IscoeDaniel Iscoe (1912-1414)Professor CraigTHE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA ESSAY In The Plot Against America(2004), novelist Phillip Roth details an alternative American history in which Charles Lindbergh runs in 1940 as the Republican nominee for president and then defeats the two-term, Democratic incumbent, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lindbergh utilizes the slogan, “Vote for Lindbergh or Vote for War,” to deter people from voting for Roosevelt who might lead the American people into World War II (Roth 1). To instill further fear in the electorate, Lindbergh goes so far as to claim that the “‘most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war [are] the Jewish people and the Jewish race” (Roth 12). The candidate raises the specter of a Jewish war to terrify voters into voting for him. His successful campaign of fear gives Lindbergh a mandate to carry out his discriminatory policies against Jews. While Roth’s book is fictional, Lindbergh’s fear-mongering to avoidwar has uncanny parallels with American leaders’ use of fear to generate support forwar. For example, U.S. leaders have manipulated fear to gain support for two prolonged military conflicts, the Vietnam and Iraq Wars.Lindbergh used the American Jewish population as a scapegoat to arouse people’s fear of entering World War II. Lindbergh’s followers believed his claims that the Jews were the “‘greatest danger to this country’” because of “‘their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government” (Roth 13). Such a powerful group, he implied, would necessarily want to protect their power in an armed conflict and would propagandize on behalf of their position in American society. Therefore, voters who supported 1
IscoeLindbergh believed the Jews posed the greatest threat in the pro-war movement. This fear-mongering enabled Lindbergh’s programs to target Jews, upending countless Jewish American lives in order to make Jews more “American” and isolate their supposed nefarious influence.