Dissertation > History, geography > History of America, > North America > United States

The Predicament of American Jewish Organizations in the Face of Nazi Holocaust during WWⅡ

Author YuFaQiong
Tutor FuXiaoWei
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords the Holocaust American Jewish organizations predicament theAmerican government the American public
CLC K712
Type Master's thesis
Year 2014
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In today’s world, American Jewish organizations are universally acknowledgedas powerful and influential. It seems that they always side with their Israeli Jewishbrethren and manage to lobby the American government to make its Middle Eastpolicy in favor of Israel. However, during WWII they proved to be less powerful tosave European Jews who were murdered by the Nazis. People wonder why and someAmerican Jewish organizations have even been accused of being indifferent to theirEuropean brethren since the1970s. A number of historians and scholars argue thatAmerican Jews, to assimilate into the American society, abandoned their Europeanbrothers. However this paper holds that American Jews were not indifferent toEuropean Jews. The reason why they failed to assist their brethren is that they justdid not have enough power and influence, and it’s impossible for them to havealtered American public opinion or government policy.During wartime American Jewish organizations were not indifferent toEuropean Jews but left in a predicament and limited by inability. They were unableto unite themselves into action to aid European Jews, nor could they motivate theAmerican public and government into action. This paper is to analyze the root reasonof their inability to save their European brethren. In view of the actual situations ofAmerican Jews, the attitudes of the American public toward them and the relativepolicies of the American government, my paper is divided into three parts apart fromthe introduction and conclusion parts.The first part focuses on American Jews’ inability to motivate internal action.Firstly, their identity paradox limited their actions. They were Americans and Jews atthe same time, and they were expected to be both patriotic to America and loyal totheir European brethren. Secondly, the disunity among Jewish organizations made itdifficult to put together as one voice to defend against the destruction of EuropeanJews. The second part presents American Jewish organizations’ inability to mobilizethe American public into action. The public did stay ignorant of the genocide in thefirst place because of lack of media coverage or misinformation about the atrocity.However when they were aware of the Holocaust, they refused to believe it. Theydoubted the information resources and had strong faith in civilized Germany. Inaddition, anti-Semitism of Americans made it more difficult for American Jewishorganizations to arouse attention to the disaster of their European brethren.The last part is about American Jewish organizations’ inability to move theAmerican government to act. Some governmental policies even prevented rescue ofEuropean Jews. For instance, the immigration policy strictly limited the number ofJewish immigrants. Additionally, the Roosevelt administration held that winning thewar was the only effective way to aid European Jews and believed that Japan, whoattacked the Pearl Harbor, was the true enemy. Under such circumstances, AmericanJewish organizations could do nothing to change any governmental policies.

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