My blog (presently represented by Chapter 20, “The Acquiescence of this Government in the Murder of the Jews”) has always inspired extreme attacks, and equally strong defenses. And both are illustrated below.
Critic: “This is precisely what David Turner is not doing. He is carefully and deliberately miscasting the United States and the role its government played in the Holocaust. His interpretation of history is baseless and has many omissions and distortions that are carefully crafted to cast the US and its government as a villain in the Holocaust.
“What is worse…”
Defender: I have found David’s writings fascinating, because they deal with events that I either have lived through, myself, or learned of from my elders. Some of my family had managed to gain entry to the US, after repeated attempts and being rejected because they were Jewish. Once in the US, they hastened to learn English, and to “Americanize”. They loved America, and were intensely patriotic. They flew American flags on holidays. My paternal grandfather drove to the train station at least once a month and brought American soldiers and sailors, who were between trains, home for dinner. At the same time that my family was patriotic, they considered the US Government to be anti-semitic, knew of Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic activities, and considered the major US companies to be anti-Semitic. This was not a circumstance that they discussed with outrage. Rather, it was a matter-of-fact acceptance of reality. They considered the government to be anti-Semitic primarily because of their experience with the government in trying to immigrate to the US. And, they all knew that the US did nothing to help refugees. Generally, their discussion of a company, such as Westinghouse, or General Electric, or General Motors, would include a comment as to whether or not they hired Jews, since many didn’t, and if they did, at what level of the company. It was inconceivable to them that a Jew could be elected to Congress, or high state or federal government office. They were immensely proud of Morgenthau and Albert Einstein.
When I was a youngster, during the 1930s and early 40s, the Nazi Brownshirts would march in Chicago, and they would shout promises to the onlookers that the Jews would be exterminated. My family and Jewish friends knew what was happening to Jews in Germany and in Russia, and they were very concerned. When I was at high school football and basketball games, the kids from the other schools would shout, “Go back to Palestine, you G-Dd-md Jews”. If the games were at the other schools, we usually had to fight our way out after the game. The school authorities and the local government did nothing to prevent that, and we didn’t do anything about it, except to fight when we had to.
My father, too old for military service when WWII began, enlisted as a civilian in the US Signal Corps, and taught radar to military and civilian students. When the war was winding down, a number of my father’s civilian students were hired by defense contractors, but when my father applied to them, he was rejected, because he was Jewish. He didn’t just “think” that that was why he was rejected, they told him outright that they did not accept Jews in their electronics laboratories.
When I graduated from high school, I sent inquiries to a number of the major universities, who responded with application forms, which I completed and submitted. The applications asked my religion. After submittal, I received outright rejections from several universities, but was given an interview at Northwestern. In the interview, I was told which departments of the university had already enrolled their quota of Jews. The Dean at Northwestern was sympathetic, and suggested that I try the University of Illinois, because, he said, they had to accept me, even though I was Jewish. And so, I enrolled at Illinois. I found, there, that while the entrance to the university was open to Jews, much of the interior was not.
My family’s attitude toward FDR was mixed. My mother considered FDR to be absolutely wonderful, because “he saved the Jews”. My father said that, since FDR was the President, we had to respect him. My grandfather considered FDR to be a disaster.
I am boring you with these details because they are not the results of my research or analysis, they are the real life experience of my family and myself. You might ask, if the US was so bad, why did you stay? The answer is that, while the US was “so bad”, it was wonderful, in comparison to anti-Semitic Europe. In fact, we never considered the US to be “so bad”, we considered the US to be “so good”.
And so, telling you my past experiences does not mean that I hate the US. And, telling you that I think that FDR could have prevented the deaths of millions of Jews, and chose not to, does not mean that I hate the US, it means that I do not think highly of FDR. I love the USA and I am grateful for living here.
The following day a more “sympathetic” critic whose responses have several times appeared in my TOI blog warned me as follows:
Philosopher: Watch it, David. He gives you a lot of old oil, which may make you swallow and rise to the bait, to wit, to accept his intellectual views.
DT: I’m surprised, after all of the disagreements you and I share, and as long as we have been debating them, that you would accuse me of, “swallow and rise to the bait…” As you, and “X” and “Y,” I have challenged “Defender” on what I also recognize as an abundance of “trust” in the possibility that there may be, in the United States or any country of Christendom, an “exception.” Too many centuries of too many atrocities provide too much evidence that any “exception” anywhere is illusory. Which leaves one who maintains, insists on such a possibility, falling into Pascal’s Wager, in reverse.
If History proves out, as it will, then we have condemned not only ourselves, but our future generations to suffer our only too recent past.
“Defender,” is no doubt aware (which keeps him, a late-comer to the blog reading) of the risk. And this is light-years beyond our majority of Jews in the US, the Diaspora and Israel determined, in face of clear and obvious evidence, to remain in denial of reality.