Thursday, February 20, 2014

FDR - and new insights into his actions toward Japanese-Americans and Jews

Here is a very interesting article which clarifies newly uncovered facets of FDR's thinking which may underlie his actions towards Japanese-Americans and Jews. What follows are excerpts from the article, with a link at the end.

 "By Order of the President, a critically acclaimed 2001 book by Greg Robinson, an American historian at the University of Quebec, revealed a number of incendiary articles about Asians that Franklin Roosevelt wrote in the 1920s. In those articles, the future president asserted that “the mingling of Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results.” FDR argued that because “Japanese immigrants are not capable of assimilation into the American population,” they could not be trusted and their right to purchase land should be restricted...."

"Roosevelt’s views about the Japanese dovetail with his privately expressed opinions about Jews. In my (the article's author Rafael Medoffown recent research in the diaries and correspondence of Roosevelt Cabinet members and others close to FDR, I have found a number of troubling remarks by the president in this vein. For example, he complained about Jews “overcrowding” certain professions in Germany, North Africa, and even in Oregon. He was one of the initiators of a quota on the admission of Jews to Harvard. He boasted to one friend—a U.S. senator—that “we have no Jewish blood in our veins.” He claimed antisemitism in Poland was a reaction to Jews dominating the local economy. And he embraced an adviser’s proposal to “spread the Jews thin” around the world, in order to prevent them from dominating their host countries.
FDR’s writings and statements indicate that he regarded both Jews and Asians as having innate biological characteristics that made it difficult, or even impossible, for them to become fully loyal Americans. Certain individual, assimilated Jews could be useful to him as political allies or advisers, but having a substantial number of Jews, especially the less assimilated kind, was—in his mind—inviting trouble.
FDR’s private views help explain an otherwise inexplicable aspect of his response to the Holocaust–his administration’s policy of suppressing refugee immigration far below the legal limits. The quota of immigrants from Germany (about 26,000 annually) was filled in only one year out of Roosevelt’s 12 in the White House. In most of those years, it was less than 25 percent filled. If public or congressional opposition prevented liberalizing the entire immigration quota system, why not at least permit the existing quotas to be quietly filled? The answer is that Franklin Roosevelt’s vision of America did not make room for substantial numbers of Asian or Jewish immigrants."

If you are interested in this, see the full article and further citations here: