Institute for Historical Review
The official National Socialist attitude toward the German Jews from 1933 to the outbreak of World War 11 was best summarized in Bruno Amann, Das Weltbild des Judentunis: Grundlagen des voelkischen Antisemitismus (A Picture of World Jewry: the Foundations of Popular Anti-Semitism, Vienna, 1939). Amann depicted the National Socialist revolution of 1933 as the beginning of a new age for Germany based on the democratic principle of the community of the entire people as opposed to the class barriers 4 the past. He denounced most of Jewry as an intensely disloyal, avaricious, and decadent element in German culture after World War I.
Amann emphatically rejected Nietzsche's thesis that Christianity marks a culmination of Jewish tradition. He argued with great force that Christianity is, instead, a final departure from the "chosen people" concept of the Jews. He noted the contention of numerous propagandists hostile to Germany that Hitler was seeking to make a "chosen people" of the Germans. Amann rejected this, and he insisted on the common unity of European culture. He suggested that the true Christian tradition called upon all Europeans to maintain both a guarded hostility and a necessary protective front against the Jews.
Amann believed that forces at work in other European countries would ultimately produce in them a similar attitude toward the Jewish question. In the meantime, Germany had broken the hold of the "alien and aggressive Jewish avarice over her spiritual and material heritage." Amann was emphatic in insisting that the measures taken against the German Jews by 1939 would be adequate for all time in protecting German interests.
Jewry had been no less shaken than Germany by new doctrines and concepts. Amann regarded the Jewish people as split between the advocates of assimilation and the more modern Zionists, but he did not believe that it was difficult to predict the ultimate total triumph of Zionism. There was a natural meeting of interests in the rejection of Jewish assimilation by both National Socialism and Zionism. It was for this reason that the German authorities were, perfectly willing to cooperate with the Zionists in arranging concentrations of Jewish population in certain areas. Zionism was born of the modern Eastern European nationalist movements within the context of a special Jewish tradition; National Socialism was born of the political, economic, and military collapse of Germany in World War I.
Amann traced the beginning of Jewish emancipation in Europe from the first emancipation enactments of revolutionary France in 1791. He regarded these enactments as the beginning of a grave threat to European civilization. His special attention was reserved for a detailed study of the advocates of emancipation in Germany, beginning with Lessing, and of the full realization of emancipation itself by 1848. Amann claimed that the Jews had secured a dominant position in Germany prior to World War I, but be added that this powerful position would probably not have been challenged seriously had it not been for the German defeat in 1918. The different circumstances governing the position of Jews in various countries was viewed by Amann as a major subject for study within the Research Department on the Jewish Question connected to the Reich Institute of History.
Amann conceded in 1939 the existence of a vast and world-wide sympathy for the suppressed Jews of Germany. This was because of the clear solidarity of interest between the liberal Jews and their sympathizers in the West, and the Bolshevik Jewry of the East. In both East and West the Soviet Union was regarded with special affection for having destroyed the anti-Jewish Tsarist colossus of 1917 and for having replaced it with a regime where Jewish influence was greater than in any other state of the world. Amann saw a permanent danger to peace in the revolutionary alliance of these East-West forces against Germany. A more enlightened attitude toward the Jewish danger in the West would be the only means within the foreseeable future of overcoming this threat. Amann little suspected that traditional British balance of power calculations would exploit the existing sentiment to produce in the immediate future the very war which he dreaded.
Amann's book does not contain any vulgar propaganda against the Jews. Indeed, it in no way proves the need for an anti-Jewish policy, but rather it accepts this need as a truism based on the old, established traditions. These traditions are understandably assigned a special importance in an age of spreading Communism. Amann's book is far more typical of the official German attitude, toward the Jews under Hitler than the erratic utterances of that Self-Styled individualist of Nuremberg, Gauleiter Julius Streicher of Franconia, in his sensational newspaper, Der Stürmer. This was the only newspaper of its kind throughout Germany, and it was suppressed by the German Government in 1939. Der Stürmer contained much coarse humor, graphic cartoons, and appeals to old prejudices. Nevertheless, there was not the slightest excuse for the United States, Great Britain, and France to collaborate with the Soviet Union at Nuremberg in 1946 in securing Streicher's execution. The Soviet Union was the only nation in the world at that time where the utterance of anti-Jewish ideas was a capital offense.