Chapter 5:

"What if Nobody Wants Us"

Quotes from the film:


          “There's a chance that America doesn't want us. Who's to say that we'll be allowed in?"

        ~ Malvina, 11 years old in 1940

“There was a very very strong isolationist tendency in the United States at the time and people didn't want to get involved in the European affairs."

~ Harry, 18 years old in 1940

Conversation Starters:

  • Isolationism is a national foreign policy of detachment from other nations. Why do you think there was a strong isolationist feeling in the United States before and during World War II?

Dig a little deeper....

  • Portugal was officially neutral at this time during the war. What does neutrality mean? Was the Salazar administration neutral? How did Portuguese officials use circular 14 to help or not help refugees? 

  • Why do you think there were hate speeches in the US at the time?

  • How could a person or a group have countered these hate speeches?

  • What are some differences between the anti-Semitic laws in Europe and anti-Semitic free speech in the US?

  • Who was Father Coughlin and how influential was he on Americans' perceptions of Jews?

  • How did the German American Bund headed by Fritz Julius Kuhn and Father Coughlin fit into a pattern of hate speech in the US?

  • What are some examples today of hate speeches and how do you think that affects the communities they're speaking about? 

Dig even deeper....

  • Look at this Dr. Seuss Political Cartoon that you saw in the film. What are three things that stand out to you? 

  • Look at this Statue of Liberty illustration. What are three things that stand out to you?

  • Look at this America First photo. What are three things that stand out to you? 

What Can I do?