How They Took Over US Foreign Policy



so I'd like to start my talk with a deceptively simple question what is Jewish history now Jewish history is what the study of an ethnicity is it the study of a religion is it the study of a nation or is it all of these all of these things and what I'd like to argue today is that yes it's all of these things but it's also something different and what I'd like to say is that we need to expand the boundaries of what Jewish history is and how we understand Jewish history and I'd like to do so by examining this guy Hans Speier now Hans Breyer is a very interesting guy he's one of the most important members of the first generation of defense intellectuals the the the academics who decided that they had something to say about American foreign policy and left the university to have an effect on it and what I'd like to argue today is that Speier is although a non Jew technically religiously ethnically he was actually a part of Jewish history and what I'd like to do is show that he was a non Jew influenced specifically by Jewish culture that emerged from a specifically Jewish experience and that he brought this Jewish culture to bear on the cold war United States now to do so we have to go back as we always do to 19th century Germany and the idea of building now I don't know if any if there are any German isn't here but building refers to this traditional German process of Education that is very internally focused it's a romantic notion the idea is actually become educated for yourself and yes this education would eventually help you interact in the world but ultimately it's a self-directed process by through building you become a full person you become one with yourself and this is the idea of German education in 19th century now over the course of the 19th century many of you might know that the Jews in Germany or in the German states became emancipated over time it and at different different times at different places but by the late 19th century all the Jews were essentially emancipated and so what Jewish intellectuals did was that they decided to become in some sense more German than the Germans and that they fully embraced this idea of building they were no long they were no longer gonna be in the ghetto they were gonna leave the ghetto join the University and become a member of their life they were going to become real Germans they were going to do it by committing themselves to this idea of building and this becomes very popular from the late 19th century until around the 1920s now what happens in the 1920s well everyone in here is not speaking German so we won World War 1 and so the German state was completely transformed after their lost in World War one it was no longer an imperial state and it became a democratic state now along with democracy came a bunch of other processes industrialization advanced industrialization advanced Mach Road ization of the educational sphere and a variety of other processes that we today associate with modernity and as this happened all of a sudden this traditional idealist sense of building no longer made sense the discursive coalition that supported building began to fall apart and this presented a significant problem to Germany's Jews because as I had earlier just to stated they had used building as a way to assert their German as' so what happens is that over the course of the 1920s a number of prominent German Jews begin to redefined what building meant and two of the most important of these were a meal later ER and Karl Mannheim and they were both professors at the University of Heidelberg in the 1920s and that they would later become spires teachers now but both later and Mannheim argued was that they needed to and what all German intellectuals needed to do was reform building not to stress this internal process but actually to stress practical political engagement with the world and Mannheim developed the political science specifically organized toward this goal and a later work later worked the Socialist Party of Germany and they basically argued that they needed to reform building to stress practical political engagement inspire was in fact their students and it was this perspective that he imbibed so he was born in 1905 and then he matriculated at the University of Heidelberg in the mid 1920s and he began taking classes with both of these guys and though he was a Lutheran and though both of his parents were members of the middle class he associated himself very forcefully with the left-wing intellectual Jewish community of the University of Heidelberg and he imbibed this perspective for spire it didn't make sense to be an intellectual if you were just doing it for yourself it only made sense to be an intellectual if you were doing something for the world so he associated this Jewish reformulation of building and he brought it with him to the United States where he became the youngest founding member of the University in exile in New York City now some people might know the University in exile at the New School for Social Research it saved a number of very prominent academics including Leo Strauss Claude levi-strauss brian bondus la Malinowski and later people like Hannah Arendt and Hans Morgenthau taught for it and Speier actually became the youngest founding member and also one of the only non-jewish members of the University in exile in 1933 but what's most important for our purposes is that over the course of the 1930s Speier developed a program of activist exile and this program becomes most clearly expressed in his 1937 essay the social conditions of the intellectual exile and in this essay he'll ambassadors fellow German exiles people like Max Horkheimer people like Theodor Adorno who are associated some might us I might know with the Frankfurt School which was at Columbia University and he'll ambassador basically continuing to argue about debates that he thought had been settled in Germany for example whether Marxism was true what you should do in a newly democratized German state and instead which Speier argued building off this idea of building that his mentor's and bill later in Karl i'm developed was that intellectuals needed to become political actors themselves and this is his political project over the course of the 1930s and it's a project that emerged directly from the jewish reformulation of building now luckily for Speier and a bunch of other exiles unluckily for the world though is that World War two happened and what does the US government need during World War two it needs people who speak German and who know German who know German language called her politics and society and so what you see is that the government winds up recruiting a bunch of Germans to join it during the war and Speier became one of the most prominent people to join the wartime government he first started his career at the foreign broadcast intelligence service being the head of the and he became a head of the division that analyzed all Nazi propaganda broadcasts to the United States and in 1944 he joined the office of War Information and this is his his past his OWI pass where he became the person who actually developed all of the propaganda directives that guided the u.s. propaganda that was directed at Germany so Speier was able to action to actualize his political project of using his social science skills his research skills in the service of the American state to defeat Nazism and again this was a project that emerged directly from the Jewish reformulation of building in the 1920s so she fire was essentially bringing this Jewish cultural idea to bear in the American context he did this first in his essays throughout the 1930s and he did it again during World War two when he became head of this Office of War Information division and he later also became head of the State Department's division for occupied areas so of course the world war end to Eddins but then a number of people become very very nervous and these people are military and government officials they were worried that all the Nerds that they had brought to Washington were eventually going to leave and go back to the University because it was difficult to work in the government so what they did it was that they decided to create new institutions one of which was a RAND Corporation that would attract intellectuals to stay in the American to stay associated with the American government and continue to use their research in the service of the State and so what you see is over the course of the late 1940s is the establishment of RAND Corporation of the RAND Corporation now Randa stands for research and development and continues to exist it's headquartered in Santa Monica and his offices alpha elsewhere but it emerged in this context and an emerge with the specific purpose of allowing these intellectuals to use their research and to bring it to bear on American foreign policy so in 1947 Rann holds this conference and it invites a number of the most prominent intellectuals at the time people like Bernard Brodie you might know was a very important nuclear strategist or Harold Lasswell Hoover formed who revolutionized a bunch of different social sciences in the interwar period and beyond or France Newman and a number of these people and of course they invited Speier and they were so impressed at the conference which spires ability to bring theoretical concerns to bear in practical politics that they invited him to become the founding head of its social science division so Speier accepts this offer and from 1948 until 1960 he's the director of ran social science division and he oversees the development of a number of the most important ideas of American foreign policy including various nuclear strategies as well as political simulations I don't know if anyone in here was a Model UN person but schmeyer actually helped develop the idea that you could through these simulation processes learn to become better and more efficient decision makers and again Speier is using his knowledge in the service of the state fulfilling this Jewish reformulation of building that began in the 1920s so beyond that spires that ran like I said from the 1940s to the 1960s but he uses these connections a Trant to associate with the Ford Foundation which at the time was one of the most powerful and influential private foundations in the United States inspire helped convince the Ford Foundation he was actually the crucial person here that they needed to invest in other organizations like R and organizations that would continue to bring intellectual research to bear on American foreign policy and by virtue of his lobbying the Ford Foundation helped fund MIT Center for international studies as well as Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the behavioral sciences and MIT Center for International Studies is particularly influential a number of very famous people for example Walt Rostow who became a national security adviser in the 1960s as well as Daniel Lerner who helped develop modernization Theory began their policy careers at the Center for International Studies in the 1950s and at Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the behavioral sciences a number of very prominent ideas for example the development of comparative politics as a field occurred in the 1950s but most most important is to see these institutions as the realization of this interwar specifically jewish project to reformulate building to stress practical political engagement so in this way Speier was able to actualize the project begun by his mentors Emil later in Karl Mannheim in the 1920s so I return to the original question what is Jewish history and when I hope to show here is that we as historians and just as engaged people in the world need to expand the boundaries of Jewish history and to consider people like Speier as part of it so historians have a phrase called non Jewish Jews people who were whose parents might have converted but we're really steeped in the Jewish community what I like to propose is that we need to have a new term Jewish non-jews people like Speier who chose to live a life in diaspora who married a Jewish woman who's became part of specifically institutions specifically Jewish institutions like the University of Exile in New York City and who is able to actualize a Jewish intellectual project begun in the 1920s so I just like to conclude with the plea that Ria's Jewish historians need to expand the boundaries of Jewish history to consider people like Speier as part of it thank you [Applause]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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