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“Correct and Christian”: American Jesuit Support of Father Charles E. Coughlin’s Anti-Semitism, 1935–38

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Chapter Summary

Father Charles E. Coughlin's anti-Semitism reached its peak in 1938, when in late November he broadcast a speech which blamed the Jews of Germany for their persecution on Kristallnacht. In Coughlin's twisted historical view, Nazism was simply acting as "a defense mechanism against communism". Coughlin's Kristallnacht speech was explosive, deluging radio stations with telegrams and letters. Father Wilfrid Parsons was an odd choice to serve as the Jesuit spokesman against what was coming to be termed Coughlinism. He emerged in the media as a public expert on Catholic matters and Mussolini's Fascist state. His immersion in the subject also allowed him to sympathize with Coughlin's ever-increasing anticommunism. However, since Parsons seriously investigated both fascism and communism, his wariness of Coughlin balanced both issues. Similar to Parsons, in his criticisms Joseph P. Hurley also excised Jewish matters from the list.

Keywords: anti-Semitism; Father Charles E. Coughlin; Father Wilfrid Parsons; Germany; Jesuit; Jews; Joseph P. Hurley; Kristallnacht; Mussolini's Fascist state



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