Each September marks the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, whose passage in 1935 stripped Jews of their German citizenship and banned “race-mixing” between Jews and other Germans.
The Nuremberg Laws were a critical juncture on the Third Reich’s path toward bringing about “the full-scale creation of a racist state … on the road to the Holocaust,” according to legal historian James Whitman. Yet across the Atlantic, many Americans were unconcerned, and even admiring – including some religious leaders.
As a political scientist and a sociologist, we wanted to examine what Americans thought about Hitler and the National Socialist Party before the U.S. entered World War II – and see what lessons those findings might hold for our country today. Our recent research, which focused on religious publications, suggests that Americans’ support for Nazi Germany...