Primary Source Analysis

 1.       Briefly describe the source or sources.

 “U.S. Knew About Holocaust Sooner” is an article found in CBS News. The article revealed that the United States had prior knowledge of Nazi Germany’s plan to “exterminate” the Jews. The author explains that in November 1941, a Chilean diplomat serving in Prague filed a dispatch which stated that “it has been decided to eradicate all the Jews and send some to Poland and others to the town of Terezin whilst looking for a more remote place”. A copy of this dispatch was given to the United States Coordinator of Information but no action was ever taken to stop Nazi Germany’s actions.

 2.      When was the source written?

 The article was published on February 11, 2009.

 3.      Who composed the source?

 The article was written by Pauline Jelinek.

 4.      Provide some information about the author.

Pauline Jelinek is a newspaper reporter associated with the Associated Press. Many of her stories relate to wars or military intelligence and actions.

 5.      Under what conditions was the source composed?

The article was written to bring to light unknown information about United States knowledge of Nazi activities prior to the start of World War II. It is generally believed that the U.S. knew nothing of the persecution of the Jews to the extent that they were to be “exterminated”. This article is proof of the inaccuracy of key beliefs regarding WWII.

 6.      How will you use the source for your paper?

 In my paper, I am thinking of looking at the perceptions of U.S. and German knowledge of the full range of Hitler’s actions. This article would give me a good insight into some of the ways the United States knew of Nazi actions prior to the discovery of Nazi concentration camps.

 7.      What are some of the problems that you foresee in using this source for your paper? 

While my idea for my paper involves looking at perceptions of the knowledge of the true intent of Hitler and the Nazis, one problem I could forsee would be the overall story. While it is relevant to the knowledge that the United States had at that time, it may be overshadowed by other sources that I may find in the future and the importance of this one particular event may become unimportant to the paper as a whole.


Jelinek, Pauline. “U.S. Knew About Holocaust Sooner.” CBS News, February 11, 2009. (accessed September 8, 2012).

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