Germany and the Middle East: 1871–1945

Before World War II, Germany intended to set up a greater Arabia under the influence of the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. But the war changed everything. Now the Middle East became a potential battlefield at the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe. For instance, Ankara sent Berlin essential raw materials like chrome ore for its war industry, and it was where the Nazis sold looted gold (mainly confiscated from Jews) for foreign currency. As in World War I, the Germans tried to incite Arab populations to jihad against the allied nations. As the war against the USSR dragged on and the tactics of blitzkrieg failed, the Middle East became more and more important for the Nazis. After the fall of Moscow they regarded this region as the next main battleground for crushing the British Empire, as Adolf Hitler revealed to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in late 1941, adding that after his victory against the Russians he would pursue the Jews in the Middle East as he was doing already in occupied Europe.

This book includes new historical studies about Germany and Afghanistan, the relations between Berlin and Riyadh, German archaeological research, Arab inmates in Nazi concentration camps, and prominent Germans like Dr. Fritz Grobba, Franz von Papen, and Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer, which combine to shed new light on a crucial period and region of world history.

Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, author, has also written Germans in the Near East, 1946–1965 and Gold, Bankers, and Diplomats: A History of the German Orient Bank, 1906–1946. He is the editor of seven books on the Near and Middle East.