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"A Menace to Jews Seen if Hitler Wins": Brtish and American press coment on German antisemitism, 1918-1933

Stephanie Seul

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies , volume 44, 2012 "A Menace to Jews Seen If Hitler Wins": British and American press comment on German antisemitism 1918-1933 STEPHANIE SEUL Introduction To what extent did Anglo-American newspapers report on antisemitism in the Weimar Republic? Which aspects of this antisemitism - physical vio- lence, discrimination and boycotts, or anti-Jewish propaganda - aroused the particular interest of the foreign press or were neglected? Were there simi- larities or differences in the coverage of newspapers of diverse nationalities and opposing political orientations? When and why did changes in the report- ing occur? Above all, how did foreign papers perceive the antisemitic prop- aganda and violence of the rising Nazi party? Did they understand the central role of antisemitism in Nazi ideology and the threat that this posed to German Jewry? Despite a considerable body of literature on the Jews and antisemitism in Weimar Germany, these questions have hardly been addressed.1 Whereas the foreign media responses to Nazi antisemitism after 1933 and to the Holocaust aroused scholarly interest as early as the 1960s, and more recently during the last ten to fifteen years,2 research on the foreign press coverage of 1 See e.g. n. 7. For the few studies dealing explicitly with the German press and antisemitism, see n. 41. 2 Andrew Sharf, "The British Press and the Holocaust", Y ad Vashem Studies 5 (1963): 169-91; Andrew Sharf, The British Press and Jews under Nazi Rule (London, 1964); Deborah E. Lipstadt, "The American Press and the Persecution of German Jewry: The Early Years 1 933-1 935", Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 29 (1984): 29-39; Deborah E. Lipstadt, Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust 1 933-1 Q45 (New York, 1986); Tony Kushner, The Politics of Marginality: Race , the Radical Right and Minorities in Twentieth Century Britain (London, 1990); Tony Kushner, The Holocaust and the Liberal Imagination (Oxford, 1994); Robert Moses Shapiro, ed., Why Didn 't the Press Shout? American and International Journalism During the Holocaust (Jersey City, 2003); Laurel Leff, Buried by &gt;(The Times": The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper (Cambridge and New York, 2005); Stephanie Seul, "The Representation of the Holocaust in the British Propaganda Campaign Directed at the German Public, 1938-1945", Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute 52 (2007): 267-306; Stephanie Seul, "'Any reference to Jews on the wireless might prove a double-edged weapon': Jewish Images in the British Propaganda Campaign Towards the German Public, 1938-1939", in Jewish Images in the Media , eds. Martin Liepach, Gabriele Melischek and Josef Seethaler (Vienna, 2007), 203-32. 75</page><page sequence="2">Stephanie Seul Weimar antisemitism is still in its early stages.3 Recent studies of Anglo- American press reporting on the Weimar Republic do not touch on this matter.4 Studies of British and American diplomatic perceptions of the Weimar Republic have likewise neglected the issue.5 However, a brief glance at the contemporary sources shows that British and American papers, in par- ticular the quality press for an educated readership, reported regularly on German antisemitism at that time. Andrew Sharf noticed in his pioneering study of the British press coverage of the Holocaust that British quality papers such as The Times , the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Telegraph provided the fullest account of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. In contrast, the so-called popular press for a mass readership paid comparatively little attention to the subject and showed no interest in a consistent coverage.6 Anti-Jewish propaganda, discrimination and violence were indeed an inte- gral part of everyday life in the Weimar Republic. After the First World War, a wave of antisemitism swept through Germany. Reactionary and völkisch groups accused the Jews of being responsible for the military defeat, for Germany's economic plight and for the revolution that brushed aside the monarchy. Given the prominent role played by Jews in the revolution and foundation of the Weimar Republic, the reactionaries fanatically defamed the latter as a "Jewish republic". Between 1919 and 1922, numerous Jewish politicians were murdered, among them Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner and Walther Rathenau. After a somewhat calmer period from 1924 to 1929, anti- semitic propaganda and violence increased again sharply with the rise of the Nazis over 1 930-1 933. 7 No doubt, during the Weimar Republic antisemitism 3 The first study of British press responses to Weimar antisemitism is Felicitas von Selchow, "Antisemitism in Weimar Germany as Seen by the British Press 1918-1933" (M.Phil thesis, University of Cambridge, 1995). I thank the author for kindly supplying me with a copy of her manuscript. 4 Thomas Wittek, Auf ewig Feind? Das Deutschlandbild in den britischen Massenmedien nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg (Munich, 2005); Carmen Müller, Weimar im Blick der USA: Amerikanische Auslandskorrespondenten und öffentliche Meinung zwischen Perzeption und Realität (Münster, 1997). An exception is Brigitte Granzow, A Mirror of Nazism: British Opinion and the Emergence of Hitler 1Ç29-1933 (London, 1964), which also pays attention to the perception of Nazi anti- semitism in the British press. 5 Detlev Clemens, Herr Hitler in Germany: Wahrnehmung und Deutungen des Nationalsozialismus in Großbritannien 1920 bis 1939 (Göttingen, 1996); Francis L. Carsten, Britain and the Weimar Republic: The British Documents (London, 1984); Sander A. Diamond, Herr Hitler: Amerikas Diplomaten , Washington und der Untergang Weimars (Düsseldorf, 108O. 6 Kushner, Liberal Imagination , 35-36; Sharf, British Press , 10-1 1 and 171. 7 On German antisemitism during the Weimar Republic, see Donald L. Niewyk, The Jews in Weimar Germany , 2nd edition (New Brunswick, NJ, and London, 2001); Werner E. Mosse and Arnold Paucker, eds., Deutsches Judentum in Krieg und Revolution 1916-1923: Ein Sammelband (Tübingen, 1971); Werner Jochmann, Gesellschaftskrise und Judenfeindschaft in Deutschland 1870-1945 (Hamburg, 1988); Heinrich A. Winkler, "Die deutsche Gesellschaft der Weimarer Republik und der Antisemitismus: Juden als 'Blitzableiter'", in Vorurteil und Völkermord: 76</page><page sequence="3">British and American press comment on German anti-Semitism, 1918-1933 became firmly embedded in the political discourse as never before. It could be heard in political assemblies and read in the German daily press, either as expressions of editorial opinion or as reporting on antisemi tic incidents.8 This study focuses on three exemplary cases of German antisemitism during 1918-1933 and Anglo-American press comment on them. The first case concerns the wave of Jew-hatred at the time of the German revolution and foundation of the Weimar Republic in 1918-1919. There was a notable unanimity in the British and American reports: on the one hand they revealed a distinct bias towards Eastern European Jews (widespread in Great Britain and the United States after the First World War) who were contemptuously denounced as (Bolshevist) revolutionaries. On the other hand, foreign news- papers observed the frequent incidents of German antisemitism with appre- hension; they were concerned lest antisemitism would have a destabilizing effect on the young German democracy. The second case study focuses on the antisemitic riots in the Scheunen- viertel, Berlin's Jewish quarter, in November 1923. They were targeted mainly at the poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe living in that area. This time, conservative and liberal papers differed in their coverage of the event. Whereas the liberal press generally condemned the pogrom-like assault on the Jews as barbarian, the comments on the Eastern Jews in the conservative papers were rather unflattering and revealed a marked anti- Jewish bias. The third case study analyses Anglo-American responses to Nazi anti- semitism from the Reichstag elections of September 1930 until Hitler's seizure of power in January 1933. The papers reported extensively on Nazi propaganda and violence against the Jews and the negative bias towards (Eastern European) Jews, previously noticeable especially in the conserva- tive press, had by then disappeared. Some foreign observers, in particular British papers, were initially inclined to believe that Nazi antisemitism served in the first place a propagandistic purpose. Others warned explicitly of the consequences for the Jews if Hitler should take over power in Germany. However, few believed that the Nazis would seriously turn their extreme Jew-hatred into politics. Entwicklungslinien des Antisemitismus, eds. Wolfgang Benz and Werner Bergmann (Freiburg, I997)&gt; 34-Í-62; Dirk Walter, Antisemitische Kriminalität und Gewalt: Judenfeindschaft in der Weimarer Republik (Bonn, 1999); Cornelia Hecht, Deutsche Juden und Antisemitismus in der Weimarer Republik (Bonn, 2003); Michael Wildt, Volksgemeinschaft als Selbstermächtigung: Gewalt gegen Juden in der deutschen Provinz içiç bis içjç (Hamburg, 2007); Stefan Breuer, Die Völkischen in Deutschland: Kaiserreich und Weimarer Republik (Darmstadt, 2008); Reiner Zilkenat, Der Holocaust - Niemand konnte ihn vorhersehen? Niemand kann ihn erklären ? Zur Entwicklung des Antisemitismus in Deutschland im ig. und 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 2004). 8 Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (London, 2004), 152. 77</page><page sequence="4">Stephanie Seul This article argues that despite occasional differences along national and/or ideological dividing lines, the foreign press coverage of German anti- semitism showed a remarkable similarity. Anglo-American papers reported extensively on the antisemitic movement in the Weimar Republic, which was perceived as a threat to German democracy. Yet at the same time, the nature of this antisemitism was not considered to be far different from that preva- lent in other societies, for instance in Eastern Europe. Especially during the final years of the Weimar Republic, the Anglo-American press therefore failed to appreciate the central role of antisemitism in Nazi ideology. Hitler's assault on the Jews in the spring of 1933 thus came as a shock to the Anglo- American press and public. Before elaborating in more detail on these arguments, I will briefly intro- duce the newspapers selected for this study. Furthermore, I will highlight the way that information on German antisemitism was exchanged across national borders, and how media content was transformed during this process of transfer from Germany to Great Britain and the United States. The Anglo-American press and German antisemitism 1918-1933 The findings presented in this paper derive from the analysis of four quality papers that distinguished themselves with a comprehensive coverage of foreign news. The Times and the Manchester Guardian speak for British, the New York Times and the Chicago Daily Tribune for American opinion. Apart from representing different geographic regions and political spectra, these four newspapers with an illustrious historical past have the additional advan- tage of being easily searchable by keyword through their digital archives - an aspect of considerable importance given the mass of material to be handled.9 The London Times , founded in 1785, was an influential conservative paper renowned in Britain and abroad for its reliability and fullness of coverage. It was generally considered the mouthpiece of the political establishment.10 Despite a fairly small circulation of about 185-190,000 copies per day, its influence was considerable as it was widely read in educated, journalistic and political circles in Great Britain and abroad.11 (In contrast, the daily circula- 9 Adrian Bingham, "The Digitization of Newspaper Archives: Opportunities and Challenges for Historians", Twentieth Century British History 21 (2010): 225-31. 10 Stephen E. Koss, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. 2: The Twentieth Century (London, 1984), 67, 75; Sharf, British Press , 10-11, 217; Selchow, "Weimar Germany", 10-11; Wittek, Auf ewig Feind , 61. See also Oliver Woods and James Bishop, The Story of The Times: Bicentenary Edition 1 785-1 ç8$ (London, 1985). 11 Deutsches Institut für Zeitungskunde, ed., Handbuch der Weltpresse: Eine Darstellung des Zeitungswesens aller Länder (Berlin, 193 1), 224; Karl Börner, ed., collab. with Institut für 78</page><page sequence="5">British and American press comment on German anti-Semitism, 1918-1933 tion in 1930 of tabloids such as the Daily Express and the Daily Mail was 1.5 to 1.7 and 1.8 million respectively.12) The Tintesi attitude towards Jews was not always benevolent; at times it was openly antisemitic. In 19 19-1920 a virtual crusade was waged in the Letters to the Editor section against the so- called "Jewish-bolshevist revolutionaries".13 In 1920, The Times called for a serious examination of the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders ofZion, thereby triggering a heated debate about the Jews as a "danger to world peace".14 The Manchester Guardian , founded in 1821, was a provincial paper with a liberal, left-of-centre political stance. With only 80,000 copies a day, its cir- culation was even smaller than that of The Times but it was widely read in British industrial and commercial circles and had an excellent reputation in Great Britain and abroad not only for its business news but also for its polit- ical and cultural reportage.15 The paper was always supportive of the Weimar Republic and sought to bring the persecution of Jews, and other minorities, to the attention of the public. It was the British newspaper showing the great- est interest in the Jewish question before and even more so after Hitler's rise to power.16 Charles P. Scott, who edited the paper for more than 57 years from 1872 until 1929, was a friend of the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann and a supporter of the Zionist movement.17 Like the Manchester Guardian , the New York Times was a liberal (Independent Democratic) paper renowned for its full and reliable coverage, in particular of foreign affairs. (In 1927, the New York Times had the highest Zeitungswissenschaft, Universität Berlin and Aussenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP, Handbuch der Weltpresse: Eine Darstellung des Zeitungswesens aller Länder (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1937), 51-52. 12 Weltpresse (1931), 220-21; Weltpresse (1937), 51-52. 13 See The Times of 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 Nov. 1919; of 1, 2, 4, 6, 19 and 20 Dec. 1919; and of 12, 14, 16, 17, 19 and 21 Jan. 1920. See also David Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo- Jewry 1841-1991 (Cambridge, 1994), 134-35; Saul Friedländer, The Years of Persecution: Nazi Germany and the Jews 1933-1939 (London, 2007), 95; Léon Poliakov, Geschichte des Antisemitismus. Vol. 8: Am Vorabend des Holocaust (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1988), 80-81; Sharman Kadish, "'Boche, Bolshie and the Jewish Bogey': The Russian Revolution and Press Antisemitism in Britain 1917-21", Patterns of Prejudice 22 (1988): 24-39. 14 "The Jewish Peril", The Times , 8 May 1920, 15; Cesarani, Jewish Chronicle , 135-36; Colin Holmes, Antisemitism in British Society 1876-1939 (London, 1979), 141-60; Kadish, "Boche, Bolshie", 30-32; Keith Wilson, "Hail and Farewell? The Reception in the British Press of the First Publication in English of the Protocols of Zion , 1920-22", Immigrants and Minorities 1 1 (1992): 171-86; Friedländer, Persecution , 95. 15 Wittek, Auf ewig Feind , 64-66; Koss, Rise and Fall , 38-39; Weltpresse (1931), 222; Weltpresse (I937), 49- See also David George Ogilvy Ayerst, The Manchester Guardian: Biography of a Newspaper (Ithaca, NY, 197 1). 16 Sharf, British Press , 1 1-12; Selchow, "Weimar Germany", 14-15, 76. 17 "The Guardian", Wikipedia , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guardian, accessed 20 September 2010. 79</page><page sequence="6">Stephanie Seul percentage, 8.95%, in foreign news of all American dailies.)18 It was mainly read in New York and its surroundings but was considered the most impor- tant and most influential newspaper in and outside the United States.19 With more than 400,000 copies sold during weekdays and 720,000 on Sundays (in i93°/3i)j it had one of the larger circulations of all American papers.20 During the 1920s, the New York Times was the American paper that reported most frequently and in greatest detail on the unfolding of German anti- semitism. One possible reason for its special interest in Jewish affairs may have been the German-Jewish origin of its publisher, Adolph Simon Ochs. Furthermore, the paper had a large Jewish readership: during this period almost half of all American Jews lived in Greater New York.21 In contrast, the Chicago Daily Tribune was the leading conservative paper in Greater Chicago and the Midwest. Around 1930 it had a circulation of about 820,000 during weekdays, and one million on Sundays, making it not only the most read paper in the region but also the daily paper with the largest circulation of any American city. During weekdays 63 per cent of Chicago's population read the Chicago Daily Tribune , at weekends even 68 per cent.22 Under the editorship of Robert McCormick (who also acted as publisher) from 1 9 14 until 1955, its political orientation was pro-Republican and it was strongly nationalist, isolationist and anti-Communist.23 Like the New York Times it had a strong tradition of foreign reporting.24 Foreign newspapers gathered information about German antisemitism from a variety of sources. All four papers had their own correspondents in Germany. They were in contact with a multitude of political institutions and individuals who supplied them with information on the political situation in Germany, including antisemitism. Further research - which is beyond the scope of this article - would be required to examine what kind of sources the foreign corre- spondents tapped and how these shaped their image of German antisemitism and, consequently, its coverage in the papers.25 George E. R. Gedye reported 18 John Maxwell Hamilton , Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting (Baton Rouge, LA, 2009), 127. 19 Müller, Weimar , 50; Leff, Buried , 9-10. See also Meyer Berger, The Story of The New York Times: The First 100 Years 1851-1951 (New York, 1970). 20 Weltpresse ( 1 93 1 ), 20, 3 1 ; Müller, Weimar, 49-50. 21 Leff, Buried , 10-12; Müller, Weimar , 21 1-12. 22 Weltpresse ( 1 93 1 ), 20, 2 5-26; Weltpresse ( 1 937), 428-29. 23 Müller, Weimar , 48-49; Mark R. Wilson, "Chicago Tribune", in Encyclopedia of Chicago , http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/275.html, accessed 20 Feb. 2012]; "Chicago Tribune", in Encyclopedia Britannica Academic Edition http://www.britannica.com/ EBchecked/topic/110559/Chicago-Tribune, accessed 20 Feb. 2012. See also Lloyd Wendt, Chicago Tribune: The Rise of a Great American Newspaper (Chicago, 1979). 4 In 1927, 7.92% of the reporting was devoted to foreign news. Hamilton, Roving Eye , 127. 25 For an example of how this research could be undertaken see Frank McDonough, "The Times, Norman Ebbut and the Nazis, 1927-37 Journal of Contemporary History 27 (1992): 407-24. 80</page><page sequence="7">British and American press comment on German anti-Semitism, 1918-1933 as a foreign correspondent from Berlin for The Times from 1922 to 1925.26 He was succeeded by Norman Ebbutt, who served on this post until 1937. 27 Douglas Reed joined him as assistant correspondent from 1927 until 1935 (and became notorious for his antisemitic views).28 The Manchester Guardian's Berlin correspondent for most of the Weimar Republic was Frederick A. Voigt. He served in this capacity from February 1920 until a few weeks before Hitler's accession to power.29 At the New York Times' office there was no such continuity. Throughout the Weimar Republic, more than half a dozen foreign correspondents reported from Berlin: Joseph Herrings (1917-1921), Cyril Brown (1921- 1924), Thomas R. Ybarra (1924-1925) and the experienced Lincoln Eyre from June 1925 onwards. Eyre had to give up the post because of serious illness in early 1928 (he died in December) and was replaced by two interim correspondents. Finally, in December 1929, Guido Enderis became head of the New York Tintesi Berlin office after having worked there as an assistant since March 1929. (According to Laurel Leff, Enderis was openly sympa- thetic to the Hitler regime during the 1930s.) In addition, from 1932 Frederick Thomas Birchall, a highly experienced journalist of British nation- ality, held the post of chief foreign correspondent, in which capacity he trav- elled throughout Europe but concentrated his reporting on Germany.30 The Chicago Daily Tribune's Berlin correspondent at the time of the Weimar Republic was Sigrid Lillian Schultz, the first woman correspondent in Europe, who later gained the reputation of an outstanding foreign corre- spondent. She worked at the Berlin office of the Chicago Daily Tribune from 1 9 19 onwards as an interpreter and typist and as assistant to the foreign cor- respondent George Seldes. In 1926 she was made head of the bureau (again being the first woman in this position) and held the job until 1941 when she left Germany.31 The work of Anglo-American correspondents during the 1920s is described in Wittek, Auf ewig Feind, 99-103, 126-41; Morell Heald, Transatlantic Vistas : American Journalists in Europe , IÇ00-IÇ40 (Kent, OH, 1988), 96-125. 26 Wittek, Auf ewig Feind , 1 10-16; Hugh Greene, "Gedye, (George) Eric Rowe (1890-1970)", in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (hereafater, ODNB; Oxford, 2004; online edition) http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33362, accessed 23 Feb. 23, 2012. 27 Weltpresse (1931), 224; Markus Huttner, "Ebbutt, Norman (1894-1968)", in ODNB http:/ / www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32963, accessed 23 Feb. 2012; McDonough, "The Times, Norman Ebbut". 28 See Richard Thurlow, "Anti-Nazi Antisemite: The Case of Douglas Reed", Patterns of Prejudice 18(1984): 23-34. 29 Wittek, Auf ewig Feind , 1 16-20; Markus Huttner, "Voigt, Frederick Augustus (1892-1957)", DNB http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/36665, accessed 23 Feb. 2012. 30 Müller, Weimar , 50-51, 155-57; Leff, Buried , 21, 50-61. 31 Müller, Weimar , 144-54; Heald, Transatlantic Vistas , 47; Catherine Cassara, Schultz, Sigrid Lillian", in American National Biography Online (hereafter AN BO) http://www.anb.org/ 8l</page><page sequence="8">Stephanie Seul Other major sources of information for the Anglo-American press were reports from news agencies such as Reuters and the Press Association (in Great Britain), Associated Press and United Press (in the United States)32 or the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an international wire service for Jewish news. The last was mainly used by the New York Times.33 Furthermore, the papers made reciprocal use of their own news services: both the Chicago Daily Tribune and the New York Times subscribed to the London Times News Service; the Chicago Daily Tribune also made use of the news service of the New York Times 34 However, the most important source of information seems to have been the German daily press. Usually, the foreign correspondents would sift the German press for relevant information and then write a summary for their own paper. The foreign press was well informed about German newspapers and their political orientation.35 British and American papers regularly eval- uated articles from German liberal papers such as the Berliner Tageblatt , the Vossische Zeitung and the Frankfurter Zeitung but also from the political party press and regional papers, for instance Der Vorwärts (Social Democratic Party), Die Freiheit (Independent Social Democratic Party), Die Rote Fahne (German Communist Party), the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (German People's Party, DVP) or the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger (German National People's Party, DNVP).36 On occasions, nationalistic papers with a clear anti- articles/ 1 6/ 1 6-032 1 8.html, accessed 23 Feb. 2012; "Seldes, George", in The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia in Ten Volumes: An Authoritative and Popular Presentation of Jews and Judaism since the Earliest Times (New York, 1948), vol. 9. 32 Selchow, "Weimar Germany", 9-19; Weltpresse (193 1), 23-24; 219-20; Weltpresse (1937), 45, 426-28. 33 Leff, Buried , 19, 47-48. On the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Germany see Verena Dohm, "Diplomacy in the Diaspora: The Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Berlin (1922-1933)", Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 54 (2009): 219-41. 34 Weltpresse (1931), 25-26, 31, 224; Weltpresse (1937)» 5l~52, 429&gt; 432-33- 35 "Through German Eyes: Is Germany Socialist?", The Times , 8 May 1919, 11; "Buying up German Newspapers", ibid., 7 May 1921, 14; "Fateful Day in Berlin", ibid., 31 Aug. 1921, 10; "The German Elections", ibid., 25 Aug. 1930, 11; "Harden Turns on German Republic", New York Times , 22 Dec. 19 19, 1-2; "Herr Hitler's Newspaper", Manchester Guardian , 1 Oct. 1930, H- 36 "Through German Eyes: The Murder of Eisner", The Times , 1 March 19 19, 9; "Bavarian Break Angers Prussia", New York Times , 30 Nov. 1918, 2; "Officers Stir Up German Reaction", ibid., 4 Dec. 1918, i, 3; "Political Riots Sweep Germany", Chicago Daily Tribune , 26 June 1932, 13. The political orientation of the German press is analysed in Hans-Dietrich Fischer, Deutsche Zeitungen des 17. bis 20. Jahrhunderts (Pullach, 1972); Hans-Dietrich Fischer, Handbuch der poli- tischen Presse in Deutschland 1480-1980: Synopse rechtlicher , struktureller und wirtschaftlicher Grundlagen der Tendenzpublizistik im Kommunikationsfeld (Düsseldorf, 1981), 339-440; Kurt Koszyk, Deutsche Presse 1914-194$ (Berlin, 1972), 240-336; Burkhard Asmuss, Republik ohne Chance? Akzeptanz und Legitimation der Weimarer Republik in der deutschen Tagespresse zwischen 1918 und 1923 (Berlin, 1994), 29-32, 39-66; Konrad Dussel, Deutsche Tagespresse im 19. und 20. 82</page><page sequence="9">British and American press comment on German anti-Semitism, 1918-1933 Semitic bias were quoted, such as the Deutsche Tageszeitung, Germania , Kreuz-Zeitung , Tägliche Rundschau or the Münchener (later Völkischer) Beobachter .37 Indeed, even if a foreign press report does not specifically mention the source, one can safely assume that it was based on a close analy- sis of the German press.38 Since foreign papers based their reports to a considerable extent on German press articles, they often absorbed unconsciously or uncritically the German view of antisemitism and even German antisemitic stereotypes. To give an example, during 1918-1919, The Times repeatedly characterized German Jewish revolutionaries as unpopular, foreign elements aiming to import Bolshevism into Germany.39 On 1 March 1919, the paper backed up such arguments with quotations from the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung , Germania and Kreuz-Zeitung without, however, informing its readers of their reactionary and antisemitic political orientation. The Germania was quoted with the statement that it had always hoped that the Bavarian democracy would sweep away Kurt Eisner "and his arrogant minority", that is, the Jews. Furthermore, The Times quoted an article from the Kreuz-Zeitung in which Eisner was defamed as "one of the most pernicious representatives of Jewry - this Jewry that has played so significant a part in German history during the last few months. He united in his character in the highest degree two of the most idiosyncratic qualities of his race - its historical internationalism (for Eisner was an alien by birth), and its congenital vanity, which is so opposed to German practical sense."40 Further research will be necessary to determine more precisely to what extent foreign newspapers took over uncritically or unconsciously the anti- semitic prejudice in their sources, as opposed to openly exposing it. Nevertheless, the instances from The Times quoted here indicate that it was not simply a matter of foreign correspondents uncritically absorbing the anti- semitism in their sources. Rather, these articles also reflect the anti-Jewish Jahrhundert (Münster, 2004), 138-58; Bernhard Fulda, Press and Politics in the Weimar Republic (Oxford, 2009), 13-44; Karsten Schilling, Das zerstörte Erbe: Berliner Zeitungen der Weimarer Republik im Porträt (Norderstedt, 201 1). 37 "Through German Eyes. Is Germany Socialist?", The Times , 8 May 1919, 11; "Sedan Orgies Forbidden", ibid., 2 Sept. 1921, 7; "Rule of Hitler is Opened With Riots", Chicago Daily Tribune , i Feb. 1933, i. 38 See "Berlin Without Newspapers", The Times , 3 July 1922, 9. See also "Scores Arrested in Rathenau Plot", New York Times , 30 June 1922, 2; "Senate of Hamburg Atones to Warburg", ibid., 3 July 1922,3. 39 "Berlin Tremors", The Times , 28 Feb. 19 19, 9; "Through German Eyes: The Bolshevist Disorder", ibid., 10 March 1919, 9; "Through German Eyes: Kaiser's War Guilt", ibid., 17 April 1919, 11; "Through German Eyes: Tears for Fallen Monarchy", ibid., 25 April 1919, 11. 40 "Through German Eyes: The Murder of Eisner", ibid., 1 March 1919, 9. See also "Berlin Tremors", ibid., 28 Feb. 1919, 9; "Through German Eyes: Kaiser's War Guilt", ibid., 17 April 1919,11. 83</page><page sequence="10">Stephanie Seul bias of the reporters themselves. The case studies below will present more evidence for the argument that the foreign press reports on German anti- semitism at times reflected the anti-Jewish prejudices widespread in Great Britain and the United States during the interwar years. This overview aims to have given an idea of the extent to which informa- tion was transmitted and exchanged across national borders, thereby enabling foreign audiences to form an opinion on German antisemitism. A key role was played by the German daily press. Since German articles were often quoted verbatim or in substance by foreign papers, they contributed consid- erably to the shaping of the public perception of Weimar antisemitism abroad. However, the relationship between the press and antisemitism in the Weimar Republic is a little researched field. We still lack a comprehensive study of the role of the German press in spreading or combating anti- semitism. General studies of the daily press in the Weimar Republic have not paid attention to the issue of antisemitism. Yet the role of the press in spread- ing antisemitism has been studied and there are several regional studies or studies of Semitism in diverse press genres such as the Catholic press, the political party press or popular magazines.41 The German revolution and foundation of the Weimar Republic 1918-1919 Antisemitism was particularly virulent at the time of the November revolu- tion and foundation of the republic. As noted earlier, 1918-1919 witnessed several political murders with an antisemitic background (Rosa Luxemburg, Kurt Eisner, Gustav Landauer, Karl Gareis and Hugo Haase) and waves of antisemitic agitation against the Jewish minority.42 41 For partial studies see e.g. Fulda, Press and Politics, ; Koszyk, Deutsche Presse ; Fischer, Deutsche Zeitungen ; Fischer, Handbuch der politischen Presse; Dussel, Deutsche Tagespresse ; Schilling, Zerstörtes Erbe. On press spreading of antisemitism, see e.g. Walter, Antisemitische Kriminalität and Asmuss, Republik ; Martin Ulmer, Antisemitismus in Stuttgart 1871-1945: Studien zum öffentlichen Diskurs und Alltag (Berlin, 201 1); Olaf Kistenmacher, "'Jüdischer Warenhausbesitzer finanziert Nazipropaganda': Antifaschismus und antisemitische Stereotype in der Tageszeitung der Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands, der Roten Fahne, am Ende der Weimarer Republik, 1928-1933", in Politik des Hasses: Antisemitismus und radikale Rechte in Europa , eds. Gideon Botsch, Christoph Kopke, Lars Rensmann and Julius H. Schoeps (Hildesheim, 2010), 97-1 12; Walter Hannot, Die Judenfrage in der katholischen Tagespresse Deutschlands und Österreichs 1 923-1 933 ( Mainz, 1990); Julia Schäfer, Vermessen, gezeichnet, verlacht: Judenbilder in populären Zeitschriften 1918-1933 (Frankfurt-am-Main, 2005). 42 Ulrich Wyrwa, "Revolution und Konterrevolution (1918-1923)", in Wolfgang Benz, ed., Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Vol. 4: Ereignisse , Dekrete , Kontroversen (Berlin, 201 1), 334-37; Hecht, Deutsche Juden, 76-77, 138-39; Zilkenat, Holocaust , 8-9; Evans, Third Reich , 150-51; Friedländer, Persecution , 90-94. 84</page><page sequence="11">British and American press comment on German anti-Semitism, 1918-1933 British and American press reports during 1918-1919 showed two distinct lines of argumentation: firstly, the papers argued almost unanimously that the sharp rise of antisemitism was due to the prominent role played by Jews in the revolution and foundation of the republic.43 Furthermore, they main- tained that the (Eastern European) Jewish revolutionaries were disliked because of their unpleasant character traits. Consequently, the reports evoked the impression that it was in part the Jews' own fault that antisemitism was increasing. For example, the British and American papers repeatedly emphasized that the revolutionaries were not Germans but Eastern European Jews.44 The Chicago Daily Tribune and The Times called the Communist leader Rosa Luxemburg a "Jewess of obscure origin" and a "Russian Polish Jewess".45 She was accused of having married a German only for the sake of escaping expulsion.46 Both papers depicted the Jewish revolutionaries as unpopular foreigners who aimed to stir up a Bolshevist revolution in Germany.47 After the murder of Kurt Eisner, the leader of the Bavarian revolution, The Times stressed that he was no German but an East Galician Jew whose real name was Salomon Kusnowsky.48 Furthermore, The Times charged Eisner of being an unsympathetic contemporary: "He was ambitious, vain, and self-opin- ionated, and resented all opposition."49 Likewise, the New York Times stressed that Eisner was resented in Germany because of his Galician origin and his unsympathetic character: "The Berlin press in general condemns him as an obstinate, impractical dreamer. It is declared that Eisner was born in Galicia and that there is some doubt about his German citizenship, and this is intensifying the opposition to him in some quarters."50 Reports such as these were anything but favourable towards the Jewish 43 "Berlin's Nerves", The Times , 20 Aug. 1919, 9; "Jews in Berlin Fear Pogroms From Agitation", Chicago Daily Tribune , 7 July 1919, 4. 44 "Confusion at Berlin", The Times , 3 Dec. 1918, 8; "Berlin Tremors", ibid., 28 Feb. 19 19, 9; "Bavaria Joins Berlin Against Terms of Peace", Chicago Daily Tribune , 17 May 19 19, 3. 45 "The Spartacus Leaders", The Times, 18 Jan. 1919, 7; "Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg", ibid., 20 Jan. 1919, 7; "Radical Leaders Shot in Germany", Chicago Daily Tribune , 17 Jan. 1919, i. 46 "The Spartacus Leaders", The Times , 18 Jan. 1919, 7; "Liebknecht and Luxembourg", ibid., 20 Jan. 1919, 7. 47 "Bavarian President Killed", The Times , 22 Feb. 1919, 10; see also "Through German Eyes: Kaiser's War Guilt", ibid., 17 April 1919; "Through German Eyes: Tears for Fallen Monarchy", ibid., 25 April 1919. 48 "Confusion at Berlin", ibid., 3 Dec. 1918, 8. For similar words see "Berlin Tremors", ibid., 28 Feb. 1919,9. 49 "Bavarian President Killed", ibid., 22 Feb 1919, 10. See also the similarly unsympathetic char- acterization of Dr Otto Neurath in "Through German Eyes: The Spartacist Programme", ibid., 2 May iQiQ, il. 50 "Bavarian Break Angers Prussia", New York Times , 30 Nov. 1918, 2. 85</page><page sequence="12">Stephanie Seul revolutionaries and echo the anti-Jewish sentiment and fear of Bolshevism widespread in Britain and America in the years after the First World War.51 However, the reports are at the same time mirror the antisemitism of parts of the German daily press. For Anglo-American papers frequently backed up their arguments with quotations from reactionary and antisemitic German newspapers. Thereby they deliberately or unconsciously absorbed and trans- mitted to their readership German antisemitic prejudices.52 On 17 April 19 19, for instance, The Times reproduced without further comment an article from the arch conservative Deutsche Tageszeitung which accused the Allies of being the henchmen of "international Jewry". The Times wrote: The Deutsche Tageszeitung . . . says that with the exception of Lenin, the leaders of Russian Bolshevism are Jewish, that the Bolshevist propaganda in Germany is conducted by Jews, and that Spartacism is led by Jews. . . . [The] perennial objects of the Jews are revolution and internationalism. Jews have been behind the great revolutions of Europe, for the simple reason that revolution always increases Jewish influence, whereas a settled and aristo- cratic form of government is opposed to them. Internationalism is the natural vice of an outcast and homeless people.53 In addition, the Anglo-American press argued that the prominent role played by Jews in the revolution and foundation of the republic was the cause of the sharp rise of every-day antisemitism in Germany. In August 1919, The Times , quoting an article from the Parlamentarisch-Politische Nachrichten , wrote that in Munich "the tendency towards pogroms against the Jewish population" was increasing and added: "The unpopularity of the Jews in Munich is to a large extent due to the important part played in the councils of the Republic of April last by foreign Jews."54 On 17 May the Chicago Daily Tribune printed an interview with the Bavarian Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann in which he stressed the prevailing dominance of Jews in the rev- olutionary government (of April 19 19). He complained that "[t]hey all came from outside The previous revolutionary governments were also mostly Jews, particularly Jaffe, the Bohemian Jew, and later Kurt Eisner, the Polish Jew from Berlin, who only recently changed his name to Eisner."55 The New York Times , basing its arguments on an article of the liberal Berliner Tageblatt, wrote on similar lines. It stated that the rapid increase in antisemitism in 51 See Kadish, "Boche, Bolshie"; Matthias Thorns, "Britisches und deutsches Judentum in der Krise (1918-1921)", Zeitschrift fiir Geschichtswissenschaft 53 (2005): 1000-18; Holmes, Anti- semitismy David S. Wyman, "The United States", in The World Reacts to the Holocaust , eds. David S. Wyman and Charles H. Rosenzveig (Baltimore and London, 1996), 695-97. 52 "Through German Eyes: The Murder of Eisner", The Times , 1 March iqiq, q. 53 "Through German Eyes: Kaiser's War Guilt", The Times , 17 April 1919, 11. 54 "Berlin's Nerves", ibid., 20 Aug. 1919, 9. 55 "Bavaria Joins Berlin Against Terms of Peace", Chicago Daily Tribune, 17 May 19 19, 3. 86</page><page sequence="13">British and American press comment on German anti-Semitism, 1918-1933 Munich was due to the participation in the Bolshevist government of Munich of men such as Gustav Landauer, Edgar Jaffé, Erich Mühsam and Eugen Leviné and added: "Any sensible Jew condemns those scoundrels just as fiercely as any sensible Christian."56 A second line of argumentation was the interpretation of German anti- semi tism as a symptom of political crisis. For German antisemi tism was directed not just against the Jewish community but against democracy as a whole. As mentioned before, a relatively large number of Jews had been involved in the revolution and founding of the republic. Whereas the major- ity of the politically active Jews were members of the liberal and social demo- cratic parties, others played a prominent role during the revolution in the radical parties on the left (Independent Social Democratic Party and Communist Party).57 The involvement of many Jews in the political upheaval and in the first republican government incurred the wrath of the reactionaries. Henceforth they combined their antisemitic agitation with a campaign against the alleged "Jewish Republic" of Weimar. As noted earlier, revolutionaries of Jewish descent were, among others, Rosa Luxemburg, Eugen Leviné, Gustav Landauer and Kurt Eisner. The transitional government of 1918-1919, the Rat der Volksbeauftragten, likewise contained a number of Jewish cabinet min- isters and high officials, for instance Hugo Haase, Otto Landsberg, Hugo Preuss, Joseph Herzfeld, Emanuel Wurm and Oskar Cohn.58 The American and British press carefully monitored the anti-democratic and antisemitic activities of the German reactionaries. In Great Britain, The Times frequently linked antisemitism to the fight of the reactionary forces against the republic.59 On 26 February 1919 it called the murder of Kurt Eisner "the work of a vast reactionary plot, the beginning of a widespread attempt to overthrow the democratic conquests of the revolution and to restore a Conservative régime."60 The commentaries of the Manchester Guardian pointed in the same direction.61 In August 1919, when the news of a new wave of German antisemitism reached Britain,62 it quoted the Berliner Tageblatt as saying that antisemitism was the traditional weapon of the German reaction.63 56 "Report Commune Rules in Munich", New York Times , 12 April 1919, 2. See also "Germany Repudiates Munich's Red Regime", ibid., 9 April 19 19, 3. 57 Niewyk, Jews in Weimar Germany, 25-32; Werner T. Angress, "Juden im politischen Leben der Revolutionszeit", in Mosse and Paucker, Deutsches Judentum, 137-316. 58 Angress, "Juden im politischen Leben", 137-316; Friedländer, Persecution , 91-94. 59 "Through German Eyes: Parties and Policies Analysed", The Times , 24 June 1919,11; "Reaction in Germany", ibid., 17 Sept. 1919, 9. 60 "Spartacist Cause Helped", ibid., 26 Feb. 1919, 10. 61 "Munich under Soviet Rule", Manchester Guardian , 24 Feb. 1919, 5; "The Moral of Munich", ibid., 4. 62 "Berlin's Nerves", The Times , 20 Aug. 19 19, 9. 63 "Antisemitism in Germany", Manchester Guardian , 25 Aug. 19 19, 8. 87</page><page sequence="14">Stephanie Seul The American press argued on similar lines. On 3 December 1918 the New York Times reported on an antisemitic hate campaign in Berlin and quoted the social democratic Vorwärts to the effect that with this desperate campaign the reactionaries hoped to whip up popular opinion against the (Socialist) government: "Millions of pamphlets have been distributed within the last few days, inciting the populace against the alleged Jewish dominance in Government circles and the Socialist Parties of all shades."64 Two weeks later the paper stated that the antisemitic movement originated with reactionary Junkers and irresponsible officers who sought to spread chaos and create difficulties for the government.65 On 18 March 1919 the New York Times ran the page-two heading "Pogroms Threatened by Berlin Agitators. Antisemitism Said to be Fostered by Paid Agents of Secret Societies".66 About a month later the paper quoted the Berliner Tageblatt as saying that reactionary agitators in Munich sought to stir up pogroms against the Jews.67 Similar news was brought in May and June 1919.68 Likewise, the Chicago Daily Tribune argued in July 1919 that the wave of antisemitism sweeping over Berlin was linked to a reactionary campaign against the republic. In the opinion of Berlin Jews, the paper stated, "the movement simply is another form of attack by the Pan-Germans and reac- tionaries against the present socialist government".69 Seen as a whole, the British and American press coverage of German anti- semitism during the revolution of 1918-1919 showed a remarkable unanim- ity. The reports reflected a fear of Bolshevism and a dislike of Eastern European Jews, who were generally regarded as the exponents of revolu- tionary movements and as unsympathetic individuals.70 Now and then the press reports gave the imp