Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 






The World Wars and Interwar Period 

1914-1945


 


The first half of the 20th century saw the world entangled in two global wars, conducted with an unprecedented brutality. The First World War developed from a purely European affair into a conflict involving the colonies and the United States. It altered Europe's political landscape and shifted the power balance worldwide. In World War II, the nations of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa were drawn into the conflict through the aggressive policies of an ambitious Nazi Germany. The war was conducted with the most up-to-date weapons technology and cost the lives of more than 55 million people. The Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of the European Jews, represented an unparalleled moral catastrophe for modern civilization.


 



Pablo Picasso "Weeping Woman", 1937

 

 

 


The Reorganization of Arabia 
 


1918-1945
 

 

With the end of World War I and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab world faced a new beginning and a period of political restructuring. The desires for national independence and self-rule of the countries that had previously been Ottoman provinces, collided with British and French "Great Power" colonial interests in the oil-rich region and led to constant tension. In Palestine, Arab and Israeli territorial claims, which could not be resolved by the British Mandate, overlapped. The foundation for the present-day conflict in the Middle East was laid.

 


Postwar Political Reorganization in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine
 

Great Britain and France divided the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire between them following World War I. In Palestine, Great Britain failed to successfully mediate between Arab and Jewish interests and solve the territorial conflict.

 

In order to weaken its 1 World War I opponent, the Ottoman Empire, the British government supported the nationalist dreams of the Ottoman provinces of Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, promising them 4 independence if they fought on the side of the Entente.

The British officer and archaeologist Captain Ò. Å. Lawrence, later known as "Lawrence of Arabia," successfully organized an 3 uprising of the Arabs against the Turks, which significantly contributed to the downfall of the Ottoman Empire.

At the 1920 Conference of San Remo, however, the Entente powers disregarded their promise of Arabian independence and focused instead on consolidating their influence.

France was given a League of Nations mandate to rule over Syria and Lebanon, while Great Britain took control, also as the mandatory power, over 2 Palestine and Iraq.

When Syria declared itself an independent "United Kingdom" in the same year, the French military intervened and banished King Faisal. In other colonial areas as well, resistance to the Europeans took on strength. In Iraq the British had to defend against numerous insurrections, and in Palestine the British occupation was unable to satisfy the demands of the League of Nations for a balancing of Arab and Jewish interests.


1 Capture of Jerusalem by the British under General Allenby, December 1917


4 Arabs celebrate the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the liberation of Mecca, June 1916


3 Castle in the desert, near Qasr al-Azraq, Jordan, in which Lawrence of Arabia had his battle headquarters


2 Rebellion against British rule in Palestine:
"Holy War" against the British supremacy
is declared, 1915

 

 

Lawrence of Arabia

The archaeologist Thomas Edward Lawrence from North Wales became legendary as Lawrence of Arabia through his leadership in the battle for Arabian independence.

From 1916 to 1918, he worked toward inciting an Arab rebellion against the Ottomans. After the war, he saw the imperialist reorganization of the region as a betrayal of his Arabian friends; he refused all awards and lived reclusively until his death in 1935.



Thomas Edward Lawrence, known as "Lawrence of Arabia"

 

 

 

Thomas Edward Lawrence


Thomas Edward Lawrence

Main
British scholar and military officer
byname Lawrence Of Arabia, also called (from 1927) T.E. Shaw

born Aug. 15, 1888, Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire, Wales
died May 19, 1935, Clouds Hill, Dorset, Eng.

British archaeological scholar, military strategist, and author best known for his legendary war activities in the Middle East during World War I and for his account of those activities in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926).

Early life
Lawrence was the son of Sir Thomas Chapman and Sara Maden, the governess of Sir Thomas’ daughters at Westmeath, with whom he had escaped from both marriage and Ireland. As “Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence,” the couple had five sons (Thomas Edward was the second) during what was outwardly a marriage with all the benefits of clergy. In 1896 the family settled in Oxford, where T.E. (he preferred the initials to the names) attended the High School and Jesus College. Medieval military architecture was his first interest, and he pursued it in its historical settings, studying crusader castles in France and (in 1909) in Syria and Palestine and submitting a thesis on the subject that won him first-class honours in history in 1910. (It was posthumously published, as Crusader Castles, in 1936.) As a protégé of the Oxford archaeologist D.G. Hogarth, he acquired a demyship (travelling fellowship) from Magdalen College and joined an expedition excavating the Hittite settlement of Carchemish on the Euphrates, working there from 1911 to 1914, first under Hogarth and then under Sir Leonard Woolley, and using his free time to travel on his own and get to know the language and the people. Early in 1914 he and Woolley, and Capt. S.F. Newcombe, explored northern Sinai, on the Turkish frontier east of Suez. Supposedly a scientific expedition, and in fact sponsored by the Palestine Exploration Fund, it was more a map-making reconnaissance from Gaza to Aqaba, destined to be of almost immediate strategic value. The cover study was nevertheless of authentic scholarly significance; written by Lawrence and Woolley together, it was published as The Wilderness of Zin in 1915.

The month the war began, Lawrence became a civilian employee of the Map Department of the War Office in London, charged with preparing a militarily useful map of Sinai. By December 1914 he was a lieutenant in Cairo. Experts on Arab affairs—especially those who had travelled in the Turkish-held Arab lands—were rare, and he was assigned to intelligence, where he spent more than a year, mostly interviewing prisoners, drawing maps, receiving and processing data from agents behind enemy lines, and producing a handbook on the Turkish Army. When, in mid-1915, his brothers Will and Frank were killed in action in France, T.E. was reminded cruelly of the more active front in the West. Egypt at the time was the staging area for Middle Eastern military operations of prodigious inefficiency; a trip to Arabia convinced Lawrence of an alternative method of undermining Germany’s Turkish ally. In October 1916 he had accompanied the diplomat Sir Ronald Storrs on a mission to Arabia, where Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, amīr of Mecca, had the previous June proclaimed a revolt against the Turks. Storrs and Lawrence consulted with Ḥusayn’s son Abdullah, and Lawrence received permission to go on to consult further with another son, Fayṣal, then commanding an Arab force southwest of Medina. Back in Cairo in November, Lawrence urged his superiors to abet the efforts at rebellion with arms and gold and to make use of the dissident shaykhs by meshing their aspirations for independence with general military strategy. He rejoined Fayṣal’s army as political and liaison officer.

Guerrilla leader.
Lawrence was not the only officer to become involved in the incipient Arab rising, but from his own small corner of the Arabian Peninsula he quickly became—especially from his own accounts—its brains, its organizing force, its liaison with Cairo, and its military technician. His small but irritating second front behind the Turkish lines was a hit-and-run guerrilla operation, focussing upon the mining of bridges and supply trains and the appearance of Arab units first in one place and then another, tying down enemy forces that otherwise would have been deployed elsewhere, and keeping the Damascus-to-Medina railway largely inoperable, with potential Turkish reinforcements thus helpless to crush the uprising. In such fashion Lawrence—“Amīr Dynamite” to the admiring Bedouins—committed the cynical, self-serving shaykhs for the moment to his king-maker’s vision of an Arab nation, goaded them with examples of his own self-punishing personal valour when their spirits flagged, bribed them with promises of enemy booty and English gold sovereigns.

Aqaba—at the northernmost tip of the Red Sea—was the first major victory for the Arab guerrilla forces; they seized it after a two-month march on July 6, 1917. Thenceforth, Lawrence attempted to coordinate Arab movements with the campaign of General Sir Edmund Allenby, who was advancing toward Jerusalem, a tactic only partly successful. In November Lawrence was captured at Darʿā by the Turks while reconnoitring the area in Arab dress and was apparently recognized and homosexually brutalized before he was able to escape. The experience, variously reported or disguised by him afterward, left real scars as well as wounds upon his psyche from which he never recovered. The next month, nevertheless, he took part in the victory parade in Jerusalem and then returned to increasingly successful actions in which Fayṣal’s forces nibbled their way north, and Lawrence rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

By the time the motley Arab army reached Damascus in October 1918, Lawrence was physically and emotionally exhausted, having forced body and spirit to the breaking point too often. He had been wounded numerous times, captured, and tortured; had endured extremities of hunger, weather, and disease; had been driven by military necessity to commit atrocities upon the enemy; and had witnessed in the chaos of Damascus the defeat of his aspirations for the Arabs in the very moment of their triumph, their seemingly incurable factionalism rendering them incapable of becoming a nation. (Anglo-French duplicity, made official in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Lawrence knew, had already betrayed them in a cynical wartime division of expected spoils.) Distinguished and disillusioned, Lawrence left for home just before the Armistice and politely refused, at a royal audience on Oct. 30, 1918, the Order of the Bath and the DSO, leaving the shocked king George V (in his words) “holding the box in my hand.” He was demobilized as a lieutenant colonel on July 31, 1919.

Postwar activities.
A colonel at 30, Lawrence was a private at 34. In between he lobbied vainly for Arab independence at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 (even appearing in Arab robes) and lobbied vainly against the detachment of Syria and Lebanon from the rest of the Arab countries as a French mandate. Meanwhile he worked on his war memoir, acquiring for the purpose a research fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, effective (for a seven-year term) in November 1919. By that time his exploits were becoming belatedly known to a wide public, for in London in August 1919 an American war correspondent, Lowell Thomas, had begun an immensely popular series of illustrated lectures, “With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia.” The latter segment soon dominated the program, and Lawrence, curious about it, went to see it himself.

Adviser on Arab affairs.
Lawrence was already on a third draft of his narrative when, in March 1921, he was wooed back to the Middle East as adviser on Arab affairs to the colonial minister, then Winston Churchill. After the Cairo political settlements, which redeemed a few of the idealistic wartime promises Lawrence had made, he rejected all offers of further positions in government; and, with the covert help of his wartime colleague, Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard, enlisted under an assumed name (John Hume Ross) in the Royal Air Force on Aug. 28, 1922. He had just finished arranging to have eight copies of the revised and rhetorically inflated 330,000-word text of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom run off by the press of the Oxford Times and was emotionally drained by the drafting of his memoir. Now he was willing to give up his £1,200 Colonial Office salary for the daily two shillings ninepence of an aircraftman, not only to lose himself in the ranks but to acquire material for another book. He was successful only in the latter. The London press found him at the Farnborough base, the Daily Express breaking the story on December 27. Embarrassed, the RAF released him early the next month.

Finding reinstatement impossible, Lawrence looked around for another service and through the intervention of a War Office friend, Sir Philip Chetwode, was able to enlist on March 12, 1923, as a private in the Royal Tank Corps, this time as T.E. Shaw, a name he claimed to have chosen at random, although one of the crucial events of his postwar life was his meeting in 1922, and later friendship with, George Bernard Shaw. (In 1927 he assumed the new name legally.) Posted to Bovington Camp in Dorset, he acquired a cottage nearby, Clouds Hill, which remained his home thereafter. From Dorset he set about arranging for publication of yet another version of Seven Pillars; on the editorial advice of his friends, notably George Bernard Shaw, a sizable portion of the Oxford text was pruned for the famous 128-copy subscription edition of 1926, sumptuously printed and bound and illustrated by notable British artists commissioned by the author.

Major literary works.
Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (posthumous trade edition 1935, with subsequent editions since) remains one of the few 20th-century works in English to make epical figures out of contemporaries. Though overpopulated with adjectives and often straining for effects and “art,” it is, nevertheless, an action-packed narrative of Lawrence’s campaigns in the desert with the Arabs. The book is replete with incident and spectacle, filled with rich character portrayals and a tense introspection that bares the author’s own complex mental and spiritual transformation. Though admittedly inexact and subjective, it combines the scope of heroic epic with the closeness of autobiography.

To recover the costs of printing Seven Pillars, Lawrence agreed to a trade edition of a 130,000-word abridgment, Revolt in the Desert. By the time it was released in March 1927, he was at a base in India, remote from the publicity both editions generated; yet the limelight sought him out. Unfounded rumours of his involvement as a spy in Central Asia and in a plot against the Soviet Union caused the RAF (to which he had been transferred in 1925 on the intervention of George Bernard Shaw and John Buchan with the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin) to return him to England in 1929. In the meantime he had completed a draft of a semifictionalized memoir of Royal Air Force recruit training, The Mint (published 1955), which in its explicitness horrified Whitehall officialdom and which in his lifetime never went beyond circulation in typescript to his friends. In it he balanced scenes of contentment with air force life with scenes of splenetic rage at the desecration of the recruit’s essential inviolate humanity. He had also begun, on commission from the book designer Bruce Rogers, a translation of Homer’s Odyssey into English prose, a task he continued at various RAF bases from Karāchi in 1928 through Plymouth in 1931. It was published in 1932 as the work of T.E. Shaw, but posthumous printings have used both his former and adopted names.

Little else by Lawrence was published in his lifetime. His first postwar writings, including a famous essay on guerrilla war and a magazine serial version of an early draft of Seven Pillars, have been published as Evolution of a Revolt (edited by S. and R. Weintraub, 1968). Minorities (1971) reproduced an anthology of more than 100 poems Lawrence had collected in a notebook over many years, each possessing a crucial and revealing association with something in his life.

Last years.
Lawrence’s last years were spent among RAF seaplanes and seagoing tenders, although officialdom refused him permission to fly. In the process, moving from bases on the English Channel to those on the North Sea and leading charismatically from the lowest ranks as Aircraftman Shaw, he worked on improved designs for high-speed seaplane-tender watercraft, testing them in rigorous trials and developing a technical manual for their use.

Discharged from the Royal Air Force on Feb. 26, 1935, Lawrence returned to Clouds Hill to face a retirement, at 46, filled alternately with optimism about future publishing projects and a sense of emptiness. To Lady Astor, an old friend, he described himself as puttering about as if “there is something broken in the works . . . my will, I think.” A motorcycling accident on May 13 solved the problem of his future. He died six days later without regaining consciousness.

Assessment.
Lawrence became a mythic figure in his own lifetime even before he published his own version of his legend in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. His accomplishments themselves were solid enough for several lives. More than a military leader and inspirational force behind the Arab revolt against the Turks, he was a superb tactician and a highly influential theoretician of guerrilla warfare. Besides The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his sharply etched service chronicle, The Mint, and his mannered prose translation of the Odyssey added to a literary reputation further substantiated by an immense correspondence that establishes him as one of the major letter writers of his generation.

Lawrence found despair as necessary as ambition. He lived on the masochistic side of asceticism, and part of his self-punishment involved creating within himself a deep frustration to immediately follow, and cancel out, high achievement by denying to himself the recognition he had earned. At its most extreme, this impulse involved a symbolic killing of the self, a taking up of a new life and a new name. Under whatever guise, he was a many-sided genius whose accomplishments precluded the privacy he constantly sought. By the manufacture of his myth, however solidly based, he created in his own person a characterization rivaling any in contemporary fiction.

Stanley Weintraub
Ed.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

Oil production in the Near East

The major powers' demand for oil had increased steadily since the beginning of industrialization. In 1920, the oil-rich provinces of Baghdad, Mosul and Basra were combined under British mandate to form present-day Iraq.

The British shared the rights to the oil deposits with France, the US, and the Netherlands. The payment the Iraqi government received in exchange for oil was a small fraction of the profits.


Oil production in Iraq, 1937

 

 

 


Palestine: A Religio-Political Conflict Is Born
 

After 1917, Arabic and Jewish national movements collided over the issue of the religio-historically sensitive region of the territory of Palestine.

 

Even by the end of the 19th century, the Arab nationalist movement had provided for a revitalization of Islam and had increasingly begun to defend itself against the secularization promoted by Ottoman rule.

At the same time, Jewish nationalism—Zionism—also increased, seeking to unite Jewish people throughout the world in the "Land of the Fathers," in Ottoman-controlled 5 Palestine.


5 Street scene in Jericho, ca. 1900

As the Zionist cause was thus anti-Turkish, and as many of the young men of the exiguous Jewish population of Palestine enrolled in British forces and provided military intelligence, Great Britain promised the Jews a "national homeland in Palestine" in the 7 Balfour Declaration of 1917.

   


7 Balfour Declaration for the settlement of Jewish immigrants in Palestine, 1917

Balfour Declaration

United Kingdom [1917]

(Nov. 2, 1917), statement of British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was made in a letter from Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, to Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (of Tring), a leader of British Jewry. Though the precise meaning of the correspondence has been disputed, its statements were generally contradictory to both the Sykes-Picot Agreement (a secret convention between Britain and France) and the Ḥusayn-McMahon correspondence (an exchange of letters between the British high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, and Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, then emir of Mecca), which in turn contradicted one another (see Palestine, World War I and after).

The Balfour Declaration, issued through the continued efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, Zionist leaders in London, fell short of the expectations of the Zionists, who had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as “the” Jewish national home. The declaration specifically stipulated that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” The document, however, said nothing of the political or national rights of these communities and did not refer to them by name. Nevertheless, the declaration aroused enthusiastic hopes among Zionists and seemed the fulfillment of the aims of the World Zionist Organization (see Zionism).

The British government hoped that the declaration would rally Jewish opinion, especially in the United States, to the side of the Allied powers against the Central Powers during World War I (1914–18). They hoped also that the settlement in Palestine of a pro-British Jewish population might help to protect the approaches to the Suez Canal in neighbouring Egypt and thus ensure a vital communication route to British colonial possessions in India.

The Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the principal Allied powers and was included in the British mandate over Palestine, formally approved by the newly created League of Nations on July 24, 1922. In May 1939 the British government altered its policy in a White Paper recommending a limit of 75,000 further immigrants and an end to immigration by 1944. Zionists condemned the new policy, accusing Britain of favouring the resident Palestinian Arabs of the region. This point was made moot by the outbreak of World War II (1939–45) and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Conflicting expectations were thereby created in the Arab and Jewish nationalist movements, both of which expected their own to be fulfilled when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and Great Britain conquered Palestine.

Negotiations between the Zionists and Arab nationalists  led to the Weizmann-Faisal Agreement in 1919, in which the Arabs accepted the 8 immigration of the Jews as long as Arab independence in Palestine was secure.


1918. Emir Faisal I and Chaim Weizmann
(left, also wearing Arab outfit as a sign of friendship)


8 View of the camp of Jewish
immigrants in Palestine, 1920
 


The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement
was signed on January 3, 1919, by Emir Feisal (son of the King of Hejaz) and Chaim Weizmann (later President of the World Zionist Organization) as part of the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 settling disputes stemming from World War I. It was a short-lived agreement for Arab-Jewish cooperation on the development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and an Arab nation in a large part of the Middle East.

One or more of the Allies may have suggested that a representative of the Zionist Organization secure the agreement. The secret Sykes-Picot Agreement had called for an 'Arab State or a Confederation of Arab States'... ...'under the suzerainty of an Arab chief.' The French and British also proposed 'an international administration, the form of which is to be decided upon after consultation with Russia, and subsequently in consultation with the other Allies, and the representatives of the Shereef of Mecca.

 

These initial declarations on both sides were forgotten, however, when territorial conflicts began.

Arab 9 resistance against the Zionist settlement of Palestine became increasingly strident.

In response, the British government restricted Palestine to the area west of the Jordan River and created the semi-independent 6 Emirate of Transjordan in the east.

During World War II, Transjordan fought with the British including the 1941 invasion of pro-German Iraq.
The conflict between Jews and Arabs increased when Nazi persecution increased Jewish immigration to the region during the 1930s. The Arab Palestine Uprising in 1936-1939 demanded an independent state and an end to Jewish immigration. In response, Jews demanded the right to unlimited immigration and demanded the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine at a 1942 New York conference.


9 Anti-Zionist demonstration by Arabs in the
region controlled by the British mandate,
March 1920


6 Transjordanian emirs

 

 

 

 
 


A picture taken in 1943 of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el-Husseini reviewing Bosnian-Muslim troops - a unit of the “Hanjar (Saber) Division” of the Waffen SS which he personally recruited for Hitler.


Himmler:

"Muslims responded to the call of Muslim leaders and joined our side because of their hatred of our joint Jewish-English-Bolshevik enemies, and because of their belief and respect for, above all -- Our Fuehrer."


The Mufti and Hitler

 

 

 

 

Jewish Immigration to Palestine

The first wave of Jewish immigration to Palestine occurred in 1881 after the pogroms against the Jews in Russia.

The increasing anti-Semitism throughout Europe around the turn of the century strengthened tire Zionist movements, which demanded the creation of a Jewish "homeland secured by public law" in Palestine.

In 1896 Theodor Herzl published the programmatic book The Jewish State, in which he laid out the conditions of national Jewish self-rule, and ay ear later he called the first Zionist congress.

Despite Arab protests, the Jewish proportion of the Palestine population increased from less than 10 percent at the turn of the century to 30 ðårñånt at the end of World War II.



Arrival in the port of Tel Aviv, 1936



 Theodor Herzl

 

 

 

Zionism


Jewish Immigration to Palestine

Main
nationalistic movement

Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”). Though Zionism originated in eastern and central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, it is in many ways a continuation of the ancient nationalist attachment of the Jews and of the Jewish religion to the historical region of Palestine, where one of the hills of ancient Jerusalem was called Zion.

A brief treatment of Zionism follows. For fuller treatments, see Israel: Zionism; Judaism: Zionism.

In the 16th and 17th centuries a number of “messiahs” came forward trying to persuade Jews to “return” to Palestine. The Haskala (“Enlightenment”) movement of the late 18th century, however, urged Jews to assimilate into Western secular culture. In the early 19th century interest in a return of the Jews to Palestine was kept alive mostly by Christian millenarians. Despite the Haskala, eastern European Jews did not assimilate and in reaction to tsarist pogroms formed the Ḥovevei Ẕiyyon (“Lovers of Zion”) to promote the settlement of Jewish farmers and artisans in Palestine.

A political turn was given to Zionism by Theodor Herzl, an Austrian journalist who regarded assimilation as most desirable but, in view of anti-Semitism, impossible to realize. Thus, he argued, if Jews were forced by external pressure to form a nation, they could lead a normal existence only through concentration in one territory. In 1897 Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress at Basel, Switz., which drew up the Basel program of the movement, stating that “Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.”

The centre of the movement was established in Vienna, where Herzl published the official weekly Die Welt (“The World”). Zionist congresses met yearly until 1901 and then every two years. When the Ottoman government refused Herzl’s request for Palestinian autonomy, he found support in Great Britain. In 1903 the British government offered 6,000 square miles (15,500 square km) of uninhabited Uganda for settlement, but the Zionists held out for Palestine.

At the death of Herzl in 1904, the leadership moved from Vienna to Cologne, then to Berlin. Prior to World War I Zionism represented only a minority of Jews, mostly from Russia but led by Austrians and Germans. It developed propaganda through orators and pamphlets, created its own newspapers, and gave an impetus to what was called a “Jewish renaissance” in letters and arts. The development of the Modern Hebrew language largely took place during this period.

The failure of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the wave of pogroms and repressions that followed caused growing numbers of Russian Jewish youth to emigrate to Palestine as pioneer settlers. By 1914 there were about 90,000 Jews in Palestine; 13,000 settlers lived in 43 Jewish agricultural settlements, many of them supported by the French Jewish philanthropist Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

Upon the outbreak of World War I political Zionism reasserted itself, and its leadership passed to Russian Jews living in England. Two such Zionists, Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, were instrumental in obtaining the Balfour Declaration from Great Britain (Nov. 2, 1917), which promised British support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The declaration was included in Britain’s League of Nations mandate over Palestine (1922).

In the following years the Zionists built up the Jewish urban and rural settlements in Palestine, perfecting autonomous organizations and solidifying Jewish cultural life and Hebrew education. In March 1925 the Jewish population in Palestine was officially estimated at 108,000, and it had risen to about 238,000 (20 percent of the population) by 1933. Jewish immigration remained relatively slow, however, until the rise of Hitlerism in Europe. Nevertheless, the Arab population feared Palestine eventually would become a Jewish state and bitterly resisted Zionism and the British policy supporting it. Several Arab revolts, especially in 1929 and 1936–39, caused the British to devise schemes to reconcile the Arab and Zionist demands.

Hitlerism and the large-scale extermination of European Jews led many Jews to seek refuge in Palestine and many others, especially in the United States, to embrace Zionism. As tensions grew among Arabs and Zionists, Britain submitted the Palestine problem first to Anglo-U.S. discussion for solution and later to the United Nations, which on Nov. 29, 1947, proposed partition of the country into separate Arab and Jewish states and the internationalization of Jerusalem. The creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, brought about the Arab–Israeli war of 1948–49, in the course of which Israel obtained more land than had been provided by the UN resolution, and drove out 800,000 Arabs who became displaced persons known as Palestinians. Thus 50 years after the first Zionist congress and 30 years after the Balfour Declaration, Zionism achieved its aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, but at the same time it became an armed camp surrounded by hostile Arab nations and Palestinian “liberation” organizations engaged in terrorism in and outside of Israel.

During the next two decades Zionist organizations in many countries continued to raise financial support for Israel and to encourage Jews to immigrate there. Most Jews, however, reject the view propagated by many very Orthodox Jews in Israel that the Jews outside Israel were living in “exile” and could live a full life only in Israel.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

 Theodor Herzl


Theodor Herzl


Main
Austrian Zionist leader

born May 2, 1860, Budapest, Hungary, Austrian Empire [now in Hungary]
died July 3, 1904, Edlach, Austria

founder of the political form of Zionism, a movement to establish a Jewish homeland. His pamphlet The Jewish State (1896) proposed that the Jewish question was a political question to be settled by a world council of nations. He organized a world congress of Zionists that met in Basel, Switz., in August 1897 and became first president of the World Zionist Organization, established by the congress. Although Herzl died more than 40 years before the establishment of the State of Israel, he was an indefatigable organizer, propagandist, and diplomat who had much to do with making Zionism into a political movement of worldwide significance.

Early years.
Herzl was born of well-to-do middle-class parents. He first studied in a scientific secondary school, but to escape from its anti-Semitic atmosphere he transferred in 1875 to a school where most of the students were Jews. In 1878 the family moved from Budapest to Vienna, where he entered the University of Vienna to study law. He received his license to practice law in 1884 but chose to devote himself to literature. For a number of years he was a journalist and a moderately successful playwright.

In 1889 he married Julie Naschauer, daughter of a wealthy Jewish businessman in Vienna. The marriage was unhappy, although three children were born to it. Herzl had a strong attachment to his mother, who was unable to get along with his wife. These difficulties were increased by the political activities of his later years, in which his wife took little interest.

Conversion to Zionism.
A profound change began in Herzl’s life soon after a sketch he had published in the leading Viennese newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, led to his appointment as the paper’s Paris correspondent. He arrived in Paris with his wife in the fall of 1891 and was shocked to find in the homeland of the French Revolution the same anti-Semitism with which he had become so familiar in Austria. Hitherto he had regarded anti-Semitism as a social problem that the Jews could overcome only by abandoning their distinctive ways and assimilating to the people among whom they lived. At the same time, his work as a newspaperman heightened his interest in, and knowledge of, social and political affairs and led him to the conviction that the answer to anti-Semitism was not assimilation but organized counterefforts by the Jews. The Dreyfus affair in France also helped crystallize this belief. French military documents had been given to German agents, and a Jewish officer named Alfred Dreyfus had been falsely charged with the crime. The ensuing political controversy produced an outburst of anti-Semitism among the French public. Herzl said in later years that it was the Dreyfus affair that had made a Zionist out of him. So long as anti-Semitism existed, assimilation would be impossible, and the only solution for the majority of Jews would be organized emigration to a state of their own.

Herzl was not the first to conceive of a Jewish state. Orthodox Jews had traditionally invoked the return to Zion in their daily prayers. In 1799 Napoleon had thought of establishing a Jewish state in the ancient lands of Israel. The English statesman Benjamin Disraeli, a Jew, had written a Zionist novel, Tancred. Moses Hess, a friend and co-worker of Karl Marx, had published an important book, Rom und Jerusalem (1862), in which he declared the restoration of a Jewish state a necessity both for the Jews and for the rest of humanity. Among the Jews of Russia and eastern Europe, a number of groups were engaged in trying to settle emigrants in agricultural colonies in Palestine. After the Russian pogroms of 1881, Leo Pinsker had written a pamphlet, “Auto-Emanzipation,” an appeal to western European Jews to assist in the establishment of colonies in Palestine. When Herzl read it some years later, he commented in his diary that, if he had known of it, he might never have written The Jewish State.

Herzl’s first important Zionist effort was an interview with Baron Maurice de Hirsch, one of the wealthiest men of his time. De Hirsch had founded the Jewish Colonization Association with the aim of settling Jews from Russia and Romania in Argentina and other parts of the Americas. The 35-year-old journalist arrived at the Baron’s mansion in Paris with 22 pages of notes, in which he argued the need for a political organization to rally the Jews under a flag of their own, rather than leaving everything to the philanthropic endeavours of individuals like the Baron. The conversation was notable for its effect on Herzl rather than on the Baron de Hirsch, who refused to hear him out. It led to Herzl’s famous pamphlet The Jewish State, published in February 1896 in Vienna. The Jewish question, he wrote, was not a social or religious question but a national question that could be solved only by making it “a political world question to be discussed and settled by the civilized nations of the world in council.” Some of Herzl’s friends thought it a mad idea, but the pamphlet won favourable response from eastern European Zionist societies. In June 1896, when Herzl was en route to Constantinople (Istanbul) in the hope of talking to the Ottoman sultan about obtaining the grant of Palestine as an independent country, his train stopped in Sofia, Bulg.; hundreds of Jews were present at the station to greet Herzl and to hail him as a leader. Although he remained in Constantinople for 11 days, he failed to reach the Sultan. But he had begun the career as organizer and propagandist that would end only with his death eight years later.

The First Zionist Congress.
Herzl went to London in an effort to organize the Jews there in support of his program. Not all the Jewish leaders in England were happy to see him because his political approach was not in tune with their ideas, but at public meetings in the East End he was loudly cheered. He was a tall, impressive figure with a long black beard and the mien of a prophet. Despite his personal magnetism, he found that his efforts to influence Jewish leaders in England were of little avail and therefore decided to organize a world congress of Zionists in the hope of winning support from the masses of Jews in all countries. He proposed to hold the congress in Munich, but as the Jews there—who were mostly assimilated—opposed it, he settled upon Basel. The congress met at the end of August 1897, attended by about 200 delegates, mostly from central and eastern Europe and Russia along with a few from western Europe and even the United States. They represented all social strata and every variety of Jewish thought—from Orthodox Jews to atheists and from businessmen to students. There were also several hundred onlookers, including some sympathetic Christians and reporters for the international press. When Herzl’s imposing figure came to the podium, there was tumultuous applause. “We want to lay the foundation stone,” he declared, “for the house which will become the refuge of the Jewish nation. Zionism is the return to Judaism even before the return to the land of Israel.” One of Herzl’s most faithful supporters was the writer Max Nordau, who gave a brilliant address in which he described the plight of the Jews in the East and in the West. The three-day congress agreed upon a program, henceforth to be known as the Basel Program, declaring that “Zionism aspires to create a publicly guaranteed homeland for the Jewish people in the land of Israel.” It also set up the Zionist Organization with Herzl as president.

Later accomplishments
The seven remaining years of his life were devoted to the furtherance of the Zionist cause, although he remained literary editor of the Neue Freie Presse in order to earn a living. He established a Zionist newspaper, Die Welt, published as a German-language weekly in Vienna. He negotiated unsuccessfully with the Sultan of Turkey for the grant of a charter that would allow Jewish mass settlement in Palestine on an autonomous basis. He then turned to Great Britain, which seemed favourable to the establishment of a Jewish settlement in British territory in the Sinai Peninsula. When this project failed, the British proposed Uganda in East Africa. This offer, which he and some other Zionists were willing to accept, aroused violent opposition at the Zionist congress of 1903, particularly among the Russians. Herzl was unable to resolve the conflict. He died of a heart ailment at Edlach, near Vienna, at the age of 44. He was buried in Vienna, but, in accordance with his wish, his remains were removed to Jerusalem in 1949 after the creation of the Jewish state and entombed on a hill west of the city now known as Mt. Herzl.

After the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Herzl had written in his diary:

If I had to sum up the Basel Congress in one word—which I shall not do openly—it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish state. If I were to say this today, I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years, perhaps, and certainly in 50, everyone will see it.

While the Jewish state was the product of many complex historic forces, including two world wars and the labours of Herzl’s many followers, it was he who organized the political force of Jewry that was able to take advantage of the accidents of history. Through the strength of his personality, he aroused the enthusiasm of the Jewish masses and gained the respect of many statesmen of his time, in spite of the opposition of some Jewish leaders to his plans.

David Ben-Gurion

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

 

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