Coming Soon to Speak at Columbia!
On August 1,1939, Columbia University's School for Public and International Affairs (SIPA) is sponsoring an appearance by Dr. Joeseph Goebbels, Germany's Reichminister for Propaganda and National Elightenment, to participate in a question and answer session with university faculty and students. SIPA is initiating a year-long series of lectures and events entitled "Germany: Six Years of National Socialism", which will include academic experts as well as officials and critics of the Third Reich.
The opportunity for faculty and students to engage Dr. Goebbels came about after German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop initated contact with Columbia through SIPA faculty members who are experts on German history and politics.
Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler emphasized that such events must allow ample time for students and faculty to pose questions that challenge the views expressed by the speakers. President Butler will introduce the event by challenging Dr. Goebbels on a number of his controversial statements and his government's policies, including his statements regarding undue Jewish influence in the Anglo-American democracies, and his call for the segregation and containment of the Jewish people in Europe. The US government has accused the German government of supporting violence and discrimination against Jews living in Germany, including last year's alleged wide-scale violence against German Jews (the so-called "Kristallnacht") and reports of imprisonment of Jews, intellectuals and political opponents.
President Butler further stated, "I would like to add a few comments on the principles that underlie this event. Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas—to understand the world as it is and as it might be. To fulfill this mission we must respect and defend the rights of our schools, our deans and our faculty to create programming for academic purposes. Necessarily, on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs many, most or even all of us will find offensive and even odious. We trust our community, including our students, to be fully capable of dealing with these occasions, through the powers of dialogue and reason."
After his appearance at Columbia, Dr. Goebbels will conclude his visit to the United States with a speech to the German-American Bund in Madison Square Garden on the night of August 2, 1939.