Prime Video
  1. Your account
Channel logo

The Middle East in the 20th Century

Season 1
Taught by author and Arabist Eamonn Gearon, these 24 enlightening lessons bring clarity to a convoluted, multifaceted story. From the end of the Ottoman Empire to the creation of Israel to the Arab Spring, this series is an absolute must for anyone who wants to understand our world today.
202124 episodes
TV-PG
Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy

Episodes

  1. S1 E1 - A Middle East Crossroads in the Year 1900
    October 7, 2021
    28min
    TV-PG
    This series opens in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, when the forces of nationalism and political reform were simmering in the Middle East and North Africa. See how Western imperialism, the politics of oil, and the push for a Jewish state all set the stage for the 20th century. #History
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  2. S1 E2 - Constitutional Revolts in Persia and Turkey
    October 7, 2021
    30min
    TV-PG
    Some of the earliest pushes for constitutional reform in the Middle East occurred in Persia (modern Iran) and Turkey. Look at how protests in Persia led to a new government. Then meet the Young Turks who wanted a united Turkey to supersede the Ottoman Empire. Consider how these revolutions fell short.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  3. S1 E3 - World War I and the Ottoman Empire's Fall
    October 7, 2021
    32min
    TV-PG
    The First World War was a tremendous turning point for the Middle East. During the war, Great Britain made incompatible promises about Arab and Turkish nationalism, as well as the construction of a Jewish state. See how these contradictory forces collided in the years after the war.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  4. S1 E4 - Egyptian Revolution and Turkish Independence
    October 7, 2021
    24min
    TV-PG
    Continue your study of the fallout from World War I, here with a look at the Turkish War of Independence in 1919, as well as anti-British uprisings from Egypt to Iraq. By 1923, the Middle East and North Africa had a new map. Witness the retreat of the British from the politics of Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  5. S1 E5 - Monarchies of the 20th-Century Middle East
    October 7, 2021
    26min
    TV-PG
    Examine the monarchies in the Middle East and North Africa in the period between the World Wars. After reviewing the kinds of Mideast monarchies in this era, you will delve into the particular example of Saudi Arabia and reflect on how the politics of oil shaped the region.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  6. S1 E6 - The Muslim Brotherhood and Its Founder
    October 7, 2021
    28min
    TV-PG
    One of the most influential figures in 20th century Middle East history is the Muslim imam Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Examine the process of secularization taking place between the wars and review al-Banna's efforts to create a pan-Islamist force throughout the Middle East.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  7. S1 E7 - World War II Fault Lines in the Middle East
    October 7, 2021
    32min
    TV-PG
    Take a high-level look at World War II and its impact on the Middle East and North Africa. Eamonn takes you inside several notable battles, including the Battles of El Alamein and Operation Torch. He reflects on the impact of the war on local populations and their political objectives.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  8. S1 E8 - European Anti-Semitism and Israel's Birth
    October 7, 2021
    31min
    TV-PG
    The roots of Zionism stretch back decades, arguably to the year 70 CE, but antisemitism in Europe throughout the 19th century led activists such as Theodore Herzl to push for an independent Jewish state. Trace the development of Israel, including the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the migration between the wars, and the creation of Israel in 1948.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  9. S1 E9 - How Nasser Transformed Egypt and the World
    October 7, 2021
    32min
    TV-PG
    Gamal Abdul Nasser is such a towering figure of 20th century history that the period from 1952 to 1970 could be thought of as "the Age of Nasser." Meet this political revolutionary, learn about his political philosophy of Arab nationalism, and review his presence on the world stage.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  10. S1 E10 - The Suez Crisis and Cold War in the Desert
    October 7, 2021
    25min
    TV-PG
    The Cold War between the US and Soviet superpowers played out in myriad ways in the Middle East, and Egypt offers a great case study. Here, see how Nasser played both sides against each other, and then turn to other conflicts, including the Suez Crisis of 1956, the Lebanon Crisis of 1958, and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  11. S1 E11 - The Algerian War of Independence
    October 7, 2021
    26min
    TV-PG
    Shift your attention to the North African nation of Algeria and witness the war for independence against France, from 1954 to 1962. The Algerian War provides a prism through which to view the French colonial experience in the region, along with the region's experience of the French.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  12. S1 E12 - Middle Eastern Armies and Coup D'états
    October 7, 2021
    27min
    TV-PG
    Between 1949 and 1970, no fewer than 20 successful coup d'états took place across the Middle East and North Africa. After defining what this military intervention looks like, Eamonn considers examples in Iran, Syria, and elsewhere to understand how these coups affected life and politics.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  13. S1 E13 - The 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Its Aftermath
    October 7, 2021
    26min
    TV-PG
    Conflicts between Israel and neighboring Arab states is a major theme of the region's history for the past 70 years. In this episode, look at the causes, results, and long-term consequences of the Six Day War of June 1967 and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War of October 1973.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  14. S1 E14 - The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973
    October 7, 2021
    26min
    TV-PG
    Delve into the politics and economics of oil and its impact on the Middle East. After reviewing the founding and purpose of OPEC, Eamonn walks you through several "oil shocks" in the Middle East. See how oil drove political activity and provided a lever of power for oil-producing countries.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  15. S1 E15 - Lebanon's Civil War and Rise of Intolerance
    October 7, 2021
    27min
    TV-PG
    In the 1960s, the Lebanese capital of Beirut was known as "the Paris of the Middle East" and a destination for international jet-setters. Explore the history of this nation, which gained independence in 1943, and see how it was torn apart by war from 1975 to 1990. Survey the roots, actions, and consequences of this civil war.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  16. S1 E16 - Terrorism, Islam, and Sayyid Qutb
    October 7, 2021
    22min
    TV-PG
    Terrorism is a relatively recent political tactic, and it has been employed by groups within the Middle East from the Palestine Liberation Organization to al-Qaeda. Here, reflect on the roots of terrorism in the region, the trouble with the term "Islamic terrorism," and some notable instances of terrorism in the second half of the 20th century.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  17. S1 E17 - How 1979 Transformed Iran, Egypt, and Iraq
    October 7, 2021
    29min
    TV-PG
    Find out why 1979 is one of the most groundbreaking and revolutionary years of the 20th century. In this episode, assess four pivotal events in the region during the shape-shifting year: the Iranian Revolution, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Iraq's Ba'ath Party purge, and the siege of Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque of Mecca.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  18. S1 E18 - The Iran-Iraq War and a Decade of Horrors
    October 7, 2021
    27min
    TV-PG
    In the wake of 1979, Iran had become a Shia Muslim theocracy, upsetting the strategic balance of power in the Middle East and North Africa. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq as a Sunni minority leader over a secular Arab Nationalist State. Witness the decade of conflict between these two nations.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  19. S1 E19 - The First Gulf War in Kuwait
    October 7, 2021
    29min
    TV-PG
    Why did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait fewer than two years after the conclusion of a disastrous war between Iraq and Iran? To answer this question, dive into the invasion and occupation of Kuwait, survey the aftermath of this war, and consider its long-term consequences for Iraq, the West, and the Middle East at large.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  20. S1 E20 - A Path through Oslo to Arab-Israeli Détente
    October 7, 2021
    24min
    TV-PG
    The 1993 Oslo Accords were a groundbreaking moment in relations between Israel and representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization-a stunning breakthrough after years of stalemate. Trace the background leading up to this landmark moment, meet the key players, and review the historical significance of the agreement.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  21. S1 E21 - US Invasion of Iraq and Its Consequences
    October 7, 2021
    25min
    TV-PG
    After the Oslo Accords, the Middle East and North Africa were largely quiet until the 9/11 attacks in the United States. See why the United States used an attack from al-Qaeda as pretext to invade Iraq, and then follow the course of the US war in Iraq through the military exit of 2011.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  22. S1 E22 - Are Democracy and Islam Compatible?
    October 7, 2021
    31min
    TV-PG
    Why aren't there more democratic countries in the Middle East? Is there a road that leads from autocracy to democracy? To answer these vexing questions, go back to the end of World War I and survey the shifting types of government throughout the Middle East and North Africa, from the League of Nations to the Arab Spring.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  23. S1 E23 - Taking Stock of Progress in the Middle East
    October 7, 2021
    23min
    TV-PG
    While much of this series has focused on the political and military history of the region, the story of society throughout the 20th century is equally important to understanding the world today. Examine the occupations, lifestyles, health, wealth, education, and other indicators of daily life in the region.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy
  24. S1 E24 - After the Arab Spring
    October 7, 2021
    32min
    TV-PG
    Close with a turning point that bookends the revolutionary century since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Learn about the causes and consequences of the Arab Spring across the Middle East and North Africa. Although we don't yet know what comes next, what is clear is that change is inevitable, and the past informs the present.
    Free trial of The Great Courses Signature Collection or buy

Details

More info

Audio languages
English
Subtitles
English [CC]
Producers
The Great Courses
Starring
Eamonn Gearon
Studio
The Great Courses
By clicking play, you agree to our Terms of Use.