Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Crampton - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine Skwiot

Third Advisor

Dr. Dona Stewart


This thesis examines the principle of national self-determination as it pertained to the Kurdish population of the Middle East after the First World War and the legacy that it has left behind. The end of the War was characterized by a shift from empires to the European state system. This transition necessitated the redrawing of political borders. As victors of the War, Britain, France, Italy, and the United States of America had the power to influence the future of the continent in terms of creating nation-states. While nation-states were created in Europe, a mandate system was implemented in the Middle East. The Great Powers divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence. In so doing, the Kurds were left without a state. This research provides a case study for the Kurds at the close of the First World War and examines the obstacles they face today as the struggle for autonomy continues.