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Why international actors’ responses to the aftermath of the Holocaust and did it help promote/not promote a just world?

Updated on January 17, 2016

The current international responses to the Syrian refugee crisis are very similar to the international responses during the aftermath of the Holocaust. As Syrian refugees are currently stranded on refugee and displaced camps because of the refusal of international actors such as the United Kingdom to grant immigration status, so where the survivors of the Holocaust because the United States and her allies were very unwilling to immediately grant a large amount of resettlement to victims of the Holocaust.

Moreover, some of the key international actors did little to investigate and prosecute Nazis suspected of committing cruelty. These international actors considered what were best for their countries and territories rather than what were best for the victims of the Holocaust. Their decisions did not promote a just world. These international actors were more realist than liberal.

Though the liberation of the European Jews and other Holocaust survivors from the Nazis were successful, there were still more troubles ahead. Many of these survivors had no homes to return to because their communities had been totally destroyed. Others refused to return to earlier homes because they were very afraid that they would be tortured and killed since Jews were still hated in some parts of Europe. These survivors’ fears were real as many Jews were killed and persecuted in Poland in 1946. Fearing for their lives, many of the survivors requested to have immigrated to the United States and other parts of Europe.


However, the United States and most of her allies were very reluctant and only allowed far fewer immigrants to resettle. The government of the United States was concern about the negative effect a large immigration population could have on its economy and its security. They had exhausted most of its resources on the war and its citizens where only a few years removed from the Great Depression.

Adding refugees who would need government assistance would put a strain on the economy and make the government very unpopular. The United Kingdom and many other European countries also refused these survivors. This led to these survivors being relocated to displaced person centers and in some cases they remained on the camps in which they had been tortured.

Earl Harrison, President Truman’s delegate, visited one of these camps and he wrote, "We appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them, except that we don't exterminate them". Clearly, the United States and her allies failed to create a just world but rather chosen a more realist approach.


Another failed attempt to promote a just world by a key international actor was evident in Sweden’s acceptance of Nazis Holocaust Perpetrators. Sweden accepted highly educated and qualified Nazis who serve to benefit Sweden in machinery and weapons technology. In return, Sweden offered these perpetrators a new life free of prosecution.

Attempts by International organization to influence the Swedish authorities to investigate these war criminals have failed as Swedish authorities referred to the statute of limitation which prevented the prosecution of any crimes more than 25 years after they were committed. It was clear that Sweden chose to put its countries interest before doing what was just for the Holocaust victims.

The United Kingdom and the United States refusal to pass the law against Holocaust denial is another evidence of their failure to promote a just world. These key international actors felt that a passing of this law would conflict with the freedom of speech act and in due course cause the government to become very unpopular.

These international actors also feared that this law could lead to anti-Antisemitism against Jews. Because of the best interest of their states, these international actors took a realist approach.


It cannot be denied that some of the efforts by the International actors can be described as Liberal. The creation of the Red Cross, the United Nations, Catholic Relief Service and many other organizations to help deal with the aftermath of the Holocaust are clear examples.

However, the Key international actors only allow decisions (such as delivery of food and medicine to refugee camps) to be made by those organizations when the decisions had little to no effect on their states. The limitations of European Jews to resettle in parts of Europe and the United States, as well as the failure of some countries to prosecute Nazis for crimes committed clearly indicates that key International actors had self-interest at heart and made decisions mainly base on how it benefited them.

Those actions were from a realist perspective and it did not promote a just world because the Holocaust individuals were not often considered.


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