WWI, Kaiser, Sultan, Chaim Weizmann, and Birth of Modern Day Israel
By the late 1800s, the Ottoman Empire was called “the sick man of Europe.”
In the course of the 1800s, the Turkish Ottoman Empire became weaker.
Countries broke away or were claimed by colonizing European powers:
— Romania, 1812;
— Moldova, 1812;
— Serbia, 1817;
— Greece, 1821-1830;
— Algeria, 1830;
— Bosnia, 1831;
— Herzegovinia, 1831;
— Egypt, 1867;
— Romania (2nd time), 1877;
— Bosnia (2nd time), 1878;
— Bulgaria, 1878;
— Cyprus, 1878;
— Herzegovinia (2nd time), 1878;
— Tunisia, 1881;
— Italian North Africa, 1882;
— Egypt (2nd time), 1882;
— Crete, 1898.
By the late 1800s, the Ottoman Empire was called “the sick man of Europe.”
When Armenia tried breaking away, Sultan Abdul Hamid II massacred over 100,000 from 1894 to 1896.
President Grover Cleveland addressed Congress, December 7, 1896:
“In Turkey … rage of mad bigotry and cruel fanaticism … wanton destruction of homes and the bloody butchery of men, women, and children, made martyrs to their profession of Christian faith …
Outbreaks of blind fury which lead to murder and pillage in Turkey occur suddenly and without notice.”
In 1898, Sultan Abdul Hamid II purchased rifles from Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II for use in subduing revolts and annihilating Turkey’s Armenian population.
This was in exchange for granting Germany rights to build a Berlin-Baghdad Railway to access Iraq’s oil fields.
Sultan Abdul Hamid II survived an assassination attempt in 1905, but was ultimately deposed on January 23, 1913.
Three Pashas, known as “The Young Turks,” staged a coup d'état and took control:
— Ismail Enver Pasha,
— Mehmed Talaat Pasha, and
— Ahmed Djemal Pasha.
When former Ottoman territories, namely Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia, tried to free members of their nationalities that still remained in Turkey, the First Balkan War broke out, 1912-1913.
The response of the Young Turks was to exterminate the remaining members of those non-Turkish nationalities on Turkish lands.
The Young Turks instituted a program of “Ottomanization” or “Turkification” — to create a centralized, homogeneous nation of one race, one language, one culture, and one religion — Islam.
The thought was that a “unified” Turkey would prevent encroachment by European powers.
This evolved into a tragic genocide of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other minorities.
Kaiser Wilhelm II sent military officers to train and upgrade Turkey’s forces, resulting in a Ottoman-German Alliance.
German General Fritz Bronsart von Schellendorf, Chief of Staff at the Ottoman General Headquarters, supported the massacre of Armenians as retribution for their “treason.”
Historian Gabriele Yonan stated:
“Germany’s Oriental Propaganda Department in Berlin counseled and urged the government of the Young Turks to declare a ‘Holy War’ and did not demand a cessation once this declaration evolved into a policy of ‘annihilation of the Christians’ under conditions of Germany’s ‘shared responsibility.’
The 2016 movie, "The Promise,” starring actors Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, depicted the Ottoman-German Alliance, with the subsequent Armenian genocide in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
The First Balkan War led up to World War I. Beginning in 1914, it eventually involved more than 70 million military personnel across the globe and resulted in over 38 million casualties.
Allied Powers included:
— Thailand Siam, and
— the United States.
The opposing Central Powers included:
— Bulgaria, and
— the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Just as Germany wanted oil from the Middle East, so did Britain.
Winston Churchill had transitioned the British Navy from coal to oil.
Britain had much coal, but it had little oil — just one well, located in the Sherwood Forest.
In 1908, the British formed an oil company with Persia (Iran), the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which was later renamed British Petroleum, or BP.
As World War I progressed, Britain’s war effort was hindered by their ineffective manufacturing of explosives.
The situation suddenly changed when a chemist made a breakthrough in synthesizing the needed solvent “acetone” by using a bacterial fermentation process.
The chemist was Dr. Chaim Weizmann, born NOVEMBER 27, 1874.
His Jewish family had immigrated from Russia after Tsar’s Alexander III’s anti-Jewish pogroms of 1881-1884, the stories of which were the basis for the famous musical Fiddler on the Roof.
In gratitude for Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s significant contributions to the nation’s military, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917, establishing a home for Jews in the former Turkish land now under British control.
In his autobiography, Trial and Error (1949), Dr. Weizmann recounted his response to Lord Balfour’s initial offer of giving Jews the British controlled country of Uganda:
“‘Mr. Balfour, supposing I was to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?’
He sat up, looked at me, and answered: ‘But Dr. Weizmann, we have London.’ ‘That is true,’ I said, ‘but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh.’
He … said two things which I remember vividly.
The first was: ‘Are there many Jews who think like you?’ I answered: ‘I believe I speak the mind of millions of Jews whom you will never see and who cannot speak for themselves’ …
To this he said: ‘If that is so you will one day be a force.’”
British Prime Minister Lloyd-George had met with Chaim Weizmann in 1916, writing in his War Memoirs:
“(Weizmann) explained his aspirations as to the repatriation of the Jews to the sacred land they had made famous.
That was the fount and origin of the famous declaration about the National Home for the Jews in Palestine …
As soon as I became Prime Minister I talked the whole matter over with Mr Balfour, who was then Foreign Secretary.”
In January of 1919, thirty-two nations met at the Paris Peace Conference where they agreed to the Treaty of Versailles and planned the League of Nations.
Delegates formally determined the fate of post-war Europe, intending to follow Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points and the principle of self-determination, where people of different ethnic backgrounds would be allowed to determine their own fate.
Lands which had been controlled by the defeated Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Turkish Ottoman Empire, were divided up.
Out of the defeated lands were created new homelands for:
— Montenegrins and
The British Empire promised Kurdish leader Mahmood Al-Hafeed that the Kurds would get their own homeland if they fought against the Ottomans in Sulaimaniyyah, but afterwards, Britain backed away form its promise and exiled Mahmood Al-Hafeed to India.
Britain signed the Lausanne Treaty in 1924, in which they completely abandoned the promise to recognize an independent Kurdistan, leaving Kurds as minorities in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.
This was in accordance with the theory that patriotic “nationalism” was dangerous, so many of the new nations carved out after World War I were intentionally created with opposing ethnic and religious groups in them.
This left built-in divisions which would prevent the people in these new countries from unifying, thus preventing a recurrence of “nationalism.”
The Balfour Declaration gave an area called the British Mandate to the Jews, stretching from Lebanon and Syria in the North; to Egypt and Arabia in the South; from the Mediterranean in the East; to Iraq in the West.
The inspiration for Jews, who had been quietly resettling in their homeland for decades, came from Theodore Herzl’s Zionist movement.
The Zionist movement initially grew out of America’s 19th century Second Great Awakening Religious Revival where some evangelical Christians preached millennialism, and that Jewish resettlement was necessary before the coming of Christ and the Advent of the Millennium Kingdom.
Anita Shapira wrote in Israel a History (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2014, p15):
“The idea of the Jews returning to their ancient homeland as the first step to world redemption seems to have originated among a specific group of evangelical English Protestants that flourished in England in the 1840s; they passed this notion onto Jewish circles.”
Geoffrey Alderman wrote in the Jewish Chronicle, November 8, 2012:
“The Balfour Declaration was born out of religious sentiment. Arthur Balfour was a Christian mystic who believed that the Almighty had chosen him to be an instrument of the Divine Will, the purpose of which was to restore the Jews to their ancient homeland — perhaps as a precursor to the Second Coming of the Messiah.
The Declaration was thus intended to assist in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. This appealed to Lloyd George, whose private immorality did not prevent him from believing in the prophecies of a Bible he knew inside out.”
Anti-semitism and persecution of Jews increased in Eastern Europe and Russia in the 1800s. This contributed to Jewish leaders becoming convinced that the only safe haven for the Jews was to have their own state.
Britain’s promise during World War I was, that if Jews worldwide, particularly in America, would politically and financially support Britain against the German-Ottoman Alliance, then after the war, Britain would support a Jewish state carved out of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
Lord Balfour addressed a Jewish gathering, February 7,1918:
“My personal hope is that the Jews will make good in Palestine and eventually found a Jewish state. It is up to them now; we have given them their great opportunity.”
In 1919, Lord Balfour wrote to Lord George Curzon:
“In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …
The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”
Confusing the situation during World War I, was an obscure British lieutenant serving in Cairo, T.E. Lawrence.
He had been sent off to assess if undisciplined Arab tribes, led by Faisal and Abdullah, sons of the Hashemite Sharif of Mecca Hussein bin Ali, were capable of helping the British fight the Ottoman Turks.
This was portrayed in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O'Toole.
Instead of simply reporting back, T.E. Lawrence took it upon himself to lie to the Arabs, promising them that if they would join the British in fighting the Turks, they would get the land in the Middle East, as he wrote in Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922):
“I risked the fraud, on my conviction that Arab help was necessary to our cheap and speedy victory in the East, and that better we win and break our word than lose.”
In 1919, Lord Balfour admitted in a confidential memo, that because of the desperate situation in World War I, Britain allowed such perfidious insinuations made to the Arabs to persist, though Britain never intended on keeping them:
“So far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers … made … no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.”
Lawrence’s unauthorized promises conflicted with a Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 between Britain, France and Russia for governing the post-war Middle East and Turkey, thus he inadvertently laid the groundwork for future land disputes, especially after the fall of Russia from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
When Russia’s Czar was overthrown in the 1917, the Bolsheviks shocked Britain by turning against the post-war plan.
The Bolsheviks caused Britain international embarrassment by publishing the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement.
Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, while advocating self-determination for areas freed from Ottoman control, expressed enthusiastic support of Israel, as he wrote to Rabbi Stephen A. Wise, 1918:
“I think all Americans will be deeply moved by the report that … the Weizmann commission has been able to lay the foundation of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem.”
Rabbi Stephen A. Wise described Woodrow Wilson: “He is one of the great presidents of American history.”
Justice Louis Brandeis, who was nominated by Woodrow Wilson to the U.S. Supreme Court, told Reformed Rabbis in April 1915:
“The undying longing of Jews for Palestine is a fact of deepest significance; that it is a manifestation in the struggle for existence by an ancient people which has established its right to live, a people whose three thousand years of civilization has produced a faith, culture and individuality which enable it to contribute largely in the future, as it has in the past.”
During World War I, the Hashemite Sharif of Mecca Hussein ibn Ali, who cooperated with the British in leading the Arab Revolt against the Turks, stated in 1918:
“The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants … That the country (is) for its original sons, for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland.”
Hussein ibn-Ali’s son, Faisal ibn-Husseini, declared himself King of Syria and Iraq.
King Faisal represented the Arab nations at the Paris Peace Conference, and signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, January 3, 1919, adopting the Balfour principles:
“Article IV-All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.”
King Faisal wrote a letter, March 3, 1919, to Felix Frankfurter, who was later nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The letter stated:
“We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of powers stronger than themselves …
We Arabs, especially the educated among us look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement …
We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home …
With the chiefs of your movement, especially with Dr. Weizmann, we … continue to have the closest relations. He has been a great helper of our cause, and I hope the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness …
Our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both …
People … less responsible than our leaders … have been trying to exploit the local difficulties that must necessarily arise in Palestine … to make capital out of what they call our differences.”
Felix Frankfurter replied:
“ROYAL HIGHNESS: Allow me … to acknowledge your recent letter with deep appreciation.
Those of us who come from the United States have already been gratified by the friendly relations … between you and the Zionist leaders, particularly Dr. Weizmann …
We knew that the aspirations of the Arab and the Jewish peoples were parallel, that each aspired to re-establish its nationality in its own homeland, each making its own distinctive contribution to civilization, each seeking its own peaceful mode of life …
The Arabs and Jews are neighbors in territory; we cannot but live side by side as friends.”
In 1920, a hastily convened San Remo Conference gave France a “mandate” to oversee post-war Syria.
France immediately invaded and expelled Faisal, leaving him only the King of Iraq.
Faisal’s brother, Abdullah, planned to mount an attack, but Winston Churchill persuaded him not to, agreeing instead to recognize Abdullah as King of a part of the British protectorate which had previously been given to the Jews.
It was named “Transjordan” as it was on the other side of the Jordan River.
After World War I, in an abrupt about-face against the Jews, Britain issued White Papers in 1922 deterring further Jewish resettlement of their homeland.
The 1960 movie “Exodus,” starring Paul Newman, depicted this period in Israel’s history.
The proposal to split Israel’s land was ironically instigated by Britain’s anti-Zionist Jews.
Chaim Weizmann referred to these anti-Zionist Jews, which included Claude Montefiore, Lord Reading, Edwin Montagu and Lucien Wolf, in his autobiography, Trial and Error (1949):
“Their secular representative, the secretary of the Conjoint Committee, was Mr. Lucien Wolf … in whom the opposition to Zionism was a mixture of principle and of personal idiosyncrasy …
He resented the rise of what he called ‘foreign Jews’ in England, looked upon the Foreign Office as his patrimony (inherited estate) — he was of an old Anglo-Jewish family — and put me down as a poacher …
Zionism was in his view a purely East European movement … beneath the notice of respectable British Jews.
It was … impossible for him to understand that English non-Jews did not look upon his anti-Zionism as the hallmark of a superior loyalty.
It was never borne in on him that men like Balfour, Churchill, Lloyd George, were deeply religious, and believed in the Bible, that to them the return of the Jewish people to Palestine was a reality, so that we Zionists represented to them a great tradition for which they had enormous respect …”
Chaim Weizmann continued:
“I remember Prime Minister Lloyd George saying to me, a few days before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration:
‘I know that with the issuance of this Declaration I shall please one group of Jews and displease another.
I have decided to please your group because you stand for a great idea.’”
Meanwhile, in Arabia, Abdul Aziz of the House of Saud, allied himself with fundamentalist Wahhabi (Salafi) movement to oust Ali of Hejaz, the eldest son of Hashemite Sharif of Mecca Hussein ibn-Ali. and the brother of King Faisal of Iraq and King Abdullah of Transjordan.
In 1924, Saudi King Abdul Aziz officially ended the relatively moderate Hashemite rule of Arabia – a role they held since the 10th century.
Now called “Saudi” Arabia, it was still of relatively little worth geography till 1937, when John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company of California discovered oil there.
Within a few decades, Saudi Arabia went from the poorest Muslim country to the richest.
An Arabian-American Oil Company was formed called “Aramco.”
King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud practiced Islamic polygamy, having many wives and 45 sons.
With his new found wealth, he began to spread the fundamentalist Wahhabi (Salafi) Sharia version of Islam, which has the goal of establishing global Caliphate of Islamic Sharia domination.
Meanwhile, World War II began in 1939, involving more than 30 countries and over 100 million people.
Fatalities are estimated as high as 85 million, making it the deadliest war in human history.
During the war, millions of Jews were persecuted and killed in Europe by Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party.
Hitler initially expelled Jews from Europe, from where many found a way to their ancient homeland.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, traveled to Berlin and met with Hitler on November 28, 1941. confirming their mutual hatred of “the English, the Jews, and the Communists.”
Haj Amin al-Husseini insisted Hitler publicly commit to “the elimination of the Jewish national home.”
During World War II, Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt coined the name “United Nations” for the Allied countries working together against the Axis Powers.
Roosevelt explained that the goal of this new organization included protecting Jews, March 24, 1944:
“The United Nations are fighting to make a world in which tyranny and aggression cannot exist …
In one of the blackest crimes of all history — begun by the Nazis … the wholesale systematic murder of the Jews of Europe goes on unabated … Hundreds of thousands of Jews … are now threatened with annihilation as Hitler’s forces descend …
The United Nations have made it clear that they will pursue the guilty … All who knowingly take part in the deportation of Jews to their death … are equally guilty with the executioner.”
On November 11, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt complimented the Jewish Theological Seminary of America:
“A victory of the United Nations is to be a world of enduring peace … founded on renewed loyalty to the spiritual values …
In cooperation with Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant scholars … it will in time, I trust, become an increasingly powerful instrument for enlightening men of all faiths.”
Near the end of World War II, February 4-11, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin at the Yalta Conference to decide how to divide up post-war Europe.
Roosevelt, being in a feeble condition just two months before his death, capitulated to Stalin’s demand that millions of Eastern Europeans be dominated by the totalitarian Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
On his way home from the Yalta Conference, in declining health, Franklin Roosevelt stopped in Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud on the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal, February 14, 1945.
Roosevelt’s intention was to persuade the Saudi King to support Jewish immigration to Palestine.
King Abdul Aziz slaughtered a goat on deck for their meal, then blindsided Roosevelt, pressuring him to abandon his planned support of a Jewish homeland.
Saudi King Abdul Aziz then persuaded the ailing Roosevelt to make a secret oil-for-security agreement, where the United States would supply military assistance, training and built a military base in Arabia in exchange for secure access to Saudi oil.
The Saudi King followed up with a letter to Roosevelt, who wrote back, April 5, 1945, promising that the United States would not to recognize a Jewish State.
One week later, Roosevelt was dead of his illnesses.
The next President, Harry S Truman, immediately proceeded with plans to recognize the State of Israel.
The United Nations Charter was signed June 26, 1945, by 51 member nations.
One of its first acts was the recognition of the State of Israel in 1948.
The negotiator of the Middle East Armistice Agreement was Ralph Bunche, the African American diplomat who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his efforts.
Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, Florida is named for him.
On November 29, 1948, Democrat President Harry S Truman wrote to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel:
“I remember well our conversations about the Negeb … I agree fully with your estimate of the importance of the area to Israel, and I deplore any attempt to take it away from Israel.
I had thought that my position would have been clear to all the world, particularly in the light of the specific wording of the Democratic Party platform.”
The 1948 Democrat Party Platform stated:
“President Truman, by granting immediate recognition to Israel, led the world in extending friendship and welcome to a people who have long sought and justly deserve freedom and independence.
We pledge full recognition to the State of Israel.
We affirm our pride that the United States under the leadership of President Truman played a leading role in the adoption of the resolution of November 29, 1947, by the United Nations General Assembly for the creation of a Jewish State.
We approve the claims of the State of Israel to the boundaries set forth in the United Nations resolution of November 29th and consider that modifications thereof should be made only if fully acceptable to the State of Israel.
We look forward to the admission of the State of Israel to the United Nations and its full participation in the international community of nations.
We pledge appropriate aid to the State of Israel in developing its economy and resources.
We favor the revision of the arms embargo to accord to the State of Israel the right of self-defense.”
Harry S Truman recorded in his book, Memoirs-Volume Two: Years of Trial and Hope, 1956, of a note he had written to an assistant:
“I surely wish God Almighty would give the Children of Israel an Isaiah, the Christians a St. Paul, and the Sons of Ishmael a peep at the Golden Rule.”
President Truman concluded his letter to Israel’s President Dr. Chaim Weizmann, November 29, 1948:
“I have interpreted my re-election as a mandate … to carry out … the plank on Israel … In closing, I want to tell you how happy and impressed I have been at the remarkable progress made by the new State of Israel.”
Dr. Chaim Weizmann had stated:
“I think that the God of Israel is with us.”
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