America Views the Holocaust, 1933-1945: A Brief Documentary History / Edition 1

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What and when did the United States government and Americans know about Hitler's gruesome Final Solution? Why was there no intervention? Wrapping historical narrative around primary sources, Abzug chronicles the events in Nazi Germany while tracing the resurgence of anti-Semitism and tightening immigration policies in the United States. Sixty contemporary journalistic sources - including news clippings, speeches, letters, magazine articles, and government reports - provide students with a context for understanding Americans' horror when they realized that the reports and stories of the Holocaust were not exaggerations or fabrications. An epilogue examines the complexity of historical interpretations and moral judgments that have evolved since 1945.
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Editorial Reviews

Presents a selection of original documents, including letters from Germany, journalistic accounts, diary entries, and other documents that illustrate the varied reactions of Americans as they witnessed the Holocaust. Documents are divided into three sections: the first years of the Nazi regime (1933-1935); exclusion, emigration, and war (1935-1941); and the development of popular American awareness (1942-1945). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
"Abzug's selection of documents is excellent, and student readers will be surprised and at times shocked." —Teaching History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312133931
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. Abzug is Professor of History and American Studies and Director of Liberal Arts Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Facing the Horrors 1
Pt. 1 The First Years of the Nazi Regime, 1933-1935 5
American Jewish Committee, from The Jews in Nazi Germany, 1933 8
The Official Decrees and Measures against the Jews 9
Execution of Decrees 11
The Effect of the Anti-Jewish Measures 14
Acts of Violence against Jews Since Hitler Became Chancellor 16
Letters of the American Friends Service Committee 24
Clarence E. Pickett, Letter to J.S. Conning, May 5, 1932 25
Richard L. Cary, Letter to Clarence E. Pickett, June 28, 1932 26
Clarence E. Pickett, Letter to Gilbert L. MacMaster, March 30 (typed April 3), 1933 27
Richard L. Cary, Letter to Clarence E. Pickett, July 23, 1933 29
The Anti-Nazi Boycott 33
G.E. Harriman, Anti-Nazi Boycott Circular Letter, 1933 34
Jewish Labor Committee, Anti-Nazi Poster, 1934 35
Mainstream Views 36
Robert E. Asher, "A Jew Protests against Protesters," Christian Century, April 12, 1933 36
"Mass Meeting Protests Hitler's Anti-Jewish Program," Christian Century, April 26, 1933 41
Walter Lippmann, "Hitler's Speech," Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1933 42
Personal American Press Reports from Hitler's Germany 45
"Editor Holds Riots Inspired by Nazis," New York Times,July 26, 1935 45
Reverend L. M. Birkhead, "Nazis Ask World to Combat Jews," New York Times, July 28, 1935 47
Pt. 2 Exclusion, Emigration, and War, 1935-1941 51
"Germany: Hitler Decrees Swastika Reich Flag: Bars Intermarriage; Relegates Jews to Dark Ages," Newsweek, September 21, 1935 55
"Germany: Jews Begin to Feel a Soft Spot in the Iron Heel," Newsweek, September 28, 1935 59
Participation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics: Jews, African Americans, and Others 60
"Statement of Non-Jewish Advocates of Boycott," New York Times, October 25, 1935 61
Ernest Lee Jahncke, Letter to Count Henri Baillet-Latour, November 25, 1935 63
"NAACP Asks AAU to Abandon Olympics," Pittsburgh Courier, December 14, 1935 67
"The Black Eagles," Pittsburgh Courier, July 11, 1936 69
Refugees, Kristallnacht, and Coughlin 70
"Refugees," Time, July 18, 1938 71
Louis Lochner, Letter to Betty and Bobby, November 28, 1938 72
Henry Morgenthau, Diary Entry, November 16, 1938 74
Exchange between Raymond Geist and George Messersmith, December 5 and 20, 1938 75
Father Coughlin, from Am I an Anti-Semite? December 11, 1938 77
"Topics of the Times: Refugee Ship," New York Times, June 8, 1939 83
An Atlantic Monthly Symposium on Jews 85
Albert Jay Nock, from "The Jewish Problem in America," Atlantic Monthly, June and July 1941 86
James Marshall, from "The Anti-Semitic Problem in America," Atlantic Monthly, August 1941 92
Frances Strauss, "The Intermarriage," Atlantic Monthly, September 1941 95
The Lindbergh Controversy 99
"F.D.R. Creating War Incidents, Lindbergh Says," Chicago Daily Tribune, September 11, 1941 99
"Lindbergh's Nazi Pattern," New Republic, September 22, 1941 103
"The Forbidden Theme," Christian Century, September 24, 1941 105
Pt. 3 Imagining the Unimaginable, 1942-1945 109
The Nazi War against the Jews 109
American Knowledge and Comprehension 111
"Wandering Jews," Time, December 15, 1941 112
Michael Williams, "Views and Reviews," Commonweal, December 26, 1941 114
Reinhold Niebuhr, "Jews after the War," Nation, February 21 and 28, 1942 116
Varian Fry, "The Massacre of the Jews," New Republic, December 21, 1942 126
Henry Morgenthau, Diary Entry, December 3, 1942 134
Charles Clayton Morrison, "Horror Stories from Poland," Christian Century, December 9, 1942 136
Charles Clayton Morrison, "Polish Atrocities Are Entered in the Books," Christian Century, December 30, 1942 137
Tosha Bialer, "Behind the Wall (Life - and Death - in Warsaw's Ghetto)," Collier's, February 20 and 27, 1943 138
Ben Hecht, "Remember Us," Reader's Digest, February 1943 146
Examples of Anti-Semitic Doggerel 149
Freda Kirchwey, "While the Jews Die," Nation, March 13, 1943 152
From Minutes of the American Delegation at the Bermuda Conference, April 20, 1943 156
Freda Kirchwey, "A Program of Inaction," Nation, June 5, 1943 160
Bill Downs, "Blood at Babii Yar - Kiev's Atrocity Story," Newsweek, December 6, 1943 162
Alfred Kazin, "In Every Voice, in Every Ban," New Republic, January 10, 1944 164
Fred Eastman, "A Reply to Screamers," Christian Century, February 16, 1944 170
From Final Summary Report of the Executive Director, War Refugee Board, September 15, 1945 174
Extermination Camps Revealed 179
Richard Lauterbach, "Murder, Inc.," Time, September 11, 1944 179
"Biggest Atrocity Story Breaks in Poland," Christian Century, September 13, 1944 182
Jan Karski, "Polish Death Camp," Collier's, October 14, 1944 183
Views of the Liberations 191
J.D. Pletcher, The Americans Have Come - At Last! 1945 194
Edward R. Murrow, Broadcast Transcript from Buchenwald, April 15, 1945 198
James Agee, from Agee on Film, May 19, 1945 202
"Gazing into the Pit," Christian Century, May 9, 1945 204
Epilogue: The Changing Historical Perspective 207
App Chronology of Events Related to the Holocaust (1933-1945) 214
App: Questions for Consideration 218
App: Selected Bibliography 219
Index 225
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  • Posted January 17, 2013

    Excellent Review of Topic

    This is an excellent, if short, review of how the news of Hitler's repression of the Jews and the later the holocaust was received and used by the American press. The materials show that all of the information was known to the press but continual skepticism was expressed until the photographs at the end of the war made skepticism untenable. The shock that the press reacted with at the end of the war were unwarranted as all the information had already been printed. No one is so blind as one who will not see, as the old cliche goes.

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