|The outbreak of World War I divided the Zionist movement. Its headquarters had been in Germany. Now the Zionist movement was divided with centers in England Germany and the United States. Until the outbreak of the war the British goal had been to ensure the unity of the Ottoman Empire. Once the war began the British began to set their eyes on parts of the empire.
The spokesman of the Zionist movement in Great Britain was Chaim Weizmann, a Russian émigré who had studied in Germany and was noted chemist. He charmed the British leadership into considering the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Many years later Sir Ronald Starrs described Weizmann as:
“ A brilliant talker with an unrivaled gift for the lucid exposition as a speaker almost frightening convincing, even in English. In Hebrew, and even more in Russian. Overwhelming with all that dynamic percussiveness which Slavs usually devote to love and Jews to business, nourished, trained and concentrated upon the accomplishments of Zion. ”
Weizmann ability to influence the British government was helped by the contributions that Weizmann made to the British war effort by developing a key chemical for the British war effort. More importantly as the British advanced on Palestine the postwar future of the area was of concern to the British government. Lloyd George and Balfour believed that an alliance with the Jewish people would strengthen the British claim on Palestine. They felt they would gain the support not only of the British Jewish community, but the American Jewish community, where Zionist had become more prominent. Louis Brandeis the leader of the American Zionist movement had been appointed to the Supreme Court. The deliberations on issuing the declaration were taken place among people who were naturally sympathetic to Zionist aspiration.
On November 2 the British government issued the declaration supporting the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.