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The Recovery of Palestine, 1917

Jerusalem for Christmas

by Stanley Weintraub


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By mid-1917, with the world war going badly on all fronts, and casualties burgeoning, Prime Minister David Lloyd George met with General Edmund Allenby, fresh from France. Lloyd George wanted "Jerusalem for Christmas" as a holiday "present" for the increasingly disillusioned British people. Its seizure would also eliminate the Ottomans, who had inflicted the dismaying disaster at the Dardanelles, as a factor in the war. As Allenby departed, the PM handed him George Adam Smith's Historical Geography of the Holy Land, remarking that it was a better guide to reaching Jerusalem than anything "in the pigeon holes of the War Office". Having been raised on the Bible, Allenby, as this narrative illustrates, did indeed exploit it. He would also have unanticipated expertise from an unknown and unmilitary officer, T. E. Lawrence, who turned his Arabian "sideshow" into campaigns distracting the Turks and their German military leadership. The desert war would be hard-fought, but, that December, after centuries in Muslim hands and with its sacred sites intact, Jerusalem fell.

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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Stanley Weintraub (Author)

Stanley Weintraub, PhD, published his first biography, about Lawrence of Arabia's postwar years, in 1963. Since then he has been writing about other notable lives, and about wars, from the rebellion in America to Korea, with many of his books comb...

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The Recovery of Palestine, 1917
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