Trials: Firestorms and Corruption, Terrorism and World War

Fred Rosenbaum

in Cosmopolitans

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780520259133
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945029 | DOI:
Trials: Firestorms and Corruption, Terrorism and World War

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For all the optimism in San Francisco during the Progressive era, the thirteen years beginning with the earthquake and the resulting firestorms of 1906 were rancorous. Municipal government was discredited throughout much of this period, labor and capital were in combat, and war abroad deepened the divisions at home. In this combustible atmosphere no one could predict who would be the targets of an angry and frustrated populace, and the Jewish community's high standing was tested as never before. Notwithstanding a few nasty internal spats, Bay Area Jews demonstrated considerable unity amidst the crisis. This chapter looks at three man-made “aftershocks” that darkened the horizon for Jews in San Francisco: a rampant scandal while the city still lay in ruins and, a decade later, terror downtown, and World War I. The chapter examines the most flagrant example of political corruption in California history involving Abraham Ruef and Mayor Eugene Schmitz, the involvement of immigrant Jew Israel Weinberg in a terrorist bombing that left ten dead, and the Jews' link to Bolshevism during the Red Scare.

Keywords: Jews; San Francisco; earthquake; firestorms; corruption; terrorist bombing; Red Scare; Bolshevism; Israel Weinberg; World War I

Chapter.  12597 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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