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“Courage First and Intelligence Second”: The American Jewish Secular Elite, Roosevelt, and the Failure to Rescue

  • Henry L. Feingold
Part of the The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomatic and Economic History book series (WOOROO)

Abstract

Excerpt from phone conversation on 13 January 1944 between Samuel Rosenman, President Roosevelt’s speechwriter and adviser, and Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the secretary of the Treasury.

Keywords

Jewish Community Power Holder Jewish Question American Jewish Committee Genocidal Intent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Lawrence H. Fuchs, The Political Behavior of American Jews (Glencoe: Free Press, 1958), 99–107, 177–187.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    That percentage (3.69) is taken from the government census of religious bodies conducted during 1936–1937. It counted 4,641,000 Jews concentrated in the larger cities of the eastern seaboard. See H. S. Linfield, “Jewish Communities in the United States,” American Jewish Yearbook (AJYB) 42 (1940), 216, 220.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For Jewish political activism see Alfred O. Hero Jr., American Religious Groups View Foreign Policy: Trends in Rank and File Opinion, 1937–1969 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1973), 21,39. See also Stephen Isaacs, Jews and American Politics (Garden City: Doubleday, 1974); and Charles Kadushin, The American Intellectual Elite, (Boston: Little, Brown, 1968), 319–320.Google Scholar
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    James M. Burns: Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1956), 104; Mark R. Levy and Michael S. Kramer, The Ethnic Factor: How American Minorities Decide Elections (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972), 103. The eleventh was a Socialist.Google Scholar
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    The phrase is used first in Feingold’s The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938–1945 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1980), 22–44. Similarly, Senator Tydings of Maryland introduced on 8 January 1934 a resolution calling for the Senate and the president to express “surprise and pain” at German treatment of Jews and to urge the German government to restore Jews’ civil rights. See Congressional Record, 73rd Cong., 2nd sess., 68, pt. 1, 176. The State Department opposed the resolution, and it was never reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For a full examination of executive manipulation of private pressure groups, see Robert C. Hildebrand, Power and People: Executive Management of Public Opinion in Foreign Affairs, 1897–1921 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981).Google Scholar
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    Quoted in Jerold S. Auerbach, Unequal Justice: Lawyers and Social Change in Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 188. Under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, for example, only 8 of the 207 federal judges appointed were Jewish. The figure rose considerably under Roosevelt and even more under Truman, but Catholics, not Jews, received the lion’s share of federal judicial appointments. See Lubell, Future, 83–84.Google Scholar
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    Michael F. Parrish, Felix Frankfurter and His Time: The Reform Years (New York: Free Press, 1982), 229 (“the New Deal was a ‘lawyers deal’”); Auerbach, Unequal Justice, 159, 184–189. See also John W. Johnson, American Legal Culture, 1908–1940 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1981), xi, 185, for the triumph of the socially conscious Brandeis-style brief; also Peter H. Irons, New Deal Lawyers (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
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  26. 42.
    Raymond Moley, After Seven Years (New York: Harper & Row, 1939); Parrish, Frankfurter, 204–205, 218; on the workings of the “brain trust,” see Eliot A. Rosen Hoover, Roosevelt and the Brain Trust (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  27. 43.
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  28. 52.
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    Brandeis did direcdy intrude himself on the refugee crisis and the Zionist issue in a meeting with secretary of state Cordell Hull. (See Freund, “Brandeis”, 716–17). But there was in most members of the Brandeis group a curiously thin, almost part-time quality to their new-found Jewishness and their investment in Zionist activities. See Ben Halpern, “The Americanization of Zionism,” American Jewish History 69 (September 1979), 32–33. See also Thomas Karfunkel and Thomas W. Ryley, The Jewish Seat: Anti-Semitism and the Appointment of Jews to the Supreme Court (Hicksville: Exposition Press, 1978), 87–97.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry L. Feingold

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