Eastern Mediterranean 1948: End of Mandatory Palestine
The British Mandate of Palestine had become increasingly unstable since the 1930s, facing first Arab and then Jewish insurgencies against British rule. In 1947 the United Nations suggested the partition of Palestine into separate independent Arab and Jewish states, prompting a civil war to break out between the Arabs and the Jews. The Jews were victorious by the following year, declaring an independent State of Israel to coincide with the British withdrawal.
12 Mar 1947 Truman Doctrine▲
In an address to United States Congress, President Harry Truman outlined his policy of supporting “free peoples” against “attempted subjugation armed minorities or by outside pressures”, insisting the US assist them “primarily through economic and financial aid”. The speech was an attack on Soviet attempts to destabilize Greece and Turkey, leading the US to give financial support to those nations. As a general policy of containing Soviet expansionism by backing those it threatened, this so-called Truman Doctrine would become the foundation of US foreign policy during the Cold War.
15 Aug 1947 Partition of India▲
Under the direction of Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of the British Indian Empire, British India was partitioned into the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India. As Pakistan was designated as a Muslim homeland, the religiously mixed provinces of Punjab and Bengal were also divided between the two new states. The princely states were advised to choose between Pakistan and India, rather than retain independence.
29 Nov 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine▲
The United Nations adopted UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), recommending that the United Kingdom terminate the Mandate of Palestine, partitioning it between two independent states—one Arab and one Jewish—and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. The United Kingdom was to withdraw no later than 1 August 1948, with the two states coming into existence two months after the withdrawal. The partition plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine but rejected by Arab leaders and governments.
30 Nov 1947–14 May 1948 Civil war in Mandatory Palestine▲
The Arab refusal to accept the United Nations recommendation to partition the British Mandate of Palestine prompted Jewish communities in Palestine to also withdraw their support, resulting in civil war. The two sides clashed as the British organized their withdrawal. As the mandate expiry date of 15 May 1948 approached, the Jewish Haganah launched a major offensive, capturing Jerusalem and much of northern Palestine.
3–27 Jan 1948 Al-Wathbah uprising▲
Protests broke out in Baghdad in response to the Iraqi monarchy’s plans to renew the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi Treaty, an agreement which had effectively made Iraq a British protectorate. In response to the continued agitation, the king annulled the treaty on 21 January. The protests continued for another week, when police brought them violently to a close at the cost of 300-400 demonstrators.
14 May 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence▲
David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The declaration became effective upon the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine at midnight.
15 May 1948 End of Mandatory Palestine▲
After evacuating Jerusalem on 14 May, British forces remaining in Palestine, including High Commissioner Alan Cunningham, withdrew via Haifa. On 15 May the Palestine Mandate ended, leaving the country divided between the newly declared State of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
15 May 1948 Outbreak of Arab-Israeli War▲
Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—the major states of the Arab League—declared war on the newly declared State of Israel. That same day, the Egyptian, Syrian, Transjordanian, Lebanese, and Iraqi invasion of Israel on behalf of Palestine began.