Germany Must Perish!

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Map showing Kaufman's proposed dismemberment of Germany (and Austria).

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

German Nazis used the book to support their argument that Jews were plotting against their country.[1] In 1945, one historian wrote that 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."[2]

Reactions to Germany Must Perish[edit]

Though written and self-published by a non-notable author, the book received considerable attention. Time magazine published a review on March 24, 1941, that compared the book to Jonathan Swift's satire A Modest Proposal, but recognized that Kaufman's work was not satirical. It characterize the work as the "enshrinement of a single sensational idea", that "Since Germans are the perennial disturbers of the world's peace, ... 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."[3]
[4]

According to one study, reviews in the United States "reflected an odd combination of straight reporting and skepticism."[5] Kaufman's second and more moderate pamphlet, "No More German Wars" published in 1942, was ignored both in the U.S. and in Germany.[6]

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.[7] Inside the coffin was a card proclaiming, "Read GERMANY MUST PERISH! Tomorrow you will receive your copy."[3]

The book's dust jacket contained excerpts from reviews of the book. One blurb read: A Plan For Permanent Peace Among Civilized Nations! -- New York Times.[8]

Contents[edit]

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 advertisements in the New York Times and New York Post as: "A dynamic volume outlining a plan for the extinction of Germany and containing a map showing possible dissection and apportionment of its territory."[9] In interview in the September 26, 1941, issue of The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Kaufman attempted to justify his plan for the "sterilization of all Germans". He said:[10]

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 has been widely quoted as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy against the German people. According to one analysis:[11]

Few Americans have ever heard of a prominent fellow-citizen named Kaufman ... In Germany every child has known of him for a long time. Germans are so well informed about Mr. Kaufman 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 Kaufman, we Germans know only too well what to expect in case of defeat.'

Kaufman was a Manhattan-born Jew, so his advocacy of genocide attracted great attention.[3] Nazi propaganda denounced the book as an "orgy of Jewish hatred" and accused President Franklin D. Roosevelt of having inspired it.[12] Additionally, the publication of Germany Must Perish! coincided with other Nazi proclamations about "Anglo-American" intentions, which the German population digested in the midst of 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! became known. He wrote:[13]

No man has ever done so irresponsible a disservice to the cause his nation is fighting and suffering for than Nathan Kaufman. 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 ...

In September 1941, Julius Streicher published an essay in Der Sturmer that called Kaufman's book "the crazy thinking of [an] insane Jewish brain". He quoted Kaufman at length and then commented: "By destroying the German people, the Jew wants to stop up the spring from which, since the beginning, the world has always found its creative blood, the source of all that is beautiful, good and noble."[14]

When the Jews of Hanover were evicted on September 8, 1941, the local authorities cited Kaufman's book as one of the reasons.[1] Kaufman responded:[15][16]

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.

The book featured in many pieces of Nazi propaganda. The Parole der Woche's weekly wall newspaper included it as evidence that the Allies' war aims included the destruction of Germany.[17] The pamphlet "The War Goal of World Plutocracy" detailed the contents of the book, although with some omissions from the text it quoted.[18] It was used in 1944 in a Nazi pamphlet, "Never!", as well, which described the Kaufman's importance:[19]

The Jewish president of the American Federation of Peace is no anonymous individual, no fanatic rejected by world Jewry, no mentally ill crackpot, but rather a leading and widely known Jewish personality in the United States. He belongs to the so-called Roosevelt Brain Trust, which provides intellectual and political education and advice to the American president. "It is therefore beyond question that his book and its demand that 'Germany must perish' corresponds to the official opinion of the leading circles of world plutocracy."

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.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jews of Hanover Forced from Homes. Mayor Cites American Book, 'Germany Must Perish'". New York Times. September 9, 1941. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Donald F. Lach, "What They Would Do about Germany", Journal of Modern History, Vol. 17, No. 3. (September 1945), 227-243
  3. ^ a b c "A Modest Proposal". Time magazine. March 24, 1941. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ "A Modest Proposal (review from Time magazine)". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Berel Lang, Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence, University Press of New England: 2009), pp. 130–131
  6. ^ Lang, Philosophical Witnessing, 135
  7. ^ Anonymous. Advertisement for Germany Must Perish!. New York Times. March 1, 1941. p. 13.
  8. ^ "Latest Books Received." New York Times. March 16, 1941. p. BR29.
  9. ^ New York Post, Friday, February 28, 1941, p.22.
  10. ^ 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 December 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ Argus[disambiguation needed] (1944). "Behind Enemy Lines". The Nation. p. 510. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Nazis Attack Roosevelt". New York Times. July 24, 1941. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  13. ^ Howard K. Smith, Last Train from Berlin (London: Phoenix Pr., 1942), 134
  14. ^ Streicher, Julius. "The Nattle with the Devil". German Propaganda Archive. Calvin College. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Hanover Jews Victims of Latest Oppression". Associated Press. September 9, 1941. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Unknown Title". New York Times. September 9, 1941. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Parole der Woche"
  18. ^ "War Aims of World Plutocracy"
  19. ^ Goitsch, Heinrich. "Never!". German Propaganda Archive. Calvin College. Retrieved September 27, 2014.  The use of quotation marks for the last sentence of this quotation is unexplained.
  20. ^ Nolte, Ernst "Between Myth and Revisionism", pages 17-38 from Aspects of the Third Reich, edited by H.W. Koch (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1985), 27-28

Further reading[edit]

  • Randall Bytwerk, "The Argument for Genocide in Nazi Propaganda," Quarterly Journal of Speech, 91 (2005), 37-62
  • Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust, Harvard University Press, 2006, especially 110-115

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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