In 1898, Sultan Abdul Hamid II purchased rifles from Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II for use in liquidating Turkey's Armenian population in exchange for granting Germany rights to build an Istanbul-Baghdad railway to access Iraq's oil fields.
Sultan Abdul Hamid II was deposed and on Jan. 23, 1913, three Pashas: Ismail Enver Pasha, Mehmed Talaat Pasha, and Ahmed Djemal Pasha – known as "The Young Turks" – staged a Ottoman coup d'état in Turkey.
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Turkey then waged the Balkan Wars and began a genocide of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other minorities in their plan of "Ottomanization" – creating a centralized, homogeneous nation of one race, one language, and one religion – Islam. Kaiser Wilhelm II quickly sent military officers to train and upgrade Turkey's forces, resulting in a Ottoman-German Alliance.
The 2016 movie, "The Promise," starring actors Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, depicted the Ottoman-German alliance, along with the subsequent Armenian genocide in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1914, World War I began, involving more than 70 million military personnel and resulting in over 38 million casualties.
Allied Powers included: Britain, France, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Belgium, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Hejaz, Greece, Thailand Siam and the United States.
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Central Powers included: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
As World War I progressed, Britain's war effort was hindered by their ineffective manufacturing of explosives. Britain's situation suddenly changed when a chemist made a breakthrough in synthesizing the needed solvent "acetone" by using a bacterial fermentation process.
The chemist was Dr. Chaim Weizmann, born Nov. 27, 1874. His Jewish family had immigrated from Russia after Anti-Jewish pogroms of 1881-1884, the stories of which were the basis for the famous musical "Fiddler on the Roof."
In gratitude for Dr. Chaim Weizmann's significant contributions to the nation's military, Britain's Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration, Nov. 2, 1917, establishing a home for Jews in the former Turkish land now under British control.
In his autobiography "Trial and Error" (1949), Dr. Weizmann recounted his response to Lord Balfour's initial offer of giving Jews the British-controlled country of Uganda: "'Mr. Balfour, supposing I was to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?' He sat up, looked at me, and answered: 'But Dr. Weizmann, we have London.' 'That is true,' I said, 'but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh.' He ... said two things which I remember vividly. The first was: 'Are there many Jews who think like you?' I answered: 'I believe I speak the mind of millions of Jews whom you will never see and who cannot speak for themselves' ... To this he said: 'If that is so you will one day be a force.'"
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British Prime Minister Lloyd-George had met with Chaim Weizmann in 1916, writing in his "War Memoirs": "(Weizmann) explained his aspirations as to the repatriation of the Jews to the sacred land they had made famous. That was the fount and origin of the famous declaration about the National Home for the Jews in Palestine. ... As soon as I became Prime Minister I talked the whole matter over with Mr Balfour, who was then Foreign Secretary."
In January of 1919, thirty-two nations met at the Paris Peace Conference where they agreed to the Treaty of Versailles and planned the League of Nations.
Delegates formally determined the fate of post-war Europe, intending to follow Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points and the principle of self-determination, where people of different ethnic backgrounds would be allowed to determine their own fate.
Lands which had been controlled by the defeated Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Turkish Ottoman Empire, were divided up to create homelands for Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Finns, Hungarians, Slovenes, Serbs, Bosnians, Montenegrins and Croats.
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The Balfour Declaration gave an area called the British Mandate to the Jews, stretching from Lebanon and Syria in the North; to Egypt and Arabia in the South; from the Mediterranean in the East; to Iraq in the West.
The inspiration for Jews resettling their homeland came from Theodore Herzl's Zionist movement, which initially grew out of America's 19th century Second Great Awakening Religious Revival where evangelical Christians preached that Jewish resettlement was necessary before Christ's coming and the Advent of the Millennium.
Lord Balfour addressed a Jewish gathering, Feb. 7,1918: "My personal hope is that the Jews will make good in Palestine and eventually found a Jewish state. It is up to them now; we have given them their great opportunity."
Also, during World War I, an obscure British lieutenant serving in Cairo, T.E. Lawrence, had been sent off to assess if undisciplined Arab tribes were capable of helping the British fight the Ottoman Turks. Instead of simply reporting back, T.E. Lawrence took it upon himself to persuade Arabs to fight the Turks in exchange for an unauthorized promises of land.
Lawrence's promises conflicted with a Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 between Britain, France and Russia for governing the post-war Middle East and Turkey, thus he inadvertently laid the groundwork for future land disputes, especially after the fall of Russia from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
Democrat President Woodrow Wilson expressed enthusiastic support of Israel, as he wrote to Rabbi Stephen A. Wise, 1918: "I think all Americans will be deeply moved by the report that ... the Weizmann commission has been able to lay the foundation of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem."
Rabbi Stephen A. Wise described Woodrow Wilson: "He is one of the great presidents of American history."
Justice Louis Brandeis, who was nominated by Woodrow Wilson to the U.S. Supreme Court, told Reform Rabbis in April 1915: "The undying longing of Jews for Palestine is a fact of deepest significance; that it is a manifestation in the struggle for existence by an ancient people which has established its right to live, a people whose three thousand years of civilization has produced a faith, culture and individuality which enable it to contribute largely in the future, as it has in the past."
During World War I, the leader who cooperated with the British by leading the Arab Revolt against the Turks was the Hashemite Sharif of Mecca, Hussein ibn-Ali. He stated in 1918: "The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. ... That the country (is) for its original sons, for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland."
Hussein ibn-Ali's son, Faisal ibn-Husseini, was recognized by Britain as the new King of Syria and Iraq. King Faisal represented the Arab nations at the Paris Peace Conference, and signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, Jan. 3, 1919, adopting the Balfour principles: "Article IV-All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil."
King Faisal wrote a letter, March 3, 1919, to Felix Frankfurter, who was later nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The letter stated: "We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of powers stronger than themselves. ... We Arabs, especially the educated among us look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. ... We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home. ... With the chiefs of your movement, especially with Dr. Weizmann, we ... continue to have the closest relations. He has been a great helper of our cause, and I hope the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness. ... Our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. ... People ... less responsible than our leaders ... have been trying to exploit the local difficulties that must necessarily arise in Palestine ... to make capital out of what they call our differences."
Felix Frankfurter replied: "Royal highness: Allow me ... to acknowledge your recent letter with deep appreciation. Those of us who come from the United States have already been gratified by the friendly relations ... between you and the Zionist leaders, particularly Dr. Weizmann. ... We knew that the aspirations of the Arab and the Jewish peoples were parallel, that each aspired to re-establish its nationality in its own homeland, each making its own distinctive contribution to civilization, each seeking its own peaceful mode of life. ... The Arabs and Jews are neighbors in territory; we cannot but live side by side as friends."
In 1920, a hastily convened San Remo Conference gave France a "mandate" to oversee post-war Syria. France immediately invaded and expelled Faisal, leaving him King only of Iraq.
Faisal's brother, Abdullah, planned to mount an attack, but Winston Churchill persuaded him not to, agreeing instead to recognize Abdullah as king of a part of the British protectorate which had previously been given to the Jews. It was named "Transjordan" as it was on the other side of the Jordan River.
After World War I, in an abrupt about-face against the Jews, Britain issued White Papers in 1922 deterring further Jewish resettlement of their homeland. The 1960 movie "Exodus," starring Paul Newman, depicted this period in Israel's history.
The proposal to split Israel's land was ironically instigated by Britain's anti-Zionist Jews. Chaim Weizmann referred to these anti-Zionist Jews, which included Claude Montefiore, Lord Reading, Edwin Montagu and Lucien Wolf, in his autobiography, "Trial and Error" (1949): "Their secular representative, the secretary of the Conjoint Committee, was Mr. Lucien Wolf ... in whom the opposition to Zionism was a mixture of principle and of personal idiosyncrasy. ... He resented the rise of what he called 'foreign Jews' in England, looked upon the Foreign Office as his patrimony – he was of an old Anglo-Jewish family – and put me down as a poacher. ... Zionism was in his view a purely East European movement ... beneath the notice of respectable British Jews. It was ... impossible for him to understand that English non-Jews did not look upon his anti-Zionism as the hallmark of a superior loyalty. It was never borne in on him that men like Balfour, Churchill, Lloyd George, were deeply religious, and believed in the Bible, that to them the return of the Jewish people to Palestine was a reality, so that we Zionists represented to them a great tradition for which they had enormous respect. ..."
Chaim Weizmann continued: "I remember Prime Minister Lloyd George saying to me, a few days before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration: 'I know that with the issuance of this Declaration I shall please one group of Jews and displease another. I have decided to please your group because you stand for a great idea.'"
Meanwhile, in 1924 Arabia,, King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud of the House of Saud, allied with fundamentalist Wahhabi (Salafi) movement to oust Hussein bin Ali, the brother of King Faisal of Iraq and King Abdullah of Transjordan.
This ended the Hashemite rule in Arabia, and discontinued the tradition of their relatively moderate descendants being the "Sharif of Mecca" – a role they had held since the 10th century.
In 1937, John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company of California discovered oil in Saudi Arabia, and within a few decades, Saudi Arabia went from the poorest Muslim country to the richest. An Arabian-American Oil Company was formed called "Aramco."
King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud practiced Islamic polygamy, having many wives and 45 sons. With his new-found wealth, he began to spread the fundamentalist Wahhabi (Salafi) Sharia version of Islam, which has the goal of establishing global Caliphate of Islamic Sharia domination.
Meanwhile, World War II began in 1939, involving more than 30 countries and over 100 million people. Fatalities are estimated as high as 85 million, making it the deadliest war in human history.
During the war, millions of Jews were persecuted and killed in Europe by Hitler's National Socialist Workers Party. Hitler initially expelled Jews from Europe, from where many found a way to their ancient homeland.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, traveled to Berlin and met with Hitler on Nov. 28, 1941. confirming their mutual hatred of "the English, the Jews, and the Communists." Haj Amin al-Husseini insisted Hitler publicly commit to "the elimination of the Jewish national home."
During World War II, Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt coined the name "United Nations" for the Allied countries working together against the Axis Powers. Roosevelt explained that the goal of this new organization included protecting Jews, March 24, 1944: "The United Nations are fighting to make a world in which tyranny and aggression cannot exist. ... In one of the blackest crimes of all history – begun by the Nazis ... the wholesale systematic murder of the Jews of Europe goes on unabated. ... Hundreds of thousands of Jews ... are now threatened with annihilation as Hitler's forces descend. ... The United Nations have made it clear that they will pursue the guilty. ... All who knowingly take part in the deportation of Jews to their death ... are equally guilty with the executioner."
On Nov. 11, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt complimented the Jewish Theological Seminary of America: "A victory of the United Nations is to be a world of enduring peace ... founded on renewed loyalty to the spiritual values. ... In cooperation with Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant scholars ... it will in time, I trust, become an increasingly powerful instrument for enlightening men of all faiths."
Near the end of World War II, Feb. 4-11, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin at the Yalta Conference to decide how to divide up post-war Europe.
Roosevelt, being in a feeble condition just two months before his death, capitulated to Stalin's demand that millions of Eastern Europeans be dominated by the totalitarian Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
On his way home from the Yalta Conference, in declining health, Franklin Roosevelt stopped in Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud on the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal, Feb. 14, 1945. Roosevelt's intention was to persuade the Saudi King to support Jewish immigration to Palestine.
The King Abdul Aziz slaughtered a goat on deck for their meal, then blindsided Roosevelt, pressuring him to abandon his planned support of a Jewish homeland. Saudi King Abdul Aziz then persuaded the ailing Roosevelt to make a secret oil-for-security agreement, where the United States would supply military assistance, training and built a military base in Arabia in exchange for secure access to Saudi oil.
The Saudi King followed up with a letter to Roosevelt, who wrote back, April 5, 1945, promising that the United States would not to recognize a Jewish State. One week later, Roosevelt was dead of his illnesses.
The next President, Harry S. Truman, immediately proceeded with plans to recognize the state of Israel.
The United Nations Charter was signed June 26, 1945, by 51 member nations. One of its first acts was the recognition of the State of Israel in 1948. The negotiator of the Middle East Armistice Agreement was Ralph Bunche, the African-American diplomat who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
On Nov. 29, 1948, Democrat President Harry S. Truman wrote to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel: "I remember well our conversations about the Negeb. ... I agree fully with your estimate of the importance of the area to Israel, and I deplore any attempt to take it away from Israel. I had thought that my position would have been clear to all the world, particularly in the light of the specific wording of the Democratic Party platform."
The 1948 Democrat Party Platform stated: "President Truman, by granting immediate recognition to Israel, led the world in extending friendship and welcome to a people who have long sought and justly deserve freedom and independence. We pledge full recognition to the State of Israel. We affirm our pride that the United States under the leadership of President Truman played a leading role in the adoption of the resolution of November 29, 1947, by the United Nations General Assembly for the creation of a Jewish State. We approve the claims of the State of Israel to the boundaries set forth in the United Nations resolution of November 29th and consider that modifications thereof should be made only if fully acceptable to the State of Israel. We look forward to the admission of the State of Israel to the United Nations and its full participation in the international community of nations. We pledge appropriate aid to the State of Israel in developing its economy and resources. We favor the revision of the arms embargo to accord to the State of Israel the right of self-defense."
Harry S. Truman recorded in his book, "Memoirs – Volume Two: Years of Trial and Hope," 1956, of a note he had written to an assistant: "I surely wish God Almighty would give the Children of Israel an Isaiah, the Christians a St. Paul, and the Sons of Ishmael a peep at the Golden Rule."
President Truman concluded his letter to Israel's President Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Nov. 29, 1948: "I have interpreted my re-election as a mandate ... to carry out ... the plank on Israel. ... In closing, I want to tell you how happy and impressed I have been at the remarkable progress made by the new State of Israel."
Dr. Chaim Weizmann had stated: "I think that the God of Israel is with us."
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