|Author||Mohammad Reza Pahlavi|
|Original title||Réponse à l'histoire|
|Subject||Response of the former Shah of Iran during his exile following the Islamic Revolution|
|Publisher||Stein & Day Pub (September 1980)|
Published in English
|955/.053/0924 B 19|
|LC Class||DS318 .M58413|
Answer to History (French: Réponse à l'histoire; Persian, پاسخ به تاریخ) is a memoir written by the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, shortly after his overthrow in 1979 by Islamic revolution. The book was originally written in French and was translated into English and Persian as well as other languages, and was published posthumously in 1980.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.
A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir often tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life. The author of a memoir may be referred to as a memoirist or a memorialist.
The book is Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's personal account of his reign and accomplishments, as well as his perspective on issues related to the Iranian Revolution and Western foreign policy toward Iran. He places some of the blame for the wrongdoings of the SAVAK as well as the failures of various democratic and social reforms (particularly through the White Revolution) upon Amir Abbas Hoveyda and his administration.
The Iranian Revolution was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.
SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli MOSSAD. SAVAK operated from 1957 until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when the prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar ordered its dissolution during the outbreak of Iranian Revolution. SAVAK has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source, and another source by Gholam Reza Afkhami estimates SAVAK staffing at between 4,000 and 6,000.
The White Revolution or the Shah and People Revolution was a far-reaching series of reforms in Iran launched in 1963 by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and lasted until 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah’s reform program was built especially to weaken those classes that supported the traditional system. It consisted of several elements, including land reform, sale of some state-owned factories to finance this land reform, construction of an expanded road, rail, and air network, a number of dam and irrigation projects, the eradication of diseases such as malaria, the encouragement and support of industrial growth, enfranchisement of women, nationalization of forests and pastures, formation of literacy and health corps for rural isolated areas, and institution of profit sharing schemes for workers in industry. In the 1960s and 1970s the shah sought to develop a more independent foreign policy and established working relationships with the Soviet Union and eastern European nations. In subsequent decades, per capita income for Iranians skyrocketed, and oil revenue fueled an enormous increase in state funding for industrial development projects.
In the book, the Shah wrote:
"The lesson of the wickedness and immorality of international power-politics was burnt 'yes, very literally burnt' into my mind and heart. The main lesson I learnt was that when you are weak you have got to be very patient. You have got to accept humiliation. You have got to take the worst kind of insults. But in your inner heart you have got to love your country, have faith in its people and believe in their destiny as well as yours. If you do so, there is always a little ray of hope left which kindles in your conscience and inspires you to make the best of the worst possible circumstances and save whatever little you can of your land and its inheritance. That is the key to human survival amidst overwhelming difficulties."
According to Ervand Abrahamian the book reads like the "ramblings of a paranoid". Abrahamian mentions some of Pahlavi's claims in support of his criticism of the book:
Ervand Abrahamian is a historian of Middle Eastern and particularly Iranian history.
He claims [...] the British had "a hand" in the creation and growth of the Tudeh Party. They had plotted with the Tudeh and the Fada'iyan-e Islam to assassinate him in 1949, but had been forestalled then as well as at other times by divine intervention. They had also secretly helped Mosadeq to "clip his [royal] wings" and impede his ambitious modernization programs. "We always suspected" he writes, "that [Mossadeq] was a British agent, a suspicion his further posturing as an anti-British nationalist did not diminish." The British, together with the oil companies and "reactionary clerics" had engineered the Islamic Revolution in retaliation for his championing of OPEC and the Palestinian cause. The Palestinians, as well as the Israelis, would have been surprised to hear that.
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.
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.
The Pahlavi dynasty was the last ruling house of the Imperial State of Iran from 1925 until 1979, when the 2,500 years of continuous Persian monarchy was overthrown and abolished as a result of the Iranian Revolution. The dynasty was founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, a former brigadier-general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, whose reign lasted until 1941 when he was forced to abdicate by the Allies after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.
Black Friday is the name given to 8 September 1978 because of the shootings in Jaleh Square in Tehran, Iran. Between 84–88 people were killed in the incident and 205 were injured. The deaths were described as the pivotal event in the Iranian Revolution that ended any "hope for compromise" between the protest movement and regime of the Mohammad Reza Shah. The incident is described by historian Ervand Abrahamian as "a sea of blood between the shah and the people."
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.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is an Iranian communist party. Formed in 1941, with Soleiman Mohsen Eskandari as its head, it had considerable influence in its early years and played an important role during Mohammad Mosaddegh's campaign to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and his term as prime minister. The crackdown that followed the 1953 coup against Mosaddegh is said to have "destroyed" the party, although it continued. The party still exists, but has remained much weaker as a result of its banning in Iran and mass arrests by the Islamic Republic in 1982, as well as the executions of political prisoners in 1988.
Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee was an Iranian politician and the Prime Minister of Iran (Persia) from February to May 1921 under Ahmad Shah, the last Shah of the Qajar dynasty.
Mirza Hasan Ashtiani, commonly known by the bestowed title Mostowfi ol-Mamalek was an Iranian politician who served as Prime Minister on six occasions from 1910 to 1927.
Hossein Fatemi was a scholar, journalist, and famous politician of Iran. A close associate of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, he proposed nationalization of Iranian oil and gas assets. Initially a journalist, he served as Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953. After the 1953 CIA-orchestrated coup d'état toppled the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh, Fatemi was arrested, tortured, and convicted by a military court of "treason against the Shah", and executed by a firing squad.
Hossein Fardoust was a childhood friend of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and served for ten years as deputy head of SAVAK, the powerful Iranian intelligence agency.
Several leftist guerrilla groups attempting to overthrown the pro-Western regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi were notable and active in Iran from 1971 to 1979. The groups shared a commitment to armed struggle, but differed in ideology. Most were Marxist in orientation, but the largest group — People's Mujahedin of Iran — was founded as an Islamic socialist organization. The leftist movement is meant to overthrow conservative or capitalist systems and replace them with Marxist–Leninist, socialist, or anarchist societies.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Islamic Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967 during his coronation ceremony. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.
The Persian Constitutional Revolution, also known as the Constitutional Revolution of Iran, took place between 1905 and 1911. The revolution led to the establishment of a parliament in Persia (Iran) during the Qajar dynasty.
The Imperial state of Iran, the government of Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty, lasted from 1925 to 1979. During that time two monarchs — Reza Shah Pahlavi and his son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi — employed secret police, torture, and executions to stifle political dissent. The Pahlavi dynasty has sometimes been described as a "royal dictatorship", or "one man rule". According to one history of the use of torture by the state in Iran, abuse of prisoners varied at times during the Pahlavi reign.
Parliamentary elections were held in Iran in 1947. The newly elected parliament was opened on 17 July. The election was a three-way power struggle between Ahmad Qavam, Mohammad Reza Shah and pro-Britain conservative politicians.
1921 Persian coup d'état, known in Iran as 3 Esfand coup d'état, refers to several major events in Persia in 1921, which eventually led to the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty as the ruling house of the country in 1925.
The Comrades Party was a left-wing Iranian political party active during the 1940s. The party was part of a wave of political groupings established in the early 1940s following the removal of Rezā Shāh.
Socialism in Iran or Iranian socialism is a political ideology that traces its beginnings to the 20th century and encompasses various political parties in the country. Iran experienced a short Third World Socialism period at the zenith of the Tudeh Party after the abdication of Reza Shah and his replacement by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. After failing to reach power, this form of third world socialism was replaced by Mosaddegh's populist, non-aligned Iranian nationalism of the National Front party as the main anti-monarchy force in Iran, reaching power (1949–1953), and it remained with that strength even in opposition until the rise of Islamism and the Iranian Revolution. The Tudehs have moved towards basic socialist communism since then.
Noureddin Alamouti was an Iranian judge and politician. He served as the justice minister under cabinet of Ali Amini, during which he was noted for forming a powerful anti-corruption division that led to "the last serious attempt to realize the rule of law" in Pahlavi dynasty.
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