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US and Mexican reactions to repression in Europe 1930–1939

Katrin Möbius, Sascha Möbius

pp. 23-67

The chapter provides an overview of politically motivated repression in Europe—in Italy, the USSR, Germany and Spain and the reactions to the crimes and to refugees in the US and Mexico. Besides presenting the most recent research, it asks for the mental frameworks which were used to justify the crimes in the countries were they happened and how these justifications changed—or not—when they were perceived in other countries. Given the vast amount of research, which would be necessary to give profound answers to the latter question, we want to point out that we would like to propose a framework based on historical research and encourage further discussion via this article. The chapter provides a historical background for the following chapters dealing with refugees from Germany, Austria and Spain to Mexico and the US by choosing the USSR, Italy, Germany and Spain, because these were the countries where those politically motivated crimes happened, which were either most important for the subject of this anthology or crucial to the understanding of the 1930s in Europe. The chapter, firstly, gives an overview of the roots and the extent of politically motivated crimes and above all, the numbers of fatalities according to the most recent research and the justifications brought forth by the perpetrators. Although most statistics on the dead caused by politically motivated violence in the 1930s are still incomplete, the fatalities are better documented than e.g. people wounded or imprisoned and in all cases, the international public only tended to react when people were killed or threatened to be killed in large numbers. Secondly, we will deal with the reactions of the governments and the public in the US and Mexico. We ask for the transnational mutation of the perception of political violence. What were the justifications towards the international public? How were the crimes perceived in other countries? In order to structure this analysis, a mental map of the 1930s is developed concerning the perception and justification/condemnation of politically motivated violence following the categories of race, nation, gender, anti-communism, anti-fascism and social class.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-99265-5_2

Full citation:

Möbius, K. , Möbius, S. (2019)., Crossroads: US and Mexican reactions to repression in Europe 1930–1939, in L. Pries & P. Yankelevich (eds.), European and Latin American social scientists as refugees, Émigrés and return‐migrants, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 23-67.

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