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Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World Hardcover – November 30, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Jeffrey Herf provides a vivid history of Nazi propaganda in the Middle East by using an array of newly discovered sources. He not only demonstrates the geographical reach of Nazi Germany's rhetoric and intentions in its apocalyptic war against the Jews, but also provides important suggestions regarding the development of contemporary anti-Semitism in the Muslim world.  A must read for both historians of the Holocaust and those interested in the Middle East conflict.”—Norman Goda, author of Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War

(Norman Goda)

"Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World is a work of great research and clear writing. Through archival sleuthing, Herf has discovered a previously unknown but crucial chapter in the rise of modern anti-Semitism in the Arab world. He shows how Nazi propaganda harnessed European and indigenous anti-Semitism to form a lethal form of racism. The result continues to poison the Middle East's intellectual life today and has helped fuel a virulent opposition to modernity that haunts us today."—Ian Johnson, author of A Mosque in Munich
(Ian Johnson)

"Herf is a prominent scholar in and is a member of a tiny community of experts who are both familiar with Nazi Germany and the Arab world; so no one like Herf is in a position to complete such a well-founded study on the spread of Nazi propaganda in the Middle East. Herf shows how Nazis employed media in Arabic – such as short-wave radio – to win the Middle East. The dreadful impact of this propaganda has been the pan-Arab nationalist adoption of Nazi ideology. On the top of this impact is the pan-Arab adoption of Nazi anti-Semitism. Therefore, Herf’s book focuses on this issue, analyzing original materials and providing new insights. In the past decades secular pan-Arabism has been replaced by Islamism, but the German Nazi traces of anti-Semitism disclosed in the groundbreaking analysis continues to be in place, despite the Islamization of this ideology. Herf’s book is not only a historical disclosure, but also a major contribution to understanding the Middle East of today in a historical continuity."—Bassam Tibi, Cornell University

(Bassam Tibi)

"Drawing upon new sources, Jeffrey Herf illuminates the complex interaction between Nazi Germany and Arab extremists.  This incisive work contributes greatly to our understanding of anti-Semitism in the Middle East."—Richard Breitman, American University
(Richard Breitman)

"A compelling example of the new trans-national historiography, this volume is a major contribution to the history of Nazi Germany and the prehistory of the Arab-Israeli conflict."—Russell A. Berman, Stanford University
(Russell A. Berman)

"In this fascinating book, Jeffrey Herf investigates the themes, methods, and scope of Nazi propaganda in the Near East during World War Two.  He shows how Berlin achieved a synthesis of its own paranoid anti-Semitism combined with selective elements drawn from Islam in order to propagate its message of a mortal Jewish peril.  A superb achievement!"—Saul Friedlander, University of California, Los Angeles
(Saul Friedlander)

"Jeffery Herf has written a convincing and powerful account of the impact of Nazi propaganda on the Middle East, throwing new light on the convergence of European and Arab-Islamic anti-Semitism."—Robert S. Wistrich, author of A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad
(Robert S. Wistrich)

"Professor Herf's book is a thorough and important description of Nazi propaganda to the Arab world during World War II, and quite accurately and ominously highlights the parallels between Nazi anti-Semitic tenets and Islamist anti-Semitism."—Benny Morris, Ben-Gurion University
(Benny Morris)

“Reading Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World is a reminder of how powerful such lies can be. . . . We have not yet heard the end of the ideas whose birth Herf documents in this frightening, necessary book.” — Adam Kirsch, TABLET
(TABLET 2010-02-16)

“Powerful, important. . . . Herf’s detective work in the U.S. archives has opened a new vista on the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamism, as well as made a landmark contribution more broadly to an understanding of the modern Middle East.”--Daniel Pipes, Commentary
(Daniel Pipes Commentary)

“[Herf’s study]. . .will hopefully make it more difficult for commentators and government officials to ignore the affinities between radical Islam and Nazi eliminationist anti-Semitism.”--Sol Stern, The New Criterion
(Sol Stern The New Criterion)

"Indispensable. . . for helping laymen and scholars."--Reuel Marc Gerecht, The Weekly Standard
(Reuel Marc Gerecht The Weekly Standard)

Winner of the 2011 Sybil Halpern Milton Prize as given by the German Studies Association
(Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Prize German Studies Association 2011-09-28)

About the Author

Jeffrey Herf is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland in College Park.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; y First printing edition (November 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300145799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300145793
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,125,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A comprehensive and pivotal work detailing the dissemination of propaganda from Nazi Germany into the Middle East and north Africa during the Second World War, and the development that this had on Arab and Islamic anti-Semitism/Anti-Zionism to this very day.

During the Second World War Nazi Germany circulated millions of printed leaflets and broadcast thousands of hours of shortwave radio (all in Arabic) in order to disseminate it's anti-Jewish ideology throughout he Arab world. what this work does is to document the ideas, individuals and institutions behind this initiative. Nazi Germany was at pains to demonstrate to the Muslims that it was anti-Jewish but in no way hostile to other Semitic peoples such as Arabs and Iranians who it professed great admiration and affinity for.

The first Axis broadcasts in Arabic were pioneered by Fascist Italy in it's radio broadcasts on Radio Bari, in 1934. At he same time Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Heinrich Himmler and officials in the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) demonstrated a strong determination to make appeals to Arabs and Muslims. Nazi Germany stressed that it was an uncompromising foe of Zionism, which which was to bring much Arab support.
In June 1939 Saudi King Ibn Saud Khalid al-Hud-al Qarqani met with Hitler who assured him of his long standing sympathy for the Arabs and his willingness to offer them 'active assistance',and especially his support for the Arab cause in Palestine and determination to prevent the realization of a Jewish Nation home there.

Fascist Italy broadcast Arabic programmes from 1934 to 1943, Nazi shortwave broadcasts in Arabic commenced in October 1939, and continued until March 1945 on the Nazi German Arab language radio station, the Voice of Free Arabism.
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Format: Hardcover
An outstanding follow up to the author's previous book on anti-Jewish propaganda in the 3rd Reich, Herf makes excellent use of original source material and provides a comprehensive analysis of common patterns of rhetoric used by the Nazis and their Arab collaborators. The most intriguing of these are the transcripts of Arabic language broadcasts directed at the Arab world from Radio Zeesin (Germany) and Radio Bari (Italy), collected by a small team of stenographers and translators started by American attache Alexander Kirk in Cairo between 1939 and March of 1944. According to Herf the Nazis did produce transcripts of German radio broadcasts, but did not bother to do the same with broadcasts in Arabic; the Kirk material which features the notorious Mufti Hajj Amin al Husseini of Jerusalem and Rashid al Kilani who headed the 1941 pro-German Iraqi coup was an amazing and revealing find.

Germany's strategic target of interest was specifically Suez which presented a lifeline for the British for oil, aviation fuel (see pp209), troops and material support from India. Wrt the Arabs Nazi Germany had both assets and liabilities. On one hand they emphasized British colonialism and compared it to a lack of German colonialism in the ME, promising liberation and independence. Germany's colonial history in Africa and the Pacific appeared not to be a concern On the other hand, Germany's ally Italy had black marks in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Libya, as did Vichy France in Syria and North Africa.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeffrey Herf, Professor of 20th century German History, provides a detailed look into Nazi ambitions and machinations in the Arab world. The effect of Nazi propaganda on the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa is investigated; from the early 1930s, to World War II, to the postwar years and beyond. Additionally, Herf investigates the long-term impact Nazi propaganda would have on contemporary Middle Eastern popular thought as pertaining to Europe and the Jewish race.

Professor Herf believes that current anti-Jewish / anti-Israeli sentiment and distrust of Western influence in the Middle East has roots in both the propaganda campaign waged by Nazi Germany and the allied counter-propaganda designed to combat it. Herf shows that the aggressive form of propaganda used by the Nazis to push their message of absolute hatred of the Jews lives on in the sort of anti-Jew rhetoric espoused by the Imams, Taliban, and many political leaders of the region.

Just as importantly, Herf addresses the often-overlooked effort put forth by the Third Reich in attempting to turn the hearts and minds of the Arab and Muslim peoples against the enemies of the Axis powers. Of particular interest are the lesser-known efforts of the Nazis to downplay the pro-Aryan elements of their rhetoric and inclusion of these `inferior races' into the Nazi worldview so as to gain their support in securing the region for eventual Nazi occupation. This is certainly a tremendous departure from the traditional view of the Nazis as totalitarian and single-minded in their quest to rid the world of lesser races.

Herf lays out significant evidence supporting his thesis in the form of first-hand accounts and careful review of surviving audio recordings, transcripts, and official correspondence.
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