Powerpoint - Warren Hills Regional School District
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BALFOUR DECLARATION (1917)
Honors World History
WHAT’S THE STORY?
His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in
of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use
• their best endeavors 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.
-Excerpt from the declaration letter sent by Lord Balfour on November 2nd,
• The declaration was written in November of 1917
• The declaration, in its entirety, was only 67 words long
• It came in the form of a letter that was written by Arthur Balfour, which he
sent to Lionel Walter Rothschild
• The declaration revealed Britain’s support for a “National Home” for Jews in
LEADERS AND GROUPS INVOLVED
• Great Britain
• Influential Zionist Leaders
• Zionists: Supporters of the formation of a Jewish nation
• Lord Arthur James Balfour, who was the British Foreign Secretary. He sent
the letter which stated Britain’s support for a Jewish home state.
• Zionist philanthropist, Lionel Walter Rothschild. Balfour sent the letter
declaring Britain’s support to Rothschild.. He also helped draft the declaration
for a Jewish homeland (Mattar).
• Britain drafted this document with hopes for French and Russian support
during the war.. The British crafted the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916,
which awarded territory in the Middle East (including Palestine) to its allies in
exchange for Jewish funding during WWI, and help convincing the US to enter
the war (Mattar).
LEVEL OF SUCCESS
• The results of the declaration were a success, both for Britain and for Zionists
hoping to make a “national home” for the Jews in Palestine.
• The declaration paved the way for the eventual formation of the state of Israel
in 1948, after WWII.
• In 1917, 50,000 Jews lived in Palestine. By 1947, this number grew to over
600,000 Jews (Mattar).
WHAT’S THE OTHER STORY?
• Arabs indigenous to the region suffered from the action taken as a result of
both the declaration and Sykes-Picot.
• The British had originally promised an independent Arab nation to these
people, in exchange for help in defeating the Ottoman Empire in WWI. This
original agreement was made in the 1915-16 Husayn-McMahon
• Even though native Palestinians made up 90% of the population in 1917,
“Europeans generally regarded the indigenous population as inferior and thus
gave them minimal consideration” (Mattar).
WHY TELL THIS STORY?
• The Balfour Declaration paved the way for Israel to declare independence in
1948. This declaration, along with growing anger and tensions from the
neighboring Arab states, acted as a catalyst to a string of on-going conflicts
between the Israelis and Palestinians. These conflicts still have immense effects
on the region today
PLEADING FOR PEACE
• Excerpt from Israel’s former foreign minister, Golda Meir’s 1957 speech at the
United Nations General Assembly entitled “Peace with Our Arab Neighbors”:
• “…Would it not be better for all to build a future for the Middle East based on
cooperation? Israel will exist and flourish even without peace, but surely a future of
peace would be better for Israel and for its neighbors.”
• - Golda Meir
WHY IS THE STORY IMPORTANT?
• This story is important because it reveals some of the motivation and strategic
planning behind the formation of the Israel and Palestine we see today. Britain
wanted to please its allies in exchange for help to win a war, and saw Palestine
as an area for political influence
• “A Taste for Power: Empire?A British Chronicle,” director. Films Media Group,
• Mattar, Philip. “Balfour Declaration.” Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Revised
Edition, Facts On File, 2005, Modern World History Online,
• Meir, Golda. “"Peace with Our Arab Neighbors"” Primary Source Documents:
1950 to 1959, Facts On File, 2014, Modern World History Online,