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Irgun (Paperback)

Revisionist Zionism, 1931–1948

WWII Photographic Books Military History

By Gerry van Tonder
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: History of Terror
Pages: 128
ISBN: 9781526728692
Published: 28th February 2019

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In October 1944, the US Office of Strategic Services described the Irgun Tsvai Leumi – National Military Organization – as ‘an underground, quasi-military organization with headquarters in Palestine … fanatical Zionists who wish to convert Palestine and Transjordan into an independent Jewish state … advocate the use of force both against the Arabs and the British to achieve this maximal political goal’.

In 1925, Ze’ev Jabotinsky founded the Revisionist Zionism organization, whose secular, right-wing ideology would lead to the formation of the Irgun and, ultimately, of the Likud Party. Commencing operations in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1931, Irgun adopted a mainly guarding role, while facilitating the ongoing immigration of Jews into Palestine. In 1936, Irgun guerrillas started attacking Arab targets. The British White Paper of 1939 rejected the establishment of a Jewish nation, and as a direct consequence, Irgun guerrillas started targeting the British.

The authorities executed captured Irgun operatives found guilty of terrorism, while deporting hundreds to internment camps overseas. As details of Jewish genocide – the Holocaust – emerged, Irgun declared war on the British in Palestine. Acts of infrastructural sabotage gave way to the bombing of buildings and police stations, the worst being the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem – the hub of British operations and administration – in July 1946, killing ninety-one. Freedom fighters or terrorists – Irgun was only dissolved when the independent Jewish state of Israel was born on 14 May 1948. This is their story.

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About Gerry van Tonder

Gerry van Tonder was born in Zimbabwe and came to Britain in 1999. He is a full-time historian and a published author. Specializing in military history, Gerry has authored Rhodesian Combined Forces Roll of Honour, 1966–1981; Book of Remembrance: Rhodesia Native Regiment and Rhodesian African Rifles; North of the Red Line (South African Defence Force’s border war), and the co-authored definitive Rhodesia Regiment, 1899–1981, a copy of which he presented to the regiment’s former colonel-in-chief, Her Majesty the Queen. Gerry has also written on British local history, including Derby in 50 Buildings, Chesterfield’s Military Heritage and Mansfield Through Time. He recently started with a series of Cold War titles and Echoes of the Coventry Blitz.

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