The concept of the Middle East
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The concept of the Middle East[edit | edit source]
There is a "Middle East" only according to a given point, i.e. with a European point of view. This notion appeared in 1902, when Sir Thomas Edward Gordon used it in an article. In fact, in 1842, Alfred Tayer Mahan used it for the first time in the form of "Middle East". Valentin Chirol, head of the foreign affairs department at the New York Times, popularized the concept through his articles. None of them defines precisely, except the "Great Game": Central Asia as a British and Russian issue. The intermediate zone between the "Far East" and the "Near East" is thus understood as the "Middle East".
Middle East, Near East and Greater Middle East[edit | edit source]
At the end of the First World War, money orders were distributed to the British, then based in India. During the Second World War, all the fighting that took place in the Balkans, Africa, etc. was called "Middle East", the term "Near East" disappeared. The arrival of the Americans on the territory with the development of a "Middle East Institute" reinforces the concept (and is the promise of a growing interest in this region). With the Cold War, the "Greater Middle East" appears (from Western Sahara to India and as far as Ethiopia).
Despite the popularization of the term, Winston Churchill regrets this proliferation, which does not designate the same extent. At the UN, we talk about "Western Asia". On the other hand, the old designations have not disappeared: Maghreb, Mashrek, Anatolia, Mesopotamia (until 1921), the Fertile Crescent ...
Annexes[edit | edit source]
- Cleveland, William L., and Martin Bunton. A history of the modern Middle East. Hachette UK, 2016.
- Goldschmidt Jr, Arthur, and Aomar Boum. A concise history of the Middle East. Hachette UK, 2015.
- Lewis, Bernard. The multiple identities of the Middle East. New York: Schocken Books, 1998.
- Little, Douglas. American orientalism: the United States and the Middle East since 1945. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2008.