THE SPLENDID BLOND BEAST by Christopher Simpson


Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century
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 A disturbing report on how US bankers, lawyers, and diplomats responded to the Armenian massacres of WW I and the Holocaust. Simpson (Blowback, 1988) has double expertise for this comparative study, since he's a member of the national advisory board of the Armenian Genocide Archive and also served as research director for Marcel Ophuls's documentary of Klaus Barbie, Hotel Terminus. During WW I, Simpson tells us, America and its European allies saw the recently drafted Hague and Geneva Conventions fail when the Turkish government killed one million Armenians--and when, at the Versailles peace conference, the victors allowed Turkey to escape punishment in hope of obtaining Middle Eastern oil. Hitler cited the Armenian genocide as the prototype of his own larger, more systematically organized crimes--although Simpson, by using newly released documents, suggests that the Nazis could not have conducted their hideous slaughter without Western bungling: in one case, through American concerns such as Ford Motor Co. and John Foster Dulles's Sullivan and Cromwell law firm, whose European trading partners looted Jewish businesses in the Nazi ``Aryanization'' program; and, in another case, through State Department bureaucrats who buried intelligence reports on the Final Solution. Further, Simpson shows how prominent Nazis, such as oil chief Karl Blessing and SS general Karl Wolff, escaped judgment at Nuremberg with the assistance of these State Department functionaries and of John Foster Dulles's brother Allen (then an OSS agent who helped clear German businessmen). The motive: to aid Nazi industrialists who had spied for the US during the war, or who might help rebuild Germany as an anti-Communist bulwark in Europe. Except for its simplistic conclusion (that the lax US war- crimes posture contributed to the souring of American-Soviet relations): revelatory and shocking investigative scholarship of a high order.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8021-1362-1
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1992