The Rape of Russia 1: Out With The Old Order

The Russian Revolution began on 22 February, 1917 (O.S.) as a direct consequence of the actions of workers leaders at the massive Putilov armaments factories in Petrograd. Portrayed as a spontaneous and leaderless uprising of the downtrodden and oppressed proletariat, it was nothing of the sort. Workers’ leaders at the Putilov munitions works and other major industrial concerns in Petrograd, were bribed to stir up industrial and civil unrest.

Putilov Factory meeting February 1917.

At the Putilov factories they led some 30,000 workers out on strike after an angry and bitter tirade against the management over low wages. In the following days, workers at other factories across the city were similarly stirred to action, and encouraged to strike in support of the Putilov workforce. On 22 February, management at the great armaments works locked the factory gates. Were they were forewarned of possible sabotage? It was widely known that 23 February was International Women’s Day and that tens of thousands of women, many of whom were war widows or the wives of soldiers who had been badly wounded at the front, would march in protest against the war.

The Putilov workforce joined the women on the streets along with 90,000 other workers. Mass crowds paraded through the city protesting about food shortages, calling for an end to war and the overthrow of the monarchy. The following day numbers on the streets rapidly snowballed. Shop windows were smashed and hungry protestors helped themselves to bread. The Petrograd police shot several protestors, but were themselves, completely overwhelmed.

Just before Petrograd ‘spontaneously’ erupted, the British ambassador, Sir George Buchanan took himself out of town, ‘safely withdrawn from the scene of a tumult that he had contributed to kindle’. [1] It was an old ruse. Czar Nicholas II was some 500 miles away in Belarus in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the army. On 25 February, around thirty of the workers leaders met at the Petrograd Union of Workers Co-operative to set up a Soviet. On Sunday 26th, the Czar ordered a military crackdown. Forty, perhaps fifty, protestors were shot on the streets by troops from the city garrison, but there were increasing reports of desertion as disillusioned troops joined forces with the demonstrators.

Woman's Day Protests February 1917.

 

The President of the Duma, Mikhail Rodzianko, sent urgent telegrams to the Czar. On 26 February, he warned of the seriousness of a situation which the government was incapable of suppressing: ‘The government is paralysed; the transport service has broken down; the food and fuel supplies are completely disorganised. Discontent is general and on the increase. There is wild shooting in the streets; troops are firing at each other. It is urgent that someone enjoying the confidence of the country be entrusted with the formation of a new government. There must be no delay. Hesitation is fatal.’ [2]

With exasperation bordering on despair, Rodzianko, raised the level of anxiety in a second telegram on 27th February:‘The situation is growing worse. Measures should be taken immediately as tomorrow will be too late. The last hour has struck, when the fate of the country and dynasty is being decided. The government is powerless to stop the disorders. The troops of the garrison cannot be relied upon. The reserve battalions of the Guard regiments are in the grips of rebellion, their officers are being killed. Having joined the mobs and the revolt of the people, they are marching on the offices of the Ministry of the Interior and the Imperial Duma. Your Majesty, do not delay. Should the agitation reach the Army, Germany will triumph and the destruction of Russia along with the dynasty is inevitable.’[3] Nicholas read the telegram, made a derogatory comment about Rodzianko, and remained at the Front…for three short days.

The Czar's brother Grand Duke Michael who wisely rejected the poisoned chalice of Czardom.

On 2 March 1917, (O.S.) Czar Nicholas II abdicated, initially in favour of his 13 year-old haemophiliac son, Alexei, but quickly changed his mind to favour his brother. Grand Duke Michael declined. He was a realist. Whatever the truth, Lenin was said to have known that Michael had been in favour of the February revolution and ‘had even worn a red ribbon in his buttonhole’.[4] The Czar caved in without any meaningful fight and Romanov rule came to an abrupt end after 300 years. Received history recounts that he abdicated because he had lost the loyalty of his army, but was this put to the test? Though he announced that he would stand down in the interests of the military, he privately recorded in his diary that: ‘All around is betrayal, cowardice and deceit!’ [5] He meekly surrendered the imperial throne, yet Rodzianko had clearly stated that the mob was marching on the Duma, not the Czar. He still commanded the army. Rodzianko warned that ‘should the agitation reach the army’ Germany would win the war. The army in the field stood loyal. So who had betrayed and deceived the last Czar?

What had been whispered in his ear? What role had Alfred Milner played in the Czar’s decision to abdicate? What warnings or indeed assurances had been given during his private meetings with Nicholas II just weeks earlier? As we have shown, the evidence points to Milner’s certain knowledge of what was about to take place before he had even departed Russia, although, once home, he tried to cover his complicity by making a clear statement to the contrary for public consumption. Had Nicholas been promised sanctuary in Britain, as he had previously been promised Constantinople?

Members of the provisional government 1917

On Nicholas II’s abdication, a provisional government was immediately cobbled together. Most of the chosen ministers were liberals from the previous Duma with a sound basis of support from the middle classes. They sought to establish a capitalist democracy similar to Britain and, most importantly, supported Russia’s continuation in the war until Germany was defeated. Of all their actions this was the key to support from Britain, America and the other Allies. News of the revolution and abdication was greeted in London with satisfaction by Prime Minister Lloyd George. [6] Across the Atlantic President Woodrow Wilson, spoke to Congress about ‘those marvellous and comforting events’ in Russia, where ‘autocracy’ had finally been struck down. [7] Did the Czar ever ponder that while he had talked about making peace with Germany he had been replaced with a government which promised to continue the war; the unpopular war; the debilitating war?

The speed with which the British government distanced itself from the Czar might be considered breathtaking, unless of course you are aware that the Secret Elite had sanctioned his removal. They were advised and updated by ambassador Sir George Buchanan and Sir John Hanbury-Williams [8] head of the British military mission to Russia. Both men represented the Secret Elite’s interests.

Milner (centre) seated with his military command in South Africa. Lord Roberts to his left and Sir John Hanbury-Williams at his right hand. Buchanan was a foreign office fixture and Hanbury-Williams’s connection with Alfred Milner dated back to the Boer War where he served as Milner’s right-hand man and Military Aide de Camp. The British War Cabinet decided to present a resolution to parliament ‘sending paternal greetings to the Duma, heartfelt congratulations to the Russian people’ and praise for their ‘renewed steadfastness and vigour [in] the prosecution of the war against the autocratic militarism which threatens the liberty of Europe.’  [9] What? Was irony dead? For whose consumption was the notion that the Russian people, who had been subjugated to Czarist autocratic militarism for three cenuries, wanted to continue the war against the alleged autocratic German militarism reputedly threatening Europe? These Secret Elite agents were shameless. They not only abandoned the Czar without hesitation, but instructed Hanbury-Williams to stay away from him or any member of the royal family so that Britain’s good relations with the Provisional government would be seen as more important.

Discussion on the Czar’s future concluded with the decision that ‘they were in doubt as to whether Great Britain was the right place for him to go.’ [10] He had been deeply unpopular in Britain before 1914, despised by the Jewish communities, the socialist and trades union organisations and fair minded liberals. Others questioned the advisability of the Czar seeking refuge in any neutral country where he could become the centre of intrigue, so the War Cabinet changed its mind within 24 hours. [11] In theory the Imperial Royal family might have found refuge in Britain. He never did. But consider what really mattered to the British Elite. The Czar was instantly abandoned and no more mention was made of promises like Constantinople, false or otherwise. Both were filed in the past tense. Gone.

Prince George Lvov, with whom Alfred Milner had spoken some weeks earlier, was named as the first post-imperial prime minister of the provisional government. Co-incidence? Hardly likely. Alexander Kerensky, a Menshevik, was appointed minister of war and navy. The new government, plagued with factional infighting and competition for authority, underwent several changes over the following months. The Bolsheviks had little influence on the seismic events of February/March 1917 or the new government. They were a tiny faction which had effectively been neutered by the enforced exile of their key leaders. The Mensheviks, if anything, fared worse. They ‘almost entirely disintegrated and became indistinguishable from other ‘progressives’, combining a patriotic attitude towards the war with a demand for ‘democratic’ reforms.’ [12] But the provisional government served its purpose for the interim period. The bankers and financiers from Wall Street circled above a fatally wounded Russian bear, salivating at the prospects of wondrous profits to come.

1. Guido Preparata, Conjuring Hitler, p. 29

.
2. http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/rodzianko.html

3. Ibid.

4. Dimitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. 106.

5. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/abdication-nicholas-ii-left-russia-without-tsar-first-time-300-years-180962503/

6. Preparata, Conjuring Hitler, p.29

7. Ibid.

8. National Archives FO telegram 514, dated 19 March 1915, and the reply FO telegram 514 dated 20 March 1917.

9. CAB/23/2 WC 100, 21 March 1917. p. 4.

10 Ibid., p. 5.

11. CAB 23/40/2, WC 101. 22 March,1917.

12. E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 67.

Revolution in Russia 5: Sealing The Czar’s Fate.

Alfred Milner, the Secret Elite leader, member of the inner War Cabinet, and leader of the mission to Russia in 1917.

In a sense it was Gallipoli all over again. Hold the Russians fast to the war without allowing them to gain anything from their mammoth contribution. Until the United States entered the war and her troops were on the ground in Europe, Russian troops were valuable, but Russia could not be allowed to share the spoils when the ultimate victory had been secured. It was absolutely essential that the Czar be prevented from mounting a successful offensive in 1917. An Allied conference in St Petersburg was hastily arranged, theoretically to discuss the proposed offensive, reach an agreement to supply vital armaments and boost local morale. Step forward Alfred Milner, undisputed master of the Secret Elite, to lead the British delegation. According to Cabinet papers, Milner was ‘authorised to give assurances on supplies to Russia if in his estimation the Russians could make good use of them’. [1] What power. Armament supplies to Russia were crucial to the proposed offensive, yet Milner was given personal authority to decide whether or not Britain would supply them. In his hands alone lay the power to determine whether the war would end in the summer/autumn of 1917 or continue beyond. If artillery was not provided, Russia’s summer offensive and consequent victory was a lost cause and the Czar’s fate sealed.

Bruce Lockhart, British Embassy Moscow

Alfred Milner and the British delegation sailed from Oban in Scotland on January 20, 1917. According to Bruce Lockhart, British Consul in Moscow, ‘Rarely in the history of great wars can so many important ministers and generals have left their respective countries on so useless an errand’. The British Mission was the largest with Lord Milner, his political advisers Lord Revelstoke (a banker) and George Clerk, together with his military advisers Sir Henry Wilson and five other generals. [2] The French sent one politician and two generals, the Italians a politician and a general. Why was there such a ridiculously heavy presence of generals in the British delegation? The role of General Sir Henry Wilson, who was closely linked to the secret cabal, was to give military approval to the final decision. Wilson hung on Milner’s every word and would never have contradicted him. In turn, few if any British generals would have dared contradict General Wilson. They had discussions with senior members of the Russian armed forces, but the Generals were said to be decidedly under-impressed. It was, apparently, ‘a useless errand’ just as the British consul had said, but in reality the real mission to block any Russian chance of gaining Constantinople worked perfectly.

Milner undertook the long, dangerous journey (Lord Kitchener had been killed on a similar voyage from Scotland to Russia in 1916) despite being advised not to go by a fellow member of the Secret Elite, Lord Esher. [3] On the day he arrived in Petrograd, and before he had even met or discussed the armaments proposal with the Russians, Milner made no attempt to conceal his doubt. From the very start he used ‘the inefficiency of the Russians’ as an excuse to turn down their request for artillery.[4] He held several meetings with the Czar, and held nothing back. Lord Milner warned Nicholas II that if Britain was to hand over her vital heavy guns, it was necessary for Russia to prove that her own supplies were exhausted and be absolutely assured that Russia could defeat Germany in the proposed military operations. Milner added bluntly that it had come to his notice from many independent, ‘well-informed sources’ that Russia had failed to fully exploit her manpower and her own vast resources.

Milner promised Nicholas II nothing. On 3 March 1917, he arrived back in London and informed the government of his decision: No guns for Russia. Three days later his formal report to the War Cabinet about the events that took place at the Allied Conference in Russia was dismissive. He felt that too many unnecessary people had attended, ironic, considering the size of the party which accompanied him, and too many personal and distracting agendas had been aired. In-fighting amongst the Russian military leaders was seriously debilitating. Milner claimed to have been shocked by the lack of training in modern weaponry which Russian soldiers had been given. Organisation, he deemed, ’chaotic’. He stated that the Russian government under the Czar was ‘hopeless’ and improvement unlikely, but in his view there was ‘a great deal of exaggeration about the talk of revolution’.[5] He specifically denied that an impending revolution was likely. Such an astonishing assertion requires further examination. Why, if the armed forces were in chaos, did he think that a revolution was unlikely?

THE IMPERIAL WAR CABINET, 1 MAY 1917. (HU 81394) Group photograph of the Imperial War Cabinet members taken in the garden of No. 10 Downing Street. Front row (left to right Henderson (Minister without portfolio), Lord Milner (Minister without portfolio), Lord Curzon (Lord President of the Council), A Bonar Law (Chancellor of the Exchequer), David Lloyd George (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), Sir Robert Borden (Prime Minister of Canada), W F Massey (Prime Minister of New Zealand ) and General Jan Smutts, South Africa.

Milner made a verbal report to a War Cabinet which included the prime ministers of Canada and New Zealand. All the Secret Elite political agents were present. No minute was taken [6] ( a very unusual but convenient occurrence ) and whatever was said, we will never know. His written memorandum for Cabinet (dated 13 March) that there would be no revolution, was signed 5 days after the uprising started. To imagine that the foreign office did not know this, or even that Milner could not have altered the wording of his report, is ridiculous. It was a calculated comment; one meant to deflect attention from his unreported discussions with other parties. Lord Alfred Milner knew exactly what was about to happen in Petrograd at that precise moment in time because the Secret Elite was instrumental in facilitating it.

Bruce Lockhart, the British Consul in Moscow, was shocked when told of Lord Milner’s conclusion that there would be no revolution. He suspected that the foreign office had prepared a false report, insisting that there was nothing in Milner’s attitude or discussions during his visit to indicate that he had any confidence in the Czar. [7] Nothing. Milner’s report had been concocted in conjunction with the foreign office to delude his contemporaries, and doubtless later historical researchers. In his War Memoirs, Prime Minister Lloyd George bemoaned the fact Milner and his entourage had not apparently grasped the immediate seriousness of the situation: ‘Having regard to the warnings which were blaring at them in every direction, it is incomprehensible that they should have been so deaf and blind.’ [8] Milner was neither blind nor deaf. As ever, he lived with the criticism which covered his actual purpose. He had always disregarded the screamers.

Prince George Lvov

During his sojourn, Alfred Milner held a meeting with prince Lvov, a member of the Duma, at which the possibility of revolution ‘within three weeks’ was specifically discussed. [9] Lloyd George spouted what appeared to be criticism of Milner, but it was part and parcel of the ploy to conceal historical truth. Lloyd George was a political puppet of the Secret Elite, party to its agenda and a willing player. He had sold his soul to the international bankers for power and material riches many years before. [10] Almost three weeks to the day after Milner’s private discussions with Prince Lyoy, the so-called ‘spontaneous revolution’ took place in Petrograd. Czar Nicholas subsequently abdicated, and Lvov was installed as prime minister. Yet Milner apparently knew nothing?

Untangling the Secret Elite’s web of intrigue during the Russian mission is no simple matter. But be certain of one thing. Alfred Milner was not a man to waste his time, let alone risk U-Boat infested seas to journey to Russia in the depth of winter, unless it was a matter of the gravest importance. It was no coincidence that he was in Petrograd less than three weeks before the revolution exploded. He saw what was happening and he knew what was about to happen. The question of supplying Russia with artillery was most definitely not the reason for the visit. His presence at what was termed an Allied Conference was the perfect cover, for Milner had far more important business. Crucially, at that very time, Secret Elite agents were supplying monetary bribes to workers’ leaders at the giant Putilov factory and to soldiers of the local garrisons. The ground-work for imminent revolution was in motion while Milner was in Petrograd.

We know that he had private talks with the Czar, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Milner warned Nicholas II that British Intelligence had sound evidence that serious disorder was about to erupt in the capital; disorder which would present an immense threat to the Czar’s personal safety and that of his beloved children. The key objective of this Secret Elite exercise was to manipulate their own agents into power in Russia. Nicholas had served his purpose. Did Milner urge Nicholas to consider abdication with promises that he and his family would find a safe refuge in Britain? The speed with which the Czar abdicated and his lack of fight surprised many.

Milner’s involvement is not some far-fetched theory. He was accused in Parliament of making speeches in Russia which went unreported in Britain because of press censorship. The Irish Nationalist leader, John Dillon berated Milner for apparently supporting the Czar’s regime and spouting nonsense in Moscow denying the state of popular agitation in Russia.[11] When he returned to London, Milner was reported in The Times as saying that ‘it was quite wrong to suppose that there is in Russia any controversy about the waging of the war.’ [12] It was of course, nonsense, but such claims served to deflect attention from what was actually happening.

Having abdicated, a very disconsolate Car was held under guard.

Two days later, the revolution began. In reply to questions in Parliament on 3 April 1917, Andrew Bonar Law, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and an associate of the secret cabal, stated: ‘I have seen statements emanating from our enemies that it was owing to Lord Milner that the Czar was overthrown.’ [13] What? Milner clearly made unreported speeches and met unreported persons. But what more did the Germans know? Where is the proof that Milner caused the overthrow of the Czar? Yet again we reach an impasse on Milner’s activities. Reports and records were afterwards removed, correspondence burned on his orders and any evidence of his detailed machinations destroyed. Whatever else, Alfred Milner was no innocent aboard. He knew what was going on because, like his Rothschild / Secret Elite friends, he had his finger on the pulse before the heart could beat.

If the received history of the First World War was true, why would he turn down the chance to offer Russia materiel support for its massive summer offensive; an offensive that would most likely have shattered the enemy forces on the Eastern Front and brought the war to successful conclusion? Why turn down lucrative bank loans to Russia for weapons, and the substantial profits for British armaments companies which manufactured those weapons? The answer was, as always, Constantinople. The Russians could never be allowed to take possession of Constantinople.

While the Czarist authorities there were doing their utmost to dampen the revolutionary flames, the Secret Elite were fanning them. In an article in the New York Times, the explorer, journalist and Russian expert, George Kennan, revealed that in early 1917 Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb Bank on Wall Street financed Russian revolutionaries through an organisation, the Society of the Friends of Russian Freedom. [14]  Indeed, Schiff had financed Russian revolutionaries from at least 1905.

George Buchanan, British ambassador to Russia.

The Czar had conferred with George Buchanan, British Ambassador in Petrograd, informing him that if the planned offensive could not proceed through lack of artillery supplies from Britain, he intended to sue for peace with Germany. Nicholas II had no inkling of the extent to which Britain was determined to prevent any dialogue between Russia and Germany. The British Ambassador in Russia himself was at the centre of a scheme to overthrow the Czar if he lost his stomach for war. To that end he had gathered ‘a coterie of wealthy bankers, liberal capitalists, conservative politicians, and disgruntled aristocrats.’ [15]

Empty threat or not, the Czar had discussed signing a peace treaty with Germany, and it was patently clear to the Secret Elite that he would have to go. During and immediately after Milner’s mission to Russia, many local observers, visitors and newsmen reported that British and American agents were everywhere, especially in Petrograd, providing money for insurrection. British agents were seen handing over 25-rouble notes to soldiers in the Pavloski regiment just a few hours before they mutinied against their officers and sided with the revolutionaries. [16] Subsequent publication of various memoirs and documents made it clear that this funding was provided by Milner and channelled through Sir George Buchanan. It was a repeat of the ploy that had worked so well for the cabal many times in the past. Round Table members [17] were once again operating on both sides of the conflict to weaken and topple a target-government. Czar Nicholas had every reason to believe that, since the British were Russia’s trusted allies, their officials would be the last on earth to conspire against him. Yet, the British Ambassador himself represented the hidden cabal which was financing the regime’s downfall. [18]

1. National Archives CAB 23/1 War Cabinet 37, 18 January 1917. P.3.

2. R H Bruce Lockhart, Memoirs of a British Agent, p. 162.

3. J Lee Thompson, Forgotten Patriot, p. 335.

4. R H Bruce Lockhart, Memoirs of a British Agent, p. 163.

5. CAB/ 24/3/36 Lord Milner’s Memorandum of 13 March, 1917 (G – 131).

6. CAB 23/2 War Cabinet 88.

7. R H Bruce Lockhart, Memoirs of a British Agent, pp. 168-169.

8. Lloyd George, War Memoirs vol 1., p. 943.

9. R H Bruce Lockhart, Memoirs of a British Agent, pp. 164.

10. Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History, pp. 161-163.

11. House of Commons Debate 27 March 1917 vol 92 cc295-318.

12. The Times, 6 March 1917, p. 6.

13. House of Commons Debate 03 April 1917 vol 92 c1120.

14 New York Times, March 24, 1917.

15. Preparata, Conjuring Hitler, pp 28-29.

16. G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island, p. 274.

17. The Round Table was an influential think-tank pressure group which was built around Alfred Milner and his acolytes. Its prime aim was to spread his ideas of expanding the Empire to encompass the entire world.

18. G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island, p. 274.

Russia in Revolution 4: Leaders-In-Waiting

Russian prisoners captured by the Germans at Tannenberg

Russia’s hopes for victory over Germany were dashed early. At Tannenberg and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, in 1914, the Czar lost two entire armies of over 250,000 troops. Although the Russian advance into East Prussia disrupted the German plan of attack and impacted on, or indeed prevented the fall of Paris on the Western Front, it also signalled the beginning of an unrelenting Russian retreat on the Eastern Front. By the middle of 1915 all of Russian Poland and Lithuania, and most of Latvia, were overrun by the German army. Fortunately for the Russians, their performance on the field of battle improved in 1916. The supply of rifles and artillery shells to the Eastern Front had been markedly improved, and in June 1916, Russia achieved significant victories over the Austrians and the Turks. However, the country’s political and economic problems were greatly exacerbated by the war. Many factors – including the militarisation of industry and crises in food supply – threatened disaster on the home front. [1] But where were the leaders of the revolution?

After war had been declared, all opposition was clamped down. In the early months of fighting, five Soviet Deputies and other members of the Duma who condemned the war, were arrested and exiled in Siberia. Pravda was suppressed and the central Bolshevik organisation in Russia was virtually broken by the authorities. Local bolshevik groups inside Russia continued surreptitious propaganda, but communications with Lenin and the central committee in Switzerland were intermittent and dangerous. Lenin was resident in Vienna when the war began, but moved to the comfort and safety of neutral Switzerland where he wrote, watched and waited. The Bolshevik movement was relatively quiescent because so many leading members were either exiled abroad or had been sent to Siberia.

Lenin

Lenin’s small émigré cabal held a conference in Berne and called on all armies to turn their weapons ‘not against brothers and the hired slaves of other countries, but against the reactionary and Bourgeois governments of all countries’. [2] Communication with Russia was slow, but Lenin gained a growing impression that ‘an earthquake’ was approaching because of the hardships imposed by war and the strain of constant defeats.

Lenin resided in Switzerland for the first two years of war while Trotsky spent 1915-1916 across the border in France, repeatedly irritating the French authorities. He attended the international socialist conference in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, in September 2015 which called for an end to the war and wrote inflammatory articles for a small anti-militarist Menshevik journal Nashe Slovo (Our Word). In September 1916 a group of Russian soldiers from a transport ship at Marseilles rioted and stoned their colonel to death. When the riot was put down and the soldiers arrested, some were found to be in possession of Nashe Slovo which contained anti-war articles written by Trotsky. He claimed that the newspapers had been planted by French police to provide a reason to expel him from the country. On 30 October 1916, two gendarmes escorted him to the Spanish border from where Trotsky made his way to Madrid. On 9 November, after ten days of unrestricted freedom in that expansive city, Spanish detectives apparently tracked him down and arrested him as a ‘known anarchist’ and undesirable alien. [3]

Here begins a remarkable story, largely drawn from Leon Trotsky’s autobiography. [4] A mysterious benefactor arranged Trotsky’s release from jail in Madrid and his transfer, under police supervision, to the southern port of Cadiz. There he waited for another six weeks. On 24 November, Trotsky wrote a long and revealing letter to his comrade Moisei Uritskii in Copenhagen in which he confessed that when he arrived in Cadiz he had roughly 40 francs in his pocket. Somehow, the Trotsky–Uritskii letter fell into the hands of the British Secret Service. British intelligence, under the control of the admiralty’s Naval Intelligence Division (NID), headed by Admiral William Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall [5] watched his every move. Hall played a central role for the Secret Elite inside the admiralty and amongst his dubious achievements he manoeuvred the Lusitania into the jaws of a German U-Boat off the south coast of Ireland in 1915 and monitored communications between the American embassy in London and Washington. [ See Blog ] But who was Moisei Uritskii?

Moisei Uritskii

A Russian lawyer, Uritskii was a member of the Jewish socialist party, the Labour Bund, and spent a period of time in exile. After the Bolsheviks seized power, Uritskii was installed as head of the Petrograd division of the feared Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, and directly responsible for the torture and death of many innocents. In Copenhagen, Moisei Uritskii was closely associated with another revolutionary plotter, Alexander Israel Helphand-Parvus,’ [6] yet another very important player in Secret Elite intrigues. These connections cannot be explained by chance.

After a relaxing stay in Cadiz, Trotsky was taken to Barcelona to be ‘deported’ to New York. Why Barcelona? Cadiz was an equally important seaport with closer connections to New York. According to Trotsky, ‘I managed to get permission to go there to meet my family.’ [7] Trotsky’s second wife, Natalia, and their two sons were brought by ‘special arrangement’ from Paris to join him in Barcelona where they were taken on tourist trips by the detectives. From whom did he obtain special ‘permission’? This was not the normal sequence of events; first class prison cell, hotels in Cadiz and Barcelona, sightseeing with his detectives? The man was not being treated as an ‘undesirable alien’. He and his family were being pampered. At Barcelona, on Christmas Day 1916, they boarded the Spanish passenger ship, Monserrat to New York. Immigration Service archives relating to foreign nationals arriving at Ellis Island in 1916 indicated that the Trotsky family travelled first class to New York. Moreover, information collected by American immigration showed that the fares had been purchased for him not by him. [8] But by whom?

Poster for Cravan's 1916 fight in Spain 1916

A fellow passenger, one of the very few with whom Trotsky engaged, was the light-heavyweight prize fighter, Arthur Cravan who had been defeated in a world title fight in Barcelona in front of a crowd of 30,000. The purpose behind Cravan’s journey is unknown, but the intriguing possibility has been raised that he was a British agent sent to glean as much information as he could from Trotsky. On arrival in New York he would have reported to Sir William Wiseman, head of British Intelligence in the United States. [9] There is the additional possibility that the tall, powerfully built, Cravan  served as Trotsky’s personal bodyguard. This is not as fanciful as it might first appear. He had clearly been exceptionally well protected by plain clothes police officers throughout his time in Spain. Trotsky’s expected arrival in the United States had been published in the American press at the very time anti-German propaganda and pro-war jingoism moved into overdrive. The international bankers who were to use him as one of their major pawns in their Russian intervention wanted no mishap to befall a key player before the game had even started.

Monserrat arrived in New York late at night on January 13, 1917. The passenger manifest prepared for the U.S. immigration authorities showed that Trotsky was carrying at least $500 (an equivalent of $10,000 today). His initial residence was given as the exclusive Astor Hotel, the favoured haunt of the banking and financial elites when in New York. The reservation had been made for him by persons as yet unknown. [10] Trotsky failed to record in his autobiography that he and his family stayed at the Astor, but related how he ‘rented’ an apartment in a ‘workers district’, paying three month’s rent in advance.

Trotsky's apartment at 1522 Vyse Avenue in the Bronx.

The apartment, on Vyse Avenue in the Bronx, had every convenience, including ‘a gas cooking range, bath, telephone, automatic service elevator and a chute for garbage.’ [11] There was even a concierge. Perhaps most astonishingly, the family used a chauffeured limousine. Trotsky, the ‘impoverished, undesirable’ revolutionary, had enjoyed a first-class cell in Madrid; stayed at upmarket hotels in Cadiz then Barcelona for six weeks; went on guided tours with his family; travelled first-class on a 13 day voyage to New York; stayed at a luxury hotel before renting an excellent apartment in New York and enjoyed stylish living standards and a chauffeur. How? In stark contrast to his immense good fortune, concurrent events in Russia precipitated disaster. While Trotsky luxuriated in New York, revolution exploded on the streets of St Petersburg. Odd that Trotsky and Lenin were comfortably moth-balled outwith the danger zone, leaders-in-waiting, supported and protected by un-named persons.

The Czar and military authorities recognised that civilian discontent was once again rampant throughout the country. They were likewise acutely aware ‘that gigantic forces were at work fomenting a revolutionary movement on an unprecedented scale.’ [12] In late December 1916 the highly controversial Russian faith healer, Grigori Rasputin, was brutally murdered. The Czarina had fallen completely under Rasputin’s influence in 1907 when she believed he had the power to save her haemophiliac son.

Other violent events presaged the ‘earthquake’ that Lenin had predicted but the Czar hoped to ward off revolution by victory in the field and the ultimate prize of Constantinople. Desperate to achieve this, Russia’s most able military leaders planned a great summer offensive in 1917 with upwards of 7,000,000 troops thrown onto the Eastern Front. They intended to breach the gates of Berlin, Vienna and Constantinople. Insufficient armaments, especially artillery, was a problem, but they were confident that Britain and America would supply these vital requirements. The Russians believed that ‘the very pressure of this colossal army, combined with a simultaneous offensive by the British and French on the Western Front, would beat Germany to her knees and lead to an overwhelming victory by September, 1917.’ [13]

Alarm bells rang in the hidden corridors of power. The secret cabal in London no longer had any need for a massive Russian offensive to win the war. They knew, from the earliest days of 1915, that victory was certain once supplies of food, oil, minerals, gun cotton and the wherewithal to produce munitions in Germany, were stopped. But the war had to be prolonged almost beyond endurance to crush Germany. That was at all times the primary objective. April 1917 saw America abandon her sham neutrality and enter the fray. Fresh blood from across the Atlantic would help replace the millions still being haemorrhaged on the Western Front. Russia had more or less served her purpose. The Americans were coming.

Constantinople, the Czar's prime target which would give his Imperial Navy access to an all year warm water port.

The Secret Elite had promised the Czar that Russia would be given Constantinople as a just reward for the Russian war effort, but were determined that it would never come to pass. Although the Allies had sacrificed a quarter of a million men on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, as explained earlier, these were deliberately set to fail in order to keep Russia involved in the war but out of Constantinople. In 1915 such action was critically important. Two years on, circumstances had radically changed. The Secret Elite would certainly not allow Russia to take possession of the Ottoman capital in 1917 through a major  offensive that might end the war. They intended to carve up the Ottoman Empire for themselves, and Russia would not be permitted to interfere.

Further steps had to be taken to ensure Russian failure. If that caused a consequent regime change, so be it. There was no love for the Romanovs in the foreign office. The Secret Elite had to ensure that a possible future rival for key parts of the Turkish Empire, the oil-rich sands of Persia or the vital trading routes to India was removed. Permanently.

1.Dr Jonathan Smele, Warned the Revolution in Russia, 1914-1921 in BBC History http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/eastern_front_01.shtml
2.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 66.
3. Richard B Spence, Hidden Agendas; Spies, Lies and Intrigue surrounding Trotsky’s American visit of January-April 1917. https://www.scribd.com/doc/124323217/HIDDEN-AGENDAS-SPIES-LIES-AND-INTRIGUE-SURROUNDING-TROTSKY-S-AMERICAN-VISIT-OF-JANUARY-APRIL-1917
4. Leon Trotsky, My Life, An Attempt at an Autobiography.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 267.
8. Richard B Spence, Hidden Agendas; Spies, Lies and Intrigue surrounding Trotsky’s American visit of January-April 1917.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11.bid.
12. Boris L. Brasol, The World at the Crossroads, p. 58.
13. Ibid., pp. 62-64.

Revolution in Russia 3: 1904-1914 Repression, Revolt and False Promises

While the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks wrestled with each other for control of a revolution in Russian society, events intervened. In February 1904, just six months after the Brussels/London RSDLP conference ended in the infamous Bolshevik v Menshevik split, Russia was inveigled into a disastrous war with Japan in the Far East. Its roots are to be found in the Machiavellian machinations of the British foreign office, the Secret Elite, including King Edward VII, Sir Ernest Cassel, and Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb bank on Wall Street. [1] Outraged by the horrendous anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, Schiff made it a point of honour to help finance Japan in its war against Russia.

Depiction of the Japanese fleet at battle of Tshushima. The fleet was led by the British-built pre-dreadnought Mikasa.

To the surprise and delight of the Imperial Japanese government, he volunteered to underwrite half of the ten million pound loan they raised in New York and London. He knew that the Japanese fleet had been built in British shipyards and their latest naval technology outgunned and outpaced the antiquated Czarist navy. Victory was not in doubt. This first of five major Kuhn, Loeb loans to Japan was approved by the Secret Elite’s main agent, King Edward VII at a luncheon with Schiff and Sir Ernest Cassel. In Germany, under-secretary of State Arthur Zimmerman endorsed the move and authorised Max Warburg to negotiate with Japan. [2] The Rothschilds had to tread carefully. While an international consortium of largely British-owned banking houses ensured that around half of Japan’s war debt was financed through bonds sold in London and New York, the Rothschild held massive investments in Russia, not lest in the Baku oilfields. Manipulators at the heart of the Secret Elite, like Lord Esher, facilitated meetings held on the Rothschild premises to enable the Japanese financial envoy, Takahashi Korekiyo, raise their war chest. [3]

As the Russo-Japanese War lurched from one disaster to another, political unrest in Russia deepened. In the infamous ‘Bloody Sunday’ atrocity of 22 January 1905, troops fired on a huge, but orderly, crowd of workers marching to the Winter Palace behind the charismatic Russian priest Father Georgii Gapon. Their intention was to present a petition to the Czar calling for universal suffrage. Around 1,000 peaceful marchers and onlookers were killed. Nicholas II had left the city the night before and did not give the order to fire personally, but he lost the respect of many Russians. 1905 was disrupted with direct action from workers’ demonstrations, strikes and rebellion by sections of the army and navy. The crew of the battleship Potemkin mutinied, killing the captain and several officers.

Striking workers formed ‘Soviets’, councils of delegates from workers committees, who could coordinate action. They sprang up in major towns and cities, including St Petersburg, where Trotsky, then twenty-three-years-old, played a major role. He had returned illegally from the safety of Finland under a false name and in the guise of a successful entrepreneur. Trotsky immediately wrote proclamations for distribution in factories and posted these throughout the city. In October 1905 a local strike by print workers flared into a national protest. Gangs of armed right-wing extremists were encouraged by the police to hold counter-demonstrations under the banners of ‘Holy Russia’ and ‘God save the Czar’. In response to the violence, the factory workers armed themselves. A showdown was inevitable.

A painting of the Bloody Sunday massacre by Ivan Vladimirov

In December, the Izmailovsky Regiment in St Petersburg was ordered to arrest the entire executive committee of the Soviet in the capital. In sympathy, the Moscow Soviet declared a strike and thousands of Muscovites took to the streets in protest. Cossacks sent to break up the Moscow demonstrations, twice refused orders to charge, and sympathised with the strikers. The crack Semenovsky Guards were less sympathetic, cornering protestors in Presnya, a workers’ district in the city, before shelling the area for three days. Many hundreds were killed including eighty-six children. [4] 1905 had started with the Bloody Sunday massacre and ended with the Presnya massacre. Czarist forces, including the secret and much feared Okhrana secret police, prevailed. Later that year, Trotsky and 13 other members of the St Petersburg Soviet were arrested for political scheming and spent thirteen months as prisoners in the city gaol awaiting trial. In January 1907 each was given a life sentence of exile in a small Siberian village above the Arctic Circle, 600 miles from the nearest railway station. Trotsky escaped on his journey into exile and trekked for hundreds of miles through the Urals before making his way to Finland from where, after an extremely frosty meeting with Lenin, he went on to Stockholm and then Vienna.

Nicholas II ruthlessly persecuted the insurrectionists yet introduced measures of reform, including some basic civil liberties and the creation of a State Assembly, the Duma. It was similar to a parliamentary-type elected body but, much like the British parliament in the early nineteenth century, only male property owners and taxpayers were represented. The Czar retained power over State Ministers, who answered to him, not the Duma. If he was dissatisfied with the representative body not could be dissolved at will and fresh elections held.

Unrest continued. Prime Minister and committed monarchist, Pytor Stolypin, survived an attempt on his life in August 1906 when a bomb ripped his dacha (villa) apart while he was hosting a party. Twenty-eight of his guests were killed and many injured, including his two children. In June 1907, Stolypin dissolved the Second Duma, and restricted the franchise by sacking a number of liberals and replacing them with more conservatives and monarchists. In a further attempt to counter the revolutionaries, he enforced a police crackdown on public demonstrations. On a more liberal note, Stolypin introduced agrarian reforms which helped provide opportunities for many peasants desperate for land. Once noticeable consequence was a huge year-on-year increases in food production. Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador at St Petersburg, noted that though he failed to destroy the seeds of unrest which continued to germinate underground, Stolypin rescued Russia from anarchy and chaos. His agrarian policy surpassed all expectations, and at the time of his death nearly 19,000,000 acres of farmland had been allotted to individual peasant proprietors, by the land committees. [5]

Peasant emancipation and the consequent increase in food production were abhorrent to the Bolsheviks. They intended to bring all land under state control and implement cooperative food production. Trotsky had called the peasantry ‘a vast reservoir of potential revolutionaries’, and ‘accepted the indispensable importance of a peasant rising as an auxiliary to the main task of the proletariat’. [6] The goal was revolution and government controlled by the proletariat, that is, the working class who sold their labour for a wage, but did not own the means of production.

Depiction of Stolypin's assassination

Peasant farmers had to be brought on-board if the revolution was to succeed, but that prospect receded as ever greater numbers were enabled to own their farms. It was clear to both the Czarist regime and the Bolsheviks that the peasantry would not support a political system that would deny them ownership of their land. Stolypin’s success threatened the revolution; his agrarian reforms had to be terminated. On 14 September 1911, while attending a performance at the Kiev Opera House in the presence of Czar Nicholas II, the prime minister was shot dead by a Jewish revolutionary, Mordekhai Gershkovich. Trotsky later commented: ‘Stolypin’s constitution … had every chance of surviving’. [7] Exactly so. Stolypin was assassinated by the revolutionaries not because he failed to improve the lot of the peasant, but because he was so successful in winning them over.

Nine months later, in April 1912, miners in the Lena goldfields in north-east Siberia went on strike. The mines produced large profits for their London registered company, but workers were paid a pittance for 16 hours per day under atrocious conditions. The strike was savagely crushed. In what proved to be the worst massacre since Bloody Sunday, troops fired on striking workers leaving more than 500 casualties. [8] The slaughter heralded a further wave of industrial unrest, agitation and mounting tension throughout the country. Two weeks after the massacre, the Bolsheviks founded a new newspaper, Pravda.

Despite these tragic events, preparations for the First World War gathered pace. After the humbling defeat to Japan in 1905, Russian industry recovered spectacularly thanks to the Rothschilds and other international bankers who continued to pour massive loans into the country. The Russian economy grew at an average rate of 8.8 per cent and by 1914 there were almost a thousand factories in Petrograd alone, many devoted to producing armaments. The expansion of Russia’s war industry, along with her rail network into Poland, deeply worried war planners in Berlin. But it came at a cost. ‘The pre-war Russian boom was thus highly leveraged, [and] dependent on a constant influx of foreign capital, which if it ever dried up, would leave Russia’s entire economy vulnerable.’ [9]

Workers outside the vast Putilov factories in St Petersburg.

Shipbuilding, railroad construction and armaments and munitions production significantly expanded. The international bankers earned large profits from substantial interest rates on their loans, and at the same time, enabled Russia to conduct a major rearmament programme in readiness for the Secret Elite’s coming war with Germany. Given that Britain had no land army on European soil, Russian manpower was absolutely critical to an attack on Germany. Bullets and artillery shells were produced by the millions. A powerful new fleet of battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines began rising on the stocks in shipyards across the empire. Conditions attached to large railway loans insisted that these had to be used purely for the construction of new railroads which ran towards Germany’s borders. Why was this particular stipulation given priority? Mobilising an army of millions had never been easy. It required efficient planning and careful logistical organisation. A capable railway network was a prerequisite for the mobilisation of the huge Russian armies which would be critical when war with Germany was declared. [10] Look again at the men who laid down the stipulation. International bankers. How odd, unless of course it was they who were planning the war.

In late July 1914, Czar Nicholas II, urged on in his recklessness by the French president, Poincare, and secret understandings with the British government, used the pretext of protecting Serbia against Austrian retribution to force Germany to declare war. He ordered the general mobilisation of Russia’s armies through a massive build-up of troops along Germany’s Eastern border. General mobilisation was recognised by all nations as an act of war. Faced with invasion by millions of Russian troops, and despite repeated requests from Kaiser Wilhelm directly to Czar Nicholas that he should stop the troop movements, Germany was left with no choice but to mobilise her own forces and go to war with Russia. [11]

Czar Nicholas II with his army before the revolution.

To repay the Czar for his ‘loyalty’, the Secret Elite dangled before him the golden carrot of Russia’s ultimate dream. A solemn promise was given that Russia would be given Constantinople and the Straits once Germany had been defeated, the holy grail of Russian leaders for centuries. That was why Russia went to war in July 1914, not, as she claimed, to defend Serbia. As the years dragged on and the Russian losses on the Eastern Front approached six million dead or seriously wounded, even the Czar began to suspect that Perfidious Albion had tricked them into war with an empty promise. [12] It had. Their ownership of Constantinople remained as illusionary as it always had.

In a sense it was as though Russia went to war in 1914 despite the revolutionary undercurrent. Victory on the field of battle, the glittering reward of a warm-water port at Constantinople, the spoils from a broken and defeated Germany would surely have renewed popular faith in the Russian monarchy. In fact the deeply wounded Russian people suffered defeat, disgrace and ultimate disintegration. The socialist forces that had been growing steadily between 1904 and 1914 found direct backing from foreign quarters few ever understood. This has to be fully examined.

1. Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor, Hidden History, The Secret Origins of the First World War, pp. 86-87.

2. Ron Chernow, The Warburgs, p. 110.

3. Takahashi Korekiyo, The Rothschilds and the Russo-Japanese War,1904-6, pp. 20-21.

4. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 34.

5. George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia and Other Diplomatic Memories, vol. 1, p. 77.

6. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 60.

7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 208.

8 Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution. P. 65.

9. McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, p. xvii.

10. Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History, p 297.

11. Ibid, p. 239.

12. Guido Preparata, Conjuring Hitler, p. 27.

Revolution in Russia 2: The Struggle Within; Bolshevism or Menshevism?

A police photograph of Leon Trotsky taken around 1900.Years prior to the Bolshevik seizure of power, Lenin and many other young  revolutionaries who voiced their opposition to the backward Czarist regime were condemned to exile in Siberia. Among them was Leon Davidovitch Bronstein, alias Leon Trotsky, who was sentenced to four years in the frozen wilderness. Trotsky was a Marxist, like Lenin and knew him well, but he initially sided with a softer faction socialism rather than Lenin’s hard-line Bolsheviks. He later switched his allegiance to Lenin when both were financed by western bankers to seize power in October 1917. Thereafter, he became second in command of the Bolsheviks, founded the Red army, and was every bit as infamous as Lenin.

Trotsky was born in 1879 in a small rural village, Yankova, in southern Ukraine. His father, although illiterate, was a relatively wealthy farmer. Resourceful and acquisitive, Bronstein senior owned over 250 acres of land and became a substantial employer. Both of Trotsky’s parents were Jewish, but unlike his agrarian father, his mother was an educated and cultured city dweller from Odessa. Religious observance was of little importance to either, but they sent Leon to a beder, a Jewish school. [1]

In 1902 Trotsky escaped from exile in Siberia, leaving behind his wife Alexandra and their two young daughters. According to Trotsky, it was Alexandra who had insisted that he put his duty to revolution before family. [2] Trotsky blamed ‘fate’ for their separation, but his actions suggested unbridled pragmatism and ‘an urge to free himself from a burden in order to move on to higher things.’ [3] Soon after abandoning his wife and children in Siberia, he divorced Alexandra and married Natalia Sedova, daughter of a wealthy merchant.

In the early years of the century numerous other revolutionaries, who had either completed their exile or escaped from Siberia, left Russia for cities in Western Europe. Many thousands more made their way to New York where they formed a powerful revolutionary group in exile. Banned from St Petersburg, Lenin and a fellow activist, Julius Martov, settled in Munich in Germany where they promoted the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Lenin believed the party had to be run from outside Russia. The RSDLP called its journal Iskra (The “Spark”) believing that from that spark, the flame of revolution would spring: ‘The agents would distribute it, spread party propaganda through local cells and channel information to the Central Committee. The journal would help create a cohesive party that until then had consisted of a series of independent groups.’ [4] Lenin firmly believed Karl Marx’s dictum that capitalism would inevitably disintegrate in Russia and elsewhere because it carried within it the forces of its own destruction. Thereafter, power would be grasped by the workers, the men and women who had been exploited by capital. So the theory ran.

Friends together before the 1903 split. Trotsky seated left, Lenin seated centre and Martov seated to the right.

In late 1901, harassed by the Munich police, Lenin and the Iskra editors moved to Finsbury in London where they were joined for a time by Leon Trotsky. Arguments about the best means of instigating revolution in Russia and elsewhere led to ever increasing conflict, especially between Lenin and his friend and comrade, Julius Martov. Internal wrangling exploded at the 1903 party congress which began in Brussels in July, but was suspended after pressure by the Russian embassy led to fear of police persecution and forced the delegates to complete their business in London. It was ‘the first major conference that was truly representative of party delegates from Russia and all over Europe’.[5] The congress was attended by representatives of 25 recognised social-democratic organisations who had two votes each. For some reason each representative of the Jewish workers organisation, the Bund, had three votes ‘in virtue of the special status… accorded to it by the first congress.’ [6]

The congress was dominated by the Iskra group, but Lenin realized that he could not carry the party forward in the way he desired, so he deliberately split it. Consequently, the revolutionaries divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ factions. Lenin wanted clear-cut, perfectly defined relationships within the party, and behind the scenes there was a struggle for the support of every individual delegate. Lenin tried to convince Trotsky that he should join the ‘hard’ faction, but he refused. [7]

Lenin in his younger years.

The ‘hard’ faction was led by Lenin who proclaimed his followers to be the bolshinstvo, the ‘men in the majority’, and thereafter they became known as the Bolsheviks. Marxist intellectuals and those of a less intense ideology were attracted to the ‘soft’ faction while the hard Bolshevik group, although it had its share of intellectuals, was favoured more by provincial party workers and professional revolutionaries: “the bacteria of the revolution” as Lenin called them. Basically, the ‘softs’ favoured debate while the hard- line Bolsheviks were militants who considered themselves exclusively the champions of the Russian working class.

Lenin wanted a party he was able to control tightly, and did so through a team of highly disciplined secret workers employed in a semi-military fashion. It was his brainchild, his party, and above all it was his aim to make it the instrument for revolution and the overthrow of the monarchy, despite the knowledge that ‘it could not be achieved without countless victims.’[8]

Julius Martov’s group, including Alexander Kerensky, was allegedly the minority (menshinstvo) in the RSDLP and became known as the Mensheviks. They favoured the establishment of a parliamentary form of government like the French Republic. At first Mensheviks sought to work within the system, believing that revolution in Russia would be started by the middle classes, not the proletariat. Although he flatly refused to join the Bolsheviks, Trotsky was never truly at home with the Mensheviks and aimed to occupy the middle ground.[9 ]He was an internationalist who believed in the abolition of all territorial borders. This, of course, sat well with the long-term globalist goal of dissolution of independent nation states and implementation of one world government so dear to the heart of the Secret Elite. When the Mensheviks ignored Trotsky’s call for reconciliation, he effectively distanced himself from the Bolsheviks. Though nominally still a Menshevik, he attended the Fifth Party Congress of the Bolsheviks in London in 1907 where he met Joseph Stalin.[10]

Lenin subscribed to the consensus view within the RSDLP that revolution should lead to a ‘constituent assembly’ elected by the whole people on the basis of ‘universal, equal and direct suffrage, and with secrecy of the ballot’, but it was the manner in which it could be brought which differentiated his stance from the ‘soft’ Mensheviks. He scoffed at their call for a peaceful democratic processes. ‘Without armed insurrection’ he thundered, ‘a constituent assembly is a phantom, a phrase, a lie, a Frankfort talking-shop’.[11] At the third all -Bolshevik congress in London in April 1905, Lenin gave a long speech on the need for an armed uprising and expressed outrage that the Mensheviks had invited the Social Democrats to take part in elections to the czarist parliament. He considered the slow process of parliamentary reform as blasphemy and his language towards the Mensheviks grew more extreme. That in turn made party reunification impossible.[12]

Julius Martov

Julius Martov, encouraged by Trotsky, considered ending the divisions, but Lenin regarded reunification of the party as an opportunity for the Bolsheviks to swallow up the Mensheviks. In the end Martov, who wanted to retain democratic principles within the Party, rejected this compromise. In 1908 he wrote to his Menshevik comrade Pavel Axelrod: ‘I confess that more and more I think that even nominal involvement with this bandit gang is a mistake’. [13] It was this same Bolshevik ‘bandit gang’ that took control of Russia in October 1917 backed by the international bankers. In the final analysis, the difference between the two factions boiled down to the Bolsheviks’ concept of socialism on the basis of a dictatorship, and the Mensheviks’ on the basis of democracy’.[14] The split widened and deepened until it led to a formal separation after 1912. [15]

Lenin and Trotsky traded insults over the years. Trotsky’s deeply held belief lay in the democratic ‘Westernising’ principle, but Lenin considered him evasive, underhand, and ‘merely posing as a leftist’. Trotsky retorted that ‘the entire structure of Leninism is at present based on lies and falsification and carries within it the poisonous seeds of its own destruction.’ [16] According to Trotsky, Lenin had lost sight of the struggle for the emancipation of the working class and had become a despot who spoke of the victory of the proletariat when he really meant victory over the proletariat.[17] Trotsky was correct but his instinct was insufficiently strong to maintain the rift between them, especially, as we will shortly detail, wealthy outside influences drew them together.

1. Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky, The Eternal Revolutionary, pp. 2-3.

2. Leon Trotsky, My Life, p. 132.

3. Volkogonov, Trotsky, pp. 11-12.

4. Michael Pearson, The Sealed Train, Journey to Revolution, p. 26.

5. Ibid., p. 30.

6. E.H.Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, p. 26.

7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 160.

8. Dimitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. xxxii.

9. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 31,

10. Volkcogonov, Trotsky, p. 47.

11. E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 86.

12. Volkcogonov, Lenin, p. 84.

13. Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, pp. 85-86.

14. Ibid.

15. E. H Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p.26.

16. Volkogonov, Trotsky, pp. 30-31 .

17. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 32.

 

 

Revolution in Russia 1: Understanding Influences

Mass meeting at the Putilov Works ini StPetersburg in February 1917.

The First World War drained Russia, literally and metaphorically. By January 1917, after two-and-a-half years of mortal combat, six million young Russians had been killed, seriously wounded or lost in action for no territorial or strategic gain. The dream of winning Constantinople had become a nightmare of miserable defeat. Food shortages, hunger, anti-war agitation and civil unrest increased by the day across the Czar’s once-mighty Empire. On 22 February, 1917, 12,000 workers at the giant Putilov manufacturing plant in Petrograd [1] went on strike and were joined on the streets by thousands of demonstrators chanting ‘Down with the Czar’. Soldiers from the city garrison were sent out to arrest the ring-leaders and end the protest, but they refused to open fire on the angry crowds. The Czar abdicated almost immediately, allegedly because he believed that he had lost the support of his military. The event was bloodless apart from the death of several officers shot by their own men. Thus the first Russian Revolution, known as the ‘February Revolution’, ended 300 years of autocratic monarchical rule. A governing body was established in the Winter Palace in Petrograd by liberal deputies from the existing parliamentary body, the Duma, together with socialists and independents. Termed the ‘Provisional Government’, it kept Russia in the war against Germany and began formulating plans for democratic rule through an elected legislative assembly of the people. It was a beginning.

The seizure of power by Bolshevik revolutionaries on 25 October, 1917,  [2] brought communism to Russia and major strife to the entire world for the greater part of the twentieth century. For readers not versed in modern Russian history it is important to note that the Bolshevik Revolution was very distinct from the revolution that had taken place eight months earlier.

Painting of the attack on the Winter Palace in October / November 1917.

During the night of October 24/25, a group of armed communists seized key areas of Petrograd, entered the Winter Palace and assumed control of the country. The coup was led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, two extreme Marxist revolutionaries who had returned to Russia earlier that year from enforced exile. This was the ‘Bolshevik Revolution’, also known as the ‘October Revolution’. Lenin and Trotsky smothered the fledgling attempt at democratic governance, took Russia out of the war with Germany and installed a ruthless communist system that suppressed Russia for the next seventy-four years.

According to received history, the February Revolution was an entirely spontaneous uprising of the people. It was not. The Putilov strike, and the city garrison’s refusal to act against the strikers, was orchestrated from abroad by well-financed agents who had been stirring unrest among the workers and soldiers with propaganda and bribery. The October Revolution was also directly influenced by the same international bankers, with vast financial and logistical support which enabled Lenin and Trotsky to seize power. What is particularly relevant to the Secret Elite narrative is the evidence of their complicity from both sides of the Atlantic. Without external intervention, the Russian Revolutions would never have taken the ruinous direction which destroyed a nation’s hope for justice and democracy. As these blogs unfold over the next weeks please bear this in mind.

Czar Nicholas II at the Front holding an icon to bless his kneeling troops.

Russia had been ruled by the ‘divine right’ of Czars from the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1547-1584) until the abdication of Nicholas II in February 1917. The ruling Romanovs dynasty was one of the richest families in the world, on a par with the Rothschilds. They owned huge estates with elaborate palaces, yachts, a massive collection of diamonds (amounting to 25,300 carats), emeralds, sapphires and fifty-four of the priceless jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs. [3] In May 1917, the New York Times estimated the total wealth of the dynasty to be in the region of $9,000,000,000, [4] a breath-taking sum today let alone a century ago. A significant number of upper and middle class Russians (the bourgeoisie), included merchants, government officials, lawyers, doctors and army officers who enjoyed comfortable incomes and life styles. That said, urban factory workers (the proletariat) and rural agrarian workers (the peasants) comprised the vast majority of the population of 175 million in 1914. But the war haemorrhaged both youth and loyalty. The populace survived on the edge of poverty and hunger, but did not generally support revolutionaries.[5] If radical change was required, it would have to be manufactured.

Czar Alexander II had abolished serfdom in 1861 but opposed movements for political reform. Having survived several attempts on his life, he was eventually assassinated on the streets of St Petersburg in 1881 by members of a revolutionary group, ‘People’s Will’, led by a Jew, Vera Figner. Thereafter, the Jews in the Pale of Settlement [6] were subjected to a series of terrifying pogroms (religious-ethnic massacres). Over the following decades peasants rebelled over taxes which left them debt ridden and oppressed by hopelessness. Workers went on strike for better wages and working conditions. Students demanded civil liberties for all, and even the comfortable bourgeoisie began calling for representative government. Though this clamour for social change and greater equality was apparent across Europe, the Romanovs resisted challenges to their autocratic authority with bitter determination.

Lenin the Revolutionary.

In 1897, in the midst of this social unrest, a 27 year-old Marxist lawyer and intellectual Russian radical, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, was arrested by Czarist secret police (the Okhrana) for subversive activities and sentenced to three years exile in Siberia. Ulyanov was treated lightly in comparison to his older brother, Alexander, who ten years earlier plotted to assassinate Czar Alexander III and was hanged for his troubles. Vladimir Ulyanov took the alias Lenin and would go on to become the most powerful man in Russia following the October Revolution.

Born in Simbirsk (renamed Ulyanovsk in his honour in 1924), a town on the Volga some 900 kilometres east of Moscow, Lenin’s father was an inspector of the provinces schools. His mother, the daughter of a baptised Jewish doctor, Alexander Blank, [7] bought the family a farm of some two hundred acres near Samara for 7,500 roubles. The fact that Lenin had Jewish forebears would have had absolutely no relevance were it not for the fact that many consider the Bolshevik Revolution to have been a Jewish plot. We have already explained how powerful individuals within the Secret Elite who supported Zionism were behind the Balfour Declaration of 2 November, 1917 which led eventually to the creation of the state of Israel. Within 72 hours of that declaration, the men who were financed and aided by these same individuals, seized control of Russia. It does not require a great leap of imagination to consider the possibility that these two seismic events in world history were connected in some way.

In March 1919, The Times reported, ‘One of the most curious features of the Bolshevist movement is the high percentage of non-Russia elements amongst its leaders. Of the 20 or 30 leaders who provide the central machinery of the Bolshevist movement, not less than 75 per cent are Jews…’ [8] Note that The Times differentiated between Russian and Jew, as if it were not possible to be both, while the Jewish Chronicle emphasised the importance of the Jewish influence on Bolshevism: ‘There is much in the fact of Bolshevism itself, in the fact that so many Jews are Bolsheviks, in the fact that the ideals of Bolshevism at many points are consonant with the finest ideals of Judaism’. [9 ] Another Jewish journal, American Hebrew, reported: ‘What Jewish idealism and Jewish discontent have so powerfully contributed to produce in Russia, the same historic qualities of the Jewish mind are tending to promote in other countries….The Bolshevik revolution in Russia was the work of Jewish brains, of Jewish dissatisfaction, of Jewish planning, whose goal is to create a new order in the world. What was performed in so excellent a way in Russia, thanks to Jewish brains, and because of Jewish dissatisfaction and by Jewish planning, shall also, through the same Jewish mental and physical forces, become a reality all over the world.’ [10]
It is interesting to note that in 1920, just three years after the Balfour Declaration, Jewish journals were openly discussing the primacy of Jews in creating a new world order.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn receiving his Nobel Prize for Literature

Rabbi Stephen Wise later commented on the Russian situation: ‘Some call it Marxism I call it Judaism.’ [11] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a victim of the communist regime who spent many years exiled in Siberia and was a later recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was emphatic that Jews were not involved in the first revolution: ‘The February Revolution was not made by the Jews for the Russians; it was certainly carried out by the Russians themselves. . . . We were ourselves the authors of this shipwreck.’ [12] Solzhenitsyn, however, added: ‘In the course of the summer and autumn of 1917, the Zionist movement continued to gather strength in Russia: in September it had 300,000 adherents. Less known is that Orthodox Jewish organisations enjoyed great popularity in 1917, yielding only to the Zionists and surpassing the socialist parties.’ [13] He observed: ‘There are many Jewish authors who to this very day either deny the support of Jews for Bolshevism, or even reject it angrily, or else…only speak defensively about it… These Jewish renegades were for several years leaders at the centre of the Bolshevik Party, at the head of the Red Army (Trotsky), of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, of the two capitals, of the Comintern …’ [14] Given the repression of the Jews in Russia, it is hardly surprising that they swelled the numbers of active revolutionaries during this period. They had suffered the horror of the pogroms. They had nursed a genuine resentment for Czarist repression. They were determined to change the world.

The relationship between Jews and revolutionaries was explained by Theodor Herzl, one of the fathers of the Zionist movement in a pamphlet, De Judenstat, addressed to the Rothschilds: ‘When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties, and at the same time, when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse’. [15] On Herzl’s death, his successor as president of the World Zionist Organisation was the Russian born David Wolfsohn. In his closing speech at the International Zionist Congress at The Hague in 1907, Wolfsohn pleaded for greater unity among the Jews and said that eventually ‘they must conquer the world’. [16] He did not expand on the role that Jewish Bolshevik revolutionaries might play in this Jewish global aspiration, but from his position it seems apparent that political Zionism and the future ‘homeland’ certainly would.[17] Wolfsohn’s successor as president of the Zionist organisation in 1911 was Otto Warburg, a noted scientist and relative of the Warburg banking family which features heavily in this book. Warburg later spoke of the ‘brilliant prospects of Palestine’ and how an extensive Jewish colonisation would ‘expand into neighbouring countries’.[18]

A report in 1919 from the British Secret Service revealed: ‘There is now definite evidence that Bolshevism is an international movement controlled by Jews; communications are passing between the leaders in America, France, Russia and England, with a view toward concerted action.’ [19] Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French writer, philosopher and one time Liberal MP at Westminster, wrote: ‘As for anyone who does not know that the present revolutionary movement is Jewish in Russia, I can only say that he must be a man who is taken in by the suppression of our despicable Press. [20] Contemporary commentators failed to link the Balfour Declaration and the Russian Revolution in October / November 1917, despite their links to Zionism and the ‘concerted action’ from both sides of the Atlantic. It should not be seen as a criticism; it was a fact.

 

1. The Russian capital, St Petersburg, was renamed Petrograd at the beginning of WW1 to give it a less German sounding name. It reverted to St Petersburg on the fall of communism.

2. The date, October 25, 1917, was calculated by the old-style the Julian calendar then still used in Russia – The Gregorian calendar used elsewhere in Europe and the United States registered the date as November 7, 1917, thus the old style Julian calendar was 13 days behind the Gregorian.

3. Sean McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks, p. xix.

4. New York Times, 12 May, 1917.

5. Peter Waldron, The End of Imperial Russia, 1855 – 1917, p. 22.

6. The Pale of Settlement was territory within the borders of czarist Russia wherein Jews were legally authorised to live. It included present day Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and much of Latvia and Lithuania.

7. Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. 5.

8. The Times, 29 March, 1919.

9. Jewish Chronicle, 4 April, 1919.

10. American Hebrew, 20 September, 1920

11. Rabbi Stephen Wise, The American Bulletin, 5 May, 1935.

12. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Juifs et Russes pendant la periode soviétique, Volume 2, pp. 44–45.

13. Ibid., p. 54.

14. Ibid., p. 91.

15. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_7cNJAAAAMAAJ

16. New York Times, September 17, 1914, David Wolfsohn obituary.

17. Zionism in Europe and America proved to be a comparatively slow-burning evolution. Between 1900 -1917 there was a serious divergence between Zionists who promoted a faith based assimilist belief, and the political Zionists who had one aim – a return to what they claimed as their former homeland in Palestine.

18. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 14, 1929. http://www.jta.org/1929/07/14/archive/german-zionists-celebrate-seventieth-birthday-of-otto-warburg

19. Scotland Yard, A Monthly Review of the Progress of Revolutionary Movements Abroad, July 16, 1919.

20. Hilaire Belloc. G.K’s Weekly, 4 February, 1937.

The Balfour Declaration 12: The Hand of The Rothschilds

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Before 2 November 1917 no public position had been taken on the future of Palestine by any government. Thereafter there was a proposal from Lloyd George’s British government, approved by President Wilson in America,  to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland under certain conditions. But the future of Palestine had been included in three radically different commitments secretly made by the British government to the French, the Arabs and the Jews. The French could be bought-off with Syria. The Arabs, well they were considered a lesser race by the Secret Elite and, it was presumed, could be led down a different path. The Jews, by that time described as Zionists, offered a very interesting opportunity. Key inner-circle members of the Secret Elite believed that the Empire’s strategic security would be greatly enhanced by a Jewish Palestine which owed its existence to Britain. These Zionists could be useful.

The Zionist Commission. Chaim Weizmann centre in white with Captain James de Rothschild to the right.

Behind the political enthusiasm for a Jewish homeland displayed so publicly by the War Cabinet in 1917 lay this question: who was influencing them? Which of the small number of Zionist enthusiasts penetrated their inner circle and found favour with the Secret Elite? The primary answer was the House of Rothschild. Not every Rothschild, no, but over the span of 1914-1917 significant Rothschilds championed the Zionist cause and were seen by the public, especially the Jewish public, as its real leaders. Baron Edmond de Rothschild in Paris was the first of the nineteenth-century Rothschilds to help Russian victims of the vile pogroms to emigrate to Palestine between 1881-2. Throughout the pre-war years, he acquired and supported several communities in Palestine. By 1903 nineteen out of twenty-eight Jewish settlements in Palestine were subsidised partly or wholly by him. It was claimed that Edmond’s commitment was not aimed at the creation of a Jewish state. [1] That is convenient, for once the First World War was underway, it was he who urged Weizmann to seize the opportunity to establish a Jewish Palestine. [2]

Lord Natty Rothschild whom Walter claimed became pro-Zionist.

In London, under the patronage of Lord Nathaniel, the Rothschilds had originally expressed no particularly strong enthusiasm for Palestine. They were considered to be disinterested, until Natty died in 1915. Described at his funeral as the ‘leader of his far-flung brothers … the Prince of the Diasporas of Israel’ [3] by the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, the great ‘Natty’ held a ‘quasimonarchial status within British Jewry’.[4] Yet again mythistory gave rise to extravagant titles. Suddenly, Natty Rothschild was transformed into a mythological prince of a mythological diaspora.

If Nathaniel was King, Walter was his heir. It was to Walter Rothschild that Balfour sent the Declaration  because, for much of the preceding year, Walter had been actively promoting Zionism in company with Chaim Weizmann. Walter has long been described first and foremost as a zoologist who collected exotic birds and animals; a reluctant banker; a very shy man with a speech impediment. [5] The evidence from which we have analysed the Balfour Declaration stands testament to a different truth. It was Walter Rothschild who allegedly drafted and redrafted letters to foreign secretary Balfour in 1917. [6] Be mindful that the Declaration passed through at least 5 drafts. At the very least, if  say, Weizmann drafted these letters in Walter’s name, it had the Rothschild signature.  Walter opposed the idea that power in Palestine might be shared between Britain and France and, Weizmann claimed, believed that Palestine must become a British Protectorate. [7]

The 'eccentric' Walter Rothschild in his Zebra-drawn carriage.

Later, Jacob, the 4th Lord Rothschild described his grandfather Walter as a deeply eccentric ornithologist who, for example, did not open any mail over a two year period because he didn’t want to communicate with the rest of the world. [8]  Well, he clearly opened Balfour’s letter. Walter did not flinch when confronted by Jewish opponents to political Zionism. He tackled them head-on. He wrote to The Times on several occasions to condemn leading Jewish opponents. When the presidents of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association published what he deemed to be a manifesto against Zionism, both he and Weizmann wrote stinging letters of condemnation. Walter Rothschild then had the authors of the letter censured at the next meeting of the Board of Deputies and used his father’s name to justify his position. Whether he was a led in such matters by Weizmann or not, changes nothing.

It was generally believed that Natty Rothschild held little time for Zionists but Walter insisted that ‘during the latter years of his life, [his father] had frequently told him that in principle he was in favour of the establishment of a Jewish National homeland in Palestine, but not so long as Palestine was in Turkish hands’ [9] The dead cannot easily contradict the living. Walter Rothschild pressed both Lloyd George and Balfour to make a clear statement in favour of a Jewish homeland, and accompanied Chaim Weizmann when the Zionist leader in Britain went to persuade Balfour that a Jewish homeland had to have an expression of support before the war ended. [10] Walter presided over the mass meeting of triumph after the Declaration at the London Opera House on 2 December and spoke eloquently. Walter Rothschild was intimately involved in the successful delivery of the Balfour Declaration and fronted much of the political pressure which the Zionists exerted.

The outrageous treatment of Captain Dreyfus disillusioned many French Jews who found their anti-semitic establishment impossible to bear.

So too was the French-born James de Rothschild, Edmond’s son. He abandoned France after the anti-Jewish Dreyfus affair at the turn of the century [11] and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. James shared his father’s enthusiasm for Jewish communities in Palestine. Chaim Weismann corresponded with him, [12] and visited his wife, Dorothy Pinto [13] while James was serving in France. The Rothschild Archives at Waddesdon Manor retains a priceless collection of documents, including the original Balfour letter itself, but the correspondence from Dorothy de Rothschild clearly proves that Weizmann’s success within British society was neither opportunism nor good fortune. Dorothy had married James when she was seventeen years of age and her commitment to the Zionist cause never wavered. She wrote frequently to Chaim Weizmann and helped him to become integrated into  British Society, and most importantly, the Secret Elite. According to Lord Jacob, Dorothy devoted herself to Israel. If, as he claimed, Chaim Weizmann miraculously seduced Lloyd George, Balfour and the Secret Elite into accepting the Zionist ambitions, [14] it was a miracle facilitated by and through the Rothschild family.

James de Rothschild had attended a special meeting on 17 February 1917, with Weizmann, Walter Rothschild, Herbert Samuel and Sir Mark Sykes to establish a  pressure group specifically created to urge the British government to make a positive statement confirming Palestine’s future. [15] James, distrustful of French politicians, warned that if British Jews approached the French government for support, the French would would use their own Rabbis to press for a French mandate for Palestine. He became involved in  day-today Zionist politics and in April and May, 1917, he played an integral part in the Brandeis- Weizmann telegram exchanges which we have already examined. [16]  He too spoke at the great rally of 2 December and, quoting his father Edmond’s unerring commitment to Palestine, claimed that ‘Jewish ideals up to this time had been met at the gate, but could not get through. With one stroke of the pen the English government had flung open these gates.’ According to the Rothschild historian, Niall Ferguson, the meeting at Covent Garden was held to underline the Rothchilds’ contributions to the historic breakthrough from which the state of Israel could be traced.[17]

Frontpiece of pamphlet issued by The Zionist Organisation in London with a subtitle Jewry's Celebration of its National Charter'

What’s more, the English Zionists Federation soon re-interpreted the original letter so that it was entitled ‘The Charter of Zionism’. But this letter of support was not a charter. It was not a Magna Carta.  This ‘breakthrough’, this ‘Jewish Charter’  [18]  contained a delicate and labyrinthine conundrum. How could any Power which claimed to have gone to war to protect the rights of small self-determining nations bring a non-existent ‘country’ to an international conference and claim it had greater rights to recognition than others? The first step was the British government’s Declaration of intent to support the establishment of a ‘homeland’. An outburst of international and orchestrated approval certainly helped. But there had to be a more tangible basis; proof positive that there was a just cause. This was the reason behind the Zionist Commission sent to the ‘Holy Land’ in 1918 to reassure the Arabs that no-one intended them harm. It aimed to lend credibility to the Zionist claims; give Zionists some right to be heard when the world was redivided at the end of the war. And all of this timely enterprise was orchestrated through the Rothschild influence.

In addition, membership of the Secret Elite began to change in a subtle manner to which Carroll Quigley made no overt reference. Perhaps a better word might be partnership. As economic power increasingly flowed through the Morgan – Rothschild – Rockefeller – Kuhn Lowe axis in the United States, political alliances began to firm around key issues … like Palestine, but why did they go to such extraordinary lengths to realise a mythistory? The Brandeis – Weizmann connection was reflected in the Balfour-Lansing understandings. In other words, the Zionist aims metamorphosed into British and American foreign policy. The Anglo-American Establishment began to slowly readjust its position. In a sense, the drive for one world government moved towards a shared trans-Atlantic agenda that would become clearer in the coming decades. In the new order that lay ahead, would it still be the British elite who were in charge? If so, for how long could that continue?

1. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 280.

2. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 189.

3. Memorial Sermon given by The Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz, 19 April, 1915, https://archive.org/stream/rthonlordrothsch00hert#page/n3/mode/2up

4. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 450.

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Rothschild,_2nd_Baron_Rothschild

6.  National Archives GT 1803 and CAB 24/24/4.

7. Niall Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 450.

8.Interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCioKnpHdY

9. The Times 18 June 1917.

10. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 256.

11. In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, was wrongly convicted by the army of spying for the Germans. His conviction was ridiculous and became a celebrated cause of establishment -based anti-semitism. The scandal split France and made many Jews very angry and uncomfortable with the anti-semitic attitude of their government. After great public protest, Dreyfus was exonerated in 1908. Recommend Ruth Harris, The Man On Devil’s Island.

12. Ibid., p. 201.

13. Ibid., p. 206.

14. Interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCioKnpHdY

14. Ibid., p. 238.

15. Interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sCioKnpHdY

16. The Balfour Declaration 7: posted on 1st August 2017.

17. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 452.

18. The title ‘Charter’ appears to have been invented by the English Zionist Federation, whose pamphlet, Great Britain, Palestine and the Jews: Jewry’s Celebration of its National Charter, published anonymously after December 1917 repeats the concept of a ‘Charter’ almost as if it was the Magna Carta, talking of ‘ a National Charter’, ‘The Charter of Zionism’ and the ‘British Charter of Zionism’

The Balfour Declaration 11: Celebrations, Expectations and The Truth

The original letter sent to Walter Rothschild

Expectations inside the Jewish community in Britain leaped like the proverbial salmon in the first few weeks of November 1917. The Balfour Declaration was hailed as ‘the greatest event in the history of the Jews since their dispersion.’ [1] In celebratory language that brooked no qualification, claims were made that ‘the House of Israel is fully conscious of the high significance of the pledge of the British Government concerning its restoration.’ Balfour’s letter to Walter Rothschild had been read aloud in synagogues and formed the text of countless sermons. Two important intertwined threads bound expectation to action. Suddenly, the Jewish community across the world, and particularly in Britain and America, valued the Allied cause, the ‘principles of the invincible integrity of smaller nations.’ The collapse of the hated Romanov dynasty in Russia had removed one obstacle from wide-scale Jewish support for the Allies and the timely British pledge unleashed a flood of enthusiasm for victory. Jews now believed that they had a vested interest of the highest order. The Zionist conference in Baltimore unanimously passed a resolution which ended: ‘..we and our Allies are prepared to make every sacrifice of treasure and life, until the great war shall have ended in the triumph of the high aims of the Allied nations.’ [2]  Treasure and Life….both very welcome to the Allied cause.

On Sunday 2 December 1917, a vast meeting was held at the London Opera House with delegates sent from Anglo-Jewish communities, synagogues and societies across Britain. It was chaired by Lord Walter Rothschild and reported almost verbatim in the Times. He too referred to the historic importance of the government’s declaration and faithfully promised that their non-Jewish neighbours in Palestine would be respected – though he did not use the term ‘Arab’. Lord Robert Cecil, made the word ‘liberation’ his keynote and welcomed representatives of the Arabian and Armenian races whom he added were also struggling to be free. His speech was proudly that of an English imperialist, dedicated to the Secret Elite cause. Cecil stressed that: ‘The Empire has always striven to give all the peoples that make it up the fullest measure of self government of which they are capable.’ Clearly the Irish nationalists imprisoned in England after the Easter Rising did not count. [3] He ended with what today must read like a chilling prophecy. ‘I believe it will have a far-reaching influence on the history of the world and consequences which none can foresee on the future history of the human race.’ [4]

One of the participants was Sir Mark Sykes; Sykes of the Sykes-Picot-Sazanov agreement. Perhaps he had forgotten the various false promises which he had helped deliver. Here was the British diplomat who had been empowered by the foreign office to re-draw the map of the Ottoman Empire which ceded joint ownership of Palestine to France. As a member of the Arab Bureau in Cairo he supported Faisal’s Arab revolt in the Desert. Now he appeared as an enthusiast for Palestine as a Jewish homeland. In each scenario, Palestine, or parts thereof, had been promised to a different party; shared ownership with France, Arab suzerainty and a Jewish homeland. Lies and false promises did not appear to concern him. Mark Sykes talked of the great mission of Zionism to bring the spirituality of Asia to Europe and the vitality of Europe to Asia. His nonsense ended in empty praise for the inclusion of ‘your fellows in adversity, the Armenians and the Arabs.’ Was anyone listening? There was one speaker who addressed the meeting in Arabic, Shakh Ismail Abdul-Al-Akki, himself sentenced to death by the Turks for having joined the Arab nationalist movement He appealed to the gathering not to forget that the sons of Ishmael [5] had also been scattered and confounded, but were now rising ‘fortified with sense of martyrs.’ [6] They cheered wildly; it was that kind of stage-managed event.

Zionist poster for Manchester meeting in December 1917

One week later a joyous celebration of Jewish gratitude took place in the Manchester Hippodrome. Sir Mark Sykes made a most interesting observation. His had been the only voice which cautioned care in taking serious account of native Armenians and Arabs who lived in or around Palestine. He warned that they too must be freed from oppression. His words have echoed down the century since: ‘It was the destiny of the Jews to be closely connected with the Arab revival, and co-operation and good will from the first were necessary, or ultimate disaster would overtake both Jew and Arab.’ [7] Unfortunately his words were not welcomed. Chaim Weizmann objected to Sir Mark Sykes’s warning, stating: ‘It is strange indeed to hear the fear expressed that the Jew who has always been the victim, the Jew who has always fought the battle of freedom for others, should suddenly become the aggressor because he touches Palestinian soil’. [8]

What a strange over-reaction. Weizmann and the Zionists held criticism on a short fuse. In the swelling chambers of organised celebration, Britain’s commitment to ‘facilitate’ the establishment of a national home for Jewish people had been translated by joyous sermon, by excited word of mouth and jubilant newspaper editorials into a fait accompli. What the faithful heard was the promised return to the Holy Land. The tragedy was that the Secret Elite had unleashed expectations they could never control. Undoubtedly, greater emphasis should have been given to the second part of the Balfour Declaration, namely: ‘it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may reduce the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’[9] It was ignored.

The immediate dividend from the Balfour Declaration was its propaganda value. The foreign office set up a special branch for Jewish propaganda, the Jewish Bureau, in the Department of Information under a ‘very active Zionist’, [10] Albert Montefiore Hyamson, previously editor of the Zionist Review. He distributed daily copy to two Jewish daily newspapers in the United States, The American Hebrew and American Jewish Chronicle. Leaflets containing the text of the Balfour Declaration were dropped over German and Austrian territory. Pamphlets written in Yiddish were circulated to Jewish troops encouraging them to ‘stop fighting the Allies…an Allied victory means the Jewish people’s return to Zion’.[11]

Co-incidentally, the Arab revolt against the Turks, lead by Sherif Hussein and advised by T E Lawrence was undermining Turkish defences in the desert. In the wake of two failed efforts by Sir Archibald Murray to capture Gaza, General Allenby was commissioned to take charge of the desert wars. The Arabs had captured Aqaba in July; Allenby’s troops, boosted by the fact that the middle-eastern theatre had become the second largest campaign after the Western Front, took Beersheba and then Jaffa.

Famous picture of Allenby's modest entrance into Jerusalem

On 9 December 1917, Jerusalem capitulated without a fight. On December 11, 1917, General Allenby entered Jerusalem. He had the wit to understand the symbolic sensitivity of the city both to its residents and to religious communities across the world. Allenby chose to enter Jerusalem on foot, through the Jaffa Gate, giving British propaganda a wonderful photo-opportunity. His modest and respectful acceptance of the keys to the city was intended to contrast with Kaiser’s visit in 1898 when Wilhelm inadvisedly insisted on entering the old city on a white horse. [12] Charles Picot, the French political representative, had been allowed to share the cautiously triumphant entrance to Jerusalem and duly announced that he would establish the civil government under French jurisdiction. Allenby cut him dead. The civil government would be properly established after he (Allenby) judged that the military situation warranted it.[13] Britain had no intention of surrendering to France the hard-won parts of Palestine which they had captured. Imagine the message that would have transmitted to the Zionist world had the French taken charge?

For self-evident reasons, the Balfour Declaration had not been publicised in Palestine but the news filtered through. A Foreign Office report on 20 December from Sir Gilbert Clayton at the Arab Bureau noted that ‘The Arabs are still nervous and feel the Zionist movement is progressing at a pace which threatens their interests. Discussions and intercourse with Jews will doubtless calm their fears, provided [the] latter act up to liberal principles laid down by Jewish leaders in London.’ [14] Aye, there’s the rub. By January 1918, Lloyd George’s War Cabinet realised that the unprecedented political success which had followed the announcement of the government’s declaration required evidence of action. A Zionist Commission was dispatched to Palestine. Led by Chaim Weizmann, in whom the Secret Elite vested a great deal of confidence, it was accompanied by one of Lloyd George’s pro-zionist minders, William Ormsby-Gore.[15] In advance of its arrival, the Foreign Office issued explicit instructions to the High Commissioner in Egypt to help create Jewish institutions ‘should military exigencies permit’. The British government ‘favoured’ the foundation of a Jewish University and Medical School, to which the Jewish world attaches importance and for which large sums are coming in…’ [16] From which sources were these funds flowing? Who was investing in the development of the homeland dream?

They also wanted to encourage good relations with non-Jewish communities and use the Commission as a direct link between the military and Jewish interests in Palestine. The task was enormous. Everything possible had to be done to invest credibility in the Zionist Commission in the eyes of the Jewish world and at the same time, allay Arab suspicions about the ultimate aims of Zionism.[17] Hercules would have baulked at such a task.

General Sir Ronald Storrs, first military governor of Jerusalem

The military governor of Jerusalem,  later Sir Ronald Storrs, did not see eye to eye with Chaim Weizmann. He refused to accept that it was his responsibility to make sure that the Arabs and Syrians accepted the British government’s policy on the future of the Jews in Palestine. He pointed to the many articles in the British Press supportive of the Zionist cause. Naturally these had unsettled Moslem confidence. Public meetings at which speakers attempted to show how the Jewish people could take over the ‘Holy Land’ only served to exacerbate the matter. What had Weizmann expected? Storrs stressed that Palestine was a Moslem country which had fallen into the hands of a Christian Power, which promptly announced that a considerable proportion of its land area was to be handed over for colonisation by a ‘nowhere very popular people.’ [18] The Commission had been warned in Cairo that rumours and misrepresentations were circulating throughout the region and they should make a clear statement to clarify their intentions. That, they had no intention of doing.

By late April 1918, Chaim Weizmann changed tack to offer reassurance to local Arabs. He told them that the Commission would never take advantage of low land prices caused by the war. He claimed that he wanted to improve opportunities for all and establish technical and other schools which would be open to Moslems, Christians and Jews. This spirit of conciliation had some effect, but behind the scenes Weizmann undermined the Arabs. In a letter to Balfour at the end of May 1918, he blamed the ‘problems’ confronting the Zionist Commission on ‘the treacherous nature of the Arab’. Though by Weizmann’s calculations there were ‘five Arabs to one Jew’… he boasted that they would not be able to create an Arab Palestine because the ‘fellah’ ( the peasant labourer) was at least four hundred years behind the times and the ‘Effendi’ (Masters) were ‘dishonest, uneducated, greedy and as unpatriotic as he is inefficient.’ [19 ]These were not sympathies of conciliation. They were naked racist excuses for colonialism.

Balfour speaking at the 1925 foundation of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

There was a real purpose behind these machinations. Having realised that the war might end before substantial changes could be implemented in Palestine, Weizmann urged that tangible achievements had to be registered quickly. The foundation of a Jewish University and greater autonomy for Jewish communities had to be agreed ‘so that when the time comes for the Peace Conference certain definite steps will have been taken which will give Zionists some right to be heard.’[20]

At last the truth. There had to be tangible evidence of Jewish involvement in Palestine before any peace conference.
1. Great Britain, Palestine and the Jews: Jewry’s celebration of its national charter, Preface v. https://archive.org/details/greatbritainpale00unse
2. Ibid. p. 13.
3. At one stage around 1,800 Irishmen had been imprisoned at Frongoch in Wales in the aftermath of the British over-reaction to the Easter Rising. Most were released in December 1916 when Lloyd George became prime minister.
4. The Times December 1917, p. 2.
5. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, traced his lineage to Ishmael through his first born son, Nabaioth : Genesis 25:6 12-18.
6. Great Britain, Palestine and the Jews: pp. 50-51.
7. Ibid., p. 66.
8. Ibid., p. 75
9. CAB 23/4 WC 261, p. 6.
10. FO 395/ 202.
11. Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers, p. 19.
12. David B Green, The Balfour Project http://www.balfourproject.org/this-day-in-jewish-historygeneral-allenby-shows-how-a-moral-man-conquers-jerusalem/
13. Lawrence, Seven Pillars, p. 360.
14. FO 371/3054
15. Ormsby-Gore, was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Alfred Milner and as assistant secretary in the war cabinet, and to Sir Mark Sykes. Chaim Weizmann was a personal friend and he later approved Ormsby-Gore as the British military liaison officer with the Zionist mission in Palestine.
16. CAB 27/23.
17. Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers, pp. 21-22.
18. FO 371/3398
19. Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers, p. 32.
20. FO 371/3395.

The Balfour Declaration 10: Balfour Understood The Consequences

What we have clearly established about the Balfour Declaration is that it was the product of an Anglo-American collusion over which the political Zionist organisations exerted immense influence. You might be tempted to think that what developed from the Declaration in 1917 was an unexpected unstoppable enthusiasm for a new jewish state which the British government had not foreseen. But the evidence clearly argues otherwise.

Arthur Balfour supposed author of the Declaration which bears his name.

Arthur Balfour voiced the official foreign office view at the time. [1] The minutes of the War Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 31 October 1917, stated that it was their unanimous opinion that: ‘from a purely diplomatic and political point of view, it was desirable that some declaration favourable to the aspirations of the Jewish nationalists should now be made. The vast majority of Jews in Russia and America, as indeed all over the world, now appeared to be favourable to Zionism. If we could make a declaration favourable to such an ideal, we should be able to carry on extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America.’ [2] Was this so? He produced no evidence at all, and the Cabinet papers from Curzon and Montagu violently dismissed these very claims.

Balfour dressed the cabinet decision in the robes of diplomacy and politics. With Russia in the throes of revolution and the possibility that they might make a separate peace with Germany, every avenue of propaganda had to be activated. Chaim Weizmann had made his mark. Though there was ample evidence to the contrary, ridiculous claims which could never have been proven appeared to justify the War Cabinet’s decision. From whose lips did the phrase ‘the vast majority of Jews…all over the world’ take shape? In Britain, Jewish communities were clearly divided on the issue. Edwin Montagu provided ample proof.[3] Indeed the very notion that Zionism commanded such support was a fiction. It was the message from the Zealots. This was the assurance given to Balfour by Brandeis and Weizmann. It was a lie which was repeated so often within the exalted cabinet circle that it was accepted as ‘fact’. The evidence presented was to the contrary. In modern parlance the decision was the product of smoke and mirrors, spun to create the illusion that the British Cabinet cared about the future of impoverished Jews for whom they would take a moral stand. Impoverished Arabs did not matter.

Weizmann, like Lloyd George, wrote his memoirs through a rose-tinted, self-congratulatory prism dispensing multi-coloured favours on his chosen supporters. The omissions and misrepresentations falsified history. He wrote of ‘those British statesmen of the old school’ who were, ‘genuinely religious’ who bravely supported his cause. Inside their brand of Christian morality, he claimed they understood as a reality the concept of the ‘Return … of the Jewish peoples to the Holy Land. It appealed to their tradition and their faith.’ [4] What breath-taking nonsense. To describe the men who had approved massacres at Omdurman in Sudan, the slaughter of the Matabele tribes to create Rhodesia, [5] the men who caused the Boer War,[6] permitted the death of over 20,000 women and children in the vile concentration camps on the Veldt,[7] and planned and caused the world war that raged across the globe as ‘genuinely religious’, defied reason. Theirs was a very different religion of self-interest and control.

What is certain is that the Secret Elite’s innermost circle of influence knew the consequences of declaring its support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. They had been explicitly warned by Curzon and Montagu of the impact that it would have on the Arabs. But the truth was, for as long as the Arabs could be cajoled through false promises to help throw the Turks out of Palestine and Syria, they would serve a short-term purpose. The Secret Elite aimed to control, manage and make profitable what they deemed to be a worthy civilisation built through the Empire on the foundations of English ruling-class values.[8] That the Arab world was to be fractured for that purpose did not bear heavily on their collective conscience.

Although some historians credit Chaim Weizmann for winning round the War Cabinet to his Zionist cause [9] the ‘diplomatic and political’ interests to which the Secret Elite steadfastly held course, were the imperial designs which underpinned their ultimate aim to dominate all other empires. It has been said that if Zionists hadn’t existed, Britain would have had to invent them.[10] Palestine was the final link in a chain which would stretch from India through Persia and the Middle East, protect the Suez Canal and give them unbridled access to the sea-routes to Persia, India and the Far East. French ambitions represented a serious and lasting concern. Whether or not the Sykes-Picot-Sazanov agreement would survive the final division of spoils remained unproven in 1917. Creating a Jewish-Palestinian buffer zone under some form of British control was eminently preferable to the risk of a French protectorate along the Suez.[11] Such thinking consumed their every decision.

Undeterred by warnings that it was inadequately resourced to accommodate a Jewish homeland, Balfour informed his cabinet colleagues that if Palestine was scientifically developed, a very much larger population could be sustained than had endured the Turkish misrule. (You can almost hear Brandeis’s and Weizmann’s voices. ) His definition of a ‘national home’ remained significant. He understood it to mean ‘some form of British, American, or other protectorate under which full facilities would be given to the Jews to work out their own salvation and to build up, by means of education, agriculture and industry, a real centre of national culture and focus of national life.’ [12] It was a generalised, almost throw-away interpretation which appeared to avoid any threat to other communities in Palestine. Had he ended his remarks at that, there may have been a sliver of doubt about his understanding of what might follow. But A J Balfour clarified his thinking, and in so doing acknowledged that the establishment of a Jewish State was in fact likely. The Cabinet minute reported his claim that ‘it did not necessarily involve the early establishment of an independent Jewish State, which was a matter for gradual development in accordance with the ordinary laws of political evolution.’ [13]

The very influential Chaim Weizmann

Consider the thought behind these words. His message to Weizmann, the international bankers and all who had direct and indirect access to the British policy, was that if they took the opportunity which Britain presented, an independent Jewish State could be within their grasp. Put very simply, the message that Jews all over the world heard was that if they supported Britain, Britain would support them. Having said that, Balfour immediately contradicted himself by adding that the suggested declaration might raise false expectations which might never be recognised. [14]
It was classic double-speak, but he knew what he was doing.

1. War Cabinet no. 261 p. 5.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. GT 2263.
5. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 226.
6. Will Podmore, British Foreign Policy since 1870, p. 21.
7. Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War, p. 115.
8. W T Stead, quoted in Hennie Barnard, The Concentration Camps 1899-1902.
9. One example being Leonard Stein, The Balfour Declaration.
10. Mayir Verete, The Balfour Declaration and its Makers, Middle Eastern Studies, 6 (1), January 1970. p. 50.
11. Ibid., pp. 54-57.
12. War Cabinet 261, p. 5.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid., p. 6.

The Balfour Declaration 9: Ignoring The Facts

The Arab cause was severely handicapped because it had no voice at the heart of the Secret Elite and no champion in Parliament. Financial and industrial powers wanted control of the resources under the sands and cared little for the indigenous population. In fact the Arabs were mere pawns in a larger game of international chess. Even at the lesser levels of power, they had no influential advocate. They were disadvantaged at every turn. T E Lawrence, who fought side by side with Faisal and the Husseins, knew that he was merely part of a conspiracy.

Lawrence had personally endorsed the promises made by the British cabinet, assuring the Arabs that their reward would be self-government. He wrote of ‘our essential insincerity’, of his conviction that ‘it was better we win and break our word, than lose’ the war in Arabia. His much heralded relationship with the Arabs was underpinned by fraud and he knew it. [1] Lawrence’s comments were made in relation to the Sykes-Picot agreement of which he had been fully informed. He was not party to the Balfour Declaration, but his Zionist sympathies later became apparent.

The Machiavellian intrigues which took place in London and Washington added a deeper level to this deceit. It had been argued that the British government, and A J Balfour in particular, did not fully realise what they were doing when they approved the fateful decision to support a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This was patently untrue. Two of the most experienced politicians in the British Empire, Lord George Curzon, former viceroy and Governor-General of India and Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India, both lobbied the War Cabinet against entering into an agreement with the Zionists without a much fuller analysis of what that would mean. Their Cabinet papers on The Future of Palestine [2] and Zionism [3] should have been taken seriously, but were ignored. Indeed their views were presented to the War Cabinet so late in the day that it had the feel of a cosmetic device to imply some kind of balanced judgement. Mere dressing.

Curzon agonised about conditions in Palestine where the Turks had broken up or dislocated Jewish colonies and warned that after the ravages of war and centuries of neglect and misrule, any revival would depend on a colossal investment. He warned that Palestine had no natural wealth. The land contained no mineral wealth, no coal, no iron ore, no copper gold or silver. Crucially Curzon alluded to a more immediate problem. What would happen to the non-Jewish inhabitants? He estimated that there were ‘over half a million Syrian Arabs – a mixed community with Arab, Hebrew, Canaanite, Greek Egyptian and possibly Crusader blood. They and their forefathers have occupied the country for the best part of 1,500 years. They own the soil…they profess the Mohammedan faith. They will not be content either to be expropriated for Jewish immigrants or to act merely as hewers of wood and drawers of water to the latter.’ [4]

Antique Map of Arabia

He also informed Cabinet that anyone who glibly dreamt of a Jewish Capital in Jerusalem did not appreciate the complexity of the ‘holy places.’ Too many people and too many religions had such a passionate and permanent interest that any such outcome was not even ‘dimly possible.’ His final warning was profoundly clear: ‘In my judgement, it [Zionism] is a policy very widely removed from the romantic and idealistic aspirations of many Zionist leaders whose literature I have studied, and whatever it does, it will not in my judgement provide either a national, a material or even a spiritual home for any more than a very small section of the Jewish people.’[5] His analysis was superb. His words were left to gather dust on the cabinet shelves and have been ignored because they destroyed the illusion which Zionists repeated about a land without people waiting for a people without land.

Edwin Montagu’s Cabinet paper on Zionism was distributed at the same meeting. It included a highly perceptive report from Miss Gertrude Lowthian Bell, the acting Political Officer in Baghdad. The Oxford educated writer and sometimes British Intelligence operative pointed out that: ‘Jewish immigration has been artificially fostered by doles and subventions from millionaire co-religionists in Europe; [The most prolific giver of doles and subventions was Edmund de Rothschild] …The pious hope that an independent Jewish state may some day be established in Palestine no doubt exists though it must be questioned whether among local Jews there is any acute desire to see it realised, except as a means to escape from Turkish oppression; it is perhaps more lively in the breasts of those who live far from the rocky Palestine hills and have no intention of changing their domicile.’ Lord Cromer took pleasure in relating a conversation he held on the subject with one of the best known English Jews who observed: ‘If a Jewish kingdom were to be established in Jerusalem, I should lose no time in applying for the post of Ambassador in London.’ [6] Tantalisingly, Cromer was not prepared to name the alleged wit.

Gertrude Bell was often referred to as Queen of the Desert. Her knowledge and experience was unsurpassed.

Gertrude Bell’s acutely accurate observation held the key to understanding what was happening. The clarion call to a Jewish homeland in Palestine came not from the small Jewish communities which had been established there or the few more recent immigrant settlers. Naturally those Jews who, together with their Arab and Muslim neighbours, had suffered under the harsh Turkish yoke, welcomed change. What she questioned was the validity of those who canvassed for a ‘homeland’ to which they had no intention to return. How many of those Britons or Americans who supported the idea of a Jewish homeland, actively considered packing their bags and moving to a community in Palestine? This was not the message that the Secret Elite wished to consider.

Edwin Montagu was the second British Jew to hold a cabinet post and held the office of secretary of state for India. He had a keen interest in Muslim affairs and his concerns reflected an awareness of such sensitivities. Montagu made an observation about Chaim Weizmann which resonated with the evidence which we have already presented. In recognising Weizmann’s services to the Allied cause and his reputation as an exceptional chemist, he reminded the Cabinet that Weizmann was a religious fanatic, a zealot for whom Zionism had been the guiding principle for a large part of his life. He saw in Weizmann’s over-whelming enthusiasm, an inability to take into account the feelings of those from his own religion who differed from his view or, and herein lay a critical point, those of other religions whom Weizmann’s activities, if successful, would dispossess.[7]

In an attempt to dispel the assumption that Weizmann’s brand of Zionism was widely supported within the Jewish community in Britain, Montagu added a list of prominent British Jews active in public life whom he termed Anti-Zionist. It included Professors, Rabbis, Jewish members of the Government (Sir Alfred Mond and Lord Reading ) three Rothschilds, Sir Marcus Samuel (of Royal Dutch / Shell) and many more British Jews.[8] He begged the war cabinet to pause and think before it ignored the British voice of the many Jews who had ‘lived for generations in this country, and who feel themselves to be Englishmen.’  [9] He countered claims that American Jews were in favour of Zionism by quoting from the Convention of the Central Conference of Jewish Rabbis held in June 1917: ‘The religious Israel, having the sanctions of history, must not be sacrificed to the purely racial Israel of modern times.’ Note how the term Israel was used. Jacob Schiff’s views were included with specific emphasis on his belief that ‘ no effort should be made to re-establish a Jewish nation…’ Similar sentiments from leading French and Italian Jews were included.

George Curzon

These were very deep-felt pleas. Curzon’s warning ought to have alerted the experienced politicians in the war Cabinet. Milner had gone to war with the Boers to protect the Empire and its gold-mines, but General Smuts knew how easily native populations resented incomers who laid claim to their land. Sir Edward Carson had brought Ireland to the brink of civil war in 1914 over the rights of different communities in the North and South of that island. Surely he was aware of the tensions caused by any threat to introduce different values to old cultures. In truth, the Secret Elite had come to its conclusion, and no other view was welcomed. Their concern was the future of the British Empire which had to be of paramount importance in every circumstance. Advice from Curzon and Montagu was ignored. Curzon ought to have had the courage to resign, but acquiesced in silence when the vote was taken [10]

1. T. E.Lawrence, Seven Pillars, pp. 5-6.
2. National Archives, Cabinet Papers:CAB 24/30.
3. National Archives, Cabinet Papers:CAB 24/28.
4. National Archives, Cabinet Papers: CAB 24/30 p. 2.
5. Ibid., p. 3.
6. Ibid., p.4.
7. National Archives, Cabinet Papers:GT- 2263 p. 1.
8. National Archives, Cabinet Papers:CAB 24/28, GT 2263.
9. Ibid., p. 2.
10. Ibid., p. 3.