Manual The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

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Patton reflected a widely prevailing opinion in top US military circles and, frankly, much of US society.


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Britain's sometimes saintly Labour government struggled might and main to fob off David Ben-Gurion and keep Chaim Weizmann's softer brand of Zionism in time-consuming diplomatic play. Establishing UNRRA might have been an international deed of foresight and wonderfully high intentions with FDR, as so often, in the van , but good intentions didn't run to giving the administration either the leadership or money it needed.

Too many average bureaucrats and below-average politicians got seats and desks as the crisis of the peace began. Too many supposedly benevolent nations — asked to take their share of the 1. But the laws passed on Capitol Hill were quite different: America already had strict immigration legislation and tough, inflexible quotas.

Public opinion in was resolutely against easing such rigidities. Truman was a hero here, leading where he could have lain low, taking risks, even telling George Marshall he could claim the credit for the master plan that helped to rescue Europe because a "Truman Plan" would never make it through the Senate. Just as dismayingly, the British, left as well as right, did not leap to help the homeless or defenceless.

We don't want the "illiterate, the mentally deficient, the sick, the aged, the politically suspect and behaviourally disruptive" working here, said the New Statesman. And yet slowly, patiently, sometimes with judgment, often with luck, the problem was solved — or at least moved on to another stage and another generation.

Review: The Long Road Home, The Aftermath of the Second World War

Shephard does not seek to draw pat lessons or modern conclusions from any of this. He is content to tell us what happened next, in detail, and often vividly. But you can't read The Long Road Home without jolts of sudden relevance — whether of political frailty, electoral insularity, or from registering the basic factors, such as existing immigrant communities to join up with, that make some migrations far more successful than others. A good story or a bad one for mankind? In the end, more good than bad — but full of awful warnings.

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And, from Shephard, a riveting and often entirely fresh story, shrewdly assembled, very well told. The oldest surviving Greek tragedy is being given a rare staging in a village built for military exercises during the cold war, writes Charlotte Higgins. Second world war Refugees Judaism reviews. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

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Most people would not consider a mere five years to be an "era," that term generally being reserved for far longer spans of time. And yet, as is evident from Ben Shephard's masterful The Long Road Home, The Aftermath of the Second World War , published this month, the five years following the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of World War II in the spring of , when hundreds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors as well as non-Jewish erstwhile forced laborers from various parts of Eastern Europe languished in Displaced Persons DP camps, indeed constituted an era.

When the dust had settled and all those who wished to had returned home, there remained in Germany, Austria and Italy a residue of some 1 million people who were mot inclined to go back to their own countries - Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, and Yugoslavs. The complex, often haphazard efforts by the Americans and British military to regulate humanitarian relief efforts in the context of rapidly changing geopolitical challenges are laid forth in comprehensive detail in The Long Road Home.

How Did World War 2 Change Europe

So is the inability of the victorious Allies and different relief agencies to adequately deal with the physical and psychological human condition of the men, women and children who found themselves stranded in a political, cultural and economic no man's land. The public anti-Semitic utterances of Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Morgan, the decorated British Army officer who served as Chief of Operations of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, proved to be a major distraction until he was eventually fired from his post.

It took the Americans and the British quite some time to figure out that Jews who had emerged from death camps and whose families, homes, and communities had been completely destroyed had radically different needs and aspirations than Polish or Ukrainian Christians who had endured a far different plight. While the Jewish DPs strove to rebuild their shattered lives and played a critical role in the struggle to establish the State of Israel, the non-Jewish DPs had no clear ideological or other mission other than to exist while waiting, mostly passively, for the next chapter of their lives to unfurl.

Shephard's discussion of the critical rehabilitative function of Zionism for the Jewish DPs is especially instructive.

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David Ben-Gurion, who visited some of the DP camps in the fall of , intuitively understood the public relations value of Jewish survivors of the death camps clamoring for a homeland. After six years of this war, after all our parents have been burned in the gas ovens, you talk to us of patience?