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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


Hard Times in Illinois, 1930–1940

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 46
TELEGRAM FROM THE U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE CONCERNING POTENTIAL HARM TO GERMAN PERSONS AND INTERESTS
November 12, 1938



Explanation

The British and French signed the Munich Pact at the end of September 1938. It allowed Germany to seize the Sudetenland, the German-speaking portion of Czechoslovakia. Hitler accomplished this on October 3. Kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass, took place over November 9-10. German authorities encouraged local citizens to vandalize Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Nearly one hundred Jews were killed over the course of those two evenings. The world was shocked by this government sanctioned brutality. Shortly thereafter Nazi authorities began mass deportations of Jews to concentration camps.

The U.S ambassador to Germany was recalled for consultation on November 14. Four days later the German ambassador to the U.S. was brought home. Germany invaded all of Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939 and then Poland on September 1. England and France declared war on Germany on September 3 in reaction to the invasion of Poland. The governor's secretary referred this communication to Chicago authorities.

Points to Consider

What was the U.S. secretary of state asking the Illinois governor to do?

What were the "extraordinary conditions existing in Germany"?

Why did Cordell Hull want his telegram "treated as confidential"?

What was Governor Horner's ethnic background?


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