We have had some fascinating feedback from the members of the Iranian Association who took part in the research for this project in 2017, as shown in the extracts below. It had obviously been an emotional journey for some of the participants, discovering histories which they had known nothing about before this. One said that when he was learning about the impact of the First World War in Iran, he could not help crying for the first time in his life when studying history. Thanks very much to the Iranian Association for contributing to this project.
‘The project provided an opportunity for me to learn about the consequences of the war in Iran economically and politically. The WW1 was a disaster for Iranian people. The development of parliamentary political system was aborted and the economy was ruined. I didn’t have any knowledge of the impact of the WW1 in Iran before joining the project. Even the history text books taught in Iran didn’t provide sufficient and accurate information about the WW1 in Iran and its consequences for Iranian people. Most people in the Western countries are not aware of the sufferings of Iranian people during the WW1 probably because Iran is not located in Europe and was a neutral country in the war. I think I now understand why the history repeats itself. I believe teaching history of the WW1 must be improved in Iran and Britain to provide a more comprehensive and impartial picture of the war in Iran and other countries.’
‘I come from Tabriz in North Western Iran. My grandparents talked to me a little about the famine and diseases in Iran during the WW1. Unfortunately, there are not many oral history records about the WW1 in Iran. I learned a great deal from the Iranian Association’s WW1 project. The research leading to the production of a timeline was an effective way of learning about the history and understanding the big picture.’
‘I had some idea about the dimensions of the WW1 in the West, but did not have any idea about how much Iranian people suffered in the war. I was shocked to learn that a neutral country like Iran that played no part in starting the war had probably suffered more than most countries which were fighting each other. I saw a shocking photo of a pile of bodies of dead Iranians in the WW1 that made me extremely sad. I hate war even more now after learning about the sufferings in the WW1. The project helped me understand how the destinies of different nations are tied to each other.’
‘I didn’t know much about the WW1 in Iran before joining the Iranian Association’s project. I have been sharing the stories with my family and friends. The ordinary Iranians paid a high cost in the WW1. There are still many untold stories about the WW1 in Iran. My research has shown that the stories about the WW1 in Iran have not been recorded properly. We come from a country that does not value awareness about history and we must do a lot more to raise awareness of the community about the WW1.’