July 06, 2015

Letters They Wouldn't Publish

November 13, 2003

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post

Dear Editor:

Your November 12 edition, reporting on Secretary of State Colin Powell's receipt of an award named for Gen. George C. Marshall, referred to Powell's "well-known admiration for Marshall" and mentioned the portrait of Marshall displayed prominently in Powell's office.

Secretary Powell is evidently unaware of Marshall's record of troubling statements and actions regarding Jews and African-Americans during the 1930s and 1940s.

The preeminent expert on the history of racism and anti-Semitism in the U.S. military, Professor Joseph W. Bendersky of Virginia Commonwealth University, has written (in his book The 'Jewish Threat': Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army; Basic Books, 2002) that Marshall used the racial epithet "darkey" in reference to African-American soldiers, and was "hostile to integrating the army, warn[ing] that such proposals were pushed by the Communists. Marshall's reservations about the potential of African-American troops stemmed in part from his low estimate of their inherent capacities." (pp.309-310)

Shortly after Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939, during which the Germans committed widespread atrocities against Polish Jews and others, U.S. Major Percy Black returned from Germany and accused the American press of spreading unfairly negative reports about the Germans. "There is, among the German people, from top to bottom and among the leaders, a very sincere desire for peace," he declared. Black said he did "not believe any of the atrocity stories" and insisted the Germany army was feeding Polish women and children in soup kitchens. Marshall, then deputy Chief of the Staff of the army, decided to send Black on a speaking tour to U.S. military installations to present his view of the Germans. Black's account "would interest any formal gathering" regarding Germany, Marshall wrote to his colleagues, while cautioning that the speaking tour should not be "publicized" because of the "violent Jewish reaction" to Black's statements (pp.276-278)

Marshall was also alarmingly close to General George Van Horn Moseley, who publicly asserted in 1938 that the U.S. was government was being manipulated by the "alien element in our midst" and that immigrants should be allowed into the U.S. only if they were sterilized before disembarking. After Moseley's retirement later that year, Marshall wrote him to pledge his "loyal devotion to you for what you have stood for ... it makes me very sad to think that I cannot serve with you and under you again." During the next two years, Moseley made a series of virulently anti-Semitic speeches around the U.S. ("The war now proposed is for the purpose of establishing Jewish hegemony throughout the world," he declared in one such tirade), and was widely-considered the prime candidate for leadership of a proposed nationwide fascist ement--until he told a Congressional committee about his belief that his critics were conspiring to poison him. Gen. Marshall nevertheless continued to maintain a close relationship with Moseley, sharing confidential military information with him and never publicly or even privately taking issue with Moseley's anti-Semitism. (pp.249-255, 309)

General Marshall's record of military leadership during World War Two and postwar government service earned him widepread respect and admiration. A closer look at his statements and actions regarding Jews and African-Americans provides a more complete, and troubling, picture.

Sincerely,

Rafael Medoff, Ph.D.
Director
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

 


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Yes, Let's Be Candid About the Mideast
March 19, 2007

Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem
May 14, 2007

Brandeis and the White Paper
November 14, 2006

Iran and Germany
November 13, 2006

Rescue Was Possible
September 25, 2006

The Jews in Iran
September 13, 2006

The Failure to Bomb Auschwitz
September 3, 2006

Mel Gibson's Critics
August 28, 2006

Jo Davidson: Sculptor and Activist
July 31, 2006

Nazi War Criminals in Arab Countries
May 10, 2006

Israel and Auschwitz
May 9, 2006

William Safire and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
April 22, 2006

Suppressing Holocaust News
April 7, 2006

Betty Friedan and the Nazis
March 13, 2006

Civil Liberties, in Nazi Germany and the U.S.
February 17, 2006

Paul McCloskey and the Deniers
February 11, 2006

Holocaust Denial is Bigotry
February 3, 2006

Not Just "Following Orders"
January 30, 2006

Melvin Lasky and the Holocaust
January 23, 2006

Saudi Arabian Holocaust-Denial
December 15, 2005

Iranian Holocaust Denial
December 10, 2005

Anti-Semitism in Jordan
November 13, 2005

Culture of Hatred in Jordan

November 10, 2005

German Jewish Refugee Children

October 24, 2005

An Earlier Black-Jewish Alliance

October 21, 2005

Treatment of Illegal Aliens Not Similar to Holocaust

September 4, 2005

Hollywood and the Nazi Filmmaker

September 4, 2005

Patton's Antisemitism

August 14, 2005

Sudan, Congress, and the Holocaust

July 25, 2005

Harvard and the Nazis

June 29, 2005

The New York Times
and the Holocaust

June 27, 2005

Should the U.S. Have Bombed Auschwitz?

January 29, 2005

Bigotry and Culture

January 26, 2005

Susan Sontag and the Nazi Filmmaker

December 30, 2004

How Moss Hart Alerted America About the Holocaust

November 2, 2004

The Quotas That Kept Out the Refugees

October 22, 2004

Lindbergh and Antisemitism - Then and Now

September 26, 2004

Rationalizing Stalin's Pact with Hitler

September 20, 2004

Turning a Blind Eye to Hitler

September 20, 2004

Truman and the Holocaust
September 1, 2004

FDR and the Warsaw Uprising
August 7, 2004

More on the Nazi Olympics
July 18, 2004

Avery Brundage and the 1936 Olympics
July 07, 2004

Genocide, Then and Now
June 27, 2004

Sudan and the Holocaust

June 22, 2004

Why did the United States turn its back on the Jews of Europe?
June 18, 2004

A Boxer Who Fought for His People
June 17, 2004

A Voice for Rescue
June 11, 2004

Morris Brafman, Soviet Jewry, and the Holocaust

May 28, 2004

An Unsung Hero of the Struggle for Jewish Freedom

May 28, 2004

FDR & the Holocaust: New Evidence
April 23, 2004

Mel Gibson and the Holocaust
April 18, 2004

Was Rescue Possible?

April 11, 2004

A Play That Smashed Racism
April 3, 2004

Hitler's Filmmaker
March 20, 2004

New Biography Wrong About FDR
February 29, 2004

Mel Gibson's Holocaust Problem
February 27, 2004

A Principal Who Stood Up for a Principle
February 8, 2004

Truman's Antisemitism
February 6, 2004

Inappropriate Hitler Analogy
December 18, 2003

George Marshall, Racism, and the Holocaust
November 13, 2003

The Failure to Bomb Auschwitz
December 24, 2002