United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Through an examination of the Wagner-Rogers Bill of 1939, students consider how Americans debated the country’s role as a haven for refugees during the 1930s and 1940s. They identify economic, social, and geopolitical factors that influenced Americans’ attitudes about the United States’ role in the world during the critical years 1938–1941. Using primary-source documents, students identify and evaluate arguments that different Americans made for and against the acceptance of child refugees in 1939. The lesson concludes with reflection on questions that this history raises about America’s role in the world today.