For understand of the Middle East today, it is essential to know something of the historical background of that region, traditionally known as the Near East. In tracing the influence of American Protestant missionary activities on American foreign policy and diplomacy in the Near East, Professor Grabill contributes significantly to an understanding of contemporary affairs. It becomes clear, in this account, that missionaries and philanthropists were the most influential force in the United States’ relations with the Near East through the First World War and its aftermath. An important turning point in the history occurred in 1915 when officials of the Ottoman Empire massacred or deported several hundred thousand Turkish Armenians, among whom were the principal constituents of the American missionaries. This prompted the mission groups to shift their emphasis from evangelism and education to the development of the second largest relief organization in the United States history )eventually called Near East Relief). Through powerful lobbying, the missionaries got their government to consider seriously a protectorate over Armenia or all of Asia Minor. Despite their political failure, the religionists succeeded as cultural frontiersmen through their colleges, such as the American University of Beirut, and their technical assistance programs, which showed the way for the Fulbright, foreign aid, and Peace Corps programs. The archives of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (Congregrational) and the Presbyterian Board of Missions provided rich source material for this book. The illustrations include photographs and maps.
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