This short study will show the difficulties which the founders of Israel were confronted with even before the outbreak of the War of Independence it's self. Of course it is impossible to mention every detail or event that happened from May 14th 1947, Gromyko's speech at the UN Assembly, to the Armistice Agreement between all the participating sides in early 1949. Therefore, it will deal only with the Czech military aid, without which the survival of the young state would be quite impossible.
USSR’s Middle East policy after WWII
The main reason for the military support from the Soviet bloc was the USSR’s attempt to place satellite “republics” in the Middle East.
When early in 1947 exchequer was unable to support the British exertion to contain the Soviet in Iran, Turkey and Greece alone, the United States which earlier acted firmly to force the Soviet withdrawal from Iran, came to Britain’s aid by launching the Truman Doctrine of March 1947 .
From the Soviet angle, this act looked like a threat. Moscow reacted by launching their own “Truman Doctrine” which meant giving support to peoples and groups trying to get rid of the British rule.
The Soviets ran these kinds of campaigns mainly at the UN’s Security Council, as a revenge at the same forum by which they themselves were forced to leave Iran in early 1946.
In May 1947 the Soviet delegation tried to persuade the special UN Assembly to vote for the immediate termination of the British mandate in Palestine. On the same occasion Gromyko made a speech in which he recognized the Jewish right for an independent state in Palestine, along side a Palestinian Arab state.
The Soviets even restored their cooperation with the USA, in order to push the partition resolution trough.
The actions taken by the Soviets made them the main supporter of the partition of Palestine. But, the decisive factor of their support was their desire for a better position in their global struggle for power and not because they had been won over by Zionism or because the Jews had become communists.
USSR’s military support
Gromyko's well known speech at the First Special Session of the UN's General Assembly awaked high hopes in the yishuv's leadership. Ben-Gurion approached Gromyko immediately afterwards and suggested that a Yishuv delegation be invited to Moscow, but no response came from the Soviet side.
Nevertheless Gromyko's speech was in fact a highly qualified support of partition, the Soviets were hesitant to make further commitments concerning their ideas on Palestine's political future. There seem to be a few main reasons for this ambivalence in the Soviet stand. In the first place it was not clear how the majority of the states would vote. Secondly, the British were planning at this stage to evacuate Egypt and not Palestine; in fact they were transferring supplies and equipment from Egypt to El-Arish.
In February, after the arms deal with the Czech government had already been signed, Sharett asked to see Gromyko and presented three requests . But again, no reply.
Later it became known that Bernadotte , who first requested the service of Soviet observers, was forced to change his mind by the USA and Britain. Now Golda Meir believed that the USSR has to be more prone to undermine the embargo. She met with the Haganah wise man, David Hacohen, and requested that he speak with Gromyko. This time Gromyko replied and let Hacohen know that the USSR will not send any direct military support, but the Yishuv can use the contacts they already have with Czechoslovakia.
Only in September 1948, after an exchange of diplomatic missions took place, Golda Meir went to Moscow as the head of the Israeli delegation. The Israeli delegation was concerned that the question of military aid to Israel would be one of the urgent subjects that the Soviet Government would like to discuss with the Israeli Military Attaché, General Rattner. But instead the Israeli delegation found itself isolated and Rattner was unable to establish working contacts with the Red Army. However, in October Rattner was invited to see the General-in-Chief of the Red Army, General Antonov. Antonov advised Rattner that it would be better if he applied not for Soviet arms proper but for captured arms (German) instead. This advice was most probably an attempt to encourage Israel to dare and break the truce , and with this act undermine the Bernadotte plan, which was pending debate on the UN Assembly. On November the 8th Rattner returned to Antonov with a list of requested arms including some Soviet arms as well. Early in 1949, Mrs. Meir inquired at the Soviet Foreign Ministry regarding the fate of the Israeli request, the answer was typical for the Soviet policy; it could not been approved since the USSR adhered to UN decisions. After Mrs. Meir, Rattner mentioned the same problem to a high-ranking Soviet officer, the answer was quite surprising: the USSR believes that Israel is building a huge army in order to participate in the Western pact. At around the same time, according to the British intelligence report, the USSR offered arms on easy terms to Egypt. Israel never received a similar offer.
Czechoslovakia's military assistance to Israel
The real assistance given to Israel from the Communist Bloc came from Czechoslovakia. Their reason for giving Israel military support was quite simple, money. Although there are some other theories, the American and the British analysts were convinced that the Czech military assistance to Israel was part of a premeditated plan hatched by Moscow. They would give Israel diplomatic support and try to sneak to Israel through Jewish immigration from Communist countries, until eventually they would take over Israel from within, while Czechoslovakia would take care of building the army. However there is no supporting evidence for this theory.
After the "Economic Rehabilitation" and "Mutual Trade Agreement" was signed in December 1947 the USSR had dictated much of the priorities of the Czech economy, this resulted in a transfer from free enterprise to an extremely concentrated system and from production of light consumer goods to heavy industry.
However, in 1948 the export of arms become its main source of income. The Czech government, in order to survive the post-war economic difficulties, intended to sell not only what they had produced, but also weapons given to them by Britain during WWII, including armored fighting vehicles and 72 Spitfire aircraft . According to British reports, based on insid information from within the Czech Government, the total Czech dollar income from export of arms and military services to the Middle East in 1948 was over $28 million, and Israel received 85% of the Czech foreign military aid, the Arabs received the remainder.
Ďaľšie referáty z kategórie
Czechoslovak military aid to Israel during the War of Independece
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Zdroje: Lederer and Vucinich, The Soviet Union and the Middle East; The Post-WWII Era, Stanford University, California 1974, M.Confino and Sh.Shamir, The USSR and the Middle East, Israel Universities Press 1973, Susan Hattis, Political Dictionary of the State of Israel, Jerusalem Publishing House 1987