The Arab Revolt (German: Araberunruhen) was officially initiated by Sherif Hussein bin Ali at Mecca on 10 June 1916 (9 Sha'ban of the Islamic calendar for that year) although his sons ‘Ali and Faisal had already initiated operations at Medina starting on 5 June with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.

After Initial Gains by the Arab Rebels, supported by the Entente, the Ottoman Empire was at the brink of military defeat in 1918. Support by the German Empire turned the tide, with the Central Powers quickly regaining control over Baghdad and Jerusalem in particular and the Middle East in general.


The rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire dates from at least 1821. Arab nationalism has its roots in the Mashriq (the Arab lands east of Egypt), particularly in countries of Sham (the Levant). The political orientation of Arab nationalists in the years prior to the Great War was generally moderate. The Arabs' demands were of a reformist nature, limited in general to autonomy, greater use of Arabic in education, and changes in conscription in the Ottoman Empire in peacetime for Arab conscripts that allowed local service in the Ottoman army.

In 1913, intellectuals and politicians from the Arab Mashriq met in Paris at the First Arab Congress. They produced a set of demands for greater autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. They again demanded that Arab conscripts to the Ottoman army should not be required to serve in other regions except in time of war. With the Arab subjects of the Ottoman Empire being drafted into the military the rising militancy led to open revolt, openly incited by the Entente



After several defeats by Arab rebels and local insurgents the Ottoman Empire had lost control over most of its Middle Eastern territories. By After the Battel of Aleppo in October 1918 the Ottoman army had lost its last major stronghold in Arab lands and seemed at the brink of collapse.


After victories on the Western Front over the Entente and the defeat of National France, the German Empire was finally able to dispatch a sizable force to support the Middle Eastern Army under Otto Liman von Sanders. The battle hardened veterans of the Western Front were able to stabilise the Middle Eastern front and also gain ground. Within the first six months of 1919 the Central Powers were able to push back a demoralized British and Arab force to the outskirts of Baghdad and Jerusalem. Baghdad was finally taken in September 1919. In the second siege of Kut the Otto Liman von Sanders was able to encircle and capture the bulk of the British and Arab forces on this part of the front.

The Entente subsequently retreated to the Suez Canal in late 1919. Jerusalem and the remaining Levante were captured by German and Ottoman forces without major conflict as local Arab rebels scattered and fled into the desert.


Over the last two years of the Weltkrieg both sides dug in around the Suez Canal with neither side making any large gains. The Peace with Honour formally reintroduced full Ottoman sovereignty over its Arabic territories, although its control over the populace remains weak. A punitive campaign swept Hejaz and ensured Ottoman control over most of it.