Benjamin Ginsburg’s How the Jews Defeated HitlerSpencer J. Quinn
How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism
Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013
Benjamin Ginsburg has his uses for the Dissident Right. As a Jewish author who sometimes airs dirty Jewish laundry for his readers, he can be placed in the same category as David Cole — Jews who offer critical assessments of their own people that justify the claims of anti-Semites, yet stop short of recognizing the legitimacy of such claims themselves. (See “Suicide is no Solution” for a recent case in point regarding Cole).
Ginsburg’s 2013 work, How the Jews Defeated Hitler: Exploding the Myth of Jewish Passivity in the Face of Nazism, provides an interesting example. In it, Ginsburg attempts to strike a triumphalist tone while describing the often-underreported roles Jews played in defeating Germany during World War II. He concentrates on the considerable behind-the-scenes impact Jews had on the Soviet and US war efforts as well as on Jewish accomplishments in the fields of intelligence and espionage. He also discusses Jewish partisan activity during the war, especially in Eastern Europe. Fortunately for the Dissident Right, however, Ginsburg sometimes gets carried away with his feelings of triumph. He often describes quite vividly how Jews did more than merely help win the war, but also how they used their considerable power and influence to make sure there was a war to begin with. In other words, Jews, especially American Jews, warmongered in the 1930s. If not for the coordinated efforts of a highly belligerent and vindictive Jewish elite, America might have spared itself entry into the worst catastrophe the white race has ever known.
Ginsburg steps away from the stereotypically benign and raggedy Jews in their shtetls being herded into cattle cars, and instead focuses on the Jewish-Soviet engineers who designed the T-34 medium tank or the Katyusha rocket launcher, or the Jewish-Soviet writers and filmmakers who produced a relentless stream of patriotic and anti-German propaganda during the war. In his Soviet Union chapter, Ginsburg relays the fascinating story of Boris Vannikov, a Jew who had devised plans for the evacuation of industry east of the Urals in the event of a German invasion. As this was only a few weeks before the actual invasion, Vannikov’s plan was considered disloyal, and he was arrested and tortured by the NKVD. After the invasion, however, the NVKD realized its mistake and rehabilitated Vannikov, with Stalin himself putting him in charge of the evacuation.
Much of Ginsburg’s style is to string together anecdotes like this one to paint a grand picture of Jewish resistance. But his scholarship isn’t always top-notch. For example, he spends a great deal of time debunking the rumor that Jewish soldiers generally eschewed fighting on the front lines, leaving their gentile brethren to face the Wehrmacht alone. Ginsburg produces some statistics to support his assertion that “Jews included some of the most highly motivated and effective troops in Soviet uniform.” Maybe there is some truth to this. I don’t know. However, Ginsburg does not bolster his credibility when he blatantly misrepresented how Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn responded to this rumor:
Soviet anti-Semites often averred during the war that no Jews were to be found on the front lines. This charge was repeated after the war by no less a personage than Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The footnote following this whopper refers to Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together and omits the page number. So, Ginsburg’s English-speaking readership would not only need to read Russian or French to verify this claim, but they would also have to dive through all forty-seven pages of the pertinent chapter in Solzhenitsyn’s work.
Fortunately, I have done just that. Here’s what Solzhenitsyn actually wrote in chapter twenty-one on page 353 of the 2015 Russian-language edition:
Но Я — видел евреев на фронте.
“But I — saw Jews at the front,” Solzhenitsyn, the World War II veteran, tells us. Then, after listing several brave frontline Jews by name, he spends several pages going over the same rumors and statistics that Ginsburg cites (but in a much more comprehensive and responsible manner), and concludes with a lower estimate and the educated guess that while Soviet Jews did serve on the front, they tended to concentrate more in behind-the-lines technical, medical, supplier, and service units.
It’s annoying when a reviewer has to fact check an author like this.
In any event, Benjamin Ginsburg was caught in a lie — but it’s an anti-gentilic lie. He’s trying to smear anyone who questions Jewish heroism as an anti-Semite and then quite foolishly attempts to drag in Solzhenitsyn, who had died in 2008 and could not defend himself. But what if Ginsburg himself writes things that can be construed as anti-Semitic? Could those be lies as well? Unlikely, since the purpose of How the Jews Defeated Hitler is to make Jews look good, and anything anti-Semitic spilling from his pen would have to be accidental. This is what makes Ginsburg’s chapter on American Jews so interesting and valuable to the Dissident Right. He doesn’t mean to do it, but he makes Jews look bad.
How does a magician cause objects to vanish or appear out of nowhere? Through a technique called misdirection, he can draw your attention away from something magical that is about to happen by manipulating your ability to anticipate or remember. In a sense, the magician interferes with your sense of time. Ginsburg and other authors accomplish a similar sleight of hand when discussing Nazi Germany prior to the war. According to their specious logic, because the Nazis committed war crimes during the war, the Nazis must also be considered guilty of the same crimes before the war. Therefore, promoting war against the Nazis during the 1930s is perfectly justified and honorable. That the Nazis had committed only a tiny fraction of the human rights violations amassed by the Soviets during that period means nothing to people like Ginsburg. What does is how American Jews had been itching for a fight with a relatively innocent Nazi Germany years before the first concentration camps had even been built.
Ginsburg admits that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had placed a disproportionately high number of Jews in the tops spots of his administration. And most of these Jews worked on the disastrous New Deal — or “Jew Deal,” as coined by Roosevelt’s Jewish aide Samuel Rosenman. Unsurprisingly, Jews like Felix Frankfurter then invited more Jews, known as “Frankfurter’s Happy Hot Dogs” to work at New Deal agencies. (It must be remembered that, as a member of the Supreme Court in 1953, Frankfurter was so desperate to end segregation that he illegally colluded with another Jew, Phillip Elman of the Justice Department, during the Brown v. Board of Education case.)
Then, as tensions in Europe began to rise in the late-1930s, Ginsburg tells us that both FDR and the Jews “became close allies in the struggle against isolationism and pro-Axis sentiment in the years preceding World War II.” This alliance became extremely aggressive against anyone who opposed war on Germany.
Indeed, Jews and upper-class Northeastern Protestants were the two groups in American society that most vehemently opposed Germany and supported England at a time when large segments of the American public, including Americans of German, Italian, Irish, and Scandinavian descent, either supported Germany, opposed England, or were against any form of American intervention in European affairs.
This and the previous quote are astonishing admissions in a work supposedly meant to bolster positive feelings towards Jews. Ginsburg is stating unequivocally that Charles Lindbergh, in his September 11th, 1941 speech in Des Moines, Iowa, was correct. FDR, British Americans, and Jewish Americans were the parties most responsible for dragging the United States into war with Germany. And for speaking what Ginsburg agrees to be the truth, Lindbergh was smeared as an anti-Semite and became an American pariah. Jews today continue to have intense negative feelings towards Lindbergh, and Ginsburg himself declares that there was some cause for labeling Lindbergh “a vicious anti-Semite.”
But how can anti-Semitism be considered bad if anti-Semites, according to Ginsburg, also speak the truth? This is a question Ginsburg does not seem to think deserves an answer.
Ginsburg describes how Jews in the private sector also warmongered during this time. The heavily Jewish Century Group called for a declaration of war against Germany following the surrender of France in 1940. The press also aided Jewish belligerence through its pro-Jewish bias. For example, when Lindbergh and the Century Group’s General John Pershing were giving speeches around the same time, the Jewish-owned New York Times gave Pershing front-page coverage and relegated Lindbergh to the back pages.
The Fight For Freedom Committee was more “all-out” in its pro-war activities than the Century Group.
The FFF organized a nationwide effort — with the tacit support of the White House and the behind-the-scenes support of the British Embassy — to discredit isolationists and to mobilize public opinion against Germany and in support of American participation in the war.
And by “discredit,” of course, Ginsburg means ruthlessly slander and smear. The FFF thought nothing of labeling leading isolationists and America-Firsters like Lindbergh as Nazis, fascists, or dupes of the Axis. Ironically, they would often question the patriotism of such people as a form of intimidation that preceded the McCarthy era by over a decade. For example, because Senator Burton Wheeler wished to prevent the slaughter of American lives in an unnecessary war, the FFF declared that he was a “twentieth-century Benedict Arnold.” The FFF also spied upon and collected compromising information on isolationists in Congress, such as Hamilton Fish. As it turned out, the FFF discovered that Fish’s people were distributing pro-German literature and were in contact with German agents. One of Fish’s secretaries went to prison for that. At the same time, however, Ginsburg informs us that the FFF was in constant contact with British agents. Just as insidiously, the FFF and other groups planted moles at isolationist rallies in order to disrupt them.
To the surprise of no one, the Anti-Defamation League worked in parallel with FFF on its own crusade to drench Europe in its own blood. The ADL monitored prominent isolationists or employed agents to infiltrate their organizations and collect incriminating information. The ADL would then turn the information over to the FBI. They were also responsible for finding embarrassing information on Senator Theodore Bilbo. As early as 1934, the Jewish congressman Samuel Dickstein adopted what was known as the “Dickstein Resolution,” which called for Congress to investigate American groups that had ties to Nazi Germany. Around this time, Dickstein co-chaired the original House Un-American Activities Committee which harassed pro-German groups throughout the 1930s. Ginsburg fails to inform his readers about what is certainly the most galling thing about Samuel Dickstein: he was a paid informant for the NKVD, the predecessor of the KGB and the epitome of Soviet terror and oppression. This damning information came out in 1999, and so, as with his Solzhenitsyn faux pas, Ginsburg has no excuse for this omission other than ignorance or willful deception.
The remainder of the America chapter is less pertinent to modern dissidents. As with the Soviet Union chapter, Ginsburg covers how Jews acted both behind the scenes and on the front lines during World War II. His chapters on Jewish intelligence and partisan activity are serviceable, if somewhat shallow, treatments of these interesting topics. Most bafflingly, in his final chapter, entitled “Aftermath and Afterward,” Ginsburg seems to forget his original thesis and instead focuses on summarizing postwar anti-Semitism and offering a string of justifications for Zionism. The chapter feels like a ninety-degree turn from the stated purpose of the book, since it has nothing to do with Hitler and goes on and on for thirty-nine pages. One can’t help but wonder why it’s even there.
And wonder I did. All I could come up with was an amusing scene in which Ginsburg’s editor delicately informs his oblivious author that a book trumpeting the magnificent war exploits of Jews should probably be longer than a mere 130 pages. . . or else it would be, shall we say, embarrassing. I’m reminded of the joke in the movie Airplane! in which a passenger asks the stewardess for some light reading and receives a thin pamphlet on great Jewish athletes. Perhaps to avoid being the butt of such a joke, Ginsburg decided to recycle some of his older material and slap it onto the end of his book just to give it a little bit of heft on the shelf. Indeed, whole passages in this chapter and others appear almost unchanged in his far superior 1993 work, The Fatal Embrace.
Without the chapter covering the warmongering of American Jews, How the Jews Defeated Hitler would remain a tolerable history, interesting, but little more than a brief survey of Jewish contributions to the Allied war effort during World War II. With this chapter, however, the book becomes not only a valuable contribution to anti-Semitic literature and a much-needed exoneration of Charles Lindbergh and others, it’s also fascinating historiography. Here we have an author revealing the facts a little too honestly and inadvertently achieving the exact opposite of what he intended.
According to Benjamin Ginsburg, American Jews during the 1930s were indeed a malevolent force. They ignored the unimaginable atrocities of the Soviet Union as they were being committed while simultaneously working to destroy the relatively benign and tolerant Nazi Germany. And they did this by utilizing every dirty trick in the book. It’s difficult to come out of this chapter seeing Jews in a positive light or believing that the United States had any business at all fighting in World War II. And before we think that Ginsburg might be /our Jew/, understand that he is not. The triumphalist tone throughout How the Jews Defeated Hitler is fulsome and sincere, and he clearly approves of all the Jewish warmongering he describes.
He also celebrates the notion of committing genocide against the Germans through atomic hellfire. Twice.
No. How the Jews Defeated Hitler remains enemy literature. Fortunately for the Dissident Right, however, it is incompetent enemy literature. Therefore, it has its uses.
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