The feature-length documentary Blood and Oil – The Middle East in World War I exposes the Western greed and political intrigue which laid the foundation for wars, coups, revolts, oppressive dictators and military interventions in today’s Middle East. Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, modern Turkey and other hot spots are born as the British and French divide the “fruits of victory” in World War I.
LENGTH: 112 Minutes
CATALOG #: 20405
UPC #: 6-4603204059-3
ISBN #: 1-56839-355-5
RELEASE YEAR: 2010
PRODUCER: Inecom Entertainment Company
TECHNICAL NOTES: 16 x 9 Anamorphic Widescreen, NTSC, Enhanced for 16 x 9 TV, �Dolby® Digital 2.0 Stereo�, Color and Black & White Footage, Closed-Captioned (CC)
Except for the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaigns, the extensive combat operations in the Middle East during World War I have been largely overlooked in documentary programs. Given the historical significance of the Ottoman Empire’s demise in 1918, and the ongoing importance of Middle Eastern oil reserves to Western economies, a close study of this conflict provides two important lessons:
1. The Treaty of Versailles, agreed to by the Western Powers in 1919, paved the way for military and political chaos in the Middle East, which continues to this very day.
2. Oil reserves in the Middle East became an important strategic concern for Western Powers, helping to justify their economic, diplomatic and military interference in the region.
After the end of World War I, most of the Ottoman Empire was carved up into “spheres of influence”, controlled mostly by the British and French. The remaining territories became the modern state of Turkey in 1923 – after a five-year struggle by Turkish nationalists against Western domination.
With little regard for cultural, historical, religious and demographic considerations, the West sponsored the creation of several new nations: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Thus, a “tinderbox” was built from Western greed, igniting a multitude of wars, revolts, coups and military occupations that truly have made the defeat of the Ottoman Empire little more than a hollow victory. Written, produced and directed by Marty Callaghan. Narrated by Marty Callaghan�.
Key Dates in the Film
- 1912-1913 Balkan Wars
- October 25, 1914 Enver Pasha, Ottoman Empire Minister of War, orders Turkish Fleet into the Black Sea to start a war against Russia
- November 6, 1914 Great Britain lands troops near Abadan at the southern tip of Iran – the day after declaring war on the Ottoman Empire
- April 1917 United States Congress declares war on Germany
- July 6, 1917 British Captain Thomas, Lawrence and his Arabs capture the strategic port of Aqaba on the Red Sea, attacking across 600 miles of desert.
- December 7, 1917 British forces attack the holy city of Jerusalem. Four centuries of Ottoman rule have come to an end
- September 19, 1918 Battle of Megiddo
- October 30, 1918 Mehmed the Sixth surrenders his force of 11,000 men
- November 1, 1918 In violation of an armistice from a day earlier, British cavalry rush to Mosul and occupy it on November 1st. Great Britain now controls the oil in Iraq
- November 11, 1918 German military leaders agree to an armistice
- June 28, 1919 Treaty of Versailles is signed
- 1919 Winston Churchill becomes new Secretary of War
- February 1921 A new government takes over in Teheran
“Delves deeper into the conflict and provides viewers with background on how the Middle East became the fractious, violent region it is today.” – Cheryl Cheng, Video Business�
“Provides an excellent outline of the conflict and its aftermath. Recommended.” – Kathleen Loomis-Sacco, Library Journal
“This absorbing documentary combines scholarly commentary and archive footage. Definitely recommended.”
- E. Hulse, Video Librarian
“This informative production provides a comprehensive overview of both World War I in the Middle East and its aftermath.” – Mary Mueller, School Library Journal
“Is Islamic extremism an outcropping of a botched World War I endgame? Blood and Oil – The Middle East in World War I methodically recounts how Britain and France carved up the Middle East to suit their political and economic needs and traces the aftermath of these decisions including how resentment toward Europe’s policies helped foster Muslim nationalism and, eventually, extremism.” – John Latchem, Home Media Retailing
“A thorough documentary. Gives you the sense of how long the West has been fighting in the Middle East.”
– Joshua Berlow, The Cynicism of Diogenes
“Callaghan clearly lays out his thesis: that the clumsy hands of Western powers guaranteed the region a future of conflict and occupation.” – Bill O’Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper
“Compelling and informative documentary that dares to venture where few films before it have.” – Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
“You’ll get much background information in this excellent documentary which makes the current situation in the Middle East more understandable.” – Doc Kirby, Video BookBit, WTBF-AM/FM
“Excellent material that helps promote understanding of the current situation in the Middle East.” – Eric Renshaw, CurledUpDVD.com
“Details how crucial the Middle East was in the war and how the post-war carve-up of the region is still felt today. Additional commentaries add depth to various aspects of the Middle East in WWI and give the DVD, already brimming with authority, a little extra oomph, making it that much more indispensable.” – Dante A. Ciampaglia, Fulvuedrive-in.com
“Provides viewers with a background essential to understanding the historical underpinnings of current and recent events in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.” – Tim Gebhart, Blogcritics.org
“It’s a shame President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld failed to learn some of the history lessons covered by [Marty] Callaghan in this well-researched film before undertaking the latest Iraq invasion.” – Betty Jo Tucker, Reeltalkreviews.com
“Highly recommended. Excellent documentary on the war in the Middle East (1914-22) and how we got to where we are now. All politicians, please watch.” – Gordon Smith, Naval-History.net
“A well-mounted DVD production that provides a compelling view of the events that mark the transition from the relatively peaceful 19th century to the most violent and bloody century in the history of mankind.” – Judge Russell Engebretson, DVDVerdict.com
“Utterly impressive. Director Marty Callaghan clearly has a strong personal interest in his subject, and conveys a sense of immersive passion as he pursues the roots of the chaos that exists in some areas of the Middle East today.” – Rene Carson, FilmFetish.com
“If there be any history lesson that should be sponged up by both political science major and those who decide on war today, Blood and Oil is it. History tells us what has happened over the past hundred years hasn’t worked. Blood and Oil shows us why.” – Steve Young, Talk Show host, non-fiction author and novelist, weekly oped-columnist, award-winning television writer and filmmaker�
Marty Callaghan, Producer, Director and Writer
Marty Callaghan is a veteran journalist who has been writing and producing documentaries since 1996. He has won three filmmaking awards, and his Archives of War series has sold more than 10,000 copies in the consumer market since 1999. As a staff editor for the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, MD., Marty played a key role in publishing Tom Clancy’s first novel, The Hunt for Red October. He read the first chapter of the book in the author’s home and got the manuscript to the Naval Institute Press, which published the book in 1984.
Since his childhood in Chicago, Marty has studied naval and military history. While serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he received the Naval Achievement Medal for outstanding work in journalism. His master’s thesis in history investigated the loss of the USS Thresher in April 1963 – the Navy’s worst submarine disaster. Marty has presented three papers at symposia sponsored by the U.S. Naval Academy, and his articles have appeared in various magazines, such as Naval History, Sailing, and the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings.
Besides contributing to dozens of programs in the consumer market as a writer and/or producer, Marty produced a double-DVD release in 2001 – Remember Pearl Harbor: America Taken by Surprise. For the past three years, Marty has focused on documentaries related to the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. He has filmed interviews and location footage across Turkey, Europe, and the United States.
David Fromkin, Author
David Fromkin is a noted author, lawyer, and historian, most known for his definitive account of the creation of the modern Middle East, A Peace to End All Peace (1989), in which he recounts the key role that European policy toward the Middle East between 1914 and 1922 played in the creation of the situation that exists there today. He has written seven books in total, with his most recent in 2004, Europe’s Last Summer: Who Started The Great War in 1914?
A graduate of the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Law School, he is University Professor, Professor of History, International Relations, and Law at Boston University, where he is also the Director of The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Long-Range Future. Fromkin also sits on the editorial board of the Middle East Quarterly, a publication of the Middle East Forum think tank.
David Woodward, Author
David R.Woodward is Professor Emeritus of History at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Woodward is the author of Hell in the Holy Land: World War I in the Middle East (The University Press of Kentucky, 2006)�
Edward J. Erickson, Author
Lt. Col. Edward J. Erickson, US Army (retired) has a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the Ottoman Army during the early twentieth century. His books on the subject include Ottoman Army Effectiveness in W.W.I: A Comparative Study (Routledge Press), Defeat in Detail, The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913 (Praeger Publishers, 2003), and Ordered To Die, A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (Greenwood Publications Group, 2000). �Lt. Col. Erickson and his wife live in Norwich, New York.�
Production Notes, by Marty Callaghan
One of my favorite all-time films is David Lean’s 1962 masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia. The factual accuracy of this work may be questionable, but the depiction of Colonel T.E. Lawrence’s exploits in the Arabian Desert during World War One left an indelible impression on my mind: I wanted to explore the subject further. I began to study the great war against the Ottoman Empire, and the subsequent creation of artificial “spheres of influence” by France and Great Britain. I began to realize that a direct relationship exists between U.S. troops fighting and dying in Iraq today, and the political aftermath of World War I in the Middle East.
The idea for the documentary, Blood and Oil, occurred to me about three years ago. While many outstanding programs about the Great War have already been produced, they usually focus on the Western Front and the terrible waste of humanity in the trenches of France. When fighting in the Middle East is mentioned, the Gallipoli campaign – and the exploits of Lawrence in the Arab Revolt – are the main topics covered.
However, the Middle East struggle takes in an expansive and complex theater of operations, ranging from the Dardanelles Straits to the oil fields in Baku, on the Caspian Sea. The battles – military and political – feature several intriguing key players: Turkish Minister of War Enver Pasha, British General Edmund Allenby, German General Liman von Sanders, Arabian Prince Feisal, and Turkish General Mustafa Kemal. The Ottoman Empire became the target of invasion not only by the British, but also French, Russian, Greek and Armenian forces. While desperately fighting off the invasion at Gallipoli, the Ottoman Army also faced Russian invaders from the east, and British-East Indian troops in both Palestine and Iraq. How the Turks – with fewer men, artillery and resources – managed to hold out over four years of intensive combat is truly a remarkable story.
When the battles stopped on the Western Front in November 1918, the war in the Middle East went on – another four years of brutal combat, fought in temperatures ranging from 150 degrees in Iraq to 30 degrees below zero in the Caucasus. A Turkish nationalist movement, led by Mustafa Kemal, rejected the Anglo-French plan to carve up the Ottoman Empire among themselves and their allies. A new Turkish Army rose from the ashes of defeat. First, it drove Armenian forces out of eastern Turkey, then turned back French and Armenian troops in the south. Finally, Kemal launched a counter-offensive against a Greek Army invading from the west – all of this, while Europe began to recover in its newfound peace.
Turkey fought back to reclaim its homeland, much to the surprise of Europe. But France and Great Britain found other lands to dominate with post-war politics. New nations were created, their borders dictated by European greed for land and oil. Without much regard for the region’s history, culture, religion and ethnicity, artificial states emerged: Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. These “nations” secured the interests of France and Great Britain, but not the interests of the Muslim inhabitants: Sunnis, Shias, Arabs and a host of others.
Thus, the stage was set for political instability and violent struggle in the Middle East that continues to the present day. Western interests continue to collide with Muslim factions that are fueled by hatred toward the West. It is difficult to ignore some parallels between the distant and recent past. Places such as Basra, Baghdad, Mosul and Gaza are the scenes of struggle and foreign occupation, just as they were nine decades ago. The civil war that now rages in Iraq is reminiscent of Muslim revolts against British troops in 1920, and again in 1925.
The West continues to intervene in the Middle East, to support friendly governments and ensure the flow of oil to European and U.S. economies. Most recently, the United States sent troops to Iraq, but the same thing happened back in November 1914. When Britain declared war against the Ottoman Empire, the very first thing it did was to land troops near Basra to protect the oil fields in nearby Iran. Later in the war, the British captured Mosul – just as U.S. forces did in 2003 – to make certain that rich Iraqi oil reserves were covered by the Union Jack.
To understand more clearly as to why the Middle East remains embroiled in strife, we only need to examine the historical record. Blood and Oil chronicles the immensity of a horrific military struggle and its tremendous impact on the entire world. The seeds of discontent in the Middle East were sown 90 years ago, via military conquest and political domination from Europe. Unfortunately, those seeds have grown into a fearful harvest that continues to feed radicals, fanatics and terrorists in the Muslim World.