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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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New Evidence Of U.S. Ambassador To Nazi Germany’s Anti-Semitism

Before Roosevelt’s ambassador to Nazi Germany had enough of Hitler, he muzzled American Jews anti-Nazi protests.
Ambassador Dodd and his  family in 1933.

Ambassador Dodd and his family in 1933.

The U.S. ambassador to Nazi Germany in the 1930s privately made anti-Semitic remarks and worked to undermine American Jewish protests against Hitler, according to newly discovered documents.

William E. Dodd, a University of Chicago historian, was chosen by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as ambassador to Germany in June 1933, four months after Adolf Hitler rose to power. A book about Dodd’s years in Germany, Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts,” was a bestseller in 2011.

Larson did allude to Dodd’s personal prejudice against Jews, but most of the reviews, including those in the New York Times and Washington Post, ignored that aspect of the book. They took a greater interest in the book’s saucy revelations about the affairs that Dodd’s daughter, Martha, carried on with prominent Nazis and others.

In early 1934, Ambassador Dodd was repeatedly harangued by Nazi government officials about an upcoming mock trial of Hitler to be held at Madison Square Garden. The trial was organized by the American Jewish Congress and cosponsored by labor and civil rights groups.

Speakers at the event, which was held on March 7, 1934, presented evidence of Hitler’s assault on civil liberties and persecution of German Jews. At the conclusion, the Nazi regime was “convicted” of having “turned its face against historic progress and the positive blessings and achievements of modern civilization.”

Documents recently located by this author in the Yale University archives describe efforts by Dodd to prevent a second mock trial from taking place, this time in Chicago. Although several previous historians have mentioned Dodd’s opposition to the second trial, the documents add disturbing new details to those accounts—and shed additional light on Dodd’s own views of Jews

During a visit to the U.S. in late March 1934, Dodd turned to his old friend Colonel Edward M. House, a senior adviser to President Roosevelt, to help block a Chicago mock trial. In a letter to House on March 24, Ambassador Dodd reported that former judge James Gerard, who had served as U.S. ambassador in Berlin during World War I, had been invited to take part in the trial. Dodd asked House to “find a way to influence Judge Gerard to decline the invitation.”

Dodd cited several reasons. First, “these Jewish demonstrations [against Nazism] are creating a race issue here and even winning Nazi support.” (Apparently, he believed Jewish protests helped drive other Americans to support the Nazis.) Second, Dodd believed Hitler had decided “to ease up on the Jews.”

In addition, Dodd told House he had personally assured Hitler “that Chicago Jews were not so wild.” Therefore, Dodd urged House to “let [Gerard] know the risks [and] also the discredit to his own fame.”

Another issue raised in Ambassador Dodd’s letter to House had to do with Jews on the staff of the American embassy in Berlin, something about which Dodd had previously griped. Dodd complained to House that U.S. journalists had been informed that Dodd recently protested to Hitler about Nazi propaganda activities in the United States. “It’s another proof of the risky fact of certain people in confidential positions,” Dodd wrote to House. “I am almost sure the information was given once more by one of the ‘Chosen people.’”

An additional and important reason for Dodd’s position was that his main goal was to improve U.S.-German relations. Although the Roosevelt administration disapproved of Germany’s treatment of the Jews, the U.S. was not prepared to protest in any concrete way. FDR personally instructed Ambassador Dodd that while he could “unofficially” take issue with Nazi Germany’s anti-Semitism, he was not to issue any formal protests on the subject, since it was “not a [U.S.] governmental affair.” Dodd did privately express his views to German officials, but never lodged any formal diplomatic protests over the persecution of the Jews.

About the Author: www.JNS.org is an independent, non-profit business resource and wire service covering Jewish news and Israel news for Jewish media throughout the English-speaking world.


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18 Responses to “New Evidence Of U.S. Ambassador To Nazi Germany’s Anti-Semitism”

  1. Guy Peters says:

    Before WW2 involved the USA , Germany ,hitler’s Germany was the biggest business partner of the USA , remember the hindenberg ? There were transatlantic cruises on dirigibles filled with hydrogen gas ( dumb Nazi idea) the laws against hemp / marihuana were a co-conspiracy of hitler’s , goebbels ,the duponts ,w. R. Hearst & a host of other Nazi sympathizers & other fascists in the USA , to benefit the German economy , petro-chemical plastics ,wood pulp paper industries , etc. When the USA entered WW2 , the laws against hemp were put on hold until the war was over

  2. Anonymous says:

    So what's new? The whole world didn't lift the finger to help. Shame on them.

  3. There were as many ‘Nazis’ in the US as Germany. Most Americans were racists and bigots then. It was more a Christian country then.

  4. Now our President is

  5. Judy Jay says:

    You are a disgusting, sick, antisemite – people are on to you and your kind. Why don’t you leave the US? We don’t want your kind here.

  6. Ricky, wake up….. stop hating……. Israel is the only country surrounded by hostile Mulslims…….. stop your hatred of Jews.

  7. Ricky, wake up….. stop hating……. Israel is the only country surrounded by hostile Mulslims…….. stop your hatred of Jews.

  8. Ricky, wake up….. stop hating……. Israel is the only country surrounded by hostile Mulslims…….. stop your hatred of Jews.

  9. Maybe he was Badly Frightened of the nazi’s? BLIND TRAITOR!

  10. Maybe he was Badly Frightened of the nazi’s? BLIND TRAITOR!

  11. Maybe he was Badly Frightened of the nazi’s? BLIND TRAITOR!

  12. Donald Lee Peckinpaugh says:

    I'm an American and a Christian. I love Israel and the Jews! God Bless The Jews. God Bless Israel! God said he would use you to Bless the Nations, and you have!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I read this book, In The Garden of The Beasts, Erik Larson (author), and this article from The Jewish Press, New Evidence Of U.S. Ambassador To Nazi Germany’s Anti-Semitism, is not supported in the book. Ambassador Dodd progressively became astonished, then frustrated (with both Germany and the United States State Department) and shocked with what he was saw was evolving in Nazi Germany. He was not a Raoul Wallenberg, but I didn't find anti-semitism in the book.

  14. Gil Gilman says:

    the did lift a certain finger…

  15. Cody Flecker says:

    Gil Gilman The fact of the matter is that the Jews were in love with FDR as they are in love today with Obama. Both men hate or hated the Jews, but that didn't matter. When the St Louis sailed into Cuba or in American waters, the Jews were basically silent as to the fate of the Jews on board. The result was that they were sent to Concentration Camps when they landed back in Europe. We are seeing history repeat itself today.

  16. Ted Exstein says:

    I read the book In the Garden of the Beasts and it did outline the exact same issues as the author of this article. I am not sure what the "new" findings are. Ambassador Dodd was initially ambivalent about the Jews, but by the end of his time in Germany, he was quite outspoken about the Nazi atrocities that he saw around him. That is why he was recalled.

    Another interesting note, left out of the article, is that the Ambassador and his family lived in a house owned by a Jew who lived upstairs from the Ambassador's family. So, you can say that he actually personally protected that Jewish family.

  17. Penina Sarah says:

    Regarding his belief that Hitler would ease up when Dodd spoke against another mock trial in 1934, Dodd should have been told, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"

  18. Uzi Kattan says:

    Unfortunately Cody is right about the liberals who call themselves Jews. They worshiped FDR because of his progressive big government policies and ignore his Jew hatred. Their descendants are so far removed from Judaism that they see themselves as liberal DemocRATs first and Jews second. The Orthodox (religious observant) Jews see liberalism diametrically opposed to Judaism and see that DemocRATs are a party of Jew haters like Obama the Muslim.

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