In 2006, an inebriated Mel Gibson allegedly said this: “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” There followed the predicable storm of anti-anti-Semitism, ad hominem attacks, and various other slanders against Gibson’s character. But virtually no one asked the question: Is he right? Or rather this: To what degree could he be right?
Clearly Jews can’t be responsible for all the world’s wars, but might they have had a hand in many wars—at least amongst those countries in which they lived or interacted? Given their undeniable influence in those nations where they exceed even a fraction of a percent of the population, Jews must be responsible, to some degree, for at least some of what government does, both good and bad. Jews are often praised as brilliant managers, economists, and strategists, and have been granted seemingly endless awards and honors. But those given credit for their successes must also receive blame for their failures. And there are few greater failures in the lives of nations than war.
To begin to evaluate Gibson’s charge, I will look at the role Jews played in the two major wars of world history, World Wars I and II. But first I need to recap some relevant history in order to better understand the context of Jewish policy and actions during those calamitous events.
Have Jews played a disproportionate role in war and social conflict—a role typically not of peacemakers and reconcilers, but of instigators and profiteers? Let us very briefly review some historical evidence to answer this charge; it provides relevant insight into Jewish influences during both world wars.
As far back as the Book of Genesis, we find stories such as that of Joseph, son of Jacob, sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph earns the favor of the Pharaoh and is elevated to a position of power. When a famine strikes, Joseph develops and implements a brutal policy of exploitation, leading Egyptian farmers to sell their land, animals, and ultimately themselves in exchange for food. Joseph himself survives unscathed, living out his days in “the land of Goshen,” with a life of luxury and ease—evidently as repayment for a job well done.It is clear that Joseph was Jewish: His father, Jacob, was renamed by God as “Israel” (Gen 35:10), and Joseph himself is repeatedly referred to as a “Hebrew” (e.g. Gen 39:14, 41:12).
Over time, Jews continued to build a reputation as rabble-rousers and exploiters. In 41 AD, Roman Emperor Claudius issued his Third Edict, condemning the Jews of Alexandria for abuse of privilege and sowing discord; he charged them with “fomenting a general plague which infests the whole world.” Eight years later he expelled them from Rome. As a result, the Jews revolted in Jerusalem in the years 66-70, and again in 115 and 132. Of that final uprising, Cassius Dio made the following observation—the first clear indication of Jews causing a major war:
Jews everywhere were showing signs of hostility to the Romans, partly by secret and partly overt acts… [M]any other nations, too, were joining them through eagerness for gain, and the whole earth, one might almost say, was being stirred up over the matter.Roman History, 69.13.
Thus it was not without reason that notable Romans denounced the Jews—among these Seneca (“an accursed race”), Quintilian (“a race which is a curse to others”), and Tacitus (a “disease,” a “pernicious superstition,” and “the basest of peoples”).For Seneca’s and Quintilian’s comments, see Stern (1974), pages 431 and 513. For Tacitus, see his Annals (XV, 44), and Histories (5.8). Prominent German historian Theodor Mommsen reaffirmed this view, noting that the Jews of Rome were indeed agents of social disruption and decay: “Also in the ancient world, Judaism was an effective ferment of cosmopolitanism and of national decomposition.”History of Rome, vol. 4, p. 643.
Throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, their negative reputation persisted. John Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther all condemned Jewish usury—a lending practice often trading on distress, and a frequent cause of social unrest. In the 1770s, Baron d’Holbach declared that “the Jewish people distinguished themselves only by massacres, unjust wars, cruelties, usurpations, and infamies.” He added that they “lived continually in the midst of calamities, and were, more than all other nations, the sport of frightful revolutions.”Ecce Homo! (1770/1813: 26, 28) Voltaire was struck by the danger posed to humanity by the Hebrew tribe; “I would not be in the least bit surprised if these people would not some day become deadly to the human race.”Cited in Hertzberg (1968: 300). Kant called them a “nation of deceivers,” and Hegel remarked that “the only act Moses reserved for the Israelites was…to borrow with deceit and repay confidence with theft.”For Kant, see his Conflict of the Faculties (1798/1979: 101). Hegel’s quotation is from his Early Theological Writings (1975: 190).
Thus both empirical evidence and learned opinion suggest that Jews have, for centuries, had a hand in war, social strife, and economic distress, and have managed to profit thereby.This is just a fraction of the negative observations of Jews over the centuries. For a more complete study, see my series Dalton (2011a, 2011b, 2011c, and 2012). Being a small and formally disempowered minority everywhere, it is striking that they should merit even a mention in such events—or if they did, it should have been as the exploited, and not the exploiters. And yet they seem to have demonstrated a consistent ability to turn social unrest to their advantage. Thus it is not an unreasonable claim that they might even instigate such unrest, anticipating that they could achieve desired ends.
Jewish Advance in America and Elsewhere
The long history of Jewish involvement in social conflict has a direct bearing on both world wars. Consider their progressive influence in American government. Beginning in the mid-1800s, we find a number of important milestones. In 1845, the first Jews were elected to both houses of Congress: Lewis Levin (Pa.) to the House and David Yulee (Fla.) to the Senate. By 1887 they had their first elected governor, Washington Bartlett in California. And in 1889, Solomon Hirsch became the first Jewish minister, nominated by President Harrison as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire—which at that time controlled Palestine.
Overseas, trouble was brewing for the Jews in Russia. A gang of anarchists, one or two of whom were Jewish, succeeded in killing Czar Alexander II in 1881. This unleashed a multi-decade series of periodic pogroms, most minor but some killing multiple hundreds of Jews. Further difficulties for them came with the so-called May Laws of 1882, which placed restrictions on Jewish business practice and areas of residency within the “Pale of Settlement” in the western portion of the Russian empire.A large area, comprising much of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus. Many Jews fled the Pale; of those heading west, Germany was their first stop.In 1891 the New York Times ran the headline: “Russia’s Fierce Assault: Europe amazed at her treatment of Jews.” As the article explained, “Berlin…is overwhelmed by the advance wave of the flying Jews, driven on a day’s notice from their homes and swarming westward…” (May 31; p. 1).
Even prior to the 1880s, Jewish influence in Germany was considerable. In the 1840s, both Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx wrote influential essays on Die Judenfrage (The Jewish Question). In 1850, composer Richard Wagner complained that Germans found themselves “in the position of fighting for emancipation from the Jews. The Jew is, in fact…more than emancipated. He rules…”Cited in Rather (1990: 163). By 1878, Wagner declared that Jewish control of German newspapers was nearly total. A year later Wilhelm Marr decried “the victory of Jewry over Germandom”; he believed it self-evident that “without striking a blow…Jewry today has become the socio-political dictator of Germany.”Cited in Levy (1991: 83-84).
The facts support these views. And with the influx of Russian and Polish Jews in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the situation got demonstrably worse. Sarah Gordon (1984: 10-14) cites the following impressive statistics:
Before the First World War, for example, Jews occupied 13 percent of the directorships of joint-stock corporations and 24 percent of the supervisory positions within these corporations. … [D]uring 1904 they comprised 27 percent of all lawyers, 10 percent of all apprenticed lawyers, 5 percent of court clerks, 4 percent of magistrates, and up to 30 percent of all higher ranks of the judiciary. … Jews were [also] overrepresented among university professors and students between 1870 and 1933. For example, in 1909-1910…almost 12 percent of instructors at German universities were Jewish… [I]n 1905-1906 Jewish students comprised 25 percent of the law and medical students… The percentage of Jewish doctors was also quite high, especially in large cities, where they sometimes were a majority. … [I]n Berlin around 1890, 25 percent of all children attending grammar school were Jewish…
For all this, Jews never exceeded 2% of the German population. The public accepted the foreigners with a remarkable degree of tolerance, and more or less allowed them to dominate certain sectors of German society. There were no legal constraints, and violent attacks were rare. But the Germans would come to regret such liberal policies.
The other important factor at that time was the emergence of Zionism. Formally established by Theodor Herzl in 1897, its basic principles were laid out in his book Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State). He argued that the Jews would never be free from persecution as long as they were foreigners everywhere, and thus they needed their own state. A number of locations were discussed, but by the time of the first meeting of the World Zionist Organization in 1897, the movement had settled on Palestine. This, however, was problematic because the region at that time was under control of the Ottoman Empire, and was populated primarily by Muslim and Christian Arabs. Somehow, the Zionist Jews would have to wrest control of Palestine away from the Ottoman Turks and then drive out the Arabs. It was a seemingly impossible task.
They immediately understood that this could only be done by force. It would take a condition of global distress—something approaching a world war—in order for the Zionists to manipulate things to their advantage. Their guiding principle of ‘profit through distress’ could work here, but it would require both internal and external pressure. In states where the Jews had significant population but little official power, they would foment unrest from within. In states where they had influence, they would use the power of their accumulated wealth to dictate national policy. And in states where they had neither population nor influence, they would apply external pressure to secure support for their purposes.
That the Zionists seriously contemplated this two-pronged, internal/external strategy is no mere speculation; we have the word of Herzl himself. He wrote:
When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of the revolutionary party; when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse. (1896/1967: 26)
In fact, Herzl apparently predicted the outbreak of global war. One of the original Zionists, Litman Rosenthal, wrote in his diary of 15 December 1914 his recollection of a conversation with Herzl from 1897. Herzl allegedly said,
It may be that Turkey will refuse or be unable to understand us. This will not discourage us. We will seek other means to accomplish our end. The Orient question is now the question of the day. Sooner or later it will bring about a conflict among the nations. A European war is imminent… The great European war must come. With my watch in hand do I await this terrible moment. After the great European war is ended the Peace Conference will assemble. We must be ready for that time. We will assuredly be called to this great conference of the nations and we must prove to them the urgent importance of a Zionist solution to the Jewish Question.
This was Herzl’s so-called “great war prophecy.” Now, he does not say that the Zionists will cause this war, only that they will “be ready” when it comes, and “will seek other means” than diplomacy to accomplish their end. A striking prediction, if true.There are a few problems, however. First, the diary is dated some five months after the war actually started; it’s easy to recall a prediction after the fact. Second, Rosenthal’s book My Siberian Diary is nowhere to be found. The entry is recounted in an obscure periodical, The Jewish Era, dated January 1919 (p. 128); this was not only after the war was over, but after the Peace Conference had already begun.
In any case, there was clearly a larger plan at work here. The Jews would pursue a policy of revolution in states like Russia in order to bring down hated governments. To the degree possible, they would seek to undermine the Ottoman Turks as well. And in Germany, the UK, and America, they would use “the terrible power of the purse” to dictate an aggressive war-policy in order to realign the global power structure to their favor. This would have a triple benefit: curtailing rampant anti-Semitism; enhancing Jewish wealth; and ultimately establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, one that could serve as the global center of world Jewry. Revolution and war thus became a top priority.This was true of both Zionist and non-Zionist Jews. It’s worth noting that Zionism was a minority view among American Jews, at least for the first two decades of its existence. Many Jews, being ‘internationalists,’ did not feel the need for a Jewish homeland. And many realized that, should this come to pass, they would be charged with dual loyalty. But with the Zionists’ relentless pressure and record of success, they became the dominant view.
Turkey was in fact an early success for the movement. The Sultan’s system of autocratic rule generated some dissatisfaction, and a group of Turkish Jews exploited this to their advantage—resulting in the Turkish Revolution of 1908. As Stein explains,
the revolution had been organized from Salonica [present-day Thessaloniki], where the Jews, together with the crypto-Jews known as Dönmeh, formed a majority of the population. Salonica Jews and the Dönmeh had taken an important part in the events associated with the revolution and had provided the Committee of Union and Progress with several of its ablest members. (1961: 35)For a contemporaneous account, see the London Times, 11 July 1911, p. 5.
This group of revolutionaries, today known as the Young Turks, was able to overthrow the Sultan and exert substantial influence on the succeeding ruler. But in the end they were unable to steer the declining empire in a pro-Zionist direction.
Back in the USA, Jewish population was rising even faster than in Germany. In 1880 it had roughly 250,000 Jews (0.5%), but by 1900—just 20 years later—the figure was around 1.5 million (1.9%). A census of 1918 showed this number increasing to an astonishing figure of 3 million (2.9%). Their political influence grew commensurately.
For present purposes, significant American influence began with the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. He was shot by a Polish radical named Leon Czolgosz, who had been heavily influenced by two Jewish anarchists, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. The presidency immediately fell to the vice president, Theodore Roosevelt—who, at age 42, was (and remains) the youngest president in history. His role as an army colonel in the 1898 victory in Cuba over the Spaniards had led to widespread publicity, and with the backing of the Jewish community, he won the New York governorship later that same year. Thus he was well situated to earn the vice presidential nomination in 1900.
A question of interest: Was Roosevelt Jewish? I will examine this issue in detail later with respect to FDR (as to whom there is more to say), but in brief, there is considerable circumstantial evidence that all of the Roosevelts were, at least in part, Jewish. In Theodore’s case, the only explicit indication is a claim by former Michigan governor Chase Osborn. In a letter dated 21 March 1935, Osborn said, “President [Franklin] Roosevelt knows well enough that his ancestors were Jewish. I heard Theodore Roosevelt state twice that his ancestors were Jewish.”Cited in Slomovitz (1981: 6-7). But Osborn offers no specifics, and I am not aware of any further claims regarding Theodore himself.
However, there are two other relevant items regarding his Jewish connections. Having acceded to the office in 1901, he subsequently won the 1904 election. In late 1906 he appointed the first Jew to the presidential cabinet: Oscar Straus, a wealthy New York lawyer and former ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. As Secretary of Labor and Commerce, Straus was in charge of the Bureau of Immigration—at the critical time of accelerating Jewish immigration. We can be sure that his office was particularly amenable to incoming Jews.
The second event occurred in 1912. Roosevelt had declined to run again in 1908, preferring to nominate his Secretary of War, William Taft—who proceeded to win handily. Taft, however, disappointed many Republicans, and there was a call to bring Roosevelt back. But the party would not oust a sitting president, and so Roosevelt decided to run on a third-party ticket. Hence the peculiar status of the 1912 election: it featured Taft running for reelection, Roosevelt running as a third-party candidate, and Woodrow Wilson running as a first-term Democrat. As the history books like to say, we had a former president and a sitting president running against a future president. Wilson, as we know, would win this race, and go on to serve two consecutive terms—covering the lead-up, duration, and aftermath of World War I.
But less well known is this fact: For perhaps the first time in US history, all three major candidates had substantial Jewish financial backing. Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independentreported on a 1914 Congressional testimony by Paul Warburg, best known as the Jewish “father of the Federal Reserve.” Warburg was the prototypical Jewish banker, long-time partner at Kuhn, Loeb, and Co., and later head of Wells Fargo in New York. At some point during Taft’s presidency, Warburg decided to get financially involved in politics. By the time of the 1912 election, he and his partners at Kuhn, Loeb were funding all three candidates. Warburg’s testimony, before Senator Joseph Bristow (R-Kan.), is revealing:
JB: “It has been variously reported in the newspapers that you and your partners directly and indirectly contributed very largely to Mr. Wilson’s campaign funds.” PW: “Well, my partners—there is a very peculiar condition—no; I do not think any one of them contributed largely at all; there may have been moderate contributions. My brother, for instance, contributed to Mr. Taft’s campaign.” …
JB: “I understood you to say that you contributed to Mr. Wilson’s campaign.” PW: “No; my letter says that I offered to contribute; but it was too late. I came back to this country only a few days before the campaign closed.” JB: “So that you did not make any contribution?” PW: “I did not make any contribution; no.” JB: “Did any members of your firm make contributions to Mr. Wilson’s campaign?” PW: “I think that is a matter of record. Mr. [Jacob] Schiff contributed. I would not otherwise discuss the contributions of my partners, if it was not a matter of record. I think Mr. Schiff was the only one who contributed in our firm.” JB: “And you stated that your brother had contributed to Mr. Taft’s campaign, as I understand it?” PW: “I did. But again, I do not want to go into a discussion of my partners’ affairs, and I shall stick to that pretty strictly, or we will never get through.” JB: “I understood you also to say that no members of your firm contributed to Mr. Roosevelt’s campaign.” PW: “I did not say that.” JB: “Oh! Did any members of the firm do that?” PW: “My answer would please you probably; but I shall not answer that, but will repeat that I will not discuss my partners’ affairs.” JB: “Yes. I understood you to say Saturday that you were a Republican, but when Mr. Roosevelt became a candidate, you then became a sympathizer with Mr. Wilson and supported him?” PW: “Yes.” JB: “While your brother was supporting Mr. Taft?” PW: “Yes.” JB: “And I was interested to know whether any member of your firm supported Mr. Roosevelt.” PW: “It is a matter of record that there are.” JB: “That there are some of them who did?” PW: “Oh, yes.”Cited in Dearborn Independent (25 June 1921).
In sum: some unknown members of Kuhn, Loeb donated to Roosevelt; Paul’s brother (Felix) gave to Taft; and Schiff donated to Wilson. Cleverly, Paul Warburg himself admitted to no funding, but we can hardly take him at his word here. In any case, there was a Jewish hand in all three contestants, and the Jews were guaranteed influence with the winner, no matter the outcome. We don’t know the extent of this influence, nor how long it had gone on. To date I have not uncovered evidence of Jewish involvement with Roosevelt’s 1904 election, although his appointment of Straus to the cabinet is typical of the kind of political patronage that follows financial support. And the same with Taft: We don’t know the degree of Jewish support for his initial run in 1908, but support in 1912 suggests that they were reasonably satisfied with his performance.
But Taft turned out to be a mixed bag for the Jews. On the one hand, Jewish immigration continued apace. And he did appoint Oscar Straus to the ambassadorship to the Ottoman Empire . However, he was less inclined to act on the international stage than the Jews had wished. Of particular concern was the growing problem in Russia, and steady reports of Jewish pogroms. For example, there was the “Kishinev massacre” of April 1903; the New York Times reported that “Jews were slaughtered like sheep. The dead number 120… The scenes of horror attending this massacre are beyond description. Babes were literally torn to pieces by the frenzied and blood-thirsty mob” (April 28; p. 6). A slight exaggeration—the actual death toll was 47. A second attack in Kishinev in 1905 left 19 dead; regrettable, but hardly a catastrophe. In early 1910 the NYT ran an article, “Russian Jews in Sad Plight.” Their source said, “The condition of Russian [Jews] is worse today than at any time since the barbarous massacres and pogroms of 1905 and 1906.”April 11, p. 18. The same article goes on to decry “the systematic, relentless quiet grinding down of a people of more than 6,000,000 souls.” This figure surely strikes a chord—but that’s another story. Then on 18 September 1911, the Russian Prime Minister, Pyotr Stolypin, was shot and killed—by a Jewish assassin, Mordekhai Gershkovich, aka Dmitri Bogrov. (The reader will recall Herzl’s demand for revolutionary action.) This of course brought even harsher recriminations.
But the last straw, for the American Zionists, was the restriction on American Jews from entering into Russia. There had been obstacles in place since the turn of the century, but they became much more stringent during Taft’s presidency. The Zionists wanted the US government to take action, but this was forestalled by a long-standing treaty of 1832, one that guaranteed “reciprocal liberty of commerce and navigation” and allowed mutual freedom of entry of citizens on both sides. The Zionists thus took it upon themselves to initiate the abrogation of this treaty as a means of putting external pressure on the Czarist regime. And, despite the wishes of President Taft and the best interests of America at large, they succeeded. This whole incident, thoroughly documented by Cohen (1963), is an astounding and watershed event in Jewish influence. As she says,
Credit for this act belongs to a small group which had campaigned publicly during 1911 for the abrogation of the treaty. How a mere handful of men succeeded in arousing American public opinion on a relatively obscure issue to a near “wave of hysteria,” how they forced the hand of an antagonistic administration, and what principal aim lay behind their fight for abrogation constitute an absorbing story of pressure politics. (p. 3)
The “mere handful of men” consisted primarily of Jewish lawyer Louis Marshall, the banker Jacob Schiff, and their colleagues at the American Jewish Committee—the ‘AIPAC’ of its day, and still a potent force a century later. They had raised the topic of abrogation as early as 1908, but it did not become a top priority until early 1910. They then approached Taft, knowing that he was preparing to run for reelection the following year. As Cohen (p. 9) says, “The quid pro quo was obvious; the Jewish leaders would try to deliver the Jewish vote to Taft.” But he was unsympathetic. Taft knew that, for several reasons, it was not in America’s favor: Our commercial interests, our Far East foreign policy, Russian good will, and our international integrity would all be harmed by abrogation. But the Jews were pressing; in February 1910 they met with Taft, to “give him one last chance” to support their cause. When he again declined, they decided to go around the president, to Congress and to the American people. They knew how to work Congress. As Cohen (p. 13) explains, “the pattern of Jewish petitions to the government…was generally that of secret diplomacy. Wealthy or politically prominent individuals asked favors…but always in the form of discreet pressure and behind-the-scenes bargaining.” But mounting a public campaign was something new.
In January 1911, Marshall “officially opened the public campaign for abrogation.” He immediately appealed not to Jewish interest—though that was the sole motive—but rather to allegedly American interests. “It is not the Jew who is insulted; it is the American people,” he said. As Shogan (2010: 22) puts it, “a key to the [Jewish] strategy was to frame its demand as a plea to protect American interests in general, not just the rights of Jews.” The AJC then embarked on a massive propaganda effort. They enlisted Jewish support in the media; Samuel Strauss and Adolph Ochs (of the New York Times) helped coordinate a series of articles and op-eds in several major cities. They made the case “in popular emotional terms,” organized petitions and letter-writing programs, and held dedicated, pro-abrogation rallies—one of which included such luminaries as William Hearst and future president Woodrow Wilson.Indeed—a “special effort” was made to get the support of Wilson, “whose influence was rising within the Democratic ranks” (p. 32). Everything was designed to put maximum pressure on Congress to act.
All the while, Taft remained firm in his opposition. In a private letter he wrote, “I am the President of the whole United States, and the vote of the Jews, important as it is, cannot frighten me in this matter” (Cohen, p. 21). Secretary of State Philander Knox, and Ambassador to Russia William Rockhill, both strongly supported him. Rockhill was particularly galled; expressing his thoughts, Cohen asks, “were national interests to be subservient to a small group of individuals?” After all, the actual harm was near microscopic: “Only 28 American Jews resided in Russia, and the State Dept knew of only four cases in five years where American Jews were denied admission” (p. 16). And yet this “small group of men” was turning the tide in their favor.
By November of 1911, just 11 months after launching their public campaign, the AJC was confident of victory. Schiff was able to predict easy passage for the resolution. That same month an “unofficial delegation” of Jews met with Taft regarding his pending annual message, and they convinced him that Congressional action was inevitable, and veto-proof. Taft relented, agreeing to sign the resolution when it reached his desk. Wanting no further delay, the AJC pressed for a vote before the end of year. On December 13 the House approved the measure—by the astounding tally of 301 to 1. A slightly modified version came up for Senate vote on December 19, which was passed unanimously. A reconciled bill was approved the next day, and Taft signed it. So it came to be that, on 20 December 1911, the US government sold its soul to the Jewish Lobby.
The importance of this event can scarcely be overestimated. The interests of “a mere handful of men,” acting on behalf of a small American minority, were able to dictate governmental foreign policy, against the express wishes of the president and his staff, and contrary to the larger interests of the nation.
The Russians, incidentally, were stunned at this decision. They knew of the Jewish hand behind it, but could hardly believe that it had the power to carry through on its threat. The NYT again gives a useful report:
In parliamentary circles here [in Russia] the prevailing comment is characterized by astonishment that the American government has responded so readily to the Jewish outcry. The opinion is expressed by members of the Duma that in all probability the Jews will now attempt to force matters further. (20 Dec 1911; p. 2)
Indeed—the Jewish-led Bolshevik revolution was just six years away.
Such was the state of things in America and globally at that time. International Jewry had sufficient wealth and influence to steer events at the highest levels, and American Jews (Zionist and otherwise) had come to permeate the government—and American culture generally. The situation so impressed German economist Werner Sombart that in 1911 he made this observation: “For what we call Americanism is nothing else than the Jewish spirit distilled.”The Jews and Modern Capitalism (1911/1982), p. 44.From the perspective of a century later, this would seem truer than ever.
Wilson and the “Great War”
All this, then, serves as the context and backdrop for the emergence of Woodrow Wilson, beginning with the election of 1912. If Franklin Roosevelt was “the first great hero of American Jews,”Shogan (2010: xi). then Wilson was the first great understudy. As Henry Ford saw it, “Mr. Wilson, while President, was very close to the Jews. His administration, as everyone knows, was predominantly Jewish.”Dearborn Independent, 11 June 1921. The entire ‘international Jew’ series ran without a byline, and so for the sake of convenience I attribute them to Ford—even though it is virtually certain that he did not write the pieces himself. Wilson seems to have been the first president to have the full backing of the Jewish Lobby, including multiple major financial donors. And he was the first to fully reward their support.
It’s worthwhile summarizing the main figures in the Jewish power structure, as of 1912. Herzl died young in 1904, so he was out of the picture. But a “mere handful” of others came to dominate the movement, and the American scene:
- Oscar Straus (age 62), German-born, first Jewish cabinet member under T. Roosevelt, and later ambassador to the Ottoman Empire under Taft.
- Jacob Schiff (65), head of the Kuhn, Loeb banking firm.
- Louis Marshall (56), borderline Zionist, founder of the AJC.
- The Warburg brothers: Paul (44) and Felix (41), German-born bankers. A third brother, Max, stayed in Germany (until 1938).
- Henry Morgenthau, Sr. (56), German-born lawyer, father of the even more influential Henry, Jr.
- Louis Brandeis (56), lawyer, strongly Zionist.
- Samuel Untermyer (54), lawyer.
- Bernard Baruch (42), Wall Street financier.
- Stephen Wise (40), Austrian-born rabbi and fervent Zionist.
- Richard Gottheil (50), British-born rabbi and Zionist.
These, to emphasize, were all Americans. On the European side there was a different structure, one centered on such figures as Chaim Weizmann and Herbert Samuel in Britain, and Max Nordau in France.
Let me begin with financial backing—which of course has long been the trump card of Jewry. Many of the above individuals were prime supporters of Wilson. Cooper (2009: 172) remarks that his “big contributors” included the likes of “Henry Morgenthau, Jacob Schiff, and Samuel Untermyer, as well as a newcomer to their ranks, Bernard Baruch.” Such assistance continued throughout Wilson’s tenure; for his 1916 reelection bid, “financiers such as Henry Morgenthau and Bernard Baruch gave generously” (ibid: 350). As we saw, Schiff’s support was admitted by Warburg in his congressional testimony.
Warburg himself was very evasive, allowing only that his “sympathies went with Mr. Wilson.” Yet we can hardly believe that no money followed. Warburg’s most profound impact was his leading role in the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the year Wilson took office. Seligman (1914: 387) remarks that “it may be stated without fear of contradiction that in its fundamental features the Federal Reserve is the work of Mr. Warburg more than of any other man in the country.” Its basic principles, he said, “were the creation of Mr. Warburg and of Mr. Warburg alone.” In due recognition, Wilson appointed him to the Fed’s first Board of Governors in August 1914.
Morgenthau’s influence began in 1911, when Wilson was still governor of New Jersey. Balakian (2003: 220) notes that it was at this time that the two “bonded,” and that “Morgenthau offered Wilson his ‘unreserved moral and financial support’.” In the run-up to the 1912 Democratic convention, “Morgenthau was giving \$5,000 a month to the campaign, and continued to give generously throughout the fall” (ibid.: 221). In fact, says Balakian, only a few of his wealthy Princeton classmates gave more. Ward (1989: 252) confirms this, noting that Morgenthau “had been an important backer of Woodrow Wilson in 1912.” Morgenthau duly received his reward: ambassadorship to Ottoman Turkey, again overseeing Palestine.
Of special importance was Wilson’s association with Louis Brandeis. The two first met back in 1910; Shogan (2010: 64) describes Brandeis’s “friendship with Woodrow Wilson,” noting that he had “worked mightily” for him in the 1912 campaign. In a telling statement, Wilson wrote to his friend after the election, “You were yourself a great part of the victory.”Cooper (1983: 194). Brandeis would be rewarded by a successful nomination to the Supreme Court in June 1916—the first Jew on the court. He would serve a full 23 years, well beyond Wilson’s lifetime, and, despite his formal ‘neutrality’ as a justice, would play a vital role in both world wars.
But perhaps the most significant of all was Bernard Baruch. A millionaire before he was 30, Baruch catapulted out of nowhere, under obscure conditions, to become a leading influence in the Wilson administration. Already in 1915, in the early years of the European war, he was convinced that America would be involved. In Congressional testimony of February 1920, Baruch stated that, in 1915, he “had been very much disturbed by the unprepared condition of this country.” “I had been thinking about it very seriously, and I thought we would be drawn into the war. … I thought a war was coming long before it did.” Through some still-mysterious process, Baruch was named to the Council of National Defense in early 1916. He then came to control a particular subcommittee, the War Industries Board (WIB), which had extraordinary wartime powers. Baruch single-handedly ran it throughout the war years. His testimony before Sen. Albert Jefferis (R-Neb.) summarizes his role:
AJ: “In what lines did this board of 10 have the powers that you mention? BB: “We had the power of priority, which was the greatest power in the war.” AJ: “In other words, you determined what everybody could have?” BB: “Exactly; there is no question about that. I assumed that responsibility, sir, and that final determination rested within me.” AJ: “What?” BB: “That final determination, as the President said, rested within me; the determination of whether the Army or Navy should have it rested with me; the determination of whether the Railroad Administration could have it, or the Allies, or whether General Allenby should have locomotives, or whether they should be used in Russia, or used in France.” AJ: “You had considerable power?” BB: “Indeed I did, sir.” …
AJ: “And all those different lines, really, ultimately, centered in you, so far as power was concerned?” BB: “Yes, sir, it did. I probably had more power than perhaps any other man did in the war; doubtless that is true.”War Expenditures: Parts 1 to 13. US Government Printing Office (1921: 1814, 1816).
An astonishing fact: a young, unelected Jew with no political experience becomes, in time of crisis, the most powerful man in the US government, after the president himself. And yet all this was just a rehearsal. Baruch would play a similar role in the Second World War under FDR, in his Office of War Mobilization. He was also a friend and confidant of Winston Churchill. No doubt “Barney” Baruch had lots of advice for all parties involved.
World War I began in earnest in August of 1914, when the German army crossed into officially neutral Belgium on its way to France. A series of alliances and treaties triggered a chain reaction in which 10 nations entered the war by the end of that year. Ultimately another 18 would be engaged—though in the case of the US, it would be nearly two and half years later. It’s difficult today, with our present eagerness to engage in warfare around the world, to understand the degree to which Americans then were so strongly anti-interventionist. Neither the public nor the government had any real inclination to get involved in a European war. Publicly, at least, Wilson himself was a pacifist and an isolationist. In a speech of 19 August 1914, just after the outbreak of war, he proclaimed that “every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned.” We have a duty to be “the one great nation at peace,” and thus “we must be impartial in thought as well as in action.”Cited in Chalberg (1995: 46-47).
And yet, American governmental policy did not fully adhere to these lofty words. Under international law, the United States, as a neutral party, had the right to conduct commerce with all sides. But of course both Britain and Germany sought to restrict trade with the other. A British naval blockade interrupted or seized a substantial portion of our intended shipments to Germany, reducing trade by more than 90%. And yet Wilson hardly objected. On the other hand, when German submarines attacked or threatened our shipments to England, he reacted in the strongest manner. The end result was a near quadrupling of trade with the Allies between 1914 and 1916. In practical terms, we were supporting the Allied war effort, even as we remained officially neutral. Wilson’s government—if not he himself—was decidedly biased against the Germans. Not coincidentally, Wilson’s Jewish advisors were, to a man, anti-German.
By the time of the 1916 election, war was churning throughout Europe. Still, Wilson promised to remain unengaged; he ran and won on the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” The American people too had little appetite for armed conflict; as Cooper (2009: 381) writes, “Clearly, the president was not feeling a push for war from Congress or the public.” But like so many campaign promises, this one would be discarded soon afterward—in fact, barely one month after his second inauguration.
So: Why did he do it? Why did Wilson change his mind and, on 2 April 1917, issue his famous call to Congress to declare war on Germany? His official answer: German submarines were relentlessly targeting US military, passenger, and cargo ships, and thus we simply had no choice. But this explanation does not withstand scrutiny. Early in the war the Germans were sinking a number of ships that were trafficking with the Allies, but in September 1915, after urgent demands from Wilson, they suspended submarine attacks. This suspension held for an exceptionally long time—through February 1917. And all throughout that time, we, and other “neutral” nations, were trading with Germany’s enemies, supplying them with material goods, and assisting in a naval blockade. Thus it is unsurprising that the Germans eventually resumed their attacks, on all ships in the war zone.
In his famous speech to Congress, Wilson said of the lifting of the suspension, “the Imperial German Government…put aside all restraints of law or of humanity, and uses its submarines to sink every vessel [in the war zone].” Sparing no hyperbole, he added, “The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind. It is a war against all nations.”
But what are the facts? Specifically, how big a threat did Germany pose to the US? In reality, it was not much of a threat at all. From the time of the outbreak of war (August 1914) until Wilson’s declaration in April 1917, a total of three small military ships were lost—one submarine in 1915, one armored cruiser in 1916, and one protected cruiser in early 1917. Additionally, a total of 12 American merchant steamers (freight ships) were sunk in the same period, but with the loss of only 38 individual lives.Other Americans died on foreign-flagged ships—most notoriously, 128 on the Lusitania. But this still pales in comparison to the thousands who would die in a war. So the US had lost a grand total of 15 ships to that point. Putting this in perspective: Over the course of the entire war, German U-boats sank roughly 6,600 ships in total. Hence the threat to the US was all but inconsequential. Clearly Wilson was thinking in internationalist terms, and someone or something convinced him that realigning the global order was more important than American public opinion; thus his famous and much-derided phrase: “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Yes—but whose democracy?
A few powerful voices opposed Wilson, including Senators Robert La Follette (R-Wisc.) and George Norris (R-Neb.). Both spoke on April 4, just two days after Wilson’s plea for war. La Follette was outraged at the unilateral action taken by the Wilson administration. In a scathing speech, he said:
I am speaking of a profession of democracy that is linked in action with the most brutal and domineering use of autocratic power. Are the people of this country being so well-represented in this war movement that we need to go abroad to give other people control of their governments? Will the President and the supporters of this war bill submit it to a vote of the people before the declaration of war goes into effect? … Who has registered the knowledge or approval of the American people of the course this Congress is called upon to take in declaring war upon Germany? Submit the question to the people, you who support it. You who support it dare not do it, for you know that by a vote of more than ten to one the American people as a body would register their declaration against it.Online at: www.historymatters.gmu.edu. I am not aware of any polling data supporting his claim that 90% of Americans were opposed to entering the war, but it seems to have been a reasonable estimate.
Norris had some ideas about the driving forces behind the call to war. He believed that many Americans had been “misled as to the real history and the true facts, by the almost unanimous demand of the great combination of wealth that has a direct financial interest in our participation in the war.”Cited in Chalberg (1995: 71-73). Wall Street bankers loaned millions to the Allies, and naturally wanted it repaid. And then there were the profits to be made from military hardware and ammunition. These same forces also held sway in the media:
[A] large number of the great newspapers and news agencies of the country have been controlled and enlisted in the greatest propaganda that the world has ever known, to manufacture sentiment in favor of war. … [And now] Congress, urged by the President and backed by the artificial sentiment, is about to declare war and engulf our country in the greatest holocaust that the world has ever known…
Indeed—every war is a ‘holocaust.’ Norris then encapsulated his view with a most striking line: “We are going into war upon the command of gold.” And everyone knew who held the gold.
Norris and La Follette both realized they had no chance to change the outcome. Any force that could compel abrogation of the Russian treaty and monopolize a presidential election could manufacture Congressional consent for war. Later that same day, the Senate confirmed it, by a vote of 82 to 6. Two days thereafter, the House concurred, 373 to 50. And so we were at war. American troops would be on the ground in Europe within three months.
Political power is a strange thing; it is one of those rare cases where appearance is reality. If you say you have power, and others say you have power, and if all parties act as if you have power—then you have power. Such is the case with the Jewish Lobby. Simply because, at that time, they had no army, had internal disagreements, and in no country exceeded one or two percent of the population, we cannot conclude that they were mere helpless pawns, manipulated at will by the great powers. And yet today, modern commentators continue to refer to the ‘illusory’ or ‘misperceived’ power of the Jews at that time.Schneer (2010: 153) is typical: there was “no such thing” as a powerful Jewish force in world affairs. Any thoughts to the contrary are “based upon a misconception.” Hodgson (2006: 154-155) is another example: “the influence of Zionism [was] considerably exaggerated” by the British government, who believed the international Jews to be “more influential and more Zionist than in fact they were.” This can now be exposed as a weak attempt to whitewash the Jewish power play. When a small minority can dictate foreign policy, promote global war, and steer the outcome in their favor, then they have substantial power—no matter what anyone says. It was true in 1911; it was true in the 1912 election; and it would be clearly demonstrated once again in the case of the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
To recap: During Wilson’s first term, Jewish Americans achieved major political gains. Paul Warburg’s Federal Reserve Act was passed, and he was named to the Board. Henry Morgenthau, Sr. was nominated ambassador to Turkey, watching over Palestine. Brandeis was named to the Supreme Court. And Baruch became the second most powerful man in the land.
Jews also made important strides elsewhere in America during those four years. Two more Jewish governors were elected—Alexander in Idaho, and Bamburger in Utah. The motion-picture business witnessed the beginning of Jewish domination, with Universal Pictures (Carl Laemmle), Paramount (Zukor, Lasky, Frohmans, and Goldwyn), Fox Films (William Fox), and the early formation of “Warner” Bros. Pictures—in reality, the four Wonskolaser brothers: Hirsz, Aaron, Szmul, and Itzhak.Jews had nearly a total monopoly on the film business. The only significant non-Jewish movie mogul was Darryl Zanuck, who was a studio head at 20th Century Fox for many years. This development would prove useful for wartime propaganda. And the Jewish population grew by some 500,000 people.
1917 was the first year of Wilson’s second term. The European war was into its third year, and looking increasingly like a stalemate. With the German resumption of U-boat attacks on shipping to the UK and the American declaration, a true world war was in hand. And it was also a time of revolution in Russia. In fact, two revolutions: the worker’s uprising in February that overthrew Czar Nicholas II, and the Bolshevik revolution in October that put the Jewish revolutionaries in power.
The role of Jews in the Russian revolution(s) is a complicated and interesting story. There isn’t space here to elaborate, but in brief, the communist movement had a heavy Jewish hand from its inception. Marx, of course, was a German Jew, and his writings inspired an 18-year-old Vladimir Lenin in 1888. Lenin was himself one-quarter Jewish (maternal grandfather: Alexandr Blank). In 1898, Lenin formed a revolutionary group, the Russian Social Democratic Worker’s Party (RSDWP), which was the early precursor to the Soviet Communist Party. Four years later, Lenin was joined by a full-blooded Jew, Leon Trotsky—born Lev Bronstein. Internal dissension led to a schism in 1903, at which time the RSDWP split into Bolshevik (‘majority’) and Menshevik (‘minority’) factions. Both factions were disproportionately Jewish. In addition to Lenin and Trotsky, leading Bolshevik Jews included Grigory Zinoviev, Yakov Sverdlov, Lev Kamenev (aka Rozenfeld), Karl Radek, Leonid Krassin, Alexander Litvinov, and Lazar Kaganovich. Ben-Sasson (1976: 943) observes that these men, and “others of Jewish origin…were prominent among the leaders of the Russian Bolshevik revolution.” This was public knowledge, even at the time. As the London Times reported in 1919,
One of the most curious features of the Bolshevist movement is the high percentage of non-Russian elements amongst its leaders. Of the 20 or 30 leaders who provide the central machinery of the Bolshevist movement, not less than 75 percent are Jews. … [T]he Jews provide the executive officers. (March 29, p. 10)
The article proceeds to list Trotsky and some 17 other individuals by name. Levin (1988: 13) notes that, at the 1907 RSDWP Congress, there were nearly 100 Jewish delegates, comprising about one third of the total. About 20% of the Mensheviks were Jews, but by 1917 they comprised eight of 17 (47%) of its Central Committee members.Among the leading figures, Ben-Sasson (p. 944) mentions Julius Martov, Fyodor Dan, and Raphael Abramowitz.
Thus it was that, in the years leading up to the 1917 revolutions, Jews were working internally and externally to overthrow the Czar. Stein (1961: 98) quotes a Zionist memo of 1914, promoting “relations with the Jews in Eastern Europe and in America, so as to contribute to the overthrow of Czarist Russia and to secure the national autonomy of the Jews.” Temperley (1924: 173) noted that, “by 1917, [Russian Jews] had done much in preparation for that general disintegration of Russian national life, later recognized as the revolution.” Ziff (1938: 56) stated the common view of the time that “Jewish influence in Russia was supposed to be considerable. Jews were playing a prominent part in the revolution…”
Surprisingly, even Winston Churchill acknowledged this fact. In 1920 he wrote an infamous essay explaining the difference between the “good” (Zionist) Jews and the “bad” Bolsheviks. This dichotomy, which was nothing less than a “struggle for the soul of the Jewish people,” made it appear almost “as if the gospel of Christ and the gospel of Antichrist were destined to originate among the same people” (1920/2002: 24). The Zionists were “national” Jews who sought only a homeland for their beleaguered people. The evil “international Jews,” the Bolsheviks, sought revolution, chaos, and even world domination. It was, said Churchill, a “sinister conspiracy.” He continued:
This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxemburg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. … It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the Nineteenth Century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire. (p. 25)
“There is no need to exaggerate” the Jewish role in the Russian revolution; “It is certainly a very great one. … [T]he majority of the leading figures are Jews.” In the Soviet institutions, “the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing.” But perhaps the worst aspect was the dominant role of Judeo-terrorism. Churchill was clear and explicit:
[T]he prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. … [T]he part played by the [Jews] in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing. (p. 26)
By this time, Churchill had been working on behalf of Zionist Jews for some 15 years. He had long counted on Jewish political support, and was rumored to be in the pay of wealthy Zionists.Churchill’s close connection to British Jews dated back at least to 1904. Gilbert (2007: 9) explains that “this was the first but not the last time that Churchill was to be accused by his political opponents…of being in the pocket, and even in the pay, of wealthy Jews.” Makovsky (2007) describes Churchill’s father’s longtime association with “Jewish financial titans,” and notes that Churchill himself “came to count many of [his father’s] wealthy Jewish friends as his own” (p. 46).
The Russian revolutions were significant, but the premier event of 1917 was surely the Balfour Declaration of November 2. This short letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild was remarkable: it promised to a “mere handful” of British subjects (and indirectly their coreligionists worldwide) a land that the United Kingdom did not possess, and that was part of some other empire. It is enlightening to examine the orthodox account of this event. According to the standard view, it was at this time that Britain was not only mired in the war on the Continent, but also that “British forces were fighting to win Palestine from the Ottoman Empire.”Encyclopedias are usually good sources for conventional views. Quotations here come from the World Book, 2003 edition, entry on ‘Balfour Declaration.’ The Brits wanted it “because of its location near the Suez Canal.” (In fact, of course, Palestine is more than 200 km from the Canal, separated by the whole of the Sinai Peninsula.) “The British believed the Balfour Declaration would help gain support of this goal from Jewish leaders in the UK, the United States, and other countries.”
So, here are a few relevant questions: Was control of the Canal really the primary objective? Or did the British think that the Jews would help them in their broader war aims? The Jews?—a beleaguered minority everywhere, with no nation, no army, no “real power”? Could they really help the British Empire? And did they in fact help them? And if so, how?
Nothing in the documentation of the time suggests that the canal was anything more than an incidental concern. But there was clearly a larger goal—to enlist the aid of Jews everywhere, in order to help Britain win the war. Schneer (2010: 152) notes that, beginning in early 1916, the British sought to “explore seriously some kind of arrangement with ‘world Jewry’ or ‘Great Jewry’.” A diplomatic communiqué of March 13 is explicit:
[T]he most influential part of Jewry in all the countries would very much appreciate an offer of agreement concerning Palestine… [I]t is clear that by utilizing the Zionist idea, important political results can be achieved. Among them will be the conversion, in favour of the Allies, of Jewish elements in the Orient, in the United States, and in other places… The only purpose of [His Majesty’s] Government is to find some arrangement…which might facilitate the conclusion of an agreement ensuring the Jewish support. (in Ziff 1938: 56)
Later that year, an advisor to the British government, James Malcolm, pressed this very point: that, by promising Palestine to the Zionists, they would use their influence around the world—and especially in America—to help bring about overall victory. On the face of it, this was a preposterous suggestion: that the downtrodden Jewish minority, and in particular the even smaller minority of Zionist Jews, could do anything to alter events in a world war.
And yet that quickly became the official view of the British government—particularly so when David Lloyd George became prime minister in December 1916. Lloyd George was, from the Zionist perspective, a nearly ideal leader. He had been working with them since 1903.See Stein (1961: 28). He strongly believed in their near-mythic influence. And he was a devout Christian Zionist, making him an ideological compatriot. Immediately upon assuming office, Lloyd George directed his staff—in particular, Mark Sykes and Lord Arthur Balfour—to negotiate Jewish support. MacMillan explains:
From [early] 1917, with Lloyd George’s encouragement, Sykes met privately with Weizmann and other Zionists. The final, and perhaps most important, factor in swinging British support behind the Zionists was to make propaganda among Jews, particularly in the United States, which had not yet come into the war, and in Russia… (2003: 416; my italics)
And as if the stalled war wasn’t motivation enough, rumors were soon flying that the Zionists were also soliciting German support; the Jews, it seems, were willing to sell their services to the highest bidder.See Lloyd George (1939: 725), Ziff (1938: 55), Stein (1961: 528), and Liebreich (2005: 12). When these rumors reached London, “the British government moved with speed” (ibid). And with speed they did. With Brandeis’s input, a first draft of the brief statement was completed in July. A second draft appeared in mid-October, and by the end of that month Balfour was ready to make public his Government’s stance: “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. … 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.”Minutes of the War Cabinet for October 31; see Ingrams (1972: 16). Three days later, they did.
But most striking was the implication that the “mere handful” of Zionist Jews in England could actually be a decisive factor in bringing a reluctant US into the global war. If successful, this would dramatically swing the military balance of power. And via Wilson’s Jewish advisors—most notably Baruch and Brandeis—they had the ear of the president. But could they do it?
Unquestionably, the Brits thought they could—and that they did. This is such an astonishing manifestation of Jewish power that it is worth reviewing the opinions of several commentators. Speaking after the war, on 4 July 1922, Churchill argued for full implementation of the famous Declaration:
Pledges and promises were made during the War… They were made because it was considered they would be of value to us in our struggle to win the War. It was considered that the support which the Jews could give us all over the world, and particularly in the United States, and also in Russia, would be a definite palpable advantage. (in Gilbert 2007: 78-79)
In his monumental six-volume study of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, British historian Howard Temperley (1924) made this observation:
It was believed that if Great Britain declared for the fulfillment of Zionist aspirations in Palestine under her own pledge, one effect would be to bring Russian Jewry to the cause of the Entente [Allies]. It was believed, also, that such a declaration would have a potent influence upon world Jewry in the same way, and secure for the Entente the aid of Jewish financial interests. It was believed, further, that it would greatly influence American opinion in favour of the Allies. Such were the chief considerations which, during the later part of 1916 and the next ten months of 1917, impelled the British Government towards making a contract with Jewry. (1924, vol. 6: 173)
We must bear in mind that the Declaration was issued seven months after US entry into the war. But Temperley is unequivocal: the deal was concluded “during the later part of 1916,” well before Wilson’s decision to go to war. Apparently the deal was this: bring the US into the war, and we will promise you your Jewish homeland. Such was the “contract with Jewry.”
Sensing the importance, Temperley reiterates the point, to drive it home: “That it is in purpose a definite contract with Jewry is beyond question. … In spirit it is a pledge that, in return for services to be rendered by Jewry, the British Government would ‘use their best endeavours’ to secure… Palestine.” And in fact, it was a good deal all around. “The Declaration certainly rallied world Jewry, as a whole, to the side of the Entente… [T]he services of Jewry were not expected in vain, and were…well worth the price which had to be paid” (p. 174). Britain’s price was low: a spit of land far from the home country. True, there would be Arab resistance, but the Brits were used to that. A much higher price would be paid by Germany and the Central Powers, and by America—who would expend hundreds of millions of dollars, and suffer 116,000 war dead.
A Zionist insider, Samuel Landman, wrote a detailed and explicit account of these events in 1936. After noting some preliminary attempts in 1916, he remarks on the significance of Malcolm’s involvement. Malcolm knew that Wilson “always attached the greatest possible importance to the advice of a very prominent Zionist, Mr. Justice Brandeis…” (p. 4). Malcolm was able to convince Sykes and French ambassador Georges Picot that
the best and perhaps the only way…to induce the American President to come into the war was to secure the cooperation of Zionist Jews by promising them Palestine, and thus enlist and mobilize the hitherto unsuspectedly powerful forces of the Zionist Jews in America and elsewhere in favour of the Allies on a quid pro quo basis.
Granted, Landman was not an unbiased observer, and had good reason to exaggerate Zionist influence. But that was not the case with the British Royal Palestine Commission, which issued a report in 1937. At the critical stage of the war, “it was believed that Jewish sympathy or the reverse would make a substantial difference one way or the other to the Allied cause. In particular, Jewish sympathy would confirm the support of American Jewry…” (p. 23). The report then quotes Lloyd George:
The Zionist leaders gave us a definite promise that, if the Allies committed themselves to…a national home for the Jews in Palestine, they would do their best to rally Jewish sentiment and support throughout the world to the Allied cause. They kept their word.
Two years after this report, in 1939, the British contemplated starting a war with Germany. Churchill wrote a memo for his War Cabinet, reminding them that
it was not for light or sentimental reasons that Lord Balfour and the Government of 1917 made the promises to the Zionists which have been the cause of so much subsequent discussion. The influence of American Jewry was rated then as a factor of the highest importance, and we did not feel ourselves in such a strong position as to be able to treat it with indifference. (in Gilbert 2007: 165)
The implication, of course, was that the British might once again need Jewish help to defeat the Germans. Having been goaded into war in 1939 by Roosevelt and his Jewish advisors,As I will explain in Part II, there is ample evidence that this was true. For a review of some of the relevant sources, see Weber (1983). In brief, it seems that Roosevelt wanted England and France to do the early ‘dirty work’ of the war, and then the US would intervene as needed to conclude the issue. the British were becoming desperate once again to draw in the Americans. As David Irving reports, it was in late 1941 that Weizmann and his fellow British Zionists began “promising to use their influence in Washington to bring the United States into the war” (2001: 73). Irving quotes from an amazingly blunt letter from Weizmann to Churchill, promising to do again in this war what they did in the last:
There is only one big ethnic group [in America] which is willing to stand, to a man, for Great Britain, and a policy of ‘all-out aid’ for her: the five million Jews. From [Treasury] Secretary Morgenthau [Henry, Jr.], Governor [Herbert] Lehman, Justice Frankfurter, down to the simplest Jewish workman or trader… It has been repeatedly acknowledged by British Statesmen that it was the Jews who, in the last war, effectively helped to tip the scales in America in favour of Great Britain. They are keen to do it—and may do it—again. (p. 77)
So here we have Weizmann explicitly naming the influential Jews with the power to bring Roosevelt and the United States into a war in which it, once again, had no compelling interest. The letter was dated September 10, 1941. Churchill did not have to wait long. Within 90 days, America would be at war.
- Balakian, P. 2003. The Burning Tigris. Harper Collins.
- Ben-Sasson, H. 1976. A History of the Jewish People. Harvard University Press.
- Chalberg, J. (ed.) 1995. Isolationism. Greenhaven Press.
- Churchill, W. 1920/2002. “Zionism versus Bolshevism.” In L. Brenner (ed.), 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis. Barricade Books.
- Cohen, N. 1963. “The abrogation of the Russo-American treaty of 1832.” Jewish Social Studies, 25(1).
- Cooper, J. 1983. The Warrior and the Priest. Belknap.
- Cooper, J. 2009. Woodrow Wilson. Knopf.
- Dalton, T. 2011a. “Eternal strangers: Anti-Jewish musings throughout history” (part 1). The Occidental Quarterly, 11(2) http://toqonline.com/archives/v11n2/TOQv11n2Dalton.pdf.
- Dalton, T. 2011b. “Eternal strangers: Anti-Jewish musings throughout history” (part 2). The Occidental Quarterly, 11(3).
- Dalton, T. 2011c. “Eternal strangers: Anti-Jewish musings throughout history” (part 3). The Occidental Quarterly, 11(4).
- Dalton, T. 2012. “Anglo-American perspectives on anti-Semitism.” The Occidental Quarterly, 12(3).
- d’Holbach, P. 1770/1813. Ecce Homo! or a Critical Inquiry in the History of Jesus Christ. D. I. Eaton.
- Gilbert, M. 2007. Churchill and the Jews. Holt.
- Gordon, S. 1984. Hitler, Jews, and the “Jewish Question”. Princeton University Press.
- Hegel, G. 1975. Early Theological Writings. (T. Knox, trans.). University of Pennsylvania Press.
- Hertzberg, A. 1968. The French Enlightenment and the Jews. Columbia University Press.
- Herzl, T. 1896/1967. The Jewish State. Pordes.
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- Ingrams, D. (ed.) 1972. Palestine Papers: 1917-1922. G. Braziller.
- Irving, D. 2001. Churchill’s War (vol. 2). Focal Point.
- Kant, I. 1798/1979. Conflict of the Faculties. (M. Gregor, trans.). Abaris.
- Landman, S. 1936. Great Britain, the Jews, and Palestine. New Zionist Press.
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- Mommsen, T. 1854/1957. History of Rome (vol. 4). Free Press.
- Rather, L. 1990. Reading Wagner. Louisiana State University Press.
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- Stein, L. 1961. The Balfour Declaration. Valentine, Mitchell.
- Stern, M. 1974. Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (vol. 1). Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
- Temperley, H. 1924. History of the Peace Conference of Paris (vol. 6). Hodder and Stoughton.
- Ward, G. 1989. A First Class Temperament. Harper.
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 It is clear that Joseph was Jewish: His father, Jacob, was renamed by God as “Israel” (Gen 35:10), and Joseph himself is repeatedly referred to as a “Hebrew” (e.g. Gen 39:14, 41:12).
 Roman History, 69.13.
 For Seneca’s and Quintilian’s comments, see Stern (1974), pages 431 and 513. For Tacitus, see his Annals (XV, 44), and Histories (5.8).
 History of Rome, vol. 4, p. 643.
 Ecce Homo! (1770/1813: 26, 28)
 Cited in Hertzberg (1968: 300).
 For Kant, see his Conflict of the Faculties (1798/1979: 101). Hegel’s quotation is from his Early Theological Writings (1975: 190).
 This is just a fraction of the negative observations of Jews over the centuries. For a more complete study, see my series Dalton (2011a, 2011b, 2011c, and 2012).
 A large area, comprising much of present-day Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus.
 In 1891 the New York Times ran the headline: “Russia’s Fierce Assault: Europe amazed at her treatment of Jews.” As the article explained, “Berlin…is overwhelmed by the advance wave of the flying Jews, driven on a day’s notice from their homes and swarming westward…” (May 31; p. 1).
 Cited in Rather (1990: 163).
 Cited in Levy (1991: 83-84).
 There are a few problems, however. First, the diary is dated some five months after the war actually started; it’s easy to recall a prediction after the fact. Second, Rosenthal’s book My Siberian Diary is nowhere to be found. The entry is recounted in an obscure periodical, The Jewish Era, dated January 1919 (p. 128); this was not only after the war was over, but after the Peace Conference had already begun.
 This was true of both Zionist and non-Zionist Jews. It’s worth noting that Zionism was a minority view among American Jews, at least for the first two decades of its existence. Many Jews, being ‘internationalists,’ did not feel the need for a Jewish homeland. And many realized that, should this come to pass, they would be charged with dual loyalty. But with the Zionists’ relentless pressure and record of success, they became the dominant view.
 For a contemporaneous account, see the London Times, 11 July 1911, p. 5.
 Cited in Slomovitz (1981: 6-7).
 Cited in Dearborn Independent (25 June 1921).
 April 11, p. 18. The same article goes on to decry “the systematic, relentless quiet grinding down of a people of more than 6,000,000 souls.” This figure surely strikes a chord—but that’s another story.
 Indeed—a “special effort” was made to get the support of Wilson, “whose influence was rising within the Democratic ranks” (p. 32).
 The Jews and Modern Capitalism (1911/1982), p. 44.
 Shogan (2010: xi).
 Dearborn Independent, 11 June 1921. The entire ‘international Jew’ series ran without a byline, and so for the sake of convenience I attribute them to Ford—even though it is virtually certain that he did not write the pieces himself.
 Cooper (1983: 194).
 War Expenditures: Parts 1 to 13. US Government Printing Office (1921: 1814, 1816).
 Cited in Chalberg (1995: 46-47).
 Other Americans died on foreign-flagged ships—most notoriously, 128 on the Lusitania. But this still pales in comparison to the thousands who would die in a war.
 Online at: www.historymatters.gmu.edu. I am not aware of any polling data supporting his claim that 90% of Americans were opposed to entering the war, but it seems to have been a reasonable estimate.
 Cited in Chalberg (1995: 71-73).
 Schneer (2010: 153) is typical: there was “no such thing” as a powerful Jewish force in world affairs. Any thoughts to the contrary are “based upon a misconception.” Hodgson (2006: 154-155) is another example: “the influence of Zionism [was] considerably exaggerated” by the British government, who believed the international Jews to be “more influential and more Zionist than in fact they were.”
 Jews had nearly a total monopoly on the film business. The only significant non-Jewish movie mogul was Darryl Zanuck, who was a studio head at 20th Century Fox for many years.
 Among the leading figures, Ben-Sasson (p. 944) mentions Julius Martov, Fyodor Dan, and Raphael Abramowitz.
 Churchill’s close connection to British Jews dated back at least to 1904. Gilbert (2007: 9) explains that “this was the first but not the last time that Churchill was to be accused by his political opponents…of being in the pocket, and even in the pay, of wealthy Jews.” Makovsky (2007) describes Churchill’s father’s longtime association with “Jewish financial titans,” and notes that Churchill himself “came to count many of [his father’s] wealthy Jewish friends as his own” (p. 46).
 Encyclopedias are usually good sources for conventional views. Quotations here come from the World Book, 2003 edition, entry on ‘Balfour Declaration.’
 See Stein (1961: 28).
 See Lloyd George (1939: 725), Ziff (1938: 55), Stein (1961: 528), and Liebreich (2005: 12).
 Minutes of the War Cabinet for October 31; see Ingrams (1972: 16).
 As I will explain in Part II, there is ample evidence that this was true. For a review of some of the relevant sources, see Weber (1983). In brief, it seems that Roosevelt wanted England and France to do the early ‘dirty work’ of the war, and then the US would intervene as needed to conclude the issue.