3.8 National Interests after World War I

Should nations pursue national interest?

Big Ideas:

  • How do national interest, foreign policy, and nationalism affect each other?
  • How are national interests affected by the pursuit of self-interests?
  • What is the impact of the pursuit of national self-determination?
  • How are multiple perspectives related to the pursuit of national interests?

The Pursuit of National Interest Shaped Foreign Policy after World War I

After World War I, the national interests of Britain and France focused on affairs at home, especially in areas of debt, the economy, and domestic policies. Many nations had to rebuild after World War I, and they focused on using resources to do so. France and Britain had gained new colonial territories from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in the Middle East.

However, while British and French national interests shaped their foreign policies to reflect their need for oil, Arab nationalism was already growing in the Middle East, with a desire for self-determination.

During World War I, Prince Emir Faysal (left) had helped the Allies fight Turkey and Germany in the Middle East, in exchange for independence. However, during the Treaty of Versailles negotiation Britain and France secretly divided the Middle East (right) between them, and broke their promise to Prince Emir.

British (green) and French (brown) Mandates
(click image for larger view)

Go to your textbook, Understanding Nationalism, and read pages 120 to 122. These pages will further your understanding about how the pursuit of national interest shaped foreign policy after WWI.

Download the 3.8 Notebook Organizer (rganizer.docx">Word, PDF, Google Doc) and take notes on what you have read. When you are done, return here to continue.