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Star Trek: Enterprise fans may remember this chilling mock-American Nazi propaganda film from the alternate history episode "Storm Front". Surprisingly, the newsreel footage of a massive Nazi rally taking place in New York City's Madison Square Garden was not created by special effects - it was absolutely genuine.

The rally was staged on February 20th, 1939 by members of the German-American Bund, the largest pro-Nazi organization in the United States, which sought to meld the ideals of George Washington with those of Adolf Hitler. It was attended by an estimated 20,000 people, many of them teenagers who had been trained at the Bunds' Hitler Youth-style camps in New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The audience was primed by the martial drumming and marching of hundreds of uniformed "storm troopers", parading before a stage whose backdrop included a giant picture of Washington flanked by swastika banners.


Bund leader Fritz Kuhn's speech was briefly interrupted when a young Jewish-American protester leaped out of the audience and ran at him across the stage, only to be tackled and beaten by Kuhn's bodyguards before being hustled out of the auditorium by police officers.

Kuhn's fiery rhetoric against President Roosevelt's New Deal - which he referred to as "Rosenfeld's Jew Deal" - was enthusiastically applauded by his audience, who stood en masse to perform the Nazi salute.

Meanwhile, though, in the streets surrounding Madison Square Garden, throngs of anti-Nazi protesters - including Jewish-American WW1 veterans and even squads of Jewish gangsters organized by the infamous mob boss, Meyer Lansky - waited for the rally to end. Only the presence of a contingent of mounted police "large enough to prevent a revolution" averted a full-scale riot.

The first half of this History Channel documentary offers more insight into this turbulent and little-remembered chapter of US history:

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