posts 16 - 30 of 30
Avatar
underhill44
Posts: 17

The US should have put aside its bias against the Jewish people to focus on the situation logically. Thousands upon thousands of innocent people were being killed in inhumane and unjustified ways, and the US knew about it. With that in mind, there is no possible way to justify the willful negligence that occurred. As soon as the government was notified of the genocide happening, they should have sent people to investigate and gain more hard evidence, and they should have immediately informed the Jewish authorities and leaders. After confirming that this injustice was in fact happening, there should have been rescue teams sent out to scope the concentration camps to find ways to take them over or get the prisoners out. All immigration of Jewish people in the areas of danger of deportation should have been fast-forwarded, and a place should’ve been set up in America for when they arrive so they can recover from what they experienced at the hands of the Nazis.

It was a priority to label the crimes of the Nazis for two reasons. The first is that this open acknowledgment that purposeful crimes had been committed against targeted groups of people would help the victims gain land back or things that they had lost during that era. Reparations are easier to give if it’s for a crime that has been officially and legally condemned. The second reason is that it sets a precedent. If something as serious as the Holocaust leads to almost no punishment for the people who carried it out, it loses its severity. People will use that to later claim that it didn’t actually happen, or it did happen and wasn’t “that bad”. If the people who knowingly aided the murder of innocent people aren’t officially punished, it shows that maybe they shouldn’t be punished, or that nobody cares enough to push for justice.

Lemkin’s successful efforts to coin the term “genocide” are extremely important as it gives a name to the events that occurred besides “tragedy”. With words like “tragedy”, they seem to imply that it was unfortunate, but “genocide” makes it clear that it was deliberate. Instead of inciting feelings of sadness or pity, it incites anger based on that sadness, which can lead to action. TurnOverThisPage worded Lemkin’s efforts incredibly, as they said that he made it a concern for everyone, internationally. I completely agree with this, and this is especially important because it made it so much more than an issue for the Jewish people. He tried to get people to look past their biases to see the crisis, and I think he succeeded, if only partly.

I think we have to divide the United States into different parts, because different people and groups within the country had different actions. The Jewish community within America rallied and fought an incredibly uphill battle to bring attention to the issue. Their actions were incredibly, and they really showed the power of community. The government on the other hand, was either helpful or the opposite. The Treasury Department managed to save a lot of people, which should be commended, and they helped bring attention to the State Department’s deplorable behavior. The corruption within that specific division was horrifying, as they put their own personal prejudices over their jobs and responsibilities, and that cost thousands of people their lives. I hope everyone who worked in that Department knows they they are responsible for the deaths of many families and individuals, and I hope they’re suffering because of it. They knew what was happening in Europe to the Jewish people- to the children, the mothers, the husbands, the innocent- and they purposefully did nothing to the point of aiding the Nazis with their plans. By stopping immigration and placing unsanctioned restrictions on the immigration that was allowed, they directly aided the Nazis in their plan to kill Jewish people.

I already spoke about what we should have done during the 1940s, but as for today, we need to acknowledge our role in the Holocaust more openly. When we discuss it in history class, our government’s negligence should be common knowledge. I’ve always been taught that you can never proceed if you don’t acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them, and America hasn’t done that yet, for a lot of things.


Avatar
zenitspb25
Posts: 25

The US as Bystanders

The US should've intervened more forcefully when Hitler and the NSDAP were tightening their grips on German society. The US and other Allied forces were, for a time, bystanders, as they did not interfere in the early stages of persecution of the Jews and other minorities. When the tension began rising in Germany, the leaders only paid lip services to allay Jewish fears and they did not take in more refugees. For example, FDR denounced Kristallnacht and allowed Germans, most of them Jews, who were in the US at the time to stay, but he did not adjust the immigration quota to allow more Jewish refugees to escape persecution. Similarly in public American sentiments, the vast majority of people (94% !) polled said that they disapproved of Nazi treatment of Jews, but only 21% said that the US should allow a larger number of Jews coming in. When FDR actually did expand and help refugees and war-torn civilians via the War Refugee Board, it was merely a political move and a symbolic gesture, and for many, it was too little and too late. The official US effort was done to prevent a scandal from occurring on FDR, as the Refugee Resolution was approaching the Floor, where the Treasury Department, led by Henry Morgenthau Jr., could lay out the full details of what had been happening to the European Jews. The effort was mostly symbolic, as while they still saved hundreds of thousands of Jews, it was a little amount compared to other rescue efforts, and the death toll of the Holocaust. The US could also ramp up its efforts in destroying German infrastructure for the Holocaust. Despite claims that the US did not have the capacity to bomb Auschwitz, they did bomb infrastructures around it, as it was near oil deposits in Poland. In fact, pilots flying missions for these target flew over Auschwitz itself. However, bombing Auschwitz would be another moral question, such as if it is worth it to kill hundreds to save thousands, or even millions.

There was little the US could've done by mouth to stop the Holocaust from being carried out. The Nazis were determined in their extermination of perceived "subhumans", so merely giving them few slaps on the wrists and verbal condemnations do little other than to assuage people's conscious, as they weren't being hindered in their heinous activities. Hitler and the Nazi leadership believed that they would be victorious, therefore sweeping the old world away and remaking society as we know it, so the denunciations by world powers now would be useless since they would no longer exist after a Nazi victory.

It was important to label it as a legal crime, so they could be prosecuted and make examples of in the future. However, there will be some with intentions like Hitler and the Three Pashas that do not actually care about the repercussions, for they might view that there would be no pushback if they won. While Lemkin may have impeded his progress with his impatience and forcefulness in making the genocide treaty a law, it showed the great effort in making crimes against humanity on such a large scale defined and written down. Over time, like what had happened with the Armenians as Hitler mentioned in a speech, people might forget what the Nazis did toward Jews and other targeted minorities as well, so it was important and valuable that people recognise "genocide" as a real and tangible thing that are taught about, so it may be prevented from happening again.

The US, as we saw in the exhibition and the movie, was a large bystander during the Holocaust. One may not even consider them bystanders but an aggressor, as there were efforts to suppress information about the genocide from getting out to the public by the State Department. There were also pro-Nazi/isolationist positions in the country, shown with the German American Bund and the America First Party being present forces in the US in the 30s and the 40s. There were also anti-Semitic sentiments in American society, which didn't see Jews as one of their own (an "us", if you will). Combined with the State Department actively hindering Jewish efforts to flee Germany, the US had created an air and atmosphere of intolerance, in a time when there was a great need tolerance and acceptance of those persecuted. Government officials willing let Jews die base on fears that they were going to invade the US, and hostility from Americans at home did not make the country seem accepting or welcoming during that time. Despite building themselves a reputation of being a new home for the oppressed and downtrodden, the United States of America closed its doors to those that needed the protection the most.

During the war and the lead up to it, I would have allowed information on the Holocaust and what had been happening in Europe to flow more freely, rather than clamped down by the State Department. The government should have been informing people on the horrors, but the civilians had to pay attention as well. There were a lot of ignorance or even straight up hostility toward Jews, as said in the paragraphs above. For the present day, of course education on this matter is vital, but in addition to learning about what the Nazis did and carried out, learn as well about what had been happening on the homefront. Most people know of Hitler and his party's atrocities, but not all know about the US' role in contributing to many Jews' demise. People should be actively trained and learned on the signs of persecution.

Avatar
Thomas Aquinas
Posts: 20

America and the Holocaust

Absolutely the United States should have done more to stop the Nazis earlier and save thousands from becoming victims of the Holocaust. Even with domestic demand and support from many Jewish groups, the United States failed to respond to, let alone acknowledge the human rights violations that were occuring in Germany. Not only did FDR refuse to help the situation of Jewish people in Nazi Germany, he further developed barriers between salvation and the Jewish victims seeking asylum in America. To be turned around in a ship after having already crossed an ocean in hope of a safe haven is outrageous. Not even temporary haven was offered to the passengers of the cruise ship because there were Jewish passengers onboard. The United States is responsible for purposefully turning a blind eye to the actions of Nazis in Germany as they stood by and watched discrimination rob people of basic human rights. In fact, the apathy for this persecution was so severe in America that it fermented into even outright support for the Nazis in American branches of extremism.

The priority of labeling the crimes of the Nazis was not necessary before taking action and instead it was only used as a procrastination device to wrap the situation in red tape and hope that the issue resolved itself before America became involved. However, once labeled a genocide, the crime does become more public and an international outrage. As a result, it is becomes easier to gain support and develop allies against the country in suspicion. Lemkin’s dedication to the coining of this term helped to establish the severity of human rights, and the essential worldview of protecting all those people who have been persecuted and discriminated against with the threat of death.

Before watching “America and the Holocaust” I had originally thought that the United States had declared itself a neutral power that did not concern itself with the issues occuring in Eastern Europe and that it simply remained purposefully ignorant to the plights of the Jews. However, it surprises me beyond belief that not only did the United States stand by and refuse to acknowledge the human rights violations they actively sought to inhibit Jewish immigrants to the States and allowed hatred and discrimination to foster against the domestic population of Jewish people in America. We only became involved after we were attacked by the Japanese directly in Pearl Harbor. Before that point the US had taken extensive efforts to allow the Nazis to continue their reign of terror including rejecting 20,000 Jewish children, but accepting the same number of children from the UK.

Avatar
Swoogity Swiggity
Posts: 15

The US and the Holocaust

The US should’ve definitely given the holocaust more importance and attention than it actually did. It slightly confuses me because the US would pride itself in being an interventionist country and yet entered and fought the war mainly because of personal reason (mostly grudge against the Japanese). Not only this but the US also received confirmation from many witnesses about what was going on in Nazi controlled territories. They basically turned a blind eye to the occurrences despite there being a few who worked arduously in order to help the suffering Jews as much as possible. I think it was a definite priority to label and identify the crimes first. I think of it similar to a search warrant. In order for an officer to say, search your house, there’s must be a reason for why they’re entering your house (the warrant) or else it’s just straight up trespassing. It sounds similar in this case too. In order for the US to take action, they’d need to identify an actual problem and have evidence of it so that they’re no just being intrusive and entering guns blazing based off just rumors. It gives their cause that little extra weight. I think what’s valuable of Lemkin’s actions was his persistence and constant desire to help. Despite the government practically pushing him aside and ignoring him he didn’t allow that to stop him. He worked so hard, searched for people here and there that could help him out and just persisted through. I think it’s understandable that the US would be so hesitant to invest so much money and efforts into this because less than half a century before they had fought a major war similar to the one they were fighting at the time. Yes they had a personal reason to fight which was the direct attack on them, but I could understand why they’d feel no real strong obligation to do anything else but get the revenge they desired. I think it’s a matter about having the government and the people simply care for more than just themselves. Though that is harder to do than just say I think it’s a matter about simply caring enough.
Avatar
Bakedfacecrepe
Posts: 22

Overall, I think the United States should have made an effort in at the very least temporary housing or refugee shelters for as many victims as they could take, not necessarily admitting them as immigrants, but simply housing them for a short time until the war dies down. I’m not too sure how that would work legally, but I think this would work as long as it is temporary.


From a legal standpoint, I understand it was a priority to find a proper label for the crimes that the Nazis committed because, at that point, it was unheard of, whatever the Nazis did. What should have been a war that would resolve itself and the prejudice against Jews, should not have been extended as far as it did and become an absolute slaughter. Hitler and the Nazis created a tragic event that was beyond what everyone expected, which probably made some feel the need to classify it as separate from any other crimes noted in history thus far. For Lemkin to coin the term himself, I believe what made his efforts so important and so valuable is that he tried to judge the Nazis properly on a legal level, hence his creation of the Genocide Convention and defining genocide in legal terms. During the Nuremberg Trials, the Nazis were tried for their instigation and participation of WWII, but not for their systematic murder of their own citizens, as indicated by many American views as the Jewish extermination being an internal affair.


To me, it seemed as though despite the knowledge of discrimination and infringement on human rights in American mindsets, they believed everything would resolve itself. It’s not like they were being targeted themselves, so they kept to themselves in an isolation bubble. Based on the documentary, America and the Holocaust, and the US Memorial exhibition, all I can see is the contradiction that is America. It wants peace for others but makes no effort to actively help them? It’s really easy to say words of idealism and pretty phrases but going up there to make it happen? Haha, as if it were THAT easy.


To put it this way, humans are inherently selfish, a fact I’m sure we all acknowledge. Our moral compass says we should help others, but we have to be mindful of our own issues as well, and most of the time, we would rather save ourselves than go through risk to save another. It’s just a part of our defensive nature. We’ve already seen this demonstrated in the last post with how the Jewish struggled to survive by exploiting each other in Germany.


There’s also the factor gathered from what we’ve looked at in class that fear plays a large role in the American mindset. There’s fear of immigrants taking everyone’s jobs, fear that the immigrants would occupy everything, it’s like a fear of a Jewish invasion, which, if you look at it one way, can be interpreted as such.


America’s response to the Holocaust was late and rather disappointing, but ultimately, given their own internal problems and priorities, I would not fault them entirely for what they could have done. Their fears, understandable as they are to me, are still no better than what the Nazis thought of Jews and other targeted populations.

Avatar
MichaelAfton
Posts: 28

Regarding the Holocaust, I believe the United States should have made more of an attempt to bring refugees in. From the movie we watched in class, we learned how much the State Department interfered in the immigration process, how hard the process was to get in, and more. The State Department did their best to keep America’s restrictive immigration policy in place instead of letting people in based on their need to escape the oppressive Nazi regime. I understand what they did was in their legal rights and they were following procedures, but at some point being moral outweighs being lawful. Even the people trying to get in legally were having a very rough time. The lines for getting in to the country were massive. For example, Kurt Klein’s parents who were trying to come over were about number 20000 in line. That meant they were 19999 people that came before them. 19999 people trying to flee an oppressive regime, and they were being held up by the U.S’s strict immigration process. Even if you were in line, though, there was no real guarantee that you’d be able to successfully immigrate since you had to have your boat tickets, visas, an American financial sponsor, and more within four months or else you had to start the entire process over again. These documents costed money and they would expire after a while so it was extremely difficult to do this. I think the United States should have opened up their borders more because all the hoops those who were immigrating had to go through were just too much. However, I do understand that it is not the United States’ obligation to take refugees in. I still maintain my stance because I believe there’s a moral obligation to help people in need, especially when they’re in need of dire help. The other thing I thing the United States should have done was attempt to cripple the camps rather than let them stay operating. The reason the War Department gave for not bombing the camps (it would make winning the war slower) is not good enough because it would also force the Nazis to divert their forces to protect the camps and/or repair them, which would lead to an all-round weaker Nazi force. This could have led to less casualties overall as a result of the Jewish lives that could have been saved and the weaker Nazi force if they were forced to repair the camps.


I believe labelling the crimes that the Nazis had committed could be considered a priority because then it makes a case for prosecuting the leaders of the Nazi Party. By labelling the crime they committed they could prevent something like this from happening again in the future as they would now have a term for it and it would now be illegal. For the United States, though, it wasn’t a real priority because the goal for the United States was to win the war as fast as possible. The important things to the United States were the defined crimes that the Nazi committed and, again, stopping the war as fast as possible. Even though the United States didn’t make it their priority, Raphael Lemkin did.


Raphael Lemkin was a Polish-Jewish lawyer who is responsible for labelling the genocide that the Nazis committed as exactly that: a genocide. This was so important for the future of the world because by labelling what the Nazis did as a genocide and as a crime, it set a legal precedent for the other countries of the world. It showed the world that acts like this were intolerable and would be punished by the other countries of the world. It also would force the countries of the world to take more responsibility for keeping the world in balance since no one can turn a blind eye to an obvious world crime like that. Finally, it also shows that there were people out there who cared about the victims of the Holocaust, even though the countries of the world may not have shown it.


I believe the United States’ actions were all done in the self-interest of the country which although there isn’t legally anything wrong with that, I personally believe is morally reprehensible because of the amount of lives that were at stake and the amount of lives that were lost because of it. President Franklin Roosevelt could have instituted some form of immigration policy to help immigrants who were trying to escape, but only chose to do so when it would have looked bad for him politically if he didn’t. Besides that, Roosevelt had known for a long while about what was going on in regards to the killings, but he still maintained his silence. I think this was the United States acting in its own self-interest because nothing bad ever happened to the United States for its lack of action.


For the government during this time period, I would suggest raising the immigration quotas and doing more to help the refugees that make it into the country because they needed the help desperately. If Roosevelt had at least set up an immigration agency earlier than when he did, there would have been a greater number of lives saved. I believe the civilians during this period should have protested more because if the government sees life being changed by their lack of action, then they would be forced to do something.

Avatar
Boston18
Posts: 28

Originally posted by Boston18 on April 08, 2019 10:48

The United States infamously entered the second world war late, and their tardiness begs the question of how different could the outcome of the war be had the U.S. joined earlier. Many credit the power of the United States with finally being able to push the German Nazi regime and company into submission, but that assertiveness towards fulfilling a purpose of peace didn’t always exist. Roosevelt valued peace, but explicitly disregarded the systematic killing of various groups of people during the Holocaust, including Jews.


President Roosevelt’s cousin, Laura Delano Houghteling, famously said, in response to the proposal for the U.S. allowing 20,000 Jewish children safety and refuge, that “twenty thousand charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.” These comments, from the president’s cousin and the wife of the immigration commissioner, echoes the comments and ideologies pushed by figures like Hitler himself: people who trivially targeted innocent people for death, on account of their uncontrollable “race” or heritage.


It speaks volumes that this statement came out of the United States government in a time when Nazi agendas were spreading like wildfire, and millions of people were being brutally murdered, while the United States President and Department of Defense actively chose to remain indifferent on the matter. When leagues of Jewish political groups and citizens gathered to petition the white house to step in, Roosevelt even refused to accept the petition, let alone consider it. Although he was free that afternoon, he refused to make an appearance, claiming that he was busy. This shows that it wasn’t that the United States weren't prioritizing answering the Nazis, nor that it was completely under their radar. It shows that the administration was knowledgeable on the genocide, and actively chose to ignore it. They knew of the hundreds of thousands of deaths, and chose to not only not take action against it, but actually take action in support of it, outlawing any more reports on the topic coming in from Europe. These reports recorded the number of Jews being killed, like the news of 60,000 people killed in the Netherlands, and the location and dates of the mass murders. It also documented the movement of the Nazis, and their increased influence over the area. This is suppressing information, making the government an accomplice to what the Nazis were doing.


Not only did the State Department suppress the information, but they did so knowing that they were wrong, and made an attempt to cover it up. You couldn’t even make the excuse that the government suppressed the information not realizing the scale or gravity of the situation. They knew full well how immoral the actions were, and still decided to blockade the intelligence. Only after the State Department was exposed for the cover-up did FDR take action against the Nazis, and a step towards ending the war. He passed an executive order to finally do everything in their power to save the people, starting a war refugee ward, and even then, funds were meager and the other branches of the government didn’t extend their help. Much of the funds came from private Jewish lobbying groups. Meanwhile, any attempts from the board to bomb the death camps and evacuate the imprisoned Jews, were being sabotaged by other government entities, but they pushed through and eventually managed to free many prisoners, accepting them into the U.S. as refugees shortly after. In the end, despite the tardiness, the ward played a role in saving and caring for 200,000 refugees. Although they had somewhat of a positive effect, and although the saved many victims, if the ward was started a year before, Roosevelt and the state department could have saved tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands more people.


In today's age, we have not come far from our inaction during World War II. 45th recently said that we don’t have room for refugees in the United States today, which is similar to the thoughts of the U.S. administration during the Holocaust - the same mentality that ended up leaving hundreds of thousands dead that could have been saved. It was normal people and everyday citizens who organized and petitioned against the government. It was people like us who stood up to the government's indifference, and aided in the saving of 200,000 lives. Don’t underestimate the power of the public. The government is the product of our views and objectives, and in that way, the government is only as powerful as we want it to be. We get the ultimate word, so we must use it.

Additionally, several polls today show that the majority of Americans, separate from the government, believe that Polish Jews brought the persecution upon themselves. This shows that it was a thought shared by the citizens, and almost projected unto the government. Americans weren't ignorant on the details of the Holocaust, but chose to remain bystanders, despite knowing of the mass murders. It goes without saying the the U.S. should have done more and should have done more sooner. There exist excuses where people say that the United States prioritized its own people in the face of mass immigration and the onset of war, however this can be dispelled, because shortly after rejecting 20,000 Jewish children refugees, they accepted equally as many children from Britain with open arms. The good thing about history though, is that we have proof of the results of certain patterns. We know what trends, actions, ideologies, and behaviors lead to what results, and being cognizant of this. we can theoretically take action to shift a tide, or steer away from catastrophe. If we know what patterns lead to genocide, then there should be no excuse of genocide ever occuring again.

Avatar
Boston18
Posts: 28

Originally posted by Boston18 on April 08, 2019 10:48

The United States infamously entered the second world war late, and their tardiness begs the question of how different could the outcome of the war be had the U.S. joined earlier. Many credit the power of the United States with finally being able to push the German Nazi regime and company into submission, but that assertiveness towards fulfilling a purpose of peace didn’t always exist. Roosevelt valued peace, but explicitly disregarded the systematic killing of various groups of people during the Holocaust, including Jews.


President Roosevelt’s cousin, Laura Delano Houghteling, famously said, in response to the proposal for the U.S. allowing 20,000 Jewish children safety and refuge, that “twenty thousand charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.” These comments, from the president’s cousin and the wife of the immigration commissioner, echoes the comments and ideologies pushed by figures like Hitler himself: people who trivially targeted innocent people for death, on account of their uncontrollable “race” or heritage.


It speaks volumes that this statement came out of the United States government in a time when Nazi agendas were spreading like wildfire, and millions of people were being brutally murdered, while the United States President and Department of Defense actively chose to remain indifferent on the matter. When leagues of Jewish political groups and citizens gathered to petition the white house to step in, Roosevelt even refused to accept the petition, let alone consider it. Although he was free that afternoon, he refused to make an appearance, claiming that he was busy. This shows that it wasn’t that the United States weren't prioritizing answering the Nazis, nor that it was completely under their radar. It shows that the administration was knowledgeable on the genocide, and actively chose to ignore it. They knew of the hundreds of thousands of deaths, and chose to not only not take action against it, but actually take action in support of it, outlawing any more reports on the topic coming in from Europe. These reports recorded the number of Jews being killed, like the news of 60,000 people killed in the Netherlands, and the location and dates of the mass murders. It also documented the movement of the Nazis, and their increased influence over the area. This is suppressing information, making the government an accomplice to what the Nazis were doing.


Not only did the State Department suppress the information, but they did so knowing that they were wrong, and made an attempt to cover it up. You couldn’t even make the excuse that the government suppressed the information not realizing the scale or gravity of the situation. They knew full well how immoral the actions were, and still decided to blockade the intelligence. Only after the State Department was exposed for the cover-up did FDR take action against the Nazis, and a step towards ending the war. He passed an executive order to finally do everything in their power to save the people, starting a war refugee ward, and even then, funds were meager and the other branches of the government didn’t extend their help. Much of the funds came from private Jewish lobbying groups. Meanwhile, any attempts from the board to bomb the death camps and evacuate the imprisoned Jews, were being sabotaged by other government entities, but they pushed through and eventually managed to free many prisoners, accepting them into the U.S. as refugees shortly after. In the end, despite the tardiness, the ward played a role in saving and caring for 200,000 refugees. Although they had somewhat of a positive effect, and although the saved many victims, if the ward was started a year before, Roosevelt and the state department could have saved tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands more people.


In today's age, we have not come far from our inaction during World War II. 45th recently said that we don’t have room for refugees in the United States today, which is similar to the thoughts of the U.S. administration during the Holocaust - the same mentality that ended up leaving hundreds of thousands dead that could have been saved. It was normal people and everyday citizens who organized and petitioned against the government. It was people like us who stood up to the government's indifference, and aided in the saving of 200,000 lives. Don’t underestimate the power of the public. The government is the product of our views and objectives, and in that way, the government is only as powerful as we want it to be. We get the ultimate word, so we must use it.

Additionally, several polls today show that the majority of Americans, separate from the government, believe that Polish Jews brought the persecution upon themselves. This shows that it was a thought shared by the citizens, and almost projected unto the government. Americans weren't ignorant on the details of the Holocaust, but chose to remain bystanders, despite knowing of the mass murders. It goes without saying the the U.S. should have done more and should have done more sooner. There exist excuses where people say that the United States prioritized its own people in the face of mass immigration and the onset of war, however this can be dispelled, because shortly after rejecting 20,000 Jewish children refugees, they accepted equally as many children from Britain with open arms. The good thing about history though, is that we have proof of the results of certain patterns. We know what trends, actions, ideologies, and behaviors lead to what results, and being cognizant of this. we can theoretically take action to shift a tide, or steer away from catastrophe. If we know what patterns lead to genocide, then there should be no excuse of genocide ever occuring again.

Avatar
Latin'sLiability
Posts: 27

America and the Holocaust

There is no question that the United States should have intervened in the Holocaust before it did. However its not surprising to me that the U.S. only entered WW2 after it affected us directly, since we have a tendency to act only when America is targeted. Although the lack of action taken by the United States does not shock me, it is disheartening to consider all that they could have done, yet failed to do. The crimes of the Holocaust were no secret to anyone holding political power in America, therefor the atrocities were blatantly ignored because of self interest. After Pearl Harbor America saw entering WW2 as a necessity, showing how we can ignore the deaths of hundreds of thousands, but not a couple thousand of our own. Im not saying that nothing should have been done about Pearl Harbor, I'm just saying that something should have been done earlier regarding the situation in Europe.

The United States should have gone to and dropped some bombs on Germany, its as simple as that. Destroying the concentration camps would have saved countless lives, and not a single American foot would have had to step onto German soil. America did a wonderful job of recognizing that something was wrong yet not caring enough to step in and try to help. I don't think this issue is specific to the time period of the Holocaust since we continue to see this kind of American behavior time and time again, its shown through our immigration policies, political leaders and even the media. America's superiority complex ensures that we behave as a country that believes in supposed justice for all but will only secure it for what those in power define as American. Not helping to fight the Holocaust was selfish and inhumane, and unless those are true American values, I believe any self proclaimed American should recognize the United State's lack of action as "un-American."

Although there are many greater problems then labeling, I think that when it comes to recognizing a genocide labeling is important. Lemkin's efforts were incredibly important, I believe this because if you don't add meaning to a word to describe such events as the Holocaust nobody would take it seriously. Lemkin recognized the difference between war and genocide, during a time where much of the world would have liked to shove everything in the same category simply because it would be easier. The United Nations held great promise, even though you can argue it never fulfilled the purpose it was meant to serve, Lemkin helped the UN better handle the crimes of the Holocaust, getting them to see the true gravity of the situation. Today the use of the word genocide may not do much to help actual situations, but I do think that it allows people who may not know anything about the topic better grasp the severity of crimes against humanity.

America should have taken in immigrants, we should have bombed the camps, and we should have entered WW2 earlier. America should have told its citizens about the ongoing genocide, it should have listened to its Jewish citizens who lived in a country claiming to be a heaven. America turned its cheek to the killings of hundreds of thousands and ignored those who wanted action. However that doesn't mean we can't learn from our mistakes. So far we have not learned from our mistakes, but I think that we can make improvements for the future if more people know the mistakes the United States made when it came to our involvement in WW2 and our lack of interference in the Holocaust.

Avatar
Wintertime
Posts: 15

America and the Holocaust

All of the resources were extremely interesting. One thing I have always wondered has been why didn’t the US interfere earlier and why didn’t they try to help the people being brutally murdered everyday. Even if some of the citizens didn’t know about the violent acts that were happening the American government had to know and yet they did nothing. And this isn’t to say that it was solely up to the American Government to do this because it was up to all the governments that could possibly help, but the US government had the power to interfere and help these people and yet they waited for so many years and this led to the deaths of so many people. The US could have chosen to let in many more refugees than they did and even that would be a small but crucial act to help the people being oppressed. I think that the UNited states should have done everything they could to help the people being murdered but at the same time I think that there was some things that were holding them back from helping, the American people today think that it is such an easy thing to send in troops or bomb the gas chambers or do a number of things but the truth is that all of these actions take a lot of time to set up and they have to be voted on and there is a bigger process. I think that the US should have been a power that was known for stopping the holocaust and I think that they did help stop and liberated many concentration camps but it was far to late for their actions to seem heroic. I also think that anyone who participated on the german side in the holocaust should be punished to the fullest extent because there is absolutely no excuse for helping with this genocide and everyone had the free will to stop and had many chances to stop and try to help. There seemed to be the same notion around the world that nobody wanted to lend a hand and many countries chose not to let refugees come into their countries and this is very sad. I honestly wonder if the holocaust were happening now would the US and/or any other countries do anything to stop it or to help. This is easier said than done and I think that as a country and people we need to be more informed on what’s happening outside our bubble and if there are any steps we can take to help people who are less fortunate than us. We talk about the holocaust in the past tense and talk about all the things we could have done while there are currently terrible things going on around the world that we could be working to stop.

Avatar
Bonaduchi
Posts: 25

America and the Holocaust

Overall, what do you think the United States should have done regarding the Holocaust?

Honestly this is a difficult question. At first glance any person with a heart would say that the United States should have saved all the European Jews, assassinated Hitler, and brought democracy throughout the land. Any person with logic however, would know that this wasn’t that easy. During the first years of Hitler’s leadership I don’t think the United States should have done anything, or at least would not have done anything that would have been of use due to the abysmal state of the economy. At this point the United States could still argue that they didn’t know the extent of what was happening. In the later years though, the United States could have done a lot more than offer condolences. I think that the U.S. at this point could have opened up their doors to immigration. Even if they didn’t want to do that they could have boycotted German products and gotten into the war much earlier than they did. Immigration law changes are among the most beneficial things that they could have done.

And was it a priority, from a legal standpoint, to label the crimes that the Nazis (and before them, the Turks murdering and/or pushing out the Armenians) had committed? What do you think was important and/or valuable about Lemkin’s efforts?

I feel as though it was a legal priority to label the crimes. Not having a name for the crime makes it a lot harder to prove because it’s almost as if it was imaginary or that it never really happened. The name is one of the things that adds credibility and legitimacy to an event. I think that's one of the reasons why Raphael Lemkin’s efforts were so important. Doing all that research and adding a name to the crime builds a stronger case against the Nazi’s. Lemkin did the equivalent of adding a name to face. That face all of a sudden is no longer a stranger. The name of the crime made the crime real. It made it personal to the people who it did not affect. The name also helps add culpability.

Based on what you’ve read in Power’s account as well as what you’ve viewed in the documentary “America and the Holocaust” as well as your perusal of the website linked to the new US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibition Americans and the Holocaust, how do you assess the United States’ actions?

When comparing the evidence I look at the indifference of the United States almost as deadly as the Holocaust itself. The United States so many opportunities to help and so many chances to take a stand, but they squandered all of them. The only reason they got involved in the first place was because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States is selfish, pure and simple. They only got involved because it somehow affected them, not because millions of human lives were at stake. Not because humanity was at risk, but because they got dragged into it. I understand, for the most part, why America didn’t help, at least in the beginning. They didn’t have the means, but after the horrors that they knew existed I think that America chose to turn their backs on people who needed it most.

What course of action would you recommend for our government and civilian population. Explain your thinking!

Immigration, Immigration, Immigration. Immigration was a huge way that they could help. All they had to do was say yes and near millions of lives would have been saved. They could have also publicized the Holocaust and put pressure on the rest of the nations to do something. I don’t think the United States handle the situation of the Holocaust very well til they entered the war which for many was already too late. In the U.S. defence they were discriminating fairly equally against the African Americans of the time so I don’t place too much blame on them. In addition to that the other powerful countries of the time were also just as hesitant to do anything. The only thing I can say for certain is that I don’t understand politics because there shouldn’t be a value on a human life.


Avatar
greengrape
Posts: 20

US indifference cost lives

As we have seen many times in the past, the US had the ability and knowledge to do more and chose not to, especially in regards to the Holocaust. The US was aware of what was going on in Germany and knew about the killings long before anything was done.

The US could have taken action sooner and saved many lives. People were aware of what was going on in Germany, most by November of 1938, the time of Kristallnacht. The agenda of Nazi Germany was well known yet no actions were put into place by the government. Many people saw the US as a haven from the persecution in Europe, but the US made it clear that the borders were not open for just anyone. I was shocked that the government denied jewish children entry yet allowed many more British children into the country shortly after. I am not shocked by the discrimination the US had toward the Jewish children, but surprised that this action so clearly exhibited it. We also see that Breckenridge Long, under Secretary of the State, actually made it more difficult for Jews escaping Germany to come to the US during this time. The US should have loosened its immigration laws, not restricted it for the refugees.

There was pressure put on the president and the government to take action. Thousands of people protested the actions of Nazi Germany in NY. Many protests were held around the country. Rabbis marched to petition the president to take action. Yet why was nothing getting done. One reason may have been the strong anti semitism sentiment in this country. The president’s cousin even stated that “twenty thousand charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults” when referring to the children who were turned away. When polled, many people did not want any of the immigrants coming to the US. Anti Semitic and anti immigration sentiment was prominent during the war. As the war continued more reports of killings and mass deportation of the Jews came.

In the movie I learned that the government tried to block reports coming in for 11 weeks. I expect the US to be indifferent in the wrong times, but I did not think that information about such a serious event would ever try to be hidden, and for 11 weeks! Peter Bergson and a group of activists began advocating for a special agency to oversee the rescue of European Jews, but was turned away by the government. It was not until 2 years after, when the U.S. Treasury Department was going to expose the actions of the State Department to block Jewish immigration to the U.S., that Roosevelt allowed for the creation of such an agency. Not only was the US trying to conceal reports coming from Europe, but they tried to cover up these actions.

Even when the US decided to drop bombs in Nazi Germany, the bombs were blocked by the War Department from being dropped on gas chambers at Auschwitz. The bombs were dropped only 5 miles away at factories. One man in the film stated that if the agency had been established a year earlier it would have saved tens of thousands of lives. The US was more concerned with winning the war than the people in danger. The decision to rescue people was politically motivated more than anything.

Ralph Lemkin, who we read about in Powers book, was a notable figure. He was a Polish Jew and an expert in international law. After studying the mass killings of Armenians, Lemkin was surprised that international law had not changed and he spent time trying to change that. Lemkin also created the word genocide. He also tried to get genocide to be against international law. Although genocide has since occured, the recognition of genocide as a international law is important. Ralph Lemkin got approval of a Genocide Convention and the United States did not ratify the Genocide Convention until 1986.

It is clear that the US should have acted sooner during the war, especially in terms of helping refugees by loosening the restriction at the border. It would not have been difficult would have saved countless lives. I am also in awe by the poll that says that many people believe that the Jews brought this treatment upon themselves. This speaks to the attitude in this country still about the Holocaust as well as immigration today. I see many parallels to the attitude toward immigration today and it is quite scary. The anti immigration sentiment is fueled in large part to xenophobia in this country, and the government is turning away so many people in need of refuge. It is clear that the values that the US holds dear such as liberty and freedom from oppression are only for certain people who the administration deems worthy.


Avatar
Creation-Myth
Posts: 18

What Now

Based on what you’ve read in Power’s account as well as what you’ve viewed in the documentary “America and the Holocaust” as well as your perusal of the website linked to the new US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibition Americans and the Holocaust, how do you assess the United States’ actions?

Reading through Power’s book, I found myself again and again disgusted by the motives behind the rejection of Genocide and the many obstacles in the way of the bill. Two things stood out to me concerning the passing of the Bill to a vote.

The first was the United States’ many excuses for not backing the Bill, or for not backing the phrasing. The issue of genocide remained an issue of profit, rather than on of humanitarian concern. The United States was driven by the need for money and for ‘peace’ among their allies. Since the Bill would accuse their allies of genocide, the US backed down. Instead of calling out their allies, they continued to permit their actions, saying that the murder of innocent was fine, as long as they weren’t friendly with the US. The case was fraught with capitalist scorn, and bias towards a specific, narrow minded agenda. This practice is unfortunately common today, where the US turns a blind eye to mass killings and genocides in other countries, and even to the human rights violations within the US. They are still afraid to own up to their own wrong doings, and this fear --- or refusal --- was a major factor in their opposition against the Bill. In places, there mere phrasing would accuse the US of genocide, and thus was unacceptable. It was as though the US would sign only if the Bill accused non-allied nations, with no risk towards the US or its allies. The administration preferred to cover its own ass rather than preserve millions of lives in the decades to come.

The US also opposed the Bill as it would create unrest within the United States, giving voice to the hundreds of human rights groups standing up against genocide and violation of human existence. I’m not sure what that was about, and I ask someone to clarify this specific section, as I found no reason for the US administration to want to shut down the voices of the people. At the time we were a leading democracy, the pioneer of the people, the future of mankind, and yet the administration sought to cover up the voices which formed the nation, and create one ‘perfect’ voice. It seemed to me like their goal was to preserve face at the cost of lives they couldn’t be bothered to care about.

The second is the issue Lemkin had with the phrasing of the UDHR. He opposed the fact that the UDHR might overlap, and thus cover, genocide. His arguments actually hindered both the UDHR and his argument for genocide, and I believe he could have easily come up with a solution through which both could live equally. I do understand his anger and his frustration, his life’s work potentially thrown away, an issue of global concern marginalized and pushed under the rug. Both could have co-existed. His argument should have stood such that genocide became a named crime, separate from the UDHR, with separate consequence. Genocide is indeed more than mass killings, more than murder, it is the total destruction of a culture, a history, a race, an identity key to the development of the human race as a whole. Terrorist actions are covered separate from most violent crimes, just as homicide and suicide are separated. Genocide and ‘violent crimes’ can, and should, be separated

Overall, what do you think the United States should have done regarding the Holocaust?

I feel like this whole situation is all too common, and could be repaired, should all parties fight for the moral option rather than the option that suited political and economic interest. We, even now, prefer to push issue under the rug and act as though they don’t exist, if it means we can preserve a façade of perfection. Concerning the naming of genocide, I think the US should have signed the Bill and stepped forward to own its own mistakes. It is a lot to ask, but this was a period of change, an opportunity for the United States to take advantage of its prestige and be a leader in human rights preservation. Time and time again we fail to step up, accept change, and thus miss the opportunity to be ‘first’, and instead end up dead last and a laughing stock among leading nations. Sign the Bill, and whatever the Bill means for human rights for the US, deal with it. Take care of it, and stand as a leader on the world stage. I truly believe that if the US had spoken out and made an attempt to change, allies would be pushed to change, and the pressure would be on to convict those within their own nations who committed the crime of genocide or even mass destruction. Let’s say they didn’t feel the heat, maybe they do nothing. The US has still take the upper hand when the time does come around as we’ve seen time and time again. Nothing bad can come to the US from speaking out and changing our selves to be better. In an ideal world the US would suck it up and make moves towards a better US. In a realistic world they would sign the bill, and then fight the allegations that would come at the country years to come. But as far as I am concerned, it’s worth the price.

What course of action would you recommend for our government and civilian population? Explain your thinking!

I’ve already addressed that the US should have backed the Bill. The process after-the-fact might come as a challenge. I would suggest, for the government, that after pushing the bill through, we began to break away from segregation, and make steps towards integration of all races. Segregation being called genocide was one of the US’ primary issues, and signing the bill would force the US to face the facts. However, by clearly making moves to move towards humane treatment the US could say ‘we can do it, we are doing, and so should you. Follow our lead’. The US could even, once again, claim superiority over less developed nations. From there, the US should have begun to put pressure on its allies: convict killers, or face American fury. It’s an unfortunate fact that that would even have to be a tactic, but it could work.

As for today, I am going to follow TurnOverThisPage’s commentary. Letting in migrants is a solid first step towards 1. Setting precedent, 2. Repenting for inaction, and 3. Forging a new nation based on our founding ideals of acceptance and hope. Today, we rip children from parents, we deny entrance to refugees, and we house migrant children in cages and make excuses for it. We fail to take accountability, or even repent for our sins in the past. The United States should follow Canada in accepting migrants, providing shelter, and aiding in assimilation. We should also have the guts to speak up for minority groups: Muslims who are held in concentration camps in China, gun violence and gang violence in our own country, child slavery in Dubai and countless other atrocities. Perhaps this means statements from the White House, or perhaps this means increased funding for news media to research and report all over the world, rather than the limited Euro-centric viewpoint we are conditioned to care about.

As for civilians, it is our responsibility to put pressure on the administration. We are a democracy, so let’s act on it. Civil unrest is far more powerful than we think, especially in the wake of MLK. In such unrest, standing up and speaking out could hold the administration accountable for its actions, or inactions. Boston18 sends a powerful message saying, “Don’t underestimate the power of the public. The government is the product of our views and objectives, and in that way, the government is only as powerful as we want it to be. We get the ultimate word, so we must use it.” The US stood silent, refusing migrants throughout the Holocaust. That shifted when public opinion took root. When the administration was exposed, the people spoke out. When the people spoke out, the administration took action. It really is all about public opinion, and though I don’t believe this is how a government should run, it leaves room for the people to step up and call out their government. We can see today how an administration can lose the favor of the people, and become so disconnected as to fail to represent the people in its entirety. Nothing should be left up to the administration alone, nothing at all. Trump continues his rhetoric because his rallies are full, because he has people in office and out of office telling him that what he is doing is acceptable and right. The voice of the opposition is just not loud enough for him. It is rising, and as it rises he becomes more frantic, more panicked, because as hidden away as it may seem, public opinion does matter. Public action does matter.

And was it a priority, from a legal standpoint, to label the crimes that the Nazis (and before them, the Armenians) had committed?

Absolutely it was a priority.

From a legal standpoint, labeling something makes it official. Labeling something gives it a name, validity, and thus punishment. It means that crimes that otherwise go unpunished can be named and prevented. If someone took my car, and we didn’t call if theft, what would happen? There is no way to punish a crime that, legally, does not exist. It also means that governments can call out countries for human violations with a clear accusation, one that puts pressure on the nation, one that labels the nation. It’s an association tactic, where if the Armenians pulled a genocide, and that same term was used with the Nazis, the term would carry that much more power when accusing the US of genocide of the Native Americans.

From a social standpoint, it means the people have a word to rally around. People rallied around “civil disobedience”, around “terrorist”, around “LGBTQ”, around “American”, and against “immigrant”. The fight is now centralized and up for debate. News media often refuses to name issues as political or give them criminal identification (LOL Fox News), and thus are able to skim the topic, sweeping it under the rug. Without a name the concept has little to no validity. It is recognition of the victims. If not a genocide, it would be a mass killing, and why should that one differ from any other? That simply isn’t true. Its more than mass murder, or systematic oppression, it is all of that combined and so much more. It is the deliberate destruction of a culture, a people, a hope, and a future. Naming the atrocity “genocide” forces us to handle the issue differently, in a new light, as a new horror.

What do you think was important and/or valuable about Lemkin’s efforts?

Lemkin faced considerable opposition in the UN and in his journeys of genocide recognition, but he kept fighting. He fought for something that he believed was right. He brought a new voice to the newly developing UN, one of persistence, one of bi-partisan humanitarian concern, a voice upon which the UN should be founded. He came off as a nuisance, as annoying, but his work forged a path for those who could not speak, to have a voice.

He changed how we think about crime. He showed the world that crimes against humanity should not be the sole responsibility of the state. He bashed national borders, and instead argued that we should be protecting the human race. No longer should we protect the “American people’ but rather mankind. His work forced politicians to reconsider how international law is created and considered. The United Nations is an attempt at crossing borders and unifying the world under one flag, but ultimately fails. I believe that if more people like Lemkin took office in the UN, national borders would hold less meaning when it comes to crimes against humanity, and isn’t that better than inaction?

We allow national borders to hinder our perceptions of the world. We allow borders to force us to sit and watch other people suffer. These borders have created an US/THEM mentality, one that infects the minds of every politician and civilian, promoting tunnel vision, and allowing history to repeat itself. Lemkin fought to make sure history did not repeat itself, and yet here we are. Concentration camps in China. Camps in the US. And those are the ones I know about. Lemkin called for an end. Lemkin called for unity, and for a brief moment in history there was a glimmer of unity. That glimmer was quickly drowned in capitalist mantra, bipartisan conflict, and selfish intent.

I wish I knew what to do, where to turn, some way to make a tangible difference without ending up like Lemkin: derelict and unsatisfied

Avatar
C1152GS
Posts: 24

Bystander?

Overall, what do you think the United States should have done regarding the Holocaust?

The United States should’ve taken active steps regarding the Holocaust. These steps could’ve saved millions of lives. It is horrifying that the US only took part in the war when its interests were at stake. During the documentary American and the Holocaust, we saw children begging the US for entry. These children were let down because our public policy and refusal to change immigration laws caused the boat to return back to where it came from. This scene in the film showed truly how callous the policy makers and people of this country were towards refugees. It was even more pronounced because these refugees were not adults, but children who deserved, even more, to be shielded and protected from these atrocities. The U.S should’ve joined the war sooner, and it should’ve focused its efforts on destroying Nazis death camps. Bombing these camps would’ve killed many people, but it would’ve halted the Nazis efforts at eliminating these people’s lives. It continues surprises me how whole governments and people could look the other way when crime and injustice do not align with their direct interests. This disinterest in other people’s plight is what made the United States a bystander for a duration of the Holocaust.

And was it a priority, from a legal standpoint to label the crimes that the Nazis (and before them, the Armenians) had committed?

It was clearly not a priority for the Allies to label the crimes the Nazis and Armenians committed as a genocide. The allies were reactive to the mistreatment and brutalization of millions of people. Their biggest concern was not the lives that were taken, but rather the violation of the Treaty of Versailles and affected the country’s sovereignty. This stance proved to be dangerous because it failed to separate mass murder from the political desire of acquiring more land.

What do you think was important and/or valuable about Lemkin's efforts?

Lemkin’s efforts were important in the Nuremberg Trials as it was included in the charter of the International Military Tribunal. Germany was charged with crimes against humanity and after the trials the U.N General assembly making genocide punishable by international law. This is important because international courts could be used to prosecute those who perform these crimes. The term genocide also separates it from the more general “crimes against humanity”, therefore allowing the governments and public to clearly see the difference in these crimes. It was important from a legal standpoint for Lemkin to coin the term genocide because it made it a crime and would allow intervention and action by member countries of the UN. Although we have not been able to prevent another genocide, the responses to these crimes have been speedier by the public and also by governments. Even though, we have not been able to fully realize the goal of “Never Again”, it gives us a way to understand the patterns of genocide.

Based on what you've read in Power's account as well as what you've viewed in the documentary "America and the Holocaust" as well as your perusal of the website linked to the new US Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibition Americans and the Holocaust, how do you assess the United States's actions?

The United States government knew what was happening in Germany and the Jewish population even pleaded for their help, yet they refused to aid the targeted population. What stands out to me is the majority of the Jewish population in the United States supported Franklin D. Roosevelt, yet he turned a blind eye to their pleas for help. I understand that the U.S was recovering from a major economic downturn at the time and that people’s focus turned inward, but it does not justify the U.S actions. Hundreds of petitions were sent to the state department and no action was taken. I also find it interesting that the U.S diplomats protested when the Nazi’s SA militia physically assaulted Americans in Germany. This just goes to show that it is only convenient to react when one is specifically targeted. Furthermore, had the U.S taken more active steps to condemn Germany’s actions during the Olympics, it could’ve reduced Hitler’s confidence. It is also sickening that the Wagner-Rogers bill did not even go to a floor vote in congress it passage would’ve allowed for 10,000 children a year to enter the U.S. The St.Louis boat that carried refugees from Europe was not allowed entry even when it sailed around Miami for days. Those 294 passengers that died after they were sent back to Germany make the U.S complacent. Even after the Holocaust, the United States continued to ignore opportunities to make a difference. They did not ratify the UN genocide convention nor denounced regimes committing crimes. It appalls me as one of the most influential countries; the U.S remained a bystander. The U.S’ position also highlights that U.S intervention or aid holds U.S interests at the center.

What course of action would you recommend for our government and the civilian population?

I recommend that our government increase immigration quotas for affected countries and populations. The civilian population needs to read newspapers and keep on on social media in order to protest and demand their elected officials to vote on issues that they care about. As a society our votes are important, and if we direct them to officials who put human lives as a priority it will make a difference across the globe.

Avatar
Rainier
Posts: 18

America and the Holocaust

I am very tired of hearing the phrase “never again”. We are constantly using it yet we let the same atrocities happen over and over again. I don’t think that the United States could’ve 100% stopped the Holocaust but I think earlier and more involvement would have helped a bit at the very least. We learned earlier in the year about the Good Samaritan law and in the case of America during the Holocaust we failed in helping victims. it seems hypocritical for us to have a law like this while we ourselves were bystanders. Now we constantly talk about the crimes that Nazis committed yet we have not talked about the crimes that we committed.

I think at the very least the United States should have accepted refugees during the Holocaust. United States should not have remained indifferent but instead should have spoken out louder against the atrocities that they had knowledge of. When thinking about the United States' role during the Holocaust I keep on finding myself referring back to being a bystander. Being bystander is often associated with an individual effort but the US reaction to the Holocaust proves that it happens on a greater scale. The US had so many opportunities to work against the Holocaust, for example bombing the gas chambers at Auschwitz, accepting refugees, sending more troops, discouraging US companies from aiding the Nazis. Hitler had a life size portrait of Henry Ford in his office and you would think that the US government would be able to prevent such support and interactions with the Nazi party if they really cared about preventing such violations of human rights. Simply put, the United States should have acted sooner and been less afraid to take action.

Of course it wasn’t a priority for them to label the war crimes, or at the very least it wasn’t a priority while such things occurred. Labeling these actions as crimes would require them to actually take action. Maybe after the war there was a greater priority to label these crimes but by that time, it was too late. Although being able to place a label on these crimes afterwards lets some people have a definition of a genocide which allows them to try to prevent the same crimes from happening again. This is why it was a priority to some but not others, it all depended on the surrounding situations.

I have found the United State’s actions as disgusting and deplorable. Not only did they remain quiet in the face of injustice, they purposefully tried to censor the news of the murders of thousands of Jews. The government tried to stop private Jewish groups from sending news of the Holocaust and they continued to thrive while they knew that people were being slaughtered. They failed in both the lack of action that they took but also the actions that they did take, like turning away 20,000 Jews. Power mentions “Why and how did people live in a ‘twilight between knowing and not knowing?’” (p. 35) and the answer is simple. People know because of information given to them but it is a matter of do they want to believe it. Because to believe means that you must do something about it or else you are a bad person, relating back to the Good Samaritan law.

I think that the government should have made a stance on the Holocaust earlier and not have censored what information they were giving out. Be honest with the citizens, call it was it is, a genocide, and then let them react the way that they want. The government can’t force people to care but it shouldn’t water down the information either. This way they would be less afraid because of political sides, but approach their involvement more as an ethical argument.

posts 16 - 30 of 30