Lesson Plan

German-American Bund

Students will watch a short film showing a pro-Nazi demonstration from 1939 in New York.

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Enduring Understanding

American citizens were aware of Nazi ideology and some supported and embraced these values.

Essential Question

  • 1What impact did Nazi ideology have on people in the United States?


5 Min

Explain to your students that while the Nazi party only resided in Germany, Nazi ideology and practices sprouted in areas within the United States. The German-American Bund was a pro-Nazi organization for Americans of German descent. The Bund’s leader, Fritz Kuhn, tried to portray himself as the “American fuhrer,” although the organization never received support from the Nazi party.


15 Min

Explain to your students that the German-American Bund was present in multiple states. The largest Bund rally was held in 1939 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Play this 7-minute film, A Night at the Garden by filmmaker Marshall Curry. Warn students that the video contains hateful speech and that some of the clip may be difficult to watch.

While they watch, ask students to take notes on what they see. When the film is over, take 5 minutes for students to share what they wrote down.


10 Min

Use the remaining time to open a discussion with the questions below:

  1. What did you notice about the blend of American and German values?
  2. What did you think about the way in which the leader, Fritz Kuhn, spoke to the crowd?
  3. Why do you think the man at the end rushed the stage? What were the reactions from those on the stage and in the crowd?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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