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.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.