American History

INNOVATION AND INSPIRATION

James Whitman is a historian and professor at Yale Law School. His 2017 book, Hitler’s American Model, explores how racist legislation enacted by the United States influenced development of the Nazi-era statutes on race and citizenship in Germany that came to be known as the Nuremberg Laws.

I’m not the first to wonder if the Jim Crow era influenced the Nazis, but I looked a little harder than other people had and found what I think was real influence. I began by pulling off the shelf; I found a passage in which Hitler describes America as the one state that is making

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