Thursday, July 03, 2014
Indecisive German Policy in the Middle East Squandered Some Opportunities
As we mentioned the initial German policy towards French North Africa was to disarm the colonial armies. Once they realized that would make more difficult resisting British occupation, they stopped the process. Later, when the Iraqi Arab Nationalist had asked Germany for help in revolting against the British occupation, they had ignored him. Only by January 1941 did they decided to help. The initial request was for weapons and gold. Even now, an Arab uprising will want to have both those things. Gold is important for buying participation. Once the revolt in Iraq had started independently, the Germans were still without any plan to be involved. The Germans finally sent a few plans to Iraq, but the commander of that flight was shot down by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire over Baghdad because they were not expected. The French finally sent a train with weapons to Iraq, but the revolt was already failing by then. The French in Syria did not really want to help, but had to make a token gesture for German consumption. The French in Syria were under Italian supervision under the Armistice, which the French disliked immensely. The French in Syria also greatly disliked the Germans who had conquered their country in 1940. They also disliked the British, who had been their competitor for influence and colonies in the Levant. The British were also thought to have failed the French in 1940. The Free French were considered to be disloyal to France by cooperating with the British. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.