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If you were the President in 1940 and learned about the Holocaust what would you have done and why?

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βˆ™ 2013-02-28 04:39:10

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It's often said that hindsight is mankind's greatest gift. As far as I know, no country has ever gone to war on humanitarian grounds, but I'm open to correction on that. Certainly, none of the countries that fought Nazi Germany claimed to be fighting to help the Jews or to end the Holocaust. IF I'd been U.S. President in 1941, when the first reports of the Holocaust reached Britain and America, I imagine I'd have wanted their accuracy checked extremely carefully, as the Holocaust was so irrational. One can understand a tyranny wanting to to plunder and enslave a people, but murdering them in pursuit of an ideology is a different matter. (In fact, it's so bizarre that at the time there was no word in English for this at the time. The earliest known use of the word 'genocide' dates from 1944). Let's assume I'd checked the accuracy and believed the reports. I'd then have asked myself what I could do. One obvious weapon would have been publicity, in the hope of shaming the German government into stopping the action. I would have appealed to Congress to allow Jews fleeing persecution to enter the U.S. much more easily, though by 1941 that would have been very late, but it would have saved some. However, beyond that it's not at all clear what form realistic and immediate practical intervention might have taken. As a politician I might have had worries about anti-German feeling resulting from the publicity leading to public disorder against the very large number of Americans of German origin. I would have asked to the U.S. envoy to the Vatican to press the Pope to issue an unequivocal and thundrous denunciation of the Holocaust. After all, at least 40% of the population of Greater Germany in 1941 was (at least nominally) Roman Catholic. I hope others will add their thoughts to this. Joncey

2013-02-28 04:39:10
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