Going public in support : American discursive opposition to Nazi anti-semitism, 1933-1944 / by Jeffrey Scott Demsky.
Shortly after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany, Christian and Jewish Americans initiated an argument that held Nazi anti-Semitism did violence to their democratic freedoms. They observed the scapegoating of Jews, the hallmark feature of German fascism, indicated a pervasive hostility toward the civil liberties outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Publicly contesting Nazi anti-Semitism became a recurring topic in public discourse. Politicians used the reports of Jewish persecutions to differentiate between fascist and democratic values. Social commentators and artists saw in the issue a path for softening sociocultural attitudes domestically. As members of the Christian majority learned more about Hitler's wide-ranging intolerance, some concluded that tolerating similar domestic prejudices was harmful to society.Rejecting Nazism—and, specifically, its negative portrayal of Jews—became part of a much larger reconfiguration in mainstream American attitudes. Evidence that citizens, both private and public, opposed Nazi anti-Semitism appeared in periodicals, political statements, plays, motion pictures, novels, private correspondences, and government publications. The common thread binding these texts together was the expression of hostility toward Nazi religious intolerance. Although for some Americans, negative sentiments toward ethnic, racial, and religious minorities undoubtedly persisted, there is a larger story involving the ways both Jews and Christians used the issue of Nazi intolerance toward religious minorities as a tool for promoting a more pluralist worldview.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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