1918-1926 History of Iran Iran 1941-1945

Iran 1926-1941

Administration . In 1926, Reza Pahlavi had himself crowned Shah, thus ending the Qajar Dynasty and beginning the Pahlavi Dynasty.

Domestic Policy . Shah Reza Pahlevi pursued a policy of Westernization, following the model of Ataturk's Turkey. He introduced a secular education system; religious schools were closed; he founded the first modern western-style university, the University of Tehran, in 1935. He created a modern bureaucracy. In 1935 the country was renamed from Persia into Iran. New law codes were introduced; women began to appear in public without the shador (veil) in 1936, a sign for gradual emancipation of women.
Khuzestan, where Sheikh Khaz'al, with British support, had pursued a rather independent policy, was brought under central control (1926).
In 1928-1929, Iran and Britain held negotiations over three islands in the Gulf : Tunbs, Abu Musa and Sirri, disputed by the sheikhdoms of Trucial Oman and Persia.

Foreign Policy . In 1926 Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan signed a treaty of mutual security. Iran and Japan opened diplomatic relations in 1926.
In 1928 the Shah abolished privileges enjoyed by foreign governments/nationals based on historical treaties; in 1932 he cancelled the agreement on which the oil production of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was based (renamed Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1935); a new agreement, more favourable to the Persian side, was signed. Shah Reza Pahlavi's foreign policy was of concern to both the USSR and the British.

Social History . In 1926, the Iranian Baha'i minority suffered pogroms.
In 1933, Iran had a population of 15,055,115. The largest city was Tehran with 360,251, followed by Tabriz with 219,949.

The Economy . In 1932, in a currency reform the Rial replaced the Kral.
The predominant agricultural product was wheat, followed by barley and rice. The most popular livestocks were sheep and goats. In 1938. Iran had a combined total of 1,170 km of railway lines, 19,659 km of roads. 3,900 cars, 400 buses and 8,300 trucks were registered. In 1937/1938 the budget was balanced at 1,250,000,000 Rials. In 1934-1936, most imports originated from the USSR, most exports (oil) went to the British Empire and the USSR. Leading import articles were textiles and metal products, dominating export products oil, with carpets a distant second.
In 1926, the German company Junkers was granted the exclusive right of air transportation in Persia.
In May 1929, the oil industry in Abadan was affected by a strike. In 1939 the Trans-Iranian Railroad, connecting Bandar-E-Shah on the Caspian Sea with Bandar-E-Shahpur on the Persian Gulf, was opened.
In 1926, Persia produced 4.7 million metric tons of oil, in 1938 10.3 million, in 1941 6.7 million (IHS pp.361-362).
In 1933, Persia produced 1.8 million metric tons of wheat, in 1940 1.5 million (IHS p.192).

Cultural History . Large parts of the Golestan palace were razed to the ground.
In 1929 the first motion picture studio in Iran was opened.
Shah Reza Pahlavi wanted to emphasize Iranian heritage.The Persian language was cleansed of many Arab loanwords, school textbooks stressed Persia's Zoroastrian and Achaemenid past. In 1935, religious schools (of Muslim, Baha'i, Christian or any other faith) were closed. The country was renamed from Persia to Iran in 1935; many cities were renamed, parents encouraged to give their children Iranian instead of Arab names.
Foreign residents introduced sports such as soccer and skiing in the 1930es.

History of Iran, from Persian Outpost
Timeline of Iranian History, from Encyclopedia of the Orient
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Iran
History of the Baha'i in Iran, from Baha'i Encyclopedia
Articles Turkey-Iran Relations, Iran-United Kingdom Relations, Arthur Millspaugh, University of Tehran : Histories, Golestan Palace, Mahmoud Hessaby, Khaz'al Khan, from Wikipedia
Brief History of the Air Transport Industry in Iran, from Iran Air
The Evolution of the Iranian Airline Industry, by Abbas Atrvash
The Iranian Identity Crisis : Islam versus Iranian Identity, by Paoli Bassi
History of Banking in Iran, from Tejarat
History of Iran : Constitutional Revolution, from Iran Chamber Society
Persian Gulf's Arab Sheikhdoms Fuel Propaganda, from SMCCDI, on status of disputed islands in Gulf; biased
Abu Musa and the Tunbs, from The Persian Gulf
A Survey Catalogue and Brief Critical History of Iranian Feature Film (1896-1975), by Reza Talachian
Brief History of National Iranian Oil Company
History of Skiing in Iran, from IranMania
History of Iranian Railways, from Unofficial Homepage of the Iranian Railways
Iran, from Global History of Currencies
DOCUMENTS Iranian Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics : Iran, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE Violet Conolly, Soviet Economic Policy in the East, London : Oxford UP 1933; pp.53-76 on Persia [G]
IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Hübner's Weltstatistik, 73rd edition, edited by Ernst Rösner, Wien 1939, in German [G]
Article : Persia, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1926 pp.1152-1163, 1928 pp.1185-1196, 1929 pp.1164-1174, 1932 pp.1182-1191 [G]
Article Iran, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1937 pp.1046-1054 (data of 1935-1937) [G]
Article : Persia, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.666-668, 1928 pp.614-615, 1930 pp.601-603, 1931 pp.587-589, 1932 pp.555-556, 1933 pp.591-593, 1934 pp.460-461, 1935 pp.553-554 [G]
Article : Iran, in : Americana Annual 1936 pp.370-371, 1937 pp.357-358, 1938 pp.343-344, 1939 pp.380-381, 1940 pp.392-394 [G]
Article : Persia, in : New International Year Book 1928 pp.579-581, 1930 pp.602-603, 1932 pp.637-639, 1933 pp.640-641, 1934 pp.550-552 [G]
Article : Iran, in : New International Year Book 1935 pp.333-334, 1938 pp.348-349, 1939 pp.377-379, 1940 pp.362-363, 1941 pp.288-293 [G]
Article : Persia, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 p.431, 1933 pp.416-418, 1934 pp.427-428, 1935 pp.425-426, 1936 pp.397-398 [G]
Article : Iran, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1937 pp.270-271, 1938 pp.272-274, 1939 pp.299-300, 1940 pp.310-311, 1941 pp.261-262 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 28th 2002, last revised on April 25th 2007

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