Last Updated:

05/28/2004
By: Jordan D
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Money or Peace in the Middle East:

WWII and the Creation of Israel

   
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Home
Introduction
The Rise of Zionism and Anti-Semitism
WWII and the Creation of Israel
Israeli Wars 1948-1973
The Yom Kippur War and Camp David
US-Israel Relations and Oslo
The Death of Oslo and the Roadmap Plan
Conclusion
Picture Gallery
Map Gallery
Links
Works Cited
About the Author
About the Project


      Although the Jews were uniquely powerful for their small population, Zionism would ultimately fail without the backing of a major world power. Herzl in particular saw the necessity of a greater nation backing the movement, and petitioned his cause to scores of powerful leaders. He died in 1904, but his legacy lived on, and the movement only gained momentum (Zionism). It wasn’t until 1917 through the efforts of avid Zionists, the first real political achievement for the Jews, the Balfour Declaration, was created by the British. The Declaration simply stated that the British supported a Jewish state in the territory they controlled known as Palestine. Between World War One and Two, Jews began immigrating to Palestine, and building new lives there in their own “national home” (according to the Balfour Declaration). As time went on, it became clearer that the Jews and the Palestinians would have serious conflicts over the British controlled land. The wave of Jewish immigrants to Palestine and their seemingly presumptuous construction of their own society and government led to rioting and violence between the two groups between the two World Wars. Then just before World War Two began, Britain came to realize that it could not solve the problem in Palestine. Simultaneously, it became preoccupied with averting its own destruction from the Nazi Blitzkrieg. Britain’s problems however, paled in comparison to the dilemma facing European Jews during Hitler’s campaign of terror and mass murder (Shuster).
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Zionist movement changed radically from a desire of the Jewish people, to a fundamental necessity for their survival. Even after it became known that Hitler was committing unspeakable acts of genocide against the Jews, many countries, including the United States and Britain, still refused to allow unlimited amounts of Jewish refugees into their land. This lack of international support fostered a huge explosion of Jewish political activism advocating the Zionist goals. As the war went on, and Allied victory in Europe became inevitable, the Jews once more looked to England for help, however, England had had its fill of mediating. Turning the situation over to the newly created U.N, England left the scene of the Middle East. Still, the actual Jewish state of Israel had not yet been legally created. On November 29th, 1947 the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states (as England had initially, but unsuccessfully, attempted to do in 1937), and the vote passed, giving Israel 55% of the country (Shuster).