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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Fritz Kuhn and the American Bund
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Below I post some more about Fritz Kuhn and the Bund. It had at most 10,000 members. It had little appeal to most Americans of German descent, with one-quarter of its members being German nationals. It had little funding after the mid-1930s from the German government, because it was seen as ineffective.

Now compare the Muslim organizations standing up for a known supporter of terrorism, about whom the record of malevolence and deception is overwhelming (read about that case and about the evidence), and the sums that they receive from abroad to support them (how much do the Saudis spend, and through exactly what channels?) with the Bund.

And compare what the FBI did as soon as America entered the war. It arrested Fritz Kuhn, and interned him, and others like him, for the entire duration of the war -- and then, despite his holding American citizenship, right after the war unceremoniously deported him to Germany. No appeals, no nonsense, no nothing.

That was the way to behave in wartime, and after wartime, with those whose loyalties are with alien enemies and an alien and a hostile creed, that is opposeed in every way to the legal and political institutions of this country, and to so much else that makes America America.

And it still is.

Here's the piece:

The Failure of American Nazism: The German-American Bund’s Attempt to Create an American “Fifth Column” by Jim Bredemus


Many Americans feared the presence of a German “Fifth Column” before World War II. In the case of the disorganized and poorly led American Bund, for the most part these fears ultimately proved unjustified.

After Hitler’s rise to power 1933, some German Americans formed groups to support the Nazi party in Germany and attempt to influence American politics. The most notorious of these groups was the “German-American Bund”, which tried to model itself as an American arm of Hitler’s Third Reich. Although these groups wore uniforms and touted swastikas, in reality they had few ties to Nazi Germany and their support among the larger German-American community was minimal. Nevertheless, the group strongly promoted hatred for Jews and strove to bring Nazi-style fascism to the United States.

Initial support for American fascist organizations did come from Germany. In May 1933 Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess gave authority to German immigrant Heinz Spanknobel to create an American Nazi organization. Shortly thereafter the “Friends of New Germany” was created with help from the German consul in New York City. The organization was based in New York but had a strong presence in Chicago.

The organization led by Spanknobel was openly pro-Nazi, and engaged in activities such as storming the German language New Yorker Staats-Zeitung with the demand that Nazi-sympathetic articles be published, and the infiltration of other non-political German-American organizations. Spanknobel was ousted as leader and subsequently deported in October 1933 when it was discovered he had failed to register as a foreigner agent.

Supposedly 22,000 Nazi supporters attended an American Bund rally at New York's Madison Square Garden in February 1939, under police guard. Demonstrators protested outside (above right). An American Bund parade through New York's Yorkville district on Manhattan's Upper East Side (below) drew both supporters and protesters--and the press.

The organization existed into the mid-1930s, although it always remained small, with a membership of between 5,000-10,000. Mostly German citizens living in America and German emigrants who only recently had become citizens composed its ranks. The organization busied itself with verbal attacks against Jews, Communists and the Versailles Treaty. Until 1935 the organization was openly supported by the Third Reich, although soon Nazi officials realized the organization was doing more harm than good in America and in December 1935 Hess ordered that all German citizens leave the Friends of New Germany; also, all the group’s leaders were recalled to Germany.

Not long after the Friends of New Germany fell out of favor with the Nazis and was dismantled, a new organization with similar goals arose in its place. Formed in March 1936 in Buffalo/New York and calling itself the German-American Bund or Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, the organization chose Fritz Kuhn as its Bundesleiter.

A Munich native, Kuhn had fought in the German Army during World War I. After receiving an education in chemical engineering, Kuhn briefly had worked in Mexico before coming to the United States and in 1934 being granted American citizenship. Kuhn was initially effective as a leader and was able to unite the organization and expand its membership.

Kuhn was a perfect figurehead for the organization. A facade of swastikas and “Sieg Heil” prevailed, but in reality Kuhn was to become seen simply as an incompetent swindler and liar who spoke poor English; even the Nazis were embarrassed of him. German Ambassador Hans Dieckhoff called him “stupid, noisy and absurd”.

The organization was soon filled with those calling themselves “Germans in America” and dreamed of the day when Nazism would rule the United States. Although they were instructed not to accept German citizens in their organization, they were not about to turn down anyone interested and many immigrants joined. It is estimated that around 25% of Bund members were German nationals—the rest being mostly first or second generation Germans. Research indicates that most Bund members were of lower-middle class origin.

The Bund soon began to hold rallies filled with swastikas, Nazi salutes and the singing of German songs. The Bund created recreational camps such as Camp Siegfried in New York and Camp Nordland in New Jersey. It also established Camp Hindenburg in Wisconsin and the group met frequently in Milwaukee and Chicago beer halls.

The Bund created an American version of the Hitler Youth that educated children in the German language, German history and Nazi philosophy. Although this organization tried to differentiate itself from the previously unsuccessful Friends of New Germany, the German Foreign Ministry commented that “In reality...they are the same people, with the same principles, and the same appearance”.

The rest is here

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Posted on 01/31/2007 9:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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31 Jan 2007
Send an emailMary Jackson
Spanknobel? Wunderbar!