July 30, 2010

The Nazis and KKK of Galesville, Wisconsin.

Details from a kiosk displaying snippets of the history of the town:

P1010379
(Enlarge.)

P1010381
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... faded away into the night, and have never returned to this day. Never returned... implies what is unknown: that they left.

A view of Galesville from the heights of Pine Cliff Cemetery:

P1010368

56 comments:

Chase said...

Wait a minute! I thought only the South had the bad Americans!

There are bad Americans in other parts of the country?!!! Even the sacred Midwest?!

former law student said...

C'mon professor: "Nazi" is a party; "German" is a nationality. All we know is that the POWs were German. You didn't have much choice about going into the Wehrmacht back then -- party membership not required.

But I thought the post would be about the German-American Bund, a Nazi sympathizer organization. Local Nazis.

El Pollo Real said...

I'm shocked! shocked!

john said...

The photo reminds me of the great model builder and photographer Walter Wick.

"Standing on the porch of Duck Pond Inn, I spy two coins, and a lazy closepin; Three dogs, two fishhooks, a broken oar, A needle, a spool, and the TREASURE CHEST store."

rcocean said...

Yes, its weird how its now in vogue to call WW II German soldiers "Nazi". Not a label that should fit them, especially the Generals who tried to kill Hitler.

Only 10 percent of Germans were "Nazis" - anymore than the "Soviet Army" were all communists. And the vast majority of the German Army were draftees who had to choose between serving and a firing squad.

El Pollo Real said...

The town looks idyllic from that POV.

traditionalguy said...

@ Chase...The KKK was a popular political party with beliefs in racial superiority through out the midwest in the 1920s. Much like the Nazi party, their pro teutonic people stance was as much against Jews and Catholics as it was against descendants of freed African slaves. Today we can see the same teutonic race based rivalry coming back into use against Americans with an Hispanic/Catholic cultural heritage.The KKK's ideology was based upon the new "science" called Social Darwinism which warned that they needed to survive threats from other inferior cultures/races by getting rid of them.

Long Time Listener said...

I lean towards "known" regarding the klan in this town. Several hundred klansmen did not simply appear out of nowhere, or come in from out of town, and then leave or disappear shortly thereafter. Most were almost certainly part of the town before, during, and after the klan organization was alive in Galesville. That language is (understandably) a bit of a whitewashing if not completely dishonest.

lewsar said...

the picture leads you to think that galesville is an idyllic place in which to reside or visit. having spent three years some 35 miles northeast of galesville, i can state definitely:

THE WEATHER SUCKS

it's good for growing vegetable matter, bad for people.

Larry J said...

Some of the German POWs were quite possibly Nazis but not a high percentage. All of the German military swore an oath to Hitler because that was required. Some units such as the SS were all Nazis. I've read that the submarine service had a lot of Nazis, too.

Scott M said...

A picturesque, "Under The Dome", sort of place then?

Joe said...

1) The Klanspersons simply went into hiding until they could re-emerge as TEA BAGGERS!
2) LTL says it best:
Several hundred Klansmen did not simply appear out of nowhere, or come in from out of town, and then leave or disappear shortly thereafter. Most were almost certainly part of the town before, during, and after the Klan organization was alive in Galesville.
3) Nazi is a very loose term...a number of socio-historical studies have been undertaken. It is true that "Nazi's," meaning actual members of the NASDAP, were a minority in the Army. "Nazi," as defined by support for the ideology of the Movement was very widespread within the Army, most officers and NCO's subscribing to its tenets, and in turn, they proselytized the Other Ranks.

Sixty Grit said...

Hmm - where was hdhouse the night the cross burned?

lewsar said...

another interesting thing about galesville is that it has hills. the rantoul area looks like somebody ironed the county.

LarsPorsena said...

43 veterans of the Civil War in a town of 1,600! Back when men were men..The Iron Brigade was probably the best unit in the Union army. It was made up of 5 regiments: 1 Indiana, 1 Michigan, and 3 Wisconsin.
Back then all of these states were considered 'western' and were reputed to breed a tougher specimen than it's eastern cousins.

David said...
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David said...
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David said...

A note on the Iron Brigade from Wisconsin Veterans Museum:

Initially composed of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin and the 19th Indiana regiments, the Iron Brigade was organized at Washington, D. C. in the fall of 1861. Brig. Gen. Rufus King, former editor of Milwaukee's Sentinel and Gazette served as its first commander until Brig. Gen. John Gibbon assumed command in May 1862. A regular Army officer, Gibbon was keen on training and discipline and did much to improve the brigade's efficiency. To bolster morale and foster a sense of esprit de corps, Gibbon outfitted them with the black felt Army hat and canvas gaiters. The hats in particular became a source of pride and ultimately provided the distinctive sobriquet of the "Black Hat Brigade."

The Brigade saw its first serious action at August 28, 1862, at Groveton, VA where, along with Battery B, 4th US Artillery, it destroyed a third of the attacking Stonewall Brigade. Groveton was costly for the Iron Brigade as well resulting in 751 casualties for the Mid-westerners. A few weeks later, at South Mountain, the brigade lost another 318 men. It was there that Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker referred to the hard-fighting Westerners as his "iron brigade."

A few days later at Antietam, as a part of Hooker's I Corps, the Iron Brigade saw fierce action in the west woods and in Miller's cornfield. A determined charge momentarily displaced Jackson's surprised Confederates, but a blistering counterattack by Gen. Hood's division forced the Iron Brigade back through the cornfield and into the west woods. Resultant losses for the Iron Brigade amounted to 348 men.

After Lee's failed Maryland Campaign, the Iron Brigade was strengthened with the addition of the 24th Michigan. It remained a Western brigade amongst a sea of Eastern units, and no doubt served as another source of pride for its battle hardened veterans. The brigade saw limited action at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville but it bore a heavy burden at Gettysburg.

On the first day's fighting, the brigade was deployed on McPherson's and Seminary Ridge. In their dogged defense of that ground, the Iron Brigade suffered enormous casualties but managed to slow the Confederate advance thus enabling the timely deployment of fresh federal troops. Casualties for the brigade numbered approximately 1,212 out of 1,883 effectives. The 24th Michigan lost 80% of its number, while the 2nd Wisconsin suffered 77% casualties. The battle at Gettysburg essentially destroyed the original Iron Brigade. Although the name continued in use, the brigade lost some of its original character. The 2nd Wisconsin was disbanded in July 1864, and Eastern regiments were added to the brigade, altering its formerly all-Western composition. However the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin Infantry units served until the end of the war earning the honored "Veteran Infantry" designation.


Almost certainly Galesville had more than 43 Civil War veterans. The 43 in the cemetery are just the ones buried there. Many of the KIA or other deaths during service would have been buried elsewhere.

Wisconsin made a huge contribution to the Union during the Civil War. Wisconsin, which only became a state in 1848, had a greater population than South Carolina by 1860. Plus Wisconsin's population was younger, had a greater proportion of males because of the frontier conditions and was almost exclusively white. All there factors meant that newbie Wisconsin could and did supply more troops than the Hotbed of the Confederacy, South Carolina, ever could consider.

David said...
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David said...
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Mitch H. said...

Don't get the wrong idea about the Twenties-era Klan. It was a weird beast during Prohibition, much less interested in blacks than in playing vigilante for the Volstead Act & tormenting "wet" Catholics and Jews. The original founder of the "second Klan", a drunk named Simmons, lost control of it to Midwestern political Drys at the beginning of this period, and it was more like the old Know-Nothings than the race-thug group it was in its first two and second two incarnations.

Think of the Twenties-era Klan as the stormtroopers of Prohibition, and you'll have a clearer idea of why it was such a popular organization in the Midwest.

Last Call is a hell of a book, btw. Highly recommended.

Joe said...

State Politics really damaged units like the "Iron Brigade." Because they were militia, the state governor appointed the officers, especially the commanding officers. So, when the Iron Brigade suffered horrific casualties, there were no replacements.

No political bonus in sending new troops, instead states sent new UNITS, complete with Gubernatorial appointee commanders. Why send replacements to the Iron brigade when you can create a new colonel and new captains, and reward your political allies? Sending replacements to an existing commander, made no sense politically. So, sadly units were simply bled out of existence.

The Crack Emcee said...

When I was last in Germany, I learned the story of "the boogie man" was brought over by the folks who settled here. I think that's hilarious because black people have really ran with it.

Sixty Grit said...

Not as bad as Illinois Nazis, I reckon.

As for race-thug groups, we have plenty of them now - NBPP, NAACP, and so on. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

SGT Ted said...

Im your boogieman...thats what I am...

jeff said...

My sister used to teach at PCU near Clinton, SC. It's been over 10 years since I was there, but on the town square the old movie theater had been turned into a Klan museum and gift shop. THe town cemetary, just off the square was fenced and just outside the fence was a mass grave for "our colored friends". I'm told that it was very progressive for the time. According to wiki, the town is 30% black. Then again, its been 10 years. Maybe they fixed all that.

jeff said...

apparently it was the town next door. Laurens, SC.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x2986410
looks like it was still there 2 years ago.

Mitch H. said...

Joe, that was a mid-war issue with the original volunteer regiments. In the winter of 1863-1864, the old volunteer regiments were topped off with recruits, mostly draftees. There was a lot of bellyaching that the new recruits had "diluted" the valour of the old regiments, and the Iron Brigade was certainly never its old self in later campaigns.

I tend to think that the Iron Brigade's success was a combination of Gibbon's fanatical commitment to drill, and the enduring impressions of first fruits. Because the "Black-Hat Brigade" didn't see combat with the rest of their peers, due to repeated detachments from the main army, they drilled for a considerably longer period of time before seeing action at Brawner's Farm in late August, 1862. That astonishing bloodbath was a brutal slug-fest which *didn't* result in a Union rout or the usual demonstration of the futility of valour. They fought it out with a numerically superior veteran enemy - it wasn't just the Stonewall Brigade, but the entire "Stonewall Division" - in the open field, and repelled them. That left the "Black-Hats" with an unusual (for the Army of the Potomac) superiority complex, which they never really shrugged off, at least through the 1864 draft reinforcements.

In short, they *knew* they were better than the enemy, so they *were* better.

edutcher said...

The Midwest was a hotbed of KKK support in the 20s. With the exposure of its leaders, it finally faded during the Depression.

PS The eagle on the patch of the 101st Airborne Division is "Old Abe", the Iron Brigade's mascot. When state regiments were abolished in the reorg of 1917, the Iron Brigade's regiments became the antecedents of the 101.

jeff said...

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1008139760025612176AyyksEJivK
picture of the inside. Comments are disturbing.

http://www.truth-out.org/article/john-f-sugg-inside-secret-world-white-supremacy

these are some people in serious need of a good asskicking.

traditionalguy said...

@ David...If you will look at your 4 times repeated comment, there is a little trash can symbol on the lower left. Just click on three of those, and all is solved.

LarsPorsena said...

"...When state regiments were abolished in the reorg of 1917, the Iron Brigade's regiments became the antecedents of the 101..."

Very interesting..where did you find that?

Mitch H. said...

edutcher - "Old Abe" was actually the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin, which was a regiment with the Army of the Tennessee. The brigade the 8th Wisconsin belonged to became known as the "Eagle Brigade" because of Old Abe. The 101st Division was originally a National Guard division, which took in traditions from both the Eagle and Iron Brigades' Wisconsin regiments, sort of the way that the 29th Division got associated with the Stonewall Brigade because of continuity between Maryland and Virginia militia units and that particular National Guard division, which famously stormed Omaha Beach.

edutcher said...

LarsPorsena said...

"...When state regiments were abolished in the reorg of 1917, the Iron Brigade's regiments became the antecedents of the 101..."

Very interesting..where did you find that?


7/30/10 2:27 PM
Blogger Mitch H. said...

edutcher - "Old Abe" was actually the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin, which was a regiment with the Army of the Tennessee. The brigade the 8th Wisconsin belonged to became known as the "Eagle Brigade" because of Old Abe. The 101st Division was originally a National Guard division, which took in traditions from both the Eagle and Iron Brigades' Wisconsin regiments, sort of the way that the 29th Division got associated with the Stonewall Brigade because of continuity between Maryland and Virginia militia units and that particular National Guard division, which famously stormed Omaha Beach.

It's been a while and, obviously, I got the abbreviated version, but I think it was in "Glory Road", by Bruce Catton. Thanks for the enlightenment, Mitch.

John said...

I see nothing about Nazi's in the photo. Am I missing something?

In any event, why use the term Nazi? They never referred to themselves as Nazis. That was something dreamed up by FDR and Churchill to avoid having to call them by their right name "National Socialists" Using that phrase with the Germans would give socialism a bad name.

Stalin was a bit more explicit. He required, on pain of death, that they be referred to as "fascists" even though that was a proper noun for Mussolini's national socialist party.

Why the squeamishness about calling a socialist a socialist?

As to whether they were National Socialists (or Nazis) does that really require membership in the party? Many people identify as Democrats (the American version of national socialism) or Republicans (National socialism lite) based on how they vote. Many are registered as one or the other but perhaps the majority of Americans have no formal party affiliation.

John Henry

Blair said...

Today we can see the same teutonic race based rivalry coming back into use against Americans with an Hispanic/Catholic cultural heritage.

What a ridiculously unsubstantiated statement! Where can we see this happening? Nowhere that I can see. Because you made it up.

John said...

Mitch recommended "Last Call" and I think I agree with him. I've not gotten it yet because my son keeps promising it.

I did read the first 2 chapters on my Kindle for Android and it took all my willpower not to click the "buy" button at the end of the preview.

You can hear a great 1 hour interview with the author at
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/06/okrent_on_prohi.html

I just finished reading the author's previous book on Rockefeller Center "Great Fortune" Excellent book.

John Henry

www.econtalk.org

madawaskan said...

How the hell is it that Althouse goes fishing for the usual suspects-I mean come on this was tailor made for C-4-and where is he kivitching?

Aisle 9-Chelsea Clinton nuptials.

Somehow he's got a Jewy, Jewy Jew-boiler rolling on that thread.

Alpha and "the shouter" are on the unwed mothers thread...make of that what you will.

btw-Those socks like to argue each other.


wth...

El Pollo Real said...

btw-Those socks like to argue each other.

Darn those socks.

HDHouse said...

The Crack Emcee said...
".... black people have really ran with it."

I rinnnsss yesserday, I rannnssss todah and I's runnnssss tomorra?

english...always think english...
look eye. always look eye.

Sixty Grit said...

hdhouse - what was that? Were you trying to lecture someone on how to write English? Now that's just funny.

As for the rest - that's just racist. But we already knew that about you.

madawaskan said...

Darn those socks.

LOL! El Pollo-why -for socks-are they never separated?

They're probably not socks just a match made in...

Obamaostan,

madawaskan said...

Oh my!

Hooked a grammar Nazi!

Anglelyne said...

Re: the Iron Brigade -

I remember being gobsmacked a couple of years back when somebody at the National Review (Jonah Goldberg I'm pretty sure) made the amazing assertion - amidst some nonsense about traditional American history not meaning anything to later-coming immigrants - that the Civil War didn't really have any resonance with Oktoberfest-celebrating Wisconsonites.

(I was all het up to fire off my very best Bloody Ignorant Young People letter to the editor, but was overcome with feelings of futility, and decided that the wiser course of action was to stop wasting my time reading National Review.)

Interesting info about the 101st. Thanks guys.

Doug Wright said...

In the late 1930s, circa 1938 I think, there was a Bund rally held in a City of Port Washington park, the park just to the north of the PW Pier! I was told that the Bund had a flaming cross on that park's hill. The Bund found fertile ground amongst the German immigrants in that part of Wisconsin. The Bund was a potential enemy element during WWII but more rational minds prevailed also the "gummermints" shut it down too.

@fls: Joining the Wehrmacht before 1939 was very much a NAZI thing; my old "buddy," Ernest the Gunsmith, joined in 1936 and was a true believer; may he and his fellows rot in hell.

During WWII, the Afrika Korps and the German submarine service had reputations of being havens for true believers.

But to be fair to your general "thought," the NAZIs recuited foreigners into the Waffen SS and other similar manned organizations.

Cheers.

Anglelyne said...

Re the Klan:

The Klan was huge in Oregon. I was surprised to learn that.

trad-guy: Today we can see the same teutonic race based rivalry coming back into use against Americans with an Hispanic/Catholic cultural heritage.

Wtf?

But hey, maybe you have seen it - after all, I have come across on youtube some persons besmirching the category of "Hispanic/Catholic Americans", getting mighty nasty and vituperative about Americans of a more teutonic persuasion. Didn't occur to me to interpret it as quite the way you do here, though.

El Pollo Real said...

@TG:
"teutonic persuasion" is code for blonds?

Mitch H. said...

Angelyne - the Wisconsin regiments of the Iron Brigade - the 2nd, 6th, and 7th, for what it's worth - weren't really recruited from the "Dutch" Wisconsin population. There *were* "Dutch" regiments - I believe the 26th Wisconsin in Schurz's Division was German, which would make sense, because Schurz was *the* big noise in Wisconsin German politics - but since that regiment was in the snake-bit, cursed 11th Corps which was a running joke about the Dutch, well, running, nobody likes to celebrate those outfits.

One should emphasize, I suppose, that the Germans were naturally hostile to the Prohibition Klan. Germans, both Lutheran and Catholic, were pretty "Wet", and the Klan of the Twenties was a ferociously Protestant, nativist, WASP-y affair. Klan members in Wisconsin would probably have been members of the great New England diaspora.

Hmm. Interesting. That town isn't part of "Greater New England" *now* - it's a stereotypical Norwegian/German burg today. Some of the stuff I've found online suggests that there was a transition between an "English" settlement population into Lutheranism, culminating in the conversion of Gale College into a Catholic institution in the 40s. (The local bank was run by WASPs until the 60s, when men with Norwegian names took over.) The Klan rally might have been part of a reaction against a fading of the old order in Galesville.

rcocean said...

The Wisconsin Regiments were considered the most valuable in the Union Army. Not only were the Wisconsin soldiers small farmers and rural folk who knew how to shoot and fight they filled the old regiments with new recruits rather than creating new ones.

Sherman thought a Wisconsin regiment equal to 2 from another state.

David said...
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David said...
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Class factotum said...

The most important thing I learned about Wisconsin and the Civil War is that there were so many Ole Olsons enlisted that they had to give them numbers.

former law student said...

Like most of the 48ers escaping their failed revolutions, Schurz was a Republican, so I'm surprised anything discreditable could be associated with him.

Anglelyne said...

Mitch H: One should emphasize, I suppose, that the Germans were naturally hostile to the Prohibition Klan. Germans, both Lutheran and Catholic, were pretty "Wet", and the Klan of the Twenties was a ferociously Protestant, nativist, WASP-y affair. Klan members in Wisconsin would probably have been members of the great New England diaspora.

Very interesting. I tend to associate the New England diaspora in the Upper Midwest with the "progressive do-goodism" strain, so the Klan association strikes me very odd. But I'm not native to the region, so my knowledge and understanding of regional history is no doubt chock-full of inaccurate stereotypes.

traditionalguy said...

El Pollo...Teutonics were not Romans although many were recruited from the north country forests into the Roman Legions. Later they joined in with waves of Ostro-Goths, Visi-goths, Vandals, Franks, Lombards and Saxons to occupy and defend old Gaul from "hoards" of conquering Huns and Magyars (who were oriental/mongol rather than blonde and blue eyed teutons). In the 1600s American settlement many of the remnant Celts in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, from west of the Saxon conquest line in England, joined in with the English. England itself had been first Celt, then Roman, then Saxon mixed with Dane( Viking). Thus our Mother country England was very Teutonic.

traditionalguy said...

@ Blair...I hope you are right. I have been hearing a theme since the Sotomayor nomination starting to repeat itself in many conservative commenters lately to the effect that citizens in the USA that are Hispanic Catholics are a third Race. That is pure KKK bullshit. They may be Non-Teutonic and more resemble the Spanish Mediterranean olive skinned people of the old Roman Empire, but they are not a third race. Not that there is anything wrong with being non-teutonic. I personally like sweet Mongol type more than I like mean and stingy folks proudly calling themselves descendants of Scottish lairds.