Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World
With a New Preface
December 7, 2010
368 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Click here to watch Jeffrey Herf and Richard Breitman discuss Nazi Germany's extensive propaganda campaign in the Middle East and North Africa during World War II.
Jeffrey Herf, a leading scholar in the field, offers the most extensive examination to date of Nazi propaganda activities targeting Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East during World War II and the Holocaust. He draws extensively on previously unused and little-known archival resources, including the shocking transcriptions of the “Axis Broadcasts in Arabic” radio programs, which convey a strongly anti-Semitic message.
Herf explores the intellectual, political, and cultural context in which German and European radical anti-Semitism was found to resonate with similar views rooted in a selective appropriation of the traditions of Islam. Pro-Nazi Arab exiles in wartime Berlin, including Haj el-Husseini and Rashid el-Kilani, collaborated with the Nazis in constructing their Middle East propaganda campaign. By integrating the political and military history of the war in the Middle East with the intellectual and cultural dimensions of the propagandistic diffusion of Nazi ideology, Herf offers the most thorough examination to date of this important chapter in the history of World War II. Importantly, he also shows how the anti-Semitism promoted by the Nazi propaganda effort contributed to the anti-Semitism exhibited by adherents of radical forms of Islam in the Middle East today.
“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
"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
“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
“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
“[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. . . . [Its relevance] to the present confrontation with Islamofascism should be obvious. If the West will not name the enemy--if it does not challenge the ideological roots of Islamism--it cannot win the struggle."--Sol Stern, The New Criterion
'Herf's book is thus important not just for the history of Nazism, but also for the current debates about Islamofascism.' — Hans Kundnani, Times Literary Supplement