Could you ever believe that American Nazi followers organized a huge rally event in New York, in Madison Square Garden, just several months before Hitler invaded Poland?
The truth is that this rally in Madison Square Garden wasn’t the first event that Nazi supporters staged in New York. There were many more, and here are some noteworthy pictures and facts.
Silent Nazi invasion
In January 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and soon the Nazis controlled the entire country. They missed no chance to gain influence outside Germany. Here’s why Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess instructed the German-American immigrant Heinz Spanknobel to form a powerful fascist structure in the United States.
In July 1933, Spanknobel united two small groups to form the Friends of a New Germany. He relied on German citizens and German-Americans who were part of the fraternity. The new organization even picketed the largest German-language newspaper offices in New York, demanding Nazi-sympathetic articles, advocating for a boycott of Jews in German factories. They wore the swastika-covered uniforms during all these events.
The end of the ‘Friendship.’
In October 1933, Spanknobel was deported from the US. Two years later, Hess urged the Friends’ leaders to return to Germany and all German citizens to leave the organization.
Nonetheless, the organization’s followers formed a new one, that had no links to the German government. It was the German-American Bund. The organization continued its anti-Semitic and anti-communist campaigns, covering them with patriotic pro-American symbols, holding portraits of George Washington, the “first fascist.”
High tension during the rally in Madison Square Garden
The German-American Bund reached its peak on February 20, 1939, when about 20,000 of its members gathered for the real Nazi Rally in Madison Square Garden. The leader of the organization Fritz Kuhn criticized Roosevelt, calling the policy of the “New Deal,” “the Jewish course,” and Roosevelt himself – Rosenfeld.
Some 80,000 anti-Nazi protesters outside the Madison Square Garden clashed with police while breaking into the building and closing the rally.
Note that the late 1930s was a specific time in the International relationships towards Germany. While many people realized the Nazi government’s aggressive nature, the politicians acted in a different, mild way. It was ok to greet the public with the Nazi salute during the sports events. Coca-cola advertised itself in Germany, and Henry Ford was fine to accept a German order from Nazi official’s hands.
The Bund’s days ended at the end of 1941 when the United States entered the war against Nazi Germany.
Read more: 100 most important pictures in history