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Between the Ottomans and the EntenteThe First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora, 1908-1925$
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Stacy D. Fahrenthold

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190872137

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190872137.001.0001

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Former Ottomans in the Ranks

Former Ottomans in the Ranks

Pro-Entente Military Recruitment in the Syrian Mahjar, 1916–1918

Chapter:
(p.57) 3 Former Ottomans in the Ranks
Source:
Between the Ottomans and the Entente
Author(s):

Stacy D. Fahrenthold

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190872137.003.0004

This chapter examines the clandestine recruitment of ten thousand Syrian migrants into the militaries of the Entente powers. As conditions deteriorated in Ottoman Syria and Mount Lebanon, Syrian migrant organizations shifted from providing humanitarian relief toward military resistance against the Ottoman state. Activists from competing Syrianist, Lebanist, and Arab nationalist movements produced propaganda in support of the war against Istanbul, conducted espionage for the Entente powers, and recruited Arab men from across the mahjar into Entente military service. The chapter tracks migrant networks between Syrians in Brazil, Argentina, and the United States who worked to deliver migrant troops to the army, where the US government granted recruits passports and a post-Ottoman nationality status to facilitate their service. Syrians joined up under a patriotic rhetoric promising the war would deliver Syria’s liberation, but they also resented nationalists’ attempts to claim them as symbols for competing homeland projects.

Keywords:   recruitment, mobilization, passports, espionage, smuggling, Syria, Lebanon, nationalism

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