Enemies of My Enemy
The ‘Jewish Threat’:
Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army
Since the latter decades of the 19th century there has been a remarkable increase in the cultural and political power of Jewish groups and an equally remarkable decline in the cultural and political power of Northern European peoples. In 1880 the vast majority of the Jewish population lived in Eastern Europe well removed from the centers of Northern European power. These Jewish populations had expanded dramatically during the 19th century ~ more rapidly than any other European group. This rapid expansion placed enormous strains on both the Jewish and non-Jewish populations of Eastern Europe. As they have in so many traditional societies, Jews had achieved a dominant position in the economies of Eastern Europe.
But there was also a large mass of impoverished Jews who were strongly attracted to messianic religious and political ideologies, especially Zionism and leftist political radicalism. Because of Jewish economic and cultural domination and lack of assimilation, there was also an upsurge in popular and governmental anti-Semitism throughout the area, most famously with the pogroms in Russia beginning in 1881, but extending throughout Eastern and Central Europe. The result was an effort by Jewish organizations to remove Jews from Eastern Europe to other countries, most notably the United States. Between 1880 and 1924, approximately 2 million Jews immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. This event was of momentous importance for the history of the United States in the 20th century and beyond.
Joseph Bendersky’s book is a history of the conflict between an increasingly powerful Jewish group and a declining Northern European group as revealed in the writings of U.S. Army officers gleaned from the files of the Military Intelligence Division (MID) of the War Department. As recounted by Bendersky, Americans of Northern European descent in the United States thought of themselves as part of a cultural and ethnic heritage extending backward in time to the founding of the country. The Anglo-Saxon heritage of the British Isles was at the center of this self-conception, but Americans of German and Scandinavian descent also viewed themselves as part of this ethnic and cultural inheritance. They had a great deal of pride in their accomplishments. They believed that their civilization was a product of their own unique ingenuity and skills, and they believed that it would not survive if other peoples were allowed to play too large a role in it.
Christianity was a deeply embedded aspect of the culture of the Northern Europeans, but it played a remarkably small role in the battles with the emerging Jewish elite. Far more important for framing these battles were Darwinian theories of race. The early part of the 20th century was the high water mark of Darwinism in the social sciences. It was common at that time to think that there were important differences between the races ~ that races differed in intelligence and in moral qualities. Not only did races differ, but they were in competition with each other for supremacy. Schooled in the theories of Madison Grant, Lothrop Stoddard, Henry Pratt Fairchild, William Ripley, Gustav Le Bon, Charles Davenport, and William McDougall, this generation of U.S. military officers viewed themselves as members of a particular race and believed that racial homogeneity was the sine qua non of every stable nation state. They regarded their racial group as uniquely talented and possessed of a high moral sense.
But, more importantly, whatever the talents and vulnerabilities of their race, they held it in the highest importance to retain control over the lands they had inherited as a result of the exploits of their ancestors who had conquered the continent and tamed the wilderness. And despite the power that their race held at the present, there was dark foreboding about the future, reflected in the titles of some of the classic works of the period: Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race and Stoddard’s The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy and The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-Man.
This world of Northern European cultural pride and self-confident hegemony has vanished, and there can be little doubt that the rise of the Jews and the decline of Northern Europeans are causally linked. Bendersky’s book is as much a marker of that transformation as it is an extraordinary record of an important arena in the conflict between Jews and Northern Europeans. Bendersky’s sense of intellectual and moral superiority and his contempt for his Northern European subjects ooze from every page. The book is a triumphalist history written by someone whose sympathies are with the winners of the intellectual and political wars of the 20th century.
The main thrusts of Jewish activism against Northern European hegemony focused on several critical power centers in the United States: The academic world of information in the social sciences and humanities, the political and legal world where public policy on immigration and other ethnic issues is decided, and the mass media where “ways of seeing” are presented to the public (MacDonald, 1998/2001). As recounted in The “Jewish Threat,” all of these power centers were important in the battle against the generation of U.S. army officers who came to power after World War I. In focusing on these power centers, these Jewish efforts essentially sidestepped the U.S. military. Their effort was aimed not at achieving an influential position within the officer corps but rather at nullifying the ability of the officer corps to influence public policy. As the old guard retired or died off, it was replaced by a new generation of officers who eventually, as the century wore on, became increasingly steeped in the ideology of the new elite.
One of the advantages of being on the winning side in these intellectual and political battles is that Bendersky can safely assume that any statement by a U.S. military officer that reflects negatively on Jews or Judaism is a reflection of the prejudices and bigotry of the officer and has nothing to do with the actual behavior of Jews or the nature of Judaism. Further, any statement reflecting the Darwinian theories of race differences so prevalent in the early 20th century can safely be discounted as well because such theories have been shown to be “erroneous” (p. 262). The basic style of the book is simply to catalog the attitudes of U.S. Army officers. To the extent that the attitudes of the officers require any rebuttal at all, Bendersky deems it sufficient simply to cite statements of Jewish activist organizations and his belief that science has placed Jewish ethnic interests firmly on the side of the angels. In the following discussion, I will try to show that the officers had a basically accurate view of Jews and Judaism and that they were quite correct in their fear that Jewish influence would have a disastrous effect on the ability of their race to retain control of the United States.
Beliefs about Jews and Judaism
Jews and Bolshevism: The “Jewish Threat” shows that the commonly held belief in a strong association between Jews and Bolshevism was based on a very wide range of official and unofficial sources spanning a great many countries over the entire period from World War I into the Cold War period after World War II. This information thus buttresses scholarly accounts from other sources of the predominant role of Jews in leftist radicalism (see MacDonald, 1998/2001). While prone to exaggerations at times — as expected on the basis of psychological theory — the attitudes of U.S. Army officers were basically sound.
Nevertheless, Bendersky ascribes any special attention given to Jews as revealing “the conservative, racial, and nativist perspective of the officers” (p. 51). For example, an agent in Paris reported in 1919 that among Jews there was “a remarkable unanimity of opinion in favor of the Russian Bolshevist movement.” Jews were “dazzled by the sudden access to power of their race” (p. 48). Such reports — and there were many like them — should be taken at face value that Jewish policy, in which numerous mainstream Jewish activist organizations were engaged from at least 1880 — was to topple the Czar. Jewish celebration over the success of the revolution is not in the least surprising, if only because the revolution ended czarist anti-Jewish policies, and it is well attested by other sources, including some cited by Bendersky (e.g., Szajkowski 1974). For example, in 1907 Lucien Wolf, a leader of the Jewish community in England, wrote to Louis Marshall of the American Jewish Committee that “the only thing to be done on the whole Russo-Jewish question is to carry on persistent and implacable war against the Russian Government” (in Szajkowski 1967, 8). “Western Jewish leaders actively participated in general actions in favor of the liberal and revolutionary movements in Russia both during the revolution and after its downfall” (Szajowski 1967, 9).
In the same way, when Bendersky (pp. 109, 1 14) reports that MID agents in Riga and Berlin commented that the Soviet embassies were staffed primarily by Jews, I am inclined to believe the agents, not Bendersky’s assumption that all of the masses of similar data are the paranoid ravings of racist military officers. Such a finding fits well with the general finding that Jews were massively over-represented in the early Bolshevik governments.
Bendersky also makes it appear that MID reports of Bolshevik atrocities are fantasies. Reports stated that Bolshevik methods included not only seizure and destruction of property but also “barbarism and butchery” (p. xii). Included in the intelligence reports were photographs of “naked bodies with butchered flesh, hanging upside down from trees, while ‘the Bolsheviki soldiers were laughing and grinning and standing about'” (p. xiii). Bendersky writes as if such claims are unworthy of being rebutted, yet there is more than enough evidence that such things did happen. Indeed, the recently published Black Book of Communism not only documents the horrific slaughter of some 20 million Soviet citizens, the widespread torture, mass deportations, and imprisonment in appalling conditions, but reproduces the photos from 1919 of a naked Polish officer impaled through the anus hanging upside down from trees while Bolshevik soldiers are laughing and grinning and standing about (Courtois et al. 1999, 202-203).
Bendersky acknowledges that large numbers of immigrant Jews flocked to leftist movements but faults the MID for not making subtle distinctions among leftists. However, his own findings show that MID placed considerable importance on the fact that American socialist groups, including the Socialist Party, “expressed jubilant support” for Bolshevik Russia (p. 123). Bendersky acknowledges that the great majority of radical leftists were immigrants but states, without support, that the concentration of the MID on Jewish neighborhoods was unwarranted (p. 124). However, MID based their estimates on the numbers of radical meetings in particular ethnic neighborhoods and on their observations at these meetings. The findings of the MID fit well with the general finding that Jews were the only immigrant group that developed an important and influential radical sub-culture, that in fact the immigrant Jewish community in the U.S. from 1886 to 1920 can best be described as “one big radical debating society” (Cohn 1958, 621; see also MacDonald 1998/2001).
The idea that the Bolshevik Revolution was part of a coordinated conspiracy is more problematic, but it rested on the widespread intelligence reports that wealthy Jews were important financiers of revolutionary movements a belief that Bendersky assumes is complete fantasy but for which there is good evidence. In fact, American Jewish capitalists like Jacob Schiff did finance Russian radical movements directed at overthrowing the Czar and may well have had considerable impact (Goldstein 1990, 26-27; Szajkowski 1967). Schiff, who had already distinguished himself by leading efforts to abrogate a trade agreement between the U.S. and Russia and had financed the Japanese war effort against Russia in 1905, was repeatedly identified in MID reports as behind the international collusion among wealthy Jews and Jewish revolutionaries. Even then, officers were often remarkably judicious in their appraisal of claims by informants and agents that there was an international Jewish conspiracy, as in the case of a senior officer who responded to such claims by noting, “I am rather in doubt as to whether the conclusions drawn by this agent are based on observations sufficiently wide to be valuable. However, I am myself convinced that the subject would bear closer investigation and while I am not ready to subscribe entirely to these conclusions, still I am convinced that there may be more than a modicum of truth in them” (p. 49).
Officers were also skeptical about the notorious forgery, ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ but were nonetheless intrigued by it, not because of evidence of its authenticity but because the Protocols seemed to describe actual Jewish behavior. For example, an officer who doubted the authenticity of the Protocols stated that “it is a fact that the present activities of Lenin, Trotsky and other Bolsheviks in Russia so correspond to the system as outlined herewith as to lead one to believe that this is actually the basic plan upon which the Bolshevik control functions” (pp. 64-65). Nevertheless, there were examples among the officers of “going too far” in suppositions of Jewish collusion, including fantastic tales of international intrigue among Zionist organizations, Lenin, Jewish media figures in the U.S., Jewish infiltrators of the British Secret Service, etc. (p. 136). This “going too far” in finding conspiratorial links among different Jews is a fairly common theme of anti-Semitism (see MacDonald 1998, ch. 1) but in no way invalidates the strong factual basis of Jewish involvement in Bolshevism and radical leftism generally.
Anti-Semitism: Bendersky touches on all of the themes of anti-Semitism characteristic of the 20th century. Among the most prominent is that Jews are interested only in what’s good for Jews and are only loyal to the countries they reside in to the extent that Jewish interests coincide with national policy (p. 37-38). In fact there is a great deal of evidence that Jews have often been disloyal to the people among whom they have lived, beginning in the ancient world right up to the current fashionableness of dual loyalty of American Jews to Israel. For example, during World War I, the MID had information that Russian Jews favored the Germans (p. 53) — hardly a surprise given their hatred for the Czar. Indeed, Russian beliefs that Jewish subjects favored Germany in the war effort resulted in eviction of Jews from the zone of combat (Pipes 1990, 231).
Bendersky repeatedly implies that MID should not have had U.S. interests at heart but Jewish interests. For example, after the Bolshevik revolution, the U.S. saw Poland as a bulwark against Soviet expansion. But from the Jewish point of view, the Polish government was anti-Jewish, and American Jewish leaders opposed recognizing or giving assistance to the Polish regime until it guaranteed minority rights. The MID was informed that Polish Jews were sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, and this new issue was mixed in with traditional Polish-Jewish animosity related to Jewish separatism, clannishness, economic domination, and disloyalty — all of which have a firm foundation in reality (see MacDonald 1998, ch. 2). When the Soviet army was expelled from Vilna in 1919, the Poles attacked Jews who were accused of collaborating with the Soviets and shooting at Polish soldiers. Jewish organizations rallied to the defense of Polish Jews, while the U.S. tilted toward Poland. The MID had reports, often from multiple sources, that Jews welcomed Soviet troops with flowers or bands, that Jews refused to fight in Polish armies, that Jewish Bolshevik leaders engaged in “unspeakable barbarity,” that foreign Jews had stirred up anti-Polish propaganda in Jewish-controlled newspapers by exaggerating the extent of violence against Jews, etc. In fact, these allegations were substantially true. Polish Jews did welcome the 1919 and 1939 Soviet invasions of Poland, because of perceptions of Polish anti-Semitism combined with favorable opinions about the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union — that in fact Jews were an elite group in the USSR (Checinski 1982; Schatz 1991).
Attitude of MID Officers toward Jews: Bendersky tries to portray the officers as thinking of Jews as a lower race, but his own data belie him. The officers thought Jews were very good in business and disinclined to manual labor (p. 37). Jews were typically seen as very intelligent. In the words of one officer, persecutions over millennia in conjunction with the “desperate, pitiless struggle for existence in occupations requiring sharpened mental qualities … [have] made the Jews the keenest race of mankind and the best equipped for a successful struggle for a ‘spot in the sun’ in our days of liberal laws and equal opportunity for all” (p. 44). Intellectuals who lectured at the Army War College had similar views. For example, Lothrop Stoddard viewed “The Jewish mind [as] instinctively analytical, and sharpened by the dialectic subtleties of the Talmud.” Despite such statements, Bendersky, echoing the rhetoric of Jewish activist organizations throughout the period, characterizes the 1924 immigration law as directed at “inferior racial types from Southern and Eastern Europe” (p. 154).
Bendersky dismisses the officers’ beliefs as resulting from “xenophobic geopolitics, anticommunism, and racial theories” (p. xiii), oftentimes using language that makes the officers seem bizarre and paranoid: “insidious [Jewish] political machinations” (p. 117), “diabolical I WW- Bolshevik scheme” (p. 126), U.S. Army officers are described as “racial sentinels” (p. 205); “officers relentlessly pursued these surreptitious forces” (p. 129); “paranoid intelligence” (p. 130); “obsession with radicalism and alien forces” (p. 133); “dire predictions” of the consequences of unrestricted immigration (p. 162); the army’s understanding of “the calamitous price of the nation’s neglecting the ‘racial factor’ in history” (p. 167); by enacting the 1924 immigration law, “America had narrowly escaped this disastrous fate [of race mixing]” (p. 181).
Officer Kenyon A. Joyce “described his work as a necessary vigilant struggle against ‘subversive’ Russian Communism” (p. 201). One wonders why the only word directly quoted from Joyce is “subversive”, as if his attitude was weird. The activities of Communists in the U.S. were indeed subversive, and they were indeed orchestrated from Moscow. It is unconscionable that the attitudes of the officers are ascribed simply to racist paranoia given the findings of Klehr et al. 1995 showing that indeed the CPUSA was directed by the Soviet Union and had a high percentage of Jewish members, often above 40 percent. And citing percentages of Jews fails to take account of the personal characteristics of Jewish radicals as a talented, educated and ambitious group. Leftist sympathies were widespread in the American Jewish Congress ~ by far the largest organization of American Jews during this period ~ and Communist-oriented groups were affiliated with the Congress until being reluctantly purged during the McCarthy era(Svonkin 1997, 132, 166).
Bendersky is thus one of a long line of U.S. intellectuals who minimize the threat posed by the CPUSA, minimize Jewish involvement in the CPUSA, and present a nostalgic and exculpatory attitude toward the Jewish Old Left generally. In this version there is never any mention of the 20,000,000 Soviet citizens killed by the actions of their own government, no mention of the very large percentages of Jews who sympathized with the Soviet Union at least until after World War II, no mention of the intellectuals and media figures who downplayed these atrocities or covered them up completely. Nor is there any acknowledgement of the reality of Soviet subversion of the U.S., if for no other reason than that it successfully altered the military balance after World War II.
Bendersky in several places accepts the accounts of Jewish activist organizations’ attempts to refute charges against Jews. Two common moves were to argue that Jewish radicals were apostates to Judaism and that most Jews were not radicals. Bendersky makes no attempt to unravel the subtleties of strong Jewish identification, albeit non-religious, among the vast majority of Jewish radicals (MacDonald 1998/2001). Nor is there any acknowledgement that even though most Jews may not have been radical in the period from 1920-1950, most radicals were Jews (MacDonald 1998/2001; Novick 1999). Nevertheless, it is at least doubtful that most Jews were not sympathetic to radicalism. As noted, leftist sympathies were widespread in the American Jewish Congress until the 1950s. MID also noted the well-known associations between leftist radicalism and Zionism and that prominent Jews (Louis Marshall, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter) supported Zionism. However, Bendersky does not acknowledge the well-known connection between Zionism and political radicalism among Jews during this period, presumably because it attests to the intense Jewish identification of the great majority of Jewish leftists.
The threat represented by Jews: Many officers “feared that ‘true Americans’ were losing control of something they rightfully possessed by conquest, merit, heritage and even divine providence” (p. 1). There was a tendency to see the decline of their own ethnic group as tantamount to the decline of civilization itself. Were they justified in these attitudes? The view that conquerors control the territory they conquer is hardly a novel idea, since this is exactly what has happened from time immemorial — as applicable to the invading Germanic tribes that overwhelmed the Western Roman Empire at the end of antiquity as to the establishment of Israel in modern times. One might argue that the view that civilization itself depended on Northern Europeans is not credible in light of what we now know about the ability of other human groups to develop advanced technology, art and literature. However, it was certainly understandable that such an inference would be made early in the 20th century when Northern European colonial powers had divided up the rest of world among themselves, when all of the scientific and technical advances had been made by Northern Europeans, and when there were huge differences in the economic and technical development not only between Europe and the rest of the world but also between Northern and Southern Europe and between Eastern and Western Europe. Such assertions also conform to the normal tendency among humans to glorify their own group and denigrate outsiders. And, writing in 2001 when Europeans are slated to be a minority in the United States within 50 years and when millions of non- Europeans are living as minorities in European countries, it certainly seems prescient that the officers’ fears of “losing control” have indeed come to fruition.
Part of this sense of losing control came from changes in the media. It is remarkable that people like Lothrop Stoddard and Charles Lindbergh wrote numerous articles for the popular media, including Collier’s, the Saturday Evening Post and Reader’s Digest between World War I and World War II (p. 23). In 1920-1921, the Saturday Evening Post ran a series of 19 articles on Eastern European immigration emphasizing Jewish unassimilability and the Jewish association with Bolshevism. At the time, the Post was the most widely read magazine in the U.S., with a weekly readership of 2,000,000.
The tide against the worldview of the officers turned with the election of Roosevelt. “Jews served prominently in his administration,” (p. 244) including Felix Frankfurter who had long been under scrutiny by MID as a “dangerous Jewish radical” (p. 244). Jews had also won the intellectual debate: “Nazi racial ideology was under attack in the press as pseudo-science and fanatical bigotry.” (p. 244) Jews also had a powerful position in the media, including ownership of several large, influential newspapers (New York Times, New York Post, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Record and Pittsburgh Post- Gazette), radio networks (CBS, the dominant radio network, and NBC, headed by David Sarnoff), and all of the major Hollywood movie studios (see MacDonald 1998/2001).
It is remarkable that the word ‘Nordic’ disappeared by the 1930s although the restrictionists still had racialist views of Jews and themselves (p. 245). By 1938 eugenics was “shunned in public discourse of the day.” (p. 250) Whereas such ideas were commonplace in the mainstream media in the 1920s, General George van Horn Moseley’s 1938 talk on eugenics and its implications for immigration policy caused a furor when it was reported in the newspapers.
Moseley was charged with anti-Semitism although he denied referring to Jews in his talk. The incident blew over, but “henceforth, the military determined to protect itself against charges of anti-Semitism that might sully its reputation or cause it political problems …. The army projected itself as an institution that would tolerate neither racism nor anti-Semitism” (p. 252-253).
Moseley himself continued to attack the New Deal, saying it was manipulated by “the alien element in our midst” (p. 253) — obviously a coded reference to Jews. This time he was severely reprimanded and the press wouldn’t let it die. By early 1939, Moseley, who had retired from the army, became explicitly anti-Jewish, asserting that Jews wanted the U.S. to enter the proposed war in Europe and that the war would be waged for Jewish hegemony. He accused Jews of controlling the media and having a deep influence on the government. His anti-Semitism was crude: In 1939, he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on Jewish complicity in Communism and praised the Germans for dealing with the Jews properly (p. 256). But his testimony was beyond the pale by this time. As Bendersky notes, Moseley had only articulated the common Darwinian worldview of the earlier generation, and he had asserted the common belief of an association of Jews with Communism. These views remained common in the army and elsewhere on the political right, but they were simply not stated publicly. And if they were, heads rolled and careers were ended.
The new climate can also be seen in the fact that Lothrop Stoddard stopped referring to Jews completely in his lectures to the Army War College in the late 1930s, but continued to advocate eugenics and was sympathetic to Nazism in the late 1930s because it took the race notion seriously. By 1940, the tables had turned. Anti-Jewish attitudes came to be seen as subversive by the government, and the FBI alerted military intelligence that Lothrop Stoddard should be investigated as a security risk in the event of war (p. 280).
From Bendersky’s perspective, these changes are due largely to the triumph of science: “Not only was Stoddard’s racial science erroneous, it was — despite his assertions to the contrary — out of step with the major trends in science and scholarship” (p. 262). What Bendersky does not note is that the ” scientific” refutation of the ideas of Stoddard and the other Darwinian theorists was entirely due to a political campaign waged in academic social science departments by Franz Boas and his students and sympathizers. The political nature of this shift in intellectual stance and its linkage to Jewish academic ethnic activists has long been apparent to scholars. (Degler, 1991; Frank, 1997; MacDonald 1998/2001; Stocking 1968, 1989.)
The racialist, isolationist right viewed World War II as a looming disaster. During the 1930s many officers admired the accomplishments of Nazism but worried that U.S. national interests would be sacrificed over concerns about Nazi treatment of Jews. While disapproving Hitler’s Jewish policies, they often sympathized with Nazi attitudes toward Jews, feeling that the typical complaints had some basis in reality. They wanted to avoid a war with Germany as not in American national interests, distrusted Roosevelt whom they saw as wanting a war, and worried that Jews wanted a war because of their hatred for Hitler and his anti-Jewish policies. Officers often worried that Roosevelt was influenced to be anti-German by his Jewish advisors, Samuel I. Rosenman, Felix Frankfurter, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and they worried that Jewish interests and the British would push the U.S. into a war with Germany. There was often a perception that Jewish-controlled media emphasized Nazi anti- Jewish actions. William Langer, a Harvard historian, stated in a lecture to the War College that the rising dislike of Nazi Germany in the U.S. was due to “Jewish influence.”
You have to face the fact that some of our most important American newspapers are Jewish-controlled, and I suppose if I were a Jew I would feel about Nazi Germany as most Jews feel and it would be most inevitable that the coloring of the news takes on that tinge. As I read the New York Times, for example, it is perfectly clear that every little upset that occurs (and after all many upsets occur in a country of 70 million people) is given a great deal of prominence. The other part of it is soft-pedaled or put off with a sneer. So that in a rather subtle way, the picture you get is that there is no good in the Germans whatever” (p. 273).
Although not an officer at that time, Charles Lindbergh was the best-known example of someone with these fears. Lindbergh’s thinking was shaped not only at his horror at the destructiveness of modern warfare — the idea that World War II would be the suicide of European culture — but also that it would lead to race suicide by entering, in Lindbergh’s words, into “a war in which the White race is bound to lose.” Lindbergh believed that whites should join together to fend off the teeming legions of non-whites who were the real long-term threat. He viewed the Soviet Union as a white bulwark against the Chinese in the East and believed that in a racial alliance based on “an English fleet, a German air force, a French army, [and] an American nation” (p. 276).
Lindbergh made his famous comment of September 11, 1941 that the influence of the Jews was one factor leading the U.S. into war, but he also noted that, “No person with a sense of dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany” (p. 285). Nevertheless, despite the truth of Lindbergh’s comments and its temperate tone, the speech was greeted with a torrent of abuse and hatred unparalleled for a mainstream public figure in American history. Overnight Lindbergh went from cultural hero to moral pariah. Clearly by the late 1930s or early 1940s at the latest, the tide had turned.
During World War II, anti-Jewish attitudes were common in the officer corps, but “the political climate created by the Roosevelt administration had forced them into silence, particularly concerning Jews and Communists” (p. 301). It became common on the American right to see the Roosevelt administration as influenced greatly by Frankfurter and Morgenthau, as infiltrated by Jews sympathetic to the Soviet Union, and as adopting needlessly harsh policies on the Germans such as strategic bombing (p. 304). Henry Stimson, Secretary of War, “accused Morganthau and Baruch of succumbing to racial ‘impulses,’ calling their behavior “semitism gone wild for vengeance” (p. 313).
One indication of Jewish power at this time is that Jews were able to exert intense pressure on Eisenhower because of accommodations he made with the Vichy French and with Arabs in Morocco in order to facilitate a landing in North Africa. There was fear that lifting anti-Jewish policies in Morocco would set off an Arab riot against Jews. General George C. Patton, who had negative attitudes toward Jews, wrote to Eisenhower: “Arabs don’t mind Christians, but they utterly despise Jews. The French fear that the local Jews, knowing how high their side is riding in the U.S., will try to take the lead here. If they do, the Arabs will murder them and there will be a local state of disorder.” (p. 316)
Within the army, long-term thinkers believed in a need to form an alliance with the Moslem world because of oil, and they worried about “the Jew-Arab problem” even before the end of World War II. In 1948, Secretary of State George C. Marshall told Truman that his support for Israel disregarded national interests in order to obtain votes in New York. It was common among the officers to think of Israel as an intensely nationalistic, fascist-like state with a veneer of democracy. For example, during World War II a report described Zionism as “contrary to the very principles for which the Allies fought” (p. 321, noting the intense collectivist tendencies of Zionism, the emphasis on the Hebrew language and militarism: “the National Socialist outlook of modern Zionism” (p. 322). Officers commonly believed that there were many anti-German Jews in the U.S. military government after World War II who were bent on de-nazification and revenge. “Feeling inhibited from speaking publicly by alleged Jewish power, a number of officers, as well as some government officials, complained incessantly in private that Jewish ‘refugees in American uniforms,’ together with Jews in the U.S. government, unduly affected American policy toward Germany in a variety of detrimental ways.” (p. 364) Refugee officers (i.e., German Jews returning as members of the U.S. military government) treated Germans brutally, including sadistic beatings and starvation (p. 365). In general, Jews advocated harsh treatment, the concept of collective guilt, and trials for general staff officers. The paradigm for this perspective was the Morgenthau plan which called for destruction of Germany as an industrial state and which, if implemented, would have resulted in millions of deaths. Bendersky acknowledges that many refugee Jews were in the occupation government and that they were zealous denazifiers, but says only that “some probably agreed with Morgenthau’ s draconian idea of punishing Germany and preventing its future resurgence” (p. 366). The reputation of these refugee officers was so bad that the Army ended up firing personnel who had entered the U.S. after 1933.
And thus the saga ends. To be sure there were many officers who retired with their beliefs intact, and some of these, such as Moseley and Albert C. Wedemeyer, became figures on the American right. In the 1970s, Wedemeyer maintained that Zionists controlled Congress and that Jews had huge political and economic power. He also blamed Jews for U.S. entry into World War II. But it was the end of an era. Bendersky, for all of his obvious hatred toward his subjects, tells a compelling story, but, in the end, one just has to believe the officers whose views he chronicles and not their chronicler.
Kevin MacDonald is Professor of Psychology, California State University ~ Long Beach, and the author of a trilogy on Judaism as an evolutionary strategy: A People that Shall Dwell Alone (1994), Separation and its Discontents (1998), and The Culture of Critique (1998), all published by Praeger 1994-1998.
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