The White Revolution was initiated by Mohammed Reza Shah in 1963. The purpose of Shah's White Revolution was to strengthen the people who gave their support for Iran's traditional system. The revolution is referred to as White since it did not involve bloodshed during its lifetime. Shah believed that the revolution was critical to bring about social and economic reforms to the country to propel it to become a global industrial and economic power.
The revolution involved sharing of profits with employees of the respective industry, nationalization of pasturelands and forests. During Shahs tenure, the government invested heavily in industrial projects. He also initiated land reforms which led to the distribution of land to 2.5 million families, promoted literacy and health crops to benefit citizens living in the rural areas of Iran. The reforms led to the loss of power of tribal groups. The reforms led to the enfranchisement of women and manumission of women. The economic reforms initiated by Shah were successful as the per capita income of Iran skyrocketed.
Although the White Revolution brought positive changes in Iran, it led to the development of social tensions which developed into bigger problems. The two classes (intelligentsia and the working class) had an increased resentment towards Shah since he had dismantled the organizations that had represented them in the past. The land reforms led to independent farmers who were not loyal to Shah. Other problems such as high illiteracy levels, infant mortality and the use of secret police- Savak to control the country which led to people to unite against Shah and when Khomeini, who was previously quiet, started to oppose the government publicly people rallied behind him calling for the overthrow of Shah.
Relationship with the USA
The reforms in Iran came with an independent national policy on foreign relations. According to Mostofi the principles on Irans foreign relations policy were supported by the UN and it had a peaceful existence with its neighbours. Shah had a close relationship the USA, and this was directly seen by the increase of Western culture in Iran at the time. There was also an increase in American advisors who were to help implement the reforms and also develop the development of Irans military. At the time, Irans military became the largest armed force in the world, and it was well equipped.
The success of Khomeini
A lot of factors contribute to the success of Khomeini organizing a successful revolution. It could not be possible to organize a revolution without passing his message. Although Khomeini was in exile in Iraq and later in France, he was able to distribute his message to the people through music cassettes which were smuggled into the country and after that duplicated. They were then distributed through the country. Iranians rallied behind Khomeini who advocated for the restoration of Islamic principles as opposed to Shah. The people had an increased resentment to Shahs government due to some of the inefficiencies that it suffered. The resentments against the government led to more and more people calling for the ouster of Shah under the leadership of Khomeini which ultimately led to the Islamic Revolution.
On April 1, 1979, Khomeini won by a landslide in a referendum where people were given a choice on whether they want the Islamic Republic or not. After that, Khomeini declared the Islamic Republic and with a new constitution that reflected Islamic principles.
The Iranian revolution is different from others since after the revolution the neighbours tried to invade it. But this led to more people having confidence in the revolution making it emerge stronger after the revolution that it was before (Parvas, 2014).
Kurzman, C. The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mostofi, K. The White Revolution. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Iran/The-White-Revolution#ref315913/
Parvas, D. (2014, February 11). Iran 1979: A revolution that shook the world. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/01/iran-1979-revolution-shook-world-2014121134227652609.html/
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