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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

The Rise and Fall of Fritz Kuhn’s German-American Bund

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

“… We cannot assume that Nazism could not happen here in America, because it could—and it has. …”

Arnie Bernstein’s Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund leads us through the frightening and surprising journey of the development of this party, the German-American Bund. At the center of the story is the titular Fritz Kuhn, who eventually became known as the Bundesführer, the leader of the German-American Bund. Looking towards America for his future, Kuhn, a German-American immigrant, discovered that America’s attitude toward immigrants such as himself was not always accepting. Discrimination against German-Americans caused men like Kuhn to “look back to the Fatherland and Hitler’s expanding Nazi movement” (19).

Bernstein follows Kuhn’s rise to power, beginning with his job at the Ford Motor Company, which introduced him to The Friends of New Germany (22), a group “steeped in German politics and culture [that] openly admired the growing power of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, commonly known as the NSDAP, the Nazi Party” (22). Detroit was a perfect environment for the group to grow, not only because of Ford’s company’s homegrown anti-Semitism but because Judeophobia was brewing in the city, with such colorful figures as Father Coughlin, whose Detroit-based radio program fueled hatred towards Jews (29).

Bernstein shows the complexity of American identity through Kuhn. Kuhn becomes a “full-fledged American” while at the same time remaining “loyal to Germany” (31). On becoming a member of The Friends, he declared, “I herewith declare my entry into the League of the Friends of the New Germany… I am of Aryan descent, free of Jewish or colored racial traces.” The Friends organization gained national attention and developed programs that soon became seen as “un-American” (39). In response to this criticism, Kuhn decided that the focus of the group had to change. The organization had to become American first and integrate Nazism into it, so that American citizens would not view it as anti-American (41). Bernstein brilliantly shows how Kuhn transformed Nazism into Americanism.

Kuhn_German_American_Bund_Rally_19380105_NARA_2Fritz Kuhn

Kuhn changed the name of Friends of Germany to the German-American Bund, making it into an “all-American organization” (48). Kuhn’s booklet for the new organization, Awake and Act, emphasized the ways that the Bund would be beneficial for Americans. Bernstein observes that “only three years ago Fritz Kuhn had been nothing more than a minor cog in the Henry Ford complex. Now, through hard work, conniving moves, and seeming sheer will, he was the Bundesleiter of Der Amerikadeutscher Bund, a man poised to emulate the great Adolf Hitler and bring a glorious fascist government, a Swastika Nation of his own making, to the United States of America” (50).

Bernstein shows the ways Kuhn made his organization into an American one, whether it was by using the Declaration of Independence in the Bund’s constitution (52) or glorifying George Washington as an Aryan (178). Bernstein reveals that the German-American Bund did not share a relationship with the Nazis in Europe (67) but rather became a movement with the same thought process in America. Shockingly, the Bund attained between 6- and 8,000 followers, although it never grew to the 200,000 members that Kuhn foresaw (67).

Intermixed with the story of the rise of the German-American Bund, Bernstein presents the voices that opposed the group. Through the power of pen, journalist Walter Winchell made Kuhn his target and began a fierce writers’ battle. The journalist developed his own vocabulary of derogatory nicknames (“Ratzis”, “Swastinkas”, and “Swatsi-Cooties”) for the German-American Bund in order to stress the ridiculous nature of the organization, and he also had a choice set of names for Kuhn (“The Shamerican”, “Kuhnazi,” and “Fritz Kuhn, the local anesthetic”) (75).

Bernstein demonstrates that not all German-Americans were in favor of the Bund, which provides a complex view of German-Americans at the time (86). There was even tension within the Bund between group members. Bernstein delves into different ways that the German-American bund stirred controversy with New York mayor LaGuardia, the Jewish mobsters, and Hollywood. But the Jewish gangsters stole the show with their passion to fight back to defend Jews and not to be passive towards the German-American Bund.

The most unexpected aspect of the book is Bernstein’s revelation that there was a connection between the American Indian Federation and the German-American Bund. This is particularly surprising, considering that Native Americans would never fit the Aryan ideal. But Bernstein explores the ways that AIF embraced and perpetuated anti-Semitism within the organization. Bernstein provides the example of the American Nation Conference in Asheville, where AIF activist Alice Lee Jemision and anti-Semitic leader of the Silver Legion, William Dudley Pelley, shared a stage and “Native Americans sporting swastika armbands worked the audience, handing out pro-Nazi pamphlets” (97). As Bernstein observes, “Native Americans, while not viewed as racially pure, were a unique market for Bundist manipulation” (98). What does this peculiar relationship tell us about race, ethnicity, and the position of Native Americans in the United States in the ‘30s?

As Bernstein continues to follow the rise and the life of Kuhn and the development of the German-American Bund, he doesn’t let the reader lose sight of the clear difference between Nazi America and Nazi-occupied Europe. The German-American Bund did not gain widespread power and acceptance within America, as in the United States the fear of Nazism and communism took center stage. Bernstein explores the fall of the German-American Bund and the growing acceptance that it did not deserve the name “American” in the title, as it did not represent the ideals of what the country stood for.

Yet the author leaves us with a haunting conclusion, reminding us of the indirect legacy of Kuhn’s German-American Bund. Nazism in America did not stop with Kuhn, but continued “in the rubble of the swastika nation” (300) with leaders like George Lincoln Rockwell and David Duke. There have been books like the Turner Diaries, which viciously attacked Jews and African-Americans in favor of a white gentile world, and events like the infamous Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois in 1977. Bernstein points out that “violent Aryan groups” (301) still creep into the 21st century. His book shows that we cannot assume that Nazism could not happen here in America, because it could—and it has.

FURTHER READING:

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) — To whatever degree the U.S. knowingly or carelessly sheltered Nazi murderers after World War II, it’s a national shame.

“America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” according to a 607-page Justice Department report made public this week by the New York Times and National Security Archive, a private research group.

Astonishingly thorough and readable, the 2006 draft report tells the story of how hundreds of Nazis came to be admitted into the U.S. following the war and what the government did about it.

It lays out how Otto von Bolschwing, a former deputy to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, went to work for the Central Intelligence Agency abroad and then entered the U.S. with the CIA’s help.

The report offers details on the case of Arthur Rudolph, who brought forced labor into the munitions factory he ran in Germany. He later worked as a U.S. rocket scientist, helping to make the first moon landing possible.

In both cases, Justice investigators finally uncovered the extent of their wartime past and acted to have both men stripped of their citizenship and deported.

The Justice Department’s failures and successes in some two dozen individual cases are described, along with efforts to track Nazi gold in Switzerland and seek help from other countries, some recalcitrant. The report provides the historical context and legal framework in which these cases were at first ignored and then pursued, thanks in large part to the persistence of New York Democrat Elizabeth Holtzman, then a freshman in Congress.

It is a story of historic significance, well worth telling.

Known Secrets

But what is most astonishing about the report is how hard the U.S. government tried to keep it hidden. The central facts of these cases have already been reported. And it’s not as if the Justice Department had anything to fear from its release.

The department’s failures are there, to be sure. But we already knew about those. The fact that Nazis who committed atrocities wound up in the U.S. is hardly news. Newspapers and television networks have said so for decades, and the CIA has released information on it, too.

If anything, the thoroughness, the extensive footnotes and the historical and legal contexts given show the department’s Office of Special Investigations on the whole did a remarkable job under difficult circumstances to find Nazi persecutors and throw them out of America’s sheltering arms.

And yet, the department refused to turn the report over last year when the National Security Archive asked for it, saying it was merely a draft and therefore exempt from disclosure. So the group went to court in May.

Perhaps sensing they would lose that battle, Justice Department lawyers whited-out whole passages and turned the draft over to the National Security Archive in October.

Thousand Redactions

The group figures there are more than 1,000 redactions in all, according to Tom Blanton, director of the Washington-based organization.

If the edited draft were all we had, then the report wouldn’t be of much value. But the unexpurgated report was leaked to that group and to the New York Times. Both organizations posted it online.

Now, you can see what the Justice Department lawyers whited-out. And a lot of it is material that was already publicly known.

Information from newspaper stories, court decisions and congressional testimony were all kept out, as were footnotes citing those sources.

‘It’s Outrageous’

“We know precisely what was being withheld,” says David Sobel, a Washington lawyer representing the National Security Archive. “It’s outrageous seeing the types of material they are prepared to tell a court must be withheld.”

Sobel said he can discern no pattern that would point to an overarching motive for the edits.

“I can’t figure out what the rationale is,” he said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Blanton said some of the redactions may be aimed at keeping internal conflicts secret.

Whatever the reason, the attempted censorship was self-defeating and, in Sobel’s opinion, illegal under the Freedom of Information Act.

Had the Justice Department simply handed over the full document, it’s unlikely the New York Times would have run the story on the front page of its Sunday edition, Blanton speculates.

‘Privacy’ Concerns

The Freedom of Information Act, which the group used to seek the report, allows the government to withhold certain material. But the two reasons the Justice Department cited, privacy and “opinion,” simply don’t hold water when you see what its lawyers deleted from the version that was finally turned over.

Nor does the Justice Department offer much explanation. “Attorneys with FOIA expertise make determinations about certain redactions based on privacy and other considerations under the law,” spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said in an e-mailed statement.

She also said the department considers the report merely an unfinished draft which contains errors.

But in its unedited version, this is a heavily footnoted account is based on extensive interviews with key officials, documents, published reports and court rulings. Whatever its imperfections, its value surely outweighs them.

It has sparked news coverage in Australia, for example, because of claims that officials there had been recalcitrant in going after war criminals.

The story of Nazis in America isn’t pretty. But nor is it as ugly as sensational conspiracy theorists have claimed.

This report is an important contribution to history. The shame of it is that an administration that claims to be devoted to transparency tried to hide it.

(Ann Woolner is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)

FURTHER READING: