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|LIKUD COMES TO POWER||In 1977, after 29 years as the opposition party, Likud led by Menachem Begin, ascended to power.|
A Short History of the Nazi Party
The Nazi Party was a political party in Germany, led by Adolf Hitler from 1921 to 1945, whose central tenets included the supremacy of the Aryan people and blaming Jews and others for the problems within Germany. These extreme beliefs eventually led to World War II and the Holocaust. At the end of World War II, the Nazi Party was declared illegal by the occupying Allied Powers and officially ceased to exist in May 1945.
(The name “Nazi” is actually a shortened version of the party’s full name: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP, which translates to “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”)
Initial Development of Solar Power
The development of solar cell technology, or photovoltaic (PV) technology, began during the Industrial Revolution when French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerellar first demonstrated the photovoltaic effect, or the ability of a solar cell to convert sunlight into electricity, in 1839. About four decades later, American inventor Charles Fritts created the world’s first rooftop solar array in New York in 1883, one year after Thomas Edison opened the world’s first commercial coal plant.  Fritts coated the panels with selenium to produce a very weak electric current. However, the process of how light produces electricity wasn’t understood until Albert Einstein wrote a paper explaining the photoelectric effect in 1905, which won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. Becquerellar’s and Einstein’s research formed the basis of future developments in solar technology.
The modern photovoltaic (PV) cell was developed by Bell Labs in 1954 and while solar power remained too costly for commercial use, the U.S. military funded research on PV technology’s potential to power satellites in the 1950s. The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory launched Vanguard I, the first spacecraft to use solar panels, in 1958, and NASA launched the first satellite equipped with panels that tracked the Sun, Nimbus I, in 1964. The U.S. government pioneered much of the early PV technology.
History Paper 4
UK promises - both wanted independence
1915: High Commissioner in Egypt McMahon + Sharif Mecca - Arab independence - Arabs disrupted flow of supplies to Turkey
1919: Balfour + Rothschild (UK Zionist leader) - national home in Palestine
1939: White Paper
Haganah - experience from WW1 and guerilla v UK
6 brigades - well structures
Plan D - vital parts of road network
Air superiority - even shot down 5 UK planes for Egypt in Sinai
Weapons and heavy artillery from Czechoslovakia truce
US - 1945: Truman urged UK to allow 100,000 Jews, 1946 elections, raised money for Jewish immigration - UK had to send them back
US media - Exodus with 4500 immigrants back to Haifa
Zionist terrorism - 1946: King David Hotel - 91 people
1946: Leh'i attack in Tel Aviv - 7 UK soldiers
UK domestic support decreased
Guerilla warfare - difficult to control
Eden - wartime foreign secretary - opposed to creation of Jewish state
Arab League formed - create Arab state + resist Jewish state + immigration
1945: Labor elected -sympathetic to Zionism
Truman believed in Jewish homeland
Haganah helped UK during the war
Dreyfus Affair - French Jewish officer put to life imprisonment + publicly - accused of treason by a-S officer
1933: Germany - Jews deprived of citizenship
1938: Kristallnacht - synagogues destroyed
Change in leadership in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan
New leaders thought UK and US responsible for defeat
Thought western influence in ME should be destroyed
Redistribution of land to the poor
Improvement of health and education
Any hope of one Palestinian state destroyed
UK and US agreed to protect Israel
Rejected idea of partitioning Palestine
Limited Jewish immigration to 75 000 / year over 5 years - further would need Arab majority approval
29 Oct 1956: Israel invaded
UK and France ordered both to withdraw from Suez -> landed in Port Said and bombed Cairo when refused
UN voted for immediate ceasefire
Arabs stopped suppling oil to UK -> had to ask US
US refused to support invasion -> UK withdrew after a day
Forced to withdraw from Sinai - UNEF moved into Sinai
Demonstrated able to inflict heavy damage -> no Arab state prepared to go to war for several years
1946: King David Hotel - UK administrative base - 92 people killed, 28 UK
UK, US no funding Aswan Dam -> Nasser nationalized Suez Canal Company
Nasser turned to USSR for funding and arms -> West - USSR gaining influence in ME
Closed entrance to Gulf of Aqaba - cut off Israel from red sea
Israeli not allowed to fly over Egypt
Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan - historically pro-Western - against UK
Suez Canal still Egyptian
Funding for Aswan Dam and weapons acquired from USSR
Suez Canal blocked by Egypt sinking ships
Petrol rationing introduced
1966: Gen Jedid came to power in Syria - appointed members of anti-Israeli Ba'ath
Troops in Golan Heights increased
Attacks by Fatah from Syria increased
Jedid - propaganda v Israel
1967: Israeli tractor ploughed some Arab land -> Syrians opened fire -> Israeli air force shot down 6 fighter jets
USSR - Syria and Egypt that Israel was massing force, ready to invade in week -> false, J and SA sent 100 000 to Sinai
16 May: Nasser moved troops in Sinai and asked UN forces to withdraw
23 May: Nasser blockaded Gulf of Aqaba - act of war
Israel - 250 000 v 550 000 - only 50 000 as reservist vital to civilian life
A third definition comes from Talcott Parsons who argued that power is not a matter of social coercion and domination. Instead, he said, power flows from a social system’s potential to coordinate human activity and resources to accomplish goals.
Parsons' view is sometimes called the "variable-sum" approach, as opposed to other views, which are seen as a constant-sum. In Parsons' view, power is not constant or fixed but capable of increasing or decreasing.
This is best seen in democracies where voters can give power to a politician in one election, then take it away again in the next. Parsons compares voters in this way to depositors at a bank, who can deposit their money but are free to remove it as well.
To Parsons, then, power resides in society as a whole, not with a single individual or small group of the powerful elite.
How a Speech Helped Hitler Take Power
I t was exactly 95 years ago &mdash on Feb. 24, 1920 &mdash that Adolf Hitler delivered the Nazi Party Platform to a large crowd in Munich, an event that is often regarded as the foundation of Naziism.
The German Workers’ Party (later the Nazi party) already existed before that date, though it was on that day that its exact goals were laid bare: the platform, set forth in 25 points, did not shy away from the central idea of strengthening German citizenship by excluding and controlling Jewish people and others deemed non-German. Still, those ideas weren’t new for the party. So what changed in 1920, and how did that help lead to Hitler’s ultimate rise to Nazi power?
His record of speech-making was what brought the audience to that hall in Munich in 1920. And, as Stefan Kanfer explained in TIME’s 1989 examination of the origins of World War II, Hitler’s power was closely linked to his abilities as an orator:
After the war, Hitler joined a new and violently anti-Semitic group, the forerunner of the National Socialist German Workers‘ Party — Nazi for short. There, for the first time since adolescence, he found a home and friends. Within a year, he became the chief Nazi propagandist. Judaism, he told his audiences, had produced the profiteers and Bolsheviks responsible for the defeat of the fatherland and the strangulation of the economy. Jews were bacilli infecting the arts, the press, the government. Pogroms would be insufficient. ”The final aim must unquestionably be the irrevocable Entfernung [removal] of the Jews.”
Early on, Hitler had a central insight: ”All epoch-making revolutionary events have been produced not by the written but by the spoken word.” He concentrated on an inflammatory speaking style flashing with dramatic gestures and catch phrases: ”Germany, awake!”
Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault:Architect of Evil
The Racial History Of The 'Grandfather Clause'
The term "grandfathered" has become part of the language. It's an easy way to describe individuals or companies who get to keep operating under an existing set of expectations when new rules are put in place.
The troubled HealthCare.gov website reassures consumers that they can stay enrolled in grandfathered insurance plans that existed before the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010. Old power plants are sometimes grandfathered from having to meet new clean air requirements.
But like so many things, the term "grandfather," used in this way, has its roots in America's racial history. It entered the lexicon not just because it suggests something old, but because of a specific set of 19th century laws regulating voting.
The 15th Amendment, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, was ratified by the states in 1870. If you know your history, you'll realize that African-Americans were nevertheless kept from voting in large numbers in Southern states for nearly a century more.
Various states created requirements — literacy tests and poll taxes and constitutional quizzes — that were designed to keep blacks from registering to vote. But many poor Southern whites were at risk of also losing their rights because they could not have met such expectations.
"If all these white people are going to be noncitizens along with blacks, the idea is going to lose a lot of support," says James Smethurst, who teaches African-American studies at the University of Massachusetts.
The solution? A half-dozen states passed laws that made men eligible to vote if they had been able to vote before African-Americans were given the franchise (generally, 1867), or if they were the lineal descendants of voters back then.
This was called the grandfather clause. Most such laws were enacted in the early 1890s.
"The grandfather clause is actually not a means of disenfranchising anybody," says Michael Klarman, a Harvard law professor. "It was a means of enfranchising whites who might have been excluded by things like literacy clauses. It was politically necessary, because otherwise you'd have too much opposition from poor whites who would have been disenfranchised."
But protecting whites from restrictions meant to apply to African-Americans was obviously another form of discrimination itself.
"Because of the 15th Amendment, you can't pass laws saying blacks can't vote, which is what they wanted to do," says Eric Foner, a Columbia University historian. "But the 15th Amendment allowed restrictions that were nonracial. This was pretty prima facie a way to allow whites to vote, and not blacks."
Some state legislatures enacted grandfather clauses despite knowing they couldn't pass constitutional muster. The Louisiana state constitutional convention adopted a grandfather clause even though one of the state's own U.S. senators warned it would be "grossly unconstitutional."
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The History Of How A Shogun's Boast Made Lincoln A 'Tycoon'
For that reason, nearly every state put a time limit on their grandfather clauses. They hoped to get whites registered before these laws could be challenged in court.
"Once you've got people removed from the rolls, it becomes less necessary," Smethurst says. "The white people are on the rolls, and the black people are not."
Tracing The Story Of 'Lynch Mob'
African-Americans typically lacked the financial resources to file suit. The NAACP, founded in 1909, persuaded a U.S. attorney to challenge Oklahoma's grandfather clause, which had been enacted in 1910.
Of the more than 55,000 blacks who were in Oklahoma in 1900, only 57 came from states that had permitted African-Americans to vote in 1867, according to Klarman's book From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality.
In 1915, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Guinn v. United States that grandfather clauses were unconstitutional. The court in those days upheld any number of segregationist laws — and even in Guinn specified that literacy tests untethered from grandfather clauses were OK.
The justices were concerned that the grandfather clause was not only discriminatory but a clear attempt by a state to nullify the federal Constitution. It "was so obvious an evasion that the Supreme Court could not have failed to declare it unconstitutional," The Washington Post wrote at the time.
The decision had almost no effect, however. The Oklahoma Legislature met in special session to grandfather in the grandfather clause. The new law said those who had been registered in 1914 — whites under the old system — were automatically registered to vote, while African-Americans could only register between April 30 and May 11, 1916, or forever be disenfranchised.
That law stayed on the books until a Supreme Court ruling in 1939.
The intent of the grandfather clause, however, was not strictly to placate some whites while discriminating against blacks, says Spencer Overton, author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression. It was also about power.
In that era, most African-Americans voted Republican, the party of Abraham Lincoln.
"The whole objective of excluding African-Americans was not just white supremacy," Overton says. "It was, 'We're Democrats they're Republicans and we're going to exclude them.' I'm not saying there weren't racial overtones, but there were significant partisan overtones as well."
The same trick had been used against white immigrants in the Northeast. It's worth remembering that Massachusetts and Connecticut were the first states to impose literacy tests, in hopes of keeping immigrants — who often supported Democrats in a largely Republican region — from voting.
At least one grandfather clause in the South was based on a Massachusetts statute from 1857, says Overton, who teaches law at George Washington University.
Perhaps it's because the grandfather clause was not solely about race — and because it was banned a century ago — most people use the term "grandfathered in" and never realize it once had racial connotations.
"This term 'grandfather' has been kind of deracialized," Overton says. "It's really a very convenient, shorthand term. We probably would not be as comfortable with using it if we associated it with grandfather clauses in the past and poll taxes and things like that."
The History of Electrification
The power grid as we know it began with isolated power generation systems across the world starting in the 1870s. The growth and unification of the systems into an interconnected AC power 'grid' helped raise the quality of life of people from all classes.
Long-Legged Mary Ann type early DC dynamo created and sold by Thomas Edison.
Electric power first saw commercial use in the 1870s. DC systems dominated from the 1870s-1891. The 1891 Electro-Technical Exposition in Frankfurt marked the end of the DC era.
Direct Current Beginnings:
DC power systems dominated in the 1870's and 1880s. "Small" systems were sold to factories around the world, both in urban areas, and remote undeveloped areas for industrial/mining use. Thomas Edison, Charles Brush, and Werner von Siemens lead the industry in DC systems. DC systems powered factories and small downtown areas but did not reach 95% of residents. Electric lighting was a luxury found only in hotels and other businesses as well as in the mansions of people like George Westinghouse and J.P. Morgan.
The first methods used to power both DC and AC generation plants were coal-fired steam engines and hydroelectric power. Since most industrial cities were already located at waterfall/rapids, utilizing traditional mill power it was natural to convert to hydroelectric power. Learn more about methods of power generation on our page here.
Since coal was costly, early business people envisioned sending great power over distance from dams to cities not already blessed with reliable hydro power. To send DC power over distance one needed to use high voltage:
HVDC Power - This was the first method of transmitting electric power over distance. HVDC is the oldest and "newest" method of distance transmission, today it has reemerged in an advanced form to possibly replace major AC high-voltage routes.
AC Power provided the solution to distance transmission. AC also provided a solution to interconnect generation sites. The development of the 3-phase AC power system in the late 1880s proved the effectiveness of the system and electrification of entire cities and regions began in the 1890s.
More on Alternating Current History >
More on Three Phase Power >
2.) List of important early power stations
Click on the power plants to learn more about them. Some of the pages are Edison Tech Center pages which have photos and videos.
1879: Dolgeville Dynamo This power station built at the Dolgeville Mill in Dolgeville, NY supplied power for industrial purposes.
1881: Niagara Falls, New York - A small dynamo supplied a few stores in in Niagara Falls with power for lighting. AC power came to this area 14 years later.
1882: Appleton Wisconsin, US DC power, 12.5 kW. This was the first Edison hydroelectric station. It powered Van Depoele's early electric trolleys later in 1886.
1882: Miesbach to Munich, Germany - longest DC transmission to this date: 1400 volts 57 km distance built by Marcel Deprez . HVDC
Transmission length: 57 km (37 miles)
1882: New York City - Edison Illuminating Company builds New York's first power plant at the Pearl Street Station. The DC station lit up to 400 lights and served 85 customers at first. The plant grew consistently over the next few years.
Transmission length: several blocks downtown
1884: England - Gaulard and Gibbs build an AC power plant using a rudimentary transformer which allows for voltage to stay constant despite additional lights(load) being added.
Transmission length: unknown
1884: Lanzo Torinese to Turino, Italy - 2000 volt experimental transmission line built for the International Electricity Exhibition. This transmission line uses a Gaulard and Gibbs transformer.
Transmission length: 40 km (25 miles)
1886: Great Barrington, Massachusetts The first full feature AC power distribution system using transformers is built in the small city of Great Barrington. It used a Siemens generator and Edison's incandescent lights. 500 volts.
Transmission length: 4000 ft (1.2 km)
1886: Pittsburgh, PA Oliver Shallenberger, the main engineer of AC power technology at Westinghouse constructs an AC system for Union Switch and Signal Company Works. George Westinghouse was pleased and began to sell this system. It operated at 1000 volts.
Transmission length 3 miles
1887: Buffalo, NY Oliver Shallenberger and William Stanley build the first commercial AC power plant for Westinghouse for Buffalo Electric Company. Single phase. Voltage ?.
Transmission length unknown
1887: Greater London Sebastian de Ferranti builds the largest AC power station to date (10,000 Volts). After business and other problems the Deptford Power Station is forced to delay opening until 1891. The station eventually supplies central London.
Transmission length unknown
1889: Oregon City Falls, Oregon, USA Longest DC transmission of power in North America is established south of Portland at Station A.
Transmission length 14 miles (DC Power)
1890: Oregon City Falls, Oregon, USA Experimental , 2 phase AC generators installed by Westinghouse at Powerhouse A, it sent power to Portland. It was 5 years later before regular commercial AC power was established in Powerhouse B.
Transmission length 14 miles (AC power)
1891: Telluride Colorado- Ames Hydroelectric Plant : 3000V, 133 Hz, single phase. It sent power to mining operations in the mountains near Telluride. It was a Westinghouse experimental project.
Transmission length: 2.5 miles
1891: Lauffen-Frankfurt Germany - A MAJOR STEP FORWARD: The first long-distance and 3-phase alternating current demonstration. This proved that three phase power worked the best for a power grid. This project was developed by Oskar von Miller and engineered by the founder of 3 phase AC power Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky.
Transmission length 175 km (109 miles)
1893: Redlands Mill Creek 1 powerhouse Redlands, CA 1893
The first 3-phase AC commercial power plant in the world. This used C.P. Steinmetz's improved 3-phase system.
Transmission line length: 7 miles
1893: Hellsjon - Grangesberg, Sweden: developed by Ernst Danielson, he also was involved in the Mill Creek Plant at Redlands, California in the same year. General Electric Company.
Transmission line length: 10 km
1895: Pelzer Hydroelectric Plant, South Carolina This plant provided AC 3-phase power to the Pelzer Manufacturing Plant. 3300 V (no transformers were used on transmission)
Transmission line length: 2.75 miles
1895: Folsom Powerhouse, Folsom California Built near a reservoir that catches water from the Sierra Nevada outside of Sacramento.
Transmission line length: 22 miles
*The Folsom Prison opened a small AC powerhouse in 1893 as part of the same hydro system
1895: Oregon City Falls, Oregon, USA . Powerhouse B is built on the Willamette River and supplies commercial AC power to Portland 14 miles away.
Transmission line length: 14 miles
1895: Niagara Falls AC Power Plants Westinghouse won the contract to build this power plant. GE won the contract for power transmission to Buffalo. The opening of the power plants was trumpeted in the international press more than any other hydro plant before, or possibly since. For this reason it is mistakenly believed to be the first. Nonetheless it was the largest hydro power plant till that date.
Transmission line length: 25 miles (1896)
1897: Mechanicville Power Station , Mechanicville, New York
This power station was built as an experiment of C.P. Steinmetz and commercial operation. Transmission line length: 17 miles
- Also the site of Albert W. Hull's HVDC experiments in 1932 read more about it.
1908: Schaghticoke Power Station Schaghticoke, NY
Site of an experimental monocyclic power transmission 1908. This was a project by AC Pioneer Charles. P. Steinmetz . Various power stations like this became testing grounds for new transmission technologies.
1915: Cohoes Power Plant Cohoes, NY
This plant was a part of the wide scale electric power development going on across the US and Europe at the time. The power grid begins to form as clusters of powerplants begin to interconnect.
After 1900 the number of power stations exploded. All across the world from Argentina to Singapore AC 3 phase power became established as the best way to supply populations with electric power.
3.) Sites by geography
Below: Sites of engineering significance, some of which are early electric power stations.
For use of Edison Tech Center images and videos see our licensing agreement.
The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
Few areas of historical enquiry resonate with such contemporary relevance as the Arab-Israeli conflict, and any scholar attempting a book on the subject is walking into a politically charged minefield. Historians enquiring after the 'truth' are accused of partisan bias: after all, they must either be supporters of Zionism or the Arab cause. Authors are charged, sometimes justifiably, with misusing history to pursue an agenda that supports either the Palestinians or Israel. The debate on Arab-Israeli relations is always robust often, it is acrimonious, bad-natured and personal. Authors, perhaps even reviewers, need a thick skin when entering the arena of debate on the hotly contested issue of Israel and the Arabs.
Traditionally dominated by Israelis, the historiography on the Arab-Israeli dispute has gone through various phases. The 'old' or 'mobilised' history, written by Israeli scholars in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, portrayed Israel as under serious threat from the Arabs and so forced into a series of wars of survival. This 'old' history also sought to exculpate Israel from the charge that it stole Palestinian land and forcibly evicted the inhabitants. Then, in the late 1980s, a group of 'new' or 'revisionist' historians headed by Simha Flapan, Benny Morris, Ilan Pappé and Avi Shlaim emerged to challenge this 'old' history. These 'new' historians argued that Israel was responsible in some measure for the Palestinian refugee crisis and for the Arab-Israeli wars, and that the image of Israel put forward by the 'old' historians was both misleading and determined by the political need to be pro-Israeli. The conclusions of the 'new' historians were not, however, necessarily pro-Palestinian. As Morris concluded in The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem (1987): 'The Palestinian refugee problem was born of war, not by design, Jewish or Arab. It was largely a by-product of Arab and Jewish fears and of the protracted, bitter fighting that characterised the first Arab-Israeli war in smaller part, it was the deliberate creation of Jewish and Arab military commanders and politicians.' The debunking by the 'new' historians of long-held shibboleths provoked a furore among the 'old' historians (who now became the 'new old' historians) and the debate soon spilled over into the public domain. In articles and books, the 'new old' historians counter-attacked. Aharon Megged charged the 'new' historians with writing history in the spirit of Israel's enemies Efraim Karsh angrily accused Morris and Shlaim of falsifying and recycling history. Attack and counter-attack ensued as both sides slugged it out. Meanwhile, Palestinian historians attacked the 'new' historians for not going far enough in their analysis. The debate goes on in books and journals such as Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Palestine Studies, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Journal, Studies in Zionism and Commentary.
Shlaim's part in this debate was a thought-provoking book entitled Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988). In it he examined the controversy that the early Zionists 'colluded' with the Arab Hashemite regime in Amman to divide Palestine. This was done with the knowledge and tacit acceptance of the British. The collusion benefited Israel and King Abdullah of Jordan but divided the Arab front against Israel. Shlaim's book angered the 'new old' historian Karsh sufficiently for him to devote a chapter to criticising Shlaim's thesis.
What of the book under review? How does it fit into the historiography? In Iron Wall, Shlaim nails his colours firmly to the 'revisionist' mast, stating at the outset: 'My aim in the present book is to offer a revisionist interpretation of Israel's policy towards the Arab world during the fifty years following the achievement of statehood.' (p.xii) With this in mind, the book begins with a brief examination of the nascent Zionist movement prior to 1948. In particular, Shlaim unpacks the ideas of the extremist Jewish nationalist agitator and thinker Ze'ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky. In 1923, Jabotinsky published two works under the title 'The Iron Wall'. In these pieces, Jabotinsky argued that the 'sole way' to an agreement with the Arabs was through an 'iron wall, that is to say, the establishment in Palestine of a force that will in no way be influenced by Arab pressure. In other words, the only way to achieve a settlement in the future is total avoidance of all attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present.' (p.14) As Shlaim points out later in Iron Wall, it was, therefore, pointless to talk with the Arabs as the 'Zionist program had to be executed unilaterally and by force.' (p.598) This notion of building a tough wall within which the Jewish state could flourish before it considered seriously negotiations with the Arabs is central to Shlaim's book. It is arguable that Shlaim could have done more to dissect the 'iron wall' idea in the introduction, considering its importance for Iron Wall. As Shlaim argues, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's formative first leader, broadly followed Jabotinsky's thinking. This meant a preference for military over political solutions when dealing with the Arabs. As a result, Zionist-Arab relations foundered and, at times, descended into war. This challenges the notion that the Zionists wanted an accommodation with the Arabs and the Palestinians, but Arab obstinacy ruined any deal. In fact, the critical interchange was within Israel between those wanting to follow the 'iron wall' policy versus those seeking a more peaceful, political solution to the Arab-Israeli impasse. As Shlaim argues, too often the former won out over the latter.
Shlaim challenges and overturns many orthodoxies. He questions whether the formation of Israel and consequent battle with invading Arab armies really was a David versus Goliath struggle. While this is still taught in Israeli schools, it is described by Shlaim as the 'heroic-moralist version' that 'is a prime example of the use of a nationalistic version of history in the process of nation building. In a very real sense history is the propaganda of the victors, and the history of the 1948 war is no exception.' (p.34) In discussing the vicissitudes of the 1948-9 Arab-Israel war, Shlaim emphasises the disunity of the Arab forces deployed against Israel. This allowed Ben-Gurion's generals to deal with one enemy front at a time and so achieve victory in 1948-9. In this respect, Abdullah's collusion, dealt with in Shlaim's earlier book, was a vital factor in Israel's divide and win policy. The conclusion of the chapter on the formation of Israel is telling. The theoretical concept of the iron wall alongside the reality of a comprehensive military victory in 1948 set up military toughness as a leitmotif in Israeli relations with the Arabs. As Shlaim observes (p.50): 'military power expanded the margins for political choice.' In these crucial early years, Ben-Gurion leaned towards the bellicose approach of the newly formed Israeli Defence Force (IDF). This marginalised the 'doves' led by those such as the Foreign Minister (and later Prime Minister), Moshe Sharett, who sought some form of reconciliation with the Arabs. In the discussions over policy, Ben-Gurion's stamped his authority. Shlaim describes one cabinet meeting where the ministers were like 'polite and frightened children in a kindergarten' reduced to hesitantly raising hands before asking questions against the 'overpowering' authority of Ben-Gurion. (p.75) Israel dismissed Arab peace feelers as Ben-Gurion preferred to wait in the hope that with the passage of time Israel's borders and land seizures would become accepted facts.
Shlaim argues that because of the 'iron wall' policy Israel missed signing a peace settlement after the armistice of 1949. Discussing the promising but failed Israeli-Jordanian peace talks, 1949-51, Shlaim wryly observes that 'it was a turning point in the history of Israeli-Jordanian relations at which history failed to turn.' (p.65) For Ben-Gurion, Egypt was the Arab country with which to make a peace and not Jordan which he considered to be a small, unstable country dependent on Abdullah and British aid for its survival. The assassination of Abdullah in 1951 convinced Ben Gurion of the fact that the Arab states would need to be 'deterred, coerced, and intimidated' into peace. (p.68) Consequently, Israel pursued disproportionately aggressive policies, particularly in response to numerous border clashes and incidents. Israel militarised the demilitarised zones (DMZs) along the Syrian border, ignoring UN protests about this infraction. As with Jordan, Israel also threw away a peace with Syria. In all of this discussion, Shlaim is persuasive. He marshals a considerable array of evidence and presents a cogent and lucid argument that takes the reader through the twists and turns of Israeli-Arab relations.
Echoing the view put forward in the recent BBC TV series (and book), 'The Fifty Years' War', Shlaim sees the origins of the 1956 war in the dispute within Israel between the 'hawks' (or 'activists') led by the likes of Ben-Gurion, Pinhas Lavon and Moshe Dayan, eager for maximum retaliation, and the 'doves' headed by Sharett eager for negotiation. As a military man, Dayan, the IDF chief-of-staff, was keen to pursue the 'iron wall' of Jewish military strength. Lavon, a one-time moderate given the defence portfolio in 1953, who then metamorphosed into an extreme hard-liner, was a more surprising convert to the idea of the military offensive. Shlaim presents the 1956 war as a clash between the 'iron wall' policy of Ben-Gurion and the measured diplomacy of Sharett. As part of the 'activist' school, Ben-Gurion felt that Israel had to assert its military will. The activists 'believed in the policy of the iron wall'. (p.87) Reflecting the new hard-line in relations with the Arabs, Israel escalated various border clashes. The 'hawks' encouraged Israeli infiltration and disproportionate retaliation across the Gaza Strip border to provoke a war. While the Egyptians tried to stop infiltration, Israel, eager to respond with maximum force, established 'free-fire' zones and attacked Arab villages and Egyptian military positions.
For Shlaim, Sharett was (p.95) an 'independent and original thinker' who offered Israel an alternative pathway. Shlaim outlines the fundamental differences in temperament between Sharett the diplomat, and Ben-Gurion the man of action between Ben-Gurion's self-reliance and Sharett's desire to accommodate the Arabs and the international community. Always eager to accommodate his opponent, Sharett was the consummate diplomat.
This book, with its argument that the IDF provoked border incidents to force a military solution, will not be an easy read for 'old' historians. The Israeli raid on Gaza town in 1955, an action that horrified Sharett, began the countdown to the 1956 war. Therefore, if Shlaim is to be believed, Israel, and not a bellicose Gamal Abdel Nasser, caused the 1956 war. Turning to the war itself, Iron Wall questions the traditional view that it was a defensive, just and well-executed affair that fulfilled Israeli objectives. Rather, Shlaim sees Israel's version of the war as the propaganda of the victors, and the image of the war as a 'striking example of the way in which history can be manipulated to serve nationalist ends.' (p.185) The hard-liners had failed to topple Nasser but they had succeeded in toppling Sharett.
In 1963, Ben-Gurion retired and a new leader, Levi Eshkol, emerged to lead Israel. Eshkol was in the mould of Sharett. His preference for compromise was such that when he was asked in a restaurant whether he wanted tea or coffee, he replied 'half and half'. That Eshkol was something of a Sharettist suggests that Shlaim overemphasises the victory of the 'hawks' in the 1950s. Israel's thriving democracy allowed Eshkol to beat off a challenge from Ben-Gurion in 1965. There were obvious limits to Ben-Gurion's power base. Eshkol, however, continued the policy of arming Israel, including the programme to build a nuclear bomb at the Dimona complex in the Negev desert. As with the 1956 war, Shlaim lays the blame for the 1967 'Six-Day' war with Israel and the policy of starting firefights along the Golan border: 'Israel's strategy of escalation on the Syrian front was probably the single most important factor in dragging the Middle East to war in 1967.' (p.235) But with the moderate Eshkol in power how was it that Israel went to war? Was it the 'iron wall' in action again?
The 1967 war, as Shlaim admits, followed a 'crisis slide' that neither side could arrest. The planned intent Shlaim outlined for the 1956 war disappears prior to June 1967. Events on the ground overtook any Israeli plan for war. As Shlaim admits, the 'Six-Day' war was a defensive conflict forced on Israel by Nasser's brinkmanship. Israel was reacting to rather than initiating events. Shlaim does a good job of discussing the 1967 war, but there is less structure and more narrative to his analysis. Israel tried to limit the conflict, but Hashemite forces shelled Israel forcing the IDF to attack the West Bank. The aggressive actions of King Hussein of Jordan seem bizarre in retrospect and cost him Jerusalem and the West Bank. Eshkol told the Jordanians that Israel did not want a war. The events surrounding the 1967 war show a more benign and scared Israel, and move attention away from the 'iron wall' idea. The 1967 war does not easily fit into Shlaim's overall thesis about Israel and the Arabs. Shlaim does, however, pick up the 'iron wall' theme after 1967 suggesting that the sweeping territorial gains made in June 1967 proved that peace could only be obtained from a position of strength.
After 1967, the growing power of the Israeli military establishment reinforced a 'long-standing tendency to view relations with the Arab states from a strategic perspective and to subordinate political and diplomatic considerations to military ones in the making of high policy.' (p.288) Golda Meir, in charge after 1969, deferred to her military experts, thus extending IDF influence over government policy. Israel now reverted to its 'iron wall' policy and responded to force with greater force. Meir comes in for heavy criticism as the Israeli leader who personified the siege mentality: 'the notion that Israel had to barricade itself behind an iron wall, the fatalistic belief that Israel was doomed forever to live by the sword.' (p.323) Thus, during the Egyptian-inspired war of attrition along the Suez canal, Israel initiated deep air strikes into Egypt to escalate the crisis in order, so the thinking went, to de-escalate the conflict by proving Israeli determination. These air strikes were not accompanied by any political moves. They were pure punishment. In response, Moscow committed 15,000 'technicians' to Egypt, a serious escalation of both the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Cold War. One Israeli cabinet member wrote of the exaggerated vision Meir had of the role of war in international politics and how the 'triumph of our forces in 1967 had encouraged a belief in an Israeli invincibility'. (p.293)
Shlaim puts the case that military conquest had replaced political dialogue strength had triumphed over compromise. It was Israel who rejected Arab and US peace overtures and this, as in 1956, led to another war. In the fifth Arab-Israeli war in October 1973, a surprise Egyptian-Syrian attack shattered the Golan and Sinai fronts. The attack caught Israel unawares and restored Arab military prestige. This presents an interesting situation: it was Arab military power in 1973, their 'iron wall' if you like, that prompted the two sides to negotiate the first peace treaty in 1979 between Israel and Egypt. So perhaps a policy of military toughness was not entirely mistaken? And perhaps Israel's willingness to sign a peace treaty with Egypt was also a function of the success of Israel's 'iron wall' policy? This is a conundrum Shlaim returns to in the epilogue to Iron Wall.
In a landmark election in 1977 Likud and Menachem Begin were elected to power ending Labour's long period in charge. Jabotinsky was the main inspirational source for Begin and, for Shlaim, Begin had soaked up the whole idea of the iron wall. Anwar Sadat of Egypt failed to realise the overwhelming reluctance of Israelis to part with the iron wall. Therefore, Shlaim feels that the 1979 treaty was an aberration and that once it was signed Israel was fated to go back to the 'ideological precepts of Revisionist Zionism.' (p.383) Harsh words, but explanation for Israel's subsequent annexation of the Golan Heights, invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and involvement in the massacres of Palestinian civilians in the Beirut refugee camps. Begin does not come out of this analysis with much kudos. Instead, he appears as a man increasingly out of touch with reality, comparing the attack on Beirut with the final battle for Berlin in 1945. Begin finally resigned a broken man, defeated by the Lebanon quagmire. As Shlaim concludes (p.419): 'Begin did have a spark of conscience and humanity in him, at least when it came to Jewish lives, and the burden of guilt finally overcame him.'
Israeli negotiations with the Arabs stumbled on through the 1980s until the uprising of the intifadah in 1987 galvanised the various parties. IDF soldiers confronting stone throwing Palestinian youths did little to present Israel as the David versus the Arab Goliath. Palestinian children throwing rocks had more of an impact than decades of terrorism and ineffectual posturing by groups such as the PLO. Images of Israeli soldiers maltreating Palestinian demonstrators rocked Israel's perception of itself, and Israel's position internationally. The issue of 'Palestine' needed to be addressed. Shlaim concludes his book with an in-depth study of the moves towards extending the peace to the other Arab states and the Palestinians. In this period, Yitzhak Shamir, once memorably described as the 'tunnel at the end of the light', emerged as the exponent of permanent conflict, while Labour's Yitzhak Rabin was the force for peaceful change. Rabin's tragic assassination in 1995 by a Jewish extremist ended the most promising period of Israeli-Palestinian relations where real dialogue had replaced the long tradition of conflict. Likud bitterly attacked this change in policy with the Arabs, and Rabin's opponents likened him to a Nazi. The role of personalities in shaping events in the Middle East is immense and the death of Rabin meant the death of the peace process. The election a year later of Binyamin Netanyahu, standing against Labour's Shimon Peres, Rabin's successor, ended the breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. (Shlaim likens Peres's performance in the election to the joke about the man challenged to a duel who sends his opponent a telegram saying: 'I'm going to be late. Start shooting without me.')
Shlaim's epilogue returns to some of the ideas he introduced in the prologue. In particular, Shlaim portrays a more complex picture of Jabotinsky's view of the 'iron wall' and suggests that right-wing Israeli politicians failed to realise that Jabotinsky's 'iron wall encompassed a theory of change in Jewish-Palestinian relations leading to reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.' (p.599) As is often the way, the disciples lacked the vision of the prophet. They failed to grasp that Jabotinsky's concept included the idea that once Israel had proved its 'iron wall' it could then negotiate effectively from a position of strength. Those such as Yitzhak Shamir were, however, fixed in a mindset of toughness and 'conceived of the iron wall as a bulwark against change and as an instrument for keeping the Palestinians in a permanent state of subservience to Israel.' (p.599) Naturally, considering the theme of Iron Wall, Shlaim is particularly harsh on Binyamin Netanyahu's period in office which he describes, bluntly, as 'Back to the Iron Wall'. Shlaim argues that Jabotinsky inspired Netanyahu with a Manichaean vision of a never-ending conflict with the Arabs. Under Netanyahu, history was 'rewritten from a Revisionist perspective in order to demonstrate that it was not the Jews who usurped the land from the Arabs, but the Arabs who usurped it from the Jews.' (p.565) Shlaim's epilogue notes with satisfaction the election of Ehud Barak as leader of Israel in 1999. Perhaps a new epilogue is needed considering the recent impasse in negotiations between Barak and the Palestinians.
This is an impressive and lucid piece of scholarship where Shlaim puts the 'revisionist' case with vigour and verve. While there is an occasional drift away from the 'iron wall' theme towards a chronological analysis of different topics, the theme of the 'iron wall' provides a thread drawing together the many elements making up Iron Wall. While Shlaim synthesises some existing historical debate, he also introduces new information and ideas, and provides new insights. And it is all packaged together in one easy-to-read volume. As with the question of whether a bottle is half empty or half full, those opposed to the 'new' history will look at the same evidence as Shlaim and come to completely different conclusions. In particular, they will point to what they see as the very real threat of annihilation of Israel throughout the period by overwhelming Arab forces. This is the stuff of lively academic debate. However, those opposed to the 'new' history will need to engage with the strongly argued substance of Shlaim's point about the 'iron wall' tradition in Israeli history. Karsh criticised Shlaim in the Times Literary Supplement for ignoring Arab aggressive intent and accused him of leaving out the Arab-Palestinian side to the conflict. Shlaim does downplay Arab aggression as part of his overall argument, but he is far from uncritical of Arab policy. Also, with his focus on Israel as the motor for the Arab-Israeli conflict, Shlaim naturally takes an Israeli-centric approach. There is also a real difficulty in gaining access to Arab archives to flesh-out Arab policy. However, using interviews, printed primary sources, memoirs and the secondary sources available, Shlaim covers the main points of the Arab side to the conflict. Iron Wall provides a broad sweep of history and is to be highly recommended for those interested in a well-written, lively, thought-provoking and controversial account of the Arab-Israeli conflict. One final complaint: why the American English for the book? Is the American market so important that Professor Shlaim, who holds a chair at St. Antony's Oxford, is not allowed to write British English?
A word often used to denote a task that is easy to perform, the truth behind this word has to do with a different kind of performance that was not so easy. Oxford English Dictionary writes that a “cakewalk” was a dancing contest judged by plantation owners — with a cake as the prize.
Unbeknownst to those who held people in slavery, it allowed the enslaved dancers to mock and oppose the white Southern elite. Couples dressed in their finest clothing, and according to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, would dance until the music stopped. Then, dancers would land on a number, and if it was called “they would take the cake.”