Citation
1938

Material Information

Title:
1938 the German-American Bund and their Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter
Portion of title:
German-American Bund and their Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter
Creator:
Versluis, Diedre Anne
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 123 leaves : illustrations ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of History, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
History
Committee Chair:
Allen, Frederick S.
Committee Members:
Conroy, Mary S.
Foster, Mark S.

Subjects

Genre:
History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 120-123).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, History. Department of History
Statement of Responsibility:
by Diedre Anne Versluis.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
Copyright Diedre Anne Versluis. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
34034624 ( OCLC )
ocm34034624
Classification:
LD1190.L57 1995m .V47 ( lcc )

Full Text
1938:
The German-American Bund
and their Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter
by
Diedre Anne Versluis
B.A., Western State College of Colorado
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
1995


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Diedre Anne Versluis
has been approved
by
'9 fS
Date


Versluis, Diedre Anne (M.A., History)
1938: The German-American Bund and their Deutscher Weckrufund Beobachter
Thesis directed by Professor Frederick S. Allen
Abstract
This thesis covers the history of the Amerikadeutscher Volksbund (German-
American Bund), along with biographical information about Fritz Kuhn, its leader.
The official newspaper of the German-American Bund, the Deutscher Weckruf und
Beobachter is examined closely for evidence in the publication year of 1938.
Among the topics discussed are the planning of the 1939 Worlds Fair, the
annexation of Austria, the crisis of the Sudetenland, Kristallnacht, the United
States and Germany recalling their ambassadors and the ideologies of anti-
communism and anti-Semitism. Important authorities on Nazi ideology and
German-American relations serve as the background for the analysis. The thesis
explains the reasons for the failure of the Bund.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed.
Frederick S. Allen
m


DEDICATION
To Carol


CONTENTS
Figures..........................................................vi
Acknowledgements................................................vii
CHAPTER
l. INTRODUCTION.........................................1
A Brief History of the German-American Bund...........3
II. IMPORTANT WORLD EVENTS
Planning of the 1939 World Fair......................44
The "Annexation" of Austria..........................47
The Sudetenland Crisis...............................52
Kristallnacht........................................56
Recalling of Ambassadors............................ 60
m. IDEOLOGY
Anti-Communism in the Weckruf........................64
Anti-Semitism in the Weckruf.........................72
TV. CONCLUSION.............................................81
APPENDIXES
A. Petition for Amendment to Constitution Article.........96
B. Worlds Fair article in German.........................98
C. Hitlers Austrian Proclamation in German..............101
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................. 120
v


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1. Hitlers Birthday Announcement............................85
1.2. Fritz Kuhn................................................86
1.3 Kuhn and Hitler.......................................... 87
1.4. Jungendschaft Symbol/Membership...........................88
1.5. Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter Title....................89
1.6. Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter and the Free American Title.. 90
1.7. Sweepstakes Announcement..................................91
1.8. Plea for Money............................................92
1.9. Bund Membership Application...............................93
vi


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I need to thank Bill Elswick for helping and checking the German
translations.
I want to thank Dr. Allen for giving his portion of student research money to
me. All of his help and advice throughout the past three years, both academically
and choosing a Ph.D. program and career have been invaluable.
I would also like to thank Dr. Conroy for giving me her portion of the student
research money as well as her help throughout the past three years both
academically and with Phi Alpha Theta.
Finally, I need to thank Dr. Foster for all of his help with my writing. He
has patiently and carefully read rewrite after rewrite and I know I hold the record
for most rewrites! I will never forget the words, "Its best not to use the passive
tense." He gave me the skills and the courage to write this thesis, pursue a
Ph.D., and a career of an academic historian.
vn


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Intellectual historians are fascinated by how ideologies become realities and
why they succeed or fail. The 1920s and 1930s marked the emergence of a new
political ideology: fascism. This ideology generally contained: "a contempt for
representative government, an urge for strong leadership and a realization that
society must be organized along authoritarian lines."1
George Mosse, in his book, The Culture of Western Europe, analyzed the
National Socialist phenomena. In Germany, National Socialism branched out
from fascism. "National Socialism and fascism shared a common world view.
Both rejected what they called the bourgeois system of values and substituted for it
a belief in the organic state, as well as action and struggle."2 National Socialism
was unique, however, because it practiced in its own way the ideas of "the
concept of race, the new romanticism, the postwar nihilism, in short that intuitive
view of the world which derived added strength" after the First World War.3
Germany was not the only nation to embrace National Socialism. The
members of various Nazi organizations in the United States commonly known as
1


the German-American Bund practice this ideology as well. Curiously, these
German-American Nazis never had Hitlers full support nor wide support in the
United States. Yet these Bund members did not want to return to their German
homeland where they could vehemently practice National Socialism. The
German-American Bund tried to "Americanize" this foreign political, racial, and
cultural theory. However, the German American-Bund failed because it followed
a foreign ideology whose cultural roots were alien to the thinking of most
Americans. In many ways National Socialist ideology drew from German cultural
roots, such as German volkish rootedness, German racism, German neo-
romanticism, charismatic leadership as the German Max Weber described, and the
German historic past such as using old religious symbols.
This thesis will focus on the German-American Bund and its official
newspaper, the Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter (the German Awakener and
Observer). It will also assess the history of the German-American Bund, the
reporting of important 1938 events, and the Communist and Jewish questions.
A Brief History of the German-American Bund
In the 1920s recent German immigrants to the United States formed what is
popularly known as the German-American Bund or just the Bund. Even though
the Bund never had a large following, it created a huge uproar in the United States
beginning in 1934. For example, "Congressmen investigated; federal and state
2


agencies attacked it. Various German agencies observed the Bund's activities,
some with dismay, others with hope.''4 The Bund had an interesting but
complicated history. Much research has been done on the history of the Bund.
In his book, The Nazi Movement in the United States 1924-1941, Sander
A. Diamond summarized the history of the Bund as follows:
The term 'Bund' is used to designate several organizations that carried on
the Nazi movement in the United States between 1924 and 1941 in four
distinct though interrelated organizational stages: (1) Nationalsozialistische
Vereinigung Teutonia (Teutonia Association), 1924-1932; (2) Gauleitung-
USA (or Gau-USA), a unit of the German Nazi Party, 1931-1933; (3)
Bund der Freundemdes Neuen Deutschland (Friends of [the new]
Germany), 1933-1934; (4) Amerikadeutscher Volksbund (American
German Bund or German-American Bund), 1936-1941, and related groups
and organizations.5
In Detroit on October 12, 1924, Friedrich (Fritz) Gissibl and others founded the
Teutonia Association. Teutonia's membership was approximately 500 at its
height. Teutonia was the first seriously organized National Socialist association in
the United States. Teutonia published a newspaper, financially supported the
NSDAP in Munich "and attempted to proselytize the immigrant German
community" in the United States. Teutonia addressed only new German
immigrants. According to Diamond, "Teutonia's leaders did not envision any
future for National Socialism in the United States. Accordingly, they regarded
America as a temporary home for new arrivals from Germany, a refuge from the
Weimar Republic."6 Thus Teutonia members talked about Hitler's victory and
3


returning to Germany. The Teutonia Association dissolved in 1932.
In the early 1930s about 200 NSDAP members lived in the United States
and formed an organization known as the Gauleitung-USA which existed from
1931-1933 in New York City. The NSDAP in Germany controlled this
organization and in 1933 disbanded Gauleitung-USA for two main reasons. First
the organization was a "liability to Germany" and second, it "did little to prevent
the continued development of anti-Nazi feeling in New York," according to
Diamond.7
In 1933 the Friends of the New Germany (FONG) became the legitimate
National Socialist organization in the United States. Heinz Spanknobel became the
"Bundesjuhrer or Bundesleiter (League Leader or League Director)" of the
Friends of the New Germany in 1933.8 Spanknobel was bom in 1893 in Germany
and in 1929 emigrated to the United States.9 Spanknobel reorganized FONG "into
three Gaue, East, Middle West, and West." The NSDAP gave FONG money and
guidance. Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry smuggled German propaganda into the
United States through Spanknobel. Furthermore, Spanknobel assured top German
Nazi officials that German-Americans wanted to join the National Socialist
movement.10
Spanknobel's primary objective was to change how Americans perceived
the Third Reich from an authoritarian, Jew-hating nation to a friendly nation who
4


wanted stronger economic relations to the United States. This was very important
to the German Nazi party because the Boycott League hurt Germany's export
economy. Spankndbel harassed editors of German-American newspapers who
refused to join the Bund and struggle against the boycott movement.11
Spankndbel's conspiratorial activities soon became part of a Congressional
investigation. By the fall of 1933 there was enough information to arrest
Spankndbel. However, on October 27, 1933, a Nazi German agent rescued
Spankndbel by smuggling him on a German ship. Germany realized that
Spankndbel knew too much. Spankndbel later claimed that the American Jews
tried to frame him so he sought the protection of Germany.12 This was the end of
the Spankndbel era.
Two new leaders of the Friends of the New Germany emerged: Walter
Kappe and Joseph "Sepp" Schuster. Walter Kappe was bom in Germany in
January 1905. He joined the NSDAP in 1932 and then emigrated to the United
States in March 1925. Kappe was one of the propagandists in the Bund from
1926-1937. He returned to Germany in June 1937. And likewise, Joseph
Schuster was bom in Germany in 1904 and joined the NSDAP in 1921. Schuster
emigrated to the United States in 1927. Schuster was the Eastern Gauleiter in the
Friends of the New Germany. He returned to Germany in 1936.13 They carried
on the fight against the Boycott League.14
5


In 1933, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Samuel Untermeyer founded the
boycott movement. Wise and Untermeyer "intended to hurt the Nazis by
organizing a nationwide boycott of German exports.... Wise believed that the
boycott would weaken Hitler by undermining his economy." However, the
boycott did not affect Hitler's economic plans, but the boycott moment, according
to Herzstein "indirectly helped to change American attitudes toward the German
regime."15
However, Kappe and Schuster added a new element by Americanizing the
issue. They argued "that declining trade with Germany was bad for a weak
economy." Kappe and Schuster "established two antiboycott organizations, the
DAWA (German-American Economic Alliance) and the DKV (German Business
League)." These two organizations "promoted the sale of German goods." Even
though "by the end of the decade, the DKV had over a thousand members,"
United States' imports of German products "remained insignificant."16 One
uplifting moment for the sale of German products was Germany being invited to
the 1939 World's Fair which, according to the Bund, was a "slap in the face" to
the boycott movement.
Kappe and Schuster also tried to convince Americans that Germany was an
amicable, peaceful nation. However, because "Americans read, saw, and heard
about the persecution of the Jews, the suppression of trade unions, the
6


establishment of a one-party state, and Hitler's resumption of military
conscription," they ignored the Bund's propaganda.17 Promoting Germany was an
objective throughout the German-American Bund years.
According to Robert Herzstein, Kappe and Schuster were militant, ardent
Nazis who "frightened or repelled most German-Americans." However, they
were able to recruit German-Americans who were lower class, illiterate, and new
arrivals to America. These people seemed to be susceptible to the National
Socialist message. According to Herzstein, Kappe and Schuster "did little more
than mimic the Nazi style, strutting about in ill-fitting uniforms as they showered
contempt upon their enemies." For example, Schuster, an SA member, created an
Ordnungsdienst or Order Service (OD) based on the structure of the SA. These
1,200-5,000 OD-M&nner (OD Men) wore uniforms which included "white shirts,
black trousers, legionnaire-style caps, Sam Browne belts, and arm bands." They
bought their own uniforms at $27.00 each. They drilled, marched, "guarded
meetings, sang songs, drank a lot, and reminisced about the Great War, in which
many of them had servedon the German side." The Bund claimed that the OD-
M&nner "were just ushers" for their meetings. Furthermore, although the Bund
sponsored political rallies, those rallies were small and poor imitations to those in
Germany. In the spring of 1934, some twenty-thousand people attended a Bund
rally in Madison Square Garden which was the largest Bund rally.18 Thus, the
7


Bund tried to bring the rhetoric and activities of National Socialism to the United
States.
Furthermore, Kappe and Schuster emphasized "one hundred percent
Americanism." The Bund celebrated American holidays such as George
Washington's birthday in keeping with their Americanization theme. At these
celebrations the Bund sang the American national anthem as well as shouted Heil
Roosevelt. Roosevelt was very popular with Bund members until 1935.
However, the Bund also celebrated Hitler's birthday and the Beer Hall Putsch.19
(see figure #1)
By the mid-1930s, despite their Americanism motif, the Bund was still
isolated. In fact, many German-American organizations resisted pressure to
sponsor Bund activities. Most German-Americans rejected the Bund because they
"had been trying to recover from the anti-German hysteria" during the First World
War, and most "did not wish to provoke the wrath of their fellow Americans."
The Bund leaders would say such things as the "American German who has no
loyalty to Germany is no man" and "our movement is not only not 'un-American',
it is the only real movement that German-America ever had." Schuster tried to
intimidate German-Americans into supporting National Socialism. However, most
German-Americans ignored those terrorist tactics and thus the Bund's membership
numbers remained small.20
8


In response, the Bund hired propagandists outside of the German-American
Bund in an attempt to widen its popularity. In 1934, they employed Doug
Brinkley, a well-known radio personality to speak at Bund meetings. He talked
about Hitler favorably and assured everyone that Germany did not treat the Jews
badly.21 Another Bund propagandist was the German-American Frederick
Franklin Schrader, a "historian" by profession, who claimed that National
Socialism satisfied the working classes in Germany, asserted that Hitler wanted
only peace, and insisted that Americans should be concerned about the Jewish
Communist threat rather than Hitler.22 The Bund never succeeded in broadening
its base outside of the German community.
In 1934 and early 1935, Congressman Samuel Dickstein of New York
along with Congressman Martin Dies of Texas investigated the Friends of the
New Germany. They found that Germany supplied money, propaganda, and
ideology to FONG. They concluded that the organization was "a potential threat
to America's internal security." The German government claimed that it knew
nothing about the activities of its national citizens living in the United States.
However, in November 1935 the German government forbade its national citizens
to participate in the Friends of the New Germany. Berlin hoped that Friends of
the New Germany would collapse and relations could be improved with the United
States.23
9


A change in leadership was needed if the Bund was to survive. By the fall
of 1935, Fritz Kuhn was emerging as a new leader, (see figure #2) Fritz Kuhn
was bom in Munich Germany in May 1896. During the First World War, Kuhn
enlisted in a Bavarian infantry unit and became a machine gunner in France.
After the war he joined a Freikorps group in Munich under the leadership of
Major-General Ritter von Epp who followed Hitler from the beginning. While in
the Freikorps Kuhn fought against the political Left in Munich. In 1921, Kuhn
joined the Nationalsozialistiscke Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist
German Workers' Party) as well as studied chemical engineering at the University
of Munich.24 Kuhn then worked for his Jewish friend's family warehouse where
he stole "two thousand marks" from them and then "fled to Mexico."25 Kuhn
lived in Mexico for four years and found employment in the chemical industry.
While in Mexico Kuhn married Elsa (Elsie), who was bom in January 1898 in
Lichtenberg Germany. They met while Kuhn studied at the University of Munich.
In 1927 Kuhn left Mexico, entered the United States, and settled in Detroit,
Michigan. Although there were no employment records found, Kuhn said that he
worked for the Ford Motor Company.26 Kuhn seemed to admire "Ford's anti-
Semitic ravings," according to Herzstein.27 On December 3, 1934 Kuhn became a
naturalized US citizen. Kuhn did not speak or write English well. He "learned
English by translating scientific articles" and seemed to have no other training in
10


English.28 According to Herzstein, Fritz Kuhn "did not cut the figure of a hero."
Furthermore, "his love for food and drink equaled his lust for women other than
his wife Elsie."29 Herzstein further described Kuhn in this manner:
Tall and impressive in youth, he now walked or waddled with a ponderous
gait, trying to hold his sagging gut. Kuhn looked out at the world through
narrow slits of eyes, blinking behind thick eyeglasses. His dark, thinning
hair was combed straight back. Kuhn had a bulbous nose and smooth,
almost feminine facial skin. Humorless and vain, he sometimes sounded
like one of the characters from the popular comic strip 'Katzenjammer
Kids.130
After living in Detroit, Kuhn moved his family, his wife Elsie, son Walter and
daughter Waltraut to Jackson Heights, in Queens New York in the mid 1930s.31
Kuhn did not join the Teutonia Association, but in 1933 he joined the
Friends of the New Germany. In 1935, Kuhn became the leader of the Midwest
Region of FONG.32
Late in 1935, Fritz Gissibl the current leader of the Bund searched for
another member to be the leader of the Friends of the New Germany.33 Kuhn
officially became Bundesleiter or BundesfUhrer on March 29, 1936.34 Kuhn
transformed the Bund "from a factionalized and ineffective group to the instrument
of an active movement."35 The Bund changed its name from the Friends of the
New Germany to the Amerikadeutscher Volksbund shortly after Kuhn became
Bundesleiter. This was because the Bund leadership felt that the name the Friends
of the New Germany "'sounds too German and makes people shy away and keeps
11


them back from joining the Bund.'" The Amerikadeutscher Volksbund became the
new name of the Bund and when translated correctly was the American German
Bund which sounded more American and more appealing to the Bund leadership.36
Kuhn felt that "Americanism" rather than "the New Germany" should be
emphasized.37 Furthermore Kuhn believed that German-Americans
were 'Germans in America', whether they had been in America for ten
years or ten generations. For Kuhn and Nazi ideologues in Germany this
was of cardinal importance: blood was stronger than citizenship or place
of birth, and the dictates of blood could not be altered by history.38
Furthermore, Kuhn "regarded himself as a great man, a man chosen to
unify his racial brothers in America" and he "loudly proclaimed himself the
Fuhrer."39 The Bundesfuhrer "attempted to capture the dynamic of German
National Socialism by means of parades, elaborate uniforms, appeals to emotion
and violent irrationalism, slogans, catchwords, torch-lit rallies, the fostering of
power worship, racist and crude Social Darwinian theorizing, and militarism."40
Kuhn, like Kappe and Schuster before him, imitated the German Nazi leaders at
their rallies. Kuhn was passionately anti-Semitic, anti-Communist, and pro-
American. Bundists shouted "Free America" rather than "Sieg Heil" to show their
Americanism.41
However, a Fritz Kuhn cult or mystique never occurred because Kuhn
lacked Hitler's charisma and speaking skills, and Kuhn's popularity among some
12


Bundists was due to Hitler's popularity not his own.42 Diamond asserted that
Bundists
clung to a mythical image of the old Germany, and since most of them had
left their homeland before 1925 they remembered only what they wanted
about Germany. Strangely, except for a handful, most never saw Hitler's
Germany first hand. They believed what they were told and accepted as
true what they saw in German-supplied movies. They tried to experience
National Socialism while living in the United States and exempted
themselves from American life.43
Leni Riefenstahl's documentary, Triumph of the Will was the favorite film of the
German-American Bund.44 This first-rate propaganda film showed Nazi
Germany's glory and triumph over the imposed Weimar democracy and Versailles
treaty. Kuhn, like Kappe and Schuster before him, tried to bring National
Socialism to the United States.
After Kuhn became Bundesleiter he took control of the Ordnungsdienst
and hired and fired the National OD Leader {Landes OD-Ftihrer). Furthermore,
each OD member took an oath of loyalty to Kuhn and he increased the OD
membership to at least 10 per cent of the Bund's total membership.45 Kuhn
imitated Hitler once again.
Furthermore, Kuhn realized that the United States continued to be an anti-
Semitic nation in the mid-1930s. Kuhn stated that Lenin and J.P. Morgan
("Morgenstem") were Jews and the Jewish community influenced Roosevelt's
(Rosenfeld's) government. Kuhn asserted that American wanted and deserved a
13


white, Christian (Gentile) governed America. Kuhn also played on American's
fear of new immigrants coming into the United States. Kuhn in his German
accent demanded an end to the United States accepting people claiming political
asylum.46 Kuhn played on these hatreds and fears to make the Bund seem more
appealing.
In the summer of 1936, Kuhn and several other Bund members travelled to
the Third Reich to attend the Olympic Games. Hitler, who knew little about Kuhn
and his followers, invited the German-American Bund to meet with him.
According to Herzstein, "Hitler was not particularly impressed with this rag-tag
group."47 According to Rudolf Binion, "Hitler had only contempt for Fritz Kuhn.
He deliberately kept Kuhn waiting for several hours when Kuhn visited Berlin....
He had similar contempt for Sudenten German leader, Konrad Henlein. Both
were just traitors to their countries, as he (oddly) saw it."48 However, "this did
not bother Kuhn, if he realized it at all," according to Herzstein, and in fact,
"Kuhn implied that he came home bearing Hitler's blessing."49 (see figure #3)
During his brief visit to Berlin, Kuhn, became anti-Roosevelt. After he
returned to the United States, he issued this statement. "I recommend that in the
name of the German-American Bund our members elect Governor [Alf M.]
Landon, the Republican Candidate [for President]." Kuhn thought that a Landon
victory would expand the Bund's appeal and thus increase his own authority.50
14


However, Landon lost in a landslide.
Kuhn was also a skillful businessman because he transformed the Bund into
a solvent business suspended from Nazi German financial support.51 Kuhn
"managed to develop new sources of income: membership dues, the marketing of
Nazi paraphernalia and of Bund newspapers and books, the sale of summer
cottages at Bund camps, and charges for advertising."52 Therefore, between
January and June 1936 the Bundesleiter achieved what Nazi Germany hoped
would not happen: "he infused new life into the beleaguered Bund, and he did it
with no help from Germany."53
Kuhn appeared to have several thousand Bund members and sympathizers
following him. One estimate of 25,000 members included men, women, and
children who participated in the various German-American Bund organizations.54
Herzstein argued that there were probably only 6,500 active members in the
middle of 1938, but there were 50,000 to 100,00 Bund supporters drawn from
families and friends of those active members.55 The Bundist's came from definite
socio-economic backgrounds.
More than two-thirds of the organization's membership was male. Most
Bundists resided in large cities in the East and Midwest. They were
usually first- or second-generation Americans, but a large proportion of
them were recent immigrants lacking citizenship papers. These people
wanted to celebrate the achievements of the Third Reich without living
there. Some had criminal records in Germany; others wished to avoid
conscription into the Wehrmacht. Many older Bundists, like Kuhn, had
15


fought in the German Army; others had served in right-wing paramilitary
groups after the War. A few had been active in the Nazi movement in
Germany. They came to the United States after the war, looking for work
and opportunity.56
The majority of Bund members "were of lower middle-class and working class
origins."57
When prospective members joined the Bund they paid $1.50 each that went
to the propaganda department, and $.20 for a card showing membership in the
German-American Bund. Then every month they paid $.75 of which $.25 went to
the National Executive Committee, $.45 went to the local chapters, and $.05 was
sent to the eastern midwestem and western regional headquarters.58 Thus
membership was one of many money-making programs of the Bund.
The family and its members had roles prescribed by National Socialist
ideology. According to the National Socialist viewpoint, "the family was an
indissoluble, organic unity, an image of the German state." Each family member
performed certain functions: "father was destined to work, fight, and procreate;
mother was to serve the family and state by keeping house and rearing children;
and the children were to be educated in National Socialism and trained for their
adult roles as members of an elite ruling class."59 Thus, family members played
traditional roles as defined by National Socialist ideology.
The German-American Bund had its own version of the Hitler Youth, the
16


Jungvolk. The Jungvolk was for children ages 6-13. Then there was the
Jungenschaft for boys ages fourteen and older, and the MMchenschaft for girls
ages fourteen and older. Girls in their late teens could join the Women's
Command. "Boys exhibiting 'personality of strength and will' (Kraftvolle
Persdnlichkeit) had the option of joining the Ordnungs-Dienst. ,,6 By 1938 the
youth movement had over 2,000 children participating in its activities.61 In the
summers, parents sent their children to Bund summer camps. At the camps, camp
counselors separated children into groups by age and gender. Camps required
children up to the teen years to learn the German language and to wear uniforms,
for the boys brown oxfords and shorts, for the girls tan blouses and skirts. "A
week at camp (at a cost of five dollars) was filled with martial drills,
indoctrination, hiking, and singing." In the summer of 1937, 200 children
attended Camp Hindenburg and 400 children attended Camp Nordlund.62
Furthermore
After 1937, the Bund published a magazine for youth, Junges Volk, which
stressed the significant role played by the Germans in the historical
development of the United States, vaunted German heroes, praised the
Aryan race, degraded and dehumanized the Jews and Blacks as lesser
human types, maintained that their public school teachers were
communists, and lauded the new German world view.63
When the Dies Committee investigated the Bund, they found the Jungvolk
to be the most "offensive and overtly 'un-American"' aspect of the Bund.64 The
17


youth camps were also gathering places for adults. Admission was ten cents.
They ate, drank, listened to the Badenweiler March, and sang the Horst Wessel
Lied while Nazi and American flags waved in the background.65
The Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter published a section on the Youth
Movement on November 24 and December 29, 1938 in German. This looked like
a recruiting method for the youth movement. The author of the article wrote in
German probably to emphasize the importance of the native language. On
November 24, an article titled, "10 Jahre deutsche Jungend in U.S.A. (German
[Bund] Youth in America for 10 Years) explained:
For the "Day of the German Youth" the National Youth Leadership of the
A.V. [Amerikadeutscher Volksbund] wants to publish a yearbook which
commemorates 10 year existence of the German youth movement in
America. A small of German youth which first assembled itself in the year
1929, laid the foundation of today's large youth movement of the A.V. In
the 10 years of struggle, of recruiting, of overcoming countless difficulties,
the youth movement has acquired a tradition and spirit, for which the
elders of the movement have often been the example.66
Thus the Youth Division of the German-American Bund began in 1929.
In the December 29, 1938 issue, there was an article about the boys of the
youth movement and the seven words that apply to them. Boys of the youth
movement are supposed to be tough (hart), courageous (tapfer), loyal (treu)
forthright and strong (gerade und fest), genuine/true (wahr), comrades/friends
(Kameraden), and have honor (Ehre).67 The symbol of the German-American
18


Bund was an eagle with a Sig Run. The Sig Run was an old Nordic letter, and
the Hitler Youth in Germany used this symbol as well, (see figure #4)
National Socialist ideology contained traditional views of the women's role.
"The so-called feminine occupationshousekeeping and motherhoodwere not
seen as degrading; on the contrary, the prescribed functions of women were
historically determined and essential for the preservation of vdOdsch unity." The
German-American Bund's views were no different "and the organization remained
male-oriented and dominated." Women could join the Women's Command. The
director of the women's group, Anna Rehfeldt, was the only women in the Bund
to hold a national office but she was not allowed a seat on the National Executive
Committee. Leni Riefenstahl was the only female Nazi that became notable in the
international Nazi movement.68 The Deutscher Weckrufund Beobachter in the
December 1, 1938 issue, published a small article in English titled, "500,000
German Girls Took Housework Courses." The article explained that "Herr Baldur
von Schirach, Reich Leader of Youth, has urged upon the female of the country
[Germany] the need of learning to carry out household and housework duties
properly." 47,000 girls took housework courses and the remainder "trained for
farm and dairy work."69 Earlier in the year, the Weckruf reported that adult
German women "were back again in the factory and workshop, albeit with
compulsory domestic service completed beforehand," due to "the shortage of male
19


workers in industry in Germany."70 Thus women's duties were traditional.
However, as Germany geared up for war, women began to work in the factories.
The same held true for American women.
In the November 24, 1938 issue of the Weckruf there was a poem about
women which summed up the Nazi view rather well:
OUR IDEAL GIRLS
'Twas just the other day I read,
Something about "ideal girls" which said:
'"THE IDEAL GIRLS' first of all must keep,
The array of curls of their "permanent" neat;
Secondly, their figures trim;
(Meaning, of course, their waistlines slim.)
Their war-paint with their eyes should blend,
And their clothes must follow the Hollywood trend;
They must be graceful and often gay,
And at dances to the rhumba sway;
All song hits they should be able to sing,
And know the difference between 'JAZZ' and 'SWING';
To them ignorance is no great lack,
As long as they're able to quickly 'WISE-CRACK'."
'OUR IDEAL GIRLS' differ from these a mite,
Just as the day differs from night.
They're like that girl in the picture shown,
Who through camp-life has tan and sturdy grown.
Her figure is well-proportioned and trim,
Not through diets, but through a daily swim.
She possesses a personality pleasant;
She dances the waltz as well the peasant;
Plain common sense she never lacked,
And works her share as a matter-of-fact;
She sings old folk songs, humorous verses about the "LAGER"
Songs of deep meanings and occasionally a "SCHALGER";
She can be boisterous and gay (as all girls will),
20


But at times also very solemn and still.
In nature's surroundings she has built up body and mind;
We shall reach our goal with "IDEAL GIRLS" of her kind. 71
Thus, National Socialism and the Bund emphasized the family and family
members' roles.
The Bund lured members by sponsoring sporting and recreational activities.
By mid 1936 there were two Bund soccer teams, Hansa and Hamburg, and
sponsored tennis, hockey, swimming, and skiing teams on a competitive level.
In the Catskill Mountains, the Bund held skiing weekends for the non-competitive
Bund members.72 Therefore, the Bund never stopped recruiting potential new
members.
The publishing business was another activity of the Bund. Publishing
activities were of primary financial importance to the Bund. Fritz Kuhn owned
the majority of shares of stock in the A.V. Publishing Company, and Kuhn's
headquarters in Yorkville, New York housed the A.V. Publishing Company's
offices.73 The A.V. stood for the Amerikadeutscher Volksbund.
For example, Kuhn supervised the A.V. Corporation publishing and
marketing Bund and Nazi German literature. Kuhn required Bundists to buy and
know Hitler's Mein Kampf, Michael Fry's Hitler's Wonderland, and Hans
Andersen's Litvinoff. The Bund also published numerous pamphlets such as
Awake and Actl, the Snake in the Grass, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
21


which described the Bund's goals and views. The Bund sold its publications at
their meetings, at Bundist owned or supported Bookstores, on the streets of
Yorkville and Jersey City and through mail orders.74
By 1937, Kuhn controlled all Bund propaganda activities.75 Even though
Germany denied any contact with the German-American Bund, Kuhn and others
had connections with the German Propaganda Ministry, the Amt Auslandspresse,
(The Foreign Press Office) and the Volksbund fUr Deutschtum in Ausland (League
of Germans Abroad). The Propaganda Ministry controlled all propaganda abroad
which included art, films, expositions, fairs, radio broadcasts, and any other
means of communications and media to foreign countries.76 Germany, then,
unofficially gave propaganda to the Bund.
Furthermore, Ernst Hanfstaengl, a Harvard graduate, lead the Amt
Auslandspresse for a short while and this organization corresponded with
numerous propagandists in North and South America. The goal of the Amt
Auslandspresse was to promote Germany favorably by foreign contacts and
German news correspondents communicating with each other.77
The Volksbund fur Deutschtum in Ausland (VDA) began in 1880 in Berlin
and announced that many of the two million members lived in North and South
America. The VDA began in 1880 to as an organization which preserved German
schools in ethnically mixed Austria. After the First World War, the VDA
22


annually mailed German calendars showing German communities from around the
world and special blue candles which each German family burned at Christmas
which symbolically unified Germans everywhere in the world. In December
1938, the VDA discussed the blue candles in the Deutscher Weckruf und
Beobachter. During the 1930s, the VDA supported National Socialist Germany
and promoted its racial ideology. Under National Socialist Germany, however,
the VDA remained an independent organization and worked in areas where the
government could not for political reasons.78 Thus, the VDA indirectly supported
the German-American Bund.
German propaganda aimed at the Americas strived to gain support for the
foreign policy actions in the Reich.79 The first policy issue was to rid the terms of
the Treaty of Versailles either by diplomacy or by force if necessary. Second,
National Socialist foreign policy ultimately wanted to annex all border areas in
which Germany minorities lived; take back all German colonies, and finally,
Germany wanted to rearm itself and Germany fought all world-wide arms treaties
and controls.80 German propaganda filtered into the United States and promoted
by the Volksbund contained all those elements.
On June 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler created the first Propaganda Ministry in the
world. Dr. Goebbels headed this Ministry and controlled all media and
communications. Goebbels wrote in his diary on January 22, 1932 that in regards
23


to propaganda techniques "'I shall proceed accordingly to my old and tried
principleto attack before the enemy has any chance to pull himself together,
force him onto the defensive, and then belabor him until he becomes compliant.'"
The notion of being "attacked" originated from Hitler during the early years of the
National Socialist party. According to Hitler, his party members "had constantly
been attacked and threatened" in the 1920s. Goebbels as
Reichspropagandaminister used this notion of "attack" in all of the National
Socialist propaganda. For example, "Germany is always being attacked. It offers
a good excuse for putting on the defensive and justifies any deed of violence. "81
The notion of being attacked, then, was one of many facets in NSDAP
propaganda. The German-American Bund also used this notion of being attacked.
Fritz Kuhn periodically published statements in the Deutscher Weckruf und
Beobachter in which he defended the Bund and its activities. On May 5, 1938,
Kuhn issued a defensive statement as follows:
In order to dissipate the innumerable malicious and lying rumors of
late being spread concerning our organization, the following statement is
herewith submitted to the attention of all patriotic Americans:
The German American Bund is the militant, patriotic organization of
the Americans of German Stock, led from top to bottom by honorable U.S.
citizens, unhyphenated and subscribing to no divided or dual allegiance of
any kind, at the beck and call of the Nation in its defense at any time. No
member of the Bund takes any oath to any foreign prince, potentate or
power, the only oath known to Bund Members being the Flag and
Constitution of these United States of America! The Bund is not subject to
the orders of any agency, foreign or domestic, not a properly constituted
24


authority if this our country and receives no financial or other support from
any foreign power, either openly or covertly. Consequently the German
American Bund is as American as any other Organization in the country
and demands and will have the same rights and privileges under the Bill of
Rights which apply for any other!....
GERMAN AMERICAN BUND
Fritz Kuhn, National Leader82
Local, state, and national agencies attacked the Bund throughout 1938 and this
statement showed how the Bund defended itself as well as how it used
propaganda.
Another facet of German propaganda was falsehood. Goebbels believed
"that a lie may only be recognized as such when one's opponent has the
opportunity to expound the truth." Thus whenever Hitler and Goebbels lied, they
lied "consciously." This was shown by German propaganda statements which had
three basic elements in this order: "the first, falsehood, the second, the revelation
of the opponent's weaknesses, the third, driving home with repetition."83
Therefore, Goebbels and Hitler consciously lied in all their propaganda. Fritz
Kuhn, the Bundesleiter, also lied and lied consciously.
Finally, the masses in general, were a consideration in German
propaganda. Hitler devoted two brilliant chapters in Mein Kampf to propaganda.
Hitler wrote in Chapter VI, "War Propaganda" that "the art of propaganda lies in
understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a
psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and hence to the heart of the
25


broad masses." Furthermore, propaganda "consists in attracting the attention of
the crowd, and not in educating those who are already educated or who are
striving after education and knowledge, its effect for the most part must be aimed
at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect."84 This
"psychologically correct form" was described by Hitler in this way:
It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction,
for instance.
The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is
small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these
facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and
must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public
understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.85
Therefore, propaganda presented in repeated forceful slogans will be well-
received by the masses. The German-American Bund also presented simple
slogans in their propaganda. Thus there were three facets in National Socialist
propaganda: the notion of being attacked, consciously lying, and presenting simple
slogans to the masses.
Rutherford argued that Goebbels' Nazi propaganda was not necessarily all
"lies." Rutherford suggested that all historians should read E.H. Dance's book
History the Betrayer because Dance argued one event can be interpreted several
ways. For example, Wellington was Britain's hero; Blucher was Germany's hero.
Neither interpretation was more correct than the other.86
26


Rutherford further suggested that National Socialism contained a notion of
inordinate nationalism, which was a widely accepted argument. However, "one
must see propaganda as an attempt to present a viewpoint believed to be right, one
different in emphasis, but not in kind from what had gone before." For example
anti-Semitism prevailed in Germany long before Hitler took power. Under the
Weimar Republic teachers taught children about Aryan superiority, racial hatred,
and Germany's right to rule Europe. National Socialism took anti-Semitism to the
extreme conclusion.87 Thus Rutherford suggested that we must look at National
Socialist propaganda from a German viewpoint in order to fully understand its
implications.
Therefore, there were two ways to look at Nazi propaganda: it was all a lie
or it was from a German nationalistic perspective. It can also be noted that Nazi
propaganda was a mixture of both. There was a slant to this propaganda which
will also be seen in the German-American Bund propaganda.
For this study, Alfred Rosenberg was the most important Nazi next to
Adolf Hitler because he was the creator of the National Socialist ideology and the
founder and chief editor of the Vdlkischer Beobachter." Rosenberg was bom
January 12, 1893 in Revel, Estonia; thus he was a Baltic German or
Auslandsdeutscher. This was significant because Germans believed that the Baltic
Germans conceived of Deutschtum or German blood and honor better than the
27


Germans who lived in Germany. And Rosenberg created the "blood and honor"
leitmotif in National Socialist ideology. Rosenberg became a German citizen in
1923.88 Rosenberg influenced Hitler as well as the National Socialist ideology.
Hitler considered Rosenberg as the party's theorist and ideologist. Rosenberg also
played a significant role in the official newspaper of the NSDAP, the VoUdscher
Beobachter.
In December 1920 the Munchener Beobachter (Munich Observer)
newspaper was for sale for 60,000 RM. According to Deutsch, it was "a gossipy
paper in small format which gave publicity to local events."89 Major General
Ritter von Epp found money for Ernst Rohm to buy the Munich paper.90 After
the sale, the new editors, Rosenberg and Dietrich Eckhart, changed the name of
the paper to the Vdlkischer Beobachter and broadened it from a local to a national
newspaper.91
Rosenberg and Eckhart immediately attacked the Jews, Communists, and
Social Democrats in their newspaper. In 1923, Eckhart retired due to illness and
Rosenberg was the sole chief editor and writer. Rosenberg changed the
newspaper from a four page weekly into a four page daily.92 Rutherford argued
that the VoUdscher Beobachter was now "something of a popular daily, in
broadsheet format, with a marked bias towards the 'blood and soil' ersatz
religious brand of National Socialism."93 Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that "this
28


paper, as its name indicates, stood on the whole for folkish interests even then,
was now transformed into the organ of the NSDAP."94 Even though the
VolkisCker Beobachter was the official newspaper, Deutsch asserted that "for party
opinion and the political attitude," one cited "Goebbels's Der Angriff, Goering's
Essener National Zeitung, both the less official papers, the Frankfurter Zeitung,
and the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, and finally the Berliner Lokalanzeiger." The
reason for this was that Rosenberg was "a good thinker, a philosophically trained
author and orator, but a very bad editorial writer and journalist.1,95 Thus,
Rosenberg's Vdlkischer Beobachter was the official National Socialist newspaper.
However, many considered the paper not to be the definitive source of Nazi
thought and politics.
The official newspaper of the German-American Bund was the Deutscher
Weckruf und Beobachter which existed from November 1935 until September 22,
1938. The Bund changed the paper's name the Deutscher Weckruf und
Beobachter and the Free American which existed from September 28, 1938 to
December 1941.96 Rosenberg's Vdlkischer Beobachter was the model for the
Bund's newspaper. The German-American Bund "sold three or four thousand
copies, and gave a way perhaps twenty thousand more" of their weekly
newspaper.97 The price in 1938 was 5 cents an issue. The Bund published the
newspaper in New York, New York.
29


In a February 10, 1938 issue, the paper explained their name this way:
For the benefit of our non-German audience:
WECKRUF means alarm, or awakener- since our aim is to spread the
alarm about subversive movements and treacherous foreign diplomacy, and
to awaken the American people from the false sense of security into which
they have been lulled as regards [to] these dangers.
BEOBACHTER means observer- and this journal acts as a close and
keen observer of the current international scene; scrutinizing, analyzing,
and presenting its conclusions to an ever-growing body of readers who
want to keep abreast of the times.
Keep awake... observe what is happening in world affairs... by reading the
DEUTSCHER WECKRUF UND BEOBACHTER!98
Up until September 28, 1938, there was a saying above the title: Fur ein einiges
Deutschtum in Amerika und der Heimat ("For a United German people in America
and the Homeland") The eagle has been a symbol of Germany and the United
States. The eagle in the title was a variation of the eagle of both countries. There
was no swastika. The left-hand box stated after translating, "Official Organ of the
German-American Volksbund and the German-American Business League." The
right box stated after translating, "The Official Organ of the German people
(ethnic Germans) living in the U.S.A." The word volk is very difficult to
translate into English. George Mosse defined the word in organic terms.
'Volk' is a much more comprehensive term than 'people,' for the German
thinkers ever since the birth of German romanticism in the late eighteenth
century 'Volk' signified the union of a group of people with a
transcendental 'essence' might be called 'nature' or 'cosmos' or 'mythos,'
30


but in each instance it was fused the man's innermost nature, and
represented the source of his creativity, his depth of feeling, his
individuality, and his unity with other members of the Volk.99
In the WecJcruf, "volk" meant ethnic Germans.
September 28, 1938, the Bund added "The Free American" to its title.
This was because on September 3, 1938, the Bund unanimously re-elected Kuhn at
its national convention.100 The newspaper editors removed the eagle and the top
line. In either box (it changed sides periodically) it stated in English, "Official
Organ of the German American Bund and the German American Business League,
Inc." In the other box translated in English it stated," "The war bulletin of the
German-America people" (or ethnic Germans living in America), (see figure #6)
That statement was very significant because it showed that the Bund was at war
with people in America. The FBI, Congress, New York State, and New York
City, as well as the Jewish community attacked the Bund. Now it was on the
defensive.
After the convention the Bund had one "last effort to 'Americanize,' a
poorly timed and ill-conceived effort to reach 'all white patriotic Americans.'"101
Kuhn called for an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which wanted to rid Jews
from holding any government office, (see appendix #1) This radicalization was
further shown in the September 8 issue of the Weckruf in a front page article
"Bund Declaration of Principles." The Bund adopted a radical platform at the
31


1938 Convention which was as follows:
The following declaration was made by Chairman Fritz Kuhn at Camp
Nordlund in an address to the thousands of members and visiting delegates
on Sunday September 4:
1. A socially, just, white, Gentile-ruled United States.
2. Gentile-controlled labor unions free from Jewish-Moscow-directed
domination.
3. Gentiles in all positions of importance in government, national defense
and educational institutions.
4. Severance of diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia, outlawing of the
Communist Party in the United States, prosecution of all known
Communists for high treason.
5. Immediate cessation of the dumping of all political refugees on the
shores of the United States.
6. Thorough cleaning of the Hollywood film industries of all alien,
subversive doctrines.
7. Cessation of all abuse of the freedom of the pulpit, press, radio and
stage.
8. A return of our Government to the policies of George Washington.
Aloofness from foreign entanglements. Severance of all connections
with the League of Nations.102
The Bund also supported "The Bill of Rights (to put an end to the 'invasion
and plundering of offices and homes WITHOUT SEARCH WARRANTS!,)', as
well as the "end of the New Deal."103 Even though the Bund called for
isolationism like many of the fascist groups in the United States did, the Bund
differed by adhering "to two basic principles: racial anti-Semitism and unaltered
support of German internal and external policies."104
The Weckruf rarely mentioned sources of newspapers or wire services that
they used for their newspaper articles. Once in a while the Weckruf printed an
32


article from the Vdlkischer Beobachter and the Christian Free Press, or quoted an
article from the New York Times. However, it can be assumed that the Bund used
the two German wire services: Transozean and Deutsches Nachrichtenbuero. The
Deutsches Nachrichtenbuero (DNB), created by Goebbels provided official news
from Germany. Transozean (Transocean or TO), was an international German
wire service which existed several years prior to Nazi Germany.105 Sources and
names of writers were not revealed probably because this was a radical
propaganda newspaper and the Bund needed to protect those individuals.
The weekly newspaper contained 8-10 pages. There were both American
and European news reports. The majority of the American news appeared in
English in the column "Behind the Curtain" on page three. The column "Aus der
Bewegung" (From the Movement) appeared on page five and was a collage of
articles from the various Bund chapters around New York City. The Bund also
set up an employment agency for its members and advertised job openings in this
column. On February 17, 1938, the Bund announced the employment agency and
stated:
There is much agitation regrading the discriminating of employers in
regards to employing people who have formed objectionable political
opinions regarding Race Creed and Religion. The chief transgressor in our
fair City is that Element which boasts of CHAMPIONING
HUMANITARIAN. The chief sufferer the German-American who has
recognized the sinister motives behind these champion of human rights,
and it is in their behalf that we ask every RIGHT-THINKING PERSON
33


TO WATCH THIS COLUMN AND FIND WORK FOR THOSE LISTED
THEREIN.
We have countless cases of members and Mends who are discharged for
no other reason than that they were seen at some function of the German-
American Bund or other nationalistic affair. Aside from this deplorable
condition, we are certain that any Craft worker you may benefit will give
you the same diligent effort that our people have put into the building of
this, the greatest country on earth.... 106
The column advertised for such jobs as painters, carpenters, secretaries,
waitresses, and so forth. The Bund tried to provide services to all its members as
a way to keep and increase membership.
On page six, there was usually the column "Wir Amerikaner" (We
Americans). Throughout most of 1938, the newspaper published pages from the
novel Die Trommel Gottes (The Drum of God), by Fritz Weber. This was
probably a best seller German novel and the Bund tried to bring German culture
to its members. On the last page, the paper published a weekly schedule of
German short-wave radio programs such as classical music and news. A week
was randomly chosen and only a few interesting programs will be listed here:
April 8, 1938:
Konzert der Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic in Concert)
Marktbericht der Woche (Market report for the week)
GrOsse an unsere H&rer (Letters from our Listeners)
April 10, 1938:
Die Wehrmacht spielt (The Army plays)
Sportecho (Sports news)
34


Nachrichten (deutsch) (News in German)
Nachrichten (english) News in English)
April 11, 1938:
Old Man Riverold and new times of the Mississippi
April 12, 1938:
Das ist die HJ (english) This is the Hitler Youth (English)
Bulgarische Kiinstler spielen bulgarische Musik
(Bulgarian Artists play Bulgarian Music)
April 13, 1938:
Bilder aus der Deutsch-amerikanischen Geistesbegegnung
GoetheEmerson
(Pictures from the German-American meetings of SpiritGoethe and
Emerson)
Dichter der HJ: Artur M. Luckdoiff (Poets of the Hitler Youth: Artur M.
Luckdorff)
Quer durch Deutschland Kleiner Gang durch Miinchen (english)
(Travel through GermanyA little walk through Munich) (English)
April 14, 1938:
Aus neuen Biichem (Reviews of New Books)
Plim und PlamDie beiden Funk-Clowns mit viel musik
(Plim and PlamThe pair of radio clowns- with a lot of music)107
The Bund had many fund raising activities. In the first part of 1938, the
Bund sponsored a sweepstakes membership drive campaign in the paper. The
Weckruf offered $5,000 in cash and prize money and that "this liberal offer is
primarily to increase this paper's circulation and at the same time to distribute
35


thousands of dollars in prizes and cash among the energetic salesmen and
saleswomen..." living within 25 miles of New York City. Prize winners "will be
decided by their accredited votes, and votes being issued on subscriptions and for
trade cards on adverting sales." There were other rules as well as descriptions of
the prizes.108 The campaign ran from February 14, 1938 to April 16, 1938. The
success of the sweepstakes membership drive was unknown, (see figure #7) There
were also pleas from the Bund to send in money to help fight court verdicts such
as the Siegfried Camp verdict and some issues had Bund membership applications,
(see figures #8 and #9)
All of the Bund newspapers such as the Deutscher Weckruf in Chicago, the
Philadelphia Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter, and the California Weckruf were
subsidiaries of the A.V. Publishing Company. Many German-American
businesses paid high prices in order to advertise in one of the Bund's
newspapers.109 In the Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter the majority of the
advertisements in 1938 were in German and there were adds for restaurants,
doctors, dentists, optometrists, herbal teas, milk, bakeries, butchers, clothing
stores, travel agencies, theaters, laundries, barber shops, jewelers, liquor stores,
and hardware stores.
There were several investigations between 1936 and 1943 and subsequent
efforts to shut Kuhn and the Bund down. When Kuhn "took control, he was well
36




However,
aware that as long as he worked within the iaw he was untouchable.1'110
several people tried to shut the Bund down. As Diamond pointed out that "there
was never an organized plot to persecute the Bundists, but there were several
concerted efforts to harass the Bund, to make life uncomfortable, and, if possible,
to obtain indictments under existing statutes." For example, many Bundists
themselves and the Bund camps "had their tax records examined; their liquor
licenses were suspended and in some cases revoked. Bundists were bothered by
police surveillance at their meetings."111
Furthermore, in 1937 local and state officials investigated the Bund and its
activities and there was "the renewal of a congressional probe under the
chairmanship of Martin Dies."112 Martin Dies, a Texan Democrat, was the first
chair of the House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities which began
in 1938. Diamond argued that "the Dies Committee hearings were forerunners of
the McCarthy investigations of the 1950's." Many others besides Dies
investigated the Bund. For example, New york City prosecutor Thomas Dewey,
New York State Senator John McNaboe, and West Virginia Representative
Jennings Randolf all tried to rid Kuhn and the German-American Bund in one way
or another. 113
All of the investigations concluded that "there was little that could be done
to dismantle the Bund movement. The Bund was labeled a conspiracy, a hate
37


group, and a subversive organization; but except when it violated civil rights
statutes on the local level... it was difficult to obtain an indictment against the
Bund."114 Diamond asserted that the government convicted Kuhn for larceny and
forgery in December 1939 rather than for un-Americanism.115
Once again Germany and the United States decided to deal with the Bund
German national problem in 1938. According to Diamond,
Over the years Berlin had tried to placate the Americans by treating the
Bund question as a legal problemthat is, by considering the presence of
German nationals in the movement as criminal and in violation of some
federal law.... In response to a letter from the Foreign Ministry concerning
this question, [Ambassador] Dieckhoff reported that the United States
Attorney General Homer Cummings and the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover
had conducted an investigation of the Bund's internal affairs and announced
on January 5, 1938, that the group was not in violation of existing federal
statutes. Thus, far from posing a legal question the Amerikadeutscher
Volksbund created a political problem, and Germany must acknowledge
this distinction.116
Germany decided to tell Kuhn to dismiss all German nationals from the Bund and
Germany forbade the Bund to use NSDAP insignia.117
On May 3, 1938, in response to Germany's demands, Kuhn reorganized
the Bund. Kuhn kept the Prospective Citizen's League which supported German
nationals who wanted to become U.S. citizens. He demanded that all German
nationals in the Prospective Citizens' League to file first papers for citizenship,
discontinued; on the contrary, he ordered all nationals in the Bund to take out first
papers toward citizenship. However, the Bund created a new membership
38


division, the Sympathizers of the German-American Bund for those German
nationals who retained their German citizenship. Kuhn stated that the
Sympathizers of the German-American Bund '"includes those persons who
sympathize with our struggle and work and who express this sympathy by paying
regular donations of money. They are not members of the Bund or the
Prospective Citizens' League. Any worthy Aryan can become a member...
nationality plays no role.'"118 Many German nationals relinquished their German
citizenship in the late 1930s. However, hundreds left the United States and
returned to their German homeland. 119
Furthermore, "the year 1939 proved fatal to the Bund."120 On November
9, 1939 the trial, the People v. Fritz Kuhn began. The prosecution argued that
Kuhn stole funds from the Bund and claimed he spent the money on amusements
and women.121 The three K's disclosed the Bund's financial records to
prosecutors. The three K's were: Gerhard Kunze, who headed the public relations
department and became leader of the youth movement in October 1938; August
Klapprott, an acquaintance of Kuhn and manger of a restaurant near Camp
Nordlund, New Jersey; and Wilbur Keegan, a lawyer who drew a part-time salary
from the Bund.122 The defense argued "that Kuhn's private life had no bearing on
the case and that his client could not be accused of larceny because, in keeping
with the 'leadership principle,' he had ultimate control over the organization's
39


finances." The defense arguments chipped away at the charges.123 However, the
court found Kuhn guilty of five matters of grand larceny and forgery.124 The
judge sentenced Kuhn for two and a half to five years in prison at Sing Sing on
December 5, 1939. The period of Bundesfuhrer Kuhn was over.125
On December 6, 1939 Gerhard Kunze, one of the 3 K's and deputy
Bundesleiter ejected Kuhn from the German-American Bund during a private
executive committee conference.126 Herzstein argued that "the Bundesfuhrer was
undone by his own vices: greed, lust, egomania, and stupidity."127
Diamond summed up the Kuhn era is this way:
The Kuhn period began with a lie. During the three years from 1936 to
1939, Kuhn managed to free the Bund from the internecine quarreling that
had characterized its entire history, to locate new sources of income, and
to propagate the belief that he enjoyed a very large following of German-
Americans. His bombast, propensity for exaggeration, and lies were part
of his technique. In all, he never had more than twenty-five thousand
followers; even this estimate may be too high. More important, the
nucleus around which the Bund was built remained what it always had
been: a core of transplanted Germans who trod the path toward citizenship
only in order to stay in the movement. Whether his following was fifteen
thousand or fifty thousand (as Dickstein later claimed) is immaterial; what
is important is the belief shared by many Americans that the Volksbund
was controlled from Berlin.128
According to Diamond, the precise beginning of the end for the Bund was
hard to pinpoint. There were many intra-organizational conflicts. These
disagreements were "not the result of hairsplitting ideological arguments; rather,
most of the stresses and strains were caused by deep-seated personal conflicts
40


among the Bundists."129 This was an interesting observation because many of the
European political groups dissolve or splinter because of "hairsplitting
arguments." In National Socialist Germany, Rosenberg, Goebbels and Streicher
had their own newspapers, the Vdlkischer Beobachter, Der Angriff, and Der
StUrmer which had their own ideological viewpoints. Diamond further argued that
"despite the excitement the Volksbund aroused, it was a failure by American and
German political standards."130 Kuhn never really had the support of American
citizens of German descent, nor did he ever make any headway into the American
political scene by getting members elected into political office.
In an effort to dissolve the Bund, the Justice Department tried to
denaturalize Kuhn in 1938. The government failed to revoke Kuhn's citizenship
because it could not prove that Kuhn threatened U.S. security at the time of his
naturalization in 1934.131
The U.S. government tried to denaturalize Kuhn and other defendants after
new Congressional legislation became law.132 On January 5, 1943, the
government indicted Kuhn and nineteen other Bundists for being allegiant to
Germany at the time of the U.S. naturalization which violated the Nationality Act
of 1940. Kuhn argued that he worked for peace between Germany and the United
States. Furthermore, he argued that the 1940 Nationality Act could not be applied
to him because the U.S. naturalized him on December 3, 1934. The government
41


argued that "Kuhn and his associates had not been well disposed to the good order
and happiness of the United States at the time of their naturalization and
throughout the Bund Years."133
Justice Bright argued on March 18, 1943 that Kuhn was indeed un-
American. In his seventy-four page opinion, Justice Bright wrote that Kuhn's
statements at the 1938 National Convention violated the oath he had taken at the
time of his naturalization. Bright felt that Kuhn and the others retained allegiance
to Germany because of their statements and actions such as shouting Heil Hitler.
Due to the amount of evidence gathered by the government against Kuhn and the
others, Bright decided to denaturalize them. On June 1, 1943 the U.S.
government denaturalized Kuhn and the other defendants. In late June 1943 the
U.S. government paroled Kuhn, transferred him to New Mexico, and placed him
in an interment camp.134 The U.S. government saw Kuhn as a threat because of
his so-called connections to Hitler.
After the Second World War, the U.S. deported Kuhn to Germany "on the
grounds that he was an enemy alien and 'dangerous to the public peace and safety
of the United States." After he arrived in Germany, American occupation
officials questioned the former Bundesfiihrer. In April 1946, occupation officials
released Kuhn. Kuhn then worked in Munich as an industrial chemist for the next
42


Then Bavarian de-Nazification officials arrested Kuhn in July 1947
on the charges that he was a close associate with Hitler and that he tried to bring
National Socialism to the U.S. As previously mentioned, Kuhn fabricated close
ties with Hitler in order to gain support. Then in January 1948 officials interned
Kuhn, "in the Dachau camp after being questioned by American investigators of
war crimes." Kuhn escaped the camp and then lived in the French zone.
However, in April 1948, de-Nazification officials found Kuhn a minor war
criminal and convicted Kuhn in absentia to ten years of hard labor. Authorities
found Kuhn in Bemkastel, a town in the French-zone a six months later and
imprisoned him. Kuhn appealed the minor war criminal verdict, won the appeal,
and authorities freed him in 1950. Kuhn returned to Munich and died on
December 14, 1951.136
43


CHAPTER n
IMPORTANT WORLD EVENTS
1938 was a pivotal year in German and American relations. At the
beginning of 1938, Germany decided to participate in the 1939 World's Fair.
Germany wanted trade and friendship relations with other nations of the world and
the World's Fair was one way of Germany gaining trust. Yet during 1938, U.S.
relations with Germany worsened. Germany withdrew from the World's Fair,
then annexed Austria and the Sudetenland. Then Germany turned to domestic
issues and attacked the Jews. By the end of 1938, both countries recalled their
ambassadors. The Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter clearly illustrated the
worsening of US and German relations.
Planning of the 1939 World's Fair
On January 6, 1938, the Weckruf enthusiastically reported on the front
page that Germany was the 62nd country to sign a lease to participate in the 1930
World's Fair in New York City. The paper asserted," Germany's participation in
this enormous project was uncertain and thus was primarily due to the impudent
and uncouth tantrums of New York Mayor Fiorello (Little Flower) La
Guardia...." The article further stated that the signing of the lease showed that
"Germany is filled with the deep desire to maintain the most friendly ties possible
with America" and "mutual economic relations must be considered as the greatest
44


and first pledge next" to friendly relations with the United States.1
Germany signed for 100,000 square feet which was the sixth in size after
Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, France and the Soviet Union. The German exhibit
"[would] produce a powerful astonishment and admiration when facts, real facts
will prove not only the quality of German products, but moreover [would]
document the achievements of the four year plan, and this before the entire world,
which still today in large part stands under the pernicious influence of the anti-
German Jewish propaganda," claimed the Bund. The Weckruf also sarcastically
reported that "the League of Nations has insisted upon leasing 20,000 square feet
perhaps in order to exhibit in this area all the documents relating to the botched
encouragements, regulations, proposals and unimplemented projectsto the
blessings of mankind- and give an eloquent speech."2
Obviously, the Bund had little respect for the League of Nations.
Germany joined the League of Nations in September 19263 and then Hitler
withdrew Germany's membership in 1933.4 In the April 28 issue of the Weckruf,
snippets of Hitler's address regarding the withdrawal from the League of Nations
to the Reichstag were printed. Hitler claimed that Germany left the League of
Nations because it prohibited Germany from rearming and thus left Germany
vulnerable. Furthermore, Germany disliked the majority rule process and realized
that the League was ineffective.5
45


Thus Germany had isolated itself from the world community. Germany,
by participating in the World's Fair, was trying to re-establish trade and friendship
relations with other nations.
The Boycott League, led by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York, did not
support Germany's participation in the 1939 World's Fair. The Weckruf described
the opposition in this way:
So on the other side, a group of "untermyerschen" obstructionists set up an
awful smear campaign. They were prepared to fight, with all then-
resources, to obstruct the signing of the present agreement between the
U.S.A. and Germany and now attempts in a hateful way to bait Germany.
We have already reported the first step in this relationship in our last
edition wherein it was reported that a Boycott-League wrote an insolent
and provocative letter to the Mayor of New York where Germany's
participation was protested. And so this agreement will be all the more
warmly greeted in business and civic circles directly by this fact as a
resounding slap in the face which has been even to this unamerican baiting
which again and again ventures to maintain that Germany has no interest in
taking steps to promote peace in international trade relations to the
peoples.6
Therefore, the Bund saw Germany's joining of the World's Fair as a positive step
to friendship and trade relations with the United States.
However, on April 26, 1938, Germany withdrew from the World's Fair
"owing to financial difficulties, foreign exchange transactions in particular."7 The
Weckruf \ of course, stated other possible reasons:
One is the atmosphere of animosity that has been created through official
channels, the actions of Secretary Ickes in denying Germany the needed
shipment of helium for Zeppelin service, and the danger of Jewish mobs
46


to the German exhibitors while La Guardia is mayor.8
Thus what seemed as a "slap in the face" to the Boycott League and others,
became a "slap in the face" to the Bund when Germany withdrew from the
World's Fair. Because Germany withdrew from the League of Nations as well as
the World's Fair, there now was even more concern of whether or not Germany
really wanted peaceful relations with the U. S. and the world. Germany isolated
itself more and more in 1938. The withdrawal from the 1939 World's Fair was
just one example of that self-initiated isolation. The annexation of Austria
created further problems for the world community.
The "Annexation" of Austria
After the First World War, Austria was a newly created nation of six
million people and was not allowed to seek Anschluss with Germany, according to
the Treaty of St. Germain. The treaty caused Austria to become unbalanced
especially economically.9 This was just one of many blunders created after the
First World War that had serious repercussions in the 1920s and 1930s.
The National Socialists used three rationales for their expansionist foreign
policy: Volksraum, the notion of the Thousand Year Reich, and correcting the
wrongs of the Treaty of Versailles. Volksraum literally translated means "living
space." However, the word has a different meaning from the English usage. The ,
word "Space meant a limited one, two, three dimensional area. The word Raum,
47


however, meant an expanse with limitless boundaries.10
Hitler in Mein Kampf, further defined Volksraum in relation to foreign
policy. Nazi German foreign policy can only be successful if
it offers the rear cover for an enlargement of our people's living space in
Europe. For it is not in colonial acquisitions that we must see the solution
of this problem, but exclusively in the acquisition of a territory for
settlement, which will enhance the area of the mother country, and hence
not only keep the new settlers in the most intimate community with the
land of their origin, but secure for the total area these advantages which lie
in its unifies magnitude.11
Secondly, it seemed that Nazi German foreign policy wanted to recreate
the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire. The First Reich, or the Thousand
Year Reich, better known as the Holy Roman Empire, founded by Otto I, the
Great, lasted from 936 to 1806. The Second Reich began when Bismarck unified
Germany in 1871 and ended in 1918. The Third Reich, founded by Hitler, lasted
from 1933 to 1945. The national anthem of Germany, Deutschland UberAlles,
past and present, defines the boundaries of the German Empire. The boundaries
are from the Meuse River in France, to the Etsch or the Adige River in Italy, to
the Memel River in Russia, to the Belt of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.
Most of that territory was a part of the Holy Roman Empire except for Russia.
Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf.
And so we National Socialists consciously draw a line beneath the
foreign tendency of our pre-War period. We take up where we broke off
six hundred years ago. We stop the endless German movement to the south
48


and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the east. Al long last we
break off the colonial and commercial policy of the pre-War period and
shift to the soil policy of the future.
Russia iifi&faeapsalssaF hodden Botep^2 today, we can primarily have in mind only
The third rationale was to correct the wrongs created by the Treaty of
Versailles. These wrongs include not allowing Austria to join Germany and
taking away the Rhine and Sudetenland from Germany. Hitler eventually regained
all of the lost territory.
By 1938 the Austrian Nazi party created much eagerness for Anschluss
with Germany.13 The success of the Austrian Nazi party was due to the Austrian
government terrorizing their people both economically and personally.
Furthermore, according to Hitler, this terrorism brought economic failure to
Austria which caused the Austrians to look at economically prosperous Germany,
according to Hitler in his radio address concerning the intervention in Austria.14
A second reason for the Nazi Party's success was that the Christian Socialists and
the Social Democrats, the two most powerful political parties in Austria, fought
each other rather than the Nazis.15 Hitler further stated that there was a definite
cultural connection with the German Austrians that should not be divided.16
Hitler claimed that 40,000 refugees spilled into Germany from Austria, and
prison and concentration camps housed hundreds of thousands more Austrians who
lived in poverty and despair.17
49


In response, Germany tried to come to an agreement with Austria first in
1936 and then in 1938 with the Austro-German Pact. Hitler met with Austrian
Kurt von Schuschnigg where Hitler intimidated him into agreeing to Anschluss.18
On February 24, 1938 the Weckruf commented on the Austro-German Pact. The
Austro-German Pact, according to the newspaper, showed that "the Reich is
reorganizing Central Europe on a normal basis of peaceful understanding."
The newspaper further argued that the "two countries speaking the same language,
praying in the same tongue, sharing the same ancestry, singing the same songs,
and divided by no geographical or ethnical, but only by dead dynastic boundaries,
should sooner or later unite their life currents is not only natural but has been
freely predicted in greater Europe for years."19
The newspaper reported the response of Europe as: "France professes to be
somewhat disturbedwhich is a recurrent habitbut England and Poland appear
to have accepted the situation as fait accompli." The article then praised Hitler's
actions. "The Reich under Hitler is slowly but surely expanding its influence,
crowding France out of her commanding position as the arbiter of Central
Europe's political and economic affairs."20
After Schuschnigg returned to Austria, he "decided to resist German
pressure. Hitler enraged, arranged for the Austrian Minister of the Interior, a
Nazi, to declare a state of emergency and to call for German intervention."21
50


The Weckruf printed the entire radio address regarding the annexation of Austria
in German on March 17, 1938. This was one of very few documents that
contained Hitler's speech. Hitler claimed that after the meeting between himself
and Schuschnigg, the Austrian government immediately set up a plebiscite to be
held in three days. This was the first time in years that Austria set up elections,
there were no voter registrations records, no secret ballot, and no way to insure a
viable count. The Austrians stood up against the elections, and a civil war seemed
inevitable. Germany claimed that it must protect all Germans and secure peace
around its border areas. Hitler stated:
I have therefore decided to guarantee the help of the Reich to these
millions of Germans in Austria. Since this morning soldiers of the
German army have marched everywhere over the German border.
Armored troops, infantry divisions, and SS units on the ground and the
German air power in the blue skies have been called for by the new
Nationalsocialist government in Vienna.
This government will guarantee that the Austrian people will at least be
given the opportunity to shape their own destiny through a real
plebiscite....22
Hitler's military forces entered Austria on March 12, 1938, and the German-
American Bund praised Hitler's actions.
The Weckruf \ wrote an interesting article which compared the German
annexation of Austria to the American annexation of Texas. The newspaper
pointed out many parallels between U.S. history and the current German actions
in Europe.
51


....What has taken place bears more than a superficial resemblance our
annexation of Texas. As the legally functioning Austrian government of
Seyss-Inquart called on Germany for help, so the American colonists called
on the United States to acknowledge Texas independence from Mexico.
There never was a dispute that Texas did not legally belong to Mexico.
But in 1830 200,000 Americans were settled in Texas and were displaying
a rebellious spirit.... Sam Houston crushed the armed forces of Mexico,
the republic was proclaimed, and in March, 1837, the independence of
Texas was acknowledged by the Washington Government and on July 4,
1865, Texas was annexed against the opposition of the Northern States.
Save that the Texas annexation took place a hundred years ago and the
circumstances have been forgotten by most of us, any demur to Hitler's
action regarding Austria is just a case of the pot calling the kettle black.23
The points that the article brought up, although slanted, were reasonably
accurate. Thus Germany annexed Austria and the Bund praised Hitler's efforts.
The Weckruf then began to report on the Sudetenland crisis.
The Sudentenland Crisis
After Hitler annexed Austria, he began working towards taking back the
Sudetenland. The big European powers created the nation of Czechoslovakia after
the First World War. Czechoslovakia contained populated German and Polish
regions.24 Czechoslovakia would not be attacked by Germany if there was a
German population living there, was the strategic reasoning. France and Russia
wanted to maintain Czechoslovakian security for security reason as well.
Furthermore, Czechoslovakian border areas contained important natural resources
as well as industry and manufacturing plants.25
In the May 26, 1938 issue of the Weckruf \ an article described the poor
52


treatment of the Sudeten Germans by the Czechoslovakian government. The
article stated that Czechoslovakian soldiers severely terrorized Sudeten Germans
lately, killed two Sudeten Germans, and encroached upon the German border.26
Richards argued that Czechoslovakia treated the Sudeten Germans more
impartially than other countries treated their minority groups. However, like the
Austrians, the Sudeten Germans looked to Germany for help.27
The article continued to say that:
If three and half million Germans, who became "citizens" or rather
subjects of a non-German Government against their will want to shake all
their yoke and be governed by their own kind, it becomes the duty of
every American to support not the oppressors but those who are fighting
for their "Right of Self-determination of Peoples," thus helping to make
amends for Wilson's broken promises of 1918!28
Thus Germany and the German-American Bund wanted to correct the
"wrongs" of the Treaty of Versailles.
The article, once again compared the American annexation of Texas to
Germany's goals:
When two hundred thousand Americans living in the Mexican State of
Texas wanted to rule that territory themselves and then to incorporate it
into the Union, that was perfectly all right and no one was worried about
the wishes of the Mexican Texans on the subject, albeit the Americans had
not been long in the territory, arid were not people placed under foreign
rule against their will. The Sudeten Germans lived in Bohemia and
Moravia for hundreds of years under the rule of the Germans; the oldest
German University in existence is the University of Prague! Think it
over!29
53


However, in 1938 Hitler felt that the Sudetenland should be returned to
Germany. "There was a legitimate and negotiable issue at stake, the status of the
Sudeten Germans" who "were ethnic Germans living in the western border areas
of Czechoslovakia." Hitler and the new British Prime Minister, Neville
Chamberlain, had been negotiating over Czechoslovakia throughout the summer.
Negotiations broke down and war seemed inevitable. Mussolini proposed that
there be a conference in late September between Italy, France, Germany, and
Great Britain. Mussolini excluded the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Hitler,
Chamberlain, Mussolini, and Daladier met in Munich September 29, 1938. They
gave the Sudetenland back to Germany. Czechoslovakia would hold plebiscites in
areas where the German population was less than fifty percent. Hitler promised to
allow the rest of Czechoslovakia to remain sovereign. Britain and France honestly
thought that they secured peace and Hitler wanted no more concessions and
neither country geared up for war.30
Other positive consequences stemmed from the Munich conference,
according to the Weckruf. The Conference broke Russian ties to Central Europe,
and it created stronger ties among the Western European nations.31 The
elimination of Russian influence in Central Europe seemed to be a primary
German goal and accomplishment.
The Weckruf asserted that "Chancellor Hitler won the greatest diplomatic
54


victory of his career" with the annexation of the Sudetenland.32 On October 6, the
Weckruf proclaimed that "through it all Hitler looms as the Miracle Man of the
Century, but Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladierfour men who met together
with open minds, courage, and readiness to apply the knife to the center of
Europe's vitalshave a full share in the glory of that eventful conference."33
Richards argued, "Chamberlain arrived back in Britain unsure of how he would be
received by the public but believing that he had secured 'peace in our time. ",34
In another article on October 6 with the headline A NEW EUROPE IS
BORN, the Weckruf, criticized America's response to European problems. First
the newspaper attacked the American press. "Once again the American press
remained deaf to the call of conscience for a manifestation of fundamental
Americanism, for 'governed by the consent of the governed,' and its cry for
democracy proved but the empty echo of a stock-phrase." Second, the Weckruf
criticized the American government. "Let it be regretfully recorded that no
American statesman arose to champion the cause of liberty" in the Sudeten
crisis. The Bund claimed that America's lack of response was caused by "the
commanding influence of the Jews in the councils of our own country made the
verdict stamping Hitler as the villain in the play unanimous."35
Finally one of the more important articles discussed the economic gains of
annexing the Sudetenland. One of the sub-headlines stated, "Germany Regains
55


Her Place in the Sun." The economic gains were enormous. Germany gained
many natural resources such as iron ore, coal, zinc, timber, farming land
including hop field, as well as industries such as textile, lace, embroidery, toy,
porcelain, glassware, and pottery.36 The Weckruf claimed that this was poetic
justice because Germany lost 80 percent of her mines because of the Treaty of
Versailles. These economic gains will "provide for more employment, for
greater self-containment and independence for the creation of new wealth,"
according to the Weckruf?1
One could argue that the economic aspect was as important if not more
important than the ethnic question for Germany. Germany needed these
resources, especially iron ore and coal, to continue to conquer Europe.
This agreement led the way for Hitler to take Czechoslovakia completely in
1939. Hitler broke his promise to France's and Britain's surprise. Now Britain
and France began to prepared for an inevitable war. Germany turned toward
domestic issues, namely the Jewish question, which further created a breakdown
in U.S. and German relations
Kristallnacht
On November 9-10, 1938 Goebbels ordered the Nazis to attack German-
Jew businesses and homes.38 Before then, Germany only persecuted the Jews
politically.39 The Weckruf wrote two brief articles in English describing
56


Kristallnacht on the front page on the November 17, 1938 issue. According to
one article the persecution of the Jews occurred out of revenge for the
assassination of vom Rath, the third secretary of the German legation in Paris. A
Polish Jew claimed he killed vom Rath because of the persecutions of the German-
Jews.40 The German government claimed that the attack on the German Jews was
voluntary.41 However, in reality Goebbels ordered the Gestapo, the SS, and the
police to either arrest or put the German Jews in concentration camps.42
Furthermore, 36 Jews died, 36 were wounded, and 191 synagogues burned down,
76 of which were completely destroyed.43 The Weckruf admitted that property
was damaged but stated, "... it is significant that the correspondents were unable
to cite a single case of Jews losing their lives."44 Kristallnacht or "Crystal
Night" received its name because the most of the broken glass was Belgian
Crystal. There was so much property damage that Goring worried his economic
program would be severely damaged by all the insurance claims.45
The Bund's anti-Semitic ideology was evident in this article. The Weckruf
stated, "It is of some interest to note that a number of crises in world affairs
were due to assassinations of prominent persons by Jews." The Bund cited
examples of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the Russian Czar
and his family, as well as others. Secondly, they reasoned that the Jews brought
upon the attack themselves for various reasons. First, "the bitter memories in still
57


young German hearts of the Jewish invasion during the terrible inflation
years..." was one reason for the riots. A second reason was the world press
especially the newspapers "published or edited by Jewish refugees from Germany
in countries across the German borders" created hatred against Germany. The
Bund felt that the press reports about this incident was an excuse "to incite the
public still further against the German National Socialist regime." Thirdly, the
boycott march by Samuel Untermeyer caused the Jewish Question to become
acute. The Boycott League, led by Jews, advocated the boycott of German goods.
This angered Germany, who in turn took out their frustrations on the German
Jews. "The old established German Jews warned their fellow-racials here that
the boycott would make it harder for the Jews in the Reich; but Untermeyer and
his tribesmen through they knew better and intensified their campaign of hatred."
The boycott issue caused the German Jews "to pay the price- every act of
oppression was in retaliation for attacks on Germany by Jews and their
henchmen.1,46 The Bund, thus felt that the Jews brought the violence upon
themselves.
The Weckruf also stated that the attacks in Germany on the Jews were like
the attacks in America on the Bund members. The Jews in the United States
attacked the Bund on a number of occasions at their peaceful meetings across the
United States. Jews picketed employers who hired "men with German names,"
58


and now "no German can get a job."47 The Weckruf further stated:
We offer no excuse for lawlessness in Germany, but if lawlessness is in the
name of democracy and patriotism is all right here; of anti-Aryan
demonstrations and riots are tolerated and even encouraged in the United
States, it is hardly fair for A1 Smith and Thomas E. Deweywhose
surroundings swarm with Jewsto resent in long speeches the treatment
German mete out to Jews in return for the treatment of the Jews and their
satraps mete out to Germans and German citizens over here.48
Thus, in the Bund's view, American citizens attacked the Bund, and yet there was
no concern about the attacks on American citizens, i.e. the Bundists. There was
only concern for other citizens in other nations.
Finally, in another brief article, the Bund called attention to the fact that
the Jewish nation had no central government that could be held accountable for its
citizens. Therefore, "Germany is collecting its indemnity in the only effective
way possible, namely by finding the Jewish Community within its reach." The
Weckruf further stated that "Mob rule and riots are regrettable in any form and in
whatever country they occur, and we offer no apology for the anti-Jewish
disturbances of last week in Germany."49
The Weckruf placed these two articles on the front page of its newspaper in
English. They seemed to want to admit that Kristallnacht occurred then moved
on. There was no other mention of this incident in the rest of 1938. This
incident caused diplomatic relations between the United States and Germany to
deteriorate further.
59


Recall of Ambassadors
In early 1938, the United States replaced retiring German Ambassador
William E. Dodd with Hugh Wilson. The Weckruf wrote on January 20, 1938,
"We are confident that Mr. Wilson will bend every effort to the cementing of a
cordial relationship between the United States and Germany- two nations which
have always been the best of friends except when the treachery of enemies
intervened!"50
In the middle of 1937, Germany replaced American Ambassador Hans
Luther with Dr. Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff.51 Dieckhoff was bom in Germany in
1887. Between 1922 and 1926 he worked in the Germany Embassy in
Washington. From 1930- 1936 he worked in the German foreign ministry in the
American and British affairs department.52 Dieckhoff was "one of the leading
Foreign Ministry authorities on the United States" before he became Ambassador
to Washington.53
In 1938, relations between Germany and the United States further
deteriorated with the annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia.54 Relations
between the two countries dissolved rather quickly after the news of Kristallnacht.
Immediately after the reports about Kristallnacht President Roosevelt
issued the following statement:
'The news of the past few days from Germany deeply shocked public
60


opinion in the United States. Such news from any part of the world would
inevitably produce similar profound reaction among Americans in any part
of the nation.
I myself could scarcely believe that such things could occur in a
twentieth century civilization. With a view of gaining a first-hand picture
of the current situation in Germany, I asked the Secretary of State to order
our Ambassador in Berlin to return at once for report and consultation.,55
Thus on November 14, 1938 Roosevelt ordered Ambassador Hugh Wilson to
leave Germany. In response, Germany ordered Ambassador Dieckhoff to leave
the United States immediately.56
On December 8, 1938, the Weckruf cited three reasons for Roosevelt's
recall of Wilson. One was "to express moral indignation" over Kristallnacht.
Second "Wilson never was slated for a long term ambassador to Berlin,"
according to the Weckruf because Wilson had "always favored co-operation with
Hitler. His policy has been to build up Germany as a buffer against Russia- a
policy identical to that of Neville Chamberlain...." Thus the recall of Wilson
"divorces United States policy from Chamberlain's and demonstrated to the
American public that Roosevelt is not entirely following the lead of Downing
Street, as he definitely has done in the past."57
In the November 24, 1938 issue of the Weckruf there was an interesting
slanted propaganda piece called "What the Ambassadors Will Probably
Report". The article speculated about what the German and American
Ambassadors will say about the climate in those countries.
61


....Ambassador Dieckhoff will be able to report that public and official
sentiment here is bitterly resentful, profoundly unfriendly and quite as
vindictive as during the days on the eve of our entering the World War,
when the newspapers were full of reports of German atrocities in Belgium,
which you were not allowed to gainsay until after the peace had relaxed
the embargo on the truth.
He will also be able to report that we on this side of the Atlantic are
never stirred up by what happens to non-Jews, but only by deplorable
happenings to Jews; that we preserved a remarkable indifference to the
suffering of the Russian people, the murder of millions by planned
starvation and gunfire; that we expressed no indignation at the slow
starvation of 800,00 German civilians by the British blockageafter the
armistice. The high commissars who signed death warrants in Russia
were Jews and the murder of the German civilians were English....
He will be able to recite what organized propaganda is doing to
exaggerate and misrepresent things, quote the widely circulated story that
the present attacks on the German Jews were planned as long ago as last
August and held in abeyance until a favorable opportunity offered to carry
the program in effect; that this opportunity came when the Jewish assassin
killed the third secretary of the German legation in Paris....
On the other hand, Ambassador Wilson will be [able] to report that
matters have been largely exaggerated and misrepresented;... that
statements wrenched from their context do not tell the whole truth; that the
Jews in Germany owe their own fate chiefly to the ill-advised policy of
Samuel Untermeyer and Rabbi Wise....38
Neither Ambassador ever returned to his post and thus German and
American diplomatic relations on the Ambassadorial level ended.59 Thus in
January 1938 it looked hopeful that relations between the U.S. and Germany
would improve with Germany's participation in the 1939 World's Fair. All
throughout 1938 relations worsened between the U.S. and Germany with the
events in Europe until finally both countries recalled their ambassadors. Thus
1938 was a pivotal year for U.S. and German relations as reported in the
62


Weckruf.


CHAPTER m
IDEOLOGY
The Weckruf also reported on aspects of National Socialist ideology,
namely anti-Communism, and anti-Semitism. The paper discussed both
Germany's views and the Bund's views.
Anti-Communism in the Weckruf
According to George L. Mosse, ''national socialism was an ideology which
had a total view of life which was opposed to Marxist materialism. In the
German situation, particularly, the Marxist and national socialist ideologies
confronted each other."1 For example, "Marxism saw its utopia in a state of the
future which would be industrialized; fascism sought its ideal in a past which had
not known the problems of the industrial age." However, ironically, "Germany
deliberately increased its industrial potential and the despised big cities grew ever
larger" during the reign of the National Socialists.2
The National Socialist ideologues believed that they could deter the evils of
industrialization such as worker-employer conflicts. There would still be classes
and worker-employer relations but all Aryans would united to fight the inferior
races. Thus race struggle would replace class struggle.3 The theorists assumed
that the higher purpose would unite everyone. However, in good times this was
probably true, but in bad times such as when Germany was losing the war,
64


Germans became disgruntled and stopped working for the higher purpose i.e. left
the army.
Anti-Communist sentiment prevailed throughout the 1938 publishing year
of the Weckruf. This was because of the basic intellectual differences between
marxism and National Socialism as well as the Bund trying to bolster themselves
up by joining the local, state, and federal attack against the Communist Party.
Local, state, and national government officials also attacked and investigated the
Bund. Here, in this article, the Bund tried to defend itself and show Americans
that they should be concerned about the Communist Party rather than the German-
American Bund. The Bund's attack on the U.S. Communist Party seemed to be a
precursor to the McCarthy Era in many ways. The German American Bund
criticized both the American and Soviet Communists.
The September 8 issue of the Weckruf compared the beliefs of the German-
American Bund and the Communist Party, explicitly stating the differences.
Is there a 'deadly parallel' between the Communist Party and the
German American Bund? Is the Bund really working toward the same goal
as the Communist Party?
Senator McNaboe, chairman of the legislative committee said so.
Congressman Dies of the 'un-American propaganda' committee emulates
Mr. McNaboe's example. Many Americans, deprived of an opportunity to
hear all the true facts are beginning to think so. But-
Here, gentlemen, is the truth. Here is the point-by-point comparison of
the German American Bund and the Communist Party. When you have
read it, we think you will agree that there is not the SLIGHTEST similarity
between these two groups. Communism means the overthrowing of our
65


government, the terrorism of the American people. The Bund is pledged
to fight AGAINST such subversive activities with all its might.
Here they are- we leave the decision to you. American fair-play can
give only one answer!
On these matters: The Communist Party believes The Goman American Bund believes
Subversive Activities- Advocates overthrow of U.S. government.... Pledged to defend U.S. government from any group
Foreign Connections- Is admittedly part of the Moscow Internationale.... Is an independent organization formed in the U.S. by American citizens, and not affiliated with any foreign group.
Allegiance- Owes allegiance to "Soviet Union," which includes not only Soviet Russia but all countries with radical governments directed from Moscow. Members often carry placards reading: "DEFEND THE SOVIET UNION!" Owes allegiance only to the U.S., as good American citizens. Is not interested in "defending Soviet Russia" but in defending America!
Constitution of U.S.- Holds it in contempt as an outmodel bourgois [sic] document. Has staunchly supported the New Deal's attempts to nullity Constitution The very first item in its printed "Purpose and Aims reads: "(1) Above all to uphold and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.
American Flag- Formerly referred to it sneeringly as "a rag," never displayed it at meetings. Now displays American flag prominently, using it as smoke screen for pretended "democratic" activities. "To respect the Flag and institutions of the United States of America is second item in its "Purposes and Aims." Has always displayed American flag prominently at its meetings, conventions and recreation camps.
Religion- Is bitterly opposed to all religion, especially Christian "Communism abolishes all religion. (Communist Manifesto, Kart Marx) In favor of religion. Opposed to atheist movements. Conventions often opened with prayer by clergymen.
Morality- Is opposed to morality. Favors sexual "freedom." Is definitely known to utilize women to entice military information from army and navy men. "Communism abolishes all morality. (Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx. For morality and decency according to American tradition. Has consistently opposed all pornography on screen, stage, radio, in books and magazines
66


International Harmony Favors fomenting of hatred between nations. Advocates the "bloc" system, urging that certain nations form allegiance to fight others. Favors friendship and amity among all nations.
American Neutrality- Is opposed to neutrality. Is now carrying on campaign to have U.S. neutrality law wiped out to U.S. may supply munitions to Spanish Soviet government. Favors strict neutrality of U.S. and absolute non-interference in European affairs, as empathetically urged by George Washington.
Class Warfare- Preaches class hatred. Openly advocates wiping out of upper and middle class and reduction of all citizens to one low level. Favors harmony between al classes. Believes all types of workers and producers, from unskilled laborers to industrialists and intellectuals, have a useful place in the social structure of America. Absolutely opposed to calling any one group of our fellow citizens "class enemies
Disorder- Foments disorder in streets, public and private buildings, legislative halls, schools, stores, &c. for purpose of attracting attention, terrorizing opponents, &c. Is absolutely opposed to disorder and violence. Conducts all activities in orderly manner, urges all its members to act in law- abiding way. Maintains a disciplinary group (the (O. D.) to insure against any disorder at meetings.
The Family- Favors ultimate abolition of the family as a social group. "The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course with the vanishing of capital." (Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx) Defends the family as a vital human institution, one which has helped make America great.
Private Property- Advocates abolition of private property- i.e., the robbery of the those who have earned and saved.... "Abolition of private property." (Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx) Favors retention of private property as an inalienable American right.
Violence- In favor of violence to achieve its ends. Actually known to use razor blades, explosives, stench bombs, dangerous acids, etc., as well as firearms during strikes and riots.... Opposed to violence. Its members never employ violence and will stand loyally by U.S. government if subversive groups attempt to use violence in overthrowing government.
Motives- Purely selfish- they expect to seize control of the U.S. and distribute all government and military jobs among their followers. Entirely unselfish- is not seeking to seize power or grab political jobs. Therefore has nothing whatever to gain in the way of material advantage.
67


Tactics- Deceptive. Boring from within. Hiding real aims. Fears investigation. Members often have "party names- aliases, similar to those of underworld criminals. Straightforward activity, open and above-board. Complete frankness and a willingness to have its activities publicized.
Attitude toward Society- "WE DEMAND .... WE PROTEST .... WE WANT ...." Feels that society owes it a living, plus all sorts of privileges- but is unwilling to fulfil ITS half of the bargain by rendering service to society. The "gimme" attitude. Feels every citizen has duties and responsibilities as well as rights. Eager to do its share UPHOLDING the country, as well as receiving benefits from it.4
The Bund's analysis of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA)
was accurate and true. New research today proved that analysis as well as the
book The Secret World of American Communism, by Harvey Klehr.5 However,
the Bund, favorably slanted the view of themselves. The Bund was not as
American as they claimed. The Bund demanded that all Jews leave the United
States and wrote a petition to amend the Constitution which demanded that all
Jews not be allowed to participate in local, state, and national government. The
Bund would not accept the melting-pot reality of the United States.
Furthermore, the Bund pointed out that the Communist Party was well
entrenched in the United States and citizens should be concerned with the
subversive political group. According to the Bund, there was a Red Menace
because "over 300 Communist newspapers and magazines exist in the U.S."
Furthermore, "Communists of the U.S. operate 320 Red Schools, more than 200
theatres, stores and bonding agencies, and more than 30 Red camps, three of
68


which are incorporated in New York State for $1,000,000," asserted the Bund.6
Thus, the Communist Party seemed to be taking over the United States and
Americans should be concerned about this, according to the Bund.
The most interesting article in the 1938 Weckruf was one which described
Hollywood as "Red." This was one startling example of how the Bund's attack on
the Communist Party was further realized in the 1950s. The article stated:
HOLLYWOOD GOING RED?
Have you noticed the wave of pro-Communist sympathy which has
blazed through the picture colony at Hollywood?
(1) Well known actors and actresses give benefit performances for the
cause of the Spanish Reds. Famous screen players endors [sic] violent
"anti-Nazi" (anti-German) protests, and place their signatures on statements
defending various pro-BOlshevist causes.
(2) Quite a number of the newer films have shown a definite trend
toward the "left."
(3) Many of the well known Leftist propagandists of America have
become Hollywood scenario writers.
The actual names of those players and writers are available to
anyone who reads the daily press carefully.
To those of us who are acquainted with European Communism, this is
nothing surprising- for one of the first aims of the Reds in plotting
revolution has always been the control of cultural activities, such as the
stage, screen, literature, educational institutions, etc. Learn about the
actual working methods of the Reds by reading the DEUTSCHER
WECKRUF UND BEOBACHTER!7
The Bund criticized the Soviet Communists as well. First, the Weckruf
briefly described the Moscow Trials on April 7, 1938. The article claimed that
the Soviet Republics wanted liberation from the Soviet Empire. Those who fought
for this liberation were put on trial.8 Secondly, on March 17, the Weckruf wrote
69


that "bloody murder will GO RIGHT ON in Soviet Russia, according to the Soviet
authorities themselves.... MARXISM MEANS MURDER! Fellow-Americans
wake up! See to it that the Red Terror never gains foothold in our own land as it
has in Russia, in China, in France, and in Spain...."9
Finally, on December 1, 1938, there was a brief but comprehensive
summary about the Soviet purges. This article noted, and rightly so, that the
Soviet government continued the purges for several years, the world knew about
them, and yet nobody stopped Stalin. The estimated numbers and events in the
articles seemed to be fairly accurate and were mostly supported years later by
Robert Conquests book, Harvest of Sorrow and an article in Soviet Studies,
"Glasnost' and the Gulag: New Information on Soviet Forced Labour around
World War n," by Edwin Bacon.10 The article stated:
THE BOLSHEVIST PURGES
Colonel Walter L. Bell Estimates The Number of Victims Above
15,000,000
Of course we are all deeply affected and deplore the purge now going
on in so many European countries, causing so much distress and actual
sufferings, mentally and physically, in all classes of the Jewish race. We
here certainly have given haven and refuge to may of the unfortunates. It
must be considered that our "new Deal Depression" after six years and
untold billions spent, still has more than 11,000,000 unemployed and our
own relief rolls swelling.
But a situation far worse in every respect as concerns the wanton
murder, destruction of mass population and an unparalleled sadistic raping
of a former great country has been going on for the past twenty years
(since 1917) with an appalling number of killed men, women and children
by methods almost too brutal for the tortures of olden times. All this has
70


been reported at various times to the outside world but, for some
reason, received with apathy and the governmental murderers
welcomed by our so-called civilized governments.
Quite by chance recent; y I [presumably Friz Kahn] saw a copy of the
American Mercury of last November,, with the article, "Ten Years of
Soviet Terror." The facts therein so closely followed those that I have
been able to assemble and check that it is probable that the total number of
Russians "liquidated" by Dzjerinsky, Trotsky, Stalin, et al, since October,
1917, is considerably greater than the 15,000,0001 below instance:
Dzjerinsky statement to Bell
Oct., 21 (Moscow).........................2,800,000
Intelligentsia sniping....................1,000,000
Kulak liquidation.........................5,000,000
O.G.P.U. barracks.........................2,000,000
Moscow-made famine, reported by Hindus...3,000,000
Valuta and other purges...................1,500,000
Total.....................................15,300,000
The fact is that every one of that courageous band of Russians who
worked side by side with us fellow Americans in the famine of 1921-1923
was, in a few months after our departure, either at once "liquidated" or
exiled to Murmansk or far Siberia, to a worse death than immediate
execution.11
Today's research supported these estimates. The Bund was very concerned about
The death of the Jews or the Slavs were not a concern to the Bund per se. The
Bund considered those people "types." The Weckruf used this article to show
Americans that Communism was not a viable alternative and American needed to
fight the Communist Party in the U.S.
It would be interesting to see if the Daily Worker published in New York
City or any other Communist paper attacked the Bund. Thus, National Socialism
and the German-American Bund were anti-Communist.
71


Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism, of course was a main component of National Socialist
ideology. The Nazis clearly defined the concept of race. According to Mosse,
"Aryans were supposed to have certain features and physical measurements....
Not everyone possessed all Aryan characteristics but all Aryans possessed at least
some of them and together they formed an ideal type." Furthermore, because all
human beings
were classified into racial types, it was easy to stereotype those opposed to
the Aryans. Because all of life's externalssociety itselfmasked the
reality of race, men should be typed according to their one absolute
characteristic, their racial composition. Given the Aryan ethos, this meant
that inferior races like the Jews could not have true emotions, true ethnical
orientation; indeed, they had to be types exemplifying everything evil.12
Thus, according to the Nazi world view, all human beings belonged to a race, and
if not the Aryan one, than an inferior one.
Another aspect to National Socialist racism was the notion that there was
no individualism. "The common racial base determined one's place and one's life
in society."13 For example
The Aryan way of life was that of the true and good, defined in terms of
honesty, kindness, and concern for the family. The lower races opposed
all this; moreover, they were 'types' and could not be regarded as
individuals in the liberal sense. What the Commandment of Auschwitz
was murdering were types which lacked individuality to him. Murder, in
these circumstances, was depersonalized and completely remote from that
Aryan life whose ethics coincided with those of the bourgeoisie.14
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Thus the Nazis and the Bund saw the Jews as a type and not as individuals.
According to Diamond, "although anti-Semitic and anti-Black feelings were
important ingredients and had been encouraged by propagandists since 1933,
Kuhn's fanatical hatred of the Jews and the Blacks reached a new level after
1936.1,15 Kuhn and the Bund took this racist position in an effort to broaden their
appeal to white, Christian Americans. The Bund possessed anti-Semitic and anti-
Black emotions since it beginning, but Kuhn brought those emotions to a greater
level of hatred. Kuhn and the Bund used this racist position in an effort to
broaden their appeal to white, Christian Americans.16
Kuhn believed that American Jewry was more evil than European Jewry
because American Jews penetrated the high, middle and lower classes because of
immigration and America's melting pot. In Europe, the Jews belonged to the
upper classes only, according to Kuhn. Because Jews were "everywhere" in
America, they were difficult to find and then fight. Furthermore, Roosevelt's
Presidency "signaled the beginning of Jewish invidiousness," according to the
Bund.17
Bund members, many of whom fought against America in the First World
War and then immigrated to the United States, told the American Jews, in their
German accents, many of whom lived in America for generations, to leave the
United States.18 The Bund clearly believed that Gentiles founded America and it
73


should remain a Gentile nation.
However, in an interesting twist, Kuhn denied that Hitler persecuted the
Jews in order to help German-American trade relations and diminish the Boycott
League's influence. According the Kuhn, Hitler simply rid Jewish dominance of
various businesses.19 The Bund never successfully deterred the boycott movement
with their own anti-boycott movement and organizations, the DAWA (German-
American Economic Alliance) and the DKV (German Business League).
Anti-Semitism prevailed throughout the 1938 issues of the Weckruf. The
majority of the anti-Semitic articles focused on the Jews living in the United
States. On September 22, 1938, however, an article compared the situations of
the Sudeten Germans to the German Jews. The Bund vehemently argued the
situations were very different and not comparable. The article listed several
reasons but only a few will be summed up here. One reason was that "while the
Sudeten Germans live together in a settlement, that only by artificial means is
separated from Germany, live the Jews among the Germans everywhere."
According to the article, this posed a problem because Germany could not just
leave a section of land to the German Jews. Secondly, the Jews emigrated and
chose to live in Germany, whereas the Treaty of Versailles forced the Sudeten
Germans to live under Czechoslovakian rule. In other words, Germany believed
that "the Sudeten Germans can demand HOME RIGHT, the Jews only the right of
74


foreigners."20 Even though the Jews did not have a nation, (something like Israel
today), the Germans believed that since the Jews had their own culture, religion,
and language of Hebrew, they could not assimilate into the German culture and
therefore were foreigners.
A third reason given was that:
The treaty of Versailles was not experienced by the Jews as SHAME, but
at the MOST a misfortune for Germany. Not a few of them just shrugged
their shoulders and sneered. The majority of the Jews living in Germany
were very well satisfied with 'Versailles' because 'Versailles' had created a
situation, that granted to them strong political influence, intellectual
leadership and immense commercial possibilities. Jewish politics, Jewish
intelligence, and the economical power of the Jews conserved
'Versailles' and with that supported Germany's shame.21
Thus, Germany believed that the German-Jews not only supported the Treaty of
Versailles but also gained economically and politically from the Treaty. Now,
under Nazi Germany, the Germans, who opposed the Treaty, avenged Germany
by persecuting the Jews.22
Furthermore, the Weckruf argued that this fight "still goes on in foreign
countries. Especially in America. Here the Jews fight hard against Germany and
the Germans."23 Here the Bund referred to the Boycott League led by Rabbi
Stephen S. Wise and the Congressional attack against the Bund led by the Jewish
Senator Dickstein.
Thus there were fundamental differences between the Sudeten German and
75


German Jew situations, according to the Bund. Here also the Bund defended
Germany's treatment of the Jews as foreigners.
As said before, the majority of the anti-Semitic articles focused on the Jews
living in the United States. A very interesting article, on September 15, 1938,
listed some the Jewish actors and actresses in Hollywood.
The screen name was listed, then the Jewish name. For example:
George Bums (J)- Nathan Bimbaum.
Jack Benny(J)- Jack Kubelsky
Charlie Chaplin (J)- Charles Chaplin
Ethel Merman (J)- Ethel Zimmerman
The Three Marx Brothers (J)
Milton Berle (J)24
So not only was the Bund upset by the "Reds" in Hollywood but also the Jews in
Hollywood. Again, the Bund wanted a white Gentile nation only.
Another article of note discussed the Jewish political bloc organized by
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York. Rabbi Wise was also a key player in
forming the Boycott League. The Weckruf wrote, "... American Jewry is
organizing a bloc separate and apart from the American body politic, in
accordance with the Rabbi's announced doctrine that 'the differences between a
Jew and a Gentile are ethnical, inevitable, and eternal.'"25
First the Jewish political bloc "is engaged in submitting to one million
Jewish voters who will pay a poll tax of 10 cents the question whether they desire
76


'a union of forces in order to safeguard the equal rights of Jews at home and
abroad." The Weckruf then asserted:
New York readers will hardly fail to see the irony of this when they stop
to consider that in New York City at least the share of Jews to the right of
equality takes on the proportion of three to one [t]hat the Mayor, the
Postmaster, the Borough President, the Commissioner of Public Works,
and with more than half of the judiciary assignments in their hands, not to
mention the disproportion of jobs in the schools and colleges and their
monopoly of the professions and the white collar fraternity in general.26
Therefore, "what is aimed at is not merely the suppression of hostile criticism but
the silencing of the universal objection to the forming of a Jewish State within a
State," declared the Bund.27
Furthermore, the Weckruf reported that the American Jewish Committee
stated, "The Committee takes a firm and uncompromising stand against the
undemocratic attempt to make Americans who are Jews a distinct political
unit." The Jewish community seemed divided over this issue of forming a
separate politic bloc. The Bund concluded that "since the Jews themselves expose
the scheme as one of Jewish self-isolation, no ground can be found for charging
anyone with anti-Semitism."28 No other articles in the 1938 Weckruf mentioned
the Jewish political bloc.
Two articles, one on November 24 and the other on December 15, argued
that the Jews in key economic, industrial, and political positions were influencing
America to fight another war against Germany. The Weckruf asserted that
77


"America is far more aggressively anti-German than either France or England....
Different causes have led to this deterioration of friendly relations between the two
countries; the dominant factor undoubtedly is the Jewish influence on public
opinion and on the policies of the United States."29
According to the Bund, the Jews were provoking "a new world war, and
naturally against Germany, an object pursued with implacable Jewish hatred."30
Furthermore, the Bund argued:
Human destiny is beginning to resolve itself into the great problem:
Germany or World Jewry. If Germany wins, the power of international
Jewry will collapse. The New York Jews may insult German tourists,
parade with insulting placards before the German Consulate-General and
boycott German goods, but they cannot of their own accord wage war
against Germany. The consent of American youth, of the English
workman and the French peasant must be obtained for war. All of them
must give their blood in order to save Jewish world power from ruin....31
Hitler gambled that France, England and the United States could be negotiated
with in order to prevent another World War which worked until 1939.
The Bund claimed that Germany was not a menace to world peace.
Germany had "simply carried into effect what was universally accepted and
preached as the inevitable solution of the blunders committed by the makers of the
Versailles Treatyrounded out her natural boundaries to include Austria and
Sudetenland, not by conquest but in response to the clamor of the people
concernedand without bloodshed."32
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In another interesting article, the Weckruf quoted an article from the Vdlkischer
Beobachter (Berlin) which compared the German Jew situation to the Mormon
situation in 19th century America. Like the comparisons of the annexation of
Texas, the Germans tried to show how hypocritical Americans were. The
Vdlldscher Beobachter article used two books, Bancroft's Utah and Dr. Motiz
Busch's History of the Mormons to prove their argument. The article recalled the
history of the Mormons, how Americans mistreated and pushed the Mormons out
of Missouri and Illinois. Americans tarred and feathered and whipped Mormon
settlers, as well as attacked and burned their settlements to the ground, and drove
their livestock away.33 The author concluded that
The sorry history of the early Mormon sect, which has meanwhile
undergone many changes and developed into a law-abiding element of the
Union, continues the writer in the V.B., proves what little right the
spokesmen of the United States have to grow indignant that Germany is
engaged in suppressing "a State within the State," in which connection it is
to be remembered that the Mormons a hundred years ago were of the
same racial stock as other Americans, while the Jews of Central Europe
are an alien race with different customs from the host nation. But alien
races are persecuted and oppressed in the United States with little mercy
and with a certain degree of cruelty not greatly inferior to the Mormon
atrocities of the 19th century.
Real Americans have good reason to look into the Mormon mirror
before they preach morality to other nations.34
Thus, the German Nazis and the German American Bund reminded
Americans that they mistreated many people throughout their history as well.
On December 22, there was a Christmas message to all Christian readers
79


of the Weckruf. The article clearly portrays the arrogance of the Nazis and the
hatefulness of anti-Semitism.
Christmas is at the door, the most festive of all Christian holidays. It
is the one day which is observed with more heartfelt rejoicing wherever
there are Germans than any other. For the German have made Christmas
peculiarly their own. They devised the Christmas tree and composed the
most beautiful and best-known Christmas hymn. 'Stille Nacht,' which is
intoned in every civilized country by the faithful. No custom symbolizes
more impressively inherent spirit of German sentimentalism than these
emblems of hopes, faith and charity. Whether you are moved by religious
feelings or see in the observance of Christmas only the expression of a
beautiful custom, the Jew cannot share its emotional spell. Christianity
rejects the rule of 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth: Whatever violent
impulses may prompt man to do it, it has taught him to govern his passions
and to be forgiving, and so has leavened civilization with a supernal balm.
The Christians carry the message of 'peace on earth and good will to
man.' The Jews know it not.
Today half of the Christian world is in the throes of a crisis, facing the
question of Christianity or Judaism. Shall the observance of Christmas
merely be an outward ceremony? Have not the rabbis said that 'the
difference between Judaism and Christianity is fundamental'? What is
fundamental is fixed. It cannot be changes. Then the zeal of those
Christian shepherds who ally themselves with the rabbis against their own
fellow Christians, and with open eyes disregard this fundamentalism, are
recreant to their trust. Let them treat the Jews with justice, charity and
tolerance as the Master teaches. Is it necessary to force upon them that
which in their souls all Jews regard as mockery, inherently inferior, hostile
and unassimilable?
Let the Jews shift for themselves. Let the Christmas tree be the true
symbol, of a common brotherhood of Gentiles.35
Thus anti-Semitism was a strong component of National Socialist ideology
in the German-American Bund's beliefs as well.
The Bund also saw Black as an inferior "type" and "Kuhn placed emphasis
80


on indigenous American fear of the Blacks." The Bund believed that
the Blacks had had nothing and wanted even less. They were illiterate but
physically strong and numerous. Black communities had been infiltrated
by Jewish-communist organizers, who promised then the full exercise of
their civil rights in return for support in converting America into a Jewish
citadel.36
Thus the Bund attacked the Blacks as well. It is interesting to note that
Communists and Jews were synonymous and that the Jews had to help the blacks
fight for civil rights because the Blacks could not fight on their own.
There was one anti-Black article iii English in the 1938 Weckruf. It noted
that for the first time French history the "Chamber of Deputies was presided over
by a Negro when Gratien Candace, Deputy from Gadaloupe, took the Chair as
Vice President for the Chamber."37 The Bund published this article to show that
France was indeed inferior to Germany because it had "inferior types" holding key
positions in the national government.
The Weckruf discussed National Socialist ideology as well as the daily
news events. Both Nazi Germany and the German-American Bund despised the
Jews, Blacks, and Communists.
Conclusion
Why did the German-American Bund fail? Two reasons are offered: First,
National Socialism was a foreign ideology with foreign notions that could not be
fused with the American social melting-pot and its political beliefs. Second, Nazi
81


Germany failed to support the Bund.
George Mosse argued that allegiance to National Socialism primarily
occurred because "it was a kind of summation and continuation of an older
cultural atmosphere."38 Nazism triumphed over Marxism and Democracy because
this ideology drew from the past. National Socialism emphasized German history
and German culture. German children learned many notions of National
Socialism even before Hitler came to power. In Weimar and Nazi Germany, "the
three principal subjects taught were German history, German literature, and racial
biology."39 Thus National Socialism seemed to be a "comfortable" and viable
ideology to many Germans.
The German-American Bund practiced Nazi ideology and organization as
well. Hitler was the Ftihrer, Kuhn was the Bundesfiihrer, Kuhn's OD-M&nner
were equivalent to Hitler's S.A., both had structured youth movements, rallies, as
well as official ideological, propaganda newspapers. The Bund was just as anti-
Semitic and anti-Communist as the Nazis in Germany.
And as such the Bund was not as American as it claimed to be. Kuhn and
the Bund believed in one man dictatorship rather than in democracy. The Bund's
vehement anti-Semitism led the Bund to write a petition to amend the U.S.
Constitution and rid the Jews from holding positions in local, state, and national
government. The Bund further called for a white, Gentile America and all others,
82


especially the Jews, should leave. This, of course, would have been
unconstitutional and unamerican. The pure Aryan racial state could not be
realized in a melting-pot America. Bund members wanted National Socialism as
well as all the privileges of living in America. They finally understood that they
could not have both and the movement failed.
Furthermore, the majority of the German-American community did not
support the Bund. The majority of German-Americans wanted to assimilate into
American culture, and had no desire to ever return to Germany or support
National Socialism. As such, the Bund's membership remained relatively small.
The second reason for the Bund's failure occurred because Nazi Germany
never supported the Bund and did not utilize anti-Semitic feelings in the United
States. This was very curious indeed since National Socialism was supranational.
Mosse explained that in National Socialism
the idea of race had always been preponderant; all else, even that state,
were ephemeral expressions of a racial truth. Therefore it was not difficult
to divorce Aryanism from nationalism; the nature of their relationship had
always been one of alliance, their ideas never inevitably linked together....
Race and not the boundaries of one state had ben stressed; all Aryans were
part of the super race. To be sure, this made useful propaganda.
Germany's boundaries had to be expanded to take in those enclaves of the
super race still left in foreign counties. The claim was used in Germany's
demand for the Sudetenland and for other regions bordering the Reich.40
Germany argued that they left the Bund to benign neglect in order to preserve
friendly relations with the United States. Germany offered very little financial,
83


ideological, and propaganda support. Germany had an opportunity to gain at least
some American support through the Bund and other various fascist and anti-
Semitic organizations in 1930s America. There were fascist movements in
Belgium, France, and Britain, and surely one could have flourished in the U.S. as
well. Because Germany failed to support the Bund in America, it had a very
short history in the United States.
84


FIGURES
85


n
ADOLF HITLER
Geburtstagsfeier
und .
ANSCHLUSS-KUNDGEBUNG
' l
Oesterreich-Deutschland
ein
MITTWOCH, 20. APRIL 1938
abends 8.30 Uhr
im YGRKVILLE CASINO
210" OST'86. STRASSE
NEW YORK CITY
Fahnenaufrnarsch Zapfenstreich
^ Deutscher Festball
EINTRITT: Voryerkauf 35c. Abendkasse 40c
AMERIKADEUTSCHER VOLKSBUND, Gau Ost
Figure 1
86


Figure 2
87


88



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OFFICIAL ORGAN
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German American;
Bund '
German American
Buslneii League,
Inc. .
U N
ECISACHTER
FREE AMERICAN
DAS KAMPFBLAT.
du
' Y'o'lkischen
; Amerika-
; deutschtums
On
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20
LIND EECBACHTE D ' ^
Announces Gigantic Free Gift Prize Campaign
$5,000 IN PRIZES AND COMMISSIONS
To Be Qiven Away Absolutely Free-Earn Extra Money For Easter
I MEN-WOMEN-BOYS-GIRLS .
BCONDAY* FEB* 14 I. Ym W rMhm IWDw,
CAMPAIGN OFFICIALLY ENDS
Saturday, Aprillb,V
FIRST GRAND PRIZE
THREE 1338 FORD TUDOR V-i ED SEDANS Will BE GIVEN TO THE THREE PEOPLE WITH THE HIGHEST VOTESONE TO THE PERSON
RESIDING IN NEW JERSEY-ONE TO THE WINNER IN MANHATTAN, INCLUDING THE BRONX AND ONE TO THE HIGHEST IN BROOKLYN
AND LONG ISLAND-EACH IS VALUED AT 570Z00
*0 Honcpowcr
THE STANDARD
So Hentpewtr
THE STANDARD
CARS ON DISPLAY AT KROEGER-JONAS. INC, FIRST AVE. & 95 th STREET. NEW YORK CITY
5ECOND GRAND PRIZE
0~> tw'-*r *i
Cceifi J. Sehwari
THIRD GRAND PRIZE
1 i A LVnlaiim EImUw Rlf*t**

1
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Hayes Electric Co.
It rnrt.n B,fi v
now msrh a-.vasm
Hm ta Am LVTWT BLANK 1000 VOTES
: ;.rv L
r.x\^:j:rrr.'z 'r.. u- .......... * - v

COMMISSIONS TAKE THE CASH eqLTVAltST
PLEASE, TURN TO PAGE 7 "CONTEST POLES AND REGULATIONS
Figure 7
G
A
92