Wednesday, April 6, 2022

George Curzon: Imperialism is Divine

George Curzon was the British Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905. While he was serving as the foreign minister (from 1919 to 1924), he played a pivotal role in coercing the Persian Prime Minister Vossug ed Dowleh to sign the notorious Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919, which turned Iran (Persia at that time) into a British vassal state, and made the Persians believe that the West was plundering their country’s natural resources—so the Persians turned against the West. 

Harold Nicholson, who was serving in the British Legation in Tehran in the period when the Anglo-Persian Agreement was signed, wrote a book called Curzon: The Last Phase, 1919-1925: A Study in Post-War Diplomacy. In this book, he wrote that Curzon believed that God had created British imperialism and that the British upper class was an instrument of God’s “Divine Will.” He points out that Curzon was passionately devoted to the project of creating a “chain of vassal states from the Mediterranean all the way to India.”

In his book, Persia in the Great Game, Antony Wynn wrote that Cruzon “seems to be under the impression that he discovered Persia and that, having discovered it, in some mysterious way, he owns it.” Curzon used to proclaim that he was the great friend of Persians. But the problem was that the Persians thought that he was their enemy and oppressor.

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