The Balfour Agreement and Nazi Anti-semitism

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Ship of Fools
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The Balfour Agreement and Nazi Anti-semitism

Post by Ship of Fools » 11 Feb 2007 10:54

Did the Balfour Agreement play a significant role in Nazi paranoid ideation of Jews, in particular for the "stab in the back" myth?

To recap: the Balfour Agreement was signed in 1916 (I think) and committed Britain to establish a homeland for Jews in Palestine after the end of the war.

Did the Nazis make an explicit link between this agreement and supposed betrayal from within of the German war effort of WW1?

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 14 Feb 2007 13:38

Well, here is the Balfour Declaration ,




Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

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

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

Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour



http://history1900s.about.com/cs/holocaust/p/balfourdeclare.htm



I suppose the agreement could be used in that way(anti-semetic), especially if one doesn't look at it too closely. Add considering who Balfour was , it can certainly be taken as an acknowledgement of support for the zionist cause.

But, Read it closely and perhaps re-read it. Notice the "conditional",

it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done



In short, the letter itself says nothing at all, and guarantees nothing at all, even between the lines, :wink: . Balfour was considered one of the better "politicans" of his day, and this letter in its construction, gives away that it is a cleverly crafted piece of "frummery", which is typical to how all good lawyers and politicians say things, and this letter while attributed to Balfour was a "group" letter composed and weighed by the entire British Cabinet.

Chris

Ship of Fools
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Post by Ship of Fools » 14 Feb 2007 19:23

Chris, the Balfour agreement was built into the League of Nations mandate given to Britain over Palestine. ie part of the Mandate responsibilities was to create a Jewish homeland.

To put it very bluntly the way I thought it could have been utilised in Nazi propaganda or paranoid ideation of Jews (ie something they actually believed).

Very crudely:
Jews get an agreement from Britain to support the creation of a Jewish state, the international Jewish community then begin to undermine the German war effort to cause the collapse of morale and the collapse of the Ottoman and thus achieve their master plan.

Actually the little I have seen of Nazi propaganda (mainly 2nd hand via memorials and the film, The Eternal Jew) this has not been mentioned - although in the Eternal Jew a lot of stress was put on the role of the Rothschilds family.

If I was in charge of Nazi propanda it would seem a pretty obvious accusation to make. One reason it wasn't, possibly, was by 1936 Britain was trying to back out of the Balfour Agreement for all it was worth. So the accusation mightnt have looked very realistic.

Nevertheless, if you are trying to create a "stab in the back" myth such a link seems an obvious one. Otherwise what was the alleged motive for Jews to stab Germany in the back?

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 15 Feb 2007 00:41

Ship of Fools wrote:Chris, the Balfour agreement was built into the League of Nations mandate given to Britain over Palestine. ie part of the Mandate responsibilities was to create a Jewish homeland.

To put it very bluntly the way I thought it could have been utilised in Nazi propaganda or paranoid ideation of Jews (ie something they actually believed).

Very crudely:
Jews get an agreement from Britain to support the creation of a Jewish state, the international Jewish community then begin to undermine the German war effort to cause the collapse of morale and the collapse of the Ottoman and thus achieve their master plan.

Actually the little I have seen of Nazi propaganda (mainly 2nd hand via memorials and the film, The Eternal Jew) this has not been mentioned - although in the Eternal Jew a lot of stress was put on the role of the Rothschilds family.

If I was in charge of Nazi propanda it would seem a pretty obvious accusation to make. One reason it wasn't, possibly, was by 1936 Britain was trying to back out of the Balfour Agreement for all it was worth. So the accusation mightnt have looked very realistic.

Nevertheless, if you are trying to create a "stab in the back" myth such a link seems an obvious one. Otherwise what was the alleged motive for Jews to stab Germany in the back?


We tread on dangerous ground. The problem with debating such things is that both sides have to be "presented". And in this case, a debate on how the Balfour declaration was use as a "justification" for some of the anti-semetic undercurrent of the stab-in-the-back "myth?" , would be one side of the debate. And to do so could or would be construed as "anti-semetic" in nature of itself. Sorry to sound like a lawyer with a degree in PC, but that is how I look at it. My post was merely to point out that Balfour being a lawyer and and master politician , committed neither himself nor the British government to do anything because of this "public" declaration. So "legally" , there is no foundation for the Balfour declaration to be taken as "evidence" to support some Nazi propaganda.

I gave what I think is a legal analysis of the Balfour declaration, now I realize that of course does not truthfully describe the "impact" of the Balfour declaration, and I venture to guess, Lord Rothschild was in agreement with what was going to be said in the Balfour declaration long before it was released, but such a discussion again, goes beyond, given the restrictions of this forum, that I think that can be talked about , in light of what is being talked about.

Good luck on this topic, perhaps someone else can take this topic in direction that makes it "debatable". I can't.

Chris

BTW- I did not know there was a film called "The Eternal Jew". I only knew of a compilation of editorials written by Henry Ford for his newspaper " The Dearborn Independant" that was called by the same name and/or "The International Jew". That, was a hard to find and expensive book in original copy. Of course now, it is $20.00 on Amazon

PeterOT
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Post by PeterOT » 15 Feb 2007 01:24

Chris,

'The Eternal Jew' is perhaps the most famous piece of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda (unless you count 'Mein Kampf). From memory it was actually counterproductive, as the imagery & ideas it used were so crude as to be offensive to many of those Germans it was supposed to influence. I think Goebbels decided to take a more subtle approach thereafter.

I haven't read the papers listed at theis url, but it looks like they can answer any queries you have

http://www.holocaust-history.org/der-ewige-jude/

caramut
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Post by caramut » 15 Feb 2007 10:37

Here is a 1936 example of the Nazi propaganda use of the Balfour declaration in a Nazi magazine with a circulation around one million copies, Der Schulungsbrief 3 (April 1936), pp. 149-150.

Non-Jewish observers and writers on Zionism, who see political Zionism only as an attempt at "national renewal" rather than an effort to establish a unified Jewish leadership as well as Jewish rule over the world, are therefore incorrect. The confusion of political Zionism with Palestine can be understood only through the Jewish prophecies in which Jewry is assured of control over all the goods of this world. Knowing that the time was near, and would culminate in taking possession of Palestine, Zionism developed the nonsensical notion of an "historic claim" to the "promised land," to which Jews "without any outside pressure" would gradually emigrate.
In the ideology of political Zionism, Palestine fulfilled the role of an indispensable part of prophecy, just as certain rules are the guarantee for success in the magical ceremonies of primitive peoples. Political Zionism never intended Palestine to be the destination of all Jews, but rather it merely wants to make Palestine the center of Jewish world policy. That must naturally be protected by a strong Jewish population. The Zionist publication Jüdische Rundschau wrote: "No one at any time has proposed that all Jews today should emigrate to Palestine." Nah um Sokolow, Weizmann's colleague and current chairman of the Zionist Committee, said it clearly in 1921: "The Jewish people wants to return to Palestine; the Jewish people will have its center in Palestine. Large parts of Jewry will live as a Jewish periphery in the world. They must be cared for; their dignity and their national rights must be assured."
This is also clear from the text of the state treaty Jewry concluded with England, the so-called Balfour Declaration: "His Majesty's Government favors the establishment of a national home in Palestine for the Jews, and we will make the greatest efforts to reach this goal, although it is clearly understood that nothing will be done that will affect the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political standing of Jews in any other country.


http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/zionism.htm

It is not clear what the author thinks about the desirability of Jews migrating to Palestine as the final paragraph of his article (not the quote) seems a bit confused. Not that confused thinking underlying apparently rational or scientific argument was unusual in Nazi propaganda about Jews, or other supposed untermensch. The general thrust seems to be that a Zionist state is a bad idea because it will allow Jews (as distinct from Zionists) to have a centre to the web from which they will control the world which will not be subject to the control of the states in which they currently lived.

So far as the background to the Balfour Declaration goes, if things had gone differently Germany could easily have issued a German version before Britain did. Both sides thought that Jews and or Zionists wielded considerably more influence than they really did in Russia and other nations with a bearing on the war. It has to be borne in mind that Germany in WWI had not been infected with the rank and rampant anti-Semitism which the Nazis cultivated.

The Germans in 1916 were considering, and by 1917 were actively seeking, Zionist support, notwithstanding significant difficulties in persuading their Turkish allies to allow Zionists to enter Palestine. Britain was engaged in a contest with Germany to obtain the support of the Zionists, whose power and influence upon the war was badly overestimated by both sides. In his memoirs Lloyd George noted German interest in seeking Zionist support in 1916-17.

The Germans were equally alive to the fact that the Jews of Russia wielded considerable influence in Bolshevik circles. The Zionist Movement was exceptionally strong in Russia and America. The Germans were, therefore, engaged actively in courting favour with that Movement all over the world. A friendly Russia would mean not only more food and raw material for Germany and Austria, but fewer German and Austrian troops on the Eastern front and, therefore, more available for the West. These considerations were brought to our notice by the Foreign Office, and reported to the War Cabinet.
The support of the Zionists for the cause of the Entente would mean a great deal as a war measure. Quite naturally Jewish sympathies were to a great extent anti-Russian, and therefore in favour of the Central Powers. No ally of Russia, in fact, could escape sharing that immediate and inevitable penalty for the long and savage Russian persecution of the Jewish race. In addition to this, the German General Staff, with their wide outlook on possibilities, urged, early in 1916, the advantages of promising Jewish restoration to Palestine under an arrangement to be made between Zionists and Turkey, backed by a German guarantee. The practical difficulties were considerable; the subject was perhaps dangerous to German relations with Turkey; and the German Government acted cautiously. But the scheme was by no means rejected or even shelved, and at any moment the Allies might have been forestalled in offering this supreme bid. In fact in September, 1917, the German Government were making very serious efforts to capture the Zionist Movement.
Another most cogent reason for the adoption by the Allies of the policy of the declaration lay in the state of Russia herself. Russian Jews had been secretly active on behalf of the Central Powers from the first; they had become the chief agents of German pacifist propaganda in Russia; by 1917 they had done much in preparing for that general disintegration of Russian society, later recognised as the Revolution. It was believed that if Great Britain declared for the fulfilment of Zionist aspirations in Palestine under her own pledge, one effect would be to bring Russian Jewry to the cause of the Entente.
It was believed, also, that such a declaration would have a potent influence upon world Jewry outside Russia, and secure for the Entente the aid of Jewish financial interests. In America, their aid in this respect would have a special value when the Allies had almost exhausted the gold and marketable securities available for American purchases. Such were the chief considerations which, in 1917, impelled the British Government towards making a contract with Jewry.


http://www.zionism-israel.com/Balfour_D ... n_1917.htm

According to W.J.M. Childs, in Harold W.V. Temperley, ed., A History of the Peace Conference of Paris, v. 6, p. 172-73 (published under the auspices of the British Institute for International Affairs in 1924):
. . . [T]he German General Staff desired to attach Jewish support yet more closely to the German side. . . . [T]hey seem to have urged, early in 1916, the advantages of promising Jewish restoration to Palestine under an arrangement to be made between Zionists and Turkey, backed by a German guarantee. The practical difficulties were considerable; the subject perhaps dangerous to German relations with Turkey; and the German Government acted cautiously.
It’s hard to envision how the Germans could have induced their allies the Turks to give up land in Palestine that the Turks had already refused to yield for Jewish settlement. The Ottoman Empire had severe nationalities problems with the Armenians (whom the Turks slaughtered in enormous numbers in 1915) and the Arabs (whom T.E. Lawrence was stirring up); it wanted no further such problems.
Actually, says David Fromkin, in A Peace to End All Peace, p. 296 (1989), it was not the German government that took an interest in a pro-Zionist stance, only the German press—a distinction Chaim Weizmann and his group of Zionists in England had little interest in clarifying for the British government.
In 1916, according to Weizmann’s autobiography, Trial and Error, v. 1, p. 185 (1949), the Germans trusted the Zionists to the extent of asking their help in brokering a negotiated peace. Weizmann says the Zionists replied that they would act in that role only if there were to be no territorial adjustments. That Zionist reply seems to have been disingenuous (assuming Weizmann correctly reports it); the very raison d’etre of Zionism was to obtain a particular piece of territory. There was nothing for Zionism in a negotiated settlement—no leverage with which to move a great power capable of turning over Palestine.


http://desip.igc.org/OriginsOfBalfour.html

The last sentence in that quote is the heart of any ‘stab in the back’ allegation. Assuming (wrongly) that Jews and or Zionists controlled the German government and ended the war, what would Zionists gain by a German surrender (or, strictly, armistice)?

How would this ensure that the Turks, who were a separate enemy of the Allies and who in fact made separate peace treaties (the last in 1923 after the first was never ratified resulting in more conflict) would surrender Palestine? A German surrender would not necessarily result in a Turkish surrender, let alone opening Palestine to the Zionists.

Where was the certain connection for Zionists in 1918 between the German surrender and the League of Nations mandate of Palestine http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/palmanda.htm
in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration when the League of Nations only emerged from the 1919 Paris Peace conference?

None of these questions alter the use that Nazi propaganda might have made of the Balfour Declaration in supporting the empty ‘stab in the back’ face-saving claims to explain Germany’s defeat because propaganda was not based on fair or rational assessment of historical events. Nonetheless, until someone can explain how unforeseen events following Germany’s surrender would necessarily ensure a Zionist state in Palestine, as distinct from a Turkish surrender or defeat, there is no sensible connection between the German surrender; the Balfour Declaration; and the establishment of Palestine as a motive for supposed Zionists engineering a German surrender.

More importantly, Britain had already conquered and occupied Palestine in 1917 and was in a position to give practical effect to the Balfour Declaration without a German surrender. Which might have a lot more to do with why the Zionists went with Britain rather than Germany in 1917.

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