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Hitler's American Friends: The Third Reich's Supporters in the United States

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Chris Ciulla

11 Hours 16 Minutes

Macmillan Audio

October 2018

Audio Book Summary

Hitler's American Friends by Bradley W. Hart is an audiobook examining the strange terrain of Nazi sympathizers, nonintervention campaigners and other voices in America who advocated on behalf of Nazi Germany in the years before World War II.

Americans who remember World War II reminisce about how it brought the country together. The less popular truth behind this warm nostalgia: until the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was deeply, dangerously divided.

Bradley W. Hart's Hitler's American Friends exposes the homegrown antagonists who sought to protect and promote Hitler, leave Europeans (and especially European Jews) to fend for themselves, and elevate the Nazi regime.

Some of these friends were Americans of German heritage who joined the Bund, whose leadership dreamed of installing a stateside Führer. Some were as bizarre and hair-raising as the Silver Shirt Legion, run by an eccentric who claimed that Hitler fulfilled a religious prophesy. Some were Midwestern Catholics like Father Charles Coughlin, an early right-wing radio star who broadcast anti-Semitic tirades. They were even members of Congress who used their franking privilege—sending mail at cost to American taxpayers—to distribute German propaganda. And celebrity pilot Charles Lindbergh ended up speaking for them all at the America First Committee.

We try to tell ourselves it couldn't happen here, but Americans are not immune to the lure of fascism. Hitler's American Friends is a powerful look at how the forces of evil manipulate ordinary people, how we stepped back from the ledge, and the disturbing ease with which we could return to it.

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Reviews

  • Bruce K.

    What does the story here portend for our current American situation? Then, post WW 1, over forty percent of our citizens had Charles Coughlin’s ear with regard to their belief in and their enthusiast practice of antisemitism. If the direction of our national psychology and determination then had not been given vent and redirected by the Pearl Harbor attack and our entry into WW2, I would expect the national mood and sentiment towards Jews and American Jews in particular to be as ugly and confused as It clearly is today. Can and will love of neighbor and love of country rededicate our national soul, or is this developing tragedy all too historically and existentially inevitable?

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  • Michelle A.

    Very informative

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