Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Lee, Martha F.,


Political Science, General.




The Iranian Revolution is an historical quagmire and anomaly which has left behind it a legacy of perplexing questions. There are primarily two reasons for the rise of these questions: the rapid pace at which the Revolution occurred and its religious elements. Although there were signs of social and political discontent in Iran during the early and mid-1970s, the rapid pace at which the infamous Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown and replaced by an Islamic republic is astounding. The Iranian Revolution is puzzling as those who opposed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi's reign and brought about its collapse, were equipped only with religious slogans and moreover with their desire for change. The findings of this thesis suggest that the Pahlavi dynasty was perceived by many Iranians as oppressive. This resulted in mass discontent that was conducive to the rise of an Iranian Islamic movement. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's millenarian ideas of Islamic salvation via the establishment of an Islamic republic, which may have otherwise fallen upon deaf ears, were in this situation considered a viable and appealing alternative to the Iranian way of life under the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. Khomeini promised a return to the "golden age" of the Prophet Mohammed's reign which exemplified the ideal Islamic society. The conclusions of this thesis have been developed by an in-depth examination of: (i) millenarian theory, (ii) the modernization and westernization policies introduced and undertaken by the Pahlavi dynasty which were perceived by many Iranians as alienating and oppressive, and (iii) the rise of Khomeini and the popularization of his millenarian ideas. These three factors were conducive to the rise and the augmentation of the Iranian Islamic movement which resulted in the Iranian Revolution under the guidance of Khomeini's charismatic leadership.Dept. of History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1994 .B521. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 33-04, page: 1141. Adviser: Martha F. Lee. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1994.