Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence, 'The Changing East'
The Round Table, September 1920
A picture-writer once coined a phrase, "The Unchanging East," and Time has turned round and taken revenge upon him. The East is to-day the place of change - of changes so great and swift that in comparison with it our Europe is standing still. We have been much engaged lately, making wars and peaces, looking at our own hurts, and trying to restore the balance of the times, and so we have not always been able to spare attention to what Asia is doing or thinking. We have tried to deal with her on the old traditional lines, and to our dismay she has not reacted properly. There have been outbreaks, unrest, protestations, and we, lacking the knowledge of movements there, have missed the sequence and find ourselves reduced to force, as our last remedy and restoration.
Yet there is urgent need for comprehension, of a careful study of our possessions in Asia, in order that we may regain touch with their opinion. We are all agreed as to the need of this stock-taking, though few of us will agree later on the lessons of it. We sent out a commission to India, which considered reform in India; we sent out a commission to Egypt, to consider reform in Egypt. We heard talk the other day in the House of Lords of a commission for Mesopotamia. Even Malta has had one. These all have been piecemeal affairs, conducted by statesmen in blinkers, forbidden to see anything except the political conditions of the province to which they were addressed. None of them gave us a general survey of the new Asia: none of them described the disease as well as the remedy. This disease is physical, material, moral, mental, all you will. It is the civilisation-disease, the inevitable effect of too close contact with the West. The aborigines of Australia got it when they met us, and they died of it. There were biological reasons why their frames were too weak to stand contact with a body social so different from their own. Asia is tougher, older, more numerous, and will not die of us - but indubitably we have made her very ill. Europe is not a thing easily digested.
We see the strain we have put on Asia soonest in the domain of matter. We evolved our own machinery in long centuries of struggle and invention, years in which the face of Europe gradually changed, without any too violent misery, to suit the new ideas: we had pack-horses, solid wheels, springless wagons, coaches, railways, motor cars, aeroplanes: we found the progress indecently fast at times, and put men with red flags to walk before the machines while we breathed - but what of Asia, which has stepped in a lifetime of thirty years from saddle-donkeys to Rolls-Royce cars, from blood-mares to aeroplanes? We grew by slow stages of muskets from bows to automatic guns: it took us five hundred years. The marauder of the desert laid away his spear just before the war, and to-day goes out on his raids with a Maxim. We invented the printing-press four hundred years ago, and served a long apprenticeship by way of wooden types, screw and lever presses, steam presses, electric presses, to the cheap speed of the modern newspaper. The East has side by side the old-fashioned scribe, making each year a poorer living, and the linotype. The vernacular press came to them full-born. These are the material sides. Asia has in thirty years leaped across a stage which took us hundreds. She has not done it very well, perhaps, no better than parts of Russia, parts of the Balkans, parts of South America: the important part is that she has done it, and the Asia of Kinglake and Lamartine is wholly gone. Our eyes show us this, and some of us, the mediaevalists, lament it. However, that is just a pose. The clock has never been put back: but the simplest thing in the world is to push its hands a little forward, and there are so many people pushing Asia that it is rather difficult to realise what the unassisted speed of its own ticking is. We will hardly learn this till they stop tinkering at it: yet it is important for us to learn it, since the earth is just a track along which countries and continents race with one another, and for all we know Asia may be gaining on us mentally.
This mental and moral growth is so hard to measure. The material changes prepare our heads to note great change in other ways, but their apprehension stays uncertain. There has been a change in ideas: we hear the people of Asia talking about representative government and parliaments. In our fathers' days they were governed by theocrats and autocrats. We think how long it took England to conceive and bring forth a House of Commons, and we begin to be astonished at this headlong Asia. There are labour troubles in Cairo and Bombay, a general strike in Mecca, trades union congresses in Constantinople. This disease they have caught quickly. Self-determination - yes, they have adopted that: League of Nations - they care more for it than we do. Things must be moving. Before the war we saw their politics changing, as the old springs of action became exhausted, and new motives came into play. In our fathers' days the East, and especially the Middle East, this side of Afghanistan, was logical, similar and simple. These countries, Persia, Turkey, Egypt and the rest, were old-established governments, of sultans and princes ruling by right, often by divine right, basing their regulations on the dictates of the state religion. The men were Moslems first, or Christians, or infidels of some sort. Later on, if there was any reason for it, they might be Turks or Arabs, but about this they were not too certain: the important thing was the faith. We cannot sneer at them. Only too recently, in the manuscript and crossbow days, we were like them. About 1870, though, we began to see stirrings of a new idea, the sense of nationality, which had been invented in Western Europe, and had moved slowly south and east, causing turmoil and wars in the separate countries as it passed. Nationality is a turbulent principle, and has cost probably as many lives as religion, in its much briefer reign. It grew most virulent in its old age: the Balkans and Ireland, the last places to catch it, have it gravely. We, the older sufferers, seem now nearly immune from it: we may be passing into an economic stage, in which wars and governments will be mainly businesses. It sounds a futile motive of disputes. The economic motive may yet rank with religion and nationality in destructiveness.
However, the Middle East is not as far as this yet. Its first symptoms of nationality were shown in Turkey, when Midhat Pasha began to use French words in government; and in Egypt when Arabi Pasha rose up in arms, and began to drive out the Khedive and his Turkish entourage. Both ideas were sternly discouraged. The English bolstered up the foreign dynasty in Egypt, and Abd el Hamid took up Pan-Islam, a hierarchic conception of Islam, as a corrective to the Midhat notions. He got it from a German book, which had been confusing the Caliphate and the mediaeval Papacy. However, the idea had a temporary success, and still holds some ground in India and Africa. For a few years there was peace in Asia, and Europe understood it again without having to change its way of thinking. This was better for Asia and for us, since, as a German pointed out, when we have to change our mind about a thing, we charge our inconvenience also to the account. The new ideas were not dead—indeed, they could not be, with the Balkans offering such a lively breeding ground of nationality-microbes at the gate of Asia: and some twenty or thirty years later they were patent once more, this time not as agitations, but as conspiracies. Persia was full of them: in the end she broke out into disorder and obtained a constitution, whose precise use afterwards puzzled her. She knew that a constitution was the fashionable thing - everybody who was anybody in states had one - but it did not seem to be able to work, itself, and no one in Persia had learnt its habits. However, they still have it, and have had it for ten years.
Turkey then came out strongly, after the British had made some little adjustments in Egypt, as safety-valves for political vapours. Abd el Hamid was stiffer than our Lord Cromer or Sir Eldon Gorst, and so Turkey's nationalism got so pent up that at last it blew him quite off his seat. This was a short end to Pan-Islam: the spiritual and temporal master of Islam was put in prison, and then deposed in favour of a mental degenerate. The old cry would no longer work, as they all in one week took up the new one. Turkey announced the brotherhood of peoples. The young Turks had forgotten their statistics when they made this statement, but events soon showed them their mistake. The Turks were a minority - perhaps only thirty or thirty-five per cent., in the Ottoman Empire. The subject races, Greeks, Armenians, Albanians, Kurds, Arabs, who formed the rest, could understand the idea of brotherhood, for they had been reading Herbert Spencer and his like for years, and saw at once they they were equal to the Turks, and that it was a sacred duty to go out and help them to establish this new era. So in their millions they began to join together, and think how best to carry on the common government.
Enver and his colleagues struck back in self-defence. They evolved a doctrine of Pan-Turanianism (a doctrine of mixed pedigree, out of a French book and a German book), which taught that the Ottoman Empire must become really Ottoman, and that to its boundaries of 1910 must be added all Turkish-speaking countries in the world. This gave them a broad domestic battle, and a projection later into Khiva and Russian Turkestan. The irredenta they decided to leave alone for the moment: first they would make these alien races inside the Empire one. It must be done quickly, for Europe was not looking kindly on them: so they took steps to lop the Greeks and Armenians to the proportions of their bedstead, and began to work upon the Arabs, to teach them Turkish as a first step, and to make them good Ottomans the second. They invented a sharp saying: "A Turkish ass is better than an alien prophet," to teach the people the relative worth of Islam and nationality. The subject races found Enver's little finger very heavy, and began to whisper to one another, in the strictest secrecy, that such things were contrary to the very principles of nationality in whose name they were done. These whisperings increased and became organised, till by 1914 there were healthy conspiracies, aiming to take local autonomy by force from Constantinople, afoot in Armenia, in Kurdistan, in Syria, and in Mesopotamia. Then the war came.
Even before the war we had all Turkey going shipwreck, by her own stupidity. The Turkish race have a fatal habit of obedience, unquestioning obedience, and an equally costly capacity for sacrificing themselves for their state. The first is demonstrated if in a crowded railway station in Turkey you say "Sit down" firmly. At once they all sit down: and the second has been demonstrated times without number during the war in their dogged holding of entrenched positions. Two such qualities imply some innate stupidity in the Turk, and that the native-born possesses in a wonderful degree. He had been a great governor - when government was a crude affair of character and muscle. In these days of telegraphs and high taxation his standard of performance was poor: actually he was not worse than before: only we were better, and so he looked bad. Even at this level he could not find masters of his own: his rulers were Albanians, Bulgars, Circassians, Jews, Armenians, anything but old Turks.
Like his government, so his trade passed away from the Turk. It became scientific, complicated, and he gave it up to the clever races, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, who understood book-keeping and economics. The wealth of Turkey and the manufactures and machinery fell into non-Turk hands. In fact, of his former dominion the Turk kept only the sword - and he tried to change even his sword, which he handled as well or better than any race in Europe, for rifles and big guns and aeroplanes, and in such newfangled things his factor of efficiency soon dropped. He found that they put a premium on brains, and accordingly the meaner races, who used their wits before their hands, gained steadily on him. In the old days a few rusty horsemen had held Tripoli and Albania, and Arabia and Syria, and Mesopotamia and Armenia in subjection. Now each province demanded a substantial garrison. These garrisons had to be real Turks - no others but Anatolians were loyal - and so the conscription every year took a larger and larger percentage of the young generation. These were splendid rank and file, but the old classes were no longer fit for officers. An officer nowadays must read and write, and know a little mathematics, and study Von der Goltz: so they had to find them from the clerkly classes of the towns, sons of officials, and merchants’ sons, and westernised young men. They were full of Byzantine vices, and utterly despised the peasant clods who were their soldiers. They neglected all such as did not minister to their pleasure; and with one disease and another, with bad sanitation, bad food, and casualties, the army began to eat up the youth of Turkey. The birth-rate in Anatolia fell, and we who were looking on could see Turkey shrivelling and dying of overstrain. The Italian war, the Balkan wars, were aggravations of an already hopeless state.
Then, when things were in this flux, thus came the war, and Asia, which had been moving fast for twenty years, put on a dizzy spurt, and left our expectations straining far behind. During the war Europe came bodily to Western Asia. On one side of the fence were the armies of the Germans, on this side the armies of the Allies. Each set great departments, fortified with all their resources, to work on the senses of the Orientals. We talked for and against Holy Wars, as finely as any Moslem dialectician. We preached of the rights of civilisation, of the laws of humanity, of international law, Geneva conventions, Hague conferences. We poured out leaflets, and picture papers, newspapers, films, all to convey an impression which should make the East understand us, and help us with conviction. Like other artists, the character we most illustrated in these productions was our own. The astonished peoples of Western Asia could not choose but hear us, and began, willingly or unwillingly, to see what we were like, and comprehend our least notions. They did not always like them, but they learned a lot. In particular they learned what each of us was fighting for (they heard it from all our mouths, and we all said much the same thing), and a thing sworn to by so many witnesses must surely be true. This liberty, this humanity, this culture, this self-determination, must be very valuable.
In the West, however crude and particular be the war-cry, there will always be an idea or principle behind: though in England you seldom drag the abstract word into the light: it is wiser to let those who think infer it from the illustration, while the vulgar worship the material image. In the East the people are more philosophical by nature, and often care more for the idea than the application. Anyway, they will insist on some abstraction to fill the vacant places of their minds. In the nineteenth century they had had religion, a creed with a body as well as a spirit, one which showed them their road by day as well as by night. They regulated their manners, their meals, their trades, their families, their politics, by its light. The attempt of Abd el Hamid to rationalise this, to make it logical as well as theological, smashed it. When he fell, so did the rule of faith in works. The East remained Moslem, but its public life turned national. People called themselves Egyptians, or Arabs, or Turks, and their newspapers, directed by men emancipated from formal Islam by the influence of western ideas, carried this difference of motive, this new outlook, into the smallest points of life. The abstract standard by which politics and conduct were now judged was this new one of nationality. The nation became the rule of life, the modern creed - and as the war drew on Moslem learnt to go out and fight Moslem, and accept death gladly in battle for the new ideal. When England was at her greatest straits to defend her straggled holdings in the East, these feelings reached their height—and the best measure of their height is not that Indian Moslem fought Turkish Moslem to vindicate the place of India as a partner in our Empire, but that the people of Mecca, the centre of Islam, under its Emir, the Sherif of Mecca, the senior descendant of the Prophet, rose in rebellion against the Caliph, the Sultan of Constantinople, and that this rebellion carried everyone of Arabic speech in Asia at least sympathetically to its side. This was the final triumph, the highest expression there can ever be in Western Asia of the principle of nationality as the foundation of political action, opposed to the principle of a world-religion, a supra-national creed. Not the Galilean but the politician had conquered.
The armistice came, but did not check this movement; it made adherence to it more safe and more rational. The original stalwarts who marched north under Feisal side by side with Allenby had staked their heads on their fervent belief in an Arab Movement. Their victory made them fashionable, and removed the drawback of campaigning from their programme. Two months after the armistice Syria was nationalist in sentiment from south to north, Egypt was in arms against the British under a like banner, and the young officers of Turkey were banding together against the Sultan (thought to be out of date, silly, and too fond of Europe) to make a new Turkey out of the ruins of the old. They had lost their provinces in Europe - let them go: they had lost their Arabic provinces - let them go. They might lose an Armenian province in the north-east - let it go. They might lose Smyrna - let it go too. Their needs, in this new conception of their national future, were the body of Anatolia, from the Sea of Marmora through Cilicia, to Diarbekir, Erzeroum, Van, Azerbaijan, and even the Caspian. Some day they would cross the Caspian, and attract to their alliance the Turkomans of Turkestan, until all the Turk-speaking peoples to the borders of China were in their orbit. This was the logical Turanianism, the true figure of that which under Enver had been a distorted policy of suppression. Mustafa Kemal, a young, vain, clever, greedy soldier, made himself the leader of the new party, and speedily enrolled under his nominal guidance all the mass of Turks in Asia. His country is self-supporting, and he can sustain without danger the attacks of the Greek Army, and the blockade of the Allies, if he can open friendly relations with Russia on his eastern front. He first tried to approach Italy, and then France, and then England, but found the one insufficient, the other too interested, the third legitimist. He is now blocked from the Aegean by Greek armies, and has to choose between surrender to them and friendship with Russia. The latter will probably mean his own personal downfall, for family reasons: but his followers will not hesitate to sacrifice him, if necessary, for the good of their state. Union with Russia will postpone the dream of an autonomous Turkestan for a generation, and will lock up Turkey in Anatolia proper for so long. Without foreign colonies, foreign wars, and foreign garrisons, she should meanwhile register a large increase of population.
The fate of the Arabs is more difficult to prophesy than that of the Turks, for they are a people of far higher mentality, subtle intellects capable of a depth of thinking, practical intellects capable of a degree of production, inflammable intellects capable of a deal of destruction. They lack system, endurance, organisation. They are incurably slaves of the idea, men of spasms, instable like water, but with something of its penetrating and flood-like character. They have been a government twenty times since the dawn of history, and as often after achievement they have grown tired, and let it fall: but there is no record of any force except success capable of breaking them. The history of their waves of feeling is significant in that the reservoir of all ideas, the birth of all prophecies are shown in the deserts. These empty spaces irresistibly drive their inhabitants to a belief in the oneness and omnipotence of God, by the very contrast of the barrenness of nature, the lack of every distraction and superfluity in life. Arab movements begin in the desert, and usually travel up the shortest way into Syria - for it is remarkable that whereas all prophets go to the desert, yet none of them are ever desert-born. It is the Semitic townsman or villager who receives the revelation. For this reason, for what seemed to be the immemorial finger-sign of history, this present Arab movement, the craving for national independence and self-government, was started in the desert. It, too, took the traditional road to Damascus, the traditional first centre of new movements, and with the successful establishment of Feisal there the second phase was finished. This is not, however, the proper end of the Arab movement: the weight and importance of the Semitic states have always lain in Bagdad, for very sound reasons of economics and population. Syria is a poor country, small and mountainous, dry, lacking in minerals and in arable land. There is no probability that her native population will ever be very dense. Mesopotamia has big rivers, and a huge area of irrigable land. Her wealth in grain and cotton will be very great, and nature may have bestowed on her abundance of cheap fuel. Should that be the case, she will inevitably take the headship of the Arab world in the future, as so often in the past. Damascus may hold an interim pre-eminence: Bagdad must be the ultimate regent, with perhaps five times the population of Syria, and many times its wealth. Mesopotamia will be the master of the Middle East, and the power controlling its destinies will dominate all its neighbours.
The question of a unity of the Arabic peoples in Asia is yet clouded. In the past it has never been a successful experiment, and the least reflection will show that there are large areas, especially of Arabia, which it would be unprofitable ever to administer. The deserts will probably remain, in the future as in the past, the preserves of inarticulate philosophers. The cultivated districts, Mesopotamia and Syria, have, however, language, race, and interests in common. Till to-day they have always been too vast to form a single country: they are divided, except for a narrow gangway in the north, by an irredeemable waste of flint and gravel: but petrol makes light of deserts, and space is shrinking to-day, when we travel one hundred miles an hour instead of five. The effect of roads, railways, air-ways and telegraph will be to draw these two provinces together, and teach them how like they are: and the needs of Mesopotamian trade will fix attention on the Mediterranean ports. The Arabs are a Mediterranean people, whom no force of circumstances will constrain to the Indian Ocean: further, when Mesopotamia has done her duty by the rivers, there will remain no part for water transport in her life - and the way by rail from Mosul or Bagdad to Alexandretta or Tripoli is more advantageous than the way to Basra. It may well be that Arab unity will come of an overwhelming conviction of the Mesopotamians that their national prosperity demands it.
The future of Persia is also clouded. In the days before the war she was judged for division between Great Britain and Russia. During the war she suffered occasional invasion from Turkey, and was the bed wherein German and British propagandist missions hunted one another. The Russian revolution delivered her from both these pains: England was left the only power capable or inclined to help her out of her bankruptcy and disorder on to the path of decent self-government. Unfortunately the statesmen of the two countries took rather a crude view of the situation, and concluded an agreement open to unfavourable interpretations, not only in the world outside (quite ready to take us at our worst), but in Persia itself. Consequently the advanced elements in Persia deserted us, and began to look across their northern frontier for Russian help. This was forthcoming in minute doses, and they, who included most of the militant spirits in Persia, took active measures against us. Our withdrawal gave them the prestige of a victory, and it seems possible that Persia will either be united under a national and unfriendly administration, or dismembered as before the war, and fought over by Russian and British partisans, nominally Persian subjects.
Egypt, another independent member of the group of new states that the war has sketched in the Middle East, has consolidated herself under pressure of the war and the riots since into the fair semblance of a single people. Her nationalists, who are in reality all the people of Egypt after their degree, have lost their former distinction of Moslem and Christian, and now find a common basis in their geographical situation and their daily speech. They have emancipated themselves from the clerical influence of the Azhar, the old-style Moslem University of Cairo, the former stronghold of pro-Turk or anti-British sentiment. The new nationalists envisage an attack upon this hoary institution, to bring its character and curriculum more into the trend of the present need of Egypt. In questions regarding the position of women and public education they are as advanced as the nationalists of Turkey. Politically their horizon is still very narrow, hardly leaving the banks of the Nile: but there is little doubt that the pressure of surplus population and excess of wealth will soon lead their eyes into larger enterprises, and then the North African question, at present easy to handle in sharply opposed compartments, will become a burning one. Egypt is so much the strongest component of this new North Africa that its government will be able to play in it something of the decisive role which the future Mesopotamian government will play in the Arab confederation.
Two new elements of some interest have just set foot in Asia, coming rather as adventurers by sea - the Greeks in Smyrna, and the Jews in Palestine. Of the two efforts the Greek is frankly an armed occupation - a desire to hold a tit-bit of Asiatic Turkey, for reasons of trade and population, and from it to influence affairs in the interior. It appears to have no constructive possibilities so far as the New Asia is concerned. The Jewish experiment is in another class. It is a conscious effort, on the part of the least European people in Europe, to make head against the drift of the ages, and return once more to the Orient from which they came. The colonists will take back with them to the land which they occupied for some centuries before the Christian era samples of all the knowledge and technique of Europe. They propose to settle down amongst the existing Arabic-speaking population of the country, a people of kindred origin, but far different social condition. They hope to adjust their mode of life to the climate of Palestine, and by the exercise of their skill and capital to make it as highly organised as a European state. The success of their scheme will involve inevitably the raising of the present Arab population to their own material level, only a little after themselves in point of time, and the consequences might be of the highest importance for the future of the Arab world. It might well prove a source of technical supply rendering them independent of industrial Europe, and in that case the new confederation might become a formidable element of world power. However, such a contingency will not be for the first or even for the second generation, but it must be borne in mind in any laying out of foundations of empire in Western Asia. These to a very large extent must stand or fall by the course of the Zionist effort, and by the course of events in Russia.
It is curious how with each modification of the condition of Russia her potential influence has steadily increased in South-Western Asia. Since the Czarist days Russia has been sole arbiter of Northern Asia, from the Black Sea to the China Sea, and so large a proportion of her bulk lies in Asia that there is real reason for considering her revolution an Asiatic phenomenon. It has at least a very strong Asiatic importance, and may well yet do for Asia what the kindred revolution in France did for Europe, after a parallel cycle of some sixty years. It is not that the doctrines of Lenin find a ready echo in the minds of the peasantry of Asia - they have not found their warmest adherents in the peasantry of Russia: but the Bolshevist success has been a potent example to the East of the overthrow of an ancient government, depending on a kind of divine right, and weighing on Asia with all the force of an immense military establishment. Its fall has not affected the division of Asia, north to Russia and south to England: it has changed the Russian area from an area of effective domination to an area of influence, a base of preaching or action for the advanced members of every society. Further, it will provide a frontier permanently open, and an unlimited source of armament. In the old days the Russian Imperial Government kept their southern frontier along the hillcrests of central Asia strictly to themselves, and thus there was little coming or going between our half and theirs. This is now changed, and the progressive part of Asia has become the North and not the South. Upon the action, not of the Russian Government, but of private individuals sharing the anti-imperialist views of the Russian State, and willing to work as private individuals to spread their beliefs in Southern Asia, depends much of the future of Persia, of Anatolia, and to a lesser degree of Syria and Mesopotamia. The two temporary republics of Armenia and Georgia may be said to be Russian in a more direct fashion.
This new condition, of a conscious and logical political nationalism, now the dominant factor of every indigenous movement in Western Asia, is too universal to be extinguished, too widespread to be temporary. We must prepare ourselves for its continuance, and for a continuance of the unrest produced by it in every contested district, until such time as it has succeeded and passed into a more advanced phase. It is so radical a change in the former complexion of Western Asia as to demand from us a revision of the principles of our policy in the Middle East, and an effort to adjust ourselves, that the advantage of its constructive elements may be on our side.
This new Imperialism is not just withdrawal and neglect on our part. It involves an active side of imposing responsibility on the local peoples. It is what they clamour for, but an unpopular gift when given. We have to demand from them provision for their own defence. This is the first stage towards self-respect in peoples. They must find their own troops to replace our armies of occupation which we are going to withdraw. For this they must be armed, and must learn by having arms not to misuse them. We can only teach them how by forcing them to try, while we stand by and give advice. This is not for us less honourable than administration: indeed, it is more exacting, for it is simple to give orders, but difficult to persuade another to take advice, and it is the more difficult which is most pleasant doing. We have to be prepared to see them doing things by methods quite unlike our own, and less well: but on principle it is better that they half-do it than that we do it perfectly for them. In pursuing such courses we will find our best helpers not in our former most obedient subjects, but among those now most active in agitating against us, for it will be the intellectual leaders of the people who will serve the purpose, and these are not the philosophers nor the rich, but the demagogues and the politicians. It seems a curious class to which to entrust the carefully begun edifices of our colonial governments - but in essence it will not be dissimilar to the members of our own House of Commons, whom we entrust with our own liberties. They will not wish to take charge, but we can force their hand by preparing to go. We do not risk losing them to another power - for the Englishman is liked by everyone who has not too much to do with him, and the British Empire is so much the largest concern in the world that it offers unrivalled inducements to small peoples to join it. Egypt, Persia and Mesopotamia, if assured of eventual dominion status, and present internal autonomy, would be delighted to affiliate with us, and would then cost us no more in men and money than Canada or Australia. The alternative is to hold on to them with ever-lessening force, till the anarchy is too expensive, and we let go.
|Last revised:||8 January 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset