Germany Must Perish!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Map showing Kaufman's proposed dismemberment of Germany (and Austria).

Germany Must Perish! is the title of a 104-page book written by Theodore Newman Kaufman self-published in the summer of 1941. The book advocates the genocide through sterilization of all Germans and the territorial dismemberment of Germany.[1] Kaufman founded the Argyle Press of Newark, New Jersey, United States, in order to self-publish this book. Kaufman was the sole proprietor of the Argyle Press and it is not known to have published any other works.

The book was most notably used by Nazi Germany as evidence to support their belief that Jews were plotting against the country.[2]

In the words of the 1945 Journal of Modern History, the book was intended to be "little more than self-indulgence in dire vituperation by a man who sees Germany as the sole cause of the world's woes."[3][4]

Reactions to Germany Must Perish[edit]

An advertisement in the New York Times, stated that the book was released to the public on March 1, 1941. Kaufman also promoted the book by mailing a miniature black cardboard coffin with a hinged lid to reviewers.[5] Inside the coffin was a card proclaiming, "Read GERMANY MUST PERISH! Tomorrow you will receive your copy."[6]

Perhaps as a result, despite being written and self-published by a non-notable author, the book received some attention, including from Time magazine, which published a review.[7] The unnamed Time reviewer compared the book to Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, noting that, unlike Swift, Kaufman's work was not satirical.[4] According to philosophy professor Berel Lang, American reviews "reflected an odd combination of straight reporting and skepticism."[7] Kaufman's second and more moderate pamphlet, "No More German Wars" published in 1942, was ignored both in the U.S. and in Germany.[8]


The back of the book's dust jacket contains excerpts from reviews of the book. One blurb reads, A Plan For Permanent Peace Among Civilized Nations! -- New York Times.[9] Kaufman advocated the mass extermination through forced sterilization of the German people and the territorial dismemberment of Germany after an Allied victory in World War II.

Kaufman summarized Germany Must Perish! in the New York Times and New York Post[10] advertisements as: "A dynamic volume outlining a plan for the extinction of Germany and containing a map showing possible dissection and apportionment of its territory."[11] An interview with Kaufman in which he attempts to justify his plan for "sterilization of all Germans" appears in The Canadian Jewish Chronicle in its September 26, 1941 issue, in which Kaufman stated:.[12]

"I believe, that the Jews have a mission in life. They must see to it that the nations of the world get together in one vast federation. 'Union Now' is the beginning of this. Slowly but surely the world will develop into a paradise. We will have perpetual peace. And the Jews will do the most to bring about this confederation, because they have the most to gain. But how can you get peace if Germany exists? The only way to win an eternal peace is to make the punishment of waging war more horrible than war itself. Human beings are penalized for murder, aren't they? Well, Germany starts all the wars of magnitude. Let us sterilize all Germans and wars of world domination will come to an end!"

Nazi reaction and use in propaganda[edit]

The book was - and still is - widely quoted as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy against the German people.[13]

"Few Americans have ever heard of a prominent fellow-citizen named Kaufmann ... In Germany every child has known of him for a long time. Germans are so well informed about Mr. Kaufmann that the mere mention of his name recalls what he stands for. In one of his recent articles Dr. Goebbels wrote, 'Thanks to the Jew Kaufmann, we Germans know only too well what to expect in case of defeat.' "[14]

Kaufman was a Manhattan-born Jew, so his advocacy of genocide attracted great attention.[6] Nazi propaganda denounced the book as an "orgy of Jewish hatred" and accused President Franklin D. Roosevelt of having inspired it.[15] Additionally, Germany Must Perish! coincided with other Nazi proclamations about "Anglo-American" intentions, which the German population digested in the midst of ongoing economic sanctions against their country, Roosevelt's Lend Lease program and the widely reported failure of the United States to sponsor negotiations after Poland's defeat. American journalist Howard K. Smith was in Germany when Germany Must Perish! came to light. He wrote:

"No man has ever done so irresponsible a disservice to the cause his nation is fighting and suffering for than Nathan Kaufmann. His half-baked brochure provided the Nazis with one of the best light artillery pieces they have, for, used as the Nazis used it, it served to bolster up that terror which forces Germans who dislike the Nazis to support, fight and die to keep Nazism alive ..."[16]

When the Jews of Hanover were evicted on September 8, 1941, the local authorities cited Kaufman's book as one of the reasons.[2] Kaufman responded:

"This is just a flimsy pretext for another of the innate cruelties of the German people ... I don't think it was my book that prompted this barbarity. They employed every possible German cruelty against the Jews long before my book was published".[17]

It featured in many pieces of Nazi propaganda. The Parole der Woche's weekly wall newspaper included it as evidence that the Allies' war aims were the destruction of Germany.[18] The pamphlet "The War Goal of World Plutocracy" detailed the contents of the book, although with some omissions from the text it quoted.[19] Its last major use was in a late 1944 pamphlet, "Never!"[20]

The German philosopher and historian Ernst Nolte argues that the German reaction to Germany Must Perish! supports his contention that the Holocaust was a genuine, if excessive, response to German fears of worldwide Jewish plot.[21]


  1. ^ "The Battle with the Devil"
  2. ^ a b "Jews of Hanover Forced from Homes. Mayor Cites American Book, 'Germany Must Perish'". New York Times. September 9, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  3. ^ What They Would Do about Germany, Donald F. Lach, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 17, No. 3. (Sep., 1945), pp. 227-243.
  4. ^ a b "A Modest Proposal". Time magazine. March 24, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "Germany Must Perish! proved to be a brief (104-page) enshrinement of a single sensational idea. Since Germans are the perennial disturbers of the world's peace, says the book, they must be dealt with like any homicidal criminals. But it is unnecessary to put the whole German nation to the sword. It is more humane to sterilize them. ..." 
  5. ^ Anonymous. Advertisement for Germany Must Perish!. New York Times. 1 March 1941. p. 13.
  6. ^ a b "A Modest Proposal (Books)."
  7. ^ a b Lang, Berel. Philosophical witnessing: the Holocaust as presence, University Press of New England, 2009, pp. 130–131
  8. ^ Berel Lang, "Philosophical witnessing: the Holocaust as presence", UPNE, 2009, p.135
  9. ^ Anonymous. "Latest Books Received." New York Times. March 16, 1941. p. BR29.
  10. ^ New York Post, Friday, February 28, 1941, p.22.
  11. ^ Advertisement for Germany Must Perish!.
  12. ^ Harold U. Ribalow (September 26, 1941). "Hitler Will Be Nothing But A Rosebud Says Author 'Germany Must Perish!'. One Man's Plan For Peace Forever". The Canadian Jewish Chronicle. p. 5. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  13. ^ See Nazi and Holocaust Denial Propaganda links below.
  14. ^ Argus[disambiguation needed] (1944). "Behind Enemy Lines". The Nation. p. 510. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  15. ^ Anonymous. "Nazis Attack Roosevelt." New York Times. July 24, 1941. p. 8.
  16. ^ Howard K. Smith. Last Train from Berlin. London: Phoenix Pr., 1942, 2000. p. 134
  17. ^ "Hanover Jews Victims of Latest Oppression". Associated Press. September 9, 1941. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  18. ^ "Parole der Woche"
  19. ^ "War Aims of World Plutocracy"
  20. ^ "Never!"
  21. ^ Nolte, Ernst “Between Myth and Revisionism” pages 17-38 from Aspects of the Third Reich, edited by H.W. Koch, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985 pages 27-28.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Nazi propaganda about Germany Must Perish!: (from Calvin College's German Propaganda Archive)

Other external links: