War Refugees And Public Opinion: Some Historical Perspective

In the context of the ongoing discussions about Syrian refugees, a look at some past polling about refugees from a different time and a different conflict are instructive. These tweets come from the Twitter Account Historical Opinion, which curates poll results on issues of interest from the past:

Of course, we know what happened to the vast majority of the people seeking to escape Europe on the eve or war.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, National Security, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. bookdragon says:


    Also our reaction to Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War. In fact, in those cases, in addition to objections based on outright racism and xenophobia, there was the suggestion of communist infiltrators hiding among the refugees.

  2. Bill Lefrak says:

    This entire problem for obvious reasons would be solved right quick if it were announced that all of the refugees would be resettled in Beverly Hills, SoHo, Tribeca, New Canaan, Greenwich, Cambridge and Georgetown.

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    There’s a great book on this subject called While Six Million Died. The US was in one of its period waves of anti-immigrant hysteria (much as we are now). Even the immigrations slots that were available to Jews went unfilled. The State Department had them in a Catch-22. They couldn’t come here if they didn’t have a job (because they would become a drain on welfare). They couldn’t come over here if they did have a job (because they were taking one away from an American). They couldn’t come over here if they had a wealthy relative who said they would take care of them (because that relative was under no legal obligation). The only way they could come over here was to have a lot of their own wealth. But, of course, the Nazis would only let Jews leave the country with a couple of hundred marks at most, so they couldn’t even do that.

  4. SKI says:

    “Never Again” is not just about Germans and Jews. We cannot allow bigotry, xenophobia and intolerance reign again in this country.