APUSH America and the Holocaust
In 1933, Adolph Hitler launched a program to ‘cleanse’ Germany of Jewish influence. 1936 this program was extended to countries occupied by Germany, and in January, years later, the “Final Solution” policy was adopted. The massive industrial annihilation of Jews in Concentration and extermination camps only reached the American public after the war ended. The Roosevelt’s failure to act, however, was not due to a lack of evidence on the holocaust, but rather the lack of a desire to rescue the persecuted. Twelve specific propositions and actions proposed in the face of these atrocities in the United States may have saved hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives.
The public excuse of Roosevelt’s lack of action was attributed to the unwillingness to permit any distractions from the main task of defeating Germany. However, it was proposed that the U.S. government, working through neutral government or the Vatican could have pressed Germany to release the Jews, demonstrating to the Nazis and to the world that the United States was committed to liberating the Jews. This, as a purely diplomatic action, would have done nothing to impede the war effort. However it was also speculated by the time the United States had indisputable evidence of the concentration camps, the American government could have achieved little in an attempted rescue. War conditions made rescue difficult, as did the Nazi’s determination to exterminate the Jews. And by the summer of ’42, two million Jews had already been massacred and the killing was continuing at a swift velocity. Rescuing millions, at the time, may have been impossible but without the ‘war effort’ excuse, tens of thousands could have been saved.
The first of the twelve programs put forth to counter the Holocaust was the earlier establishment of the War Refugee Board in 1942. The administration should also have received more adequate government...
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