By 1938, Nazi sympathizers who formed the German-American Bund in the U.S. conducted a summer youth camp (shown left) on Long Island for its members. The Bund reached its peak in 1939, when its members gathered at Madison Square Garden ostensibly to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, an event attended by 20,000. Despite the turnout, the group’s membership never exceeded 25,000. At the start of World War II, most Bund members were placed in internment camps, and some were deported at the end of the war.
After the stock market crash in 1929, thirteen million people were out of work. This triggered the Great Depression, which lasted through the late 1930s. The worldwide economic devastation that ensued fostered a climate of racial and ethnic tension both in the U.S. and Europe. Between 1933 and 1945, Nazism in Germany gained currency, as people tried to place blame on others for the global economic depression. The beliefs were embraced by some Americans, and Nazi factions arose in the U.S. One such party, the German-American Bund, which thrived during the mid-1930s, openly espoused Nazi ideology.