Cover image for The "Jewish threat" : anti-semitic politics of the U.S. Army
The "Jewish threat" : anti-semitic politics of the U.S. Army
Bendersky, Joseph W., 1946-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvii, 539 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1530 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS146.U6 B47 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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While the pervasive anti-Semitism of "ordinary" Germans in the first half of the twentieth century has received much attention lately, very little has been written about America's own history of anti-Semitism. In this shocking book, Joseph Bendersky argues that such racism permeated the highest ranks of the U.S. military throughout the past century, having a very real effect on policy decisions. Through ten years of research in more than thirty-five archives, the author has uncovered irrefutable evidence of an endemic and virulent anti-Semitism throughout the Army Corps from the turn of the century right up to the 1970s. These sources reveal how the "Secret Americans" (a group of officers who described themselves as true patriots and who felt silenced by Roosevelt) were convinced of the physical, intellectual, and moral inferiority of Jews and feared that their "superior" Anglo-Saxon/Nordic culture was threatened by a radical and destabilizing Jewish conspiracy. This fully developed and clearly articulated perspective had a direct effect on policy discussions and decisions, affecting such matters as immigration, refugees, military strategy, and the establishment of Israel. Secret agents scoured Europe in a desperate attempt to prove the existence of the Jewish conspiracy. General Moseley, a close friend of Eisenhower's and one of the Army's most decorated officers, demanded the sterilization of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. During the war, the Chief of the Naval Institute claimed the stream of Jewish refugees from Europe was just a money-making scheme. Even in the 1970s, retired officers were still warning against the secret forces of Judaism and their supposed manipulation of presidents and the American public (even going so far as to label Kissinger a KGB spy). Written with novelistic intensity and attention to intriguing detail, The "Jewish Threat" is the first documented examination of a functioning anti-Semitic worldview within an American institution of government and adds an entirely new dimension to the history of the U.S. Army. It forces us to revise some of our cherished notions about our country and its most revered leaders.

Author Notes

Joseph W. Bendersky is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in History at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Bendersky, author of History of Nazi Germany (1985), spent 10 years researching this important history of anti-Semitism in the U.S. Army. He offers evidence that vicious anti-Semitism permeated the highest ranks of the U.S. Army from the turn of the century through the 1970s. He found that the Army's Military Intelligence Division (NM) created a separate classification for Jews to accommodate pertinent reports, memoranda, and correspondence. Bendersky also discovered letters between officers, secret agents, state secretaries, and embassies abroad, in which information on Jews was exchanged, including lists of prominent Jews who supposedly dominated or influenced German banking, industry, and politics. These Jewish files, Bendersky shows, reveal that an anti-Semitic worldview persisted in the army officer corps throughout World War II. Although the presence of anti-Semitism in the army has never been a secret, Bendersky's documented study reveals for the first time the extent of this insidious policy of Judeophobia. This is truly a significant work. --George Cohen

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologue: The Jewish Filesp. xi
1 The Officers' Worldview, 1900-1939p. 1
2 Military Intelligence and "International Jewry," 1917-1919p. 47
3 Jews and Geopolitics, 1918-1924p. 75
4 The Nordic Defense of America, 1918-1924p. 121
5 Educating Officer Elites: The Army War College, 1919-1933p. 167
6 Quiet Continuities, 1925-1936p. 197
7 The Officer Corps and the Third Reich, 1933-1939p. 227
8 War College, War Clouds, 1933-1941p. 259
9 Officers and the Holocaust, 1940-1945p. 287
10 Survivors, Refugees, and the Birth of Israel, 1945-1949p. 349
11 Change and Continuity in the Postwar Era, 1945-1960p. 389
Epiloguep. 423
Notesp. 435
Bibliographyp. 503
Indexp. 521