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15 - Pound and antisemitism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2006

Ira B. Nadel
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

When people speak of Pound's antisemitism, they are thinking primarily of the antisemitic tirades included in the speeches that he broadcast over Rome Radio between 1941 and 1943. Although, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's entry into World War II, Pound stopped his broadcasts for two months, he resumed them on January 29, 1942. Since the United States was now at war with Italy, Pound's radio attacks on Franklin Delano Roosevelt and praise of Benito Mussolini seemed, to the United States government, to be the acts of a traitor and, on July 26, 1943, Pound was indicted for treason in Washington. On May 3, 1945, he was taken into custody by the American forces in Rapallo and was interned, from May 24 to November 16, at the US Army “Disciplinary Training Center ” north of Pisa, a prison and rehabilitation camp for US military offenders. From there he was flown to Washington where the court found him “of unsound mind” and so unable to stand trial for treason. On December 21 he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths Hospital, a federal psychiatric institution, where he would remain for twelve and a half years until, on April 18, 1958, the indictment against him was dismissed. Although the legal issue raised by the Rome Radio broadcasts was the charge of treason, in the over fifty years since Pound's indictment the antisemitism of the broadcasts has been the primary focus of the widespread outrage and outcry against him.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1999

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