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On this date in 1934, Louis T. McFadden, nineteen years in the House of Representatives as a Republican from Pennsylvania, made one of his several speeches on the floor of the House that were filled with anti-Semitism. In these speeches, and in newsletters to his constituents, McFadden cited the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, claimed that the Roosevelt Administration was controlled by Jews, and warned that the rise of Hitler in Germany “was caused by the preponderance of Jews in the German government, in the universities, as lawyers, as physicians, as bankers, complete domination of all exchanges, in commerce, in the theater, [and the] moving picture industry." McFadden also objected specifically to Henry Morgenthau, Jr., a Jew, becoming Secretary of the Treasury, and reminded "loyal Americans that it is well to remember the boring-from-within tactics pursued by these aliens usurpers who pursued tactics in Soviet Russia which caused the downfall of their government and set up the present Communist-Jewish control government which is now in operation." McFadden, himself a banker, was a sworn opponent of the Federal Reserve Bank while serving as chair of the House Committee on Banking and Currency for eleven years. A favorite of the American fascist Silver Shirts movement, he was praised by the Nazi publication, Der Stürmer, and other pro-fascist outlets. In the 1934 election, however, McFadden lost by a very slim margin to the only Democrat to win the heavily German-American district between 1912 and 1950. He died two years later at age 60.
"If the American Nazi revolution should ever come, bearing with it restriction of the personal liberties of all and death, humiliation, and physical and mental torture of the Jews, McFadden may well petition for a place high among those being rewarded for leading the revolution." --Pat McGrady, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 1934
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.