War and peace of Iosif Trumpeldor: From zionist hagiography to cultural history

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Petrovsky-Shtern’s essay revisits three aspects of Yosef Trumpeldor’s life domineering his biographic and hagiographic narratives. Using heretofore unexplored military archival sources, the author allows more accurately to reconstruct Trumpeldor’s army career, debunk the myth of his Russian officer rank, and contextualize the impact of the Russian army experience on his Zionist endeavors. Trumpeldor’s reliance on so far underestimated influence of Leo Tolstoy emphasizes Trumpeldor’s horizontally oriented Russian cultural environment and plays down his teleological vertically oriented Zionist one. By juxtaposing Tolstoy’s ideas in Trumpeldor’s mind with Trumpeldor’s distinct socio-cultural military circumstances, the author demonstrates the genesis of the He-Halutz program from Trumpeldor’s experience as a military leader in the Russian army and avid reader of the Russian literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-33
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Russian army
  • Tolstoy
  • Trumpeldor
  • cultural history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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