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Klein, Julius

KLEIN, JULIUS

KLEIN, JULIUS (1901–1984), U.S. soldier and leader of the Jewish War Veterans. Born in Chicago, Klein served in World War i as a war correspondent and a spy in Germany. He then returned to journalism and public relations. He worked as a criminal reporter for the State Herald in Chicago and initiated the first German-language radio broadcasts in the United States. In 1933 he joined the Illinois National Guard, becoming a lieutenant colonel in 1941. That year, he formulated a military plan called Combat Public Relations, which encompassed such techniques as propaganda and psychological warfare. During World War ii he served in the Philippines and the South Pacific, where he heroically saved many lives during an explosion in New Caledonia. Klein was in charge of public relations for Generals Douglas MacArthur and Robert Richardson. In that capacity, he originated the South Pacific edition of the Stars and Stripes military newspaper. In 1946 he was appointed special assistant to the secretary of war. Klein was given command of the 109th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade. After the war, he lent his expertise to the attempt to improve relations between Germany and the United States, and Germany and Israel. In 1954 he ran for the US Senate.

Klein retired in 1961 with the rank of major general. He was one of the leaders of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S. and its national commander from 1947 to 1948. Under his leadership, the war veterans played an important part in the fight against antisemitism and in other Jewish activities. For example, on April 4, 1948, he staged an impressive show of support for the establishment of the State of Israel by organizing a Jewish War Veterans parade down New York's Fifth Avenue.

To honor Klein's military achievements, a permanent exhibition entitled "Major General Julius Klein: His Life and Work" has been installed at the National Museum of Jewish Military History in Washington, d.c.

[Mordechai Kaplan /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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