On the Ku Klux Klan, Hitler in the 1930’s, and The Great Depression.

By Austin Higgins Most people don’t think of any terrorist organization stemming from the United States of America. However, in fact, the US bore one of the first, if not the first terrorist organization of North America. The Ku Klux Klan, America’s first and most powerful terrorist organization next to the neo-cons of the fifties, had a stranglehold on the South for many years. It was founded in 1866 after the civil war.(5) Its founding fathers were confederate officers who started meeting together in small groups. These groups eventually evolved into large groups, and then into an organization and a movement. The KKK started out small. They used pranks and laughs to get their kicks from exploiting black men and families. They would use the hoods for fear and anonymity purposes. The hoods can be likened to being a ghost, being a scary creature that has come back from the dead. They would scare black men by riding to their house at night and asking for a drink of water. They would say “I haven’t had a drink since I died in the civil war”. They would have a pipe running from the mouth of their hood down under their robe and let the water drain out.(6) People started catching on to the anonymity of the Klan with the white hoods and robes. Criminals started to commit crimes more easily whilst giving a bad name to the Klan. Violence with the Klan intrinsically increased when the Klan became more popular and more powerful. The leaders of the Klan noticed their creation was turning into a monster, yet did nothing. The Klan spread their violence and hate through having influence in political and judicial processes. However, there has been considerable opposition to the Klan. Some congressmen warned president Ulysses S. Grant to take action against the KKK. In 1870 he instigated an investigation into the organization and the following year a Grand Jury reported that: "There has existed since 1868, in many counties of the state, an organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire of the South, which embraces in its membership a large proportion of the white population of every profession and class. The Klan has a constitution and bylaws, which provides, among other things, that each member shall furnish himself with a pistol, a Ku Klux gown and a signal instrument. The operations of the Klan are executed in the night and are invariably directed against members of the colored community. The Klan is inflicting summary vengeance on the colored citizens by breaking into their

houses at the dead of night, dragging them from their beds, torturing them in the most inhuman manner, and in many instances murdering."(1) Congress passed the Ku Klux Act and it became law on 20th April, 1871. This gave the president the power to intervene in troubled states with the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in countries where disturbances occurred. However, because its objective of white supremacy in the South had been achieved, the organization practically disappeared.(1) The KKK has had two major revivals, one in the 1920s because of social unrest, and again, the major revival in 2006. The emergence of the radical right wing fascists had an equal and opposite reaction of the far left. Many white supremacists held protests and handed out white literature, while the far left launched counter protests for equality, peace, and justice. Although not as strong and prevalent today because Americans are more educated, the KKK and white supremacy movement always shook the foundations of this country, and will never be forgot. Many white supremacists embrace the ideals of Hitler. They put him on high as a demi god. They advocated blind nationalism, hatred, and anti-Semitism. Hitler started out as a failed artist and became homeless and moved to Germany. He fought in WWII. Hitler became the leader of a party called the NSDAP: National Socialistiche Deutsche Arbeit Party. The National Socialist German Workers Party advocated workers rights and Socialism. However, Hitler used this as a mask for his inherent Fascist ideals. He tried to start a revolution in Germany, but was jailed. In jail, he wrote Mein Kampf. In Mein Kampf he writes "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one."(2) Many of Hitler’s books were bought, but seldom read. He had a strong propaganda machine that helped spread his messages of hatred and sell them like a salesman sells a car. He began exterminating the Jews with his secret police, and poisoned the minds of many honest Germans against the Jews. He started his campaign against Jews and non Aryans, and eventually expanded for his "Lebens Raum"(2) Which sparked WWII with the invasion and bombing of Warsaw, Poland. One of the things that allowed Hitler to seize power and exploit the German people was the Great Depression. This was incited by a

stock market crash in the 1930s that hit many modern nations hard. Many economies were in ruin, including Germanys. Hitler promised economic revival. The United States felt this shockwave of economic trouble, also. Many hardworking farmers lost their farms and were forced to move into the overcrowded cities and slums. The unemployment rates were extremely high. This was a direct example of how Capitalism can nearly destroy an economy. In Vladimir Lenin’s The Highest Stage of Capitalism he said "Some problems to be
associated with capitalism include: seemingly unfair and inefficient distribution of wealth and power; a tendency toward market monopoly or oligopoly (and government by oligarchy; imperialism, various forms of economic exploitation; and phenomena such as social alienation, inequality, unemployment, and economic instability."(3) Near the start of the 20th century, Vladimir

Lenin claimed that state use of military power to defend capitalist interests abroad was an inevitable consequence of monopoly capitalism. Ultimately, Capitalism was the cause of the greatest economic breakdowns in history. In 1933, FDR advocated his New Deal.(4) He tried to bring the economy to a stable condition. In some ways, it was WWII that brought the US back to stability. It brought many jobs to citizens and ultimately stabilized the economy. With the heralding of the KKK, the economic ruin, and the crimes brought upon by Hitler, this world has seen bad times and horrible things brought upon by narrow minded thinking and economic systems that favor the powerful and exploit the weak. With the passing of these events in the 20th century, we can only hope for a better 21st century and learn from our mistakes.