In October 1938, the Nazis came to the U.S. in the form of a parade on 86th Street, held by an organization called the German American Bund. Headquartered in the then–heavily German neighborhood of Yorkville, the Bund was run by Americans of German descent who thought that Hitler was onto something as he ravaged Europe and planned to take over the world.
About 800 marchers carrying American and Nazi flags got started on East End Avenue, heading toward Lexington. Watching them were 1,300 policemen, there to keep order in case fights broke out. Only a few scuffles did.
The marchers weren’t totally welcome; they were greeted with a mix of heils and boos. Mayor La Guardia condemned the parade and accused organizers of inciting racial hatred.
The Bund continued to gather steam, organizing an anti-American rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939 that attracted 20,000 people. But when Pearl Harbor was attacked and America entered World War II, many Bund members were sent to internment camps, and the group withered away.