British Military Rule, 1918-1922


Herbert Samuel Arrives in Palestine

Herbert Samuel Arrives in Palestine

The Jewish experience between 1914 and 1948 begins and ends with war. In 1914, WWI began, a watershed in both European and Jewish history, as it marked the end of four great empires- the Tsarist, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and German Reich. Together, these empires were home to the majority of world Jewry.

In 1916, the physically and ideologically starved Russian populace overthrew the Tsarist government. The successor Provisional Government eliminated legal Jewish discrimination. Before this new freedom could register, however, a new revolution, promulgated by the Bolsheviks, ensued. WWI ended in 1918, but Russian civil war continued through the early 1920s when the Bolsheviks emerged victorious and created The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The USSR, organized according to Marxist/Leninist ideology, did not tolerate religion. Government attempts to “convert” the Jews to communism characterized the interwar period.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire had profound consequences for the Jews, as the Ottomans controlled Palestine, the territory that the World Zionist Organization (WZO, founded 1897) preferred for a Jewish state. During the war, when it became clear that the Ottomans would side with Germany against Great Britain and France, the Allied powers strategized about the fate of the strategically and economically important Middle East. The British were particularly busy strategists, making agreements with three parties regarding the fate of Palestine- the French, the Jews, and the Arabs.

In 1917, after protracted negotiations between the British government and the WZO, Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, which stated British support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This was a tremendous victory for Zionism. At the same time, however, the British offered similar reassurances to the Arabs regarding their rights to Palestine. After the war, as the Allies emerged victorious, the United Nations gave Great Britain the mandate to administer Palestine. Under British rule from 1918-1948, Palestine was characterized by increasingly tense relationships among the British, Jews, and Arabs, all of whom felt that they had the right to the same land.

Excerpted from The Story- 1914-1948,


Primary Sources

  1. Excerpts from a Speech by Neville Chamberlain at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Oct. 13th 1918.
  2. Declaration by the Arab Muslim-Christian Association presented to Col. Ronald Storrs, Military Governor of Palestine, Nov. 1918.
  3. Statement of the Syrian Delegation to the Peace Conference, Feb. 13, 1919.
  4. Aref Pasha Dajani, Speech to the King-Crane Commission, June 18, 1919.
  5. Resolutions 7 and 8 of the Syrian Arab Congress, July 1919.
  6. British Limits on Immigration
  7. Quotes by Lord George Nathaniel Curzon, British Foreign Secretary, Regarding the Establishment of the Palestine Mandate, March 1920.
  8. Herbert Samuel Signs for Palestine, June 30, 1920.
  9. Lord Arthur Balfour’s Speech, July 12, 1920, Excerpt from Palestine Royal Commission Report (Peel Commission) (Cmd. 5479) – July 1937.
  10. Public Statement, American Jewish Committee, Dec. 1, 1920.
  11. Letter from George V to the People of Palestine.
  12. Acquisition of Land in the Jezreel Valley, 1920-1921, 30 Zionist Landmarks, Central Zionist Archives.
  13. Franco-British Convention , Dec. 23, 1920.
  14. Letter from Israel Zangwill to Dr. M. Soloweitschik and R. Rosenbaum, July 20, 1921.
  15. Draft Mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine- As Submitted for the Approval of the League of Nations, 1921.
  16. The National Government of Moab (Jordan, 1920-1)
  17. Excerpt from a Memorandum Submitted by Mousa Kasem El-Hussaini to the Executive Committee of the Haifa Congress, Mar. 28, 1921.
  18. Winston Churchill’s Reply to Mousa Kasem El-Hussaini , 1921.
  19. Excerpt from the Report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Jaffa Riots, May 1921.
  20. Albert Einstein on Assimilation and Nationalism, 1921.
  21. Excerpt from a Speech Delivered by Sir Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to the House of Commons, July 11, 1922.
  22. League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, July 24, 1922.
  23. Palestine Correspondence with the Palestine Arab Delegation and the Zionist Organization (Cmd. 1700) (White Paper of 1922) – June 1, 1922.
  24. Mandate for Palestine- Letter from Secretary to the Cabinet to Secretary General of League of Nations of July 1, 1922, Cmd. 1708 – 1922.
  25. Article 25 of the British Mandate Memorandum by the British Representative, Sep. 16, 1922. In this memorandum, presented to the the League of Nations by the British government, the British stated that Transjordan would be excluded from all the provisions dealing with Jewish settlement.
  26. Speech by Albert Einstein Regarding the Necessity of a Jewish University, Singapore, Oct. 1922.
  27. Great Britain and Iraq- Excerpts from Churchill’s Papers, 1921-1922. Click here for more on The Creation and History of Iraq.
  28. Resettlement Handbook. Includes guidance on vocational training, resettlement grants, surplus military stores and permanent housing.
  29. The Whittling Down of Palestine

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