July 5, 1938: About 20,000 members of the German American Bund, the organization of Americans who support the Nazi Party in Germany, erupted in protest yesterday when National Public Radio recited the Declaration of Independence on air.
Bund members had gathered in Manhattan for a peaceful Fourth of July rally to burn President “Frank D. Rosenfeld” in effigy, criticize his “Jew Deal” and denounce Bolshevik-Jewish American leadership.
They did not expect to be subject to an aggressive tirade from left-leaning broadcasters at NPR who pointedly recited the text of the Declaration as if baiting Bund members into committing acts of violence.
“It was just so aggressive of NPR,” said Bundesführer Fritz Julius Kuhn, who leads the national organization. “Their words really triggered the members.”
Kuhn accused NPR of calling for revolution by broadcasting the passage from the Declaration that states whenever “any Form of Government becomes destructive” of mankind’s inalienable rights, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
“So, NPR is calling for revolution?” asked Kuhn. “Interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound ‘patriotic’.”
Other Bund members were enraged by a passage that seemed to target Germany’s current leader, Adolph Hitler. With a condescending tone, the NPR announcer read, “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
“Propaganda, is that all you know how?” asked female Bund leader Irene Krapp. “Try supporting a man who wants to do something about the Injustice in his country.” Like other female Bund members, Krapp wore a red handkerchief emblazoned with the words, “Den Sumpf abtropfen lassen” (German for “Drain the Swamp”).
NPR executives, when confronted by Historical Fox News, claimed that their announcers read the Declaration of Independence over the airwaves every year on July 4. The executives said they were not trying to provoke the Bund members, and that they certainly were not responsible for them breaking into local stores, burning tires or spray painting “FDR Is A Cripple” on a local schoolbus.
Kuhn and his deputies would have none of NPR’s excuses.
“Everyone knows NPR receives government handouts. This network is just a propaganda arm of American socialism,” said Kuhn. “They have never been balanced on their show. I will be glad when they are defunded.”
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