The apple of discord : the impact of the Levant on Anglo-French relations during 1943
This thesis provides a detailed account and analysis of Anglo-French relations in the Levant and their impact on the more general relationship between the British and the Free French during the important year of 1943. It aims to examine and explain how the Levant, traditionally an area of mutual suspicion and rivalry, created and accentuated discord and dissension between wartime Allies and , on occasion , even came perilously close to rupturing their relations. The introduction provides a survey of Anglo-French relations in the region as a backdrop against which the period covered by the thesis must be viewed. Chapters I-IV examine two policies pursued by Britain in the interests of the war effort, the persuasion of the Free French to honour their independence pledge to Syria and Lebanon and the encouragement of the formation of a unified French movement in North Africa. Arising from these policies, the mounting tensions between the Foreign Office and its principal representative in the Levant and between Churchill and de Gaulle are explored. The influence of deteriorating AngloFrench relations in the Levant on the Churchill-de Gaulle relationship is considered as are the high-level AngloFrench discussions in the summer of 1943 which acknowledged the need for better co-operation in the Levant. Chapters V and VI investigate the increasing Bri tish involvement in Levant politics, which resulted in the establishment of strongly nationalist and anti-French governments in both Syria and Lebanon. Chapters VII-XII are concerned exclusively with events in the Lebanon during late October and November 1943 which provoked a major crisis in Anglo-French relations. Attention is focused on the efforts of the Foreign Office and their French counterparts to defuse the crisis and to lessen its overall impact, and is contrasted with the intransigence displayed by Churchill and de Gaulle and with the belligerence of both French and British authorities on the spot. The final chapters deal with the efforts made to heal the breach in the Anglo-French relationship by both sides and the attempt by both to re-evaluate and reform their policies in the Levant. The troubled course of the AngloFrench alliance in the Levant throughout the remainder of the war, including the crisis in Syria in May and June 1945, is examined in a brief epilogue.