The increase in anti-Jewish sentiment witnessed in Germany following the First World War was not unique: in the same period, it was common for Americans to regard Jews with suspicion and fear. Some prominent figures in US public life encouraged these attitudes by characterizing Jews as "foreigners" seeking to infiltrate US society and spark a communist revolution.1
The industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, was among the most well known of these voices. Ford published The Dearborn Independent, a weekly newspaper produced throughout the 1920s. The newspaper also published the featured pamphlet titled, The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem. Translated into 12 languages and available throughout North America and Europe, The International Jew was widely read. Its contents rely heavily on the antisemitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an antisemitic publication that spread lies about Jews and advanced the idea of a Jewish conspiracy to conquer the world.
The International Jew describes the world's Jewish population as "being dispersed among the nations, but never merging themselves with nations and never losing a very distinctive identity." Mirroring another common stereotype in the United States and Europe, The International Jew asserted that "The Jew is the world's enigma. Poor in his masses, he yet controls the world's finances…." Every industry, it continues, had been "infiltrated" by Jewish people, from magazines, to theater, to real estate. Jews are also portrayed as crafty and greedy by nature.
Henry Ford, as an important business figure and industrialist, used his Dearborn Independent to legitimize and spread such views. The International Jew served as a central means of introducing antisemitic attitudes, and stereotypes could easily find their way into American public forums.