Appeasement or Collaboration?
What if the disaster of the Second World War resulted not from an underestimate of the evils of Nazism but from a consistent attempt to cooperate with it?
If appeasement is the explanation for Washington's delayed recognition of the Nazi danger, what are we to make of the extensive American business relations with Germany all during the Third Reich?
Major corporations headquartered in the U.S. found the Nazi agenda a refreshing change from the sharp class conflict of the Weimar years. As soon as Hitler took power in January 1933 he set about abolishing unions, dramatically slashing wages, eliminating worker benefits, ignoring workplace safety standards, privatizing government enterprise, funneling subsidies to major corporations, and sharply reducing taxes for the very rich. At the same time, he pursued an aggressively anti-Communist foreign policy, massively expanding his military strength as a prelude to annexing Austria and Czechoslovakia. While these moves were taken in stride in the West, Hitler’s widely advertised threat to crush the Soviet Union actually found favor among Western elites, who had long dreamed of doing away with the Bolsheviks.Investment patterns reveal striking sympathies among U.S. business leaders. Coinciding with the advent of Nazism, U.S. investment in Germany soared by nearly 50%, while declining elsewhere on the continent. Unable to resist the cheap labor, low business taxes, and dazzling profits, Du Pont, Ford, General Motors, Westinghouse, Goodrich, Standard Oil of New Jersey, J. P. Morgan, I.B.M., and I.T.T., ignored omnipresent terror and murder in favor of conducting a booming business with the Reich.
Greatly enhancing the destructive capability of the Nazi military, American owned factories supplied Germany with tanks, trucks, fighter planes, bombers, oil imports, synthetic fuels, synthetic rubber, and advanced communications technology. These materials were used to kill Allied troops, bomb British cities, and sink Allied ships. Meanwhile, IBM prospered from providing Germany with the punch cards and machines it needed to target, enslave, and murder millions of Jews and other victims of Nazi eugenics throughout Europe.
Some plutocrats did not cease their collaboration even after the continent was plunged into war in 1939. Some of them continued business with the Nazis all through the war, readily making use of slave labor delivered by German authorities. According to declassified Dutch documents and U.S. government archives, Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of later U.S. presidents, realized lavish profits off of Auschwitz slave labor. His Union Banking Corporation helped Thyssen to make the Nazi steel that killed Allied soldiers and assisted the financing of Thyssen coal mines that routinely worked Jewish prisoners to death.
U.S. companies kept control of their German subsidiaries with minimal interference from Hitler, who was mainly interested in maintaining production. Meanwhile, Washington did nothing to interfere with U.S.-based corporations directly servicing the German war machine. In fact, President Roosevelt actually issued an order not to bomb U.S. corporate property in Germany or German-occupied Europe. When Cologne was razed by Allied bombers, its Ford factory—at the time turning out army vehicles used to kill U.S. troops—was undamaged. German civilians took to using it as a bomb shelter. After the war, I.T.T. collected $27 million from the U.S. government in compensation for damages inflicted on its German plants by Allied bombing raids. General Motors received $33 million and Ford and other companies collected their own sizable indemnifications.
In addition to investing heavily in Germany, American firms bankrolled Mussolini from the early twenties and continued to ship him oil even after he invaded Ethiopia in clouds of mustard gas. It imposed a unilateral arms embargo on Spain (while Italy and Germany poured in troops and weapons to Franco), complained of Japan’s closed door rather than its massive atrocities in China, refused to join the U.S.S.R. in a united front against Nazism until far too late, failed to prosecute the major firms illegally trading with the Axis all through the war, installed fascist collaborators in the wake of successive military victories, and hired Nazis to continue their anti-Communist bloodletting on the U.S. payroll once the war was declared over. Finally, in a war effort that many Americans took to be a human rights crusade against Germany’s vicious treatment of Jews, it led segregated troops into battle, dispatched 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans to concentration camps, and adopted wholesale extermination of civilians as a routine tactic of its air war.
In Asia the story worked out much the same. The U.S. re-installed the collaborationist Filipino elite, securing huge military bases and economic privileges while suppressing the Huk independence movement that helped liberate the country from the Japanese. In South Korea, Washington preserved Japan’s dictatorship in order to suppress the emergence of a popular left-wing government, allowing “enemy” Japanese soldiers wearing United States Military Government armbands to patrol the streets. In Indonesia, Japanese troops kept under arms by the British fought to suppress an Indonesian independence movement using U.S. weapons. In China, the U.S. propped up Chiang Kai-shek and suppressed all evidence of Japan’s biological warfare program in order to retain the Japanese “findings” for its own use, awarding the chief criminals generous pensions in return for their cooperation.
Such were the general features of the “good war.”
In this context “appeasement” makes little sense as an explanation for the war. Britain, France, the U.S., and a dozen other Western nations had not been too war-weary to invade the Soviet Union in 1918 after four of the most blood-soaked years the world had ever seen. A generation later they were still ready to fight Communism, but not Fascism, even though the Soviets had renounced world revolution in 1921 and Hitler spelled out his expansionist agenda with brutal clarity three years later in Mein Kampf. Furthermore, fear of war’s deadly consequences carries little explanatory force given that German military capacities remained weak all through the thirties and were far from overwhelming even when Hitler conquered France in the spring of 1940.
In spite of the relative ease with which it might have been accomplished, the West made no timely effort to stop Hitler; not in 1934, when Nazi thugs assassinated the Austrian Prime Minister; not in 1936, when Germany reoccupied the Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty; not in 1938, when Hitler annexed Austria and dismembered Czechoslovakia; not in 1939 when he invaded Poland while the West largely sat on its hands; not in 1940 when France collapsed nearly as quickly as had Poland, because the French establishment preferred Hitler to the Communist-Socialist People’s Front, which was the alternative. For most of these years the U.S. perceived the Nazi dictator as an ideological “moderate” who had restored German economic strength and kept the Bolshevik hordes at bay, and even after it began to fear Hitler, it sought to make the U.S.S.R. do the bulk of the fighting, which is precisely how the war turned out. Ambassador William E. Dodd’s regular warnings that soaring U.S. trade with the Reich was directly aiding Hitler’s massive re-armament campaign merely fell on deaf ears, until he was finally replaced by a diplomat friendlier to the Nazis.
Clement Leibovitz and Alvin Finkel, co-authors of a study critical of the appeasement hypothesis, dismiss altogether the idea that placating the Nazis accounts for the policies that consistently aided them:
... the argument here is that “appeasement”—the notion that a war-weary Britain humored Hitler’s wish to gobble up small countries, in order to avoid another European-wide slaughter—is a myth. Chamberlain and his followers made clear that they did not wish to fight fascism as such—indeed, that they admired many aspects of fascism. They were not trying to avoid a war; their whole intention was to turn Nazi militarism loose in a bloody confrontation with the Soviet Union to end Bolshevism in its heartland. Hitler was to be given a free hand in Eastern Europe so that this common end could be achieved. ‘Appeasement’ was no more than a public front constructed to appease public disgust with the Nazis and the Nazis’ treatment of minorities such as the Jews and small nations such as Czechoslovakia and Austria.
The outbreak of World War II marked not the failure of “appeasement” but the collapse of the tacit pact between British and German leaders.1
Furthermore, the West proved overtly hostile to genuinely anti-fascist movements, which developed in Spain, where the U.S. imposed a unilateral arms embargo on the anti-Franco forces, and among the peasant and worker-based resistance that fought German occupation throughout Europe, where Washington disarmed, dispersed, and destroyed popular forces. These policies existed in sharp contrast to those awarding a free hand to Mussolini in Abyssinia, Franco in Spain, and Hitler in Central Europe—and this at a time when fascism could have been stopped at relatively low cost.
What historian Gabriel Kolko calls the “problem of the left” made it impossible for the Roosevelt Administration to embrace a genuinely anti-fascist ethic. The problem of the left was that European resistance movements were led by socialists, social democrats, and Communists, whose convictions clashed with Anglo-American hegemonic designs. As British historian Basil Davidson explains, the wartime collapse of traditional ruling groups and fascist collaborators yielded a situation where “large and serious resistance came and could only come under left-wing leadership and inspiration ... the self-sacrifice and vision required to begin an effective resistance, and then rally others to the same cause, were found only among radicals and revolutionaries.” These, in turn, were mostly men and women who “followed the hope and vision of a radical democracy.” As South African Prime Minister Jan Christiaan Smuts warned Winston Churchill after the fall of Mussolini, “with politics let loose among those peoples, we may have a wave of disorder and wholesale Communism set going all over those parts of Europe.” Communism meant not domination from Moscow but the ascendancy of popular movements dedicated to collective social designs placing fundamental human needs ahead of private gain.
Washington’s strategy had been not to risk everything on behalf of democracy, but rather, to let others fight fascism. As FDR once confided to his son, the U.S. tried to function as “reserves” while the Soviets exhausted themselves holding off the Nazi onslaught, after which Washington would deliver the coup de grace, which is very much how things turned out. According to Roosevelt scholar Warren Kimball, “aid to the Soviet Union became a presidential priority” only on the assumption that Red Army victories would obviate the need for U.S. troops to fight a ground war in Europe. Senator Harry Truman went even further, stating after the German invasion of Russia in June 1941 that the U.S. should strive to bring about the two countries’ mutual annihilation: “If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible.”
With the collapse of the Axis powers the U.S. took over the world, an outcome wartime planners had anticipated from the beginning. A week after the U.S. entered the war Isaiah Bowman, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote Hamilton Fish Armstrong that the U.S. government had to “accept world responsibility ... The measure of our victory will be the measure of our domination after victory.” In the spirit of selfless imperialism so popular down through the ages, “responsibility” meant unilateral authority, which Washington gladly seized while talking of its “obligation” to rule the world for the benefit of all.2
As noted previously, the eugenic movement to fashion a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Nordic master race preceded Hitler’s rise to power by three decades and far transcended German national boundaries. Furthermore, Jews were only one of many groups subjected to systematic destruction. Though it is probably impossible to determine with any precision how many millions were ultimately killed in the pursuit of this perverse ideal, it is certainly more than the millions of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. For in addition to the Jewish victims, there were also up to a million Gypsies, hundreds of thousands of disabled people, perhaps a million or more dissidents, not to mention millions of Soviet prisoners of war and many more millions of Soviet civilians, who were variously frozen, starved, shot, hanged, worked to death, or infected with disease after Hitler ordered the U.S.S.R. razed to the ground in the summer of 1941. In short, the real death toll from the Nazis’ mass murder of non-combatants in WWII is closer to 15-20 million than six million.3
But as psychologist Stephan Chorover points out, acknowledging the full scope of this horror is no simple matter:
As a Jew who lost many relatives to the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, it has not been easy for me to grasp the reality that ‘the final solution of the Jewish problem’ was part of a much broader racial purification process that was intended to exterminate human beings deemed to be deviant, degenerate, diseased, disordered, or otherwise ‘devoid of value.’ Yet the monstrous reality is that the Nazi extermination program was a logical extension of sociobiological ideas and eugenics doctrines which had nothing specifically to do with Jews and which flourished widely in Germany well before the era of the Third Reich.4
As we have seen, the doctrine of white supremacy held considerable sway in privileged circles in the U.S. as well, which makes the common supposition that Washington went to war to stop Hitler’s race crimes scarcely credible. In actual fact the U.S. joined the war before news of mass killing of Jews reached the West, and thereafter treated the plight of Jewish refugees as an annoyance rather than a strategic priority. The State Department actually feared an inundation of Jewish refugees and obstructed rescue at every turn. In fact, it went to considerable lengths to suppress evidence of the catastrophe in order to reduce public pressure on the government to act.
By November 1942 Washington had solid evidence that European Jews faced extinction. In December, Britain, the U.S.S.R., the U.S., and the governments of eight occupied countries signed a declaration protesting Berlin’s “intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe” and condemning “in the strongest possible terms this bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination.” But no action followed, even though ships were available to transport Jews out of the danger zone. The official U.S. view held that the refugees were a “burden” and a “danger” whose entrance into the U.S. would stimulate anti-Semitism. Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long, a major obstructionist of rescue efforts, worried that saving Jews would make Washington vulnerable to Nazi charges that the U.S. was fighting “at the instigation of and direction of our Jewish citizens,” apparently a dreadful prospect.
It took 14 long months for FDR to act on what he knew about Germany’s policy toward Jews, and he finally did so only because tremendous public pressure threatened to explode into a nasty scandal. While millions of Jews were killed the U.S. admitted less than 10% of its legally allowed quota of Jewish immigrants—just 21,000 in the 3.5 years it was at war with the Nazis.
The Catch-22 for Europe’s Jews was that under Nazi domination there were no U.S. Consuls to issue them visas, but when they made it to Spain, Portugal or North Africa, they were judged to be “not in acute danger” and denied visas! Treasury Department lawyers investigating the situation in 1943 reported the following:
If anyone were to attempt to work out a set of restrictions specifically designed to prevent Jewish refugees from entering this country it is difficult to conceive of how more effective restrictions could have been imposed than have already been imposed on grounds of ‘security.’ ... even if we took these refugees and treated them as prisoners of war it would be better than letting them die.5
J. Randolph Paul, an aide to Secretary Morgenthau in the Treasury Department, wrote a scorching 18-page memo on State Department obstruction, entitled: “Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews.” The memo asserted the State Department was “guilty not only of gross procrastination and wilful failure to act, but even of wilful attempts to prevent action from being taken to rescue Jews from Hitler.” One passage accused State Department officials of “kicking the [rescue] matter around for over a year without producing results.” Paul characterized Breckinridge Long and other State Department officials as an American “underground movement ... to let the Jews be killed.”
But Jewish leaders, too, effectively doomed rescue for all but a few. Fixated on a post-war Jewish state in Palestine, they gave low priority to rescue efforts and did not consider them apart from the issue of statehood. At the Special Zionist Conference at New York’s Biltmore Hotel in 1942, the executive committee of a conclave of Jewish organizations turned down a Labor Committee appeal to make the plight of the Jews the principal issue. Longtime Zionist Robert Goldman warned the attending delegates that a campaign for statehood would damage rescue efforts by hardening British and Arab resistance to Jewish immigration to Palestine. He urged them to deal with the unprecedented refugee crisis instead: “The immediate problem, ladies and gentlemen, is rescue ... that is the problem we should be concerned with.” David Eidelsberg of the Morning Journal, a strong backer of Jewish statehood, nevertheless felt that its achievement was of secondary importance given prevailing circumstances: “The first task should be to save the Jews for whom Palestine is needed.” A leader of the World Jewish Congress pointed out that “unless we do our job, there may be no Jews for whom a postwar scheme of things is necessary.”
But the pleas went unheeded. After the conference passed a resolution endorsing a Jewish state, a Louisville rabbi complained that the preoccupation with Palestine had shattered Jewish unity: “We all wanted maximum help for Jews everywhere and we were getting it. Was it imperative that just now the Jewish Commonwealth idea should have been pressed and everything else made secondary to it?”
David Ben Gurion, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive in Palestine, had foreseen the crisis well in advance and warned against prioritizing rescue in a letter to the Zionist executive in 1938:
Millions of Jews face annihilation ...The dimensions of the refugee problem demand an immediate, territorial solution; if Palestine will not absorb them, another territory will. Zionism is endangered. All other territorial solutions, certain to fail, will demand enormous sums of money. If Jews will have to choose between the refugees, saving Jews from concentration camps, and assisting a national museum in Palestine, mercy will have the upper hand and the whole energy of the people will be channeled into saving Jews from various countries. Zionism will be struck off the agenda ... If we allow a separation between the refugee problem and the Palestine problem, we are risking the existence of Zionism (emphasis added). 6
So the extinction of European Jewry was risked instead. A broad U.S. campaign calling for open immigration for European Jews was quashed by FDR, who cited Zionist pressure against the program as justification. Morris L. Ernst, a famous New York attorney, was shocked by Zionist opposition to his efforts on behalf of Jewish rescue:
I was amazed and insulted when active Jewish leaders decried, sneered and then attacked me as if I were a traitor. At one dinner party I was openly accused of furthering this plan for more free immigration in order to undermine political Zionism. Those Jewish groups which favoured opening our doors gave little more than lip service to the Roosevelt programme. Zionist friends of mine opposed it.7
Zionist leaders like Chaim Weizmann, the future first President of Israel, sought to preserve only a saving remnant of Jews to “redeem the land” of Palestine. Given this priority, refugeeism took a back seat and the War Refugee Board was not formed until January, 1944. It saved about 200,000 Jews and 20,000 others, but by then, millions were already dead.8
Fascism: A Threat To Private Enterprise
As war in Europe threatened to engulf the U.S., American business leaders and government officials discussed the threat that the Nazis posed to the free enterprise system. Convinced liberal capitalism could not exist in one state, the Roosevelt Administration ultimately chose to fight to keep foreign markets open, cloaking its effort to preserve freedom of private investment in the lofty rhetoric of the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms.
In 1934 more than 80% of U.S. foreign trade was with countries that the U.S. enjoyed a trade surplus with. The following year General Motors president Alfred P. Sloan exclaimed that a loss of foreign markets would require “adjustments to our national economy appalling to contemplate.” By 1936 Assistant Secretary of State Francis Sayre was warning that “if we are to choose the pathway of economic self-sufficiency, we must frankly accept a system of government control over private business enterprise.” After the 1938 Munich agreement, J. Pierrepont Moffat, chief of the State Department’s European Division, explained that American commercial interests would suffer because German domination of Central and Eastern Europe meant “a still further extension of the area under a closed economy.”
In January 1940, the president of the Iron and Steel Institute warned that “in the event of war we can expect a degree of regimentation and control by Government that is now unthinkable.” The same month the Fortune group predicted: “There is a real danger ... that as a result of a long war all the belligerent powers will permanently accept some form of state-directed economic system.” Meanwhile, Business Week worried that, “We may have to sacrifice some of the notions we have held about the rights of private property owners to dispense of their property as they see fit.”
In short, U.S. business leaders and government officials feared German economic nationalism would destroy private investment. A victorious Germany that conscripted labor and converted Europe to an industrial workshop under Berlin’s sole control would deprive U.S. business leaders of the opportunity to export their surplus, which would force them into reliance on the federal government to strictly regulate the domestic economy in order to establish an internal balance between supply and demand. This concern, not beguiling rhetoric about universal human rights, formed the operative value behind U.S. foreign policy, which explains why Washington opposed the triumph of European anti-fascist resistance movements at the end of the war as much as it did Hitler during the war: both placed collectivist designs ahead of private profit and the demands of the market.
Financer Bernard Baruch explained the Nazi economic threat five days before Hitler invaded France in 1940: “Germany does not have to conquer us in a military sense. By enslaving her own labor and that of the conquered countries, she can place in the markets of the world products at a price with which we could not compete.” The next day investment banker W. Averell Harriman also stressed the economic danger of a regimented Nazified Europe: “The idea that American free enterprise can compete in the foreign markets against such competition is ludicrous.”
Three days after the Nazis occupied Paris, the American charge d’affairs in Berlin, Alexander Kirk, predicted that Hitler “will confront the United States within a brief measure of time with the impossible task of adjusting its system to an economy in which it will be excluded from access to all foreign markets.”
Days later Business Week warned that if the Nazis won the war they would set wage scales and price levels with the sole aim of capturing foreign markets for goods manufactured under their control. “The United States,” the article concluded, “would tend to become a lone [free enterprise] island in a world dominated by a philosophy of industrial coordination. We may be forced to adopt some of the totalitarian ways of doing things,” the editors observed. “We may have to sacrifice some of the notions we have held about the rights of private property owners to dispense of their property as they see fit.”
Ten days later Will Clayton, a leading cotton exporter, announced that a German victory would lead to a government controlled export economy. “If the rest of the world adopts totalitarian methods of trade,” he reasoned, “we will be compelled to conform if we wish to sell our surpluses.”
On August 15, 1940, Joel C. Hudson wrote from his consular post in Berlin that if German export plans went into effect, the position of the U.S. would be much like that of “an old-fashioned general store in a region of hard-boiled chain stores.”
By January, 1941 U.S. business journals were all worried about the potential doom of the American free enterprise system. “The great danger facing the Western Hemisphere in the event of a totalitarian victory,” Barron’s declared, “is not the immediate threat of armed invasion, but rather the threat of trade aggression.”
Two months later W. H. Schubart of the Bank of Manhattan expressed his displeasure at the prospects of a Nazi-American trade war. “If Germany wins, she will most certainly extend her clearing system,” he said. “In such a barter economy we shall not fit and much of the world trade will be denied us.”
In June, 1941 Barron’s warned: “The inevitable consequence of federal control of the export portion of the business would be that government agencies would eventually find it necessary to extend their authority to the company’s whole operations, domestic and foreign.” Meanwhile, Fortune opined: “Industry and trade, labor and agriculture would become part of a state system, which in its own self-defense, would have to take on the character of Hitler’s system. Freedom cannot be national. It must be international.”
Two months before Pearl Harbor Winthrop W. Aldrich of Chase National Bank warned the attendees of the National Foreign Trade Convention in New York that, “The tremendous power of the Nazi-dominated and regimented economy in the field of foreign trade would make it necessary for our own government to regiment our own foreign commerce.” The Business Advisory Council added its warning that, “A greater dependency on self-containment [would lead to] a degree of regulatory control destructive of free enterprise.” Finally, W. Randolph Burgess of the National City Bank noted that the U.S. had joined Great Britain in the battle against Hitler so that “his conception of foreign trade does not become dominant on this planet.”9
Hitler A Moderate, Say U.S. Leaders
Outgoing President Herbert Hoover sees Hitler’s government as a mixed blessing, on the one hand “monarchical and reactionary,” on the other “bitterly hostile to the Communists,” although “curiously enough committed to a very radical...program.” Secretary of State Stimson sees the Nazis as more “a protest” than a party.
The incoming Roosevelt State Department divides the members of the new German government into moderates and extremists; Hitler is among the more sensible Nazis. Norman Davis, Roosevelt’s ambassador-at-large, reports from Germany that everything “depends upon Hitler’s ability to withstand the radical leaders of his own party.” George Gordon, the American charge d’affaires in Berlin, adds that “there is no doubt that a very definite struggle is going on between the violent radical wing of the Nazi Party...and what may be termed the more moderate section of the party, headed by Hitler himself...which appeal[s] to all civilized and reasonable people.” He concludes that, “At the present moment in my judgment the more reasonable element has the upper hand.”
The U.S. Embassy in Berlin sends assurances that Hitler’s “inflammatory statements regarding foreign policy and Germany’s mission to expand in the East” are mainly propaganda. “The Nazi war talk...and posing is simply designed to impress their followers and should be discounted.”
Pleased with the promise of strong anti-Communism, stability, and civilized order keeping Stalin’s Red Hordes at bay, American ambassador to Berlin Frederic Sackett weighs in with the judgment that, “From the standpoint of stable political conditions, it is perhaps well that Hitler is now in a position to wield unprecedented power.”28
Schmitz, David F., (USAFI) The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, (University of North Carolina, 1988) p. 133
—(TGTOOS) Thank God They’re On Our Side—The United States & Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965, (University of North Carolina, 1999) pps. 90-1-->
The Business of America Is...Supporting Nazism
Ambassador William Dodd tours Bitterfeld, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Erfurt, and other German cities, taking in the results of U.S. investment in the Reich: “Every smokestack showed great activity...[and] great preparation for war.”
According to the U.S. Consulate, factories are running round the clock to produce “poison gas and explosives.” Reports from Dresden show production of a thousand new planes.
In the U.S. protests break out against supplying the Axis with copper, steel, arms, oil, and munitions.
Washington declines to act. No serious boycott of essential resources is planned or contemplated.42-->
Sources: 42 BlancheWiesen-Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2, p. 331, Noam Chomsky on Posner-Donahue, April 20, 1993, archived by Alternative Radio
American Eugenics Popular in Germany
American eugenic researchers swell with pride at the news that Hitler has crafted legislation modeled on U.S. eugenic laws and is conferring with them on the science of racial hygiene.
American eugenics was popularized in Germany three decades ago by Geza von Hoffman, an Austro-Hungarian vice consul whose book, Racial Hygiene in the United States, treated U.S. laws on sterilization and marriage restriction at length. For many years German biology students had this book recommended to them as an indispensable reference.
Some years after Hoffman’s book appeared, German nationalists were thrilled when U.S. eugenicist Madison Grant declared in the pages of his Passing of the Great Race that Nordics were destined to rule the earth. Adolf Hitler has since written the best-selling author to praise the book as “his Bible.”
Now California immigration activist C. M. Goethe returns from a eugenic fact-finding mission to Germany and congratulates E. S. Gosney of the San Diego-based Human Betterment Foundation for his contributions to Hitler’s success. “You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought, and particularly by the work of the Human Betterment Foundation. I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”
The Nazis order hundreds of thousands of sterilizations and remove non-Aryans from society.45
Source: Edwin Black, The War Against the Weak - Eugenics and America's Campaign To Create A Master Race, (Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003)pps. 264-6, 277-->
Nazi vs. Jim Crow
Outraged at Nazi exclusion of non-Aryans from the Berlin Olympics, U.S. athletic groups join American Olympic officials in demanding a boycott of the Games. The First American Artists’ Congress unanimously endorses a resolution refusing cooperation with “a government which sponsors the destruction of all freedom in art...which sponsors racial discrimination, the censorship of free speech and free expression, and the glorification of war, hatred and sadism.”
Spain and the USSR refuse to participate in the Games. In the Crisis W. E. B. DuBois urges the U.S. join the boycott, but concedes its position is weak: “Upon the grounds of poor sportsmanship and discrimination, America, of course, cannot raise a very sincere howl.” Four years ago the United States discriminated against its own black athletes at the Los Angeles Games.
Hitler’s assertion that, “The Nordic race is entitled to dominate the world” echoes the longstanding position of American eugenicists. For three years U.S. officials have taken no action against his anti-Semitic outrages while major U.S. newspapers regularly carry advertisements announcing, “No Jews or Catholics need apply!”
President Roosevelt ignores the issue. With American lynchings proceeding unpunished as usual, Hitler gloats that Germany treats Jews better than the U.S. does blacks.62
Host of this year’s Olympic Games, he diverts attention from his racial policies while winning much acclaim for his economic miracle.
Three years ago he was appointed Chancellor with the German jobless rate at 40%. Ignoring the protests of bankers and deficit hawks, he stimulated recovery with vast public works and construction subsidies to housing. Thanks to the full employment that ensued, family income increased while interest rates and military spending stayed low. Today, with the West still writhing in Depression agony, German unemployment stands at one percent.
All this, he hopes, is but a prelude to fulfilling dreams of a vast German empire over the Eurasian Heartland, ruled by men of superior blood. It is the world historical destiny of Aryans, he insists, to vanquish the Jewish-Bolshevik heresy of the masses, now threatening to destroy civilization.
Given this immense threat to Aryan blood, he feels he had no choice but to exclude Jews from public office, the civil service, journalism, radio, farming, teaching, the theater, and films. In 1934 he kicked them out of the stock exchanges and last year forbade Aryans to have sex with them. By now half of German Jews have no means of making a living and “Jews Not Admitted” signs block them from stores all over the country.
Well does Hitler know how indebted he is to Americans who have already blazed the trail of combining massive industrial power with racial hygiene laws. He frankly admires their Nordic supremacist achievements, praising Indian concentration camps in the West and U.S. efficiency in eliminating its indigenous population by starvation and massacre.63
Czech Independence: An Autopsy
“We relied upon the help that our friends might have given us; but when the question of reducing us by force arose.... Our friends...advised us to buy freedom and peace by our sacrifice...The President of the Republic and our government had no other choice, for we found ourselves alone.”76
—Czech President Eduard Benes
Munich Postscript: Anti-Nazi Coup Foiled
General Oster yearned to put Hitler in jail or an insane asylum. General Halder called him a “criminal,” a “sexual psychopath,” and a “bloodsucker.” Admiral Canaris, Chief of Army counterintelligence, said Hitler and the Nazi hierarchy were “a gang of criminals.” General Beck, Army Chief of Staff, rated the day he swore allegiance to the Fuhrer the blackest of his life. He wanted him assassinated.
Leading up to Munich Field Marshal von Witzleben readied himself to assume command of the Wehrmacht. By mid-September he and other anti-Hitler conspirators were ready to launch the coup. All they needed was a suitable pretext, which they anticipated would come when Hitler publicly announced his intention to take Czechoslovakia by force and the West faced him down. Then the plotters were to seize Hitler and launch a lightning assault on radio stations, the public phone system, ministerial teletypes, Party offices, and the SS, SD, and Gestapo headquarters.
To make sure everything went smoothly, Admiral Canaris sent an envoy to London to alert the Foreign Office to the plot and urge the British government to give maximum resistance to Hitler. But a month later British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced plans to settle the Czech crisis by negotiations instead, triggering joy in London, gloom in Prague, and ecstasy in Berlin.
The Czechs stood ready to fight. The Soviet Union rose to defend them. But the West, having rebuffed Moscow’s repeated overtures for a joint military security pact against the Nazis, refused to join them. Chamberlain handed over Czechoslovakia on a silver platter and returned to a hero’s welcome in London. With Hitler’s popularity soaring General Beck had no choice but to stay the coup order.
Elements of the Wehrmacht moved peacefully over the Czech border to occupy the Sudetenland. The conspirators dismantled their machinery of takeover. General Oster, Hjalmar Schact and Hans Gisevius sat around General Witzleben’s fireplace casting incriminating documents about the planned coup into the flames and pondering the catastrophe that had befallen Europe.77