Eras Journal - McBride, D. Abstract
Abstract of McBride, D. "American Nativism and Common Misperceptions: How the Displaced Persons Issue Influenced America's Palestine Policy, 1945-1948".
Assessment of the major influences behind President Truman's policy during the Palestine Question continues to divide historians. In this essay, I examine two issues that have received less attention thus far but had great significance towards the eventual creation of Israel. First, from 1945-1948, one of the major issues of the Palestine Question was whether the displaced persons should be allowed to immigrate to Palestine against the will of the indigenous Arab population. Central to this issue was the fact that following World War Two, the displaced persons had limited options for resettlement. In the United States there would be great domestic opposition to bringing the refugees to America due to both economic uncertainties and the potential ties that the refugees might have had with Communism. As a result the American public and Congress refused to try to change America's restrictive immigration quotas to help the victims of the Holocaust. Thus, American nativism played a controversial, yet significant role in helping the DPs reach Palestine.
A second issue that coincides with DP immigration to Palestine is whether in fact Palestine was the first choice of the displaced persons or whether this widely believed 'fact' was instead the result of both Zionist propaganda and world-wide opposition to the DPs immigrating into other countries. Since it has been widely believed that the displaced persons unanimously wanted to go to Palestine, if this were not the case, then one of the main arguments supporting DP immigration to Palestine was a misperception.