Many civil rights leaders alleged that, even after the revelation of genocide in World War II, eugenic influences remained strong in the United States because of Osborn and others of the Population Society (including John D. Rockefeller, Lewis Strauss, Karl Compton, and Detlev Bronk). He also encouraged and endorsed programs in Nazi Germany that sterilized Jews, Poles, and others deemed "unsuitable" to breed. Although Hitler's genocidal tactics and acts caused revulsion in the United States, he continued to promote eugenic ideals.
In 1940, Osborn was selected by Franklin Roosevelt to chair the Civilian Advisory Committee on Selective Service. Five months later, he took over as Chair of the Army Committee on Welfare and Recreation, responsible for information and education services for military personnel. In September 1941, he was commissioned as Brigadier General and appointed Chief of the Morale Branch of the War Department (later called the Information and Education Division of Special Services). By the war's end, he had earned promotion to Major General and had been awarded a bronze star in Paris, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Selective Service Medal, and he was made Honorary Commander in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Rather curious as to why a man who seemed sympathetic to the Nazi cause was promoted in America at a time when America was both physically and ideologically battling Nazi Germany. While Osborn liked to describe himself as a "positive" eugenicist, his writings and propensity for advocating duplicity seemed to suggest far different story.