George Shanks was the son of Henry Shanks a well-known British merchant who resided in Moscow. Henry Shanks managed the family firm of Shanks & Bolin, Magasin Anglais established by his father James Steuart Shanks in 1852. As a result of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the family lost their business and home and were forced to returned London. It is believed that the translation was completed during this period in London. His identity was not discovered until 1978; initially, it was believed that Victor E. Marsden was the translator, as his name came to be associated with the BritishEnglish language translation of the Protocols in pamphlet or booklet form soon after he died in 1920.
Shanks is known to have engaged in a dispute with The Britons over payment of the royalties to which he was entitled regarding their publication of The Jewish Peril.