The Strange Case of Edward Sittler

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Gary B. Ostrower Professor Emeritus, Alfred University, USA

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Edward V. Sittler, an American citizen, renounced his citizenship at the beginning of World War II and from Berlin broadcast Nazi propaganda to American and British troops. The article explores why he did this and the circumstances of his return to the United States in 1946. Sittler eventually taught at a number of colleges in the United States. His Nazi past may have cost him some of these jobs. He then went to court, unsuccessfully, to regain his American citizenship. In exploring Sittler's legal efforts, the article addresses issues related to the law of treason and of citizenship. It concludes with observations about the role of the American Association of University Professors in assessing Sittler's appeals following his resignation from C. W. Post College, and it offers observations about the relevance of Sittler's story to events in the twenty-first century.

Contributor Notes

Gary B. Ostrower retired in 2022 after fifty-two years teaching at Alfred University, having previously taught at Vassar College. He specialized in the history of American foreign relations and US involvement in war during the twentieth century. He studied under David Leach at Alfred University and Akira Iriye at the University of Rochester, from which he received his doctorate. He was a Fulbright Lecturer at Aarhus University, Denmark, and served as mayor of the village of Alfred. Email:

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