War Protest in America July 7, 1941

War Protest in America July 7, 1941

The Holocaust happened because Nazi Germany created new laws to persecute the Jews.
Civil liberties were lost; then lives were lost. It’s not rocket science. Everyone knows that.

Few realize these deadly laws were directly modelled on existing laws in the United States.
Hitler adapted laws used to persecute blacks in the United States to kill six million people.


“Nazi rules about ‘racial purity’ were inspired by, but did not go as far as, American ‘one drop’ and ‘blood fraction’ laws enacted in the [American] South, which stipulated that even a remote black ancestor rendered an individual nonwhite. As with Hitler’s likening of his conquest of the East to the American conquest of the West, our worst history encouraged the Nazis’ worst instincts.”                                                                                                — Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, June 15, 2020

Statue of Liberty

In debating “how to institutionalize racism in the Third Reich,” James Q. Whitman writes, in Hitler’s American Model, “they began by asking how the Americans did it.”

Racism is easy to understand

In Hitler’s American Model by Yale legal scholar James Q. Whitman, we learn that Hitler appointed a team of seventeen legal scholars to legalize racism in the Third Reich soon after he came to power. On June 5, 1934, the Commission on Criminal Law Reform convened to decide how best to solidify Aryan dominance. This all-male “think tank” was gathered more than a year before Hitler would announce his cataclysmic Nuremberg Laws (the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law) in September of 1935.

The first and most vital topic of the agenda was how the United States had succeeded in subjugating blacks.

The Nazis understood that despite the soaring rhetoric of its national anthem and its reputation for being a land of opportunity, the United States of America had effectively imposed a caste system for at least three centuries. To impose a new hierarchy that could legally subjugate, persecute, steal from and eliminate the Jews of Europe, Franz Gürtner, the Reich Minister of Justice, began the meeting with his report on the success of Jim Crow legislation in the home of the brave and the land of the free.

The Commission paid particular attention to the statutes from 30 U.S. states that had criminalized racially mixed marriages.

Of particular interest to the Nazis were the theories of two Ivy League eugenicists named Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant. These two well-known establishment thinkers believed the best way to preserve and enhance the purity of the superior “Nordic” [their term for whites] race was to exclude and eliminate inferior races, particularly Jews and Negroes. Stoddard, in particular, hated Jews partly because he believed they carried Negro blood. Stoddard’s 1920 book The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy is now regarded as a major impetus for the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

Lothrop Stoddard was an American historian, journalist, political scientist, conspiracy theorist, white supremacist and white nationalist.

Madison Grant

Madison Grant was one of Hitler’s favourite authors known for his work as a eugenicist and as an advocate of scientific racism.

Stoddard worried that the decline of colonialism could engender a population explosion among non-whites. He therefore believed “inferior” people should be prevented from procreating and he coined the term “under-man” that was adopted by the Nazis as “Untermensch.” Stoddard’s 1922 book The Revolt of Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man, translated into German, had reverberated with Hitler to such an extent it was made a standard text in the Reich’s school curriculum. Stoddard was not averse to fear-mongering. “It is precisely the determination to get rid of white rule,” he warned, “which seems to be spreading like wildfire over the brown world today.”

Stoddard claimed he was the first foreign journalist to be granted a private audience with Hitler in December of 1939 (“the only one granted a non-official foreigner since the beginning of the war”), at which time he also was granted a one-on-one meeting with Heinrich Himmler. The details of Stoddard’s 20-minute, off-the-record conversation with Hitler are to be found in his 18th and final book, Into the Darkness: An Uncensored Report Inside the Third Reich at War (Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Inc., 1940) in which Stoddard describes sailing First Class from New York to wartime Europe by way of Italy, on the Italian liner Rex, via Gibraltar to Genoa.

Having previously met with Benito Mussolini at the Palazzo Venezia, Stoddard provides a lengthy comparison of the two dictators. He also favourably describes his attendance at a session of the Eugenic High Court of Appeals “in an impressive building at Charlottenburg, one of Berlin’s western suburbs,” explaining eugenics as “race-betterment.” Having met with official spokesmen such as Reichministers Frick and Darre, and “leading scientists” Eugen Fischer, Fritz Lenz, Hans Guenther and Paul Schultze-Naumburg,  Stoddard approvingly concludes, “it is fair to say that Nazi Germany’s eugenic program is the most ambitious and far-reaching experiment in eugenics ever attempted by any nation.”

As a member of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Eugenics Society, Stoddard believed the German attitude to Nordic blood had been widely misunderstood and there had been a widespread misconception as to how and why the Nazis regarded Jews as a distinct race. “Inside Germany,” he writes, “the Jewish problem is regarded as a passing phenomenon, already settled in principle and soon to be settled in fact by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich.”

Madison Grant was of a similar ilk, severely opposed to the ‘alloying of races’ in the Melting Pot while remaining deeply convinced that “the Laws of Nature require the obliteration of the unfit.” Like Hitler, he was opposed to any maudlin sentimentalism that promoted the United States as an asylum for the under-privileged or oppressed. “If the Melting Pot is allowed to boil without control, and we continue to follow our national motto and deliberately blind ourselves to ‘all distinctions of race, creed or color,'” he forewarned, “the type of native American of Colonial descent will become as extinct as the Athenian of the age of Pericles, and the Viking of the days of Rollo.”

Coincidentally, Hitler worried Europe would not be able to compete with the United States unless it also adopted race-based immigration policies like the United States. He believed Germany must emulate the United States in order to keep pace intellectually and productively.

In Mein Kampf (1925), Hitler had described the U.S. as “the one state” that had made substantial progress towards achieving a healthy racist society. He frankly admired the country that had “gunned down millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand, and now kept the modest remnant under observation in a cage.”

In the second volume of Mein Kampf (1927), Hitler praised the American Immigration Act that forbade Asian immigration and greatly retarded immigration from southern and eastern Europe. “The American union categorically refuses the immigration of physically unhealthy elements,” he noted with enthusiasm, “and simply excludes the immigration of certain races.”

Hence, it was deemed expedient for all Germans loyal to the Fuhrer to investigate the bold practicalities of subjugating Jews along the same lines that the USA had repressed its slaves and ex-slaves.

The rabid nature of Hitler’s anti-semitism was largely inspired by books.  He was a devoted and incessant reader all his life. “Books, always more books!” recalled Rudolf Hausler, an early Hitler associate. “I can never remember Adolf without books.” It was, Hitler said, a “deadly serious business.” According to filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler read nightly, often several books per night. Among the thousands of books at his three private residences in Munich, Berlin and Obersalzberg [near Berchtesgaden] were some fifty volumes, inscribed between 1919 and 1935, by the Nazi architect of biological racism Julius Friedrich Lehmann and volumes of Racial Typology of the German People by pseudo-scientist Hans F.K. Gunther. Lehmann gave Hitler copies of German Essays by Paul Lagarde, the late-nineteenth-century prophet of messianic racism, in which Hitler underlined, “Each and every irksome Jew is a serious affront to the authenticity and veracity of our German identity,” as well as, “Because I know the Germans, I cannot wish that Jews be allowed to live with them.”

Adolf Hitler did not invent the racist policies that led to the murder of six million Jews. It was the successful and popular American books of Grant and Stoddart that influenced the likes of Lehmann, Gunther and Hitler. It was Lehman who presented Hitler with a fourth edition, 1925 edition of Madison Grant’s 1916 racist tract, The Passing of the Great Race aka The Racial Basis of European History.


Nazi Peoples' Court

Session of the People’s Court 1944. From left: General of the Infantry Hermann Reinecke; Roland Freisler, president of the court; Ernst Lautz, chief public prosecutor

In 1933, soon after Hitler gained full control of Germany, more than a third of Germans were out of work. A Nazi intellectual named Herbert Kier was directed to gather a compendium of U.S. race laws while a consortium, led by Roland Freisler (later president of the notorious Nazi People’s Court), convened a meeting to consider a harsher criminal code.

Initially, the repressions of Jewish civil liberties would be seemingly minimal; Jews would be barred from public parks, movie houses, swimming pools, etc. But soon enough Jews would be prohibited from practising law and journalism; then there would be educational prohibitions; then Jewish businesses would require Aryan overseers….

It was Freisler’s gathering for theoretical planning that gave rise to the so-called Prussian Memorandum. The Nazis invented a new set of “race crimes” such as “Causing Harm to the Honor of the Race” (targeting people of colour) and “Race Treason” (sexual relations).

For the former, it was postulated that dating, dancing or any displays of interracial affection between Jews and Germans dishonoured the “German race” and ought to be criminalized as they were in many U.S. states where lynching for such crimes was commonplace.

It wasn’t simple, however. The men who contrived the Prussian Memorandum were advised that criminalization of inter-racial marriages did not exist elsewhere in Europe. It was only the United States that harshly enforced such strict laws.

If Jews were to be classified as degenerate foreigners, who exactly ought to be defined as Jewish? Someone with at least one Jewish grandparent? Moderates at this gathering in 1933 suggested an offending party should have at least three Jewish grandparents to be legally categorized as a Jew.

But for the greater crime of “Race Treason,” should both the offending German/Aryan and a member of an inferior race (ie. a Jew) be punished? Or just the Jew?

Dr. Franz Gurtner - Reichminister der Justiz

Dr. Franz Gürtner – Reichminister der Justiz

The following year, a committee overseen by Franz Gürtner was convened on June 5, 1934 to closely examine the anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. that threatened mixed-race couples with severe criminal punishment. Researchers discovered that such strictures were not restricted to the American South. Nazi lawyers found such laws were in place in states as far north as Montana.

As well, the Gürtner commission carefully noted that the U.S. had invented forms of second-class citizenship for minorities such as Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Native Americans. Hitler would look approvingly on any commission that recommended Germany should implement some form of second-class citizenship for German Jewry. But how exactly should these new discriminatory statutes be drafted?

One of the chief researchers for the Nazi Ministry of Justice think tank was a young lawyer named Heinrich Krieger. He had studied at the University of Arkansas as an exchange student. Two years later he would publish a book called Race Law in the United States. He was able to advise the Gürtner commission that Lincoln himself had once suggested the only real hope for America was to have the American negroes resettle somewhere else. In 1821, the abolitionist slave-owner Thomas Jefferson had surmised that “the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.”

The American way could be the German way…

Krieger was able to advise that the crime of interracial marriage in the U.S. could be punished with ten years in prison in many jurisdictions. He reported that individuals could be assigned “to a group of coloreds whenever there is even a trace of visible Negro physical features.” Hence, well before the death camps were envisioned, the Nazis had set to work legalizing subjugation in keeping with American models.

The country that boasted a Statue of Liberty, according to the esteemed Yale scholar Whitman, “was not just a country with racism. It was the leading racist jurisdiction—so much so that even Nazi Germany looked to America for inspiration.”

Hitler believed that America, with the world’s most robust economy, had benefited from the discrimination policies inherent in its Immigration Restriction Act of 1924. He also admired America’s genocide of Indigenous native Americans, praising how the audacious westerners had “shot down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand” as if they were buffaloes.

A leading eugenicist in New York, Madison Grant (friends with Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover) had advised it was right and necessary to sterilize and quarantine “inferior stocks.”

A German edition of Grant’s 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race, was a prized volume in the Fuhrer’s personal library. Hitler wrote a note of gratitude to Grant, thanking the Aryan supremacist for his wise words in The Passing of the Great Race, adding “The book is my Bible.”

In a nutshell, Grant had advised, “To preserve the Nordic race, Man has the choice of two methods of race improvement. He can breed from the best or he can eliminate the worst by segregation or sterilization.”

Grant therefore called for “a rigid system of elimination of those who are weak or unfit” as well “perhaps worthless race types.”


Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 had resulted in a five-year jail term for treason. Hitler’s early release from Landsberg Prison, after only nine months, had been engineered by  Franz Gürtner. It was Gürtner who also successfully pressured the Bavarian state cabinet to lift the ban on the Nazi Party and to absolve a public speaking ban, thereby enabling Hitler to once more become a public figure.

Elevated to serve as Minister of Justice for Franz von Papen’s cabinet in June of 1932, Gürtner retained that position for Hitler’s first cabinet in 1933. Hitler trusted Gürtner’s to selected all judges and public prosecutors. He was also able to merge the National Socialist Lawyers’ Association with the Association of German Judges and orchestrate legalized sanctions for the murderous excesses and pillaging that occurred during the Night of the Long Knives.

For the desecration of Jewish synagogues throughout German and the violent attacks on Jews, Gürtner was able to successfully argue that Hitler’s actions “were justified as a mean of State defence.” Thereafter, all of Hitler’s actions became legal in accordance with Gürtner’s “Law Regarding Measures of State Self-Defence.”

Before his death on January 29, 1941, Gürtner would express some reservations about the onset of concentration camps, but as the convener of that formative 1934 conference that proposed Germany’s anti-miscegenation laws, Gürtner was a primary force in the process that validated the Holocaust for German society.

In September of 1935, Adolf Hitler famously went to Nuremberg and announced the so-called Blood Laws that put the Holocaust into first gear. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour was based on some of the U.S. miscegenation laws, particularly those of Texas and North Carolina that contained an “association clause” that helped to resolve the outcomes for ambiguous individuals.

Ever-tightening restrictions and laws for Jews would quickly ensue after American prototypes were adopted in 1935. “Germany became a full-fledged racist regime,” the historian George M. Fredrickson wrote. “American laws were the main foreign precedents for such legislation.” The U.S. genocide to decimate its indigenous tribes was credited as “the first fateful turning point” in a 1936 Nazi text, The Supremacy of the White Race.

Just as lynch mobs believed they were doing the right thing in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and dozens more states, the S.S. could zealously operate the murder factories and sleep well at night because the U.S.A.’s fixation on race purity and eugenics had paved the way. (At the time, the Nazis actually believed the American laws were too harsh, and they had adopted measures that were less onerous.)

The Nazis had examined other white-dominant countries such as South Africa and Australia, but “there were no other models for miscegenation law that the Nazis could find the world,” Whitman wrote. “Their overwhelming interest was in the ‘classic example,’ the United States of America.”

Ernst Hanfstaengl

Dr. Ernst Hanfstaengl,

As possibly the only person who was closely acquainted with both Adolf Hitler and FDR, Ernst Hanfstaengel recalled Hitler had talked to him a great deal about America. According to Hanfstaengel, who had a German father and an American mother, his friend Adolf was especially interested in the ideas of Henry Ford and the Ku Klux Klan. “In his questions Hitler revealed to me that his ideas about America were wildly superficial. He wanted to hear all about the skyscrapers and was fascinated by details of technical progress, but failed utterly to draw logical conclusions from this information. The only American figure for whom he had time for was Henry Ford, and then not so much as an industrial wonder-worker but rather as a reputed anti-Semite and a possible source of funds. Hitler was also passionately interested in the Ku Klux Klan, then at the height of its questionable reputation. He seemed to think it was a political movement similar to his own, with which it might be possible to make some pact, and I was never able to put its relative importance in proper prospective for him.”

The much-admired and highly punitive citizenship and anti-miscegenation “purity laws” of the Americans were emulated in Nazi Germany, starting with the adoption of the two principal Nuremberg Laws—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. These led swiftly to the horrific measures undertaken by the Nazis and their underlings for the unmitigated persecution and annihilation of Jews.

This is “how” the Nazis murdered at least six million people.

America inspired the Holocaust.


Scene from Uncle Tom's Cabin

“The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint.” – Alexis de Tocqueville, touring antebellum America in the 1830


US Eugenics Building

Eugenics flourished in the United States partly due to the theorizing of Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant, whose books directly influenced Adolf Hitler in his zeal to establish a master race.

According to the U.S. Holocaust Museum: “One of the first eugenic measures the Nazis initiated was the 1933 Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases (“Hereditary Health Law”). The law mandated forcible sterilization for nine disabilities and disorders, including schizophrenia and “hereditary feeble-mindedness.” As a result of the law, 400,000 Germans were ultimately sterilized in Nazi Germany. In addition, eugenic beliefs shaped Germany’s 1935 Marital Hygiene Law. This law prohibited the marriage of persons with “diseased, inferior, or dangerous genetic material” to “healthy” German Aryans.”

Dr. Ernst Rüdin was official leader of the world eugenics movement. As founder of the German Society for Race Hygiene, he did eugenics research at the Rockefeller-funded Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Genealogy and Demography in Berlin. He was unanimously elected president of the international federation of Eugenics Societies at the 1932 Eugenics Convention in New York. The following year, Wilhelm Frick became Hitler’s Interior Minister, responsible for drafting Nazi laws. He hired Rüdin to write a sterilization law for Germany modeled on existing U.S. statutes. In charge of concentration camps and police forces, he was hanged for crimes against humanity in 1946.


“Democratic ideals among the homogeneous population of Nordic blood, as in England or America, is one thing, but it is quite another for the white man to share his blood with, or entrust his ideals to, brown, yellow, black or red men. This is suicide pure and simple, and the first victim of this amazing folly with be the white man himself.”

So wrote Madison Grant in his Introduction to his friend Lothrop Stoddard’s book, The Rising Tide of Colour Against White World Supremacy (Scribner, 1920),

Lothrop Stoddard

Lothrop Stoddard, a proponent of eugenicist theories, warned of a growing threat from the “unwashed masses” leading to the destruction of the social order.

Essentially, (Theodore) Lothrop Stoddard’s treatise argued that white supremacy would soon be endangered worldwide. More sophisticated than Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race in 1916, The Rising Tide went through ten printings in two years.

U.S. President Warren Harding praised Stoddard in a 1921 speech. As a cultural weathervane for the future, his book was also taken seriously by black intellectuals such as Hubert Harrison (1883-1927), “the father of Harlem radicalism,” and the great Marcus Garvey who welcomed its premise that the blacks would best regain their emancipation by returning to Africa (Liberia), taking with them the technological advances made by the “Nordic race.”

In 1923, Stoddard was identified as a member of, advisor to, the Ku Klux Klan by Hearst International magazine. In response, Stoddard called the magazine “a radical-Jew outfit.”

Obliquely referenced in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, with an alternate title, The Rise of the Coloured Empires, Stoddard’s futurism was influential in the anti-semitism of the most high-profile, pro-Hitler American, Charles Lindbergh.

In 1926, Stoddard published an article called “The Pedigree of Judah,” claiming Jews were an “invented” race. “During their Egyptian sojourn and afterwards, the Jews picked up their first traces of Negro blood,” he wrote. “[It is time to] discover what blood or bloods flow through the veins of Jews.”

Also, in 1926, the book was translated into German. Hitler read it, having been imprisoned for his part in a riot in Bavaria. He mimicked sections for Mein Kampf, altering the term Nordic race to Aryan race. For instance, Grant wrote, “It has taken us 50 years to learn that speaking English, wearing good clothes, and going to school and to church does not transform a Negro into a white man.” In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote, “But it is a scarcely conceivable fallacy of thought to believe that a Negro or a Chinese, let us say, will turn into a German because he learns German and is willing to speak the German language.”

Stoddard advised the world situation, “is not yet irreparable… Decisions – firm decisions – must be made. Constructive measures – drastic measures – must be taken.”

“Stoddard’s goal was to ‘dispose of the fiction that the modern Jew is the true scion of the ancient Hebrew,’” according to Matt Lebovic, writing for the Times of Israel. Stoddard went on to claim that although Sephardic Jews had some blood ties to ancient Hebrews, Ashkenazi Jews were “a racial medley.”

“That same year, Stoddard published a book called A Gallery of Jewish Types. Printed in magazine format with portraits, attention was drawn to differences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish faces, as well as what Stoddard called the ‘disharmonic” features of Jews and their ‘Mongolian eyes.’ In writings and speeches, Stoddard often claimed that ‘Jews support and finance the NAACP.’ That support — he claimed — was evidence of their Black heritage.”

Having witnessed the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s, Stoddard returned in 1939 and was granted interviews with Hitler, Himmler and other Nazi luminaries that included Alfred Rosenberg, the dean of Nazi racial theory. Stoddard visited the Hereditary Health Court in Berlin, a facility at the forefront of a new Nazi program to increase sterilization.

The Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseased Offspring had been passed on July 14, 1933 and put into practice in January of 1934. In Stoddard’s opinion, Germany’s new races laws for “weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way” were entirely progressive. The German sterilization laws were directly modelled on California sterilization laws.

Stoddard stayed in Germany for four months. “The Jewish problem,” he optimistically predicted, “would be settled by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich.” In 1940, he pronounced, “Nazi Germany’s eugenic program is the most ambitious and far-reaching experiment in eugenics ever attempted by any nation.”  As a result, various philanthropic organizations in the U.S. provided donations in order to further Nazi research in eugenics.

For Stoddard’s next book, Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today, the “darkness” in the title was a reference to Allied air raids, not Hitler’s genocidal initiatives.

A gallery of Jewish Types Book


Both of Madison Grant’s parents claimed ancestral connections to some of the first settlers of several New England colonies. At age 16, he was sent to Dresden, Germany, for four years of private tutoring in Classics, during which time he visited every country in Europe as well as parts of the Middle East and North Africa. He attended Yale and Colombia and became a member of the New York Bar in 1890. When the family of Madison Grant managed the New York Zoological Park (now known as the Bronx Zoo), an African named Ota Benga was put on display in its primate cages in 1906 after his tribe of Congo Pygmies, known as Mbuti, had been slaughtered in the Congo during genocide inflicted by the Belgians.

Ota Benga

Ota Benga

Purchased from African slave traders by explorer Samuel Phillips Verner, Ota Benga had been first displayed in St. Louis at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. In New York, where Benga was placed in a cage with an orangutan in order to mock Darwism, some black Baptist ministers protested, but Grant dismissed their arguments for liberating this human curiosity. Given a functional bow and arrow to enhance his primitive image, Benga shot arrows at visitors who mocked him, putting an end to his career as a curiosity. African-American newspapers strongly opposed his exhibition until New York Mayor George McClellan ordered his release into the custody of James H. Gordon who gave Ota Benga refuge in the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum in Brooklyn. Benga somehow made his way to Virginia where he became depressed and shot himself in 1916. During the Nuremberg trials, Madison Grant’s books were entered as evidence for the defendants, to assert that eugenics, as a pseudo-science, did not entirely originate in Germany.

Grant took pride in the Nazis’ use of his book and sent them copies of a subsequent one, about how American Nordics like himself had conquered North America. He also was a director of the American Eugenics Society, thought ‘worthless’ individuals should be sterilized, and considered his lobbying for the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, which shut down most immigration to the U.S., to be one of the great achievements of his life…

“And what was the special attribute the Nordics possessed that made them so unique and sacred? Grant didn’t talk about it much, but it slipped out once in a while. The secret dwelt in a mysterious substance known as “germ-plasm.” Everybody had it, but the Nordics’ germ-plasm was the best. Grant and his co-believers could apparently use phrases such as “our superior germ-plasm” with a straight face.”

Grant has been credited as the first person to use the term “master race” in a modern context. For more on Grant see Jonathan Peter Spiro’s Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant (2009) and Daniel Okrent’s The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America (2019).

Donald Trump and the Art of the Deal.

Donald Trump, in the tradition of Grant and Stoddard, wants to make America white again.

One hundred-and-one-half years before Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, having promised to make America great again, Henry Fairfield Osborne provided this Foreword on July 12, 1916 at the outset of Madison Grant’s pseudo-scientific tract, The Passing of the Great Race: “Thus conservation of that race which has given us the true spirit of Americanism is not a matter either of racial pride or of racial prejudice; it is a matter of love of country, of a true sentiment which is based upon knowledge and the lessons of history rather than upon the sentimentalism which is fostered by ignorance. If I were asked: What is the greatest danger which threatens the American republic to-day? I would certainly reply: The gradual dying out among our people of those hereditary traits through which the principles of our religious, political and social foundations were laid down and their insidious replacement by traits of less noble character.”


You can browse an online copy of The Passing of the Great Race by Madison Grant here. The owners of that website believe “it still serves as an important work in the study of racial origins.”

Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith Marion Indiana 1930

STRANGE FRUIT. Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith were lynched, without trial, before a huge crowd in Marion, Indiana on August 7, 1930.

A local photographer named Lawrence Beitler took this photograph among the festive crowd of an estimated 5,000 people. He sold thousands of copies during the next few weeks. During a subsequent trial of an accused black accomplice named Jimmy Cameron, the alleged rape victim Mary Ball testified that she had not been raped after all. No one was ever charged or reprimanded for the lynchings. In 1937, a Jewish schoolteacher named Abel Meeropol (the adoptive father of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) was haunted by this image. In response, he wrote a poem called “Bitter Fruit” that was published in the New York Teacher magazine and later in New Masses magazine, both under the pseudonym Lewis Allan. When Meeropol set the words to music, he changed the title to “Strange Fruit.

This became the classic song that was recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939.

In Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, the Equal Justice Initiative documented 4,400 people were murdered by whites in racial terror lynchings in 12 Southern states between 1877 and 1950. Racial terror lynchings were not confined to the South. In 2017, EJI supplemented that report with racial terror lynchings in states outside the South. These acts of violence were most common in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. The number of undocumented lynchings can only be imagined.


Henry Ford receiving German Award in 1938

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