Egypt’s 1919 Anticolonial Uprising and the Ongoing Aftermaths of World War I

Dr. Andrew Wender

The 1919 Egyptian popular uprising against British occupation, galvanized as Britain blocked Egyptian nationalists from petitioning for self-determination at the Paris Peace Conferences, is prominent among that year’s worldwide surge in anticolonial movements. Taken together with independence-seeking revolts spanning from throughout North Africa, eastward to Mesopotamia, the Egyptian episode exemplifies how post-World War I European colonial designs on the broader Middle East ran into localized, as well as regionally interconnected, forms of resistance. In Egypt’s case, Britain’s early 1920s recognition of a constitutional monarchy, remaining all-too-subject to London’s manipulation, paved the way for three further decades of nationalist as well as Islamic activist anticolonial strivings. The eventual emergence of Nasser’s Muslim Brotherhood-persecuting nation-state, which in turn created the institutional foundation for Sisi’s authoritarian regime proving so emblematic of today’s epoch in global power dynamics, illustrates how intimately connected are our world’s struggles with those of 1919.