Historiography of the Kurdistan Nationalist Movement: 1945-1995

  • 2016

Historiography of the Kurdistan Nationalist Movement: 1945-1995

Author:
Michael Earle
Abstract:

As the world’s largest stateless ethnicity, Kurds have fallen victim to numerous Middle Eastern states, themselves beneficiaries of post-colonial nationalism, which rejected a true answer to the “Kurdish Question.” Arising in spite of uneven or otherwise absent international support was a bifurcated resistance and nationalistic movement. Discussing Kurdish nationalism across the fifty years following the end of World War II traces post-colonialism, Arab nationalism, the Cold War, United States interventionism and the rise of ethnic diasporas across Europe without a particularly careful look at the Kurds themselves. How the United Nations succeeded and failed in representing all people after 1945 is demonstrated in their handling of Kurdish oppression and uprisings and the Kurds continue today to be a disparate piece in a much larger regional puzzle. The historiography on such people falls primarily into two broad categories—opinions from American and European historians and the much newer Kurdish academic viewpoint. This essay also considers those two perspectives most closely with additional consideration given to Turkish and Russian points of view, which help contextualize the broader two bodies of historiography. Kurdish Nationalism in this era displays the success and failure of self-determination during Western Europe’s retreat from the rest of the world, a vacuum filled by the United States and Soviet Union and the beginnings of a Kurdish academic assembly.