Jews in America Not a Problem but an Asset, American Nobel Prize Winner Says
Menu JTA Search

Jews in America Not a Problem but an Asset, American Nobel Prize Winner Says

Download PDF for this date

The Jews in America do not constitute any "problem" but are rather an asset to the country, it is pointed out in an article by Arthur H. Compton, Nobel prize winner in physics, published in the Atlantic Monthly of October.

Taking issue with Albert Jay Nock, who opened a debate on the "Jewish problem" in the June issue of the same publication, Mr. Compton points out that: "During the last ‘Great War’ the Jews supplied 40 per cent more than their proportionate quota of soldiers in the United States Army. Eighteen per cent of these soldiers were volunteers. half of the volunteers being in the Marine Corps, where the hottest action was expected. Indicative of the quality of their fighting is the fact that 6 of the 78 Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to Jews. Such is the impressive account of the military service of our Jewish population as described in the Congressional Record for November 25, 1940.

"Nevertheless," Mr. Compton continues, "the gossip goes around: ‘The Jews are slackers.’ ‘The best thing that the Jews could now do would be to volunteer for military service.’ With a Jewish population in the United States at that time of 3 per cent, 5 per cent of the death roll was Jewish. They did their part, and more.

"Those who are concerned with the forces that mould American opinion at once recognize this charge of ‘slacker’ as the result of propaganda from some interested source. Of the hundreds of organizations openly anti-Semitic that have recently been active in he United States, one of the most important bears a German name and is unquestionably a part of the Nazi propaganda machine. Perhaps more dangerous, however, are those that work under a cloak of religion or of ‘America for the Americans.’

"Such propaganda follows a well-known technique. As that past master, Adolf Hitler, explains it, the bigger the lie the more believable it becomes. Name calling, assigning to disreputable categories, raising fears of domination and prejudices based on half-truths, generalizing from isolated examples – these are standard procedure. The method is as effective in well-read circles as among the illiterate. Business men are told that Jews are Communists, and as the employer sees a Jewish agitator fomenting a strike in his plant the statement is believed. The business man is not reminded that for every Jewish Communist there are a hundred Jewish shopkeepers, traders, and employers to whom a radical revolution would mean disaster.

"The peace-loving poor and middle classes are told that the Jews are ‘the international bankers who are getting us into war.’ The editors of ‘Fortune’ name seven non-Jewish banking houses that do larger business in foreign loans than does the most active Jewish house. ‘Your industries are run by a bunch of Jews,’ the laborer is warned. Yet, according to ‘Fortune’s’ summary, ‘if the Jews have a subordinate place in finance, where they are often said to control, they have an even more inconspicuous place in heavy industry.’ This statement is documented with figures on steel, coal, automobiles, rubber, and shipping. The electrical and chemical industries might equally have been included. Significant exceptions are in the scrap metal and clothing industries, on which Jewish effort has concentrated. Workingmen are told that shiploads of Jewish refugees landing in New York will displace them from their jobs, and perhaps some individual is pointed out as a horrible example. The fact is that, during the years 1932 to 1938 inclusive, 4487 more aliens (including all countries) departed than were admitted to the United States."

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund