U.S. Knowledge of the Holocaust

How much was the country aware of during WWII?

WARNING: Small but graphic imagery of survivors and corpses is shown below.

Silence

At the same time that countless Jewish peoples and other targets of Nazi concentration camps are being murdered, the U.S. barely stirs. Why the silence? While it's understandable that the country isn't looking to fight another world war, surely they'd be able to get over their isolationist views in light of such horrifying circumstances.


Yet it took the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, and not the tragedy of genocide, to push the U.S. into action. Why were we so slow to move?

Ignorance

While the American papers held more accurate information on the anti-Semitic actions of Nazi Germany during the early days of the Holocaust, the Nazi movement began to grow stronger. When they finalized the plan to kill Jewish peoples in death camps, the Nazis obviously heavily censored this genocidal act from the American press.

Confusion & Denial

The Nazis did their part to obfuscate the facts of what was happening in Europe, saying that they were simply relocating people into work camps.


Many also had a significant amount of doubt in these war horror stories, when in World War I, almost all such stories turned out to be false.


Of course, when you hear about thousands being slaughtered in genocidal camps, it isn't exactly something you want to be confirmed as the truth.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded that soldiers to document everything and take as many photos as possible, for "the day [would] come when some son of a b**** will say that this never happened."

Anti Semitism

was prevalent throughout the U.S. in the 30s and 40s. Before Pearl Harbor, there were antisemitic organizations, gangs that would harass Jewish kids, polls were showing just how easily Americans believed in stereotypes like Jews being "greedy" or "dishonest", government officials openly lashed out against Jewish people, etc.


All around, there was this passive, underlying hate against the Jews in the States, which could easily leave an entire country apathetic to whatever might be happening to Jewish people in Nazi Germany.