"We will undermine the morale of the people of America. . .. Once there is confusion and after we have succeeded in undermining the faith of the American people in their own government, a new group will take over; this will be the German-American group, and we will help them to assume power.
-- Adolf Hitler, 1933
The Great Depression and the World Wars were the major historical influences on Americans between 1933 and 1945. The 1929 stock market crash had left 13 million people unemployed and 2 million homeless. A documentary of the period would have revealed Hoovervilles, dust storms, labor union strikes, violent farmers protesting foreclosures and unarmed WWI Vets marching on the White House for their promised bonuses, only to be met by U.S. Army tanks.
In 1933 Adolf Hitler became the head of Germany's Third Reich and Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered the Oval Office. In the United States, the New Deal brought hope for recovery. In Germany, Jews and other victims were being beaten in the streets. Many Americans were scared and vulnerable. In the battle of ideologies that followed, it was only a short leap from the logical questioning of the viability of democracy to the illogical blaming of an entire race for the world's economic and political problems.
The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard. It is the story of the exploitative behavior that resulted from distorted beliefs.
The approximately 200 items in this exhibit focus on the clashing ideologies of this era and the activities of the various groups that embraced them. The original books, pamphlets, flyers, newspapers, letters and photographs reflect the profusion of media barraging the public as it searched for answers in a period of turmoil..."