British troops at Habbaniya Air Base, Anbar which was surrounded by the Iraqis during the start of the 1941 Anglo-Iraq War (Imperial War Museim)
In 1941, the British overthrew the government of Prime Minister Rashid Al-Gailani in Iraq and invaded Syria. Baghdad had reached out to the Germans and Italians, Syria was run by Vichy France, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill believed that the Axis was making a play to take over the Middle East. These two conflicts are barely mentioned in World War II histories today, but at the time it was a major event for all those involved. John Broich, an Associated Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University recently published a book on this subject Blood, Oil and the Axis: The Allied Resistance Against A Fascist State In Iraq and the Levant, 1941. This is an interview with Prof. Broich about the war in Iraq and Syria.