Stuff You Won't Find in the History Books
The Economic Boycott of 1933
The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany
Reprint of an article (with added material) from The Barnes Review, Jan./Feb. 2001, pp. 41-45. by M. Raphael Johnson, Ph.D.
Few people know the facts about the singular event that helped spark what ultimately became known as World War II - the international Jewish declaration of war on Germany shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power and well before any official German government sanctions or reprisals against Jews were carried out.|
The March 24, 1933 issue of The Daily Express of London (shown below) described how Jewish leaders, in combination with powerful international Jewish financial interests, had launched a boycott of Germany for the express purpose of crippling her already precarious economy in the hope of bringing down the new Hitler regime.
It was only then that Germany struck back in response. Thus, if truth be told, it was the worldwide Jewish leadership - not the Third Reich - that effectively fired the first shot in the Second World War. Prominent New York attorney Samuel Untermyer was one of the leading agitators in the war against Germany, describing the Jewish campaign as nothing less than a "holy war."
While there were sporadic eruptions of violence against Jews in Germany after Hitler came to power, this was not officially sanctioned or encouraged. And the truth is that anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe) were actually nothing new. As all Jewish historians attest with much fervor, anti-Semitic uprisings of various degrees had been ever-present in European history.|
In any case, in early 1933, Hitler was not the undisputed leader of Germany, nor did he have full command of the armed forces. Hitler was a major figure in a coalition government, but he was far from being the government himself. That was the result of a process of consolidation which evolved later.
Even Germany's Jewish Central Association, known as the Verein, contested the suggestion (made by some Jewish leaders outside Germany) that the new government was deliberately provoking anti-Jewish uprisings.
The Verein issued a statement that "the responsible government authorities [i.e. the Hitler regime] are unaware of the threatening situation," saying, "we do not believe our German fellow citizens will let themselves be carried away into committing excesses against the Jews."
Despite this, Jewish leaders in the United States and Britain determined on their own that it was necessary to launch a war against the Hitler government.
|The article described a forthcoming "holy war" and went on to implore Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and engage in mass demonstrations against German economic interests. According to the Express:|
|This truly could be described as "the first shot fired in the Second World War." In a similar vein, the Jewish newspaper Natscha Retsch wrote:|
However, note well that the Zionist Association of Germany put out a telegram on the 26th of March rejecting many of the allegations made against the National Socialists as "propaganda," "mendacious" and "sensational."|
In fact, the Zionist faction had every reason to ensure the permanence of National Socialist ideology in Germany. Klaus Polkehn, writing in the Journal of Palestine Studies ("The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941"; JPS v. 3/4, spring/summer 1976), claims that the moderate attitude of the Zionists was due to their vested interest in seeing the financial victory of National Socialism to force immigration to Palestine. This little-known factor would ultimately come to play a pivotal part in the relationship between Nazi Germany and the Jews.
In the meantime, though, German Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath complained of the "vilification campaign" and said:
|The fledgling Hitler government itself was clearly trying to contain the growing tension - both within Germany and without. In the United States, even U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wired Rabbi Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress and urged caution:|
|This New York Daily News front page headline hailed the massive anti-German protest rally held in Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1933. Despite efforts by the German government to alleviate tensions and prevent the escalation of name-calling and threats by the international Jewish leadership, the rally was held as scheduled. Similar rallies and protest marches were also being held in other cities during the same time frame.|
The bottom line is that "the New Germany" was declared to be an enemy of Jewish interests and thus needed to be economically strangled. This was before Hitler decided to boycott Jewish goods.|
It was in direct response to this that the German government announced a one-day boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany on April 1. German Propaganda Minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels announced that if, after the one-day boycott, there were no further attacks on Germany, the boycott would be stopped. Hitler himself responded to the Jewish boycott and the threats in a speech on March 28 - four days after the original Jewish declaration of war - saying:
|Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany. Horror stories of dismembered Jewish corpses, gouged out eyes and hacked off hands are circulating for the purpose of defaming the German Volk in the world for the second time, just as they had succeeded in doing once before in 1914.|
The simple fact is that it was organized Jewry as a political entity - and not even the German Jewish community per se - that actually initiated the first shot in the war with Germany.|
Germany's response was a defensive - not an offensive - measure. Were that fact widely known today, it would cast new light on the subsequent events that ultimately led to the world-wide conflagration that followed.
A Jewish Holocaust website makes the claim that "Nazi spokesmen claimed the boycott was an act of revenge against both German Jews and foreigners, including U.S. and English journalists, who had criticized the Nazi regime." But from the records, this would appear to be a major understatement, in that it wasn't a simple "criticism of the regime" but a very serious worldwide economic boycott that was being avenged.
To understand Hitler's reaction to the Jewish declaration of war, it is vital to understand the critical state of the German economy at the time. In 1933, the German economy was in a shambles. Some 3 million Germans were on public assistance with a total of 6 million unemployed. Hyper-inflation had destroyed the economic vitality of the German nation. Furthermore, the anti-German propaganda pouring out of the global press strengthened the resolve of Germany's enemies, especially the Poles and their hawkish military high command.|
The Jewish leaders were not bluffing. The boycott was an act of war not solely in metaphor: it was a means, well crafted, to destroy Germany as a political, social and economic entity. The long term purpose of the Jewish boycott against Germany was to bankrupt her with respect to the reparation payments imposed on Germany after World War I and to keep Germany demilitarized and vulnerable.
|Untermyer's inflammatory oratory called for a "sacred war" against Germany, making the flat-out allegation that Germany was engaged in a plan to "exterminate the Jews." He said (in part):|
|Untermeyer then proceeded to provide his listeners with a wholly fraudulent history of the circumstances of the German boycott and how it originated. He also proclaimed that the Germans were bent on a plan to "exterminate the Jews", but we are aware of no evidence that any such plan existed at that time - and historians now seem to deny that such an official plan ever existed.|
Why did the Germans begin rounding up the Jews and interning them in the concentration camps to begin with? Contrary to popular myth, the Jews remained "free" inside Germany - albeit subject to laws which did restrict certain of their privileges - prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Yet, the other little-known fact is that just before the war began, the leadership of the world Jewish community formally declared war on Germany - above and beyond the ongoing six-year-long economic boycott launched by the worldwide Jewish community when the Nazi Party came to power in 1933.
As a consequence of the formal declaration of war, the German authorities thus deemed Jews to be potential enemy agents.
Here's the story behind the story: Chaim Weizmann, president of both the international "Jewish Agency" and of the World Zionist Organization (and later Israel's first president), told British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in a letter published in The London Times on September 6, 1939 that:
|That his allegations against Germany were made long before even Jewish historians today claim there were any gas chambers or even a plan to "exterminate" the Jews, displays the nature of the propaganda campaign confronting Germany.|
In response to Brennar and others, the Zionist reaction has usually consisted of declarations that their collaboration with Nazi Germany was undertaken solely to save the lives of Jews. But the collaboration was all the more remarkable because it took place at a time when many Jews and Jewish organizations demanded a boycott of Germany.|
To the Zionist leaders, Hitler's assumption of power held out the possibility of a flow of immigrants to Palestine. Previously, the majority of German Jews, who identified themselves as Germans, had little sympathy with the Zionist cause of promoting the ingathering of world Jewry to Palestine. But the Zionists saw that only the anti-Semitic Hitler was likely to push the anti-Zionist German Jews into the arms of Zionism.
For all the modern-day wailing by worldwide supporters of Israel (not to mention the Israelis themselves) about "the Holocaust", they neglect to mention that making the situation in Germany as uncomfortable for the Jews as possible - in cooperation with German National Socialism - was part of the plan.
This was the genesis of the so-called Transfer Agreement, the agreement between Zionist Jews and the National Socialist government to transfer German Jewry to Palestine.
According to Jewish historian Walter Laqueur and many others, German Jews were far from convinced that immigration to Palestine was the answer. Furthermore, although the majority of German Jews refused to consider the Zionists as their political leaders, it is clear that Hitler protected and cooperated with the Zionists for the purposes of implementing the final solution: the mass transfer of Jews to the Middle East.
Edwin Black, in his massive tome The Transfer Agreement (Macmillan, 1984), stated that although most Jews did not want to flee to Palestine at all, due to the Zionist movement's influence within Nazi Germany a Jew's best chance of getting out of Germany was by emigrating to Palestine. In other words, the Transfer Agreement itself mandated that Jewish capital could only to go Palestine.
Thus, according to the Zionists, a Jew could leave Germany only if he went to the Levant.
The primary difficulty with the Transfer Agreement (or even the idea of such an agreement) was that the English were demanding, as a condition of immigration, that each immigrant pay 1,000 pounds sterling upon arrival in Haifa or elsewhere. The difficulty was that such hard currency was nearly impossible to come by in a cash-strapped and radically inflationary Germany. This was the main idea behind the final Transfer Agreement. Laqueur writes:
|Of course, this is of major historical importance in dealing with the relationship between Zionism and National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s. The relationship was not one merely of mutual interest and political favoritism on the part of Hitler, but a close financial relationship with German banking families and financial institutions as well. Black writes:|
Thus one sees a radical fissure in world Jewry around 1933 and beyond. There were, first, the non-Zionist Jews (specifically the World Jewish Congress founded in 1933), who, on the one hand, demanded the boycott and eventual destruction of Germany. Black notes that many of these people were not just in New York and Amsterdam, but a major source for this also came from Palestine proper.|
On the other hand, one can see the judicious use of such feelings by the Zionists for the sake of eventual resettlement in Palestine. In other words, it can be said (and Black does hint at this) that Zionism believed that, since Jews would be moving to the Levant, capital flight would be necessary for any new economy to function.
The result was the understanding that Zionism would have to ally itself with National Socialism, so that the German government would not impede the flow of Jewish capital out of the country.
It served the Zionist interests at the time that Jews be loud in their denunciations of German practices against the Jews to scare them into the Levant, but, on the other hand, Laqueur states that "The Zionists became motivated not to jeopardize the German economy or currency." In other words, the Zionist leadership of the Jewish Diaspora was one of subterfuge and underhandedness, with only the advent of German hostility towards Jewry convincing the world's Jews that immigration was the only escape.
The fact is that the ultimate establishment of the state of Israel was based on fraud. The Zionists did not represent anything more than a small minority of German Jews in 1933.
On the one hand, the Zionist fathers of Israel wanted loud denunciations of Germany's "cruelties" to the world's Jews while at the same time demanding moderation so that the National Socialist government would remain stable, financially and politically. Thus Zionism boycotted the boycott.
For all intents and purposes, the National Socialist government was the best thing to happen to Zionism in its history, for it "proved" to many Jews that Europeans were irredeemably anti-Jewish and that Palestine was the only answer: Zionism came to represent the overwhelming majority of Jews solely by trickery and cooperation with Adolf Hitler.
For the Zionists, both the denunciations of German policies towards Jews (to keep Jews frightened), plus the reinvigoration of the German economy (for the sake of final resettlement) was imperative for the Zionist movement. Ironically, today the Zionist leaders of Israel complain bitterly about the horrific and inhuman regime of the National Socialists. So the fraud continues.