American Nazis in the 1930s—The German American Bund

In the years before the outbreak of World War II, people of German ancestry living abroad were encouraged to form citizens groups to both extol “German virtues,” around the world, and to lobby for causes helpful to Nazi Party goals. In the United States, the Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, or German American Bund, was formed in 1936 as “an organization of patriotic Americans of German stock,” operating about 20 youth and training camps, and eventually growing to a membership in the tens of thousands among 70 regional divisions across the country.  On February 20, 1939, the Bund held an “Americanization” rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden, denouncing Jewish conspiracies, President Roosevelt, and others. The rally, attended by 20,000 supporters and members, was protested by huge crowds of anti-Nazis, who were held back by 1,500 NYC police officers. As World War II began in 1939, the German American Bund fell apart, many of its assets were seized, and its leader arrested for embezzlement, and later deported to Germany.

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