The Zionist Movement in Search of Grand Strategy

  • Steven Wagner


This article is an attempt to survey Zionist grand strategy using micro-biographies of three key strategic thinkers of the pre-state era. It examines three Zionist strategists, Chaim Weizmann, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabontinsky, and David Ben-Gurion, focusing on their contributions towards Israeli statehood by 1948. There are certainly other figures deserving of attention on this issue, but these three have been chosen because of their consequence in both local and international affairs and, most importantly, for the grand strategic direction which they provided for the Zionist movement. Unlike other significant figures, these three men influenced strategy which touched on all significant fields of grand strategy. They are examined here together because they impacted all the economic, social, philosophical, political, diplomatic, and military components of strategy.  When looked at together, theirs is a story about how a non-government organization (NGO) became a state, but also about the origins and nature of Israel and its politics. This story is important because it is an assessment of how the Zionist movement, which could not even agree that independent statehood was its goal, achieved that aim with the leadership of these individuals.

Author Biography

Steven Wagner

Dr. Steven Wagner recently completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford, entitled “British Intelligence and Policy in the Palestine Mandate, 1919-39”. This thesis examines the role of intelligence in policymaking, focusing on the establishment of the British Mandate for Palestine, the struggle to secure it, and the decision in 1939 to limit Britain’s support for Jewish immigration. Currently, he is working on converting the thesis to a book, and is preparing for future research on the interactions between British intelligence services, independent Arab statesmen, and the various nationalist movements during and after the First World War.