When Nazis came to town

The German American Bund had a significant presence in the 1930s, with youth camps and training camps in New Jersey, upstate New York, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and a huge march down East 86th Street in Manhattan. But their mainstream appeal was reduced by their leaders’ German accents and culture.

As Halford E. Luccock famously said, “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’” The group’s leader Fritz Kuhn was eventually arrested for embezzling Bund funds and sent to prison and stripped of his citizenship. After the war, he was deported to West Germany where he died a few years later. The Bund disbanded soon after the start of World War II, but the people who had supported it remained.

“The first thing that struck me was that an event like this could happen in the heart of New York City, a city that was diverse, modern, and progressive even in 1939. The second thing that struck me was the way these American Nazis used the symbols of America to sell an ideology that a few years later hundreds of thousands of Americans would die fighting against.”

It really illustrated that the tactics of demagogues have been the same throughout the ages. They attack the press, using sarcasm and humor. They tell their followers that they are the true Americans (or Germans or Spartans or…). And they encourage their followers to “take their country back” from whatever minority group has ruined it.

Source: ANightAtTheGarden.com