Pro-Nazi organizations in the United States used propaganda—exemplified in the featured poster—to improve the American public's opinion of Hitler's Germany.1 By boosting Americans' perception of the Third Reich, these groups hoped to convince Americans to stay out of European affairs, and ultimately remain neutral during World War II.
After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi Party concluded that existing pro-Nazi groups in the United States were not adequately promoting Germany's interests. The party responded by founding a new organization, the Friends of New Germany.2 Made up of German immigrants and Americans of German descent, the organization recruited about 5,000 members, most active in New York and Chicago.3 The Third Reich did not direct the day-to-day operations of the group but exercised significant control over its leadership and messaging.
The Friends of New Germany spread propaganda that played on stereotypes already familiar to American audiences, particularly those rooted in antisemitism and anti-communism. During this period, in both the United States and Europe, a popular myth held that Jews secretly controlled global finance and worked to advance communist revolution.4 This poster, for example, claims that Germany is being punished for escaping "from the influence of the Jewish-Bolshevist rulers in Moscow, and from Jewish domination."
This fear of Jewish-communist world domination, so central to Nazi propaganda, was vague and broad enough to appeal to a wide audience. Based on inherent lies, it spoke to common anxieties: many Americans during the 1930s feared a "communist takeover" along the lines of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Placing itself in contrast to this perceived danger, the Friends of New Germany denied harboring any revolutionary intention of "Hitlerizing" America.