Hitler’s American Model

J.Q Whitman’s Hitler’s American Model is one of the most interesting books I’ve read. Whitman demonstrates how Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws were influenced by several racist American laws.

The Reich Citizenship Law restricted citizenship to those with German or related blood. The remainder were classified as state subjects. As Whitman shows, the concept of multiple classes of citizens adopted by the Nazis was influenced by America’s treatment of Puerto Ricans and Filipinos.

The Blood Law sought to protect the purity of the German race. It prohibited marriage between Germans and Jews and criminalized extramarital intercourse between them as well. The law also prevented Germans from hiring Jewish women under the age of 45 to work in German homes. Nazi Germany’s Blood Law was influenced by Anti miscegenation laws (laws against interracial marriage and sex) that had been enacted in 30 states.

Until reading Hitler’s American Model, I hadn’t considered the worldwide affect of America’s racist history. Now, I understand that America has been the greatest exporter of racist laws the world has ever seen. I’m saddened by the reality that America, which claims to be the world’s beacon of hope, has a terrible history of showing the world how to legalize racism.

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