Classic History Books

W.T. Massey - How Jerusalem Was Won. Allenby's Campaign in Palestine

past, while the reverent attitude involuntarily adopted by every man when seeing the Sacred Places
suggested that no Crusader Army or band of pilgrims ever came to the Holy Land under a more pious

influence. Many times have I watched the troops of General Allenby in the streets of Jerusalem. They

bore themselves as soldiers and gentlemen, and if they had been selected to go there simply to impress

the people they could not have more worthily upheld the good fame of their nation. These soldier

missionaries of the Empire left behind them a record which will be remembered for generations.

If it had been possible to consult the British people as to the details to be observed at the ceremony of the
Official Entry into Jerusalem, the vast majority would surely have approved General Allenby's

programme. Americans tell us the British as a nation do not know how to advertise. Our part in the war

generally proves the accuracy of that statement, but the Official Entry into Jerusalem will stand out as

one great exception. By omitting to make a great parade of his victory - one may count elaborate

ceremonial as advertisement - General Allenby gave Britain her best advertisement. The simple,

dignified, and, one may also justly say, humble order of ceremony was the creation of a truly British

mind. To impress the inhabitant of the East things must be done on a lavish ostentatious scale, for gold

and glitter and tinsel go a long way to form a native's estimate of power. But there are times when the

native is shrewd enough to realise that pomp and circumstance do not always indicate strength, and that

dignity is more powerful than display. Contrast the German Emperor's visit to Jerusalem with General

Allenby's Official Entry. The Kaiser brought a retinue clothed in white and red, and blue and gold, with

richly caparisoned horses, and, like a true showman, he himself affected some articles of Arab dress. He

rode into the Holy City - where One before had walked - and a wide breach was even made in those

ancient walls for a German progress. All this to advertise the might and power of Germany.

In parenthesis I may state we are going to restore those walls to the condition they were in before
German hands defiled them. The General who by capturing Jerusalem helped us so powerfully to bring

Germany to her knees and humble her before the world, entered on foot by an ancient way, the Jaffa

Gate, called by the native 'Bab-el-Khalil,' or the Friend. In this hallowed spot there was no great

pageantry of arms, no pomp and panoply, no display of the mighty strength of a victorious army, no

thunderous salutes to acclaim a world-resounding victory destined to take its place in the chronicles of all

time. There was no enemy flag to haul down and no flags were hoisted. There were no soldier shouts of

triumph over a defeated foe, no bells in ancient belfrys rang, no Te Deums were sung, and no preacher

mounted the rostrum to eulogise the victors or to point the moral to the multitude. A small, almost

meagre procession, consisting of the Commander-in-Chief and his Staff, with a guard of honour, less

than 150 all told, passed through the gate unheralded by a single trumpet note; a purely military act with

a minimum of military display told the people that the old order had changed, yielding place to new. The

native mind, keen, discerning, receptive, understood the meaning and depth of this simplicity, and from

the moment of high noon on December 11, 1917, when General Allenby went into the Mount Zion

quarter of the Holy City, the British name rested on a foundation as certain and sure as the rock on which

the Holy City stands. Right down in the hearts of a people who cling to Jerusalem with the deepest

reverence and piety there was unfeigned delight. They realised that four centuries of Ottoman dominion

over the Holy City of Christians and Jews, and 'the sanctuary' of Mahomedans, had ended, and that

Jerusalem the Golden, the central Site of Sacred History, was liberated for all creeds from the blighting

influence of the Turk. And while war had wrought this beneficent change the population saw in this

epoch-marking victory a merciful guiding Hand, for it had been achieved without so much as a stone of

the City being scratched or a particle of its ancient dust disturbed. The Sacred Monuments and

everything connected with the Great Life and its teaching were passed on untouched by our Army.


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