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

James Q. Whitman (Author)


How American race law provided a blueprint for Nazi Germany

Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler's American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws--the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Contrary to those who have insisted otherwise, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies. He looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened but too harsh. Indelibly linking American race laws to the shaping of Nazi policies in Germany, Hitler's American Model upends the understanding of America's influence on racist practices in the wider world.

Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
Princeton University Press
Publish Date
September 04, 2018
5.2 X 0.8 X 7.9 inches | 0.4 pounds
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About the Author

James Q. Whitman is the Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law at Yale Law School. His books include Harsh Justice, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt, and The Verdict of Battle.


"Startling. . . . [Hitler's American Model] contributes to a growing recognition of American influences on Nazi thought."--Jeff Guo, Washington Post
"The uncomfortable truth is that Nazi policy was itself influenced by American white supremacy, a heritage well documented in James Q. Whitman's recent book Hitler's American Model."--Sasha Chapin, New York Times Magazine
"Every day brings fresh reminders that liberal and illiberal democracy can entwine uncomfortably, a timely context for James Q. Whitman's Hitler's American Model. . . . [H]is short book raises important questions about law, about political decisions that affect the scope of civic membership, and about the malleability of Enlightenment values."--Ira Katznelson, The Atlantic
"A crucial read right now."--Jelani Cobb
"Whitman reminds readers of the subtle ironies of modern history and of the need to be constantly vigilant against racism."--Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs
"One of Foreign Affairs Best of Books 2017 - Economic, Social, and Environment / Finance"