It Was Private Citizens Who Prevented a Nazi Coup During WWII
Listen to “Ultra.” Then get to work.
In Rachel Maddow’s mind-blowing podcast Ultra, which you really, really should listen to, she relates the story of how the American fascist movement in the 1930s came much closer to overturning the government than most people know.
Father Charles Coughlin was for years in the 1930s the most popular entertainer in America. He had an audience of “tens of millions” for his radio program and toured around the country with the “America First Committee” to audiences in the thousands.
Coughlin was also a rabid antisemite who not only wanted Hitler to win, he organized a militia that had the plans, the weapons and the munitions ready to perform simultaneous violence across the nation in order to overthrow the government and put Hitler’s policies into practice.
The rhyming of these events to today’s MAGA cult and Putin is deafening.
If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch this 7 minute documentary showing 20,000 violent Nazis at Madison Square Garden in 1939, including brownshirts and NYPD beating up a Jewish protestor. If you have seen it, please share it with someone who hasn’t.
It can happen here. It did happen here.
But one of the most fascinating and frankly terrifying notes in the podcast, which Maddow repeated tonight on her show, was that it wasn’t the police or the feds that stopped the Nazi coup in the late 1930s, because many of them sympathized with it.
The way the Nazi coup was exposed was by private citizens who saw the danger and did something about it themselves. They made so much noise they could not be ignored. They infiltrated the Nazi groups and publicized their plans which led to a Congressional Committee on “Un-American Propaganda.”
If the plan had been carried out, even if it hadn’t succeeded, it might have seriously affected our ability to enter WWII, rescue Europe and help stop the Holocaust.
The parallels to today are frankly terrifying. Trump is Father Coughlin and Mike Flynn is white supremacist William Dudley Pelley who was convicted of Seditious Conspiracy for planning the overthrow of the government.
It’s also remarkable how the press in the 1930s appeased these fascists by insisting they were “crackpots” who could never succeed in their plans. And again, it was private citizens who stepped up and proved it was not a joke, it was a serious threat to democracy.
The reason that antisemitism is becoming such a trending topic right now, is because the people trying to destroy the midterm elections know it’s a deep, old blood libel that works every time as a way to radicalize a fascist cult into violence. It’s also a signal to the neo-nazi paramilitaries that the time to activate has arrived.
I have not been this concerned since the lead up to the insurrection.
The midterms are going to be a shitshow. VOTE EARLY. VOTE NOW.
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