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Footage of 22,000 Americans at a Nazi Rally in 1939

How many times have you heard a certain kind of American say something like, “if we hadn’t joined WWII, you’d all be speaking German,” or something shitty and ignorant like that? As a citizen of one of the other Allied countries, I’ve heard it a few times. The way I learned about WWII in Canadian schools was that the only reason the U.S. joined the Allies was because of the attacks on American merchant marine ships – a blow to the bottom line of the companies making big bucks selling to both the Allies and the Nazis – and the attack at Pearl Harbor. While the rest of the allies were declaring war on Nazi Germany, the United States declared itself neutral on Sept. 5th, 1939. More than two years later, the United States declared war on Nazi Germany only after Hitler announced a declaration of war against the United States. Seems like we’ve all been fed some intense propaganda – especially those educated in the U.S. – about how the American administration really felt about the Nazis.

When I was in Berlin, one common refrain I heard from Germans was that while they felt culpable for the actions of their forbears, North America – in particular the U.S. – didn’t want to admit any responsibility for their own dirty deeds. Case in point is the archival footage of a pro-Nazi – sorry, “pro-American” is what they called it – rally held in Madison Square Gardens on February 20th, 1939, where the German American Bund organization hosted 22,000 Nazi-sympathizing Americans for an event that looks like something straight out of Nuremberg. How many times have we been shown this same footage, with Hitler at the helm waving his arm around like a crazy person? Why have we not been shown Americans doing the exact same thing  – isn’t this important for an accurate understanding of history? Director Marshall Curry came across this footage and created a mini-documentary about this event called A Night At The Garden. Looks like America only hated the Nazis in hindsight. This should be required watching for all U.S. History classes.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Leon Mason

    October 17, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    wasn’t just the Americans.

  2. Steve Lafontaine

    October 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Eugenics was trendy here before Hitler and then it went underground.

  3. Nicky van Helvoirt

    October 17, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Tara Van Helvoirt

  4. Karro Dahl

    October 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Some people are just too dumb to realise the irony

  5. Michele Basso

    October 17, 2017 at 4:58 am

    american nazis are superfun; they claim a partiotic extreme creed mixed with a superior-race value upon a land they conquered to the disvantage of (guess who) colored native folks. Of course today’s people can’t be blamed for their ancestor’s behaviour, but it’s funny anyway to see how far can ignorance go.

  6. Andrew McQuaid

    October 17, 2017 at 3:32 am

    tbf, there was a strong fascist contingent in most western countries at the time. Mosley, Pétain, Quisling etc.

  7. Marco Capelli

    October 17, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Alberto

  8. Andrew Thompson

    October 17, 2017 at 1:35 am

    They even reference and joke about this in The Office.

  9. Harley Warren

    October 17, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Of course, time magazine man of the year and all that, henry ford etc. America is always initially friends with their future foes. Like ALWAYS.

    • Andrew McQuaid

      October 17, 2017 at 3:34 am

      the man of the year award in no way implies endorsement though. popular misconception. they considered making bin laden man of the year and hitler man of the century, but i guess they couldn’t be bothered trying to explain to people what the award was actually about over, and over, again.

  10. Giles Nevill

    October 17, 2017 at 12:40 am

    An anecdotal story told to me by my late Grand father, who like many were clearly traumatised by their experiences and was not an easy man to grow up around: When he was being shipped out to North Africa, his regiment shared a boat with American troops. The American command placed all the black soldiers in the living spaces at the bottom of the boat (in case they were sinking they would be the first to go) as well as being segregated during meal times. While my Grandfather was not what you would call a liberal or probably had much notion of social justice, he complained to both his and the American superiors that the men they were to be fighting along side were being treated in such a fashion he was put on all the shittiest duties you could imagine and had his rations cut. That one story has always resonated with me throughout my life.

  11. John Birdinground

    October 17, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Why cant anybody shoot those places up

    • Bruce Birky

      October 17, 2017 at 12:24 am

      Did you read the headline ya ‘tard? It was in 1939.

    • John Birdinground

      October 17, 2017 at 12:36 am

      So just because that was some time ago doesnt mean someone can’t shoot up modern nazi groups today…tard.

    • Rens van Bree

      October 17, 2017 at 12:45 am

      do it yourself

    • Joey Lummox

      October 17, 2017 at 4:09 am

      Time travel isn’t a thing yet. And if there is a Nazi rally today I doubt it would have that kind of numbers. Probably 10 rednecks tops and their sister/girlfriends.

    • John Birdinground

      October 17, 2017 at 7:03 am

      They just go by a new name now and there are numbers

    • William Kampen

      October 17, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Extreme left is also shit.

    • Tim Roinboin Robinson

      October 17, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      * the shit

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