Demographic, Environmental,
Security Issues Project






By Nicholas Lysson

April 2007


          In the early years of the First World War, Jewish sentiment was solidly with Germany, because the “civilized” Germans were fighting the hated czar.  The czarist regime had given its periodic support to anti-Jewish pogroms since the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881.  That contributed to a great Jewish exodus—some bound for Germany or other points in Western Europe, some for the United States, a few for Palestine—and greatly endangered the lives and property of those who remained in the Pale of Settlement.


          Jewish pro-German sentiment, together with the similar views of Irish Catholics, German-Americans, and others of central-European origin, served to keep the U.S. neutral.  In April 1915 Jacob H. Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. wrote in the Menorah Journal that “. . . I am a German sympathiser. . . .  England has been contaminated by her alliance with Russia. . . .  I am quite convinced that in Germany anti-semitism is a thing of the past.”  See Leonard Stein, The Balfour Declaration, p. 201 (1961).  During the czar’s war against the Japanese in 1904-05, Schiff had refused to raise a penny for the Russians, and instead raised $200 million—equivalent to many billions today—for the grateful Emperor Mutsuhito.[1]  That level of support did not go unnoticed in the European capitals.  Indeed, some thought Schiff’s involvement was decisive in Japan’s victory.  Now in the Great War, Schiff and other Jewish financiers in New York, many of whom had family connections in Germany, withheld cooperation from Russia’s allies.   


          According to W.J.M. Childs, in Harold W.V. Temperley, ed., A History of the Peace Conference of Paris, vol. 6, pp. 172-73 (published under the auspices of the British Institute for International Affairs in 1924):


. . . [T]he German General Staff desired to attach Jewish support yet more closely to the German side. . . . [T]hey seem to have urged, early in 1916, the advantages of promising Jewish restoration to Palestine under an arrangement to be made between Zionists and Turkey, backed by a German guarantee.  The practical difficulties were considerable; the subject perhaps dangerous to German relations with Turkey; and the German Government acted cautiously.


          It’s hard to envision how the Germans could have induced their allies the Turks to give up land in Palestine that the Turks had already refused to yield for Jewish settlement.  The Ottoman Empire had severe nationalities problems with the Armenians (whom the Turks slaughtered in enormous numbers in 1915) and the Arabs (whom T.E. Lawrence was stirring up); it wanted no further such problems.


          Actually, says David Fromkin, in A Peace to End All Peace, p. 296 (1989), it was not the German government that took an interest in a pro-Zionist stance, only the German press—a distinction Chaim Weizmann and his group of Zionists in England had little interest in clarifying for the British government. 


          In 1916, according to Weizmann’s autobiography, Trial and Error, vol. 1, p. 185 (1949), the Germans trusted the Zionists to the extent of asking their help in brokering a negotiated peace.  Weizmann says the Zionists replied that they would act in that role only if there were to be no territorial adjustments.  That Zionist reply seems to have been disingenuous (assuming that Weizmann correctly reports it); the very raison d’etre of Zionism was to obtain a particular piece of territory.   There was nothing for Zionism in a negotiated settlement, no leverage with which to move a great power capable of turning over Palestine.


          By 1916, though, the Zionist dilemma was resolving itself.  The czarist regime was in a state of progressive collapse.  Rasputin—without whom, it’s said, there could have been no Lenin—was increasingly ascendant.  The czar and his shifting cast of ministers controlled less and less.  On March 15, 1917, the czar abdicated.  As the regime weakened, Schiff’s thinking evolved.  See Stein, p. 202.  


          As events in Russia unfolded, Weizmann and the other Zionists conducted intensive discussions with the British over what became the Balfour Declaration—the letter finally issued on Nov. 2, 1917 in which the British government promised its “best endeavours” to facilitate “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”  The Declaration went through many drafts, beginning, according to the Microsoft Encarta online encyclopedia, as early as March 1916.


          What did the British get for their promise of “best endeavours”?   Stories abound.  One (the acetone myth) is that the promise was made in consideration of Weizmann’s service to the British as a wartime chemist.  Another is that the British were moved primarily by stories they read in the Bible, and by their religious services.  Still another is that the British wanted another client state in the Middle East, in addition to Egypt, to protect their regional interests and their route to India.


In Pity the Nation, p. 14 (1990), though, Robert Fisk quotes a cable the British Foreign Office sent to two of its ambassadors in 1916 (keep the year in mind): “Our sole object is to find an arrangement which would be so attractive to the majority of Jews as to enable us to strike a bargain for Jewish support.”  Fisk comments that “this is cold-blooded business indeed,” and adds that “among the most carefully researched works on this period, containing many other examples of Foreign Office pragmatism, is Britain and Zion: The Fateful Entanglement by Frank Hardie and Irwin Herrman (Belfast, Blackstaff Press, 1981).”  


Similarly, see W.J.M. Childs, above (pp. 173-74).  The six-volume semi-official study that includes Childs appears in modern bibliographies (including Fromkin’s, and Jehuda Reinharz’s in his biography of Weizmann), but there’s an apparent reluctance to report what Childs says.  Accordingly, I quote him at length:


[A] most cogent reason [for the Declaration] lay in the state of Russia herself.  Russian Jews had been secretly active on behalf of the Central Powers from the first; they had been the chief agents of German pacifist propaganda; by 1917 they had done much in preparation for that general disintegration of Russian national life, later recognized as the revolution.  It was believed that if Great Britain declared for the fulfillment of Zionist aspirations in Palestine under its own pledge, one effect would be to bring Russian Jewry to the cause of the [Anglo-French-Russian] Entente [thus keeping Russia in the war].[2]


It was believed, also, that such a declaration would have a potent influence on world Jewry in the same way, and secure for the Entente the aid of Jewish financial interests.  It was believed, further, that it would greatly influence American opinion in favour of the Allies.  Such were the chief considerations, which, during the later part of 1916 [again, note the year] and the next ten months of 1917, impelled the British Government towards making a contract with Jewry.


But when the matter came before the Cabinet for decision delays occurred.  Amongst influential English Jews Zionism had few supporters. . . .  Jewish influence both within and without the Cabinet is understood to have exerted itself strenuously and pertinaciously against the proposed Declaration.


Under the pressure of Allied needs the objections of the anti-Zionists were either over-ruled or the causes of objection removed, and the Balfour Declaration was published to the world on 2nd November 1917.  That it is in purpose a definite contract with Jewry is beyond question.


*                  *                  *


[I]t is possible to understand from many sources that directly, and indirectly, the services expected of Jewry were not expected in vain, and were, from the point of view of British interests alone, well worth the price which had to be paid.  Nor is it to be supposed that the services already rendered are the last—it may well be that in time to come Jewish support will much exceed any thought possible in the past.


          What were “the services expected of Jewry” that were “not expected in vain” and were “well worth the price”?  In 1936, Samuel Landman let the cat out of the bag with a pamphlet entitled Great Britain, the Jews and Palestine.  Landman had been in Weizmann’s circle during the war—a point easily ascertainable from biographies of Weizmann—and was in a position to know what had gone on between the Zionists and the British government.  Until recently, Landman’s pamphlet was available in full text online, at http://www.itk.ntnu.no/ansatte/AndresenTrond/kk-f/2005/0036.htm.  It disappeared from the Internet, however, after a previous version of this article called attention to its presence.  The pamphlet can be found on paper in the British Library, the New York Public Library, the Harvard Library, and perhaps other collections as well.  But that too may not last; see Naeim Giladi, Ben Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews (self-published, 1992; reissued by Dandelion Books, 2003; posted online, 2004) as to how material embarrassing to the Zionists has disappeared from library shelves.  Suppression of a book’s marketing is a more routine matter.[3] [Editor’s note: Samuel Landman’s pamphlet is now available on the internet on the DESIP website: http://desip.igc.org/1939sLandman.htm]



          Landman’s pamphlet was addressed to the British government.  His complaint was that in 1916 there had been what he called a “gentleman’s agreement” between the Zionists and the British government; that the Zionists had fully upheld their own end of the agreement; and that now, 20 years later, the British had yet to deliver Palestine. He added that “the Jewish land hunger has grown immeasurably and the Jewish masses feel that Palestine without Transjordan is far too small for the urgent and imperative need of Jewish emigration.”


          According to Landman, the Zionist quid pro quo for the Balfour Declaration was nothing less than to “induce the American President to come into the War” on the British side.  Landman complained that this wartime service to the British accounted “in no small measure” for Nazi anti-Semitism[4], and warned that if the British didn’t deliver a Jewish state in Palestine, the Jews in their despair might try to “pull down the pillars of civilisation.” 


          In writing of pulling down the pillars, Landman seems to have adopted the idiom of his mentor, Weizmann—not to mention Judges 16:21-31.  According to many reports on the Web, Weizmann wrote in the Jüdische Rundschau, no. 4 (1920) that:


We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not. . . . You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world.          (Emphasis added.)


Landman’s argument in 1936 was in part that the British, having turned Jews into mortally endangered pariahs in Nazi Germany, had a moral obligation to extricate them. Similar moral-obligation arguments have recently been addressed to the U.S.—for example on behalf of Shiites and Kurds who rebelled against Saddam Hussein in response to American encouragement after the First Gulf War, and then found in the face of mass slaughter that the expected U.S. assistance was a chimera.


Landman’s words about pulling down the pillars, moreover, might have been taken as a veiled threat that the Jews, having brought down two cousins of the English royal house, the czar and the kaiser, would turn next on the Nazi-sympathizer Edward VIII, then in the one partial year of his reign.


Landman’s pamphlet is about a triple betrayal: first, Zionist betrayal of the Germans, on whose side the Jews had first been; second, Zionist exposure of Jews— most of whom Weizmann was willing to write off—to German reprisals[5] ; and third, British betrayal of those same Jews.  The British had found their promise of Palestine hard to keep.  That was because of Arab resistance, amply forecast by the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky.  Jabotinsky warned in his famous essay “The Iron Wall” (1923) that there had never been a people who’d submitted willingly to colonization of their home-land, and that the indigenous population of Palestine wouldn’t be the first:


To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile. . . .   [C]olonization can . . . continue and develop only under a force independent of the local population—an iron wall which the native population cannot break through.  This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs.  To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.


Jabotinsky’s views were far from new even in 1923.  See Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 (1992), and Masalha, The Politics of Denial (2003). 


Landman’s pamphlet came just before the British began their suppression of the Arab revolt of 1936-39.  According to Shlomo Ben-Ami, briefly the Israeli foreign minister under Ehud Barak, that “brutal” crackdown predetermined Zionist success in 1948.  See Ben-Ami’s book, Scars of War, Wounds of Peace, pp. 7, 11-12 (Oxford University Press 2006).


          In 1997, John Cornelius argued persuasively in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs that the Zionists—having every incentive to guarantee British victory—brought the U.S. into the war in 1917 by leaking to British intelligence either the plain text of the Zimmermann Telegram or, more likely, the code in which it was encrypted.  (See the several segments of Cornelius’s argument, and the letters addressing it, all available online; search on the combination of “Cornelius” and “Zimmermann Tele-gram.”)  


          The Zimmermann Telegram, from the foreign office in Berlin to the German embassy in Mexico City, suggested that if the U.S. came in on the British side, Mexico be encouraged to “reconquer” its “lost territory” of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.   As a proposed grant of land not belonging to the grantor, the Zimmermann Telegram stirred the same outrage in the U.S. that the Balfour Declaration later stirred among Arabs. George Sylvester Viereck lamented that public revelation of the telegram was “the end of pro-Germanism in the United States.” See his book The Strangest Friendship in History: Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House, p. 190 (1932).  Viereck was the father of the historian and poet Peter Viereck, author of Meta-Politics: The Roots of the Nazi Mind (1941 and 1961).  In its original form, as the younger Viereck’s Harvard Ph.D. thesis, the manuscript accurately predicted the Nazi holocaust.  That prediction was deleted from the first published edition; the book’s editor thought it a set of “unrealistic exaggerations which the pig-headed young author would regret 20 years from now.”[6]


Six weeks after Woodrow Wilson published the text of the Zimmermann Telegram, the U.S. declared war against Germany.  As a result of American entry into the war, the Germans got not a negotiated peace, nor even Wilson’s Fourteen Points, but the catastrophically punitive terms Britain and France imposed at Versailles.  The Germans had to watch as Prime Minister David Lloyd George tried to put Kaiser Wilhelm II on trial in London as a war criminal—an effort the kaiser’s cousin King George V managed to squelch.  See James F. Willis, Prologue to Nuremberg, p. 103 (1982).  John Maynard Keynes analyzed the economic terms the victors imposed, in The Economic Conse-quences of the Peace (1920).  At p. 33, Keynes wrote: “[T]here is nothing very new to learn about the war or the end it was fought for; England had destroyed, as in each preceding century, a trade rival.”[7]  At p. 268, he added:  “. . . [V]engeance, I dare predict, will not limp.”


          Cornelius says that Barbara Tuchman’s book The Zimmermann Telegram (1958) contains “disinformation,” and that “it is remarkable that Tuchman’s book continues to be read and believed more than 30 years after hard evidence has become available that the story is false.”  Cornelius’s charge against a most distinguished historian gains credibility from Tuchman’s enthusiastic review of Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial (1984), which Tuchman surely knew was a hoax.  Peters’s book is the one that purports to prove that Palestine lacked any substantial Arab population before the Jews began to arrive, and that the Arabs swarmed in only later to partake of the Jewish economic miracle.  Apparently, Tuchman’s work was of the highest standard only when it didn’t concern Zionism.  See Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht’s appraisal of Tuchman’s Zionism—which Feuerlicht thought racist—in The Fate of the Jews, pp. 196-97 (1983).


          Samuel Landman’s pamphlet, being addressed to the British government, would not have alleged an agreement—and a form of performance—which that government, on review of its archives, would find to be mythical.   Landman’s account of the “gentle-man’s agreement” of 1916 is broadly consistent with a speech David Lloyd George gave in the House of Commons on June 19, 1936, which is excerpted in Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, pp. 366-67 (2005).  Lloyd George’s account implies, however, that bargaining for the Balfour Declaration began not in 1916, but in early 1917, when in his words:


. . . [T]he French army had mutinied; the Italian army was on the eve of collapse; America had hardly started preparing in earnest.   There was nothing left but Britain confronting the most powerful military combina-tion that the world has ever seen.  It was important for us to seek every legitimate help that we could get.  The Government came to the conclusion, from information received from every part of the world, that it was very vital that we should have the sympathies of the Jewish community. . . .  They were helpful to us in America to a very large extent; and they were helpful even in Russia at that moment because Russia was just about to walk out and leave us alone. . . .   The Jews, with all the influence that they possessed, responded nobly to the appeal that was made.


          Lloyd George may have had a personal reason for fudging the date of the “gentleman’s agreement” from 1916 to 1917.  His own accession as prime minister, replacing H.H. Asquith on Dec. 7, 1916, may itself have been a product of that agreement—a point he’d be at pains not to advertise.  Lloyd George, Roberts & Co. had been lawyers for the World Zionist Conference since 1903, and had also represented Marcus Samuel’s Shell Oil Co.   Installation of their own man as prime minister, in other words, may have been one of the Zionists’ demands.


          On taking office as prime minister, Lloyd George authorized a campaign to take Jerusalem, an objective attained by Christmas 1917.  Lord Kitchener, as secretary of state for war, had opposed any such campaign as a mere diversion.  (See Fromkin, above, p. 83.)  On June 5, 1916, Kitchener drowned when the British naval ship taking him to Archangel hit a mine and sank.  Fromkin (p. 217) says the British naval commander, Adm. Sir John Jellicoe, unaccountably ignored warnings from naval intelligence that Kitchener’s route was mined.  Those warnings came to light only in 1985. 


If, as the Encarta encyclopedia has it, discussions on the Balfour Declaration had begun three months before, in March 1916, Kitchener’s death may be a relevant piece of the story, the removal of an obstacle.  The history of Zionist assassinations, including Lord Northcliffe (1922), Lord Moyne (1944) and Count Folke Bernadotte (1948) is a long one.  See—among many other examples—Margaret Truman, Harry S. Truman, pp. 489-90 (1973), reporting Zionist attempts in 1946-47 to assassinate President Truman, various of his aides, and British politicians such as Anthony Eden and Ernest Bevin.


          Lloyd George’s 1936 speech in the House of Commons was reported verbatim in the next day’s Times of London.  It would thus have been read almost immediately in Berlin.  W.J.M. Childs’s chapter in the six-volume Temperley study was in libraries, and had thus been available to the Germans since 1924.  The 1936 Samuel Landman pamphlet was also probably available to the Germans, if not from libraries then from intelligence sources.  (In assessing opportunities for German intelligence, recall that in 1936 much of the English aristocracy, not just the king, had Nazi sympathies.)


So the German intelligence services read W.J.M. Childs’s statement that “the services expected of Jewry [in the war] were not expected in vain, and were, from the point of view of British interests alone, well worth the price which had to be paid.” 


They read Lloyd George’s statement that “the Jews, with all the influence that they possessed, responded nobly to the appeal that was made.”


They read Childs’s statement that “it may well be that in time to come Jewish support [for Britain] will much exceed any thought possible in the past.” 


They probably read as well Landman’s admission that it had been the Jews who brought the U.S. into the war to crush Germany.  Likewise, Landman’s threat about pulling down the “pillars of civilisation”—which might have seemed to them a complete confirmation of Nazi ideology.  Likewise again, Landman’s statement that “the New Zionist Organisation is pro-British to the core.”[8]


Part of the context for all this reading was the worldwide Jewish boycott of German goods that began in March 1933, shortly after Hitler became chancellor.  On March 24, the Daily Express (London) headlined across the top of page one:







The New York attorney Samuel Untermyer called the boycott a “holy war.”  That holy war has largely been expunged from history,[9] but a good account appears in David Vital, A People Apart, pp. 860-64 (Oxford University Press, 1999).[10]  Proponents of the boycott claimed that in 1936—the year of Landman’s pamphlet and Lloyd George’s speech—it cut German exports by 20.7 percent.  Those proponents were sufficiently raucous that Sir Robert Vansittart, the permanent undersecretary of state in the British Foreign Office, warned Harold Laski that (in Laski’s words) “the aggressively Jewish, flamboyant and narrow character of the anti-German propaganda carried on by certain Jewish quarters in America was having results which were very nearly provocation of anti-semitism on a large scale.”  Vansittart mentioned Untermyer by name.  Id. at p. 863.[11]  


Untermyer, a leading Zionist, may well have been trying to force a crisis that would result in mass resettlement of European Jews in Palestine.  Nazi and Zionist propaganda were in close agreement that the Jews were unassimilable in Europe.  See Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, above.[12]  The Zionist half of that propaganda was the background against which the Germans read W.J.M. Childs’s conclusion—actually, as shown above, no surprise to anyone—that:


Russian Jews had been secretly active on behalf of the Central Powers from the first; they had been the chief agents of German pacifist propaganda; by 1917 they had done much in preparation for that general disintegration of Russian national life, later recognized as the revolution.


The Nazis undoubtedly took that to mean that Germany, as well, had to protect itself against the secret activities of its Jewish citizens, and that Jews would give their real allegiance—or at least assistance—to whatever power best furthered their interests.  That power, at least for the moment, was Great Britain.  Indeed, on September 3, 1939, just after the Nazi invasion of Poland, Weizmann wrote to Prime Minister Neville Chamber-lain: “I wish to confirm, in the most explicit manner, . . . that the Jews stand by Great Britain and will fight on the side of the democracies. . . . We wish to do so in a way entirely consonant with the general scheme of British action. . . .”    Weizmann’s letter was published in the Times of London on September 6, and was thus read in Berlin.[13]


Only 16 months later, at the height of Nazi success in January 1941, something else was read in Berlin.  At that time the Stern Gang actually attempted an alliance with Germany.  See Lenni Brenner, ed., 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis, pp. 300-03 (2002) (a written proposal from Avraham Stern to Adolf Hitler for “establish-ment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich”); and Avishai Margalet, “The Violent Life of Yitzhak Shamir,” New York Review of Books, May 14, 1992.[14] 


None of the material cited above told the Nazis anything they hadn’t already believed, at least since the peace conference in 1919.  But such material surely tended to confirm their view about a “stab in the back”; about the inconstancy of Jews to agendas not their own; and about the effectiveness of Jews as subversives, as in czarist Russia.  While there’s no gainsaying that the Nazi leaders were psychopathic, their obsessions didn’t come wholly out of Wagnerian mythology about dark Hagen and blond Siegfried.


          In 1936, Winston Churchill either did or did not tell the New York Enquirer (forerunner of the National Enquirer) that American entry into the war in 1917 had been a disaster, without which there would have been no Nazi Germany and perhaps no Soviet Union either.[15]  Churchill denied the statement—so vehemently that the journalist who’d reported it sued Churchill for defamation.  (Letting the statement stand would have been profoundly embarrassing to Churchill if, as proved to be the case, he had to solicit American involvement in a second war.)  Before testimony was taken, though, the U.S. was already in World War II and the suit was dropped. 


Robert Fisk (Pity the Nation, p. 15) says “the British. . . began their descent of the bloody staircase the moment Balfour blotted his signature in 1917.”  His metaphor comes from Churchill’s writings: “At first the steps were wide and shallow, covered with a carpet, but in the end the very stones crumbled under [our] feet.” 


          Landman’s account, Childs’s, and Lloyd George’s seem to confirm at least some parts of a fiery speech (available online) that Benjamin Freedman—the principal owner of the Woodbury Soap Co.—gave to a far right-wing audience at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. in 1961.  Freedman is not the most attractive witness; and his speech has become a favorite of some very unsavory types.  But he gives a lot of factual detail that should be checkable, and that I’ve never seen refuted.  He tells, for example, for whom he worked during the 1912 Wilson campaign (Henry Morgenthau, Sr. as his “confidential man” and liaison with Rolla Wells), some of the meetings he attended in the Wilson administration and at the peace conference, and what he personally saw and heard.  He says that in October 1916 Jewish leaders en masse switched their support from Germany to England “like a traffic light that changes from red to green.”  His account of the worldwide Jewish boycott of German goods that began in 1933 agrees with Vital’s.


Freedman also agrees with Keynes, above, as to Britain’s war aim in 1914-18 being the destruction of a trade rival.  Freedman and Landman both say that the Zionist wartime agreement with the British was discussed in the Jewish press of the time.  Freedman says of the Zionist leaders that “the press was filled with their statements.”  It’s not clear how much of that discussion—if any—survives today.  It would make interesting reading.  No doubt the Nazis read it.


Perhaps Freedman belongs in the same vile category as those who for years  circulated rumors about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings—rumors that DNA testing now appears to confirm.


Nicholas Lysson



[1] Schiff even supplied the Japanese with Russian-language revolutionary tracts for prisoners of war to read in captivity, with the claimed result that “fifty thousand officers and men returned to Russia ardent revolu-tionists.”  Naomi W. Cohen, Jacob H. Schiff, p. 137 (Brandeis University Press, 1999).  Query whether such baiting of the czar worsened oppression of ordinary Jews, who were already assumed to be of ques-tionable loyalty.  In any event, 1905-06 was a peak period for pogroms, especially the 60 days just after the czar signed the October Manifesto, accepting constitutional limits.  A “terrible decision,” his diary says.


[2]  While the English were dealing with the Zionists in the hope of keeping Russia in the war, the Germans, according to Robert Wilton, the Times of London’s correspondent in Russia, were dealing with the different, almost equally Jewish set mentioned here by Childs, to promote subversion that would take Russia out of the war.  See George Gustav Telberg and Robert Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1920); and Wilton, Russia’s Agony (1918).  Boas Evron says, in Jewish State or Israeli Nation?, p. 107 (English tr., Indiana University Press, 1995), that “the backgrounds of the two groups were much the same. . . .  Only differences of chance and temperament caused the one [individual] to be a Zionist and the other a revolutionary socialist.”  Wilton, drawing in part on Gen. Erich Ludendorff’s War Memories (1919), says there was disarray among the Germans as the subversion they sponsored progressed to revolution, to persistent efforts to spread the revolution to Germany itself, to assassination of the kaiser’s ambassador in Moscow, Count Mirbach (July 6, 1918), and even to execution of the kaiser’s captive Russian cousins, the czar and his family (July 17, 1918).  Right up to his death, Mirbach was dispensing German money to the revolutionaries.  See also Winston Churchill’s article, “Zionism Versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People,” in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, Feb. 8, 1920, reprinted in Lenni Brenner, ed., 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, p. 23 (2002).  See generally my companion essay, “Holocaust and Holodomor.”   


[3] See, e,g., instances involving Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah (University of California Press, 2005); and Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht, The Fate of the Jews (1983).  As Feuerlicht says in her concluding chapter (p. 281): “A book critical of Israel is not burned, for fear someone may be attracted by the smoke; sometimes it is not even criticized, for fear the argument may spread.  Instead, it is ignored, so it will be quickly and quietly buried.” 


[4] Hitler himself, for example, took it as axiomatic that the reason Germany had lost World War I was that the U.S. had intervened.  See Ernst Hanfstaengl, Hitler: The Missing Years, pp. 40-41 (1957).  


[5] In 1937, the year after the Landman pamphlet, Weizmann told the World  Zionist Congress of his testimony before the Peel Commission, which that year recommended partitioning Palestine to allow a “national home” for the Jews:


[T]he hopes of six million Jews are centred on emigration. . . .  I was asked, “But can you bring six million Jews to Palestine?” I replied, “No”. . . .In the depth of the Jewish tragedy I want to save two million of youth. . . . The old ones will pass; they will bear their fate, or they will not. . . .”  (Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, ch. 13: “Choosing the Chosen People—the Doctrine of ‘Zionist Cruelty’” (1983), available online.)


[6] George Sylvester Viereck’s father, Louis, was reputedly the illegitimate son of the first Kaiser Wilhelm (not to be confused with his grandson, the second Kaiser Wilhelm in power during World War I).  Louis emigrated to the U.S.  George Sylvester was flamboyantly proud of his ancestry and a promoter in the American press of all things German.  During World War II he became estranged from his two sons, Peter and George Sylvester, Jr.  He had become a Nazi apologist during the 1930s and spent the years 1942-47 in prison for violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  The sons served in the U.S. Army.  George Sylvester, Jr. was killed in action in Italy.  Peter, barred from an officer’s commission (and the OSS) by his father’s conviction, became the highest ranking enlisted man in the Army’s Psychological Warfare Branch.  See Tom Reiss’s profile of Peter, “The First Conservative,” the New Yorker, Oct. 24, 2005. 


[7] This motive was not limited to the English.  After entering the war, the U.S. government rallied support among American businessmen by telling them a major goal was destruction of Germany as a commercial competitor.  See Jörg Nagler, “Propaganda and War Hysteria in the United States,” in Roger Chickering and Stig Förster, eds., Great War and Total War, p. 495 (Cambridge University Press 2000).  Not much of this was lost on the Germans at the time.  See Ludendorff’s bitterly indignant comments in War Memories.


[8]  In Britain, this seeming assurance may have been read as another veiled threat—i.e., that the Zionists’ pro-British stance wouldn’t last forever if Britain didn’t deliver Palestine.  Compare the Stern Gang’s overture to the Nazis in January 1941, proposing a “totalitarian” Jewish state “bound by treaty with the German Reich,” p. 8, above.


[9] See, e.g., Ian Kershaw, Hitler:1889-1936, pp. 472-74 (1998), which only glancingly mentions the Jewish boycott—even as Kershaw gives far more extensive attention to the German counter-boycott of the Jews.  The latter, even by Kershaw’s account, was an abortive one-day affair that was announced on impulse, quickly recognized as unwise, and carried out only because Hitler couldn’t cancel it without a loss of face.  Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 281-83 (2000), describes the German counter-boycott without so much as a word about the Jewish boycott to which it responded.


[10] Vital was a journalist with the Jerusalem Post.  Some of his writings in Hebrew, on various subjects, are translated in Boas Evron’s book, above.


[11]  In 1937, Winston Churchill wrote similarly, in an article that never saw the light of day, that “it would be easy to attribute [anti-Semitism] to the wickedness of the persecutors, but that does not fit all the facts. 

. . .  [I]t may be that, unwittingly, [the Jews] are inviting persecution—that they have been partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer.”  The article was found by the Cambridge University historian Richard Toye in the university’s archive of Churchill’s papers.  See Breitbart.com, March 10, 2007.


[12] Some of the Zionists may actually have thought they were reenacting the exodus from Egypt, bringing down plagues on an evil pharaoh before departing.  See the anthropologist John Hartung, discussed in “Holocaust and Holodomor,” on the longevity and penetrance of  “cultural legacies”—especially, one might add, sacred stories so central to ritual observance as to be familiar from childhood throughout the community.  In this instance see the Passover Haggada, and note the title of Leon Uris’s romantic account of the creation and peopling of modern Israel, Exodus (1958).


[13] In 1986, the German historian Ernst Nolte called Weizmann’s letter a Jewish “declaration of war,” and also pointed to the book by the American Jewish author Theodore N. Kaufman, Germany Must Perish! (1941).   Kaufman’s book (available online) proposed that after the war all Germans be sterilized, and the country partitioned out of existence, to assure “a permanent. . . peace.”  Kaufman calculated (p. 87) that:


. . .[T]he army groups, as organized units, would be the easiest and quickest to deal with. Taking 20,000 surgeons as an arbitrary number and on the assumption that each will perform a minimum of 25 operations daily, it would take no more than one month, at the maximum, to complete their sterilization. . . .  The. . . male civilian population of Germany would be treated [sic] within three months.


Kaufman conceded that sterilization of females would take more time.  He billed his opus “the book Hitler fears”—but Josef Goebbels greeted it with delight and distributed a million copies in translation to the military as a caution against surrender.  That caution drew its credibility from the mass starvation the heavily Jewish Soviet secret police had imposed in the Ukraine in 1932-33, and from other well-known terrors of what the Nazis called  “Judeobolshevism.”  (See “Holocaust and Holodomor.”)  Kaufman’s program, preposterous but not visibly facetious, foreshadowed the assembly-line genocide of Jews that soon followed.   Nolte’s article is “Vergangenheit, die nichtvergehen will,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 6, 1986.  Not all of Nolte’s critics have directly addressed his historical analysis.  E.g., on February 10, 1988 his car was firebombed.   In 2000, Nolte was awarded the Konrad Adenauer prize for literature.


[14] See Gordon Thomas, Gideon’s Spies, pp. 193-94 (2007 ed.) on Yitzhak Shamir’s anti-Americanism.  Shamir blamed the U.S. for the Nazi holocaust.  His view, in line with Avraham Stern’s proposal, was that Franklin Roosevelt should have made an “arrangement” to give the Third Reich dominant power in the Middle East instead of the British.  Hitler, according to Shamir, would then have presided over mass migration of European Jews to Palestine instead of sending them to death camps.  With whom Shamir thought FDR could have made that deal (and on what terms) is unclear.  Shamir’s anti-Americanism had serious consequences in terms of the Jonathan Pollard spy operation of the 1980s, when Israel gave the U.S.S.R. the nuclear secrets it stole.  Id. 


[15] The American declaration of war and the German introduction of Lenin into Russia were almost exactly contemporaneous.   The Zimmermann Telegram was published in the U.S. on March 1, 1917.  The Ameri-can declaration of war followed on April 6.  On April 8, Lenin’s party left Switzerland in a sealed train bound for the Finland Station—“like a plague bacillus,” as Churchill put it.  The party arrived in Petrograd on April 16.  An account of the negotiations between Lenin and the Germans, leading up to that trip, can be found in Robert Payne, The Life and Death of Lenin, pp. 291-307 (1964).  The kaiser was personally consulted, but the presiding genius on the German side was Diego Bergen in the Foreign Office, “one of whose special functions,” according to Payne, “was to study the possibilities of sabotage and subversion,” and who “knew everything that was to be known about Lenin, and was only waiting to spring the trap.”   Id. at 291-92.  Query whether the Germans would have sprung the trap without the American declaration of war—and, if not, where events in Russia might have led.  Churchill, if indeed he made the statements attributed to him, apparently thought the Germans would have held back.

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