How Did the White Revolution Help Lead to the Fall of the Shah? 1979 (Worksheet)

"...the road to hell is paved with good intentions that are unfinished, or hastily planned, or are not implemented at all." -Yahya Armajani, 1979

People celebrating Mohammad Reza Shah's exit of Iran, January 16, 1979. CREDIT: Fararu via Wikimedia

In May 1979, the year of the Iranian Revolution, Professor Yahya Armajani examined causes of "a grassroots revolt, the likes of which had not been seen in the history of Iran." He claimed that one of the two main reasons for the revolution was that the Shah's reforms from 1963-1978 (also known as the White Revolution) were so poorly implemented that "people in practically all walks of life were hit by economic dislocation and spiraling inflation," which in turn led to upheaval.

The excerpt found on the top right sidebar allows students to evaluate how the White Revolution led to the opposite of its intended goal—a toppling of the Shah's power instead of loyalty to his regime. The excerpt is from the article "What the U.S. Needs to Know About Iran."

Yahya Armajani, a native of Iran, was James Wallace Professor of History, Emeritus, at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. His students included Kofi Annan and Walter Mondale. Among Armajani's publications are the textbooks Iran (1970) and Middle East Past and Present (1972).

WORLDVIEW magazine ran from 1958-85 and featured articles by political philosophers, scholars, churchmen, statesmen, and writers from across the political spectrum. Find the entire archive here

This activity works well in a comparative government, global, or world history class.