The remarkable life of early-twentieth-century British adventurer Gertrude Bell has been well documented through her biographies and numerous travel books. Bell’s role as a grand strategist for the British government in the Middle East during World War I and the postwar period, however, is surprisingly understudied. Investigating Gertrude Bell as both a military strategist and a grand strategist offers important insights into how Great Britain devised its military strategy in the Middle East during World War I—particularly, Britain’s efforts to work through saboteurs and secret societies to undermine the Ottoman Empire during the war and the country’s attempts to stabilize the region after the war through the creation of the modern state of Iraq. As importantly, studying the life and work of Bell offers a glimpse into how this unique woman was able to become one of the principal architects of British strategy at this time and the extraordinary set of skills and perspectives she brought to these efforts—particularly, her ability to make and maintain relationships with key individuals. Bell’s life and work offer insights into the roles women have played and continue to play as influencers of grand strategy.
Gertrude Bell, World War I, grand strategy, military strategy, Arab Bureau, Middle East, Mesopotamia, Iraq
Defense and Security Studies | Military and Veterans Studies | Military History | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Women's History
Heather S. Gregg,
The Grand Strategy of Gertrude Bell: From the Arab Bureau to the Creation of Iraq (Carlisle: US Army War College Press, 2022),