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This headline from the 5th of September 1939 reads "War without a Declaration of War between Poland and Germany"

Der Staats-Anzeiger

A Nazi Propaganda Organ, Deep in the Heart of the American Heartland
a review by James Edwards,
with an introduction and afterword by Michael Luick-Thrams

      The case of the Staats-Anzeiger forces Americans to finally confront and thoughtfully reconsider popular (albeit mostly unarticulated) myths among us that “there were no American Nazis” and “it couldn’t happen here”. Unlike “isolated instances” such as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh—two individual Midwesterners who admired Hitler and his ascending National Socialism—the thousands of readers of the Staats-Anzeiger came from many walks of life, could be found across the country (though in large part in the Midwest and the Northeast) and cannot so easily be dismissed as “famous freaks”. Indeed, the readers of the Staats-Anzeiger consisted of farmers and bankers, restaurateurs, shop keepers, teachers and the little old [German-American] lady down the street. Like the American Bund, such people—the “little people” of Americana lore—comprised the rank and file of [hyphenated] America.
      In the fall of 2003 my assistant Rayf Schmidt and I drove across North Dakota on a speaking tour. We knew we were in “a foreign land” when waitresses and others we casually encountered greeted us with markedly Teutonic accents—and that after their families had been on the Great Plains of North America for well over a century already! At program after program, during Question and Answer periods, someone in the audience invariably would refer—usually loosely—to “strong but quiet Nazi supporters” among the North Dakota populace during the 1930s and, indeed, right up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. When I pressed for details, none were forthcoming, yet my appetite to know more—and to isolate irrefutable proof—had been whetted.
      Finally, at the Bismarck Public Library (in a town named by its early promoters to ingratiate themselves to the then-German Kanzler) a man gave me the name of a professor who had been involved in defusing a related controversy from the mid-1980s; he now lived in Washington state, but I could be gotten his contact information. When I eventually heard back from professor James Edwards, I squealed “eureka!”: I had found the sought-for documentation.
      It seems that a Humanities Council-sponsored lecture given at Jamestown College in autumn 1985 had provoked a firestorm of controversy. Professor Jonathan Wagner, the lecturer, had maintained that the Staats-Anzeiger had been “an organ espousing the Nazi cause as expressed by Hitler’s Third Reich” [Edwards’ assessment]. Backpedaling in the face of such a sensitive issue and uncomfortable with the negative attention it had attracted (especially among the local power elite), the Dean of the College asked Edwards to conduct an informed review of the case. He did—and his sobering findings follow:

James Edwards' letter to Michael Luick-Thrams reads:

Here is the report on my review of Der Staats-Anzeiger from Bismarck, ND.
It's quite fascinating, although rather tragic.

     Personally, what I find most disturbing is the apparent ease and shamelessness with which those parroting Nazi rubbish about racial superiority, foreign aggression and the like, absorbed National Socialist worldviews. Presumably educated, genetically “normal” people turned ideological idiots during the Third Reich—both in Germany and elsewhere, including in the American Heartland (where one might hope “democrats” would “know better”). Further, with the assistance of historical hindsight, one reflexively notices how simplistic and crude, say, the images of Jews, the unqualified patriotism, and the blind obedience to authority marketed by such texts seem today. At the time, though, they were coordinates of the Nazi intellectual universe. (See Camp Papers for samples of similar levels of logic and parallel paroles among the German POWs writing in camp papers in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas.)
     Seen through the prism of current events [President Bush was inaugurated a second time, just a few days before this writing in late January 2005], it chills me to read passages such as “Today Hitler is the head of a great people and nation, which millions of Germans honor. He is lord of the land, of whom every German the world over may be proud. He has the position and power of the greatest leaders of the world…but he promotes his office for the common good of the people and for social justice…” Elsewhere, other writers wrote of Nazi Germany’s “desire for peace” and for “a stable world order”. Human beings’ capacity to be blind and willfully stupid amazes me over and over again…
     Specifically, with the advent of World War II, the Staats-Anzeiger passed on the naked lie that “Poland’s attack on [the German-speaking radio station in] Gleiwitz was the cause of the battles” that “provoked” Hitler’s ordering of Germany’s pre-emptive invasion of its eastern neighbor. Knowing what role the lure of oil plays in contemporary geo-politics, one can only shudder when reading Edwards’ summaries, such as “Goering justifies the act (‘invasion’ never used) by saying that Germany now can retrieve Poland’s coal reserves and produce more goods. ‘Poland has had coal available all along but used only 10%, while Germany will use 100% to launch its Four Year Production Plan’)”—which of course in practice meant that Hitler now had much of the fuel to wage protracted global warfare, an early move in his strategy of ultimate world domination.
     It’s true, as historians are so fond of saying, that “history is never the same river twice”—but often the banks pretty darn closely resemble ones we’ve already seen! While the names and events change, regrettably too many dynamics from the past find modern expressions: the rape of democracy, the installation of [a shadow] dictatorship, the rise of militarism and the on-going warfare necessary to rationalize a given elite’s tight control over (and usually ruthless exercise of) power. The infamous cliché holds that “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” seems tragically accurate—especially now, when world events have become so dramatic and so very deadly.

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