Wednesdays Sept 23- Oct 21, 2020
12-1:15 p.m.

Via Zoom


Historian, Dr. Shelly Cline will offer a five-week course. Registration is FREE for MCHE members and $25 for non-members.

Holocaust history raises important questions about what Europeans could have done to stop the rise of Nazism in Germany and its assault on Europe’s Jews. Questions also must be asked of the international community, including the United States. What did the US government and the American people know about the threats posed by Nazi Germany? What responses were possible? And when?

This course examines the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war, and genocide.


September 23- The United States and the Nazi Threat

Nazi Germany’s persecution of Europe’s Jews was not a secret in the United States. Though some Americans protested Nazism, the US response during these early years was limited, in large part because Americans were suffering through the Great Depression and did not want to become entangled in an international conflict in the aftermath of World War I.


September 30- The United States and the Refugee Crisis

Between 1938 and 1941, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied much of Europe, bringing millions of Jews under its control. The United States remained neutral during this period. Though many Americans were sympathetic to the plight of Europe’s Jews, the majority did not want to increase immigration, nor see the United States become involved in World War II.


October 7- The United States and Holocaust

The United States entered World War II in December 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. By 1943, the American press carried a number of reports about the ongoing mass murder of Jews. Although the United States could have done more to aid the victims of Nazi Germany and its collaborators, large-scale rescue was impossible by the time the United States entered the war. Throughout the war, however, the Allied governments prioritized defeating Nazism.


October 14- Winning the War and Shaping the Aftermath

In the final days of World War II, American magazines covered victories in war alongside some of the first widely circulated photographs from concentration camps. After fighting their way into Nazi-occupied territory, Allied forces discovered and liberated concentration camps, freeing hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors. Between the establishment of the Displaced Persons camps in 1945 and the closure of the last camp in 1957, approximately 140,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors immigrated to the United States.


October 21- Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Q. Whitman

This program is supported, in part, by a grant from
the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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