1st Edition

Antisemitism Before the Holocaust Re-Evaluating Antisemitic Exceptionalism in Germany and the United States, 1880-1945

By Richard E. Frankel Copyright 2023

    This book examines the history of antisemitism in the United States and Germany in a novel way by placing the two countries side by side for a sustained comparison of the anti-Jewish environments in both countries from the 1880s to the end of World War II.

    Author Richard E. Frankel shatters the widely held notion of exceptionalism in Germany and America: the belief that antisemitism in Germany was uniquely murderous and led inevitably to the Holocaust and that antisemitism in the United States was uniquely benign, making an American Holocaust all but unthinkable. In a series of new and previously published essays that have been revised, updated, and expanded, the book relates antisemitism to issues including Jewish and Chinese immigration, discrimination and exclusion, World War I and its aftermath, Hitler and Henry Ford, Nazis, the American Right, and the Roosevelt Administration, and a German Ku Klux Klan. Taken together, these essays reveal that antisemitism in Germany was less aberrant than commonly believed and that American antisemitism was indeed dangerous and more similar to what existed in Germany during the same period.

    Antisemitism Before the Holocaust is an essential volume for students and scholars alike interested in European and American history, the history of the Holocaust and World War I.

    1. A Transnational Jewish Question: Exploring Antisemitism in the United States and Germany Through the Lens of Global History, 1880-1914 2. ‘No Jews, Dogs, or Consumptives’: Comparing Anti-Jewish Discrimination in Late-Nineteenth-Century Germany and the United States 3. An Exceptional Hatred? Re-Examining Antisemitism in Germany and the United States in a Time of War and Upheaval, 1914-1923 4. The Paranoid Style in Antisemitic Journalism: Comparing Coverage of the ‘World Jewish Conspiracy’ in the Völkischer Beobachter and the Dearborn Independent, 1920-1923 5. One Crisis Behind? Rethinking Antisemitic Exceptionalism in the United States and Germany 6. Klansmen in the Fatherland: A Transnational Episode in the History of Weimar Germany’s Right-Wing Political Culture


    Richard E. Frankel is Professor of Modern German History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His interests include antisemitism, nationalism, and political culture. Frankel’s other books include Bismarck’s Shadow: The Cult of Leadership and the Transformation of the German Right, 1898–1945 (2005) and States of Exclusion: A New Wave of Fascism (2019).

    “In this comparative study, Richard E. Frankel explores the manifestations and significance of modern antisemitism in the United States and Germany before the Holocaust and challenges the general assumption that antisemitism in the United States was essentially different from the more extreme German variant that culminated in the Holocaust… Frankel’s knowledgeable study persuasively refutes widespread assumptions about the comparatively moderate character of American antisemitism in the period 1880 to 1945…His findings will certainly inspire more comparative research on the manifestations of antisemitism in modern history, but also on the political and societal factors that enabled or indeed hindered the effectiveness of its exclusionary message.”

    Christhard Hoffmann, University of Bergen, Norway, German History Journal