8 – He Was Accused of Being a Nazi Sympathizer
Joseph Kennedy Junior is often classified as the son who was most like his father, and they shared the same âadmiration’ for Hitler. Young Joseph saw Hitler speak in 1934 and was impressed by the dictator’s calls for Germany to unite against a common enemy. Joseph Junior wrote that while it was a shame, the Nazis were persecuting the Jews, but added: “The dislike of the Jews, however, was well founded.”
As I’ve previously mentioned, Joseph Senior also disliked the Jews and had a seemingly favorable opinion of Hitler and the Nazis. As well as hoping that America would make a peace pact with Germany and trying to keep Chamberlain in office, Joseph Senior sought approval for a personal meeting with Hitler on two occasions. During his reign as Ambassador to the United States, a lot of British people believed his sentiments went beyond appeasement and actually represented a form of Nazi sympathizing.
Perhaps Joseph was merely guilty of underestimating the threat of the Nazis. The fact they tormented the Jews, a group he disliked immensely, possibly blinded him to what was happening. He was a great admirer of the German work ethic and believed they were the âlogical’ leaders of Europe. Kennedy also thought the Jews were exaggerating their plight.
One of his great fears was American involvement in the war so âJittery Joe’ tried everything he could to prevent it from happening. He failed in his goal, and worse was to come when his son, Joseph Junior, enlisted in the Navy. John also served in the Navy during World War II. While Joseph Junior had a lucky escape in 1943, he was killed in action the following year. As well as losing his eldest son, Joseph Senior had lost his first hope of a Kennedy president. He turned his attention to John and Bobby. When John returned from the war, his father informed him that his political career was about to begin. Joseph pulled as many strings as possible and didn’t allow his own affiliations to stop John from reaching the White House.