The Balfour Declaration 5: Zionism in America; The Rise of Louis Brandeis

Russian persecution also precipitated a wave of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe to America in the first decade of the century, [1] but attempts to organise Zionist societies across the United States failed to ignite early enthusiasms. With two or three exceptions, the wealthy Jews in America would have nothing to do with Zionism in any shape or form.[2] The settled and prosperous upper-class, mostly German Jews, believed in assimilation. Their wealth and social position proved to them that the melting pot analogy was working. Above all, they did not want anyone to question their loyalty to America or embrace an ideology that might rock their well-provisioned boat by advocating the creation of a foreign country specifically for Jews.[3] That might prove an uncomfortable transformation, especially if the argument focussed on the theft of an already Arab country or a the need for Jews to go and live there.

Lower East Side New York, a haven for Jewish immigrants in the first decade of the twentieth century.

On the other hand it appeared that some poorer immigrants, were becoming more vocal in their support, though it was not backed by an evident desire to move from the ‘Land of the Free’ to the sands of Palestine. The Jewish leaders in America, Jacob Schiff and Rabbi I.M. Wise claimed that ‘America is our Zion’.[4] The Jewish community in America was at best divided. There was no groundswell in the Zionists’ favour and the State Department dismissed them as a minority political group without money, influence or social standing.[5] They were not listening. Slowly a generation of new Zionists began to assert itself amongst the aspiring middle-classes of teachers, lawyers, businessmen and professors. They required a leader to champion their cause.

The Harvard Law Review article which made Brandeis famous.

The flag-bearer for Zionism in the United States, Louis Brandeis, was a Boston lawyer hailed as a champion of the people. As early as 1890 he had created a legal storm with an article in the Harvard Law Review, a Citizens Right to Privacy.[6] In 1905 he successfully challenged the J P Morgan banking and financial conglomerate over a proposed railroad merger, raged against the abuses of monopolies and championed women’s working rights in a high-profile court case against the State of Oregon.[7] Brandeis was widely considered dangerous by his opponents because he couldn’t be bought. Outrageous anti-Jewish rants were vented against him by magazines and journals owned or part-financed by the New Haven Railroad Company when he spoke out against their abuses.[8] Unbowed and unbroken Brandeis fought them and won.

Louis Brandeis was attracted to Zionism fairly late in his life. He first came into contact with Eastern European Jews amongst the New York garment workers whom he supported in the great strike of 1910. Burgeoning anti-Semitism in Boston and his own encounters with prejudice influenced his attraction to the Zionist cause and in an interview with the Jewish Advocate in 1910 he openly acknowledged his sympathy for Zionism. [9] Within two years it had become his life’s purpose.

On 30 August, 1914, barely a month into the war, an extraordinary conference of American Zionists took place in New York at which Louis Brandeis, the Boston Lawyer, was unanimously elected leader of the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs. His reputation electrified the Jewish community. Here was a leader of national standing with the reputation of a fearless champion of the people.[10] He brought respect and authority to this post and under his direction a stream of other leaders in American Jewish life were attracted to the Zionist movement. He believed in a cultural pluralism in which ethnic groups retained their unique identity as did Americans of Scottish, Irish, German or any other nationality. His message was that there was no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. Although some European Zionists viewed this as an anaemic adaptation of their own passion,[11] Brandeis ’s approach to Zionism succeeded in encouraging far greater support in America for a ‘homeland’ in Palestine. That did not, however, infer their intention to go and live there.[12] Ever.

Boston newspaper greets Brandeis's eventual confirmation.

Brandeis’s magnetism in Jewish circles was further enhanced by President Wilson’s surprise decision to appoint him to the vacant position on the Supreme Court on 28 January, 1916. [13] His many detractors gave vent to their anti-jewish bile in a firestorm of protest. Newspapers called Louis Brandeis a red-hot radical; the Sun declared that it was the Senate’s duty to ‘protect the Supreme Court from such an utterly and ridiculously unfit appointment’. According to The Press President Wilson had never made a worse mistake than his nomination of Brandeis. It added, ‘if he fails to withdraw it, the United States Senate should throw it out.’ [14] The Zionist leader had to endure six months of unrelenting abuse from opponents before winning Senate approval in June 1916.

The transformation of Mr Brandeis into Justice Brandeis should have reduced his active involvement in the Zionist movement. Not so. Louis Brandeis’s influence and power increased a hundred-fold. Clearly his official involvement in overt Jewish matters should have been reduced to a minimum, but he held on to all the reins of influence.[15] He remained in daily communication by telephone, telegraph and conference with all the other leaders of the movement, and little escaped his attention. Brandeis was in the business of recruitment. He clearly understood the power that ordinary Jewish voters could wield at the ballot-box. But the struggle within American Jewry for control of their own community between the exceptionally wealthy few and the masses, descended into bitter accusation and counter-accusation.

Jacob Schiff, the New York financier, head of the great Kuhn Loeb banking firm was the foremost Jewish financier in the United States. His philanthropy towards Jewish causes was legendary. Nevertheless, in June 1916 he was shocked by the personal attacks levelled against him. He had originally held himself aloof from Theodore Herzl and overtly political Zionism and in a speech at the Central Jewish Institute, he was reported to have said that Jews in Russia had brought many of their troubles upon themselves because they ‘kept apart as a separate people’. [16]

Jacob Schiff in his earlier years.

Schiff always claimed that he had been misrepresented by the pro-Zionist Jewish press; that he had been unfairly and improperly maligned. He told the New York Times that he had been warned that his opposition to the Jewish Congress movement would result in such an attack. Schiff revealed that the Zionists were determined to undermine Jewish confidence in him in a well orchestrated plan; that whatever he said, they would attack him. He was gravely hurt by the allegations and swore that Zionism, Jewish nationalism, the Congress Movement and Jewish politics in any form was thereafter a closed book.[17] Schiff’s anger subsided later and he was persuaded to help the Jews in Palestine, provided the project could be presented to him as unrelated to Zionism.

The message was clear. Zionism was not to be crossed, even by the richest of its own co-religionists. There was an unsubtle message in this character assassination. No matter how rich, how influential, how generous, no-one would be allowed to criticise the Zionist agenda. No-one. Many others have suffered similar fates since.

Louis Brandeis grew in stature. He had the President’s ear. Precisely why remains a matter of conjecture. Allegations have been voiced that Wilson was blackmailed into making the appointment by a lawyer, Samuel Untermeyer. This has never been proved. [18] Formerly, as an adviser to Woodrow Wilson, Brandeis helped to broker the compromise that led to the adoption of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 without which U S bankers could not have financed the world war.[19]Louis Brandeis ... the perfect leader for Zionist aspirations in America.

Viewed from that angle one might question the purity of his anti-trust reputation. Though he should have kept his responsibilities as a Supreme Court Judge separate from the workings of the Department of State, which had responsibility for all international dealings, Brandeis made his views on Palestine clear. He approached Woodrow Wilson directly on the issue of Palestine and ‘obtained verbal assurances’ on his and the allied policy in Palestine. In an article in the New Statesman and Nation in November 1914, he argued that Palestine should become a British protectorate. [20] Consider that date. In November 1914, the idea that Palestine should become a British Protectorate was planted by an American Zionist three years ahead of the more general Balfour Declaration. In what depth of fertile soil did it germinate?

For very many Jews who had suffered directly from Russian brutality, supporting the Allies was emotionally difficult. Many could not understand how the British in particular could fight side by side with the hated Romanovs. Brandeis saw beyond that hatred. Above all, he knew that America had to be involved in any international congress which would be empowered to settle the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. He looked to Chaim Weizmann, his fellow Zionist leader across the Atlantic to help find a form of commitment which would deliver Palestine to the Jews.[21]

1. Sampter, A Guide to Zionism, p. 71.
2. Ibid, p. 73.
3. Donald Neff, Fallen Pillars, Chapter 1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/fallenpillars.htm
4. Ibid.
5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/fallenpillars.htm
6. Warren and Brandeis, Harvard Law Review, Vol. IV    December 15, 1890 No. 5, The Right To Privacy.
7. Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412 (1908).
8. George R Conroy, editor of the ironically titled magazine, Truth, penned a much quoted and often re-quoted allegation against Brandeis that linked him to the Jewish banker Jacob Schiff. It was one of many wild allegations made against Louis Brandeis to discredit him.
9. Jonathan D Sarna, Louis D Brandeis: Zionist Leader, Brandeis Review, winter 1992.
10. Sampter, A Guide to Zionism, p. 81.
11. Neff, Fallen Pillars, Chapter 1, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/fallenpillars.htm
12. Donald Lloyd Neff was an American historian and journalist. Originally from Pennsylvania, he spent 16 years working for Time, and was a former Time bureau chief in Israel. He also worked for the Washington Star. It is said that his work was erased from history for reporting on Palestine.
13. New York Times, 29 January 1916. p.1.
14. Ibid. p. 3.
15. Alphas Thomas Mason, Brandeis – A Free Man’s Life, p. 451.
16. New York Times 5 June 1916.
17. Ibid.18. A number of magazines and internet blogs have carried this story. No proof has been produced.

19. Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor, Hidden History, The Secret Origins of the First World War, pp. 220-21.
20. Mason, Brandeis – A Free Man’s Life, p. 452.
21. Ibid., pp. 451-2.

 

The Balfour Declaration 4: Early Zionist Roots in Britain.

The term Zionism was coined in the late nineteenth century to represent the movement for the return of the Jewish people to their so-called ‘historic homeland’ in Palestine, though from the start the term was interpreted in different ways by different Jewish and non-Jewish communities. It grew from small beginnings in the second half of the nineteenth century,  but had sufficient numbers in the last years of that millennium to contemplate an international congress.

Delegates at the First Zionist congress at Basle in Switzerland.

The First Zionist Congress was held in Basle between the 29th and 31st of August, 1897, and was can be gleaned by the photograph above, these delegates were drawn mainly from middle-class European jews. Its aim was to have a recognised ‘and legally secured’ home in Palestine.[1] Chaired by Theodore Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian journalist and keen Jewish activist, the meeting of around 200 participants created the World Zionist Organisation. Who could have known that from such small beginnings a new State would eventually emerge? Small in number, these Zionists were dedicated zealots. Their stance was absolute. They accepted no criticism. They belittled as enemies those many Jews who believed in assimilation into the countries in which they lived and who questioned Zionism’s political aims. Yet there was no popular, widespread enthusiasm for the ‘homeland’ proposal.

Theodore Herzl, first Chairman of the Zionist World Council

At the Second Basle Congress one year later it was clear that very few Jews were interested in the political aims. There was no clamour for radical change. Consequently, the Zionist emphasis was altered. Herzl recognised the need to galvanise Jewish communities, most of whom remained ignorant of, or completely disinterested in, or positively against, the idea of Zionism.

In December 1901 a Jewish National Fund (JNF) was established in Britain to acquire land in Palestine as the ‘inalienable estate of the Jewish people’.[2] It is entirely dubious whether any international law validated such an ‘inalienable’ right, but what is important is that the JNF was part of the slow and barely successful process of encouraging Jewish settlers to go to Palestine. Yet the focus on Palestine was one from which Zionists were not to be turned. We should not forget that the suffering and desperation of many Jews, especially in Russia, whose anti-Jewish pogroms were a barbarous indictment of the Romanov Empire, pressed heavily on the evolving Zionist movement. From their vantage point it was a refugee crisis which no-one else was minded to solve.

Of the major world Powers, Britain was the most progressively liberal in its attitude towards Jewish assimilation. Wealthy Jews in banking, finance and business were increasingly included in what was known as ‘society’. There were Jewish Members of Parliament; Jews ennobled and given membership of the House of Lords. Jewish refugees from the Russian pogroms settled in the slums in the East End of London and other major cities. Life was far from easy for the masses of impoverished immigrants, but Britain was a comparative safe haven and more welcoming than France. The nascent cries for a ‘homeland’ did not come from the ordinary Jewish refugee, but from the Zionist lobby which had begun to assert itself at the turn of the century. And there was sympathy for the Zionist desire for a national homeland inside the corridors of power in London. The problem was that the solution which was offered was not the one that Zionists wanted.

A British offer of an autonomous homeland for Jewish settlers in East Africa [3]  was considered at the Sixth Congress in 1903 and the Zionists reluctantly agreed to send a delegation to examine the practicalities of a Jewish settlement in Uganda. They turned it down. Unsuitable. The Zionists had no intention of resettling in Uganda. Ever. It was not the ‘promised land’. Another approach to the British government about the possible colonisation of a strip of territory on the southern boundary of Palestine and Egypt called El Arish had been secretly conducted by Theodore Herzl, but was also found to be impractical.[4] What mattered was that some British politicians appeared sympathetic to the aspirations of political Zionists.

Herzl died in 1904, and after a considerable struggle, Chaim Weizmann emerged as a charismatic and persuasive Zionist leader. He dominated the Eighth Congress in 1907 and managed to fuse together its political and the practical divisions into what was termed ‘Synthetic Zionism’, a hybrid between political zionism and more practical approaches. Weizmann built on common links between a variety of Zionist groups. Progress was slow. Numbers remained comparatively small, but Palestine was always the ultimate target for a ‘national homeland’. [5]

It seems strange that in his seminal work The Anglo-American Establishment, Professor Carroll Quigley made no mention of Chaim Weizmann’s activities in Britain before or during the First World War. This is all the more puzzling when we unpick Weizmann’s many and frequent associations with the key political forces inside the elite British establishment. He penetrated the hidden web of political influence as no other previously had. Every possible door was opened to him and anything that might prove incriminating, that smelled of collusion, removed from the historic record. [6]  Weizmann operated as the Zionist leader in Britain from 1904-5 onwards, meeting political sympathisers, using his contacts and building up a network of relationships which proved vital to his cause.

Chaim Weizmann initially met Arthur Balfour, formerly Conservative leader during the general election of 1906, [7] at a time when Lord Nathaniel Rothschild worked closely with his Secret Elite colleague. [8] Balfour wanted to know why the Zionists had turned down the British government’s practical solution of a settlement in Uganda? Weizmann spelled out his philosophy with absolute clarity. He dwelt on the spiritual side of Zionism and his ‘deeply religious conviction’ that only Palestine would do. In his eyes, any deflection from Palestine, was ‘a form of idolatry,’  [9] an interesting form of words, rooted in religious abhorrence. He professed that Palestine had a magic and romantic appeal for the Jews; that no other homeland could energise the Jewish people to build up and make habitable, what he deemed, a wasteland. Palestine was not a wasteland nor was it uninhabited. In peddling this misconception, Weizmann was very persuasive. His was not the policy advocated by the wealthy Jews who had made such important strides in British society. This was not an Englishman, proud to be English … and a Jew. Weizmann was not a privileged Rothschild or one of the many other rich upper-middle class Englishmen of Jewish faith who had been completely assimilated into British society. Weizmann was a Zionist zealot. Lord Nathaniel Rothschild was, apparently not.

Baron Edmund de Rothschild, head of the French Rothschild family.

Chaim Weizmann had one particularly influential mentor who knew precisely the names of the prime decision-makers in Britain. He was a Rothschild – Baron Edmond de Rothschild, head of the French branch of the banking dynasty. Edmond de Rothschild also believed passionately in Palestine. He had funded the establishment of Jewish settlements between 1880-95 and was later hailed as the father of Jewish colonisation.[10] Although the initial months of the war looked bleak for France and her allies, Edmond de Rothschild was convinced of ultimate victory, even in 1914. His advice to Weizmann, whom he considered a capable leader, reflected the forward nature of Zionist thinking. He could see that this was the opportunity. That moment, in the first months of a murderous world war, was the time to act so ‘we might not be forgotten in the general settlement’ . [11] Consider that advice. Edmund de Rothschild forewarned Weizmann that war would ultimately end in a settlement of conflicting claims, and the Zionists had to act immediately to ensure that theirs was included. Chaim Weizmann’s task was to influence British statesmen and politicians to support the Zionist cause in Palestine. It is inconceivable that Rothschild would have failed to identify the key personnel, the trusted agents and members of the Secret Elite whose support was vital to the Zionist ambition. When we analyse the list of men and women whom Weizmann targeted for support, there can be no other explanation, for they formed the core of the secret society that was revealed by Professor Quigley. [12] Weizmann may not have been fully aware of their one-world agenda but these were the people who could approve the transformation of Palestine from the unrequited holy grail to a Jewish state. They became his immediate targets.

British Zionism had a champion. His network of influence was firmly based on his Rothschild connections, and he knew whom he must influence to bring about the radical changes he vigorously pursued. As the pieces in this jigsaw begin to take shape, pay special attention to the clandestine involvement of our Secret Elite agents.

1. Jessie Ethel Sampter, A Guide to Zionism, p. 59.
2. Ibid., p. 64.
3. letter from Sir Clement Hill, chief of Protectorate Department, Foreign Office to Mr. L J Greenberg, 14 August 1903.
4. Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, pp. 120-1.
5. Ibid., p. 121.
6. for example, no mention is made of Weizmann in Hankey’s Diaries. GBR/0014/HNKY or in Roskill’s masterly volume on Hankey up to 1918.
7. The 1906 election produced a landslide victory for Campbell-Bannerman’s Liberal party and expelled A J Balfour from office until 1915.
8. Niall Ferguson,The House of Rothschild, The World’s Banker, 1849-1999, pp. 417-8.
9. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 143.
10. http://www.jta.org/1931/08/20/archive/baron-edmond-de-rothschild-86
11. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 189.
12. Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, pp. 311-5.

The Balfour Declaration 3. Peeling the Onion: Secret Collusions.

The November 1917 Balfour Declaration was the final product of many interested parties with whom the Secret Elite was intimately involved. For over a century historians and journalists have focussed attention on the final outcome, the Balfour Declaration itself, but the process through which that brief letter of support was constructed clearly demonstrated the collusion of governments and lobbyists which spells out a conspiracy which has been ignored or airbrushed from the received history of the time. Take for example the role of Alfred Lord Milner, the central influence inside the Secret Elite and unelected member of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet.  At a previous Cabinet meeting on 4 October 1917, participants had considered a draft declaration written by Milner himself and influenced by his Round Table acolytes.

Lord Alfred Milner was by 1917 a senior member of the War council set up by Lloyd George.

His draft specifically supported the view that the government should ‘favour the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish Race’.[1] The capitalisation of the term National Home was later altered, as was the very Milnerite phrase, ‘Jewish Race’. Lord Milner was a very precise thinker. While the words National Home implied that the Jewish people throughout the world should have a defined area to call their own, his version favoured ‘the establishment’ of such a place. It did not imply a return to a land over which they had assumed rights. Secondly, Alfred Milner held Race in great esteem. He defined himself with pride as a British ‘Race Patriot’.[2] His wording was a mark of respect. Others feared that it was a dangerous phrase which might be interpreted aggressively. It clashed with the concept of Jewish assimilation, like Jewish – Americans, and hinted that as a faith group, Jews belonged to a specific race of peoples. Consequently, his version was toned down.

Secretly, the War Cabinet decided to seek the opinion on the final wording of the declaration from both representative Zionists ( their phrase ) and those of the Jewish faith opposed to the idea of a national homeland. It is crucial to clearly understand that inside the international Jewish community there was a considerable difference of opinion in favour of, and against this idea of a Jewish ‘homeland’. That these groups were apparently given equal standing suggested that the Jewish community in Britain was equally split on the issue. They were not. The number of active Zionists was relatively small, but very influential.

Furthermore, the War Cabinet sought the American President’s opinion on the proposed Jewish homeland in Palestine.[3] The minutes of the 245th meeting of the War Cabinet in London revealed that Woodrow Wilson was directly involved in the final draft of the Declaration. So too was his minder, Colonel Edward Mandell House [4] and America’s only Jewish Chief Justice, Louis Brandeis, [5]  both of whom telegrammed different views to the British government. [6] On 10 September, Mandell House indicated that the President advised caution before proceeding with a statement on a future Jewish homeland; on 27 September, Judge Brandeis cabled that the President was in entire sympathy with the declaration. Much can change in politics inside two and a half weeks.

As each layer of the onion is slowly peeled away from the hidden inner core of the eponymous Declaration, it becomes apparent that the given story has glossed over key figures and critical issues. There are hidden depths to this episode that mainstream historians have kept from public view and participants have deliberately misrepresented or omitted from their memoirs.

Lord Lionel Rothschild a key figure in ensuring the Balfour Declaration.

The previous minutes of the War Cabinet Committee held on 3 September 1917, showed that the earlier meeting had also been crammed with Secret Elite members and associates including Leo Amery, formerly Milner’s acolyte in South Africa. [7] Item two on the agenda revealed that ‘considerable correspondence… has been passed between the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (A.J.Balfour) and Lord Walter Rothschild…on the question of the policy to be adopted towards the Zionist movement.’ [8] What? ‘Considerable correspondence’ had been exchanged between Lord Rothschild and the Foreign Office; not a letter or enquiry, but considerable correspondence. A copy of one of these letters sent from the Rothschild mansion at 148 Piccadilly on 18 July 1917 has survived in the War Cabinet minutes. What it reveals shatters the illusion that the British government’s promise of support for a Jewish national home in Palestine stemmed exclusively from the foreign office under the pen of Arthur Balfour. Lord Rothschild’s letter began:

‘Dear Mr. Balfour,
At last I am able to send you the formula you asked me for. If his Majesty’s Government will send me a message on the lines of this formula, if they and you approve of it, I will hand it on to Zionist Federations and also announce it at a meeting called for that purpose…’ [9]

He enclosed his (Rothchild’s) recommendation for a draft declaration. It comprised two sentences: (1) His Majesty’s Government accepts the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people. (2) His Majesty’s Government will use its best endeavours to secure the achievement of this object and will discuss the necessary methods and means with the Zionist Organisations.’ [10]

Balfour’s reply ‘accepted the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted…and [we] will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organisation may desire to lay before them.’ What? How do you ‘reconstitute’ a country? It might be interesting to consider the precedent that was being set. Could this mean that one day America might be reconstituted as a series of native Indian reserves or parts of England as Viking territory? Astonishingly, the Zionist movement was invited to dictate its designs for British foreign policy in Palestine. [11] This was not some form of loose involvement. It was complicity. Lloyd George’s government, through the war cabinet, colluded with the Zionist Federation to concoct a statement of intent that met their (Zionist) approval. Furthermore, it was agreed that such an important issue, namely the future of Palestine, should be discussed with Britain’s allies, and ‘more particularly with the United States’. [12] This action had all the hallmarks of an international conspiracy.

Newspaper reports carried the full text of the Declaration in Britain.

How many lies have been woven around the design and origins of the Balfour Declaration? Lord Walter Rothschild was the chief intermediary between the British government and the Zionist Federation. In this capacity he had been involved in the process of creating and formulating a new and explosive British commitment to the foundation of a Jewish home in Palestine. More than that, Rothschild and his associates sought to control ‘the methods and means’ by which it would be created. This mindset never wavered in the years that followed.

What influences had been activated to bring Lloyd George, in conjunction with Woodrow Wilson, to such a position by November 1917? Behind the scenes, who was pulling the strings? Who were these Zionists, and why were they given such immense support from the Secret Elite and, in particular, their British political agents? How could a minority group, suddenly command such power on both sides of the Atlantic? An exceedingly small minority group of no previous political or religious influence, whose ideology had been dismissed by many leading Rabbis as contrary to true Jewish belief, emerged as if from nowhere to strut the world stage. This did not happen by chance.

It happened by design. This we will demonstrate over the next few blogs.

1. National Archives: CAB 23/4/19 WC 245, p. 6.
2. A M Gollin, Proconsul in Politics, p. 401.
3. National Archives: CAB 23/4/19 WC 245, p. 6.
4. National Archives:GT – 2015.
5. National Archives:GT – 2158.
6. National Archives:CAB 23/4/19 p. 5.
7. National Archives:CAB 23/4/1. WC. 227, p. 1.
8. National Archives:GT-1803 – The Zionist Movement.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. National Archives:CAB 24/24/4.
12. National Archives:CAB 23/4/1. WC 227, p. 2.

Balfour Declaration 2: The Fateful Letter.

LETTER FROM ARTHUR BALFOUR TO LORD WALTER ROTHSCHILD

The short but historic note sent to Lord Rothschild now called The Balfour Declaration.

Foreign Office
November 2 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government the following Declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which have been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use its best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,

(signed) ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR’ [1]

The above letter was released by the Foreign Office and printed in The Times on 9 November, 1917.

Why at this critical juncture did the British War Cabinet decide publicly to favour Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people? Our instinct is to redefine that question to ask: where did this fit into the Secret Elite’s strategy to crush Germany and advance its globalist ambition? How were these linked? How had it come about that a homeland for one specific religious group appeared on the post-war agenda as if it was a solution to an unspoken problem? Even if anyone believed the lie that the Allies were fighting for the rights of smaller nations, why had religious identity suddenly become an issue of nationhood? Had anyone considered giving Catholics such rights in Ireland or Muslims or Hindus such status in India? Was the world to be divided into exclusive religious territories? Of course not. To complicate matters further, one nation (Britain) solemnly promised a national home to what would become in time a second nation (the Jewish State of Israel) on the land which belonged to another people (Palestinian Arabs) while it was still an integral part of a fourth (the Ottoman /Turkish Empire). [2] In pandering to a relatively small group of Zionists, the Balfour Declaration was bizarre, deceitful and a deliberate betrayal of the loyal Arabs fighting in the desert war against the Turks. Perfidious Albion had rarely plumbed such duplicitous depths. What power did these Zionists hold over the British government to ensure their unquestioned co-operation in the first steps towards a Zionist state at the expense of the rightful owners of Palestine?

The absolute destruction of Germany and her Ottoman allies promised to pave the way for a re-drawing of maps and spheres of influence which would advance the Secret Elite’s overall strategy; namely the control of the English speaking elect over the world. The strategic sands of Arabia and the oil-rich lands of Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia had long been prime targets. These were the first in a number of prerequisites which would shape the Middle-East after 1919 to the advantage of Britain in particular. Critically, as a neutral, America had to be very careful about open intervention even after she had entered the war and to an extent Britain acted as her proxy in putting markers down for a new world order. It is important to remember that when early discussions about the future of a Jewish homeland in Palestine were in progress, little mention was made of American involvement. The truth is otherwise. America was deeply involved in secret intrigues both directly and indirectly.

So too were a small but influential groups of politicians and businessmen, English, American, French, Russian, men and women of the Jewish faith spread literally across the world, who supported a growing movement to establish a permanent homeland in Palestine. They were called Zionists. Take care with this term. Initially it included a range of Jewish groups which held different views and aspirations. Some saw Zionism as a purely religious manifestation of ‘Jewishness’; a small but intensely vocal group fostered political ambitions. This latter form of Zionism included those determined to ‘reconstitute’ a national home for their co-religionists.

Lord George Curzon, Former Viceroy of India. his observations were acutely correct, but ignored.

In the words of the former Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon ‘a national home for the Jewish race or people’ implied a place where the Jews could be reassembled as a nation, and where ‘they [would] enjoy the privileges of an independent national existence’. [3] How do you reconstitute a nation? In truth, if the Ashkenaiz Jews were to be ‘reassembled’ it should have been along the Volga River in the true Khazarian ‘homeland’, not along the Jordan river in Palestine.

There were a small number of suggested sites for the proposed new homeland, including one in Uganda, but in the first years of the twentieth century a more determined Zionist element began to focus their attention on the former land of Judea in the Middle East. They spoke of the creation in Palestine of an autonomous Jewish State, a political entity composed of Jews, governed by Jews and administered mainly in their interests. In other words, the recreation of a mythical Jewish State as was claimed before the days of the so called ‘diaspora’.[4] Few voices were raised to ask what that meant, on what evidence it was predicated or how it might be justified? It was an assumed biblical truth. Not every Jew was a Zionist; far from it, and that is an important factor to which we will in due course return.

Frequently historians write versions of history which imply that an event ‘just happened’. In other words they begin at a point which creates the impression that there was no essential preamble, no other influence which underwrote the central action. One example is the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. For generations, school pupils have been taught that this murder caused the First World War. Such nonsense helped deflect attention away from the true culprits. Another example can be found in the usual interpretation of the Balfour Declaration which has been described as the British Government’s note of approval for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people, as if it turned up one day on the Foreign Secretary’s desk and was signed like the other items in his out-tray. It has been downplayed; granted but a minor mention in the memoirs and diaries of the politicians who carefully orchestrated its single sentence. The Balfour Declaration was much more than a vague promise made by British politicians under the pressure of war’s contingency. Such a simple interpretation has conveniently masked the international pressures which the hidden powers on both sides of the Atlantic asserted in favour of a monumental policy decision which opened the door to the eventual establishment of the State of Israel.

Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, a key member of the Secrete Elite's inner circle.

At the 261st meeting of the British War Cabinet on 31 October, 1917, with prime minister Lloyd George in the Chair, the membership comprised Lord Curzon, Lord Milner, Andrew Bonar Law,(Conservative leader) Sir Edward Carson, G N Barnes (Labour Party), the South African General Jan Smuts and Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour. This was the inner-circle formed mainly from the Secret Elite’s political agents to run the war. [5] They remained behind the closed doors of 10 Downing Street after other war business had been completed. The military and naval representatives were dismissed before the War Cabinet’s inner cabal proceeded to discuss the on-going issue of ‘The Zionist Movement’. As always, Lloyd George’s War Cabinet secretary, Sir Maurice Hankey, recorded the minutes. This coterie of British imperialists and Secret Elite members and associates, agreed unanimously 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.’ [6] To that end a carefully constructed form of words was tabled and the War Cabinet authorised foreign secretary Balfour ‘to take a suitable opportunity of making the following declaration of sympathy with the Zionist aspiration’. It was no co-incidence that some five days previously the editor of The Times had urged them to make this statement. [7] The precise wording was as recorded at the beginning of this chapter [8] and unanimously approved by the War Cabinet.

While the seventy-eight words which comprise the core of Balfour Declaration have had an explosive impact on the history of the world right up to the present day, in our timeframe we must concentrate on the period between 1917 and the end of the war. Who was actually involved in the secret machinations, how did they manipulate opportunities to their own advantage and who financed and promoted the idea from its early origins to eventual realisation?

Two days after the War Cabinet’s decision a letter was sent from the Foreign Office to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild (2nd Baron Rothschild) in London asking that he ‘bring this Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.’ It was signed Arthur James Balfour, and henceforth was known as The Balfour Declaration, though it was the product of many more minds than solely that of the British foreign secretary. [9] Its precise wording was publicised across the Jewish communities who hailed the letter as the beginning of a new epoch in their history. Despite the apparent care with which the War Cabinet attempted to lay down conditions to protect non-Jewish communities, in particular the rights of the Palestinian Arabs to whom the country belonged, the event was celebrated by Zionists across the world as a National Charter for a Jewish homeland.[10] The genie was out of the bottle.

Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild

In truth, the letter was the product of years of careful lobbying in both Britain and America. It was neither a beginning nor an end-point. Though the communication was essentially between the British government and the Zionist Federation in Britain, it had an almost casual feel to it as if it was simply a letter between two members of the English gentry, Balfour and Rothschild. The Declaration was far from casual and much more contrived than a gentleman’s agreement.

By all known processes of law and morality it was ridiculous. Consider the unprecedented nature of the proposal. Britain held no sovereign right whatsoever over Palestine or authority to dispose of the land.[11] As if this would not cause sufficient confusion, the British Foreign Office had already promised parts of Palestine to the French, to the Arabs who already owned the land, and finally, to the international Jewish community. Was there ever a better example of the wanton arrogance of the British imperialist ruling class? The very wording of the Balfour Declaration was ambiguous; the conditions set were impossible. What was meant by the phrase, ’a national home’? It had no clearly defined meaning in international law. How could a foreign government promise to achieve world-wide approval for a national home for Jews in an Arab country without automatically prejudicing the rights of the Arabs whose ancestors had lived there for thousands of years? [12] Its very vagueness gave rise to interpretations and expectations which were certain to cause bitter dispute. What was going on?

The answer can be found by examining earlier versions of this controversial document and the extent to which Zionists on both sides of the Atlantic strove to nurture and protect it.Far from any notion of their sudden conversion to Zionism, the political drive to establish a Jewish homeland in the sands of the desert, British politicians had been engaged in such discussions for several years. This fact had been conveniently omitted from official histories, memoirs and government statements.
1. CAB 23/4 WC 261, p. 6
2. The original quotation from which this observation is taken was made by Arthur Koestler, in Promise and Fulfilment, Palestine 1917- 1949, p. 4.
3. National Archives, War Cabinet Memorandum GT 2406.
4. CAB 24/30 ; GT 2406, p.1.
5. See blog: The Great British Coup, 1916: The End Of Democracy.
6. CAB 23/4, WC 261 p. 5.
7. The Times 26 October 1917, p.7.
8. CAB 23/4 WC 261, p. 6.
9. Letter from A J Balfour to Lord Rothschild, 2 November 1917.
10. Great Britain, Palestine and the Jews. Jewry’s Celebration Of Its National Charter – Anonymous pamphlet, 1917.
11. Sol M. Linowitz, Analysis of a Tinderbox: The Legal Basis for the State of Israel, American Bar Association Journal, Vol. 43, 1957, p. 523.
12. Arthur Koestler, Promise and Fulfilment, Palestine 1917- 1949, p. 4.

Balfour Declaration 1. Beware Mythistory

Map of Ottoman Empire shows the land mass around 1914 extending across the Middle East

Possibly the most contentious centenary within the First World War was the Balfour Declaration of November 1917. It left in its wake so many controversies and is held to be the root of so much antagonism since that time, that we have made every effort to focus on its importance solely within the context of our narrative. In other words we have tried to limit our investigation to the events and personnel which shaped the Declaration, analyse its impact and consider the roles played by those directly and indirectly associated with the Secret Elite up to but not beyond 1919. For certain, the Balfour Declaration was not what it appeared to be when first announced in 1917. Its roots spread wide and deep; its impact in prolonging the war has been overwhelmed by later events. Historians have often ignored its real origins, its trans-Atlantic gestation and the frantic urgency which attended its delivery.

But first an explanation. Like many historical confusions which have been deliberately muddied by assumptions and lies, the concept of a jewish homeland in Palestine appeared, in the early twentieth century, to have unquestioned biblical certainty. People believed it as fact. Other views now challenge this ‘certainty’.

Shlomo Sand, Israeli-Jewish historian and highly regarded Professor of History.

The distinguished Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand [1] risked more than his reputation, when in 2008, he published his re-examination of Jewish history, to expose ‘the conventional lies about the past’ [2] which, like all historical misrepresentations, served to justify the traditional narrative which the Elites have constructed to protect their primacy. He challenged the orthodox views from ‘the authorised agents of memory’ who had steadfastly denied any deviation from the received version of Jewish history. What a wonderful phrase – the authorised agents of memory- the voices of those, and only those, whose research and writings are accepted as truth. Professor Sand has since been shunned by establishment Zionist historians and castigated because he refused to use terms like ‘The Jewish people,’ ‘ancestral land’ ‘exile,’ ‘diaspora,’ ‘Eretz Israel,’ or ‘land of redemption’, which were key terms in the mythology of Israel’s national history. His refusal to employ them was held to be heretical. Shlomo Sand was not alone in such protests.

Those of us born into the Christian traditions were taught bible stories in school or at church – perhaps even from our parents. In the two-part theological litany of events (the Bible) as recorded by whom we will never know, the Old Testament was accepted as a history of the Jewish people despite a complete lack of evidence on which to base key assertions. Take for example the claim that the Jewish people were dispersed into exile by the Romans. Nowhere in the vast and well-documented records of the Roman Empire is there historical proof of a large refugee population around the borders of Judea after the three uprisings or wars in the first century C.E. as there would have been if a mass flight had taken place.[3] Many Jews may have fled Judea fearing for their lives, but the Roman conquerors did not enforce an exile. There was no Imperial edict. There was no systematic dispersal of the tribes of Israel.

Another Israeli historian, Adiyah Horon, insisted that there was no truth in the claim that an ‘exile’ occurred after the destruction [of the Temple] when the Emperors Titus and Hadrian supposedly expelled the Jews from Palestine. He too agreed that this idea, based on historical ignorance, derived from a hostile fabrication by the fathers of the Christian church who wanted to show that God punished the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. [4 ]

Ilan Pappe, has many lectures posted on Youtube

The myth of uprooting and exile was fostered by the Christian legend, from which it flowed into Jewish tradition and grew to be the accepted ‘truth’ engraved in history. [5] More recently, the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe [6] Professor at Exeter University, has attacked the ‘foundational mythologies’ of Israeli history which insist that ‘Palestine was a land without people waiting on a people without land’.[7] This isn’t just bad history, it is patently wrong.

In 1976, Arthur Koestler, a Hungarian-born naturalised British citizen of Jewish parentage, demonstrated another misconception in his remarkable book, The Thirteenth Tribe. The ancient Ashkenazi Jews, who today comprise most of the world’s population of Jews, sprang from barbarians living in the ancient empire of Khazaria between the Caspian and Black Seas. [8] In his masterpiece of world history, The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan, Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University, also explained the spread of Judaism in the ninth century when the Khazars chose to convert to that religion en masse, [9 ]which later raised speculation that they might be one of the lost tribes of ancient Israel. Not so. Many of these Jewish converts migrated to what is today Poland and Russia, but the evidence of history demonstrates that they had no link to ‘the holy land’ or ‘Palestine’.

Eran Elhaik, an Israeli geneticist, who served seven year in the Israeli Defence Force, and no critic of Israel, developed genome studies at John Hopkins University in America.[10] In tracing the geographical positioning of a number of Ashkenazi Jews, he found that their ancestral origins were not from the Middle East or indeed the Mediterranean but from a region that is now in north east Turkey.

Eran Elhaik, geneticist

This scientific evidence underscores the historical findings of Shlomo Sand and others that makes nonsense of the claims of an ancestral Jewish homeland and the diaspora. Don’t be misled by the clamour raised against these brave professional historians and scientists against whom disparaging, sometimes vile comments have been made, calling them ‘self-hating jews’.[11] To be pilloried by the establishment who seek to squash the truth, is a shameful consequence for those who question orthodox historical explanations, but typical in this modern era. It is a chilling thought, is it not, that ‘alternative facts’ were written up as official history at the end of the First World War, and predate the current explosion of lies by a full century.

The reason we have introduced our sections on the Balfour Declaration in this manner is to enable the reader who is considering the impact of the First World War, to understand that several major pronouncements were made about Palestine, its contemporary status and its future standing which would be more closely questioned today. Most educated people in Britain accepted the concept of the wandering Jews alienated from their biblical ‘homeland’ after a ‘diaspora’. The Christian tradition wallowed in such patronising postulation. The terms were widely unquestioned across national boundaries. Key politicians within the Secret Elite who considered themselves staunch Christians in the Anglican tradition did not challenge these beliefs for a second.

A renewal of Jewish aspirations for a ‘homeland’ had been on the march from the 1890s. It was termed Zionism and it appeared to have different interpretations for different parties amongst different Jewish communities. For some it was a religious expression; for a small but growing band, it was primarily a force which sought to assert Jewish ambitions in political terms.

At the end of the nineteenth century, concepts like a Jewish ‘homeland’ took on a fresh life of its own, especially inside the political Zionism which increasingly expressed itself in ‘national’ terms, as if it represented a nation-state. We will shortly examine this in greater depth. In the context of the Secret Elite’s attitude towards Palestine and Zionist claims in 1917, the following blogs will demonstrate why one faction, the political Zionists, and another, the Secret Elite and the Allies, successfully used each other to help move forward their specific agendas. We have used terms like ‘Jewish homeland’ and ‘diaspora’ not because we are in agreement with them, or hold them to be true, but because they were part of the language of the time. Bear this in mind as the narrative unfolds.

[1] Emeritus professor of History at Tel Aviv University and much published author
[2] Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, p. xi.
[3] Ibid., p. 131.
[4] Ibid. pp.134-5.
[5] Ibid. p. 130.
[6] Illan Pappe is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor at the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter.
[7] Illan Pappe: History of Israel, Stolen Land of Palestine on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKGA48MptIY&t=965s
[8] Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe.
[9] Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads, pp. 111-114.
[10] Eran Elhaik, geneticist and former John Hopkin’s University post-doctoral researcher, currently lecturer at University of Sheffield.
[11] a term coined by Zionists who seek to denigrate those members of the Jewish faith or Israeli citizens who question their orthodox mythistory.

America 1917: 4. Morgan / Rothschild, Wall Street Goes To War.

If the Zimmermann telegram was an absurd intrusion and diplomatic own-goal, it was not in itself, cause for war. If the German decision to revert to all-out submarine warfare in the Atlantic was unquestionably aggressive, it had hardly dented the overwhelming power of the American merchant marine’s massed fleets before President Wilson made his decisive move. Both actions, take together, certainly edged the United States towards the precipice because these issues were whipped up into a frenzy by a highly controlled and organised pro-British press. What matters here is; who was pulling the proverbial strings?

American newspaper editors and owners played a critical role in fomenting public opinion for war in 1917, similar to that of Lord Northcliffe in pre-war Britain. Indeed control of the press in the United States was even more calculated and orchestrated than its British equivalent. Congressman Oscar Calloway of Texas exposed the machinations of the money power as it expanded its influence over the fourth estate in order to swing public opinion towards a ‘necessary’ war. On 9 February 1917 he placed the following statement on the Congressional Record:

‘In March 1915 J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding and powder interests and their subsidiary organisations got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapermen in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the United States’ [1]

Congressman Oscar Calloway of Texas

Congressman Calloway revealed that Morgan’s twelve chosen men assessed the worth of over 170 newspapers across America and came to the conclusion that by purchasing twenty-five of the most famous titles, they could literally control the policies and direction of public opinion. An agreement was quietly reached through which monthly payments were paid to them through the House of Morgan. A compliant editor was placed in each paper to supervise and edit the ‘news’. Questions of American preparedness for war were raised in the context of alleged German aggression and Mexican duplicity. The governments’s financial policy came under fire as did ‘other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.’ [2] Be certain; J.P. Morgan and his associates sat in the driving seat and carried American public opinion towards the slaughterhouse of a world war … in order to protect their obscene profiteering and future intentions. Taking America to war was not a forgone conclusion even although the Germans had given up any hope of equal-handed neutrality. The people had to be manipulated.

The crucial factor lay at the heart of Wall Street where the money power decided that the time to abandon the illusion of neutrality had come. America had to go to war or their combined losses would have broken the back of the economy. Though fact, it has been vehemently denied ever since. Typical of this attitude is the claim from the American historian Charles Tansill: [3]

‘There is not the slightest evidence that during the hundred days that preceded America’s entry to the World War the President gave any heed to the demands from ‘big business’ that America intervene in order to save investments that were threatened by possible Allied defeat.’ [4]

What nonsense. America’s economy was inextricably linked to an Allied victory. Had the British and French been forced to come to terms with Germany after 1917, potential losses would have been catastrophic. And in April 1917, Wall Street was aware that the balance of forces in Europe had suddenly swung in favour of the Kaiser when his cousin the Czar, was deposed.

Thomas W Lamont, close associate and friend of JP Morgan

Thomas W Lamont, of Morgan Bank, estimated that half a million Americans, many from the wealthy and influential east coast establishment, had invested in loans to the Allies.[5] Consider these words;  half a million wealthy influential people had a vested interest in an Allied victory. Do you imagine that they sat quietly waiting to see how their investment fared as Britain and France haemorrhaged their youth in the slaughter-filled stalemate on the Western Front which could only get worse after the Czar had been deposed and Russia opted out of a hopeless war? This was but the tip of the iceberg of vested interest.

Allegedly, Woodrow Wilson tried to the last to bring about peace, but failed. But how genuine were his intentions?

If President Wilson had hoped to convince the banks that they should stop extending credit to the warring nations to give him time to coax them towards peace, he was deluded. Too many financial opportunities presented themselves which allowed New York to corner the market while competitors were crippled by war. [6] American banks had been building great stores of foreign securities as well as lending directly to London and Paris. National banks in America held around $15.6 million dollars of foreign securities in 1914. Within two years that sum had multiplied tenfold to $158.5. By September 1916 the total amount of foreign securities stood at almost $240 million which naturally thrust Wall Street into a pre-eminent global position from where it could fund the massive increase in its domestic war industries. [7] With such a formidable war-chest to hand, could the money-power really have contemplated anything other than a victorious war? No.

The Stockton Record's front coverage of Wilson's decision to break with Germany. Note the mention of one American ship reported sunk.

One immediate consequence of the German decision to embark on its unrestricted U-Boat campaign in 1917 was the immediate panic it caused to traders along the busy eastern seaboard. American shipowners refused to send their vessels into the Atlantic war zone and goods purchased in the United States by the Morgan banks sat idle on the wharves. Profit was threatened; the American economy, intimidated. Morgan asserted his influence with the White House. Jack Morgan was shameless. On 4 April 1917 he wrote a letter to the President pledging his support and reminding Wilson of his connections:

‘We are most heartily in accord with you as to the necessity of the United States assisting the allies in the matter of supplies of materials and of credits. To these matters we have been devoting our whole time and thought for the past two years. I write to assure you again that the knowledge we have gained in those two years of close association with the allies in these matters are entirely at the disposal of the United States government at any time…’[8]

What he omitted to say was that he had devoted his ‘time and thought’ over the last two years to making a fortune from the war. His position of sole supplier and agent for the British government brought him immense wealth and prestige. This reminder could hardly have been better timed. It was almost as if he was saying to the President, you know I can handle the money supply…just get on with the war. Two days later when war was declared, the House of Morgan held the reins of real monetary power in the United States. Through his connections with ‘Colonel’ Mandell House and President Wilson, J P Morgan took effective control of the major international loans emanating from the USA once all previous restrictions had been removed.

President WilsonJ P Morgan

On 24 April 1917, President Wilson signed a war finance bill which opened the Federal Reserve’s floodgates and removed any possible liability from Morgan’s banks. Every which way was profit on the Midas scale. $200 million was loaned to Britain immediately. All formal banking technicalities were removed. The New York Times reported that in order to speed matters up the American Treasury would not even wait until British bonds arrived in New York. Subscribers were given four months to pay in instalments as ‘had been suggested by banking interests and others to Treasury Secretary McAdoo with strong endorsement’. Of course they gave Secretary McAdoo their full endorsement. It was their idea; Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one. What joy. As the New York Times added, ‘ Little if any of the sum would be spent abroad. Virtually the entire loan to the Allies will be spent in this country for foodstuffs, munitions and supplies.’ [9] Subscriptions from American banks exceeded the initial sum of $200 million by 10.AM on the day of issue, and Secretary McAdoo increased the first limit to $250 million.

Consider what had happened. J.P. Morgan spent the first two years of the war using his banking and financial associates to sell British securities on the American market and spend the money on the weapons of war and all its accessories in America. His agents controlled the orders for steel and armaments, for cotton, wheat and meat, for the transportation of these goods across the Americas and the maritime fleets that crossed the oceans. A single example of what this actually meant can be gleaned from the post-war investigation set up under Congressional Investigation into the munitions industry in 1934. The Du Pont company admitted that J P Morgan & Co. acted as agents, under sales contracts aggregating $351,259, 813 . 28, which accounted for almost 72% of the total military business carried out for the British and French governments during the war. At a mere 1% commission, Morgan made a profit of $3,512,598, from that alone. [10]

Once America abandoned its sham neutrality, Morgan became the prime agent for Wilson’s government at war. Loans which he had issued and underwritten on behalf of the Allies were guaranteed by the State. It was impossible for his banks to lose money. The American economy continued to flourish. The British and French tax-payer would eventually be required to repay their debts. It was as if he was a Rothschild. Indeed. The reader might well ask: where were the Rothschilds?

Let the record show that the Rothschilds remained where they always were; at the centre of the money-power, though not necessarily under their own name. J.P. Morgan’s personal affiliation with the House of Rothschild dated back to 1899, from which point he represented Rothschild interests in the United States. [11] The first telegrams of the war sent to Morgan & Co. in New York, were from Rothschild Freres in Paris as early as 3 August 1914. That is before Britain had even declared war on Germany. The French government, anticipating some of the problems ahead, had approached both Rothschild and Morgan, Harjes & Co. (their French bank) for a loan of $10,000,000, but initially the Americans could not circumvent their own government’s insistence that such a loan was ‘inconsistent with the true spirit of neutrality.’ [12]  It was Lord Nathaniel Rothschild in London who personally advised Lloyd George as Chancellor of the Exchequer [13] before J.P. Morgan was chosen as the sole purchasing agent for Britain.

While the financial autocrats pulled the strings behind the scenes, Woodrow Wilson was also driven by personal ambition. As America’s president, his place on the world stage had an immediacy which demanded he exercise power before his time had passed. He looked to the future in the belief that victory would place America at the centre of a new world order and boost his chance of a third term in office. His pronouncements had a touch of papal authority, or might have had, if his new allies accepted his naive declarations. But we will come to the Fourteen Points in due course and wonder at their meaning.

Ray Standard Baker was also Wilson's press secretary at Versailles

The final word on the impact of the financial – industrial – munitions lobby which unquestionably pushed America into war should come from President Wilson’s close friend and biographer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian, Ray Standard Baker. He believed that the die was cast from the outset, observing;  ‘…by the end of 1914 the traffic in war materiel with the Allies had become deeply entrenched in America’s economic organisation and the possibility of keeping out of the war by the diplomacy of neutrality no matter how skilfully conducted, had reached vanishing point. By October, possibly earlier, our case was lost.’ [14] It was only a matter of time, of when America would go to war, not whether America would become actively involved. The occasion of war might well have been unrestricted submarine warfare but the cause was lay in Wall Street. The American economy faced wipe-out if the Allies failed to win the terrible war of attrition. Neither could be allowed.

1. Congressional Record, 64th Congress of the United States, February 9 1917, p. 2947. Reported in the New York Times on 14 February 1917.
2. Ibid.
3. Charles Tansill was Professor of History at the American University. He prepared the official volume on World War I responsibility for Congress and in 1927 edited another volume for the Library of Congress entitled “Documents on the Formation of the American Union.” His America Goes to War was considered the officially accepted view.
4. Charles Cannon Tansill, America Goes to War, p. 657.
5. Bailey, A Diplomatic History, p. 644.
6. Nomi Prins, All The President’s Bankers, p. 47.
7. Ibid.
8. letter from JP Morgan to President Wilson April 4, 1917, Wilson Papers vol. 41.
9. New York Times, 25 April 1917.
10. Hearings before the Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry, US Senate S.Res. 206.
11. W. G. Carr, Pawns in the Game, p. 60.
12. Hearings before the Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry, US Senate S.Res. 206. exhibit 2040, p. 7505.
13. David Lloyd George, War Memoirs, p. 70.
14. Ray Standard Baker, The Life & Letters of Woodrow Wilson, p.181. This was cited in evidence against J P Morgan in Hearings before the Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry, US Senate S.Res. 206, p. 7566.

America 1917: 3. Why Did Wilson Go To War?

President Wilson addressing Congress 1917

If on 4 March 1917, President Woodrow Wilson believed his own rhetoric when he proclaimed that America stood ‘firm in armed neutrality’ why was it necessary some twenty-nine days later, to advise a joint Session of Congress that they would have to go to war to defend and protect democracy? On April 6, 1917, America duly declared that war [1] after the Senate approved the action by 82-6 and the House of Representatives by 373-50.

In the Senate, a few voices were raised hopelessly against what they deemed ‘a great blunder’. Opposition inside the House of Representatives pointed out that no invasion was threatened, no territory at risk, no sovereignty questioned, no national policy contested nor honour sacrificed. [2] Be assured of one important fact. There was no outcry for war amongst ordinary American citizens. No excited crowds took to the streets. At Wellington House in London, the nerve-centre of British propaganda, the manipulators of truth were concerned that the American Press carried ‘no indications of enthusiasm except in a few Eastern papers’. [3] In the United States, citizens were genuinely unsure why the nation was at war, but loyalty to the flag has always carried great weight. Enlistment statistics threw an interesting light on American society. Before 1917, the Eastern seaboard editors, lawyers, bankers and financiers, teachers and preachers, leaders of ‘society’ in New York and Washington alike, had berated the Western states for their alleged unpatriotic attitude towards war. In the event, recruiting figures showed that the response from the western states was greater than their compatriots along the eastern seaboard.[4] How often do the movers and shakers turn into moaners and shirkers and fail to step up to the mark?

American Recruitment Poster 1917

There was no instant Kitchener-effect in America. British propagandists watched this lack of enthusiasm with real concern. Woodrow Wilson set up the Committee on Public Information on 14 April to rouse the public to ‘righteous wrath’.[5] Two and a half year’s worth of Wellington House propaganda was at hand for regurgitation and dissemination. Even so, from 1 April until 16 May, total enlistment was a mere 73,000 men. [6] By June 117,974 men had joined the regular army, but the rate was falling. In July only 34,962 joined the ranks; in August it was 28,155; in September, 10,557. [7] This simply could not continue. A conscript army was required.

On 18 May, 1917, the sixty-fifth Congress passed a Military Act to enable the President to temporarily increase the strength of the army, and the ‘draft’ became law.[8] For all his talk of brokering peace between the waring factions in Europe, and many reported attempts at reconciliation, President Wilson led his country into war, provided the manpower to be sacrificed and stirred the hatred and propaganda necessary to popularise the slaughter on the western front. Why? Why within months of his re-election on the proud boast that he had kept America out of the war, was everything reversed; every assumed position revoked; every implied promise, broken? Some historians insist that Germany forced President Wilson into a declaration of war through two acts of blundering stupidity. Emphasis on such a focus has successfully deflected attention away from much more powerful interests which Wilson could not ignore.

On 17 January 1917, British code-breakers partially deciphered an astonishing message from the German Foreign Minister, Arthur Zimmermann to his Ambassador in Washington. Though the analysts in Room 40 at the admiralty in London could decipher some of the essential message, the new code which had been delivered to the German Embassy in Washington by the cargo U-boat Deutschland in November 1916, had not been fully broken. Senior British cryptographs were trying to reconstruct this particular code but had made only sufficient progress to form an incomplete text. [9] From their initial reconstruction it appeared that Zimmermann had requested the German ambassador to the United States, Count Johann von Bernstorff, to contact President Carranza of Mexico through the German embassy in Mexico City and offer him a lucrative alliance. ‘Blinker’ Hall, Director of Naval Intelligence, took personal control. His grasp of effective propaganda was second to none. Hall knew that once the full text was available it had to be carefully handled both to protect the anonymity of Room 40 and convince the Americans of its authenticity.

Room 40 focused on the ambassadorial messages between Berlin and the American continent and on 19 February the full text of Zimmerman’s instructions to his Mexican ambassador was traced. It had been sent to Washington by a wireless channel which Wilson and House had previously allowed Germany to use for secret discussions on a possible peace initiative. This effrontery added insult to injury. Once Admiral ‘Blinker’ Hall held the decoded and translated text in his hands, he knew that he had unearthed a propaganda coup of enormous importance. Zimmermann’s telegram read as follows:

The coded and decoded Zimmermann message

‘Washington to Mexico 19 January 1917.

We intend to begin on 1 February unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavour in spite of this to keep the USA neutral. In the event of this not succeeding we make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following terms:-
Make war together
Make peace together
Generous financial support and an undertaking on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The settlement in detail is left to you.
You will inform the President of the above most secretly as soon as the outbreak of war with the USA is certain, and add the suggestion that he should on his own initiative invite Japan to immediate adherence and at the same time mediate between Japan and ourselves.
Please call the President’s attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace. (signed) Zimmermann.’ [10]

After ensuring that they could conceal how they had obtained the telegram, the British Foreign Office released it to Walter Paget, the American ambassador in London, who promptly sent it to the State Department in Washington. Woodrow Wilson received the transcript on 24 February 1917. He was stunned to discover that the Germans had abused the cable line which he had insisted they be allowed to access for peace negotiations. [11] It took President Wilson four days to release the telegram to the Associated Press and following expressions of disbelief, he authorised Senator Swann of Virginia to announce in the Senate on 1 March 1917, that the Zimmerman note to Mexico was textually correct. Robert Lansing made a similar pronouncement from the State Department. Clearly the American public was not easily convinced. Even in 1917, they were suspicious of government pronouncements.

If the reader scans the infamous Zimmermann line by line, it quickly becomes apparent that its ludicrous nature verges on lunacy. Alliances are not forged by telegram. Vague promises of generous financial support, of a detailed settlement being left in the hands of the Mexican government and the subsequent ‘reconquering’ of vast tracts of America, did not make sense. Though the Mexicans gave no immediate response, the Japanese Ambassador authoritatively dismissed the proposition. They had no intention of being suckered by a spurious telegram. And why did Zimmermann describe Germany’s submarine tactics as ‘ruthless’? The whole incident seemed contrived.

William Randolph Hearst, newspaper proprietor, was strongly anti-Allied in his policies

One major American newspaper-owner firmly rejected the Zimmermann story. William Randolph Hearst had kept his stable independent of the British censor. Just as he had refused to swallow wholesale war guilt, atrocity or war aims propaganda, Hearst cabled his editors that ‘in all probability’ the Zimmermann note was an ‘absolute fake and forgery.’ He believed that the object was to frighten Congress into giving the President the powers he demanded. Hearst’s anxiety was that ‘the whole people of this country, 90 percent of whom do not want war, may be projected into war because of these misrepresentations..’ [12] He also accused the president’s advisor, ‘Colonel’ House of being a corporation lobbyist. Hearst was at Palm Beach in the weeks before America entered the war and his private telegrams to his editors and those of other newspapers, were later made public in an attempt to discredit him.[13]

Though publication of the telegram aroused some anger in the West and mid-West states, American newspapers generally chose to omit any reference to the fact that the proposed alliance would only take place after America had declared war against Germany. [14] The original note had been passed to the American embassy in London in such secrecy that the State Department could not reveal its origins to enquiring journalists. [15] Indeed the propaganda value was diluted by a suspicion that it was a forgery, as Hearst and his newspapers insisted until, to the immense relief of British and American war-mongers, the naive Zimmerman acknowledged that he was the author. At a press conference on 2 March, Zimmermann was invited by the Hearst correspondent in Berlin, W. B. Hale, to deny the story.

Zimmermann

He chose instead to confirm that it was true. [16] In modern parlance, it was a spectacular own goal. Some have said that the Zimmermann telegram incident was the “overt act” that brought the United States into the war. It was not. Woodrow Wilson did not ask Congress to declare war until 3 April 1917, fully six weeks after the British delivered the telegram to him.

So why did Woodrow Wilson take the irredeemable step to war? Sympathetic historians were very clear as to the cause. German militarism. The diplomatic record left no room for doubt. ‘ It was the German submarine warfare and nothing else that forced him [Wilson] to lead America into war.’ [17] Newton D Baker, Secretary of War came to the same conclusion, but wrapped it carefully inside a moment of caution. He wrote that ‘ the occasion’ of America entering the war was the resumption of submarine warfare. [18] Don’t confuse the words ‘cause’ and ‘occasion’. Indeed, consider that sentence again, but replace ‘occasion’ with ‘excuse’.

The German government had announced an unrestricted submarine campaign on 31 January, 1917. From that date U-boat commanders were ordered to sink all ships, neutral and belligerent, passenger or merchant inside a delineated Atlantic and North Sea zone. Despite perfunctory American protests, the British blockade had begun to take its toll in Germany from late 1916. Hunger was to be a weapon of war which both sides could use to advantage. German strategists were aware that such a tactic was likely to bring America into the war, but had concluded that Britain could be starved out before America had time to raise an effective fighting force and bring it into the European theatre. As it stood, America could hardly offer the Allies much more assistance as a belligerent than it currently did as a neutral,[19] but one unforeseen consequence hit home quickly. American shipping was temporarily paralysed.[20] Great quantities of wheat and cotton began to pile up in warehouses. The American economy faced dangerous dislocation. American merchant shipping clung to the safety of their shoreline and trade stood still.

Look carefully at the twin ‘causes’ of America Declaration of War, the Zimmermann telegram and Germany’s unrestricted submarine campaign and you will find flaws. The first was not a ‘casus belli’. It was a propaganda coup to soften the American public’s attitude to war, to stir indignation into resentment and stir the fear factor. No matter how ridiculous the notion that Mexican troops could invade Texas, New Mexico or Arizona, the very suggestion of an alliance through which three huge American states might be ceded to Mexico, placed Germany in a particularly bad light. Zimmermann admitted he was the author, but the clandestine nature by which the British secret service ensured that the information was passed to Washington, and the extent to which the Americans covered all traces of British involvement, leaves questions hanging in the air. Did Zimmermann have a cerebral meltdown? Was he secretly trying to prepare for any eventuality? No matter, it was not the cause of war.

Greater weight may be placed on the general insistence that unrestricted submarine warfare brought about Wilson’s fateful decision. Historians have thrown a vast array of statistics into the equation to prove the importance of this single factor. In the first month of the unrestricted warfare at sea 781,500 tons of merchant shipping was lost.[21] While it is true that after Woodrow Wilson’s warning in February, ten American freighters, schooners or tankers were sunk, nine by submarines and one by a mine (laid originally by the Royal Navy), loss of American lives totalled 24 seamen. In total, 38,534 gross U.S. tonnage was sunk. [22] Was this sufficient to be a cause of war? The pro-war newspapers gave vent to their outrage when it was reported that three American ships, Vigilancia, City of Memphis and Illinois had been sunk on 18 March. The New York World screamed that ‘without a declaration of war, Germany is making war on America.’ The New York Tribune claimed that Germany was acting on the theory that already war existed; The Philadelphia Public Ledger demanded that Wilson’s administration take immediate action insisting was its duty to respond, while the St Louis Republic was confident that the President and his advisors would act with wisdom. [23]

What wisdom? Certainly a very small number of American lives had been lost at sea. Unarguably the Zimmermann telegram was a piece of effrontery … but was it sufficient reason to put the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Americans at risk? Or were there darker influences?

1. Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Proclamation 1364 http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/woodrow_wilson.php
2. H C Peterson, Propaganda for War, pp. 321-2.
3. American Press Resume (A.P.R.) issued by the War Office and Foreign Office. “For Use of the Cabinet”, 18 April, 1917.
4. A.P.R. 30 May, 1917.
5. Peterson, Propaganda for War, p. 325.
6. A.P.R. 6 June, 1917.
7. Peterson, Propaganda for War, p. 324. footnote.
8. 65th Congress, Session 1, CH. 15 1917. H.R. 3545.
9. Patrick Beesly, Room 40, pp. 207-8.
10. http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/zimmermann.htm
11. Rodney Carlisle, The Attacks on US Shipping that Precipitated American Entry into World War 1. http://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol17/tnm_17_3_41-66.pdf
12. Telegram to SS Carvalho, 2 March 1917.
13. New York Times 11 December 1918.
14. Peterson, Propaganda, p. 314.
15. Bailey, A Diplomatic History, p. 643, note 28.
16. Beesly, Room 40, p. 223.
17. Charles Seymour, American Diplomacy During the World War, p. 210.
18. Paul Birdsall, Neutrality and Economic Pressures 1914-1917, Science and Society vol. 3, No. 2. (Spring 1939) p. 217.
19. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, p. 641.
20. Millis, Road to War, p. 400.
21. Peterson, Propaganda, p. 318.
22. Carlisle, Attacks on American Shipping that Precipitated the War , The Northern Mariner, XVII, no. 3, p. 61. http://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol17/tnm_17_3_41-66.pdf
23. New York Times, 19 March 1917.

America 1917: 2. Promises Given, Promises Broken.

Wilson peace button

The 1916 election proved to be very close indeed. What matters in an American Presidential election is the Electoral College vote of which, in 1912, there were 530, so the winner had to reach a minimum of 266.

When the first returns from the Eastern States were announced, Republican Charles Hughes appeared to have won by a landslide. By seven o’clock on 7 November it was certain that Wilson had lost New York and the other populous Northeastern States with their heavy votes in the Electoral College followed in swift succession; New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wisconsin and Delaware went Republican. It was a rout.[1] Apparently.

Election extras were quickly on the streets bearing huge portraits of ‘The President Elect, Charles Evans Hughes’. As night fell on Washington, strange forces spread across the United States. President Wilson’s private secretary, Joseph Tumulty was instructed not to concede. He was reported to have received a mysterious, anonymous telephone message warning him ‘in no way or by the slightest sign give up the fight.’ [2] Remarkably the American historian and New York Herald Tribune journalist, Walter Millis wrote ‘Who it was he never knew; perhaps it was a miracle.’ Absurd. Ridiculous. Preposterous. Must we always be taken as fools? How many anonymous callers have the telephone number of the President’s private secretary or could order him not to concede the election? Malpractice was afoot.

Hughes 1916 victory

In London, The Times pronounced, ’Mr Hughes Elected’ in a Republican landslide. Its sober conclusion was that Mr Wilson has been defeated not by, but in spite of his neutrality. [3] The Kolnische Volkrientung cheered that ‘German-Americans have defeated Wilson’, while in Vienna, the Neue Freie Presse claimed that Hughes had been elected to bring an end to an era where ‘the Steel Trust and the Bethlehem works may still make further profits and that the price of munitions shares may be whipped up still further while Morgan further extends his financial kingdom.’ [4] The inference was that the people had turned against the military – industrial profiteers. But they were all running ahead of themselves.

At daybreak on 8 November, while the New York Times conceded Wilson’s defeat, Tumulty remained unmoved. He was quietly informed that the rot had been stopped at Ohio by a margin of 60,000 votes. Colonel House ordered the Democratic Headquarters to put every county chairman in every doubtful state across America on high alert. They were urged to exercise their ‘utmost vigilance’ on every ballot box.[5] How odd that such instructions should be issued on the day following the election. What did House know that others did not? Projections of a Hughes’ victory shrank from certainty to doubt until the entire election result hung on the outcome from California. Secret Service agents and US Marshals were drafted into the largest Californian counties to guard ballot boxes and supervise proceedings. California, with 13 Electoral College votes in 1916, was pivotal to determining the winner. On 8 November, the Electoral vote stood at 264 to Wilson and 254 to Hughes.

mimiapolis election 1916

Before the mystical, middle-of-the-night change of fortune, the Democrats had conceded California to the Republican challenger, but they declared their decision premature. After a two day recount, Wilson was declared winner by a mere 3,420 out of a total of 990,250 Californian votes cast. Talk of election-fraud and vote-buying prompted the Republican party to file legal protests, [6] but nothing significant materialised. They were effectively too late. While scrutiny of the returns showed minor vote-tallying errors, and affected both sides, these appeared to be random. Nothing fraudulent could be proved.

An angry and suspicious Republican Party refused to concede the election. The final recount in California showed that Wilson had gained 46.65% of votes cast and Hughes 46.27%. The Republican candidate baulked at accusing his rival of fraud. His final statement acknowledged ‘in the absence of absolute proof of fraud, no such cry should be raised to becloud the title of the next President of the United States.’ [7] ‘Absolute proof’ set a very high level of certainty. In New Hampshire the lead changed hands during the canvassing of returns and Wilson won the State by a mere 56 Votes. [8]

Vested interests jumped to close down the Republican options. In London, The Times could not believe that ‘the patriotic and shrewd men who manage the electioneering affairs of the Republican Party will attempt to impugn that decision [Wilson’s claim to victory] without clear and conclusive evidence.’[9] Consider the pressure that was heaped upon Charles Hughes. War in Europe raged on. A newly elected government in the United States would have brought about a complete change in all of the key cabinet posts with consequent dislocation of existing ties. Imagine the confusion if a President Hughes had to appoint new ambassadors, new consuls, new State Department staff, new White House staff and so forth.

hughes and wilson

Woodrow Wilson (left) and Charles Hughes. We will never know who truly won the 1916 election

Colonel House told the President that ‘Germany almost to a man is wishing for your defeat and that France and England are almost to a man wishing for your success.’[10] They weren’t wishing for his success, they were dependant on it. In the end, Wilson won more popular votes overall, ( 9,129,606 – 8,538,221) and no clear evidence of malpractice could be found. On 22 November Charles Hughes accepted the election result as it stood. His acquiescence did not go unrewarded. Charles Evans Hughes became United States Secretary of State between 1921and 1925, a judge on the Court of International Justice between 1928 and 1930, and Chief Justice of the United States from 1930 to 1941. His son, Charles Evans Hughes junior, was appointed Solicitor General by Herbert Hoover.

Primed by his jubilant backers, Woodrow Wilson demonstrated an unexpectedly theatrical touch at the start of his second term in office. Not since George Washington had a president delivered his first formal presidential address to the Senate itself. Wilson did this on 22 January, 1917 in a barnstorming speech which created the impression of an enlightened, benevolent master-statesman to whom the world ought to listen. He called for ‘peace without victory’ because:

‘Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last.’[11]

wilson-congress

As rhetoric, this was stout stuff. As policy, it did not last for long. He claimed that his soaring vision for peace and the future was based on core American values unshackled by entangling alliances.[12] The shining centrepiece of his dazzling new utopia was to be a League of Nations which could enforce peace. The Senate sat mesmerised and many rose to salute him at the end of an impressive performance. Democrats waxed lyrical with claims that Wilson’s speech ‘was the greatest message of the century…the most momentous utterance that has a yet been made during this most extraordinary era…simply magnificent…the most wonderful document he has ever delivered.’[13] His Republican rivals were more circumspect in their appraisal, describing it as ‘presumptuous’ and ‘utterly impractical.’

American newspapers split opinion in predictable fashion. The New York World saluted his principles of liberty and justice; the Philadelphia Public Ledger declared that Wilson’s oration was inspired by lofty idealism and the Washington Post thought it constituted a shining ideal. The conservative New York Sun caustically remarked that having failed for four years to secure peace with Mexico, Wilson had no business lecturing the world on the terms for peace with Europe, while The New York Herald warned that ‘Mr Wilson’s suggestion would lead to the hegemony of the Anglo-Saxon nations…propaganda for which ‘has been in evidence for a quarter of a century.’ [14]

In Europe reaction was naturally selfish. The British government refused to countenance his proposal first and foremost because he had added a passage on freedom of the seas which challenged their divine right to dominate the oceans. Having shed rivers of blood on the fields of Flanders and beyond, the Europeans were not attracted to ‘peace without victory’. The French novelist, Anatole France, a Nobel Prizewinner for literature, likened peace without victory to ‘bread without yeast…mushrooms without garlic…love without quarrels…camel without humps’. [15]

But Wilson strode that world stage for darker reasons. Who, one wonders, whispered in his ear that all of his visionary pronouncements could not deliver a place at the high table of international settlement at the end of the war if America was not a participant? He could not logically take part in the final resolution of the conflict unless the United States was a full partner in absolute victory. Peace without victory was an empty promise, a misdirection to the jury of hope.

wilson war congress

On 4 March 1917, President Woodrow Wilson gave his second inaugural address to Congress and proclaimed that America stood ‘firm in armed neutrality’ but warned that ‘we may even be drawn on by circumstances…to a more active assertion of our rights’.[16 ] Twenty-nine days later, on 2 April, he again addressed a joint Session of Congress. This time his purpose was to seek their approval for war with Germany. In a lofty speech he revisited the same moral high ground with which the Secret Elite and their agents in Britain had previously gone to war. With claims about saving civilisation, it might have been penned by Sir Edward Grey:

‘It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilisation itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts-for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.’ [17]

America was encouraged to war in order to fight for democracy. The phrase has a familiar ring. What had caused this violent swing from peace to war in barely four months?

1. Cuddy, Irish Americans and the 1916 Election, American Quarterly vol. 21, no 2, Part 1 p. 235.
2. Walter Millis, Road to War, America 1914-17, p. 352.
3. The Times, 8 Nov. 1916, p. 9.
4. The Times, 18 Nov. 1916. p. 7.
5. Millis, Road to War, America 1914-17, p. 353.
6. Foley, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States, p. 202.
7. New York Times, 11 November 1916.
8. Foley, Ballot Battles: p. 431.
9. The Times, 13 November, 1916, p. 9.
10. H. C. Peterson, Propaganda for War, p. 281.
11. Woodrow Wilson: Address to the Senate of the United States; World League for Peace, 22 January, 1917.
12. Ibid.
13. New York Times, 23 January, 1917, Scenes in the Senate .
14. New York Times, 23 January, 1917. Wilson’s Senate Speech – Press comments
15. Alfred Carter Jefferson, Anatole France: The Politics of Skepticism, p. 195.
16. http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/wilson1917inauguration.htm
17. Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Address to a Joint Session of Congress Requesting a Declaration of War against Germany, 2 April, 1917. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65366

America 1917: 1 He Kept Us Out Of War.

william jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan U.S. Secretary of State

One of the great myths of the First World War is that the United States was not directly involved until April 1917, at which point a coalition of circumstances demanded her formal involvement. Such a convenient interpretation has covered the lie of American neutrality virtually from the day that war was declared by Britain. If neutrality included the vast production of munitions for one side, the enormous loans and credits provided for that same side, the active propaganda which was pumped out, if not exclusively for one side, certainly heavily weighted towards that one side, the provision of vital food supplies and every avenue through which the Allies were aided in their war, then you might argue that America remained neutral. It remains an intrinsically false argument.

Yet the United States was not formally at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary for one overwhelming reason. The people did not want to be dragged into someone else’s conflict. There was no political consensus in favour of war. An active group of upper and upper-middle class businessmen advocated military preparedness but many public figures hated the prospect. Of these, President Wilson’s first Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, was the most outspoken and he had the honesty to resign as Wilson increasingly came under the influence of his minders, Edward Mandell House, and the Wall Street money-power. They supported Robert Lansing as Secretary Bryan’s replacement. A more outspoken opposition to American involvement came from German and Irish communities, but the bottom line was clear. The American people did not want to see American troops sacrificed in Europe. This was not their war.

How and why was America suckered into the conflict despite the overwhelming popular view against, demands examination. The first question to be asked focusses on the President himself.

Woodrow Wilson’s first term in office from 1912-1916, was predicated on an election victory subscribed to and underwritten by the ‘money-power’ in New York. [1] He campaigned under the banner of ‘New Freedom’ and opposition to big business and monopoly power,[2] yet like many presidents, before and after, his actions turned his promises to lies. However the daunting task of defeating the incumbent Republican President William Taft, who had steadfastly attacked the powerful business combinations in the United States, seemed beyond any realistic expectation.

Taft was popular. The Supreme Court’s legal actions against Standard Oil and the American Tobacco Company were decided in favour of his government. [3] In October 1911, Taft’s Justice Department brought a suit against U.S. Steel and demanded that over a hundred of its subsidiaries be granted corporate independence. They named and shamed prominent executives and financiers as defendants. Big business was thoroughly shaken. William Taft earned many powerful enemies. Clear favourite to win a second term in office in 1912, Taft’s chances of success were destroyed by a well-contrived split in the Republican party. Financed by J P Morgan’s associates, the former Republican, Theodore Roosevelt created a third force from thin air, the ‘Progressive’ Bull Moose Party and at the ballot box in November 1912, Wilson was elected President with 42 per cent of the vote; Roosevelt gained 27 percent and Taft could only muster 23 percent. The split Republican voted totalled 7.5 million while Wilson and the Democrats won with just 6.2 million. [4]

wilson 1916

1916 promised to offer better prospects for the Republican Party. The schism with Roosevelt and the Bull-Moose was closing fast. Wilson’s supposed neutrality was so transparently false that certain sectors of the American electorate were drawn to his opponent, the Republican, Charles E. Hughes, a former Supreme Court Judge. German-Americans and Irish-Americans had been particularly annoyed by what they believed was President Wilson’s partisan behaviour and were expected to vote Republican. These groups could not be ignored and came under sustained attack for what the President termed, ‘disloyalty.’ In his annual Message to Congress on 7 December 1915, Woodrow Wilson ranted against those born under foreign flags and welcomed ‘under our generous naturalisation laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life… who seek to make this proud country once more a hotbed of European passion.’[5]

He expressed contempt for those who held fast to their original national identities because they did not put American interests first. These he termed ‘hyphenated Americans’.[6] Wilson’s attitude towards German-Americans was harsh. They had watched from across the Atlantic as their former homeland was bounced into a debilitating war by a British Establishment, financed and supplied by America.

By 1916, there were important and influential groups of ‘hyphenated Americans’. As the table below shows, almost 11,000,000 Americans had comparatively recent German, Austrian or Hungarian ancestry. If the Irish community was added, the total approached 15,500,000.

Table 1. 1910 Census of the United States: Total population 91,972,266 [7]

Defined by place of birth, by persons, both of whose parents were immigrants from that country or one of the parents was foreign born;

German – American 8,282,618
Austria – Hungarian – American 2,701,786
Irish – American 4,504,360
English – Scottish – Welsh – American 3,231,052
Russian – Finnish – American 2,752,675
Italian – American 2,098,360
Note: The U.S. Census of 1910 did not take into account renumbers of foreign-born grandparents or the huge numbers of immigrants from Europe who had settled in America over the previous two and a half centuries.

hyphenated Americans

Puck Cartoon. Wilson asks why the immigrant wants a full vote when claiming to be only half American.

Social tensions diluted Democratic support amongst the American – Irish community. Though many Catholics were not Irish, and not all Irish were Catholic, there was a strong affinity between race and religion on the eastern seaboard states of America. In the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Wilson made himself even more unpopular by refusing to endorse an appeal for clemency for Roger Casement.[8] The President’s support for the anti-clerical President Carranza in Mexico gave rise to the claim that Wilson was anti-Catholic.[9] The New York weekly newspaper, The Irish World, accused his Administration of ‘having done everything for England that an English Viceroy might do.’[10] Quite a calculated insult by any standard. In truth racism and bigotry lay centimetres from the surface of many American voters.

Little was said of another nascent power-block which was beginning to find its political feet; the hyphenated Jewish-American. The spread of Zionism in America brought with it a fresh wind of political influence.Though still in comparative infancy by election day 1916, certain pro-Zionist Jewish-Americans like Wilson’s newly appointed Supreme Court Judge, Louis Brandeis, were held in high esteem inside the Jewish community. Though Brandeis, and by default, Wilson who appointed him, were initially lambasted in the press.[11] It appeared to have little direct effect in November 1916. That would later change.[12]

1916 He Kept Us

Woodrow Wilson had one important advantage, the economy. At the outbreak of war in Europe, America was wallowing in a depression more serious than that of 1907-8, but the war trade brought phenomenal prosperity. [13] The very Trusts which Wilson had spoken against were profiteering on a scale hitherto unknown. Thanks to the massive order book from Britain and France, managed exclusively by the JP Morgan- Rothschild banks, the military-industrial complex thrived, as did the communities around them. There were more and better-paid jobs. On 21 August 1915 Secretary to the ( US) Treasury, McAdoo told President Wilson (his father-in-law,) that ‘Great prosperity is coming. It is, in large measure, already here. It will be tremendously increased if we can extend reasonable credits to our customers’. [14] The customers on whom he was focussed were Britain and France. Wilson’s America forged an economic solidarity with the Allies which made nonsense of neutrality, yet the tacit promise from the Democrats to the American nation in the 1916 election was that ‘He Kept Us out of War’. That was true, as far as it went. The inference was that Woodrow Wilson would continue to keep America out of the war, but the President never claimed that he would continue this policy. Indeed it would have been political suicide to whisper a call to arms. It would also have shortened the war.

1. Anthony Sutton, Federal Reserve Conspiracy, pp. 82-3.
2. Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, p. 76.
3. Paolo Enrico Coletta, The Presidency of William Howard Taft. pp. 154–157.
4. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php?year=1912
5. Albert Shaw, President Wilson’s State Papers and Addresses, p. 150.
6. Hans P. Vought, The Bully Pulpit and the Melting Pot, American Presidents and the Immigrant, 1897-1933, p. 96.
7. Thomas A Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, p. 611.
8. Roger Casement was at that time a hero of the Irish Republican movement because of his support for and involvement in, the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916.]
9. Edward Cuddy, Irish Americans and the 1916 Election, American Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 2, Part 1, Summer 1969, pp. 229-231.
10. Irish World, 24 June, 1916.
11. For example, the New York Times urged the U S Senate to throw out Brandeis’s nomination New York Times, 29 January 1916. p. 3
12. See chapter 28 in forthcoming book, Prolonging The War.
13. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, p. 622.
14. Paul Birdsall, Neutrality and Economic Pressures, Science and Society, Vol. 3, no. 2, (Spring 1939) p. 221.

First World War Hidden History Blogs – an update

We appreciate the number of blog readers and followers who have continued to support our drive to demonstrate clearly how the  First World War was justified, prolonged and deliberately aimed at the destruction of Germany and her allies. Over the past nine months we have been focussed on completing the second book spanning the years 1914-1919. It will be entitled, Prolonging The Agony and published by Trineday in the United States in the autumn / fall. As soon as the production work is completed we intend to post directions from the blog to the publishers so that you can get hold of a copy should you want to read the entire narrative and have it was a historical record. The revelations contained within its covers unmasks many of the myths of ‘The Great War for Civilisation’. It is a history that the establishment does not want to acknowledge, yet year on year, has been forced to concede, as the evidence of their collusion and lies grows ever more obvious.

The Anglo-American Establishment by Carroll Quigley

Over the next two years we intend to examine the period from late 1916-1919 in a series of blogs which will be unrepentantly contentious. As the First World War was deliberately prolonged, so the opportunities for racketeers and armaments suppliers, millionaire bankers and financiers and political opportunists, expanded exponentially and the Secret Elite, whom we have regularly  exposed, began to extend into the trans-Atlantic, Anglo-American establishment, first documented by Professor Carroll Quigley. [1]

In July 1917, the great war poet, Siegfried Sassoon, [2] wrote a letter to his regimental masters in his capacity as a Second Lieutenant of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. It was read aloud in the House of Commons on 30 July by his friend and Member of Parliament for Northampton,  Lees-Smith, and might well have resulted in a court martial and Sassoon’s execution. It read:

‘Lt. Siegfried Sassoon.
3rd Batt: Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
July, 1917.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of agression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation.

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

On behalf of those who are suffering now, I make this protest against the deception which is being practised upon them; also I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share and which they have not enough imagination to realise.’ [3]

Siegfried Sassoon in military uniform. His bravery at the front won him the Military Cross

Ponder the key words here. Sassoon wrote his outcry in wilful defiance of military authority because he believed as a fighting soldier, that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who could have ended it. He no longer considered it a war of defence and liberation but of aggression and conquest. Had the reasons for war been clearly set at the start, the end would already have been attainable by negotiation ( the peace that Britain and France refused to entertain). He could no longer be involved with prolonging these sufferings at the Front for objectives which he described as evil and unjust. He castigated the politicians for their lies for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. He blamed deception and callous complacency with which those at home accepted the agonies which continued in the trenches. This is the very vocabulary which we have used repeatedly to try to come to grips with the horrendous fact that young men across Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia and, by 1917, America were being sacrificed. Sassoon’s very words; being sacrificed. Slaughtered, abandoned, surrendered to a faceless evil. It was  young men across the world who were betrayed … for the aims of a Secret Elite who sought to control a one world power for themselves. These words sit at the core of our thesis that the First World War was deliberately prolonged.  What Sassoon could not point out were the names of the elite cabal involved in this monstrous charade.

Our future blogs will prove beyond argument that this evil was deliberately prolonged just as Sassoon stated. When The Times reported that the letter had been read aloud in Parliament [4] the ruling powers had already taken steps to nullify his brave outburst. For Siegfried Sassoon was a very brave soldier who had won the Military Cross for his actions on the Western Front and had received several commendations for his leadership and decisiveness. This was not a man who could be thrown into prison or executed as a traitor. No. The official conclusion, which the War Office had prepared in advance, was that Sassoon was not responsible for his actions because he was suffering from a nervous breakdown. They decided that there ‘must be something wrong with an extremely gallant officer’ and had him sent to a special hospital for shell-shocked officers at Craiglockhart in Edinburgh. It was by far the easiest solution for Lloyd George’s government to avoid of the wrong kind of publicity. [5]

Between 1917 and 1919 momentous changes were brought about because of the prolonged war which impacted severely on the future direction of a fast-changing world. These events did not ‘just’ happen. Each on its own has grown into further and future power struggles, with consequent misery and disaster.

In 1917 two immensely significant events helped destroy the old world order. In Russia, the once-mighty Czar and his royal family were forced to abdicate before being summarily shot by the rising force of bolshevism. What ensued involved hidden forces from the American banking dynasties, the money-power, which bled Russia of her wealth before abandoning her to the misery of Lenin’s secret police. We will demonstrate how Lord Alfred Milner and his Secret Elite colleagues were intimately involved in the downfall of the Romanov dynasty.

A second momentous event was not awarded  its proper significance at the time. In 1917, the British government sent a letter to Walter Rothschild and the Zionist Federation of Great Britain intimating that it sympathised with, and approved, the idea of a future Jewish homeland in Palestine. Though a range of conditions and understandings concerning the rights of the native arabs were also inferred, the Balfour Declaration, as the letter became known, was to have far-reaching consequences. It was not as it has been politely portrayed by sympathetic historians. As events became manipulated by the nascent Zionists, this action also prolonged the war, and, unknown to the general public, had deep rooted links in America.

By 1918, as the relentless stalemate appeared to have no foreseeable end, Germany was driven to seek an armistice. But the war was not over. Far from it. Had the Germans not been completely deceived by the lofty pronouncements from President Wilson and his mythical Fourteen Points, they would never have surrendered. Yet, because historians and politicians have distorted the true facts, we have long believed that the First World War ended in 1918. It did not. From 1918-1919 war against Germany and her allies continued to be waged through the cruel strangulation of a total food blockade to deliberately crush the German people. Her women and children, her starving troops returning from the front line, and her old and disabled became the victims of a merciless allied revenge. Starvation became the weapon of attrition until the crippling and false Treaty of Versailles was signed in mid-1919; until the Anglo-American establishment was satisfied that Germany had been crushed.

If these statements of intent cause you a deep intake of breath, bear with us. All of these great issues deserve close analysis. We start with the convenience of America’s entry to the fray after an election which championed the President who had previously kept the United States out of the war, Woodrow Wilson. Let the story unfold.

[1] The Anglo-American Establishment written by Professor Carroll Quigley is the seminal work on the elite cabal in England which developed after 1919 into a much more powerful trans-Atlantic power-group.

[2] For a brief but informative piece on Sassoon’s life and works see http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/sassoon_siegfried.shtml

[3] The letter can be read in full at; siegfried-sassoon.firstworldwarrelics.co.uk/html/protest.html

[4] The Times, 31 July 1917, p. 6.

[5] Ibid., p. 8.