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1939_05_27--5-73-Star Spangled Fascists

6 THE SATURDAY EVENING POST May 27,1939 PICTURES INC. Bundfuehrer Fritz Kuhn in action. He calls the Bund a militant or• ganization of patriotic Americans." The patriotic protestations with which any but orthodox American intentions are denied remind one of the solemn pledging and vowing which marked the advance of National Socialism in Germany. No groups in America make freer use of the Founding Fathers or play closer to the flag. That, too, is out of the Nazi book. For fuel for their movement, the Nazis mixed patriotism with hate. Their American kinsmen use the same mixture. They hate the same things, in the same order and for the same reasons. They hate the Communists, for whatever reasons seem, at the moment, most likely to catch on. They hate the Jews because Communism and sundry other evils must have some visible incarnation and the Jews are handy and outnumbered. On behalf of the Founding Fathers, they hate democracy. The Founding Fathers, they maintain, did not found a democracy— "mob rule "—but a republic—" a government of representatives." They hate the New Deal exactly as. and no less venomously than the Nazis hated the German republic, because it appears, to them, to have given political form and substance to all the other things they hate. With varying degrees of openness, they doubt—as the Nazis did—whether so much evil can be uprooted without the use of force. Most of them appear to relish the prospect. Some of them are actively organizing to have a hand in it. Meanwhile, in support and for the spread of these hatreds, they are pouring upon the country an extensive propaganda which, for incoherent violence, might be drawn directly from the presses of Joseph Goebbels or Julius Streicheras some of it actually is. The Spawn of the Klan BUT for all this kinship with the Nazis, Fascism in the United States is not without authentic American forebears. In fact, the entire movement looks very much like a streamlined revival of the Ku Klux Klan. That, to some extent, is what it is. Some of the organizers are themselves products of the Klan and readily admit their debt to it. George E. Deatherage, the towering and unexpectedly intelligent founder of The Knights of the White Camellia, is a Klan veteran. So is George W. Christians, head of the White Shirts. Deatherage, who sacrificed a highly successful career as a construction engineer for this crusade, insists that, thanks to the Klan, America started toward Fascism long before Germany. Nazi policy toward the Jews, he says, is only a copy of the Klan's program for the Negroes. Even the Nazi salute, according to Deatherage, is a straight steal from the Klan. Deatherage is not re- ACME Major General George Van Horn Moseley, tired, says: "The Band will see to it that America is not taken over by the Reds." sentful about it. On the contrary, he has undertaken some adaptations on his own account. The cross being, for Nazi-Fascists, a less potent symbol than the swastika, Deatherage has made the switch. He recently sent out a memorandum—" Confidential to Leaders "—which contained detailed instructions for the "Burning of the Swastika." "The fiery cross of the Klan," he wrote, "brought terror to those who had cause to fear . . . the burning of the swastika will have the same effect on the Reds and their sympathizers, including the Jews, as it had on the Negro and the carpetbagger." Construction particulars were given in detail. "You are urged to co-operate in covering the nation with the fiery swastika, for the enemy is extremely jittery." This revival of the Klan temper and technique has probably accrued, somewhat, to the benefit of the Klan. Although the organization has been exceedingly frail during most of the last ten years, it has never quite succumbed. During that period Dr. Hiram Wesley Evans, the Invisible Empire's Imperial Wizard, has presided over its diminished destiny from a modest Atlanta office and, as an undiminished side line, has sold concrete—miraculous concrete, according to his competitors—to the state of Georgia. Today he lives in a beautiful modernistic home in the city's swankest section, dreads the old age which his lumbago seems to warn him of, and confidently predicts that 1940 will usher him and his organization into the limelight again. But not all the roots in America of the Fascist family tree are as indigenously American as the Ku Klux Klan. Some of the biggest and healthiest are straightout importations. The vast majority of German- Americans, whatever their attitude toward the New Germany, give the Nazi propagandists a wide berth. Many of them are bitterly anti-Nazi. The German- American League for Culture, which includes a large number of the nation's most prominent citizens of German extraction, is an increasingly effective answer to Hitler's American agents. But the pro-Hitler minority is exceedingly militant and vociferous. The thriving state of our current Fascist crop is partly their achievement. This does not mean that all our Fascist organizations receive cash aid from the Nazis or that all those who do will admit it. The discomfort of the Fascists—when one gets around to money matters—is a match for that of the Communists. But regardless of who fills the Fascists' tills, the American Nazis—being Hitler's blood brethren and the nearest thing in this country to a direct link to the Fascist fatherland—are a constant and exceedingly fraternal source of inspiration. The geographical center of Nazism in the United States is the Yorkville section of New York City, ACME James True, of .America First, Inc., keeps his office doors locked and says his financing comes in "over the transom." largely populated by Germans. At the corner of 85th Street and Third Avenue is the headquarters of the German-American Bund. Down the street a few doors is the restaurant which the Bund leaders favor, and where, whatever the politics of the place, the food is in the best Munich tradition. A block up the street is the Germania Bookstore—a large establishment which distributes Bund-approved literature, sells tickets to Bund meetings and carries on its shelires what is probably the largest assortment of anti-Semitic propaganda to be found anywhere in America. The Shadow of the Swastika THE Bund offices—up one flight—are crowded and disarranged. Fritz Kuhn, the Bundfuehrer, is ponderous of mind and body, but inclined to swagger. Kuhn is forty-one. He came to the United States in 1923 and is now an American citizen. For some time after his arrival he worked as an expert chemist for Henry Ford. In his present position he is recognized as a stiff disciplinarian and a good organizer, but no platform rabble-rouser. The German-American Bund is organized by posts throughout the nation. How many of these posts there are, it is hard to say. Last spring, before the Austrian Anschluss, there were said to be fifty-eight in the vicinity of New York City alone. After the Anschluss the number jumped to sixty-five. Subsequent and bigger conquests are known to have furnished further impetus to the organization. Two years ago, Fritz Kuhn reported to Government investigators that his organization had a total membership of 8299. His statements to those in the family circle put the figure at various points between 180,000 and 230,000—which are generally believed to be much nearer the truth. Its force of uniformed strong-arm storm troopers probably numbers between 8000 and 10,000. The Bund publishes a magazine for youth, and four newspapers—which it advertises as "free of Jewish domination "—in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. Some twenty other newspapers— German-American but not owned by the Bund—give it aggressive backing. Many of the local posts have their own publications. The Bund also prints and circulates large quantities of pamphlet material, much of it got together in the propaganda institute at Stuttgart. It has a hand in the operation of some twenty-five summer camps and owns several of them. It maintains contact with a large number of like-minded American organizations and keeps a considerable .force of speakers on the road to cover its never-ending round of meetings, the


1939_05_27--5-73-Star Spangled Fascists
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