Thousands of American fascists banded together in groups with names like the Silver Legion of America and the Crusader White Shirts.
The Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, a 25,000-member pro-Nazi organization commonly known as the Bund, ran a summer camp on Long Island called Camp Siegfried, where young men marched in Nazi-style uniforms as their friends and families cheered.
Even as they grant us the power to communicate with others around the globe, our social-media networks have spawned a new form of authoritarianism.
he political vision that brought us to this point emerged in the 1930s, as a response to fascism.
In the years before the Second World War, Americans were mystified as to how Germany, one of the most sophisticated nations in Europe, had tumbled down the dark hole of National Socialism.
Today we’d likely blame Hitler’s rise on the economic chaos and political infighting of the Weimar era. When Hitler spoke to row upon row of Nazi soldiers at torch-lit rallies, the radio broadcast his voice into every German home. They are living in a Nazi dream and not in the reality of the world.
The same technologies that were meant to level the political playing field have brought troll farms and Russian bots to corrupt our elections.
The same platforms of self-expression that we thought would let us empathize with one another and build a more harmonious society have been co-opted by figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos and, for that matter, Donald Trump, to turn white supremacy into a topic of dinner-table conversation.
These were the kinds of one-to-many, top-down mass media that Orwell’s Big Brother had used to stay in power.
Now, however, Americans were catching sight of the internet.