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If Israel were founded in 1937

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  • If Israel were founded in 1937

    I was reading up the possible plans for the rescue of the captives of the Holocaust and I was interested to find that one of the things that was repeatedly suggested was opening Palestine and founding a "Jewish Army." I thought about that and got out a map and thought, holy smoke, if Israel had been in place at the start of the war, what a tempting target for Hitler. Rommel was trying to capture Alexandria and the Suez Canal, and failed for, among other reasons, lack of supplies and reinforcements. If he had Israel in his sights, would Hitler have shifted his emphasis for the Soviet Union and concentrated on North Africa? Opinions?
    Will no one tell me what she sings?--
    Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
    For old, unhappy, far-off things,
    And battles long ago:
    -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

  • #2
    Probably not. With an Israel in place before the war the nazis could have had a place to chase the German Jews to. Hitler wanted the Jews out of Germany and Europe, this may have been the ticket. It is also unlikely to have curbed his hatred of the "Bolshevik-Jewery" that was his view of the USSR,... or the democracies in general and the Unioted States specifically.

    However, creating an Israel is full of the same problems that faced the post-war foundation as there were already attacks on increased Jewish settlement in Palestine between the wars. The last thing the British and French administration in their protectorates would want is a sectarian war. The French were already busy throughout the periods with troubles in the Levant and at the other end of the Mediterranean with the Rif uprising in Morocco
    Last edited by The Purist; 30 Oct 12, 21:56.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #3
      One interesting aside here is that if this happened many of the Jewish scientists that emmigrated to the US might have gone there instead. That could have set back the US nuclear program among others.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
        I was reading up the possible plans for the rescue of the captives of the Holocaust and I was interested to find that one of the things that was repeatedly suggested was opening Palestine and founding a "Jewish Army." I thought about that and got out a map and thought, holy smoke, if Israel had been in place at the start of the war, what a tempting target for Hitler. Rommel was trying to capture Alexandria and the Suez Canal, and failed for, among other reasons, lack of supplies and reinforcements. If he had Israel in his sights, would Hitler have shifted his emphasis for the Soviet Union and concentrated on North Africa? Opinions?
        There were about 15 largely Jewish battalions in the British Army - mostly Palestinean Jews. There was also a 'palestinean regiment' that fought in North Africa that consisted of Jews & Arabs from Palestine. It was eventually broken up under pressure from Jewish soldiers & groups such as the World Jewish Congress etc. to form a Jewish Brigade. It was formed in 1944 under the Zionist flag.

        As pointed out, giving Palestine independence as a Jewish state prewar would be a disaster for colonial administration. Contrary to modern 'the Arabs all love Hitler' propaganda, significant numbers of Arabs fought on the Allied side. Units like the Jordanian Arab Legion were highly reguarded. Establishing a Jewish state would have put mush larger local Arab populations offside for no appreciable gain. Palestinean Jews volunteered for military service in large numbers anyway and a more hostile Arab populace would have caused even bigger headaches for the British than was the case in OTL.

        While Hitler would no doubt hve relished the opportunity to bump off some more Jews, I don't see that a Jewish state would change his plans any. Remember that the decision to exterminate in large numbers was not taken until 1941. Russia was the real enemy. So were Jews in the immediate vicinity. Jews in more distant places were a more distant enemy - they would get theirs when Germany ruled Europe & was a major world power.
        Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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        • #5
          I suspect that evidence suggests you are mistaken in your assumption.
          Nazi policy prior to the outbreak of hostilities (well, other than opportunisitc brutalisation at home, of course) had centered around Jewish emigration.
          A hypothetical Jewish statelet in Palestine (presumably under British auspices) would not necessarily therefore, as you suggest, make it some sort of specific military "target".
          The Nazi hierarchy, we must remember, was always divided between the - as it were - strict "biologists" (who imagined Jews as almost some sort of other species, and thus a racial "threat" if existing anywhere...) and the "cultural/nationalists" (who took a more street-level reationary "looks like, acts like" approach to their bigotries....). Attitudes toward the hypothetical Jewish statelet you suggest would depend upon the faction ascendant in Hitler's cousels at the time (particularly given how much he vacillated on the emigration policy in the pre-war years).
          An argument can certainly be made that the OKW erred by underestimating the value of committing resources to the capture of the British Middle East.....but I fail to see where they would have made a different decision were Palestine populated with a recently-expelled German-Jewish population.
          Remember that, other than certain persistent themes, Nazi policy was, in all spheres, usually ad-hoc, inconsistent, opportunisitc, personality-driven and self-defeating.
          The "ideological" (itself always erratic) and the "military" (sometimes divided) vied constantly.
          Neither consistently won.
          And there were indeed some designated "Jewish" units raised in Palestine (though motly A.A., construction, and transport, I think...)

          Sorry. I'm new.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Khazar View Post
            ...Sorry. I'm new.
            No apologies needed Rex.

            Welcome to our humble little board.
            The Purist

            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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