Before World War Two, Nazism seduced thousands of Americans. America in the 1930ís was a country gripped by the Great Depression. With unemployment and inflation soaring, political organizations provided new and at times radical solutions.
A country rooted in the belief of religious and political freedom, the United States was the perfect arena for a wide spectrum of ideologies. The American Communist Party was experiencing a rebirth during the 1930ís as were labour unions. Berlin also saw the U.S as an opportunity to exploit German/Americans into believing in the same doctrine that had "saved" Germany.
One thing was certain, Hitler had legions of potential sympathizers to pull from. In the early 1930's German Americans constituted nearly one-forth of the U.S population. Most were proud citizens that embraced America and what it stood for. Some, like Babe Ruth and Lou Gerhrig, had even become American icons.
But two small Nazi organizations, the NSDAP and the Teutonia, were established in America in the 1920ís when Hitlerís Nazi Party was on the rise in Germany.
By the early 1930ís both were fledgling groups with membership only in the hundreds. That was until NSDAP member Heinz Spanknobel, successfully consolidated the two organizations into one stronger Nazi Party. He named it The Friends of the New Germany. Hitler quietly approved.
However, despite the fall of Nazi Germany and the horrors that were revealed to the world after the war, the seed that was sown prior to World War Two has remained.
Nazism found a home in America during a time of uncertainty, thrived under the freedom of the First Amendment, and continues today as both a threat to and testament of American democracy.
The internet has allowed the Nazi movement to reach out to people in the privacy of their own homes. For adults and children with access to the internet the Nazi message is just a click away.
And as the 21st Century begins the neo-Nazi movement will continue to test the imperfect boundaries of American freedom.
Tags: World war 2, pre war, nazism, NSDAP, national socialists, anti-semitism, neo-nazi, nazi america, secret history, hitler, allies, axis, europe, isolationism, fear, internment, camps, surveillance
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