Isreali Independence: American and Soviet Recognition (May 14-17, 1948)


Figure 1.--

It was unclear what the international reaction would be. Thus the American reaction as well as the Soviet reaction was crucial. The new state was recognized that night by the United States and 3 days later by the Soviet Union. A great deal is known about President Truman's decesion to regonize Israel. Virtually nothing is known as to why Marshal Stlin decided to recognize the new Jewish state. The President's decesion led to the great splilt between the White House and State Department since Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned (1917). President Truman blamed resistance to his policy on Israel to low-level officials in the State Department. This difference came to a head on the issue of recognizing Israel. The President blamed the director of the State Department Department of U.N. Affairs, Dean Rusk (a future Secretary of State) and thecState Department's Counselor, Charles Bohlen. He was partially correct. But even more important was the Secretary of State himself--George C. Marshall. Marshall was one of the most estemed soldier and statesmen in American history. The President was at the time was one of the most unpopular president's in American history. And it ws not just Marshall, virtually the entire foreign policy establishment (James V. Forrestal, George F. Kennan, Robert Lovett, John J. McCloy, Paul Nitze, and Dean Acheson) at the time was against recognizing Israel. This was essentially the men who crafted the American response to Soviet expanionsim which would save Western Europe and lead to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union.

Independence (May 14)

The British Mandate over a Palestine expired (May 14, 1948). The British completed their withdraw by midnight. The Jewish People's Council, the leadership of the Jewish Agency led by Dabid Ben-Gurion, on the same day meeting at the Tel Aviv Museum approved a proclamation establishing the State of Israel.

American Recognition (May 14)

It was unclear what the international reaction would be. Thus the American reaction was crucial. The new state was recognized that night by the United States. A great deal is known about President Truman's decesion to regonize Israel. The President's decesion led to the great splilt between the White House and State Department since Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned (1917). President Truman blamed resistance to his policy on Israel to low-level officials in the State Department. This difference came to a head on the issue of recognizing Israel. The President blamed the director of the State Department Department of U.N. Affairs, Dean Rusk (a future Secretary of State) and thecState Department's Counselor, Charles Bohlen. He was partially correct. But even more important was the Secretary of State himself--George C. Marshall. Marshall was one of the most estemed soldier and statesmen in American history. The President was at the time was one of the most unpopular president's in American history. And it ws not just Marshall, virtually the entire foreign policy establishment (James V. Forrestal, George F. Kennan, Robert Lovett, John J. McCloy, Paul Nitze, and Dean Acheson) at the time was against recognizing Israel. This was essentially the men who crafted the American response to Soviet expanionism which would save Western Europe and lead to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union.

Soviet Recognition (May 17)

The Soviet reaction was crucial. With it would bring the autmatic recognition by the several different countries in the Soviet Union as well as support for recognotion from Communist parties in several important European vountries (especially France and Italy). The Soviets recognized Israel 3 days later after it declared independence. Virtually nothing is known as to why Marshal Stalin decided to recognize the new Jewish state. It is known that he wasanti-Semetic so support would have obviously not come from any smpathy for Jews. It is possible that the fact that there was a strong Socialist element in the new state was a factor.

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Created: 11:45 PM 5/7/2008
Last updated: 11:46 PM 5/7/2008