Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Hitler s American Model The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis The unsettling answer is yes In Hitler s

  • Title: Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
  • Author: James Q. Whitman
  • ISBN: 9780691172422
  • Page: 225
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis The unsettling answer is yes In Hitler s American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti Jewish legislation of the NaziNazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis The unsettling answer is yes In Hitler s American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime Contrary to those who have insisted that there was no meaningful connection between American and German racial repression, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies.As Whitman shows, the Nuremberg Laws were crafted in an atmosphere of considerable attention to the precedents American race laws had to offer German praise for American practices, already found in Hitler s Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s, and the most radical Nazi lawyers were eager advocates of the use of American models But while Jim Crow segregation was one aspect of American law that appealed to Nazi radicals, it was not the most consequential one Rather, both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law Whitman looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened, but too harsh.Indelibly linking American race laws to the shaping of Nazi policies in Germany, Hitler s American Model upends understandings of America s influence on racist practices in the wider world.

    One thought on “Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law”

    1. "The American Union [] simply excludes the immigration of certain races. In these respects America already pays obeisance, at least in tentative first steps, to the characteristic volkisch conception of the state."-Adolf Hitler, Mein KampfIt is common, only too common, to abuse the rhetorical device of a comparison to Hitler to discredit one's opponent. Hitler is rightfully a metonym for evil, but he is often invoked for anything which is inconvenient or the subject of personal distaste. But wha [...]

    2. This book is fascinating, disturbing, and nuanced. With the bold title, and swastika on the cover, the book certainly turns heads (I learned quickly that I probably should have taken the book cover off while reading it in public). However, at the end of the day the author is a law professor, and like most law professors writes in a hedged, and nuanced tone. The book suggests more than tells, but is a valuable read regardless. At some level, the book seems not to match the provocative title at al [...]

    3. A painstakingly researched, deeply disturbing, and completely conivncing study of the profound influence America's eugenics movement and racist laws had upon Nazi codification of its own racist agenda.

    4. In a memorable scene from the movie "Judgment at Nuremberg," the defence lawyer played by Maximilian Schell reads a legal opinion to the court: “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange indeed, if it could not call upon those who already sapped the strength of the state for these lesser sacrifices in order to prevent our being swamped by incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute [...]

    5. Focuses primarily on the period from 1933-1935 and the debate leading up to the Nuremburg Laws of 1935. Research is substantial and persuasive; writing quality, less so. Whitman spends a great deal of time apologizing for making the comparison between American race law and Nazi law. In truth, I suspect few people would pick up this book unless they knew what they were getting into.This is not a period of Nazi history likely to be overly familiar to casual readers. Whitman drops names like Schlei [...]

    6. If you read this book and are fiercely pro-American than you might get pretty enraged. If you are anti-American, this will be a feast. Based on the title you would be correct to assume that it deals with segregation in the US South, however, that is only a small part of it. The book is a short study on the interest the makers of the Nuremberg Laws had in and what inspiration they took from the US Race laws. Fun fact, based on the author this fact is actually known for a time by now but having co [...]

    7. Repeatedly, Nazis looking for inspiration looked to the US system of racial discrimination, primarily in the treatment of immigration, the rights of those in non-state territories, and anti-miscegnation laws. Whitman emphasizes that the Nazis’ crimes were their own and that they also rejected liberal and democratic parts of American law. They also appealled to racist practices among other European colonial powers. Still, Whitman argues that, because the Nazis didn’t envision the Holocaust wh [...]

    8. I will admit this kind of anglo-americancentrism. I think it’s the only position to take today with respect to America, albeit America as bracketed under a global phenomenon. In fact, I think this book lacks the arrogance, the bombast necessary to offer controversial declarations. Without that, it has to rely on apologies and reassurance. Who doesn’t know that the swastika is hardly an alien sight in America, forget subtle symbolism? It’s almost as if you can see the censor board looking o [...]

    9. If you're actually interested in the book, it's got little real content, so here's the TL;DR"Nazis admired some stuff about America, especially its racism and Jim Crow as movements to a racial state and pro White Supremacy - and the lack of traditional legal classifications to allow for innocence until proven guilt or precedent for miscegenation laws was discussed in the context of those of the US. However, the US should never be compared to the Nazis, are not responsible for the Nazis, and are [...]

    10. This is an extremely academic and scholarly work which chronicles the neglected history of Nazi efforts to mine American race law for inspiration during the making of the Nuremberg Laws, and to ask what it tells us about Nazi Germany. The scholarly nature of the book is understandable because it deals with an extremely provocative topic of American jurisprudence and its inspiration of the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany. Although a dry and factual read, the author makes his case—the relationshi [...]

    11. Right after the Civil War, the southern whites gradually succeeded in putting negroes ‘back to their rightful place’, with the sets of laws of segregation known as Jim Crow laws. In 1930’s, Germany fell under the rule of the Nazis, who began almost right away to formulate their own racial law to persecute the Jews. As a racist nation with the most advanced racial laws at that time, german lawyers looked on USA for inspiration. The funny thing was, American’s racial laws were deemed to ex [...]

    12. I strongly recommend this book as critical reading for our political moment, and indeed to rectify the serious gaps in our understanding of American history. It's imperative that we understand the depth of racism integral to American policy making and execution. Numerous European countries recognized America as the world's leader in racist legislation, and American immigration, naturalization, and antimiscegenation law influenced the Nazi legislators who crafted the Nuremberg Laws. They did not [...]

    13. Exceptionally well-researched & it needed to be, given the controversial thesis of the author, which he more than proves, namely that the immigration and racial separation laws of the United States both inspired the work of & were models for leading Nazi jurists in the just prior to the war. It's all here, from Hitler praising Southern Jim Crow laws in his second edition of "Mein Kampf," to the legal research done to write Nazi law in the 1930's. (The Nazi's extermination policies came l [...]

    14. This is a readably and brief examination of the Nazi fascination and respect for American racist laws on immigration and miscegenation. With loads of direct textual evidence, Whitman distinguishes an ongoing respect and engagement for US law among Nazi law-makers, even when broader nationalist propaganda in Germany reacted against the US. More complex than a mere "borrowing" of American law, it clearly shows how Nazi lawmakers used American law to determine the course of "history," looking at Am [...]

    15. It was short, but I imagine there's only a limited amount of information, and frankly, it's nice that he didn't go on and on and try to fill up pages with only marginally related information, as many writers do when they have a topic with slim pickings for research! He really did his homework, as well, and as an amateur historian, I really appreciate that. His writing style is informed but accessible. He writes from a place of acute knowledge, being that he himself is a lawyer and is writing on [...]

    16. On the surface, this book is a legal argument, a lawyer's brief intended to convince the reader that American race laws influenced the writing of the Nazi race laws. Some may find the argument unconvincing but that's not really important. What is important is that the legal arguments presented here lay bare the dichotomy between our self portrayal as the land of liberty and equality and the reality relected in laws designed by us to deny equality to non-whites. The author apologizes many times f [...]

    17. This book is written in what I think of as "academic recursive," a writing style most frequently exhibited by post-secondary professors. It stems, I believe, from the traditional essay structure employed by university students everywhere wherein the writer tells you what they are going to say, and then they say it, and then they remind you of what they just said. It annoys the crap out of me. Allow me to save you the trouble of having to read this book: the Nazis thought American laws relating t [...]

    18. A well-researched account of how U.S. race law informed and preceded Nazi laws -- the Nuremberg laws that provided legal cover for the degradation of German Jews. It's an uncomfortable look at how much inspiration the Nazis took from Jim Crow, and how the Nazis found some American practices to be a bit much even for them. While the book mainly covers the 1930s anti-Semitic campaigns, before the war and the complete abandonment of the rule of law altogether, it does fill some places in Holocaust [...]

    19. Short book that should have been left an article. Here's the book: did the Nazi framers of the Nuremberg Laws look to US race policy, Jim Crow, anti-miscegenation law, and immigration law to shape their wording? Answer: yes. Was the book interesting? Indeed. But the author didn't need an entire book to make his argument. I guess I feel little ripped off. I would have appreciated less repetition and more history. Oh well.

    20. Meticulously detailed with ample citations. Whitman's argument is clear and well-argued. This should be widely read. Two complaints: 1) he frequently repeats himself -- it's like he's worried the reader forgot what was mentioned five pages back, and 2) in the conclusion chapter, he is entirely too optimistic/positive about America's role in world history and the role of racism in America.

    21. This is an interesting subject (it's touched upon in The Gene, by Mukherjee) but this book didn't do it for me. Really, it's a thesis or long article that was stretched into a book, padded with repetition. If you're going to read it, be SUPER interested in the subject matter, as it's not the dry, boring style that's going to engage you.

    22. Extremely interesting material, mediocre writing. The book makes a strong case for the proposition that American immigration, citizenship and miscegenation laws were carefully studied by the Nazis during the drafting of the infamous Nuremberg laws. Shines a bright light on some awful things in our not too distant past.

    23. Amazing historical work of the use of American laws against minorities were used to form the basis of laws against Jews. Over thirty Nazi lawyers visited the law school at Arkansas University. Many of these principles, such as restricting voting rights are still being used by the conservative right to marginalize minorities.

    24. The book is written assuming the author is going to have to fight the reader tooth and nail to agree with his premise. If you already agree that American race law influenced global race law (including Nazi Germany) the book is extremely repetitive.

    25. Maybe a bit repetitive and definitely not a breezy read, but an illuminating look into how aspects of American law influenced Nazis. America still needs to confront this history a tad bit more openly.

    26. The author constantly reminds us that he's totally not drawing moral equivalencies, spending more time denying he's even hinting at the making the argument that he is, in fact, making than he does trying to make the argument. Could be 50 pages shorter.

    27. While the writing was cogent and the points were revelatory and frightening, there simply wasn't enough meat to this meal. It was very very repetitive and would probably had been better served as a paper or journal article than a book.

    28. So, from what Nazis learned:1) U.S. racial segregation (Jim Crow) laws2) U.S. anti-miscegenation lawsAny true Nazi should learn from America's inventions :-D

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