The United States remained neutral during the first two years of World War II, from September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, to December 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. As the Axis forces expanded their territorial holdings in Europe and Asia, Americans debated whether to aid the Allied powers economically or militarily.
Nazi Germany’s persecution of Europe’s Jews was not a secret in the United States. Though some Americans protested Nazism, the US response during these early years was limited, in large part because Americans were suffering through the Great Depression and did not want to become entangled in an international conflict in the aftermath of World War I.
Between 1938 and 1941, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied much of Europe, bringing millions of Jews under its control. The United States remained neutral during this period. Though many Americans were sympathetic to the plight of Europe’s Jews, the majority did not want to increase immigration, nor see the United States become involved in World War II.
Between August 1946 and May 1948, the British government intercepted more than 50,000 Holocaust survivors seeking to resettle in Palestine. They interned these survivors in detention camps established on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
Numerous organizations and individuals attempted to bring unaccompanied children, mostly German Jewish children, to the United States between 1933 and 1945. More than one thousand unaccompanied children escaped Nazi persecution by immigrating to the United States as part of these organized efforts. This article provides a summary of this work.
The 1939 Wagner-Rogers Bill is the common name for two identical congressional bills (one in the US House of Representatives and one in the US Senate) that proposed admitting 20,000 German refugee children to the United States outside of immigration quotas. Despite congressional hearings and public debate in the spring of 1939, the bills never came to a vote.
Judaism is a monotheistic religion, believing in one god. It is not a racial group. Individuals may also associate or identify with Judaism primarily through ethnic or cultural characteristics. Jewish communities may differ in belief, practice, politics, geography, language, and autonomy. Learn more about the practices and beliefs of Judaism.
After the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked US forces at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II, fear of espionage or sabotage by people of Japanese ancestry gripped the country. In the aftermath of the attack, the US government relocated approximately 120,000 people of Japanese descent—mostly American citizens—from their West Coast homes to “relocation centers” in remote areas of the country.
Edward R. Murrow was a pioneer in radio and television journalism in the mid-twentieth century.
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