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George McGovern received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944

Indeed, the Allies’ air drops of supplies to the Polish Home Army rebels in Warsaw in August 1944 were carried out by volunteers, who agreed to undertake the missions despite the hazards of flying their planes to areas outside their normal range.

McGovern noted that he remained an ardent admirer of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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“Franklin Roosevelt was a great man and he was my political hero,” he said in the interview. “But I think he made two great mistakes in World War II.” One was the internment of Japanese Americans; the other was the decision “not to go after Auschwitz…. God forgive us for that tragic miscalculation.”

In contrast with his pacifist image, McGovern emphasized that for him, the central lesson of the U.S. failure to bomb Auschwitz was the need for “a determination that never again will we fail to exercise the full capacity of our strength in that direction.”

He added, “We should have gone all out [against Auschwitz], and we must never again permit genocide.”

(JTA)

Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and the author or editor of 15 books about the Holocaust and American Jewish history.

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Dr. Rafael Medoff is the founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and coeditor of the Online Encyclopedia of America's Response to the Holocaust.

2 COMMENTS

  1. McGovern was a good man.

    It is not clear that the blame for failing to bomb Auschwitz falls on Roosevelt. One reason that the allies won the war was that Roosevelt did not micromanage his field commanders. The decisions as to what targets to bomb were in the hands of Gens. Carl Spatz, Jimmy Doolittle, and Dwight Eisenhower.

  2. McGovern was a good man.

    It is not clear that the blame for failing to bomb Auschwitz falls on Roosevelt. One reason that the allies won the war was that Roosevelt did not micromanage his field commanders. The decisions as to what targets to bomb were in the hands of Gens. Carl Spatz, Jimmy Doolittle, and Dwight Eisenhower.

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