1917: November 2
On November 2, 1917 the British issued the Balfour declaration, a document which promised a state in Palestine for the Jewish population, and designed to encourage Russian Jews to support the Allied war effort. However, this promise was made at a chaotic time of revolution under the Bolsheviks, who were looking to exit the war, and this negated any positive effect the Declaration might have had for the Allies on World War I. Similarly, the Declaration was meant to encourage the American Jewish community to make further contributions to the war effort.
The strategic importance of the land of Palestine, between India and Egypt and which fell under British mandate as per a 1922 decision by the League of Nations, meant that the Balfour Declaration also enabled the British to pursue their post-war aim of dominance in Palestine, despite Britain’s earlier agreement with France dividing influence in the region after the presumed defeat of the Ottoman Empire. British protection of a Zionist state would maintain British influence while at the same time demonstrating support for the self-determination for smaller nations.
The Declaration incensed indigenous Arab populations, who feared subjugation of Arab Palestinians, and who had already been promised nationhood and self-governance in return for their efforts against the Turkish Ottoman army.
The Balfour Declaration was the first public political recognition of aims for a Zionist state by a great power, and laid the groundwork for the establishment of Israel over 30 years later.