The Prophet of the Coming Wrath (1938–1940)
Van loon was an early critic of the german Führer Adolf Hitler. When he was in Bad Gastein, Austria, in the summer of 1933, he bought a copy of Mein Kampf, a few months after Hitler became chancellor. “I have carefully read every word Hitler has written. I did not want to judge him on the ‘say so’ of the Jews. I wanted him to tell me his own story. That his style is abominable beyond words is neither here or there,” he wrote to his former wife Eliza. “But the contents of the book…. The most ignorant book I ever read…. And all this brutal ignorance is paraded about as if it were a new and glorious discovery. I consider the man the worst menace to the peace of the world since Napoleon.” As a result, van Loon decided “it is my duty to go back [to America] and preach an anti-Hitler campaign, not merely because he does not like the Jews, but because he is the sworn enemy of everything that alone can save our civilization…. We should not take him as a joke. He is nothing of the kind. His half-corked philosophy is eminently fit to appeal to semi-normal and sub-normal mentalities…. We have millions of them at home. Unless we fight the man from the beginning he will destroy us.”1
KeywordsNazi Regime York Time Book Review European Refugee Saturday Review Jewish Friend
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