American and British appeasement of Nazism during the early years of the Third Reich went far beyond territorial concessions. In Prologue to Annihilation: Ordinary American and British Jews Challenge the Third Reich, Stephen H. Norwood examines the numerous ways that the two nations' official position of tacit acceptance of Jewish persecution enabled the policies that ultimately led to the Final Solution and how Nazi annihilationist intentions were clearly discernible even during the earliest years of Hitler's rule.
Further, Norwood looks at the nature and impact of American and British Jewish resistance to Nazi persecution and the efforts of Jews at the grassroots level to press Jewish organizations to respond more forcefully to the Nazi menace. He examines the worldwide protest and boycott movements against Germany and German goods as well as mass demonstrations by working-class and lower-middle-class Jews in many American and British cities. Prologue to Annihilation details how the events of 1930-1936 tested American and British societies' willingness to accept Nazism and its anti-Jewish philosophy and illuminates the divisions that existed even within the Jewish community about how best to challenge Nazi antisemitic policies and atrocities.
Introduction: Foundations of the Final Solution
1. Portents: September 1930 to January 1933
2. Barbarism and Entrapment: The Cold Pogrom, 1933-1934
3. A Tidal Wave of Protest, March to May 1933
4. The Escalation of Judaea's War against Nazism, May to December 1933
5. Exposing and Boycotting the Third Reich, 1934
6. Disaster for the Jews: The Saar Plebiscite, January 1935
7. Entertaining Nazi Warriors in America and Britain, 1934-1936
8. 1935: Degradation, Appeasement, and Looming Catastrophe
Epilogue: Defeats, 1936-1939
Stephen H. Norwood is Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. He is author of Antisemitism and the American Far Left and The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses.
"Stephen H. Norwood reveals that tolerating territorial aggression was not the only way in which the United States and Great Britain appeased Nazi Germany. Norwood chronicles the myriad ways the two nations accepted Germany's persecution of its Jewish citizens, and thus enabled the policies that eventually lead to their extermination."—Laurel Leff, Northeastern University, author of Buried by the Times
"In this meticulously researched and eloquently written study, Stephen H. Norwood shows how the persecution of Jews in Germany in the 1930s was much more severe than is commonly understood today, that much more was known in America and England about the persecution of the Jews than is generally realized, and that the American and British governments both chose to pursue appeasement rather than face up to the dangers of Hitler. Once again, Norwood has broken important new ground in the study of international responses to the Holocaust."—Rafael Medoff, The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, author of FDR and the Holocaust
"The American and British Jewish communities have often been castigated for their timidity in the face of Nazis. During the 1930s, however, many thousands of American and British Jews participated in demonstrations and boycotts and demanded that their political representatives take some action against Nazism. These efforts were, for the most part, futile but this is a story that deserves to be told and Stephen Norwood tells it brilliantly in all its melancholy detail."—Benjamin Ginsberg, David Bernstein Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, Author of How the Jews Defeated Hitler
"Norwood's reader-friendly volume richly details how the US and Great Britain's appeasement of Hitler led to WW II and laid the foundation for the Holocaust"—Choice
"Prologue to Annihilation is a compelling account of the early anti-Jewish actions of Ger- many's Third Reich and the efforts in the United States and Great Britain to counter those abuses."—Allan M. Winkler, The Journal of American History
"Prologue to Annihilation is the first to provide such sustained detail and is thus an extremely valuable contribution to the historiography."—Tony Kushner, American Jewish History