In August 1914 the majority of German Jews expressed their patriotic approval of the war and their loyalty to the German state. They identified with Germany, and a large number signed up voluntarily for military service at the front. The Jewish population in Germany supported the war not least because it was directed against Russia, the harshest adversary of the Jews. This paper concentrates on the first acts of war conducted by the German military forces during the German occupation of Belgium; it examines whether and in what way German-Jewish Intellectuals perceived Germany’s violation of Belgian neutrality and the new feature of war as a war against a civilian population. The first part examines autobiographical sources to reconstruct the experiences and the perception of German Jewish soldiers, German military rabbis, and other German Jewish witnesses to the war. The second part then analyzes the coverage of German Jewish newspapers regarding the warfare against Belgium; and, finally, the third and last part scrutinizes the commentaries of German Jewish intellectuals and socialist Jews [Jewish socialists?] regarding the German war against Belgium.
Whereas the Italian state constituted in 1861 was long considered to be a nation without antisemitism, recent studies have shown that the Catholic Church had in fact vigorously advocated antisemitic positions in liberal Italy and actively spread new accusations against Jews. In no other Italian city however did a more vehemently antisemitic political Catholicism develop than in Mantua. Following a brief recapitulation on how the Catholic Church in Italy had responded to the political, cultural and socio-economic challenges, the second section of this essay presents the news coverage of the Catholic paper “Il Cittadino di Mantova.” Founded in 1896, the first year’s issues will examine how the Catholic journalists in the city picked up and propagated the language of antisemitism. The third section moves the attention from language to politics analysing the antisemitic election campaign of the political catholicism in Mantua for the local elections of 1903. Attention is focused on identifying to what extent antisemitism had ‘arrived’ as a political movement in Italy.