Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


War and Society

First Advisor

Leland Estes

Second Advisor

Gregory Daddis

Third Advisor

Nubar Hovsepian


This thesis is an examination of the long historical processes that have led to the Israel/Palestine conflict to the contemporary period, focusing mostly on the period before Israeli independence and the 1948 war that created the Jewish state. As Zionism emerged at the turn of the twentieth century to combat the antisemitism of Europe, practical and political facets of the movement sought immigration to Palestine, an area occupied by a large population of Arab natives. The answer to how the Zionists would achieve a Jewish state in that region, largely ignoring the indigenous population, fostered disagreements and a split in the Zionist ideology. The Revisionist Zionist organization was founded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky and favored a more militant orientation. With an “Iron Wall” manifesto, and as time passed and international aid waned, the Revisionists evolved into an anticolonial movement that not only viewed Palestinians as an obstacle to the Jewish state but turned their anticolonial furor toward the British and United Nations threats. That evolution reached a crescendo in 1948 when the Revisionist paramilitary group Lehi assassinated the UN Mediator, Count Bernadotte. That act was a catalyst that began the end of the war and the solidification of a Palestinian refugee crisis that persists to the present. As the Iron Wall Doctrine evolved from the early teachings of Jabotinsky through anticolonial violence and the removal of native Arabs from the new state of Israel, future prime ministers who were former Revisionist terrorists maintained the prescribed perpetual state of war Jabotinsky predicted with the now landless Palestinians. This research concludes that both Jabotinsky and Bernadotte were crucial characters in the narrative that allowed for the Iron Wall Doctrine, and thus the Jewish state, to not only exist but to carry on beyond the 1948 independence into the long standing conflict it has become.



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