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Title: Nationalism, discourse and imagination : British policy towards the Zionist movement during the First World War
Author: Renton, James
ISNI:       0000 0001 1436 4196
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis examines the ways in which the British Government's policy towards the Zionist movement during the First World War was influenced by policy makers' perceptions of ethnicity, ethnic groups and nationalism. It seeks to shed new light on two issues that have been at the centre of the historiography of the Balfour Declaration; the rationale behind the Government's decision to pursue a Zionist policy and the relationship with the Zionists that came about as a result. As well as discussing the origins and fruition of the Balfour Declaration, this work analyses the Government's post-Declaration Zionist propaganda policy, which has not hitherto been given serious attention by scholars. Unlike previous studies, the thesis contends that the Government's Zionist policy emerged out of a wider phenomenon of foreign policy thinking concerning ethnic groups during the war, which stemmed from the world view of policy makers. The resulting propaganda policies were driven by a general belief in ethnic power, a racial conception of ethnic groups and, in particular, the perception that nationalism held the key to winning their allegiance in the war. Utilising this approach, the thesis re-assesses the role of the Zionists in the making of the Balfour Declaration and the question of whether they were used by the British Government. In contrast to most existing interpretations, it argues that whilst the Declaration did result in large part from the efforts of a number of individual Jewish activists, of whom Chaim Weizmann was definitely not the main actor, the British Government had only been persuaded to use Zionism for propaganda purposes. The thesis also contends that after the Declaration the Zionists helped the British to use Zionism to this end much more than has previously been recognised, but still failed to obtain any reciprocal British interest in aiding the Zionist movement in real terms for the duration of the war.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available