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Imagine a United States where swastikas hang proudly in meeting rooms across the country. Cries of Sieg Heil! resound at rural family retreats. A dictator pontificates at Madison Square Garden to an overflowing crowd for a Nuremberg-style rally.
This is not alternative historical fiction; this is the true story of the German-American Bund. In the late 1930s, the Bund, led by Fritz Kuhn, was a small but powerful national movement, determined to conquer the U.S. government with a fascist dictatorship. However, the Bundist dream of a swastika nation attracted powerful foes. Many larger-than-life figuresóincluding New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia; the newly formed Congressional House Committee on Un-American Activities; newspaper columnist Walter Winchell; and Jewish mobsters Meyer Lansky and Mickey Cohenóbrought Kuhn and the German-American Bund to an inglorious end.
Arnie Bernstein's Swastika Nation is a story of bad guys, good guys, and a few guys in between. The rise and fall of Fritz Kuhn and his German-American Bund is a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, always compelling story from start to finish, a vibrant narrative of a forgotten corner of American history.
Arnie Bernstein learned firsthand about American Nazis as a high school student, when a group of neofascists threatened to march in his neighborhood, known for its large Jewish population. Bernstein has been interviewed by The New York Times, BBC Radio, NPR, PBS, and for numerous documentaries. He’s lectured at DePaul University, the Chicago History Museum, and other respected venues, and has received numerous grants and awards. Bernstein is the author of Bath Massacre, and he lives in Chicago.