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A Night at the Garden

You may have never heard about the 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden. It's not mentioned in textbooks or classrooms because it's a "scary and embarrassing" part of U.S. history. Filmmaker Marshall Curry hadn't heard about it either, either, until last year. He hunted down footage of the event from various archives and assembled a documentary. Warning: this film is disturbing.

(vimeo link)

Curry explains more about the film here.

The first thing that struck me was that an event like this could happen in the heart of New York City, a city that was diverse, modern, and progressive even in 1939. The second thing that struck me was the way these American Nazis used the symbols of America to sell an ideology that a few years later hundreds of thousands of Americans would die fighting against.

It really illustrated that the tactics of demagogues have been the same throughout the ages. They attack the press, using sarcasm and humor. They tell their followers that they are the true Americans (or Germans or Spartans or...). And they encourage their followers to “take their country back” from whatever minority group has ruined it.

-via Laughing Squid


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