Waking to Danger
Americans and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941
by Robert A. Rosenbaum
July 2010, 222pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38502-5
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38503-2
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Isolationist Senator William E. Borah proclaimed that, “the people of the United States are not interested in European boundaries.” Henry Ford declared, “They don’t dare have a war and they know it.” Public opinion, whether voiced by the elite or the man on the street, is a varied and changeable thing—and a fascinating resource for those seeking to understand history.

This intriguing study is the first comprehensive survey of American public opinion about Nazi Germany in the prewar years.

The 1930s were years when Americans struggled to define their country’s role in a dangerous world. Opinions were deeply divided and passionately held. Waking to Danger: Americans and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941 traces the evolution of American public opinion about Germany as it spiraled from ignorance and isolationism to a sense of danger and interventionism.

This brief, but broad survey fills a gap in the historical literature by bringing together, for the first time, the reactions toward Nazi Germany of a variety of groups—peace advocates, Jews, fascists, communists, churches, the business community, and the military—that have hitherto only been treated separately in monographic literature. The result is a picture of evolving national public opinion that will be a walk down memory lane for the members of The Greatest Generation, while offering those who did not live through these turbulent years a fresh understanding of the era.


  • Numerous quotations from prominent individuals and reports from contemporary newspapers and periodicals
  • 15 photographs
  • A bibliography
Robert A. Rosenbaum is a professional writer and worked as a book editor in New York for many years. He is the author of Earnest Victorians: Six Great Victorians as Portrayed in Their Own Words and Those of Their Contemporaries, The Public Issues Handbook: A Guide for the Concerned Citizen, and The Penguin Encyclopedia of American History.


"...a well-written and lucid account...Recommended."—Choice, April 1, 2011
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