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Commitment and Crisis: Jews, Communism, and anti-Communism in the United States

Event: Commitment and Crisis: Jews, Communism, and anti-Communism in the United States
Tony Michels
Associate Professor of Jewish History
University of Wisconsin-Madison

At the dawn of the 1920s, tens of thousands of American Jews enthusiastically endorsed the Bolshevik Revolution. The most popular Yiddish newspapers applauded Soviet Russia, powerful labor unions raised money for Soviet reconstruction efforts, and a significant minority of Jews rallied behind the American Communist Party. Indeed, Jews constituted the American Communist movement's most important demographic component during the 1920s. Yet by the end of the decade the Communist cause was widely discredited within the Jewish community and the American Left broadly. Socialists and anarchists formed a labor-based, anti-Communist movement that grew into a powerful force over subsequent decades. Why did large numbers of Jews embrace Communism only to turn against it, well before the Cold War? How did the struggle over Communism affect American politics and intellectual life? This paper examines these questions by delving into the roots of American Communism and anti-Communism within the American Jewish community.

Co-sponsored by Ohio State’s department of Comparative Studies and the department of History’s Modern US Seminar fund and the Race Ethnicity and Nation Constellation
Date and time:October 18, 2012
3:40 PM
Location:Area on Campus: Dulles Hall, 230 W. 17th Ave., Room 168, Ohio State campus
Contact:Lori Fireman
Phone Number:614-292-0700
Event category:Melton Center for Jewish Studies & Comparative Studies In The Humanities
Event Type:Lecture

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