The FBI spread disinformation through the media. White nationalists were marching in the streets. Men were spotted wearing clothing showing their support of the holocaust. A large group had gathered and rallied in an attempt to overthrow our democracy.
These events took place in New York City in 1939. The FBI fed stories to the NY Times to dispel fear of a Nazi spy ring broken up the previous year. The German American Bund held marches and rallies in support of Hitler. There was a rally in Madison Square Garden with 22 thousand attendees to hear speeches about white superiority and plans to cleanse the races.
These images and events are sadly all too familiar to anyone who has followed the news of the last few years. History does not repeat. History is current events in the past.
How can news from 83 years ago be mistaken for news of today?
I’ve read the speeches of Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund in the 1930’s. The same words could be heard from the KKK in the 40’ s or Q Anon today. The pitch is the same. Your problems, your inability to make a good life for yourself is not your fault. It is the fault of the other. The Jews, the Muslims, the Catholics, the government, the current president or chancellor. Such an easy answer. Such nonsense.
The root of many of these tropes come from Russia in the late 1800’s. A document, proven false many years ago, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was used to turn public opinion against the Jews.
*See the link at the end of this blog.
Every racist cliché can be found in this document. All of them made up so the ruling class could take over the successful businesses and wealth of its Jewish citizens.
The Protocols are the template for most conspiracy theories since. Henry Ford published the protocols in his newspaper in the 1920’s. Hitler used its lies to promote his call for a master race.
Why have these tropes persisted as our society has advanced in remarkable ways? I believe it is the nature of man. There will always be weak people looking for someone to blame for their problems and evil people using this weakness to advance their agenda.
Of course, the way to fight such racism is education. I fear that fight has become more difficult today. Sadly, 54% of people get some or all of their news from the internet. Internet news comes from news aggregators. Services based on your browsing history. You’re getting the news you want from Facebook or any other social site. Not a good formula to expand your knowledge. Social media is not the vehicle to get your news.
My ad for my new book Dakota citing those 1938 rallies was denied by Facebook for “social or political issues.” They are censoring history!
Now more than ever it is important to read more than one source. Get away from your news feed and seek out differing views. Base your beliefs on facts rather than opinions. It is the only way to stop the bad actors from pushing their agendas and to prevent the evils of history from becoming current events.