Chaim Weizmann

Chaim Weizmann (khīm´ vīts´män), 1874–1952, scientist and Zionist leader, first president (1948–52) of Israel, b. Russia, grad. Univ. of Freiburg, 1899. He lectured in chemistry at the Univ. of Geneva (1901–3) and later taught at the Univ. of Manchester. Active in Zionism from his youth, Weizmann first visited Palestine in 1907. He became a British subject in 1910, and in World War I he was (1916–19) director of the British admiralty laboratories. He became famous when he developed a synthetic acetone to be used in the manufacture of explosives. In 1917 he helped procure the pro-Zionist declaration of Arthur James Balfour. A founder of so-called synthetic Zionism, Weizmann supported grass-roots colonization efforts as well as higher-level diplomatic activity. After 1920 he assumed leadership in the world Zionist movement, serving twice (1920–31, 1935–46) as president of the World Zionist Organization. In World War II he was (1939–45) honorary adviser to the British ministry of supply and did research on synthetic rubber and high-octane gasoline. When the republic of Israel was founded (1948), Weizmann became the first president. At Rehoboth, where he lived, Weizmann founded a research institute (now the Weizmann Institute of Science). He wrote many papers for scientific journals. Ezer Wiezman is his nephew.

See his autobiography (1949); his letters and papers (3 vol., 1968–72); biography ed. by M. W. Weisgal and J. Carmichael (1962); studies by I. Berlin (1958) and I. Kolatt (1970); P. Goodman, ed., Chaim Weizmann: A Tribute (1959).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Israel's Leadership: From Utopia to Crisis
Jacob Abadi.
Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Chaim Weizmann: The 'Synthetic' Zionist"
The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader
Arthur Hertzberg.
Jewish Publication Society, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Chaim Weizmann, 1874-1952" begins on p. 572
Great Jewish Personalities in Modern Times
Simon Noveck.
B'nai B'rith, Dept. of Adult Jewish Education, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Chaim Weizmann"
Backdrop to Tragedy: The Struggle for Palestine
William R. Polk; David M. Stamler; Edmund Asfour.
Beacon Press, 1957
Librarian’s tip: "Emir Feisal and Dr. Weizmann" begins on p.64
Prelude to Israel: An Analysis of Zionist Diplomacy, 1897-1947
Alan R. Taylor.
Darton, Longman & Todd, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. II "The Balfour Declaration"
From Diplomacy to Resistance; a History of Jewish Palestine, 1930-1945
Yehuda Bauer.
Jewish Publication Society, 1970
An American in Palestine: Elwood Mead and Zionist Water Resource Planning, 1923-1936
Rook, Robert E.
Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ), Vol. 22, No. 1, Winter 2000
The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul
Yoram Hazony.
Basic Books, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Desperados"
Truman, American Jewry, and Israel, 1945-1948
Zvi Ganin.
Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1979
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "Silver at the Helm"
Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State
Martin Sicker.
Praeger, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "British Military Government, 1918-1920"
Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel
Michael T. Benson.
Praeger, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "A President from Independence, a Chemist from Pinsk, and a Haberdasher from Kansas City "
The Republic of Israel: Its History and Its Promise
Joseph Dunner.
Whittlesey House, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nine "Political Parties in the Constituent Assembly"
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