A resource developed in partnership with the Library of Congress, these materials look at the issue of genocide.
Following its defeat in World War I and the punitive peace treaty that followed, Germany fell into a deep and extended economic depression. Nationalist leaders found a willing audience when they looked for scapegoats who could be blamed for the country’s troubles. Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party claimed that the Jewish people were traitors during the war and a blight on the nation. Hitler claimed that the Aryan race (northern Europeans) were genetically superior to all others and that the Jews were inferior. When he rose to power in the early 1930s, he began to impose punitive policies to punish and shame the Jews.
While America knew about pre-war Nazi discrimination against the Jews, it did little to protest or demand an end to it. There was a heated debate in the nation about American involvement in or isolation from European disputes. The U.S. refused to expand its immigration policies to accept more Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution.
Reflect on the following questions:
What was the Holocaust?
How did America respond to the Holocaust?
How has America responded to other genocides?