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Herzl was stirred by sympathy for the misery of Jews under persecution, but he was even more powerfully moved by the difficulties experienced under conditions of assimilation.
Herzl believed that the humanitarian hopes which inspired men at the end of the 18th and during the larger part of the 19th centuries had failed.
In 1896 Herzl published his famous pamphlet "Der Judenstaat."
But Herzl approached the subject entirely on its secular side, and his solution was economic and political rather than sentimental.
The influence of Herzl's pamphlet, the progress of the movement he initiated, the subsequent modifications of his plans, are told at length in the article Zionism.