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Kaileb Parker
Mr. Hawkins
Modern World History, Period 3
8 April 2016
The United States and the Holocaust
During the Holocaust, there was a lot of harsh stories and information that they were
bombarded with. This all had a big effect on the United States and many didnt know how to
react. Many nations as well as themselves didnt want much part in what the Nazi was doing
with their own private agenda. Although many wanted no part in their actions, it was too hard to
ignore such severe atrocities and some nations near to them were suffering as well. In the end the
U.S. was in a place where they had to make two decisions. The U.S. had to find a stance on both
the Jewish immigrants trying to make entry and soon to come, and how they were going to deal
with the mass genocide of Jews only an ocean away.
When intelligence of the genocide occurring in Germany and though-out Europe alike,
the U.S. could hardly believe it was even worse than what they previously imagined it could ever
be. To some peoples surprise, the U.S. was actually reluctant to help the fleeing Jewish refugees
and US State Department policies made it very difficult for refugees to obtain entry visas.
Despite the ongoing persecution of Jews in Germany, the State Department's attitude was
influenced by the economic hardships of the Depression, which intensified grassroots
antisemitism, isolationism, and xenophobia. (Website #1) Part of the reason the U.S. made
such a harsh action against people trying to escape is partially because the U.S. largely didnt
believe that things were as severe as they really were and that these people were merely

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panicking on a mass scale. After the first Jews started to run to other countries' and they closed
up their borders in retaliation survivors had nowhere to go. Britain was unwilling to
permit Jewish immigration to Palestine and the United States was not ready to receive
refugees. (Website #3) The people nor the government of the U.S. was ready for so many
immigrants to migrate to their country. People at the time may not have necessarily wanted to
share the country with so many foreigners running from their own government. When Jews were
being dealt with by Americans, most people and soldiers Unfamiliar with history and facts,
they had little or no sympathy for the Jews. (Website #3) Most people didnt know the
severity of the Jewish conditions and therefore may have felt a sort of suck it up attitude towards
them as a whole. For the most part the Jewish people had nearly no places they could run to,
making the dirt they stood on a trap waiting to kill them.
Aside from the U.S. having to deal with the immigrants trying to work their way into the
nation, they also had to make choices about how to confront the Holocaust happening in
Germany. When news of the Holocaust and the Final Solution reached the U.S. the
Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles asked Wise not to publicize the information until
the State Department confirmed it. (Website #1) Even though the U.S. government had
received the news of the Final Solution, it wanted to keep it secret to the people until they had
cold hard proof that it was true. This took months to verify and greatly prolonged the time it
would take the U.S. to make action against Germany for the genocide they were performing.
After the U.S. and its allies finally decided that the Holocaust was a cold hard fact, they took
action on December 17, the United States, Great Britain, and ten other Allied governments
issued a declaration denouncing Nazi Germany's intention to murder the Jews of Europe.

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The declaration warned Nazi Germany that it would be held responsible for these crimes.
(Website #1) This at this point wasnt really a physical threat to Germany, but more of a warning
saying that the blood of these people was on their hands and are responsible and guilty of mass
murder. For the most part the U.S. didnt give physical reaction to Germany very fast, in the
beginning, it was all just a lot of press and news. U.S. even reported German war, acts in
newspapers before any action was made American newspapers ran descriptions of German
shooting operations, first in Poland and later after the invasion of the Soviet Union. The
ethnic identity of the victims was not always made clear. (Website #1) It could be argued
that the U.S. posted minimized news reports to keep the people from feeling like the nation
needed to go to war. It could also be concluded that the press released a lot of news about
Germany's actions to give the American people a reason to fight Germany.
Once America finally did become fully involved in the fight against Germany the sights
Americans saw first hand were overwhelming to say the least. As the Allies attacked Germany
they used began a series of air raids on Germany's synthetic-oil industry which was based
in Upper Silesia near Auschwitz. (Website #2) These air raids were intended to cripple
German industry and bring economic collapse so as to weaken the enemy. Back in 1941, air raids
werent that accurate and lots of building containing innocent people were bombed. After the war
had been won the Americans liberated Nazi concentration camps, revealing to them the true
horror of the final solution. They found 3,200 naked, emaciated bodies in shallow graves. As the
Americans walked through the death camps that were not long ago run by Nazi
Eisenhower found a shed piled to the ceiling with bodies, various torture devices, and a
butcher's block for smashing gold fillings from the mouths of the dead. (Website #3) These

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sights were often too much for most people and made almost all who witnessed it physically
sick. No one ever thought that the situations at the camps were as bad as what they were
witnessing. The scenes of the concentration camps were so horrific that General Patton was so
angry at what he found at Buchenwald that he ordered the Military Police to go to Weimar,
four miles away, and bring back 1,000 civilians to see what their leaders had done, to
witness what some human beings could do to others.(Website #3) The liberation of the
camps did bring about a lot of anger for the Nazi actions that was previously unknown. The
liberators at the camps couldnt even fathom such a sever cruelty of mankind.
The U.S. reaction to the Holocaust was like many other countries reactions. At first there
was unbelief and doubt, then reluctance, and lastly sickening astonishment. The U.S. might not
have reacted appropriately or quickly, but such an act is hard to react correctly to. The United
States for the most part dint fully understand the Holocaust until it was over and it had been
picked apart. Immigration was never open to Jews fighting for survival and many died as a result
of it. All in all the U.S. gave a response to the Final Solution and the immigration issue very
much the same as its allies did.