American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945

American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945

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How does one explain America's failure to take bold action to resist the Nazi persecution and murder of European Jews? In contrast to recent writers who place the blame on anti-Semitism in American society at large and within the Roosevelt administration in particular, Richard Breitman and Alan M. Kraut seek the answer in a detailed analysis of American political realities and bureaucratic processes. Drawing on exhaustive archival research, the authors describe and analyze American immigration policy as well as rescue and relief efforts directed toward European Jewry between 1933 and 1945. They contend that U.S. policy was the product of preexisting restrictive immigration laws; an entrenched State Department bureaucracy committed to a narrow defense of American interests; public opposition to any increase in immigration; and the reluctance of Franklin D. Roosevelt to accept the political risks of humanitarian measures to benefit the European Jews. The authors find that the bureaucrats who made and implemented refugee policy were motivated by institutional priorities and reluctance to take risks, rather than by moral or humanitarian concerns.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 324 pages
  • 158.5 x 238.3 x 24.4mm | 639.58g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253304156
  • 9780253304155
  • 1,776,727

Review quote

" ... an exhaustively documented and important book ..." Philadelphia Inquirer "This is an unusually thoughtful and balanced treatment of a controversial subject. Based on very extensive archival research, this will be from here on the first book those interested in the subject should read." Gerhard Weinberg "Informative, even-tempered and dispassionate ... this comprehensive study of a controversial subject makes for indispensable reading." Dimensions " ... stands as the most readable of the growing literature on America's response to the Holocaust." History " ... important, finely calibrated study ..." Journal of American History "It is a masterful study, and one which future students of American policy during the Holocaust years will have to consult." Midstream " ... perceptive and penetrating ... an excellent analysis of the bureaucratic priorities of policy makers in Washington and officials abroad in handling the refugees issue between 1933-1945." Journal of Refugee Studies " ... the author's novel approach to familiar material makes this a valuable contribution in attempting to understand what happens when humanitarian concerns and national interests collide." American Historical Review
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Table of contents

PREFACE INTRODUCTION ONE: The Labor DepartmentOs Initiative TWO: Guardians of Visa Policy THREE: A Window of Opportunity? FOUR: Refugees and American Jewry FIVE: The Fifth Column Threat SIX: Breckinridge Long and the Jewish Refugees SEVEN: A Message to Rabbi Wise EIGHT: War Propaganda and the Jews NINE: On a Broad Humanitarian Basis TEN: The War Refugee Board in Europe ELEVEN: Roosevelt and the Refugees in the 1930s TWELVE: Roosevelt and the Holocaust NOTES BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE INDEX
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