Russia In Revolution 4: Leaders-In-Waiting

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

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


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

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

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

Moisei Uritskii

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

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

Poster for Cravan's 1916 fight in Spain 1916

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Dr Jonathan Smele, Warned the Revolution in Russia, 1914-1921 in BBC History
2. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 66.
3. Richard B. Spence, Hidden Agendas; Spies, Lies and Intrigue surrounding Trotsky’s American visit of January-April 1917.
4. Leon Trotsky, My Life, An Attempt at an Autobiography.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 267.
8. Richard B. Spence, Hidden Agendas; Spies, Lies and Intrigue surrounding Trotsky’s American visit of January-April 1917.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Boris L. Brasol, The World at the Crossroads, p. 58.
13. Ibid., pp. 62-64.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A painting of the Bloody Sunday massacre by Ivan Vladimirov

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

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

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

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

Depiction of Stolypin's assassination

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

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

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

Workers outside the vast Putilov factories in St Petersburg.

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

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

Czar Nicholas II with his army before the revolution.

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

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

1. Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor, Hidden History, The Secret Origins of the First World War, pp. 86-87.
2. Ron Chernow, The Warburgs, p. 110.
3. Takahashi Korekiyo, The Rothschilds and the Russo-Japanese War,1904-6, pp. 20-21.
4. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 34.
5. George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia and Other Diplomatic Memories, vol. 1, p. 77.
6. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 60.
7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 208.
8. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution. p. 65.
9. McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, p. xvii.
10. Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History, p. 297.
11. Ibid, p. 239.
12. Guido Preparata, Conjuring Hitler, p. 27.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lenin in his younger years.

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

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

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

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

Julius Martov

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

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

1. Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky, The Eternal Revolutionary, pp. 2-3.
2. Leon Trotsky, My Life, p. 132.
3. Volkogonov, Trotsky, pp. 11-12.
4. Michael Pearson, The Sealed Train, Journey to Revolution, p. 26.
5. Ibid., p. 30.
6. E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, p. 26.
7. Trotsky, My Life, p. 160.
8. Dimitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. xxxii.
9. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 31.
10. Volkcogonov, Trotsky, p. 47.
11. E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 86.
12. Volkcogonov, Lenin, p. 84.
13. Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, pp. 85-86.
14. Ibid.
15. E.H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, p.26.
16. Volkogonov, Trotsky, pp. 30-31.
17. Pearson, The Sealed Train, p. 32.

Revolution In Russia 1: Understanding Influences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lenin the Revolutionary.

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

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

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

Alexander Solzhenitsyn receiving his Nobel Prize for Literature

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

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

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

1. The Russian capital, St Petersburg, was renamed Petrograd at the beginning of WW1 to give it a less German sounding name. It reverted to St Petersburg on the fall of communism.
2. The date, October 25, 1917, was calculated by the old-style the Julian calendar then still used in Russia – The Gregorian calendar used elsewhere in Europe and the United States registered the date as November 7, 1917, thus the old style Julian calendar was 13 days behind the Gregorian.
3. Sean McMeekin, History’s Greatest Heist, The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks, p. xix.
4. New York Times, 12 May, 1917.
5. Peter Waldron, The End of Imperial Russia, 1855 – 1917, p. 22.
6. The Pale of Settlement was territory within the borders of czarist Russia wherein Jews were legally authorised to live. It included present day Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and much of Latvia and Lithuania.
7. Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin, Life and Legacy, p. 5.
8. The Times, 29 March, 1919.
9. Jewish Chronicle, 4 April, 1919.
10. American Hebrew, 20 September, 1920.
11. Rabbi Stephen Wise, The American Bulletin, 5 May, 1935.
12. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Juifs et Russes pendant la periode soviétique, Volume 2, pp. 44–45.
13. Ibid., p. 54.
14. Ibid., p. 91.
16. New York Times, September 17, 1914, David Wolfsohn obituary.
17. Zionism in Europe and America proved to be a comparatively slow-burning evolution. Between 1900 -1917 there was a serious divergence between Zionists who promoted a faith based assimilist belief, and the political Zionists who had one aim – a return to what they claimed as their former homeland in Palestine.
18. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 14, 1929.
19. Scotland Yard, A Monthly Review of the Progress of Revolutionary Movements Abroad, July 16, 1919.
20. Hilaire Belloc. G.K.’s Weekly, 4 February, 1937.

The Balfour Declaration 12: The Hand of The Rothschilds

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

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

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

Lord Natty Rothschild whom Walter claimed became pro-Zionist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 280.
2. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 189.
3. Memorial Sermon given by The Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz, 19 April, 1915,
4. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 450.
6. National Archives GT 1803 and CAB 24/24/4.
7. Niall Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 450.
8. Interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild on YouTube
9. The Times 18 June 1917.
10. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 256.
11. In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, was wrongly convicted by the army of spying for the Germans. His conviction was ridiculous and became a celebrated cause of establishment-based anti-semitism. The scandal split France and made many Jews very angry and uncomfortable with the anti-semitic attitude of their government. After great public protest, Dreyfus was exonerated in 1908. Recommend Ruth Harris, The Man On Devil’s Island.
12. Ibid., p. 201.
13. Ibid., p. 206.
14. Interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild on YouTube
14. Ibid., p. 238.
15. Interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild on YouTube
16. The Balfour Declaration 7: posted on 1st August 2017.
17. Ferguson, The House of Rothschild, p. 452.
18. The title ‘Charter’ appears to have been invented by the English Zionist Federation, whose pamphlet, Great Britain, Palestine and the Jews: Jewry’s Celebration of its National Charter, published anonymously after December 1917 repeats the concept of a ‘Charter’ almost as if it was the Magna Carta, talking of ‘ a National Charter’, ‘The Charter of Zionism’ and the ‘British Charter of Zionism’.

The Balfour Declaration 11: Celebrations, Expectations and The Truth

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


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

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

Zionist poster for Manchester meeting in December 1917

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

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

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

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

Famous picture of Allenby's modest entrance into Jerusalem

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

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

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

General Sir Ronald Storrs, first military governor of Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

At last the truth. There had to be tangible evidence of Jewish involvement in Palestine before any peace conference.

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

The Balfour Declaration 10: Balfour Understood The Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The very influential Chaim Weizmann

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

It was classic double-speak, but he knew what he was doing.

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

The Balfour Declaration 9: Ignoring The Facts

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

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

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

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

Antique Map of Arabia

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Curzon

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

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

The Balfour Declaration 8: The Arab Land That Everyone Wanted

At the start of the First World War, the lands which we have come to know as the Middle East lay in a great sweep from the Caspian to the Red Sea. It comprised a hotchpotch of factions and tribes, communities born into religious friction, wastelands and deserts, remote townships and cities with Biblical names. The Ottoman Empire had held these areas in subjugation by fear and cruelty. T.E. Lawrence, the legendary hero of the Arab rising of 1916, described the jig-saw-puzzle nature of the native peoples in his Seven Pillars of Wisdom. [1] He painted a detailed picture of a colourful land comprising many religions and cultures with little sense of tolerance. Ansariyas, distrustful of Islam, colonies of Syrian Christians, Armenians and Druses were to be found to the north from the Euphrates Valley down to the southern coast of the Mediterranean. Kurds populated the territory to the north-east and they hated, in strict order, the native Christians, then the Turks and finally all Europeans. There were settled Arabs to the east of Aleppo, semi-pastoral Moslem communities, Bedouins and some Ismaili outcasts. Between Tripoli and Beirut, Lebanese Christians, Maronite or Greek, united in their disdain for Muslims but barely tolerated each other. On the banks of the Jordan valley, Algerian refugees faced Jewish villages. These too were diverse in nature with traditional Hebrew scholars on the one hand and, on the other, recent German in-comers with European-style houses paid for from charitable funds.

Lawrence thought that the land of Palestine seemed too small, too impoverished, to absorb settlers. Galilee was apparently more tolerant of newcomers than Judea. Feuds abounded. Druses hated Maronites and indulged in periodic blood-letting. Muslim Arabs despised them with a vengeance. Around Jerusalem, the German-speaking Jews ‘were obliged to survive’ side by side with ‘sullen Palestinian peasants’ whom Lawrence described as ‘more stupid than the yeomen of North Syria, material as the Egyptians and bankrupt.’ [2] Such racist stereotyping from an upper-crust, patronising English gentleman demands reply. Were the Felhaini, whose ancestors had worked the land for thousands of years, not entitled to be sullen when their lands were taken over by foreign strangers? There was an intrinsic difference between the old settlers, with whom the Arabs had co-operated on friendly terms for generations, and the new breed of imperialistic colonists who confronted the native Arabs with threats of violence. [3] To the south, running along the Red Sea, was the Hejaz in which lay the holy places, Mecca and Medina.

Jerusalem 1914

The great cities of Jerusalem, Beirut, Damascus, Aleppo, Hama and Homs had a distinctive nature and admixture of religion and history. Jerusalem had its own unique quality. As Lawrence saw it, ‘Jerusalem was a squalid town, which every Semitic [4] religion had made holy.’ [5] Behind his much acclaimed commitment to Arab nationalism and his knowledge of Arab strengths and weaknesses, T.E. Lawrence had great sympathy for Zionism. [6]

The land known as Palestine had a population of some 500,000 Moslems, 60,000 Jews and a similar number of Christians. [7] A British War Cabinet paper written by Lord Curzon noted that under the Turkish yoke there was no country called Palestine, ‘because it was divided between the sank of Jerusalem and the vilayets of Syria and Beirut.’ [8] He estimated that there were between 600-700,000 inhabitants of whom less that one quarter were Jews. What he described was a patchwork of largely poor communities and tribes, disunited and distrusting, hardly a blade away from each other’s throat. It was no single people’s homeland but was, most certainly, predominantly Arab.

Yet the Young Turks achieved the near impossible feat of uniting all classes of culture and creed against the Ottoman by suppressing them with ruthless cruelty. [9] In Syria, the Arabs, the largest of the indigenous natives, were treated with contempt, their culture and language suppressed, their societies disbanded, their leaders proscribed. The Turks tried to crush Arab nationalism but the Arabs had watched what had happened to the Armenians who had been isolated and systematically wiped out, and sought to establish their own sovereign land. [10] To achieve that, they needed allies who would stand by them against the hated Turk.

The importance of the Arab populations to the Allied war effort cannot be over-stated. Kitchener, when he was Consul-General in Cairo from 1911-14, was well aware of the desert undercurrents; the shifting sands of loyalty and treachery which his spies reported. His first priority was to safeguard British imperial interests. He knew that the Arab dream of independence was rooted in Hussein, the Sherif of Mecca, and his sons, whose ambition was to gather a vast Arab confederacy under the suzerainty of their family and reconstitute an Arab Empire. [11] Though bogged down in the mire of the Western Front, Kitchener retained his relationship with the Husseins, custodian of Islam’s holiest shrines, and when the futile attack on the Dardanelles was deliberately allowed to fail (see Chapters 9-10), they hoped that an Arab alliance with Britain would neutralise the chances of the Ottoman sultan-caliph’s call to jihad. The British wanted ‘to rob the call to Holy War of its principal thunderbolt’, by striking an agreement with Hussein themselves. [12]

Hussein, Sherif of Mecca who trusted TE Lawrence

Consequently, the foreign office instructed Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt to offer Hussein of Mecca, Britain’s commitment to an independent Arab state in a ‘firm and lasting alliance, the immediate results of which will be the expulsion of the Turks from the Arab countries…’ [13]  This formal promise was given in October 1915. [14] Palestine was included in the areas which the British government pledged would be an independent Arab country. [15] The Arab uprising against Turkish rule was based on that unambiguous promise.

The foreign office then proceeded to make a very different pact with the French. An Arab Bureau had been created in January 1916 to harmonise a wide range of political activity in the near East to keep a watchful eye on the German-Turkish activities and co-ordinate propaganda. An interdepartmental conference agreed the need for a single Bureau stationed at Cairo to focus on Arab activities. Amongst the select group which made this decision was Captain W.F. [‘Blinker’] Hall, the Director of Intelligence at the admiralty, Sir Maurice Hankey, the Cabinet secretary and Sir Mark Sykes at the foreign office. [16]

Britain’s commitment to the Arabs was short-lived and utterly worthless. Rarely have a people been promised so much then denied their just deserts with such callous disregard. Sir Mark Sykes was instructed by the foreign office to negotiate the redistribution of Turkish lands with Charles Georges-Picot, the former French consul-general in Beirut and the Quai d’Orsay’s adviser on Middle Eastern affairs. They secretly agreed the future boundaries of the Arab lands which would be dismantled and shared between them when the war was won. The Czarist Foreign Secretary Sazonov was also involved since the Russians had been clearly promised a share of the rotting Ottoman carcass.

Sir Mary Sykes and the Frenchman Georges-Picot.

Lines were drawn by Sykes and Picot to delineate a French Zone, which would include all of Syria north of Acre and west of Damascus and Aleppo, and a British Zone comprising the Tigris and Euphrates from north of Baghdad to the Persian Gulf across northern Arabia to what later became Jordan. Palestine would be a jointly controlled allied responsibility. [17] For centuries, classical scholars had used different names and interpretations to describe the land sometimes called Asia Minor or Mesopotamia and Syria. Although no country had actually been called Palestine, the name emerged as a geographical term current in the so-called Christian world to include the ‘Holy Land’. [18] While the Arab tribes were rising against the Turks in the desert, their faithless British Allies were double-crossing them.

Sir Edward Grey believed that Sykes had been too generous in agreeing the territorial split, but vitally, he had forestalled any rift in the Franco-British alliance. [19] This is a remarkable claim. British foreign policy was never left in the hands of a minor official. If Grey believed that Sykes had avoided a rift with France over the future spoils in the Near East then that was the main purpose of the exercise. It was an agreed position whose ultimate worth would be determined once the war was won. What we do know is that the Director of Naval Intelligence, William Reginald Hall, indicated that ‘France’s claim to Palestine cannot be justified’. [20] The British government played fast and loose with all of its allies.

Thus two violently opposite arrangements were agreed. The first was a clear pledge to the Arabs; the second was an act of betrayal which would deny them the promise of full independence. Critically, the Arabs knew nothing about the Sykes-Picot pact and remained in the dark until the Bolshevik’s came to power in Russia and unmasked the secret double-cross.

1. T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, pp. 256-260.
2. Ibid., p. 259.
3. Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia, The Authorised Biography, pp 606-7.
4. The three main Semitic religions are Judaism, Islam and Christianity, They are related by a common belief in God, the hereafter and the constant battle between good and evil.
5. Lawrence, Seven Pillars, p. 260.
6. [
7. Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers, p.1.
8. CAB /24/30 The Future of Palestine, p. 2.
9. Robert Fisk, The Great War for civilisation, The conquest of the Middle East, pp. 400-401.
10. Lawrence, Seven Pillars, p. 24.
11. Liddell Hart, T E Lawrence, p. 61.
12. Dr Peter Shamrock, A Lapse into Clarity. The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence Revisited, paper given at the Balfour Project conference October 2015,
14. CAB 27/24
15. Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers, p. 48.
16. FO 882/2; ARB/15/3 p. 6.
17. Liddell Hart, Lawrence, pp. 69-70.
18. Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace, The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and Creation of the Modern Middle East, p. 48.
19. Lawrence James, ‘Sykes, Sir Mark, sixth baronet (1879–1919)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
20. Mayir Verete, The Balfour Declaration and its Makers, Middle Eastern Studies, 6 (1), January 1970, p. 54.

The Balfour Declaration 7: Clandestine Plots Scupper A Peace Initiative

Conscious that the final resolution to the war would be critical to the Zionist claims on Palestine, their British and American leaders became increasingly involved in a secretive network aimed at influencing government policy. The three month period between April and June 1917 was peppered with urgent cables between Louis Brandeis in Washington and, Chaim Weizmann and James Rothschild in London, updating each other about privileged meetings, current opinions and actions to be taken to advance the Zionist plan. [1] Unknown to elected politicians and cabinet members in both countries, these men operated a clandestine cell of Zionist interest whose specific purpose was to normalise, validate and protect the idea of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Their targets were A.J. Balfour in Britain and President Woodrow Wilson in the United States. The British foreign secretary was known to be sympathetic; the American president had yet to indicate his approval.

Even before America had formally declared war on Germany (6 April, 1917), the London cabal insisted that increased pressure be brought on the President to support the Zionist cause. Every opportunity which presented itself had to be taken. Urged by the American Ambassador at London, Walter Page, the British Government decided to send a distinguished commission to the United States on the day before America declared war on Germany. [2] America’s entry profoundly altered the ground rules because neutrality was no longer an issue for the Atlantic powers, but did not change the ultimate aim to crush Germany. Lloyd George chose the near seventy-year old Arthur Balfour, former prime minister and current foreign secretary, to lead the charm offensive to Washington.

A J Balfour, British Foreign Secretary in 1917.President Woodrow Wilson whose support the Zionists wanted made public.

A.J. Balfour’s mission to the United States in 1917 proved a crucial turning point. The foreign secretary had been primed by Weizmann to speak with Brandeis when he was in Washington. The two men were introduced at a reception in the White House on 23 April and Balfour was reported to have greeted the Judge with ‘You are one of the Americans I had wanted to meet.’ [3] Why, other than to gauge the strength of American-Jewish support for a homeland in Palestine? They met several times, but not in the White House. Over the following days and unknown to the President, his Supreme Court Judge and the visiting British foreign secretary had their first private breakfast together. [4] What was a on the menu for discussion was kept secret.

Balfour was in Washington to bolster the Allied cause and he and the President’s main advisor, Mandell House, specifically discussed the terms which might be imposed on Germany once it had been destroyed. On 28 April, Balfour produced a map of Europe and Asia Minor (one of the terms used to cover the Middle Eastern states largely within the Ottoman Empire) on which was traced the results of the secret treaties and agreements with Britain and France which will be examined in a later blog. They had, in Houses’ words, ‘divided up the bear-skin before the bear was dead.’ [5] Interestingly, Constantinople no longer featured as a probable Russian possession [6] but there was no indication of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. None.

James de Rothschild who with Chaim Weizmann, was in secret contact with Louis Brandeis in America. Louis Brandeis reported his discussions with President Wilson to theBritish Zionists, Weizmann and Rothschild

One he was informed of this, Brandeis felt obliged to intervene. He had a forty-five minute meeting with Wilson on 6 May to assure him that the establishment of a Jewish Palestine was completely in line with the President’s concept of a just settlement. The British Zionists wanted assurance that their American compatriots approved the general plan for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and would publicise their support. Pressure had to be applied on both sides of the Atlantic. On 9 May, Brandeis sent a cable to James Rothschild in which he announced the American Zionist approval for the British programme. [7]  This was followed by another secret morning discussion with Balfour and on 15 May, Brandeis reported back to Weizmann and Rothschild that their objective had been successful. The precise wording in his cable demonstrated the extent to which the leading Zionists on both sides of the Atlantic were actively influencing their respective governments. Brandeis’s cable read: ‘Interviews both with President and Balfour were eminently satisfactory confirming our previous impressions as to reliable support in both directions. Presented views in line with your program [but] was assured that present circumstances did not make Government utterances desirable.’ [8] Private conversations between the President and the visiting foreign secretary were secretly passed across the Atlantic without compunction in contravention of a variety of secrecy acts. Whose national interest was being served?

Louis Brandeis continued to press Wilson for a public commitment to a Jewish homeland, but caution was advised. His cable to James Rothschild on 23 May stated that Balfour told him: ‘if we exercised patience and allowed events to take their natural course, we would obtain more’. According to Brandeis, President Wilson was reluctant to make a public declaration because the United States was not at war with Turkey. So much for the notion that Judge Brandeis limited his activities to matters of law. His secret collusion with British Zionists should have raised concerns about a conflict of interest but that paled into insignificance when compared with his involvement in destroying a clandestine American peace-mission to Turkey.

In early June 1917 an extremely concerned Louis Brandeis made an urgent call to London. The Zionist plans were suddenly threatened by an unexpected and unwelcome intervention about which none of them had the slightest warning. Brandeis discovered that a secret American delegation, headed by the former United States Ambassador at Constantinople, Henry Morgenthau, was on its way to Switzerland. Its purpose was to convince Turkey to break away from the German-Austrian alliance, an action which would have radically altered the geo-political situation when the war ended. Indeed, if successful, it would have shortened the war.

Henry Morgenthau, former American ambassador at Constantinople.

Former ambassador Morgenthau believed that a combination of German domination and war famine was making life unbearable in Turkey. Even the Young Turks had become ‘heartily sick of their German masters’ [9] Henry Morgenthau thought that he understood the Turkish mind. His plan was to go to Switzerland to meet former members of the Ottoman cabinet and offer generous peace terms and ‘any other means’ (by that he meant bribes) to encourage them to abandon their allies. Initially Robert Lansing the US secretary of state, talked over the proposal with Arthur Balfour. The British foreign secretary suggested that since Switzerland was ridden with spies, Morgenthau should use Egypt as a base… as if Egypt wasn’t riddled with spies? It afforded the very plausible excuse that the American delegation was concerned with the condition of Jews in Palestine. Lansing agreed and an American Zionist, Felix Frankfurter, was added to the official delegation. One flaw surfaced almost immediately after Morgenthau set off for Europe. The mission had been sanctioned without due consideration to its possible consequences for Zionism.

Judge Louis Brandeis learned about the venture after the Americans had departed for a rendezvous with their Allied compatriots in Europe. [10] He immediately understood the mortal danger which any such rapprochement with the Turks would bring to the Zionist ambitions. Brandeis alerted Chaim Weizmann. They both realised that these negotiations could completely undermine their carefully constructed plans. In June 1917 there was no Jewish homeland. The very concept was at best paper-talk and had yet to be formally accepted by any of the major powers. A generous settlement for the Turks which might have left Palestine and Arabia intact, would have destroyed the Zionist ambitions before the world war had ended.

The imposing 19th Century Foreign Office in Whitehall, London.

In London, Weizmann’s contacts at the foreign office confirmed Brandeis’s anxiety. He learned that the proposed British contingent which was scheduled to join Morgenthau contained envoys whom he did not consider as ‘proper persons’ for such a mission. [11] Since when did unelected observers make decisions on who was or was not a ‘proper person’ to undertake a foreign office assignment? Weizmann turned to C.P. Scott his Manchester journalist friend, and within a matter of days was invited to speak behind closed doors with foreign secretary Balfour, recently returned from Washington.

What emerged was an astonishing acknowledgement of Zionist complicity in scuttling the American mission. In complete secrecy, Balfour appointed Chaim Weizmann as the British representative to meet Morgenthau. Not a career diplomat. Not a Jewish member of the House of Lords or Commons. He gave the task to a ‘proper person’. The leader of the Zionist movement in Britain, Chaim Weizmann, was formally appointed by the foreign office as Britain’s representative to a secret mission which, had it been allowed to progress unmolested, could radically have shortened the war. Weizmann was given a formidable set of credentials, his own intelligence officer and the responsibility to stop Henry Morgenthau in his tracks. [12]

Chaim Weizmann grasped the opportunity. The Secret Elite chose to use him for their own ends. Their ultimate plan not only for Palestine, but the entire Middle East, would have been seriously compromised had Morgenthau successfully disengaged Turkey from the war. For the Zionists it was imperative that their ambition for a homeland in Palestine was approved by one of the great Powers before the fighting ceased. Chaim Weizmann, accompanied by Sir Ronald Graham [13] and Lord Walter Rothschild met Balfour again. They put one condition on the table. The time had come for a definitive declaration of support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This had to be acknowledged – urgently, in case an unexpected peace closed down the opportunity. Balfour agreed. In fact he did more than agree. He asked Chaim Weizmann to submit a form of words that would satisfy the Zionist aspiration, and promised to take it to Lloyd George’s War Cabinet. [14] Here was the golden chance which could not be missed. This was the starting point for the formal declaration which would be endorsed by the war cabinet and called The Balfour Declaration.

Robert Lansing, Wilson's second Secretary of State.

Behind the scenes in America, Louis Brandeis succeeded in completely overturning the original position held by Robert Lansing at the Department of State. The plan which had been given official sanction had to be scuppered. On 25 June, while Morgenthau was en-route across the Atlantic on the SS Buenos Aires, an urgent telegram was sent from Washington to Balfour alerting the British to Morgenthau’s arrival in Europe. Lansing specifically stated that ‘it is considerably important that ‘Chaim Weizmann meet Mr Morgenthau at Gibraltar’. [15] How extraordinary. Secretary Lansing requested that his own former ambassador should meet Chaim Weizmann, the leader of the British Zionists before proceeding further. On the same day he instructed the American Ambassador (Willard) at Madrid to ensure that, as soon as he landed, Morgenthau fully understood that he was ordered to go to Gibraltar to meet Weizmann. This instruction was to be sent by ‘special red code strictly confidential’ [16] Who was in charge of American foreign policy, Lansing or Brandeis? No matter. They certainly meant to stop Morganthau.

While the choice of Weizmann as the main British negotiator was inspired, it was little wonder that his involvement, and indeed the whole mission, was a closely guarded secret. The Americans were halted in Gibraltar, ostensibly to agree how the Turks might be approached. With all the weight and authority of his Zionist credentials, Chaim Weizmann pressed Morgenthau on his intentions. Why did he imagine that the Zionist organisations on either side of the Atlantic supported his actions? Did he realise that his proposals would compromise everything that Jewish organisations had been working towards? Realising what he was up against, Morgenthau abandoned the mission within two days of Weizmann’s onslaught. He back-tracked to the comfort of Biarritz and left France on 12 July without informing Ambassador Willard of his future plans. [17]

His ego seriously dented, Morgenthau dispatched his own heart-felt complaint to Washington. Given the ease with which diplomatic telegrams could be intercepted, the Americans were appalled. He received a stinging rebuke from Lansing’s office which was as much for international consumption as it was for Morgenthau’s. The telegram read: ‘Department surprised and disturbed that your text seems to indicate you have been authorised to enter into negotiations which would lead to a separate peace with Turkey… Final instructions were to deal solely with the conditions of Jews in Palestine…under no circumstances confer, discuss or carry messages about internal situation in Turkey or a separate peace.’ [18] The aims of the Secret Elite and the political Zionist organisation began to move in tandem. Consider carefully what had happened.

Brandeis had interfered directly with the US State Department policy. Furthermore, he did not hesitate to pass secret information to Chaim Weizmann and James Rothschild in London so that Morgenthau’s plans would be thwarted, nominally by the British government. Weizmann, in turn, was ushered in as the foreign office solution. Though by 1917 he was a naturalised British citizen, Chaim Weizmann was no diplomat or civil servant. He was a Zealot for an unbending cause. By pitting a most able and skilled Jewish negotiator against a moderate (at best) American-Jewish diplomat, the Secret Elite approved an inspired appointment. Weizmann crushed Morgenthau with deep-felt passion. At an even deeper level of conspiracy Brandeis had nailed his colours, not to Old Glory, but to the Zionist flag borne by Chaim Weizmann and James Rothschild.

Weizmann the zealot lived for one purpose in 1917. His determination was absolute. He wrote to Philip Kerr, a Milner protege and one of Lloyd George’s ‘secretaries’: ‘Some Jews and non-Jews do not seem to realise one fundamental fact, that whatever happens we will get to Palestine.’ [19] And what of Louis Brandeis? He chose to promote and protect the Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland in Palestine in favour of an action which could well have ended the war before American troops landed in Europe. American lives or a Jewish homeland in Palestine? Did Louis Brandeis ever consider that thought?

Long after these events, in September 1922, President Warren G. Harding affirmed the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine against the advice of his officials in the state department. [20] One of but a few who spoke out against a well-organised Jewish lobby was Professor E.B. Reed of Yale who had served as a Red Cross worker in Palestine for three and a half months in 1919. He testified that the Zionist programme would bring oppression to the Arab majority in Palestine, that it was illegal and violated Arab rights. [21] In his memoirs, Chaim Weizmann recalled, incorrectly, that Professor Reed was a Senator. What annoyed him was Reed’s accusation that the leaders of the Zionist movement were unworthy men, and that he (Weizmann) had prolonged the war by two years by undermining the Morgenthau mission. [22] Strange that Weizmann remained in such stubborn denial. Truly, he and his associates, had prolonged that damned war.

2. Blanche E C Dugdale, Arthur J. Balfour, Vol II, p. 231.
3. Richard Neb Lebow, Woodrow Wilson and the Balfour Declaration, Journal of Modern History, Vol. 40. No. 4 (Dec 1968) p. 507 footnote 22.
4. Charles Seymour, Mandell House vol.II pp. 42-3.
5. What an enlightening insight. The Tzar having been deposed, all promises to Russia could be abandoned with all haste.
6. Richard Neb Lebow, Woodrow Wilson and the Balfour Declaration, Journal of Modern History, Vol. 40. No. 4 (Dec 1968) p. 508 footnote 26.
7. Ibid.
8. Nevzat Uyanik, Dismantling the Ottoman Empire: Britain, America and the Armenian Question, pp. 62-63.
9. Memorandum of Henry Morgenthau’s Secret Mission, 10 June 1917, Robert Lansing Papers, Box 7, Folder 2. Quoted in Uyanik, Dismantling the Ottoman Empire, p. 63.
10. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 246.
11. Ibid., p. 247.
12. The British chief of staff in Egypt responsible for the safety of the Suez Canal. Married to daughter of Viscount Milner’s great friend, Lord Midleton. [I. S. Munro, ‘Graham, Sir Ronald William (1870–1949)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, []
13. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 256.
14. United States Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States 1917, (FRUS) Supplement 2, The World War (1917) p. 109.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid., p. 127.
17. Ibid., p. 129.
18. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 227.
19. S.J. Res. 191, 67th Congress, 2 Session, Congressional Record, Vol. LX11, part 5, p.5376.
20. The Lodge-Fish Resolution, Herbert Parzen, American Jewish Historical Quarterly, Vol. 60. no. 1 Zionism in America, (September 1970, p. 71.
21. Irwin Oder, American Zionism and the Congressional Resolution of 1922 on Palestine, Publications of the American-Jewish Historical Society, Vol. 45, No.1 (September 1955.) p. 44.
22. Weizmann, Trial and Error, p. 251.