CLAIM: Joe Biden claimed at the debate: “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded the rest of Europe.”
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE. Hitler’s rise led to a downturn in relations, though the U.S. stayed out of the war until 1941.
Biden attempted to criticize President Donald Trump for his diplomatic relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, calling him a “thug.”
Trump countered that he inherited a volatile situation from the Obama-Biden administration, and that he averted war by developing a good relationship with Kim.
Biden replied: “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he invaded the rest of Europe.”
Not true. As the website of the U.S. embassy in Germany notes:
The rise of Hitler’s National Socialist Party and the resulting persecution of Jews and political dissidents brought about another break in German-American relations. However, an isolationist Congress and American public did not allow the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to do much to resist Hitler’s rise to power. The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934 was severed. After the “Reichskristallnacht” in 1938, the American ambassador was recalled but diplomatic relations were not severed.
A new wave of emigration from Germany to the United States occurred. These refugees from Nazi Germany included Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Kurt Weill and Marlene Dietrich, and other artists, scientists, musicians, and scholars. With the exception of the German-American Bund, with Fritz Kuhn as its “Führer,” there was little Nazi support in the United States. Most German-Americans were loyal to the United States and indifferent to the appeal of international Nazism.
There was no point at which the U.S. had a “good relationship” with Hitler, though there were individual Americans — like U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Joe Kennedy — who admired Hitler and urged a policy of appeasement.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.