“We should try to keep them out”

In his 2002 book The Myth of Rescue author W.D. Rubinstein wrote: “In July 1938 (several months before Kristallnacht) Fortune Magazine, as part of its quarterly survey of American public opinion, asked ‘What is your attitude toward allowing German, Austrian and other political refugees to come to the U.S.?’ The results were as follows:

We should encourage them to come even if we have to raise our immigration quotas    4.9%

We should allow them to come but not raise our immigration quotas     18.2%

With conditions as they are we should try to keep them out     67.4%

Don’t know     9.5%”

If the prevailing public opinion of that time evolved as public policy than many of us would not be here in the U.S. today. Fortunately, leaders arose to overcome the public fear.


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