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War Sentiment by US States in 1941
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Here’s a map from the May 16, 1941 edition of the St. Petersburg Times showing the results of a Gallup poll on support for declaring war against Germany:

map-war-sentiment-usa-1941

And here is a map of percentage German ancestry from the 1890 Census:

map-german-ancestry-usa-1890

 

Lingering cultural ties to Germany? Ethnic genetic interests? Something related to the American nations? And/or just the old banal North/South division of US politics?

 
• Category: History • Tags: United States, World War II 
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  1. It’s interesting that only about a third of the people in the most interventionist state wanted to declare war on Germany, even after the Battle of Britain. I suspect that there was some latent pro-German feeling in the Midwest in 1941, although pro-German sentiment had been ruthlessly suppressed in 1917 and 1918. I think it might have been the sentiment that if U.S. intervention in World War I hadn’t made Europe peaceful, there was no point repeating the exercise. Robert Taft of Ohio was a leading America Firster. I have no explanation for pro-war sentiment in the Deep South and the Mountain West, aside from Scots-Irish bellicosity.

    The map also points out the magnitude of Hitler’s blunder in declaring war on the United States in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Japan, not Germany, had attacked the U.S. fleet. Imagine a highly-publicized German declaration of neutrality on December 8, 1941, accoimpanied by reassurances that Germany would do nothing to aid Japan. What would the arguments be under the circumstances to convince the American people to declare war on Germany?

    I wonder if there are similar polls today on attitudes toward Russia and China? “Is Russia/China a threat to American intersts?”

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    "The map also points out the magnitude of Hitler’s blunder in declaring war on the United States in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Japan, not Germany, had attacked the U.S. fleet. Imagine a highly-publicized German declaration of neutrality on December 8, 1941, accoimpanied by reassurances that Germany would do nothing to aid Japan. What would the arguments be under the circumstances to convince the American people to declare war on Germany?"

    Totally agree. According to John Toland's "Adolph Hitler":

    "His Foreign Office regarded the decision [of Hitler to declare war on the U.S.] as a colossal mistake. In addition to the obvious reasons it neatly solved another of Roosevelt's domestic problems. The President would not have to declare war on Germany and risk opposition from a substantial segment of the citizenry." (p. 695)

    Ribbentrop had tried to argue Hitler out of declaring war on the ground that the agreement with Japan only applied if one of the countries was attacked, not if the country launched the attack.
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  2. ziel says:

    In Albion’s Seed, DH Fisher noted that the south/Scots-Irish supported every war, regardless of who the enemy was or the cause.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    The South supported war both out of ethnic kinship with Britain, but also just for the love of fighting.
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  3. anon says: • Disclaimer

    I’d say empathy proportional to similarity-to-self probably explains the (smallish) gap (which could be cultural or phenotype so in certain circumstances would mirror EGI).

    It’s low everywhere though so I’d suggest although those effects are pervasive (imo) they are relatively weak.

    (for example, enough for people in a homogenous population to automatically chip in a little tax for communal medical emergencies as soon as the average person has some surplus beyond the needs of their immediate family)

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  4. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The Germans who migrated to the US were heavily socialist, involved in unionization movements at a time when it was hazardous to do so, some were religiously oriented who saw peace as a desired value, and so on. This is very unlike the image of them promoted day and night in the media which depicts a two dimensional stereotype. HL Mencken, of German descent, was cynical about US war yahooing, and rightfully so. The same map probably would also reflect war enthusiasm sentiment along the same lines for the Vietnam war as well as the subsequent ones.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Whoever
    This is very true. My first German ancestors were Anabaptists, pacifists who opposed forced military service, views for which they were pronounced anathema in the old country, and from which we were compelled to flee to America. I suppose our political views over the generations have always been pretty much some variety of Christian universalism and socialism aimed at creating a "beloved community" in Josiah Royce's phrase. Royce, of course, was heavily influenced by Hermann Lotze. We certainly have very little in common with the clannish, slovenly, quarrelsome, feuding-and-fighting Scotch-Irish.
    In the 19th century, pre-Prussian-led unification, Germany was considered a land of poets and philosophers, mystics and dreamers. As an adage from those days had it, "I am very German: the woods interest me and the world does not."
    Those who condemn Germans as all Nazis and warmongers forget that although Hitler was German (after a fashion), so was Albert Schweitzer (after a fashion).
    , @tbraton
    Ironically, Wilson's first Secretary of State was William Jennings Bryan, as a result of Bryan supporting Wilson at the 1912 Democratic Convention which nominated Wilson. Bryan was strongly opposed to our entry into WWI, which led to his resignation as SOS in 1915. When WWI broke out, Bryan wrote prophetically to President Wilson: "It is not likely that either side will win so complete a victory as to be able to dictate terms, and if either side does win such a victory it will probably mean preparation for another war. It would seem better to look for a more rational basis for peace." When I said ironically, that was because Bryan and Mencken were on the same side of WWI, both strongly opposed. Of course, a few years later they would be on opposite sides of the famous "monkey trial" in Tennessee. In his memoirs, Mencken characterized Bryan as the greatest orator he had ever heard.
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  5. Halvorson says:

    After World War II Joe McCarthy’s German constituents pressed him into defending the Waffen SS men who carried out the massacre at Malmedy. He staged congressional hearings and argued that their confessions had been extracted through beatings and should be disregarded. Chomsky says that the ethnic Germans he grew up alongside in Philadelphia held celebratory barbecues after the Fall of France. So yeah, World War I wasn’t enough to totally annihilate German identity here.

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    • Replies: @Bill

    Chomsky says that the ethnic Germans he grew up alongside in Philadelphia held celebratory barbecues after the Fall of France.
     
    And if you can't believe Chomsky, who can you believe?
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  6. It’s a visual effect of the map because the differences are not that big with most states in the 20′s range and the extremes just 19 points apart.

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  7. Halvorson says:

    Looking at this map just highlights Hitler’s tremendous stupidity in declaring war on the U.S., despite being under no treaty obligation to do so. Imagine the awkward position Roosevelt would have been in had he tried to convince Americans after Pearl Harbor that no, no, no it’s the Germans we should be fighting!

    One of the big themes of the last few chapters of Band of Brothers was that operations in Europe wound down American G.I.s became cynical about the war and about little America had seemed to gain from it. Max Hastings has gotten himself embroiled in a million controversies by arguing that the soldiers of the Western Allies were less combat effective than the Germans; partly due to differences in equipment, but also in very large part to their low morale and tendency to call off attacks that did not go perfectly according to plan. Morale never a problem in the Pacific, where racial hatred for the Japanese was unbelievably intense. Given the choice, I think a strong majority of enlisted Americans would have preferred to be fighting against the Japs, but Roosevelt didn’t care. In the grand scheme of things, Pearl Harbor was just an excuse, a gift from God that allowed him to hijack the patriotic feelings of the public and direct them against a completely different enemy. There are shades here of Afghanistan/Iraq.

    At the least, had Hitler withheld a declaration he could have delayed Rommel’s defeat in North Africa and the fall of Italy. Had he managed to keep America out of the war altogether I think the Nazi regime would have survived in some form, evicted from the Soviet Union but still in control of today’s EU territories.

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    • Replies: @Vendetta
    The problem would be if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942 or 1943, the US would have used the atomic bomb on Germany - regardless of how well the Germans managed to do in Russia.
    , @LondonBob
    I remember reading in the revisionist classic "Iron Curtain over America!' by John Beaty that when asked why they were fighting most Allied troops fighting on the Western front answered they didn't know.
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  8. Bill says:
    @Halvorson
    After World War II Joe McCarthy's German constituents pressed him into defending the Waffen SS men who carried out the massacre at Malmedy. He staged congressional hearings and argued that their confessions had been extracted through beatings and should be disregarded. Chomsky says that the ethnic Germans he grew up alongside in Philadelphia held celebratory barbecues after the Fall of France. So yeah, World War I wasn't enough to totally annihilate German identity here.

    Chomsky says that the ethnic Germans he grew up alongside in Philadelphia held celebratory barbecues after the Fall of France.

    And if you can’t believe Chomsky, who can you believe?

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  9. Fascinating. Seems to confirm that the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?). The values in some Northeastern states also seem fairly high though, given that the question refers to Italy as well and there were/are substantial Italian populations in the Northeast. At least that’s what I make of this as a non-American.

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    • Replies: @5371
    [the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?)]

    They were the most bellicose long before the civil war.
    , @tbraton
    "Seems to confirm that the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?)."

    Years ago I happened to represent some Virginia businessmen of the old stock, and I finally was able to understand how our Civil War came about. Belligerent would be an understatement.
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  10. 5371 says:
    @German_reader
    Fascinating. Seems to confirm that the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?). The values in some Northeastern states also seem fairly high though, given that the question refers to Italy as well and there were/are substantial Italian populations in the Northeast. At least that's what I make of this as a non-American.

    [the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?)]

    They were the most bellicose long before the civil war.

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    • Agree: tbraton
    • Replies: @German_reader
    I suppose you're right, if I'm not mistaken the South was the main driver behind the war against Mexico (and on a "private" level all those filibustering schemes against Latin American countries). Still, it's strange (at least to an outsider like me) that defeat in the civil war and occupation by federal troops during Reconstruction didn't really put a dent in that bellicose culture.
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  11. @5371
    [the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?)]

    They were the most bellicose long before the civil war.

    I suppose you’re right, if I’m not mistaken the South was the main driver behind the war against Mexico (and on a “private” level all those filibustering schemes against Latin American countries). Still, it’s strange (at least to an outsider like me) that defeat in the civil war and occupation by federal troops during Reconstruction didn’t really put a dent in that bellicose culture.

    Read More
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  12. Whoever says:
    @anonymous
    The Germans who migrated to the US were heavily socialist, involved in unionization movements at a time when it was hazardous to do so, some were religiously oriented who saw peace as a desired value, and so on. This is very unlike the image of them promoted day and night in the media which depicts a two dimensional stereotype. HL Mencken, of German descent, was cynical about US war yahooing, and rightfully so. The same map probably would also reflect war enthusiasm sentiment along the same lines for the Vietnam war as well as the subsequent ones.

    This is very true. My first German ancestors were Anabaptists, pacifists who opposed forced military service, views for which they were pronounced anathema in the old country, and from which we were compelled to flee to America. I suppose our political views over the generations have always been pretty much some variety of Christian universalism and socialism aimed at creating a “beloved community” in Josiah Royce’s phrase. Royce, of course, was heavily influenced by Hermann Lotze. We certainly have very little in common with the clannish, slovenly, quarrelsome, feuding-and-fighting Scotch-Irish.
    In the 19th century, pre-Prussian-led unification, Germany was considered a land of poets and philosophers, mystics and dreamers. As an adage from those days had it, “I am very German: the woods interest me and the world does not.”
    Those who condemn Germans as all Nazis and warmongers forget that although Hitler was German (after a fashion), so was Albert Schweitzer (after a fashion).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    I won't dispute that Hitler was German, but he was born and raised in Austria, in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and spent many of his formative years in Vienna. He disliked the Austro-Hungarian Empire so intensely that he petitioned the King of Bavaria to be permitted to serve in a Bararian infantry regiment, which he did. Possibly his greatest moment of triumph was his reentry into Vienna after Anschluss between Germany and Austria. The picture of Germans today, thanks to endless WWII movies, is that they have always been very militaristic, but that isn't really true.
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  13. @Whoever
    This is very true. My first German ancestors were Anabaptists, pacifists who opposed forced military service, views for which they were pronounced anathema in the old country, and from which we were compelled to flee to America. I suppose our political views over the generations have always been pretty much some variety of Christian universalism and socialism aimed at creating a "beloved community" in Josiah Royce's phrase. Royce, of course, was heavily influenced by Hermann Lotze. We certainly have very little in common with the clannish, slovenly, quarrelsome, feuding-and-fighting Scotch-Irish.
    In the 19th century, pre-Prussian-led unification, Germany was considered a land of poets and philosophers, mystics and dreamers. As an adage from those days had it, "I am very German: the woods interest me and the world does not."
    Those who condemn Germans as all Nazis and warmongers forget that although Hitler was German (after a fashion), so was Albert Schweitzer (after a fashion).

    I won’t dispute that Hitler was German, but he was born and raised in Austria, in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and spent many of his formative years in Vienna. He disliked the Austro-Hungarian Empire so intensely that he petitioned the King of Bavaria to be permitted to serve in a Bararian infantry regiment, which he did. Possibly his greatest moment of triumph was his reentry into Vienna after Anschluss between Germany and Austria. The picture of Germans today, thanks to endless WWII movies, is that they have always been very militaristic, but that isn’t really true.

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    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Austria was German.
    , @LondonBob
    Hitler and the Nazi ideology were more a product of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and had higher support there, than Germany proper.
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  14. Besides supplying all of Germany’s (and Japan’s) enemies free of charge with very large quantities of vital supplies (including fuel, foodstuffs and raw materials as well as weapons and ammunitions), the American Navy was already shooting at basically any German vessel in most of the Atlantic, and the “no-German” zone was constantly being pushed eastwards. In the meantime, the US economy was being geared to full war production not only for the above mentioned supply of Germany’s and Japan’s enemies, but also to build up the world’s largest and strongest armed forces.

    If you believe there was a way for Hitler to avoid war against the US, I have a bridge real cheap to sell for you. Of course, December 1941 was a bad moment for Roosevelt, he had to deal with the Japanese, had just lost half his Pacific fleet, and was totally unprepared for the onslaught of the U-Boats.

    One can, of course, argue that Germany could have attacked without a formal declaration of war. I’m sure it would all be about how much of a war crime it was, we wouldn’t hear the end of it. Hitler’s aim was to reassure his allies the Japanese, because he – correctly – suspected that Roosevelt wanted to get him first and foremost, and wanted to decrease the likelihood of a Japanese separate peace.

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    • Replies: @tbraton
    Your analysis comports with Hitler's. He thought Germany in effect was already at war with the U.S. as a result of actions taken by the U.S. against Germany. But, still, his decision made it a lot easier for Roosevelt.
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  15. BDoyle says:

    Like people have said here, Southerners are just more warlike. Army enlistment rates by state right now almost exactly match the distribution of war sentiment in 1941. A high percentage of Germans obviously didn’t drag down the war sentiment in Texas very much.

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    • Replies: @E. Harding
    North Dakota and Utah are clear outliers in that regard.
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  16. @BDoyle
    Like people have said here, Southerners are just more warlike. Army enlistment rates by state right now almost exactly match the distribution of war sentiment in 1941. A high percentage of Germans obviously didn't drag down the war sentiment in Texas very much.

    North Dakota and Utah are clear outliers in that regard.

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  17. Vendetta says:
    @Halvorson
    Looking at this map just highlights Hitler's tremendous stupidity in declaring war on the U.S., despite being under no treaty obligation to do so. Imagine the awkward position Roosevelt would have been in had he tried to convince Americans after Pearl Harbor that no, no, no it's the Germans we should be fighting!

    One of the big themes of the last few chapters of Band of Brothers was that operations in Europe wound down American G.I.s became cynical about the war and about little America had seemed to gain from it. Max Hastings has gotten himself embroiled in a million controversies by arguing that the soldiers of the Western Allies were less combat effective than the Germans; partly due to differences in equipment, but also in very large part to their low morale and tendency to call off attacks that did not go perfectly according to plan. Morale never a problem in the Pacific, where racial hatred for the Japanese was unbelievably intense. Given the choice, I think a strong majority of enlisted Americans would have preferred to be fighting against the Japs, but Roosevelt didn't care. In the grand scheme of things, Pearl Harbor was just an excuse, a gift from God that allowed him to hijack the patriotic feelings of the public and direct them against a completely different enemy. There are shades here of Afghanistan/Iraq.

    At the least, had Hitler withheld a declaration he could have delayed Rommel's defeat in North Africa and the fall of Italy. Had he managed to keep America out of the war altogether I think the Nazi regime would have survived in some form, evicted from the Soviet Union but still in control of today's EU territories.

    The problem would be if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942 or 1943, the US would have used the atomic bomb on Germany – regardless of how well the Germans managed to do in Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942
     
    The first real American contribution to the European theater was Operation Torch in November 1942. If Hitler only achieved American neutrality until then, he'd have achieved nothing. Plus the first quarter of 1942 was the worst period for American shipping, if it hadn't happened, the US would've been in a much better position in late 1942.
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  18. Mitleser says:
    @Diversity Heretic
    I won't dispute that Hitler was German, but he was born and raised in Austria, in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and spent many of his formative years in Vienna. He disliked the Austro-Hungarian Empire so intensely that he petitioned the King of Bavaria to be permitted to serve in a Bararian infantry regiment, which he did. Possibly his greatest moment of triumph was his reentry into Vienna after Anschluss between Germany and Austria. The picture of Germans today, thanks to endless WWII movies, is that they have always been very militaristic, but that isn't really true.

    Austria was German.

    Read More
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  19. Glossy says: • Website

    I think FDR was already pushing for war then, and Southerners were good Democrats. Plus they didn’t have a lot of German ancestry.

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  20. What this map tells us, is that anywhere from 65-86 percent of Americans (depending on which state you reference) opposed intervening against Germany. Yes, the Southern & Rocky Mountain states were less anti-interventionist than the Midwestern, Northeastern, and Pacific coastal states, but all 48 states were firmly pro-peace.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    What this map tells us, is that anywhere from 65-86 percent of Americans (depending on which state you reference) opposed intervening against Germany.
     
    A lot of people are usually undecided or won't tell the pollsters for whatever reasons. I'd be surprised if it was above 60%, and could have been less than 50%.
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  21. Nick says:

    Hitler’s declaration of war on the USA was a calculated gamble. He needed Japan to be at war with the Soviet Union and hoped that this would help tip the balance. It would force the Soviets to retain troops in the Far East and – more importantly – it would cut off the US materiel being shipped unhindered across the Pacific.

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  22. @Vendetta
    The problem would be if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942 or 1943, the US would have used the atomic bomb on Germany - regardless of how well the Germans managed to do in Russia.

    if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942

    The first real American contribution to the European theater was Operation Torch in November 1942. If Hitler only achieved American neutrality until then, he’d have achieved nothing. Plus the first quarter of 1942 was the worst period for American shipping, if it hadn’t happened, the US would’ve been in a much better position in late 1942.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Besides, there's the technical detail that Operation Torch was against Vichy France. It could have been sold to the American public as retribution for the Vichy regime letting the Japanese use Vietnamese bases. So actual American entry could have waited until maybe 1943, and the outcome would've been the same.
    , @5371
    Yes, the US approach to this problem was notoriously slapdash in those months, no blackout in Miami, for example.
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  23. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    What this map tells us, is that anywhere from 65-86 percent of Americans (depending on which state you reference) opposed intervening against Germany. Yes, the Southern & Rocky Mountain states were less anti-interventionist than the Midwestern, Northeastern, and Pacific coastal states, but all 48 states were firmly pro-peace.

    What this map tells us, is that anywhere from 65-86 percent of Americans (depending on which state you reference) opposed intervening against Germany.

    A lot of people are usually undecided or won’t tell the pollsters for whatever reasons. I’d be surprised if it was above 60%, and could have been less than 50%.

    Read More
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  24. @reiner Tor

    if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942
     
    The first real American contribution to the European theater was Operation Torch in November 1942. If Hitler only achieved American neutrality until then, he'd have achieved nothing. Plus the first quarter of 1942 was the worst period for American shipping, if it hadn't happened, the US would've been in a much better position in late 1942.

    Besides, there’s the technical detail that Operation Torch was against Vichy France. It could have been sold to the American public as retribution for the Vichy regime letting the Japanese use Vietnamese bases. So actual American entry could have waited until maybe 1943, and the outcome would’ve been the same.

    Read More
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  25. tbraton says:
    @Diversity Heretic
    It's interesting that only about a third of the people in the most interventionist state wanted to declare war on Germany, even after the Battle of Britain. I suspect that there was some latent pro-German feeling in the Midwest in 1941, although pro-German sentiment had been ruthlessly suppressed in 1917 and 1918. I think it might have been the sentiment that if U.S. intervention in World War I hadn't made Europe peaceful, there was no point repeating the exercise. Robert Taft of Ohio was a leading America Firster. I have no explanation for pro-war sentiment in the Deep South and the Mountain West, aside from Scots-Irish bellicosity.

    The map also points out the magnitude of Hitler's blunder in declaring war on the United States in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Japan, not Germany, had attacked the U.S. fleet. Imagine a highly-publicized German declaration of neutrality on December 8, 1941, accoimpanied by reassurances that Germany would do nothing to aid Japan. What would the arguments be under the circumstances to convince the American people to declare war on Germany?

    I wonder if there are similar polls today on attitudes toward Russia and China? "Is Russia/China a threat to American intersts?"

    “The map also points out the magnitude of Hitler’s blunder in declaring war on the United States in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Japan, not Germany, had attacked the U.S. fleet. Imagine a highly-publicized German declaration of neutrality on December 8, 1941, accoimpanied by reassurances that Germany would do nothing to aid Japan. What would the arguments be under the circumstances to convince the American people to declare war on Germany?”

    Totally agree. According to John Toland’s “Adolph Hitler”:

    “His Foreign Office regarded the decision [of Hitler to declare war on the U.S.] as a colossal mistake. In addition to the obvious reasons it neatly solved another of Roosevelt’s domestic problems. The President would not have to declare war on Germany and risk opposition from a substantial segment of the citizenry.” (p. 695)

    Ribbentrop had tried to argue Hitler out of declaring war on the ground that the agreement with Japan only applied if one of the countries was attacked, not if the country launched the attack.

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  26. tbraton says:
    @anonymous
    The Germans who migrated to the US were heavily socialist, involved in unionization movements at a time when it was hazardous to do so, some were religiously oriented who saw peace as a desired value, and so on. This is very unlike the image of them promoted day and night in the media which depicts a two dimensional stereotype. HL Mencken, of German descent, was cynical about US war yahooing, and rightfully so. The same map probably would also reflect war enthusiasm sentiment along the same lines for the Vietnam war as well as the subsequent ones.

    Ironically, Wilson’s first Secretary of State was William Jennings Bryan, as a result of Bryan supporting Wilson at the 1912 Democratic Convention which nominated Wilson. Bryan was strongly opposed to our entry into WWI, which led to his resignation as SOS in 1915. When WWI broke out, Bryan wrote prophetically to President Wilson: “It is not likely that either side will win so complete a victory as to be able to dictate terms, and if either side does win such a victory it will probably mean preparation for another war. It would seem better to look for a more rational basis for peace.” When I said ironically, that was because Bryan and Mencken were on the same side of WWI, both strongly opposed. Of course, a few years later they would be on opposite sides of the famous “monkey trial” in Tennessee. In his memoirs, Mencken characterized Bryan as the greatest orator he had ever heard.

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  27. tbraton says:
    @German_reader
    Fascinating. Seems to confirm that the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?). The values in some Northeastern states also seem fairly high though, given that the question refers to Italy as well and there were/are substantial Italian populations in the Northeast. At least that's what I make of this as a non-American.

    “Seems to confirm that the American south has long been the most bellicose part of the US (psychological compensation for defeat in the civil war?).”

    Years ago I happened to represent some Virginia businessmen of the old stock, and I finally was able to understand how our Civil War came about. Belligerent would be an understatement.

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  28. tbraton says:
    @reiner Tor
    Besides supplying all of Germany's (and Japan's) enemies free of charge with very large quantities of vital supplies (including fuel, foodstuffs and raw materials as well as weapons and ammunitions), the American Navy was already shooting at basically any German vessel in most of the Atlantic, and the "no-German" zone was constantly being pushed eastwards. In the meantime, the US economy was being geared to full war production not only for the above mentioned supply of Germany's and Japan's enemies, but also to build up the world's largest and strongest armed forces.

    If you believe there was a way for Hitler to avoid war against the US, I have a bridge real cheap to sell for you. Of course, December 1941 was a bad moment for Roosevelt, he had to deal with the Japanese, had just lost half his Pacific fleet, and was totally unprepared for the onslaught of the U-Boats.

    One can, of course, argue that Germany could have attacked without a formal declaration of war. I'm sure it would all be about how much of a war crime it was, we wouldn't hear the end of it. Hitler's aim was to reassure his allies the Japanese, because he - correctly - suspected that Roosevelt wanted to get him first and foremost, and wanted to decrease the likelihood of a Japanese separate peace.

    Your analysis comports with Hitler’s. He thought Germany in effect was already at war with the U.S. as a result of actions taken by the U.S. against Germany. But, still, his decision made it a lot easier for Roosevelt.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The sinking of USS Reuben James would have been followed up by similar accidents. It was inevitable, because the Americans were escorting commercial ships carrying war material (including weapons and ammunition) to the UK (by late 1941 they were already escorting the convoys to Iceland), eventually many such accidents were to happen. The US administration could've used those accidents as justifications for escalation, for example for starting bombing raids against Germany, invasion of North Africa, etc. While I'm sure eventually Hitler would've started an all-out war as a response to these actions anyway, I'm also sure eventually Roosevelt could've gotten Congress to authorize him to conduct an all-out war against Germany, with or without a formal declaration of war.
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  29. Marcus says:

    Other than the Mountain States, it overlaps well with the New Deal coalition. German and Scandi republicans in the Midwest would naturally be less interventionist, see Lindbergh.

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  30. 5371 says:
    @reiner Tor

    if Hitler had only managed to delay American entry into the war until 1942
     
    The first real American contribution to the European theater was Operation Torch in November 1942. If Hitler only achieved American neutrality until then, he'd have achieved nothing. Plus the first quarter of 1942 was the worst period for American shipping, if it hadn't happened, the US would've been in a much better position in late 1942.

    Yes, the US approach to this problem was notoriously slapdash in those months, no blackout in Miami, for example.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It might have been the same if US entry into the war had happened later, but I think it mattered a lot that Lend Lease transports got delayed earlier in the war. Lend Lease after Stalingrad mattered much less, because the Germans were by then doomed anyway.
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  31. LondonBob says:
    @ziel
    In Albion's Seed, DH Fisher noted that the south/Scots-Irish supported every war, regardless of who the enemy was or the cause.

    The South supported war both out of ethnic kinship with Britain, but also just for the love of fighting.

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  32. LondonBob says:
    @Halvorson
    Looking at this map just highlights Hitler's tremendous stupidity in declaring war on the U.S., despite being under no treaty obligation to do so. Imagine the awkward position Roosevelt would have been in had he tried to convince Americans after Pearl Harbor that no, no, no it's the Germans we should be fighting!

    One of the big themes of the last few chapters of Band of Brothers was that operations in Europe wound down American G.I.s became cynical about the war and about little America had seemed to gain from it. Max Hastings has gotten himself embroiled in a million controversies by arguing that the soldiers of the Western Allies were less combat effective than the Germans; partly due to differences in equipment, but also in very large part to their low morale and tendency to call off attacks that did not go perfectly according to plan. Morale never a problem in the Pacific, where racial hatred for the Japanese was unbelievably intense. Given the choice, I think a strong majority of enlisted Americans would have preferred to be fighting against the Japs, but Roosevelt didn't care. In the grand scheme of things, Pearl Harbor was just an excuse, a gift from God that allowed him to hijack the patriotic feelings of the public and direct them against a completely different enemy. There are shades here of Afghanistan/Iraq.

    At the least, had Hitler withheld a declaration he could have delayed Rommel's defeat in North Africa and the fall of Italy. Had he managed to keep America out of the war altogether I think the Nazi regime would have survived in some form, evicted from the Soviet Union but still in control of today's EU territories.

    I remember reading in the revisionist classic “Iron Curtain over America!’ by John Beaty that when asked why they were fighting most Allied troops fighting on the Western front answered they didn’t know.

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  33. LondonBob says:
    @Diversity Heretic
    I won't dispute that Hitler was German, but he was born and raised in Austria, in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and spent many of his formative years in Vienna. He disliked the Austro-Hungarian Empire so intensely that he petitioned the King of Bavaria to be permitted to serve in a Bararian infantry regiment, which he did. Possibly his greatest moment of triumph was his reentry into Vienna after Anschluss between Germany and Austria. The picture of Germans today, thanks to endless WWII movies, is that they have always been very militaristic, but that isn't really true.

    Hitler and the Nazi ideology were more a product of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and had higher support there, than Germany proper.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The first half of your sentence is to a large extent true, but I'm not quite sure about the second half. First, Catholic South Germans (especially Bavarians) were less enthusiastic about the regime than just about any other region in Germany, and Bavarians are the most similar to Austrians. True, Austrians were probably way more enthusiastic about Hitler than Bavarians (because Hitler gave them what they - at the time - mostly wanted, namely joining the Reich), but still it's not very likely that they ever matched the enthusiasm of regions like East Prussia.
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  34. @LondonBob
    Hitler and the Nazi ideology were more a product of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and had higher support there, than Germany proper.

    The first half of your sentence is to a large extent true, but I’m not quite sure about the second half. First, Catholic South Germans (especially Bavarians) were less enthusiastic about the regime than just about any other region in Germany, and Bavarians are the most similar to Austrians. True, Austrians were probably way more enthusiastic about Hitler than Bavarians (because Hitler gave them what they – at the time – mostly wanted, namely joining the Reich), but still it’s not very likely that they ever matched the enthusiasm of regions like East Prussia.

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    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @AP
    Here is a German electoral map showing Nazi support in the 1933 elections:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_March_1933#/media/File:NSDAP_Wahl_1933.png

    It appears that Germans suffered in proportion to their support of Nazism: the pro-Nazi heartland regions were ethnically cleansed of Germans and became parts of Poland and Russia; less pro-Nazi regions suffered from decades of Commie occupation; the least pro-Nazi regions enjoyed democratic rule and wealth as part of the West. One quibble: Catholic Rhinelanders were even less pro-Nazi than were Catholic Bavarians.
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  35. @5371
    Yes, the US approach to this problem was notoriously slapdash in those months, no blackout in Miami, for example.

    It might have been the same if US entry into the war had happened later, but I think it mattered a lot that Lend Lease transports got delayed earlier in the war. Lend Lease after Stalingrad mattered much less, because the Germans were by then doomed anyway.

    Read More
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  36. @tbraton
    Your analysis comports with Hitler's. He thought Germany in effect was already at war with the U.S. as a result of actions taken by the U.S. against Germany. But, still, his decision made it a lot easier for Roosevelt.

    The sinking of USS Reuben James would have been followed up by similar accidents. It was inevitable, because the Americans were escorting commercial ships carrying war material (including weapons and ammunition) to the UK (by late 1941 they were already escorting the convoys to Iceland), eventually many such accidents were to happen. The US administration could’ve used those accidents as justifications for escalation, for example for starting bombing raids against Germany, invasion of North Africa, etc. While I’m sure eventually Hitler would’ve started an all-out war as a response to these actions anyway, I’m also sure eventually Roosevelt could’ve gotten Congress to authorize him to conduct an all-out war against Germany, with or without a formal declaration of war.

    Read More
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  37. AP says:
    @reiner Tor
    The first half of your sentence is to a large extent true, but I'm not quite sure about the second half. First, Catholic South Germans (especially Bavarians) were less enthusiastic about the regime than just about any other region in Germany, and Bavarians are the most similar to Austrians. True, Austrians were probably way more enthusiastic about Hitler than Bavarians (because Hitler gave them what they - at the time - mostly wanted, namely joining the Reich), but still it's not very likely that they ever matched the enthusiasm of regions like East Prussia.

    Here is a German electoral map showing Nazi support in the 1933 elections:

    It appears that Germans suffered in proportion to their support of Nazism: the pro-Nazi heartland regions were ethnically cleansed of Germans and became parts of Poland and Russia; less pro-Nazi regions suffered from decades of Commie occupation; the least pro-Nazi regions enjoyed democratic rule and wealth as part of the West. One quibble: Catholic Rhinelanders were even less pro-Nazi than were Catholic Bavarians.

    Read More
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