Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Maura Hametz

Committee Member

Austin Jersild

Committee Member

Davis Metzger


The Nazis' wise to power elicited responses from a multitude of Jewish and non- Jewish organizations around the world. Like their respective counterparts, American Jewry adopted a variety of strategies both in the United States and abroad to combat Nazism. The purpose of this study is to examine the boycott movement instituted by the Joint Boycott Council. Although the boycott had a limited short-term effect on the German economy, it failed in its overall goals. It never contributed to an economic collapse in Germany or forced the Nazis to turn away from discriminatory practices and decrees targeting Jews and other groups.

Numerous factors contributed to the failure of the Joint Boycott Council and the boycott movement in the United States. Trade policies implemented by the Nazi government along with American unwillingness to cease buying German goods undermined the goals established by the Joint Boycott Council and the boycott movement. Inappropriate funding and lack of participation further contributed to the movement's failure.

Although the movement failed to achieve its goals, it did boast some success. It brought together two ideologically different organizations, drew public attention to the plight of Jews in Germany, and made Nazi leaders aware of the movement to boycott all German goods and services. The implementation of the boycott movement also dispels the notion that American Jews remained passive bystanders in the face of Hitler's early persecutions of German Jews. Yet despite these successes, economic factors and anti- Semitism overrode general concerns for Jews in Germany.


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