Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Article excerpt

Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law BY JAMES Q. WHITMAN. Princeton University Press, 2017, 224 pp.

Historians of the twentieth century often represent the New Deal-era United States and Nazi Germany as polar opposites. This unsettling book demolishes that orthodoxy. It carefully documents how the tradition of racist laws in the United States inspired and instructed Adolf Hitler and Nazi lawmakers in fashioning their own racist policies. Many forget that as late as the 1930s, the United States remained one of the world's most salient models of legally institutionalized racism. Nazi lawyers closely studied Jim Crow laws imposing segregation, denying equal citizenship, banning nonwhite immigration, and criminalizing miscegenation. …

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