Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Middle East in the Twentieth Century
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay in lieu of exam, if exam element failed  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay, if essay element failed  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Describe and analyze the key factors which made the Middle East a region of such central strategic importance over the twentieth century
  • Identify and critically discuss the major events and trends in the rise of nationalism and the decline of imperialism in the Middle East
  • Demonstrate through discussion and coursework an understanding of the historical origins and development of the modern state system in the Middle East
  • Discuss and evaluate the internal dynamics of Middle Eastern regional politics
  • Analyze and understand the strategic and diplomatic roles of the major Middle Eastern states
  • Describe the changing roles of the post-1945 superpowers in the Middle East
  • Display through discussion and coursework an understanding of the nature of the Cold War in the Middle East

Brief description

This module introduces students to the international history of the Middle East in the Twentieth Century, with particular emphasis on the end of empire, the Cold War and the role of Israel.


This module aims to provide students with a broad survey of events in the Middle East over the course of the twentieth century, from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the end of the Cold War and the impact of the 1990-91 Gulf War. It seeks both to enable students to understand both the region's central importance in world politics during the century and to introduce students to the key factors affecting international relations within the region.

First, students will be given an understanding of the regional clash between different forms of imperialism and nationalism during the period; second, students will be introduced to the role of the Superpowers during the Cold War decades; third students will be given an understanding of the Middle Eastern balance of power from the perspective of internal regional divisions; fourth, students will examine the nature of the role played in the region by the State of Israel since its creation in 1948.


- Introductory Themes and Issues
- The First World War and the End of the Ottoman Empire
- The European Powers and the Emergence of the Middle Eastern Nation States
- Zionism and the Palestine Mandate
- The Birth of the State of Israel
- Arab Nationalism: From the Ottomans to Nasser
- The Middle East and the Origins of the Cold War
- The Path to Suez and the End of the European Age
- The Age of Nasser and the 'Arab Cold War'
- The Soviet Union and the Cold War in the Middle East
- 1967 and the Making of the Modern Arab-Israel Dispute
- Egypt's Road to Peace
- Iran and Iraq: Neighbours and Enemies
- Israel, Syria and the Destruction of Lebanon
- The PLO: From Cairo to Oslo
- America's Moment in the Middle East
- Oil and Power in the 20th Century Middle East

Transferable skills

Seminar preparation requires students to read and think critically and conceptually about particular historical and political themes and issues. Computer literacy and information technology skills are developed by the use of e-mail and web-based learning resources. Seminar and coursework preparation encourages students to develop an independent research capability. Coursework essay assessment develops argumentative and analytical writing skills as well as word processing and IT abilities. Both Seminar preparation and coursework assessment requirements encourage students to organise their workload and manage their time effectively. Seminar discussion groups foster the development of individual oral communication and debating skills as well as the ability to critically discuss questions and carry out tasks in groups.

10 ECTS credits


This module is at CQFW Level 6