U.S. Foreign Policy And Jewish Inmigration

4278 words - 17 pages

Interesting analysis Well Done!PART I HISTORICAL REVIEW AND ANALYSISIn reviewing the events which gave rise to the U.S.'s foreign policy towardJewish refugees, we must identify the relevant factors upon which such decisionswere made. Factors including the U.S. government's policy mechanisms, it'sbureaucracy and public opinion, coupled with the narrow domestic politicalmindedness of President Roosevelt, lead us to ask; Why was the Americangovernment apathetic to the point of culpability, and isolationist to the point ofirresponsibility, with respect to the systematic persecution and annihilation of theJewish people of Europe during the period between 1938-1945?Throughout the years of 1933-1939, led by Neville Chamberlain and theBritish, the United States was pursuing a policy of appeasement toward Hitler.They had tolerated his military build-up and occupation of the Rhineland, bothviolations of the Treaty of Versailles, as well as the annexing of Austria and thetake-over of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Hitler realized early on in hisexpansionist campaign that Western leaders were too busy dealing with their owndomestic problems to pose any real opposition. In the United States, Americanswere wrestling with the ravages of the Great Depression. With the lingeringmemory of the more than 300,000 U.S. troops either killed or injured in WorldWar I, isolationism was the dominant sentiment in most political circles.Americans were not going to be 'dragged' into another war by the British. TheDepression had bred increased xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and with upward of30% unemployment in some industrial areas1, many Americans wanted to seeimmigration halted completely. It was in this context that the democratic world,led by the United States, was faced with a refugee problem that it was morallybound to deal with. The question then became; what would they do?Persecution of the Jews in Germany began officially on April 1st1933. Hitler had come to power a few weeks earlier and he immediately began theplan, as outlined in his book Mein Kampf, to eliminate 'the eternal mushroom ofhumanity - Jews'.2 German Jews were stripped of their citizenship by theNuremberg Race Laws of 1935 and had their businesses and stockholdings seizedin 1938. Civil servants, newspaper editors, soldiers and members of the judiciarywere dismissed from their positions, while lawyers and physicians were forbiddento practice. Anti-Jewish violence peaked on 9 November 1938, known as the'Night of the Broken Glass' or Kristallnacht, when over 1000 synagogues wereburned. Jewish schools, hospitals, books, cemeteries and homes were alsodestroyed3.The mistreatment of non-Aryans in Germany was common knowledge inthe U.S. in 1938. After the anschluss, the flow of refugees exceeded thecapabilities of both the Nansen Office and the Autonomous Office of HighCommissioner for Refugees. The commission had been formed in response to theanti-Jewish persecution and had but the 'tacit endorsement of the...

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