In This Review

The "Jewish Threat": Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army
The "Jewish Threat": Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army
By Joseph W. Bendersky
539 pp, Basic Books, 2000

This is a disturbing, uneven book. The author, a student of Nazi Germany, documents in grim detail the extent of antisemitic prejudice in the U.S. Army from the turn of the last century through World War II and just beyond. He focuses primarily on the Military Intelligence Division (mid), the Army War College, and the occupation of Nazi Germany. The evidence of pervasive racism is undeniable. But as Bendersky's own research reveals, it was often part of a larger racist world-view that seems today not merely repugnant but downright bizarre, with many components irrelevant to a dislike for Jews. Moreover, Bendersky's focus on the mid and the Army War College is excessively narrow, given what a complicated institution the army was. That said, this book sheds uncomfortable light on a dark corner of American military history.