War, Jews, and the New Europe

The Diplomacy of Lucien Wolf, 1914-1919

By Mark Levene

The First World War was a major watershed in modern Jewish history. Out of it came the Balfour Declaration - a first critical step in the creation of the State of Israel - but also a radical redrafting of the political map of eastern and central Europe, with dramatic and potentially tragic consequences for its dispersed but substantial Jewish minority. In this lucid work - now available in paperback - Mark Levene approaches these developments through the diplomatic endeavours of Lucien Wolf, a British Jew who was both one of the chief proponents of the Balfour Declaration and co-architect of the Minorities Treaty that provided an internationally endorsed framework for Jewish existence in Europe after the First World War. Through an analysis of Wolf's diplomacy, Levene examines how Jewish interests throughout Europe were affected by the Great War and how they were perceived by the warring powers. War, Jews and the New Europe was the winner of the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History 1991. *** 'A book of the first importance and of great originality...a remarkable achievement.' Max Beloff *** 'Impressive...has implications well beyond the exploration of one man's diplomatic activity on behalf of British and British-Jewish interests...richly detailed, but most readable work.' David Cesarani, Jewish Chronicle *** 'Illuminates a critical episode in an unconventional discipline, pre-1948 Jewish diplomatic history. Herein lies the great strength of the book: Levene does not treat his subject like a normative segment of diplomatic history; he is sensitive to the fact that there was no army or government backing up Wolf, and that any impact he might possibly have made must be seen as extraordinary...Levene achieves an impressive critical distance from his subject, and this will possibly place his work among the more authoritative interpretations in the long run...an immensely valuable book, which will be of interest to scholars in Anglo-Jewish history, east European Jewish history and politics, Zionist history, diplomatic history, and those interested in the eternally grey zone between peoples, ethnic groups, and publicly recognized nations while the world is crashing down.' Michael Berkowitz, AJS Review

346 pages

Publication Date: 4/30/2009
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781906764012