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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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MILITANT ORDER OF SPARTAN KNIGHTS. The organization was begun in 1935 by Frederick Wilhelm KALTENBACH, a teacher at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. It was required that boys pass two tests. One called for a ten mile hike while another was to box in three rounds. There was also a third, secret, test. While the organization was said to be non-military, members had to march under commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Promotion was determined by tests of leadership and courage. Members were khaki shirts and black berets. (1)

Boys who joined the organization participated in boxing at the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.), rock climbing, wrestling, cave exploring and marksmanship practice with .22 caliber rifles. (2)

Kaltenbach was asked to explain his program to the local American Legion. His anti-American comments so enraged the audience that one member punched him in the mouth and others jumped on him. (3)

Parental concern with Kaltenbach, a pro-Nazi, led to the board asking him to discontinue the organization. (4) Protests from the American Legion led to his dismissal on May 13, 1935 from the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT and eventual move to Germany. (5)



1. "Militant Order of Spartan Knights is Organized Here," Telegraph Herald, February 10, 1935, p. 4

2. Ibid.

3. "Radio Quisling Faces Death," Telegraph Herald, June 24, 1945, p. 25

4. Ibid.

5. Laurie, Clayton D. "Goebbel’s Iowan:Frederick W. Kaltenbach and Nazi Short-Wave Radio Broadcasts to America, 1939-1945." Online: www.traces.org/kaltenbach.html