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‘We, with American ideals, demand that our government shall be returned to the American people who founded it.’
On 20 February 1939, roughly six months before Germany invaded Poland, Madison Square Garden in New York City hosted an event held by the German American Federation, a Nazi-supporting group led by the German-born US citizen Fritz Julius Kuhn. The event was attended by a crowd of roughly 20,000 people, nearly all of them Americans sympathetic to Kuhn’s cause. With its swastikas and unapologetically racist rhetoric, cheering crowds and barefaced appeals to US patriotism – including a massive, stage-centre portrait of George Washington – the footage from the event is jarring and surreal to watch today. Eerily prefiguring fictional alternative histories where Nazism came to be embraced in the US, including Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962) and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America (2004), this little-known piece of US history hints at what American fascism might have looked like on a not-unimaginable alternative timeline.
‘Why does life have to be so complicated?’ A school trip to the world of work
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races