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"The Jewish Hymn: Onward Christian Soldiers"

Onward Christian Soldiers
US Holocaust Memorial Museum

On the eve of World War II in 1939, a majority Americans believed that involvement in another war would be disastrous for the United States. As the featured poster highlights, some of those in favor of isolationism cited antisemitic conspiracy theories to justify their opposition to the war. 

Produced by Robert Edward Edmondson—a writer who would be tried for sedition in 1944 for his pro-Nazi writings—this document accused American Jews of using their supposed control of the media and the global economy for sinister purposes. Popularized by other prominent figures, such as Father Charles E. Coughlin and Henry Ford, these tropes reflected a long history of global antisemitism.1 Like Coughlin and Ford, Edmondson warned of an international conspiracy to bring about war being waged by Jews in media, finance, and government. "The American people have no quarrel with Germany or Japan," Edmondson writes. "The only people who want war are—THE JEWS!"

Edmondson also notes that Nazi policies against Jews and other minorities were consistent with the United States' history and values, and that Nazi race law was no different from America's. At a time when racism and anti-immigrant attitudes were reflected in US law,2 Edmondson encouraged Americans to see the Nazi racial state not as an enemy but as something familiar—and admirable.3

For more on antisemitic myths and stereotypes in the United States, see the related items "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem" and the "The Truth About Revolution."

In the 1930s, "Jim Crow" laws legalized discrimination against non-whites in most areas of American life. African Americans were barred from many public places, including hotels, restaurants, and other facilities. In the South especially, non-whites lived in fear of racially motivated violence. Until 1945, the armed forces of the United States remained segregated by race. With the exception of boxing, both college and professional sports were segregated, and equal training opportunities for African American athletes were extremely limited. For more information, see the related collection African Americans and World War II and the Jim Crow Museum website.

For more on the similarities between legalized racism in Nazi Germany and the United States, see James Q. Whitman, Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017).

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Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Accession Number 2013.514.1
Date Created
January 10, 1939
Author / Creator
Robert Edward Edmonson
Publisher
Edmonson Economic Service
Language(s)
English
Location
New York, USA
Document Type Poster
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