All the Shah's Men

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All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
All The Shahs Men book cover.jpg
Author Stephen Kinzer
Subject 1953 Iranian coup d'état
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Publication date
July 18, 2003
Pages272
ISBN 978-0-471-67878-6

All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror is a book written by American journalist Stephen Kinzer. The book discusses the 1953 Iranian coup d'état backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which Mohammed Mossadegh, Iran's prime minister, was overthrown by Islamists supported by American and British agents (chief among them Kermit Roosevelt) and royalists loyal to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Journalist person who collects, writes and distributes news and other information

A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information to the public. A journalist's work is called journalism. A journalist can work with general issues or specialize in certain issues. However, most journalists tend to specialize, and by cooperating with other journalists, produce journals that span many topics. For example, a sports journalist covers news within the world of sports, but this journalist may be a part of a newspaper that covers many different topics.

Stephen Kinzer American historian, journalist and writer

Stephen Kinzer is an American author, journalist and academic. He was a New York Times correspondent, has published several books, and currently writes for several newspapers and news agencies.

1953 Iranian coup détat overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran

The 1953 Iranian coup d'état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup d'état, was the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the United Kingdom and the United States, and the first United States covert action to overthrow a foreign government during peacetime.

Summary

In 1933 Reza Shah signed a deal selling Iranian oil extraction rights to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later called British Petroleum (BP). Though Iran was officially neutral at the start of World War II, its monarch was friendly towards the Axis. Following the 1941 Allied Invasion of Iran, Reza Shah was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Mohammad Reza Shah, who upheld the oil agreement with APOC, which by then had been renamed the "Anglo-Iranian Oil Company". When the first democratically elected parliament and prime minister in Iran took power in 1950 they planned to seize the oil assets in Iran that had been developed by the British, violating the still running oil contract with British Petroleum. The British government followed to court in Belgium's International Court, lost the case against Iran's new government and reacted by blockading the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, halting Iran's trade and economy.

Reza Shah Shah of the Imperial State of Iran

Reza Shah Pahlavi, commonly known as Reza Shah, was the Shah of Iran from 15 December 1925 until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran Invasion during World War II

The Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, also known as the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia, was the joint invasion of Iran in 1941 during the Second World War by the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union. The invasion lasted from 25 August to 17 September 1941 and was codenamed Operation Countenance. Its purpose was to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure Allied supply lines for the USSR, fighting against Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Though Iran was neutral, the Allies considered Reza Shah to be friendly to Germany, deposed him during the subsequent occupation and replaced him with his young son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The US was concerned that Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was seeking help from the local superpower, the Soviet Union, against Britain. The Eisenhower administration agreed with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill government to restore the pro-Western Shah to power. In the summer of 1953, the CIA and Britain's MI6 arranged a coup in Tehran. Mossadegh was successfully overthrown and spent the rest of his life on his country estate under house arrest, and Iran remained a staunch Cold War ally of the West. After more than 20 years of the Shah's rule, there was a bloody revolution in 1979 and brought into power an Islamic republic, which has ruled ever since.

Mohammad Mosaddegh Prime Minister of Iran in the 1950s

Mohammad Mosaddegh was the 35th prime minister of Iran, holding office from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's MI6.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was instead a member of the Liberal Party.

Regarding US policy as it developed towards Iran in the early 1950s, the book portrays it as having been variously driven by the fear of annoying the British, an attempt to be an honest broker, or an effort to stop the spread of Communism. The fact, stated at the end of the book, that US companies were granted the majority of the oil concessions from the Shah's government after the coup, does not feature significantly in the earlier part of the narrative. However, that it was the chief reason for the coup is the tacit conclusion of the book.

British critic David Pryce-Jones takes strong issue with this conclusion in his essay "A Very Elegant Coup" (link below). In his view, the attempted Communist takeover of Iran was the chief issue, and the portrayal of the CIA by Kinzer as "arrogant, thuggish and immoral" was originally a notion put forward by leftists who sympathized with the attempt.

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