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Lloyd George and Lawrence of Arabia

May 10, 2008 2:18 PM
T E Lawrence

Photograph of Lawrence of Arabia from the website of the T E Lawrence Society

In an article today in the Western Mail, under the headline 'Welsh hands that shaped the Middle East conflict', Rhodri Clark explores the contributions of T E Lawrence and David Lloyd George to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War and the post-war settlement covering Palestine and its legacy for the modern world, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

As Clark reminds us, "Take the Pwllheli road from outside TE Lawrence's childhood home in Tremadog and six miles later you'll come to Llanystumdwy, where David Lloyd George grew up". Clark goes on to contrast the political choices made by each of these remarkable men, Lawrence fighting alongside the Arabs and suffering torture at the hands of the Turks and Lloyd George supporting the aims of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 made under his premiership which promised a homeland to the Jewish people in Palestine.

Clark quotes poet, novelist and academic Grahame Davies, an expert in the history of Welsh-Jewish writing, "Lloyd George claimed his Welsh nonconformist upbringing, steeped in the history of Israel and promises of the Jewish return, had predisposed him to grant the declaration.

"He certainly backed his words with deeds, aggressively pursuing victory over the Turks in Palestine and using Welsh troops specifically for propaganda purposes".

Perhaps there is something in this, as it could be said to parallel LG's sympathy with the Boer, farmer community in South Africa in their conflict with Imperial Britain earlier in the century.

The article opens some fascinating routes into the history of the period and the personalities of the two historical figures involved as well as having something insightful to say about the current conflict.

You can read the whole article at:

http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/feature-news/2008/05/10/the-welsh-hands-that-shaped-the-middle-east-conflict-91466-20888652/

You can learn more about Lawrence of Arabia at the website of the T E Lawrence Society at:

http://telsociety.org.uk/telsociety/index.htm