Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xii

It is a pleasure to thank the people who inspired and assisted me in the writing of this book. While I began my intellectual and personal journey in the summer of 2005 into a world of Jewish, American, and world destinies that might have been—much more on that emotionally stirring experience in the Prologue—many of my early cogitations and considerations were crystallized during a sojourn at the bucolic College of Charleston in the spring of 2013. I am especially grateful to Professor Ted Rosengarten, the school’s expert on Holocaust studies, who carefully read an early draft...

read more

Prologue. Ghosts in the Restored Jewish Quarter in Krakow: An Entrance into Alternate Jewish History

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-19

The restored Jewish quarter in the Kazimierz District of Krakow, Poland, became, in the late twentieth century, a tourist attraction. Visitors walked within the narrow streets of this section of the city and discovered—with their website printouts as guides—“a unique atmosphere of the Jewish past of this area.” For an authentic retrospective on a civilization that was no more, travelers stopped at the Museum of Judaism housed within the Old Synagogue, a sanctuary that dated back to the fifteenth century. In 1495, King Jan I Olbracht first moved the Jews who were under his protection...

read more

1. A World at War, 1938

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 20-41

The year 1938 started out as a triumphant turning point for the Nazis’ goal of control over all German speakers in Europe and a transformative moment in concretizing their policies toward finally removing Jews from their burgeoning country. The Aryan dream of a purified Greater Reich was alive and well. Their plans, however, failed to work out as Berlin had envisioned. By year’s end, the regime was embroiled in costly military confrontations and faced with battles it was ill prepared to efficiently conduct. A reordering of national priorities was thus necessary. Encumbered with...

read more

2. American Jewry in the Late 1930s: A Respite for an Insecure Community

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 42-59

The resolve of the British and French at Munich, and Hitler’s subsequent less-than-grand Czech adventure, could not have come at a better time for American Jews. The developments in Europe provided a welcome respite for a harried community that for much of the 1930s felt insecure in America, uncertain of their position among their fellow citizens, and fearful, for good reason, of growing antisemitism. Never before in close to three hundred years of Jewish life in America had Jews felt as out of step with those around them. They were the quintessential internationalists,...

read more

3. Conflicting Challenges for an America at Peace, 1938–1944

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 60-92

Josef Stalin had several major scores to settle with the Poles. As commissar of the Southern Front that had attacked Warsaw in 1920, he remembered how the communists’ defeat had chilled an incipient regime’s dreams of quickly spreading radical revolutions worldwide. The “Red” Bolsheviks who had just finished staggering through its own civil war against the “White” Mensheviks really were in no shape to control and impose communism on twenty-five million Poles. If Lenin’s troops had tried to fulfill his fantasy of quickly overrunning Germany after subduing Poland, the Allies of the Great...

read more

4. Without the “Boss”: American Jewry’s Concerns, 1940–1944

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-113

The Jews of America were dismayed and apprehensive about the outcome of the 1940 presidential election. They were highly perturbed, to begin with, by FDR’s decision not to seek a third term. For eight years, a man who they believed was a true and devoted friend had occupied the White House. One New York rabbi had enthused that when Roosevelt took office in 1933, “the Messiah of America’s future” was now guiding the United States. In most Jewish circles, the sense was that such a joyous prophecy had been fulfilled. Jews had been proud that the president had...

read more

5. The Eastern European Threat and an End to U.S. Isolationism, 1944–1945

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 114-146

Before they went to war in 1938, the German propaganda machine filled the newspapers and radio airways with depictions of the Fuehrer as “the master of all problems facing the nation.” Under Goebbels’s sway, the controlled media projected Hitler as the “symbol of the nation” who had reestablished German honor and properly reordered their society, economy, and culture. Looking ahead, it was said that if war came Germany’s way, Hitler’s “toughness, severity, and unshakable determination in pursuit of far-sighted goals” would lead the Reich to victory. As the embodiment...

read more

6. Divided Allegiances: American Jews and Israel, 1944–1950

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 147-180

Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver shut off his radio and picked up his phone. Within seconds, he was in touch with the long-distance operator. The president had just called upon all Americans to assemble in their houses of worship to rejoice over the end of Nazism and to rededicate themselves to the loftiest of American principles. Jews, Silver determined, could not wait to celebrate the fall of the “modern-day Haman” and to show in no uncertain terms their patriotism. An immediate demonstration of where “our people stands” was called for, a rally of epic proportions in the country’s largest...

read more

7. Suburban Jewish Cul de Sacs, 1950–1960

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-206

In January 1950, the Wall Street Journal took President Marshall to task for his “myopic vision of his presidential role.” While crediting the “White House for wisely navigating the important position America has assumed in foreign affairs against communist threats in Europe and Asia,” editorialists railed against his “troubling neglect of expanding exigencies at home.” They wondered why Marshall had not acted on a critically important plank of the 1948 Democratic Party platform, the so-called “suburban mandate.” At the urging of big-city mayors, convention delegates, who hailed from overcrowded...

read more

8. The 1960s and the Trials of Acceptance for American Jews

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 207-237

In his book My First Thousand Days, which Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. published in November 1963 to kick off the following year’s reelection campaign, the president proudly asserted that during his first term “he had freed America from a decade-long obsession over rooting out communists in our midst.” He claimed that “I have taken great personal and political risks in calming Americans down” from “their overwrought worries over the misdeeds of a few misguided, disloyal citizens—even if they held some sensitive government positions.” For Kennedy, Moscow’s greatest threat...

read more

9. Unending Dilemmas: Israelis, Arabs, the World Powers, and American Jews

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 238-267

During the first nineteen years of its endangered existence, Israeli leaders articulated two very different visions of their country’s prospects for survival amid ever hostile neighbors in the Middle East. The Jewish state, it was frequently said, lay in “mortal danger” while at the same time possessing the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) that could “destroy in mere weeks any and all armies that the Arabs might muster against it.” In December 1953, just prior to becoming IDF chief of staff, Moshe Dayan had said as much in his briefing of Pentagon officials. The military story line of his country’s history in its five years of existence since its remarkable...

read more

Conclusion. Alternate History and the Realities of American Jewish Life

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 268-282

This dark, counterfactual vision of American Jewry has shone a bright light on actual history. The somber hues in this portrayal depict a community that from the 1930s through the mid-1960s was far from fully at home in contemporary America, distant from other Jews, disconnected with its past, and uncertain whether it had a future. In my alternate history, the long-term processes of disintegration of Jewish identity among men and women who were generations removed from their parents’ immigrant roots intensified. Dissociation was encouraged in an America...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 283-300

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 301-302