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The Last GaspThe Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber$
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Scott Christianson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520255623

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520255623.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Pillar of Respectability

Pillar of Respectability

(p.125) Chapter 6 Pillar of Respectability
The Last Gasp

Scott Christianson

University of California Press

An indication of how powerful and respectable the German-dominated cyanide cartel had become in the 1930s can be found by examining the career of John J. McCloy, a pillar of the East Coast establishment who is considered by many to be one of the most influential yet overlooked American figures of the twentieth century. A top U.S. assistant secretary of war during World War II, McCloy was a key player behind the internment of the Japanese, the dropping of the atomic bomb, and the strategic victories over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. McCloy spent much of his career in service to some of the wealthiest families in the United States, especially the Rockefellers. Meanwhile, McCloy's old college friend, fishing partner, and brother-in-law, Lewis W. Douglas, also occupied several noteworthy positions during the 1930s. But in the mid-1930s, neither McCloy nor Douglas was as famous as their wives' uncle, Dr. Hans Zinsser, a celebrated bacteriologist whose research on typhus focused on its outbreak among immigrants, especially Mexicans.

Keywords:   John J. McCloy, cyanide, Germany, United States, Lewis W. Douglas, Hans Zinsser, typhuss, immigrants, Mexicans

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