres and why those terms upset Turkish nationalists.

Lesson Two: This lesson is intended to introduce students to Kemal Mustafa Ataturk.

Lesson Three: This lesson is intended to expose students to Kemalism and how that ideology influenced his viewpoints and the reforms he implemented.

Created by Casey Housen for the Middle East Studies Center Summer Institute 2014

Colonial Legacy and Conflicts in the Middle East

The lesson addresses influences and impact of colonial powers. Students will begin to gain clarity into the real and perceived conflicts in the Muslim world, specifically the Middle East. Assigned reading material along with the teachers’ guidance students will learn and understand the economic and political motives of the European powers and the effects on the social, cultural and religious structure of Imperial Muslim World.

This lesson uses materials from the Empires to Nation States module of Teaching the Middle East.

Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians

This series of lessons is from Facing History and Ourselves is organized as a mini-unit for teaching the Armenian Genocide. They were designed to complement Facing History and Ourselves’ resource books, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior and Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians. Most of these lessons are designed to be used with the film The Armenian Genocide (Two Cats Productions), which aired on PBS on April 17, 2006. These texts depict, in words or images, evidence of horrible atrocities such as murder and starvation. We recommend previewing materials in order to gauge if they are appropriate given the maturity level of your students.

psu logo edited Intro to the Modern Middle East

Many American children lack a basic understanding of the Middle East. The geography, cultures and customs of the region are often based on inappropriate misconceptions perpetuated by American society and media. The purpose of this unit is to clarify and outline a basic knowledge for students to build on through their further education in a variety of subject areas. This is intended to be a very basic unit to wrap up the sixth grade units on Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.

psu logo edited Iran in the 20th Century

This unit was designed with a High School World History class in mind. It focuse ssolely on Iran because it is an extremely important player in today’s current events and yet we do not know very much about it or the role that the U.S. played in its recent history. Being able to draw connections between the past and the present represents one of the most significant skills students should build during history courses. This aim will be one of the driving forces of this unit.

This unit will cover Iran’s history from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. In particular, it will deal with the effects of foreign involvement in Iran. Previously, this class would have theoretically covered a unit on World War I/World War II and Russian history from the Bolshevik Revolution.

This unit’s lessons are designed for 80-90 minute long class periods.

Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle for the Arab World

Courage, guilt, betrayal and triumph; the story of T.E. Lawrence has it all. How one man inspired an Arab army but could not prevent their betrayal. This resource includes middle and high school lesson plans based on the BBC documentary, Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle for the Arab World.

psu logo edited Making the Modern Middle East: World War I & Its Aftermath

This lesson is sequenced to follow a post-World War One focus on the Treaty of Versailles and specifically the creation of the League of Nations.  The Interwar Years and the critical role of the League of Nations would be a unit taught before this focusing on the Mandate System and how territories were shaped by the victors of the war.

Students will need the context of how the victors distributed the spoils of war and drew the geo-political boundaries and the creation of treaties to determine the level of consequence economically, politically and socially.

In addition, it can be carried forth with the emphasis on Turkeys geo-political location as determined to be part of Europe or the Middle East.  Evaluation of this context will require examination of the differing views on this action.


Map Analysis: Turkish and Armenian History

This worksheet from Sarah Segal, Hood River Middle School, offers a a standards based map analysis activity. It is meant to be used in conjunction with the book Forgotten Fire, by Adam Bagdassarian.

Mapping the Middle East

In this lesson from PBS Global Connections, students will learn how the countries of the Middle East were created. They will understand the influence of various political and geographic factors in their creation.

Middle East Since WWI

The Middle East has been in constant turmoil since the onset of World War I. The combination of European nationalistic goals and broken promises driven by Imperialistic agendas laid the ground work for future conflict in the region. These goals and agendas were encouraged by a lack of understanding of culture and religious beliefs. The legacy of these actions continues to impact the region and world into the 21st century.

Created by Rick Burnett for the Middle East Studies Center Summer Institute 2014

psu logo edited  Migration of the Turks

In this lesson students will map Turkic migration.  Students will use Google Maps Engine, the Library of Congress’ Country Studies and self-selected web resources to discover, map and self-check their map of the historical Turkic migration.  This lesson will take two 55 minute class periods.

The Middle East after World  War I:  Drawing Boundaries,  Dividing a Region  And Creating a Crisis 

The Middle East, as we know it today, was created out of the six-hundred year-old Ottoman Empire. The empire came to an end at the conclusion of World War I. This geography and history simulation examines why the Allied Powers drew the boundaries and divided the region as they did, with little understanding of the populations alienated or the political tensions created.

In Part I of this lesson plan, the history/geography introduces the region to the learner. Part II uses this information in a role play. Within their roles, participants are asked to analyze the level of frustration or ‘fever’ their region experiences, because of the decisions made and the actions taken by the Allied powers. They register their rising frustration on a ‘fever’ chart. The unit concludes by analyzing whether the ‘fever’ charts reflect where actual conflicts and wars have broken out in the past 70 years, since the drawing of the boundaries and the dividing of the region.

psu logo edited The Middle East and WWI

These 3 lessons is meant to be the finale of a larger unit on the Middle East

The first lesson gives students the opportunities to put themselves in the shoes of those people who were affected by the imperialism and colonialism of the great powers. Students decide how the region should be divided up, and who should get what based on the goals and ideals of the actual people who lived in the Middle East.

In the second lesson, students learn about the imperial history of the region, looking at the series of overlapping treaties and agreements after the First World War, and creating a comprehensive class map of the region as it was in 1925. Students will investigate the “why” of colonialism, and delve into the reasons the UK and France (but also Russia, Italy, the US, and Turkey) were so interested in the region.

In the third, culminating lesson the students will use the background given by the other two lessons as a lens to look at the Middle East today. What conflicts are there? What were the causes of the conflicts? In a class discussion, students will discuss the plausibility of the goal of “peace in the Middle East,” and will create their own maps of a “conflict-free” Middle East.

psu logo edited Vocabulary of the Middle East

In these two lessons, students create visual aids to help each other master the basic vocabulary terms associated with the Middle East.  This lesson also introduces students to the basic research (including source citation) process.  Each student will contribute one slide to a presentation of the key vocabulary terms in the next class.

World War I in the Middle East – Diaries, Documents, and Diatribes

This lesson is written by Lisa Adeli,  Outreach Coordinator for the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies

World War I in the Middle East – Museum Research Project

This lesson is written by Lisa Adeli, Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arizona

World War I Mini Simulation

This packet provides detailed instructions and information for running a World War I simulation in your classroom. The section on the Ottoman Empire provides great information about their involvement in the war.  Created by the Contemporary World History Project.

WWI Shapes the Middle East

This tutorial from Khan Academy includes 5 videos that take us from a declining Ottoman Empire to the modern Middle East which is still the center of many religions, cultures and conflicts.