Chapter

Introduction

Thomas Martin

in Empires of Intelligence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251175
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933743 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251175.003.0101
Introduction

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This chapter is about the process, aims, and results of government information gathering in the quasi-colonial states that spanned the North African Maghreb and the Middle East from the start of World War I to the start of World War II. It explores intelligence gathering as a primary weapon of occupying powers. Overall, the chapter tries to answer a simple question: When colonial governments faced choices about the treatment of subject populations, how did they decide what to do? Political beliefs, racial assumptions, and the intellectual formation of those in positions of power all played their part. Monetary constraints and strategic factors were also influential. The most salient factor of all, however, was the intelligence available to those in authority. The chapter compares the information-collection practices and intelligence-assessment methods of imperial security services of France and Britain, placing them within the wider framework of imperial policymaking and administration.

Keywords: information gathering; Maghreb; Middle East; governments; population; intelligence; France; Britain; policymaking; administration

Chapter.  5832 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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