I found the article “Fascism Part II: The Rise of American Fascism” on Rational Revolution
“Fascism” was published on 15 May 2004, and written by RG Price
This is a link to the original article
***The views and opinions expressed in the following work do not necessarily reflect my own***
With that in mind, please enjoy ❤
The Rise of American Fascism
Fascism Part II: The Rise of American Fascism
by image – May 15, 2004
image Students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school on Flag Day in 1899
The rise of fascism itself is a complex story, much less the rise of American fascism. Just as understanding the rise of fascism in Europe requires understanding the conditions of the time, so too understanding fascism in America requires understanding the conditions leading up to its transformation into a fascist state.
Before getting to that, though, it has to be clear that this is not about proving that something is good or bad, or trying to demonize American policy by associating it with fascism. In some respects American fascism could be considered “benevolent fascism.” The rise of fascism in America was a multi-faceted process that took place over time, and was really a part of a larger trend in the 20th century that included other nations as well. As was stated in Part I, fascism developed as a solution to perceived social and economic problems from a certain perspective – a “right-wing” perspective. This is an analysis of American policy and society and the correlations with fascist ideology as described in Part I of this series:
Fascism Part I: Understanding Fascism and Anti-Semitism
Setting the Stage for Fascism in America
The beginning of the story of American fascism starts with the conclusion of the Civil War and the start of Reconstruction. This is a complicated story in itself and one that I am not going to go into in detail. A very interesting thing about American fascism is the way in which American society has been reflected in the evolution of Pledge of Allegiance itself.
image The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. The Pledge was written by Bellamy for a national Columbus Day celebration ceremony, the program of which was published in The Youth’s Companion magazine. It reflected his idea of a united America after the Civil War. At the time the country was still very much divided because of the conflict between North and South. The Pledge reinforced the idea of ONE NATION, something important to many after the Civil War and the attempts of the South to secede.
Francis Bellamy was vice president of the Society of Christian Socialists. This was an organization that promoted the view that society should be organized based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and was critical of capitalism and individualism as corrupting forces in society. Francis Bellamy was actually the cousin of another influential Christian Socialist activist of the time, Edward Bellamy. Both Francis and Edward were involved in the Nationalist movement as well. Some 167 Nationalist Clubs sprang up around the United States after Edward Bellamy published his best selling book, Looking Backward.
Both men were involved in these clubs, though Edward was better known at the time. Looking Backward was essentially Edward’s “answer” to the recently written Communist Manifesto. It was a book that attacked the positions of Communism, declared that any good society had to be founded on God’s word, and basically took up some of the positions of the Socialist movement, but from a Christian perspective.
The Nationalist and Christian Socialist movements of the Bellamys were their “alternatives” to the Marxist movements of the day. While the Marxists were promoting rebellion against the State, the Bellamys promoted duty to the State.
After Columbus Day became a nationally recognized holiday on July 21, 1892, Francis Bellamy and others involved in the Nationalist movement helped to put together a national school program for the celebration of the event.
National School Celebration of Columbus Day – The Official Programme, was published in the September 8, 1892 issue of The Youth’s Companion. As there was no real national means to distribute information to all the schools in the country at the time, this publication served as the means to organize the official events. The subtext of the article title read:
Let every pupil and friend of the Schools who reads The Companion, at once present personally the following programme to the Teachers, Superintendents, School Boards, and Newspapers in the towns and cities in which they reside. Not one School in America should be left out in this Celebration.
The program for the National Celebration of Columbus Day was to be the first unified national celebration in the country’s history, with every single school taking part in the ceremony according to a time table in perfect unison. The address, also written by Francis Bellamy, which was to be given at a certain part of the ceremony, started out:
The spectacle America presents this day is without precedent in history. From ocean to ocean, in city, village, and country-side, the children of the States are marshaled and marching under the banner of the nation: and with them the people are gathering around the schoolhouse.
Men are recognizing to-day the most impressive anniversary since Rome celebrated her thousandth year-the 400th anniversary of the stepping of a hemisphere into the world’s life; four completed centuries of a new social order; the celebration of liberty and enlightenment organized into civilization.
And while, during these hours, the Federal government of these United States strikes the keynote of this great American day that gives honor to the common American institution which unites us all, – we assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principle of universal enlightenment and equality: the most characteristic product of fours centuries of American life.
Veterans of the Civil War were also expected to attend the ceremonies and be recognized during the course of the program, as well as lead the Color-Guard of the pupils.
The original Pledge read as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
From this time up until 1942, the salute used while saying the pledge was to make a military salute to the chest or brow, and then extend the arm straight out with the palm facing the flag, as shown below. This type of salute originated in ancient Rome and has been used by many groups. The salute is most widely recognized now as a “Nazi salute,” but in fact it was Mussolini who adopted it before Hitler as apart of his fascist party, precisely because of its Roman origin. The Nazis later adopted it from the Italians. Its use in America prior to this time has no direct relationship to the fascists, however, it was a nationalist salute to the State. In the Italian and German usage the salute was to the leader himself, as it was used in Rome to “Hail Caesar” (“Heil Hitler”).
At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side. Then, still standing, as the instruments strike a chord, all will sing AMERICA- “My Country, tis of Thee.”
Source: The Youth’s Companion, 65 (1892): 446-447
After reciting the Pledge students were often instructed to say:
“One Country! One Language! One Flag!”
At the turn of the 20th century America was undergoing a transformation from a society of farmers to an industrial society. This is obviously known as the Industrial Revolution, and as with the Industrial Revolutions in Europe this change brought a new level of economic disparity and fragility to the American economy.
President Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first prominent Americans to both recognize this fact, have a genuine desire to solve the problems the country faced, and to take action in doing so. Theodore Roosevelt was actually one of the most progressive presidents in the history of the United States and was a man of firm convictions. Roosevelt became popularly known as a “trust buster” – one who broke up large business cooperatives. Roosevelt attacked monopolies and big business and stated that he realized the State could actually be used to promote a “healthy” business environment. He supported unions and helped to resolve strikes, something that no other president had done before and something that was actually outside the duties of president.
Roosevelt had a real concern for justice and he knew that big business was not acting in ways that were fair and just. Roosevelt’s administration marked the beginning of serious changes in American economic policy, but it was just the beginning.
As America became more and more industrialized, laissez-faire practice presented more and more problems. Men like J.P. Morgan, John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie owned huge shares of America’s economy. J.P. Morgan was arguably the most powerful man in the country during the height of his career, with far more influence than even the President of the United States. A small handful of men controlled virtually all of the financial capital in the country to the degree that people realized that in many ways the government was not in charge of the country, this small group of private citizens were. These individuals had no oversight or democratic responsibilities – they were beholden, basically, to no one.
However, it was not only the common man that was troubled by the outcome of laissez-faire practice, but increasingly the capitalists themselves were also looking to the State for protection. One example of this was the popular food processor H.J. Heinz’s lobbying and support for the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, signed by Teddy Roosevelt. Heinz supported this act not only out of a desire to promote healthy food, which his company already did, but also to legally eliminate competition. The Heinz food company had, at that time, one of the cleanest food product lines in the world, and Heinz helped to ensure that the legislation was written in such a way that the company would already meet the requirements of the act, while the majority of his competition’s products would not meet the requirements. When the act passed many of Heinz’s competitors went out of business because they were unable to make the changes needed to meet the requirements in a cost competitive and timely manner.
This is just one example of the fact that, while the State was taking some power away from private corporations, it was also aiding corporate interests in some cases. This led to an increased closeness between wealthy Americans and government as they realized that the government was something that could work in their interests, but would only be likely to do so if they were actively involved with it.
All of this marked a new role for the State in the American economy and signaled the beginning of the end of laissez-faire practices in ways that both public and private interests would do their best to take full advantage of.
Rise of American Eugenics
At this point, things need to be seen in a larger perspective. Throughout the late 1800s, the twilight of the Enlightenment era, a new world-view was being increasingly adopted. Marxism, socialism, and scientific sociology were having a profound impact on society. In the late 1800s and the early 1900s the idea was being advanced that people are the products of their social environments – that poverty is a social condition and that people become criminals because of social and economic conditions, etc.
Those advancing these views were largely calling for major social changes to correct these socially created problems. It was in contrast to these ideas that fascism began to develop in societies around the world, especially in America. The idea that poverty, crime and ignorance are a product of social conditions was a threat to the dominant members of society because the call was for these dominant members of society to reform their ways to create increased equality for all people.
In this social climate, those who opposed the idea that society created the problems of individuals put blame on race and bloodline instead. The ideology developed that the “socialists” were wrong, and that society’s problems were not caused by oppressive economic conditions, but rather that social problems were caused by genetic inferiority. This is an ideology that was adopted by many wealthy and upper-class Americans and was related to the development of the ideology of “Social Darwinism,” the idea that certain people were “genetically” more fit and that the more fit legitimately had the right to rule the inferior. It is out of all of these ideas that the American eugenics programs began, funded by wealthy Americans such as Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller. The idea was that people were born poor or born criminal, etc. They were “bad seeds”, and thus the problem of poverty was not really a social problem, it was a problem of bloodline, to be fixed by selective breeding programs, forced sterilization, and the maintenance of “racial purity”. Racial purity was the idea that races “should not mix” out of the fear that if whites and blacks mixed the inferior black bloodline would “corrupt” the white bloodline, leading to more crime, poverty, and ignorance.
In the 1890s Indiana prisons were performing castrations on convicts, both to “cure” them of masturbation, and to prevent them from “breeding more criminals.” Dr. Albert Ochsner advocated the sterilization of convicts “to eliminate all habitual criminals from the possibility of having children.” In 1902 Dr. Harry Clay Sharp stated: “We make choice of the best rams for our sheep… and keep the best dogs… how careful then should we be in begetting of children!” Sharp also advocated that every state institution should “render every male sterile who passes its portals, whether it be an almshouse, insane asylum, institute for the feeble minded, reformatory, or prison.”
In 1902 Blood of a Nation was published in America by David Starr Jordan. Jordan stated that, “The pauper is the victim of heredity, but neither Nature nor Society recognizes that as an excuse for his existence.” Dr. J.N. Hurty, who was State Health Officer of Indiana and also became the president of the American Public Health Association, stated that, “Men and women are what they are largely because of the stock from which they sprang.”
All of this of course stood in stark contrast to the ideas of “leftist” sociologists who were saying that people were born virtually equal and that differences arose from environmental conditions. These people promoted the idea of rehabilitation of prisoners and the changing of economic conditions to promote economic equality and provide greater access to opportunity for those who were born into poverty.
In 1907 Indiana became the first place in the world to legalize forced sterilization of the poor, prisoners, and mentally ill. Washington, Connecticut, California, Virginia, Nevada, Iowa, New Jersey, and New York all followed suit. In fact, New Jersey’s eugenics bills were signed into law by then governor, soon to be president, Woodrow Wilson.
American scientists began working with European scientists, especially in Germany. In 1911 a meeting of the First International Congress on Eugenics was held, including attendees from America, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Norway. Winston Churchill, Alexander Graham Bell, and other highly established individuals were in attendance.
In 1912 the Rockefeller Foundation was created, supported by oil billionaire John D. Rockefeller. The Rockefeller Foundation funded eugenics programs, endorsed by John Rockefeller Jr. himself.
By 1914 eugenics had been adopted in America as a valid field of study and was even taught in high schools.
Source: War Against the Weak by Edwin Black
In 1915 D.W. Griffith’s silent film, The Birth of a Nation, was released and it quickly became a national hit. The film did cause controversy, but went on to become the highest grossing silent film of all time.
President Woodrow Wilson’s History of the American People was quoted in the film to describe how Northerners and blacks were using deception and abuse of power to “put the white South under the heal of the black South.”
Birth of a Nation described how Lincoln had undermined state sovereignty and created a powerful federal government. It depicted Northern blacks and freed slaves as monstrous villains who were destroying white civilization and abusing their new-found power after the Civil War. The major villain of the film is a mulatto, a man of “mixed white and black race”.
Near the final climax of the film, where the Ku Klux Klan unites to save a town from “Negro anarchy”, the film’s protagonists retreat to a cabin that is occupied by a Union Civil War veteran and the following scene commences:
Though it is often said today that the concept of an “Aryan race” was invented by Hitler or the Nazis, this is not true. The concept of an Aryan race certainly predates the rise of Nazism. Here, in 1915, in the most popular film in American history up to that time, the entire story focused on the concept of defending the Aryan race.
The Great War
America was generally a pacifist country by and large after the Civil War. The memory of that war had turned many people against armed conflict. Americans did rally around the Spanish-America War to a degree, but there was also a large and loud segment of anti-war protestors during that war as well.
When the United States entered World War I in 1917, three years after it had begun, it was partly because the war was being brought to America via the sinking of ships like the Lusitania and Germany’s offer to help Mexico invade America to regain the territory that Mexico lost to the United States in the Mexican-American War. There were economic reasons as well.
On the whole, though, America was a pacifist country that opposed involvement in major wars. Woodrow Wilson was elected based on his promise to keep America out of war, and he was then re-elected in 1916 with the popular campaign slogan, “He kept us out of war.”
After World War I America quickly went back to it’s pacifist attitudes, with a great many people resenting the American involvement in the war. America suffered 364,800 casualties during WWI, however this was a very small fraction of the total number of casualties. Despite the fact that America came late to the war and suffered less than 1% of the total war casualties (Russia and Germany suffered the most) Americans still felt as though it was unfair that Americans had to die in a war in which they felt they had no real stake. In addition, American soldiers returning from the war made it very clear in public speaking tours and books that modern warfare was absolutely horrific.
Europe was generally resentful of the nature of the American involvement as well. Though the Allies were very happy that America did finally come in to help turn the tide, at wars end American industry had made enormous profits from the war. America was viewed to have suffered relatively nothing and Europe was still in a state of disaster. Americans were taking much of the credit for winning the war as well, yet the Europeans had been in the war since 1914. Britain lost 60,000 men on the very first day of war, and the war effort was extremely costly to all of Europe. Because of this, the Europeans felt that Americans were doing too much boasting for the relatively small sacrifice that they contributed.
Below is a listing of pre-war vs. intra-war profits for American companies involved in World War I.
Company Average profits in the last pre-war year Average profits during the four years of war
U. S. Steel
Republic Iron and Steel
American and British Man.
Canadian Car & Foundry
Niles, Bement Pond
Scovill Mfg. Co.
What did take place in America was that a small handful of companies in military related industries, such as DuPont, US Steel, and General Motors, not only made huge profits, but they were also recognized to be of importance to national security and these companies and their top officials gained a new level of influence in government.
The Bolshevik Revolution and the Rise of “Americanism”
Arguably one of the most important outcomes of World War I was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which resulted in the withdrawal of Russia from the war.
After World War I was over 22 countries, including the United States, sent troops to Russia to fight on the side of the Czars in the Russian Civil War between the Reds (the Communists) and the Whites (the Czarists). American leadership, like the leadership of all other established capitalist countries, was deeply opposed to Communism in principle, and so immediately there was an international effort to overthrow the Bolshevik regime and put the Czars back in power, despite the fact that the Czars themselves had a long and public record of abuses and mistreatment of the Russian people.
In for a Trimming: The cartoon shows the hand of the “Allied Powers” wielding the scissors of “Intervention in Russia” to trim back Bolshevism.
It was in 1917 that The American’s Creed was born, written by US House of Representatives clerk William Tyler Page as part of a contest. The Creed was adopted by the House of Representatives in 1918. The American’s Creed signified the beginning the new “Americanism”, which would grip the US during the 1920s. The American’s Creed reads as follows:
I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the People, by the People, for the People; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; A democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many Sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of Freedom, Equality, Justice, and Humanity for which American Patriots sacrificed their Lives and Fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to Love it; to Support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to Respect its Flag; and to defend it against all enemies.
The Creed, like the Pledge, reflected the new nationalism that developed after the Civil War, with its emphasis on “a perfect Union, one and inseparable,” but it goes farther as well and is a reaction to the revolutionary tendencies that were growing throughout Western Civilization, which were emboldened by the Bolshevik Revolution. The Creed was to reinforce loyalty of citizens to the State and counteract revolutionary socialist ideology.
Shortly afterward, in 1919, the “Red Scare” hit the United States. The Red Scare of 1919 is a complex issue in itself, but to sum it up briefly, it was a national fear of Communism in which every left-leaning institution was suspected of being part of international Bolshevik Revolution.
Shortly prior to the Red Scare labor unions had been making significant progress in America. Unions were becoming more popular and gaining broader support from the public. With the coming of the Red Scare politicians and businessmen used the public’s fear of Communism to significantly hurt labor unions and membership dropped radically.
As you can see in the graph below, excerpted from The First Measured Century, the Red Scare had a significant impact on organized labor in America.
Universities were suspect of teaching radicalism, the Socialist Party was outlawed, publicly elected officials who were members of the Socialist Party were thrown out of office, ten thousand people were imprisoned for being affiliated with socialism (primarily members of unions), and 800 were deported.
He Would Turn the Clock Back 1,000 Years: (1919)
Git!: (1919) Depicting Uncle Same kicking the International Workers of the World out of America
Not if Your Uncle Sam Has His Way: (1919)
Surely There Must Be a Better Way to Gather the Apples: (1920)
Another Case of the Bald Headed Barber: (1920)
Beat It!: (1920) The flag reads: “Red Rule. Capture all Products. Murder Those Who Enforce the Law. Blow Up Barracks. Liberate Prisoners. Burn Public Records of Indebtedness.”
Deporting the Reds: (1920) The Reds carry signs reading Reds, Bolshevik, Red Literature, Bomb Plots, Down with All Government and Revolution. The person Uncle Sam is grabbing is saying, “Go’way you tickle.” The ship tied to the land at the foot of the slide is labeled “Deportation.”
Hurry Up That Shipment Uncle Sam: (1920) Depicts Uncle Sam boxing up “Bolshevists” and members of the International Workers of the World to ship back to Europe.
America returned to a more pro-business attitude during the post war boom of the “Roaring 20s” in part because of the Red Scare and its impact on politics, which gave leverage to free-market proponents, and because of the public’s desire to distance themselves from Communism.
During the 1920s American society became increasingly polarized. In 1920 Prohibition went into effect and organized crime gained a strong foothold in the American economy. In order to combat the effects of organized crime, which were largely caused by Prohibition and facilitated by weapons surpluses from World War I, the FBI was given increased powers.
Apart from the issue of organized crime for the purpose of profits, there was another major issue brewing during the 1920s in America, that of racism and extreme right-wing organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan has a long history, going back to the early days of Reconstruction after the Civil War, but the Klan reached its peek of influence in the mid 1920s. In 1924 the Ku Klux Klan is reported to have had over 4.5 million members and held great political power in Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, and California. Approximately 20% of adult white males in the South were members of the KKK at this time. The Klan’s strongest state was Indiana. In 1924 Klansman Edward Jackson was elected governor of Indiana. As was previously stated, Indiana was also one of the places where the eugenics movement was strongest as well.
image Branded by the KKK for a public speech against cross burning in 1924 image Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
1925 KKK parade in Washington D.C. Over 400,000 members in attendance
The Klan was, and is, a Protestant based organization opposed to blacks, Jews, Catholics, and immigrants in general. Though the Klan was dominant in the South its influence during the 1920s was nation wide. During its peak the Klan was seen by a large portion of the American population as a respectable organization that stood for order and preservation of traditional values. The Klan also opposed Marxism, homosexuality, atheism, and liberalism in general. In fact Klan ideology and Nazi ideology are virtually identical and, like the later Nazis, the Klan presented themselves as a pillar of virtue, and in many ways they were accepted as such by society until a series of scandals ruined their image. The Klan were also supporters of Prohibition on the grounds that drinking was sinful, as is evidenced in the 1920’s flyer below.
Their image was not ruined by lynchings or their racist attitudes and actions, but rather it was ruined by the exposure of fraud within the organization and the raping to death of a young woman by “Grand Dragon” D.C. Stephenson.
The Klan had billed itself as a pillar of virtue and an upholder of American values, and when the extent of the Klan’s illegal activities became fully exposed the organization lost virtually all of its credibility, however what is important to note is that while Klan membership dropped in the late 1920s it was not because people no longer identified with the “values” of the Klan, but rather because the Klan had lost its credibility in upholding those “values.”
image The Pledge of Allegiance was changed in the 1920s as well, reflecting changing American attitudes. In 1924 the American Legion (a conservative pro-nationalist organization) participated in having the words “my Flag” changed to “the Flag of the United States of America”.
“The American Legion’s constitution includes the following goal: “To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism.” One of its major standing committees was the “Americanism Commission” and its subsidiary, the “Counter Subversive Activities Committee.” To the fear of immigrants, it added the fear of communism.”
A variety of right-wing political groups were active in America during the 1920s who promoted “100% Americanism”, the KKK and American Legion being just two of them. The changes to the Pledge that they supported were partly a reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution, and also a reaction to growing numbers of immigrants from Europe, such as Jews, Italians and Irish. These “nativists” made every effort to indoctrinate immigrants with the ideas of “Americanism.” Americanism was seen as a reinforcement of white male Protestant values and promoted white male Protestant cultural domination.
In conjunction with this there was growing popular anti-Semitism in America as well, and this anti-Semitism was largely adopted by these various nativist groups. Henry Ford was a major voice of anti-Semitism in the 1920s. Protestant Henry Ford, who started an anti-Semitic periodical called The Dearborn Independent in 1921, went on to publish The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a fraudulent writing which was claimed to be the secret hidden agenda of Jews to rule the world, and then published The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.
Ford and the other writers of Dearborn Publishing promoted the view of superiority built on race, and opposed Jews and other minorities as racially and culturally inferior. According to this view the ideas of socialism, liberalism and Marxism were plots used by inferior races to promote equality and thereby elevate themselves to the level of the superior Anglo-Saxon Protestants, or to lower Anglo-Saxon Protestants to their “inferior” level.
Below is a small example of the material found in The Dearborn Independent and The International Jew:
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
Simply identify the source and nature of the influence which has overrun our schools and universities. Let the students know that their choice is between the Anglo-Saxons and the Tribe of Judah. Let the students decide, in making up their allegiance, whether they will follow the Builders or those who seek to tear down. It is not a case for argument. The only absolute antidote to the Jewish influence is to call college students back to a pride of race.
We often speak of the Fathers as if they were the few who happened to affix their signatures to a great document which marked a new era of liberty. The Fathers of our nation were the men of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic race. The men who came from Europe with civilization in their blood and in their destiny. The men who crossed the Atlantic and set up civilization on a bleak and rock-bound coast; the men who drove north to Alaska and west to California; the men who opened up the tropics and subdued the arctics; the men who mastered the African veldt; the men who peopled Australia and seized the gates of the world at Suez, Gibraltar and Panama; men who have given form to every government and a livelihood to every people and an ideal to every century. They got neither their God nor their religion from Judah, nor yet their speech nor their creative genius- they are the Ruling People. Chosen throughout the centuries to Master the world, by building it ever better and better, and not by breaking it down.
Into the camp of this race, among the sons of the rulers, comes a people that has no civilization to point to, no aspiring religion, no universal speech, no great achievement in any realm but the realm of “get,” cast out of every land that gave them hospitality, and these people endeavor to tell the Sons of the Saxons what is needed to make the world what it ought to be!
If our sons follow this counsel of dark rebellion and destruction, it is because they do not know whose sons they are, of what race they are the scions. Let there be free speech to the limit in our universities and free intercourse of ideas, but let Jewish thoughts be labeled Jewish, and let our sons know the racial secret.
NAME THE ENEMY!
Judah has begun the struggle. Judah has made the invasion. Let it come. Let no man fear it. But let every a man insist that the fight be fair. Let college students and leaders of thought know that the objective is the regnancy of the ideas and the race that have built all the civilization we see and that promises all the civilization of the future; let them also know that the attacking force is Jewish.
That is all that will be necessary. It is against this that the Jews protest. “You must not identify us,” they say, “You must not use the term ‘Jew’.” Why? Because unless the Jewish idea can creep in under the assumption of other than Jewish origin, it is doomed. Anglo-Saxon ideas dare proclaim themselves and their origin. A proper proclamation is all that is necessary today. Compel every invading idea to run up its flag!
Ford’s promotion of the 5 day work week, 8 hour work day, and his $5 a day program had some lesser known motivations as well. Ford was extremely opposed to unions and began promoting and adopting these policies as a way to make concession in order to prevent unionization in his plants. In addition he was interjecting an element of Biblical moralism into his policies as well. This was largely motivated by the fact that there was an association between atheism and the Socialist movement, which Ford opposed.
Ford had developed a “Sociological Department” for his company, the goal of which was to “put a soul into the company.” Ford told the head of the department that he wanted him to, “put Jesus Christ in my factory.” In order to qualify for the $5 a day wage that Ford was offering a worker had to submit to corporate surveillance of his lifestyle by the Sociological Department. Employees were subject to home inspections, had to prove they were sober, prove they regularly saved a portion of their paycheck, and prove that they were not “living riotously,” which included activities such as gambling or staying out late.
Ford cooperated with the American Protective League, an organization of about 250,000 members, who’s members were stationed in factories and mingled with the public, profiling working men and women. The objective of the APL was to profile workers and bring pressure against any workers who were organizing unions or getting involved in labor movements. Information collected by the APL was passed on to the Justice Department, military, and local law enforcement.
Ford’s Sociological Department later developed into his “Service Department.” In the book The Five Dollar Day, author Steven Meyer quotes Jonathon Norton Leonard from 1924:
“No one who works for Ford, is safe from spies-from superintendents on down to the poor creature who must clean a certain number of toilets an hour. There are spies who ask embarrassing questions of visitors’ guides, spies who worm their way into labor unions, spies who speak every language under the sun. The system does not stop at the factory gates. An anonymous letter accusing a man of stealing Ford parts is enough to bring him before the ‘Service Department.’ He is forced to sign a ‘Permission for Search’ which allows Ford detectives to ransack his home, turn out all his poor possessions in hopes of finding a Ford incandescent lamp or a generator armature. There are spies to watch these in turn.”
FDR’s Economic Fascism
When the Stock Markets crashed in 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, it changed American attitudes about the economy.
Unemployment rates sky rocketed and support grew for increased government involvement in the management of the national economy.
In 1932 governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was elected President of the United States. When Roosevelt came into office he began work on a wide range of economic policies that would take several years to sign into law. These policies would become collectively known as “The New Deal”.
When Roosevelt began work on his economic reforms after his election, he did so with a large team of economists, businessmen, policy makers, and bankers; people from all different perspectives and backgrounds. By the time the Great Depression hit America and FDR had come into office, Benito Mussolini was at the height of his success and many Americans viewed Mussolini’s programs as a proven and successful way to deal with the problems of economic depression.
Like the fascists in Europe, Americans were generally opposed to both Communism and “high finance,” that is to say the extremely powerful capitalists who had come to dominate the American economy, and who many felt had far too much control over American life.
Since the time of Mussolini’s rise to power men like US Ambassador to Italy Henry Fletcher, Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, Charles Lindbergh, State Department head Norman Davis, and many others all agreed that his regime represented “solid opposition to communists, socialists, and anarchists.”
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote that FDR’s appointed American Ambassador to Italy, Breckenridge Long, had been “rhapsodizing about the achievements of Mussolini’s new ‘corporate state'” saying:
“Italy today is the most interesting experiment in government to come above the horizon since the formulation of the Constitution 150 years ago. [Mussolini] is one of the most remarkable persons . . . And they are doing a unique work in an original manner, so I am enjoying it all.”
In 1931 Major General Smedley Butler publicly relayed a story about Mussolini, apparently told to him by Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., in which Mr. Vanderbilt was riding with Mussolini and Mussolini hit a child with his car but kept on going and refused to stop. Butler’s public telling of the story caused international outrage and Butler was then arrested, court-martialed by Secretary of War Stimson and told to apologize to Mussolini. Butler refused, deciding instead to retire. Nevertheless this illustrates the degree to which Mussolini and fascism were respected in America at the time.
In 1934 the American State Department proclaimed that the 99% victory of the Fascist Party in Italian elections “demonstrate incontestably the popularity of the Fascist regime.”
The State Department, as late as 1937, praised Italian Fascism stating that it “brought order out of chaos, discipline out of license, and solvency out of bankruptcy.” The State Department continued to embrace fascism because of its anti-Communist position. Italy and Germany were being “made safe” by the fascists for American investment, and this is what was important in economic terms, especially during the Great Depression in America.
The New Deal policy makers took many cues from Mussolini’s public works programs, and the way in which he organized labor and corporations in order to promote employment. These are all of the same basic types of programs that were implemented with the New Deal.
New Deal legislation saw the creation of a wide range of federal agencies and programs, which are listed below:
Works Projects Administration (WPA)
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
National Youth Administration (NYA)
Farm Security Administration (FSA)
National Recovery Administration (NRA)
Public Works Administration (PWA)
Federal Emergency Relief Administration
Agricultural Adjustment Act
National Housing Act
Federal Securities Act
Social Security Act
National Labor Relations Act
The net effect of all of this was to increase the role of the State in the economy for the purpose of creating stability, providing security for average citizens and businessmen alike, and to give the government a hand in directing the development of the national economy.
Mussolini, “instituted a program of public works hitherto unrivalled in modern Europe. Bridges, canals and roads were built, hospitals and schools, railway stations and orphanages, swamps were drained and land reclaimed, forest were planted and universities were endowed.” Along those same lines FDR promoted many public works projects, such as the Rural Electrification project and the building of many dams through the Tennessee Valley Authority, including the Hoover Dam. As with all of these projects, they were not done by the government, they were done by private companies with funding from the government. This is one crucial difference between fascist economies and socialist economies. In a fascist economy public taxation is used to funnel money to private corporations through the government, whereas in a socialist economy like that of the Soviet Union there is no taxation and industry itself is run by the government for profit.
A company called Six Companies is who won the bid for the Hoover Dam and the project was very successful for them. All of the public works programs brought corporations and the State closer together and allowed companies to build projects that they would have otherwise not been able to get the funding for. This also helped to provide much needed jobs for large numbers of unemployed Americans.
Also like the fascists of Europe, FDR held rallies and parades to promote his economic agenda, and encouraged citizens to show their support. In 1933 a public relations campaign was launched by the NRA to bolster popular support the organization and its initiatives. Business were encouraged to hang banners with the NRA logo and motto in their windows showing that they were complaint with NRA regulations.
Much is made about the eventual backing of the New Deal by the Communist Party of America in 1935, however the Communist Party backing only came as part of the “Popular Front” movement, which was when American Communists decided to support New Deal legislation in an effort to prepare American industry for conflict with the European fascists.
Despite the Popular Front backing of the New Deal though, Marxists continued to criticize the plan as essentially American fascism. Whether or not their charges were correct or not is actually beside the point, the point is that the New Deal does not represent left-wing socialist ideology, as is often thought, and despite the apparent support for the New Deal by left-wing political groups, much of that support actually came more in the form of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” type support, Roosevelt and his New Deal being the enemy of European fascism. These views were reflected in many American Communist publications, such as this October 1941 publication of The Communist.
The New Deal was seen by the radical American left as the best hope to mobilize America in preparations for a fight against European fascism, which was always something that far left political groups were more concerned about than the average citizen. During the early and mid 1930s the average American citizen was not overly concerned with the goings on in Europe, and in fact many supported the Fascist regimes there because of their anti-Communist and pro-order policies, but the far American left was acutely aware of the magnitude of the problems in Europe and was opposed to the Fascist regimes from the start, because of course the Fascists were anti-leftist regimes.
This is why, even during the mid 1930s, members of the American far left were already thinking about war with the Fascist powers of Europe and indeed they were participating in that war early by volunteering to fight against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, the precursor to WWII, and this is why the New Deal was seen by the American far left in a different light than that of the American mainstream. To them it was about more than just domestic policy, they recognized it as the mobilization of industry to prepare for war, and as such backed the New Deal on those terms. The American Communist Party opposed the FDR administration’s lack of support for anti-lynching legislation and what was seen as a weak stance on issues of racial and gender justice.
In 1965 Libertarian author Murray Rothbard observed:
Thus, in 1934, the British Leninist theoretician R. Palme Dutt published a brief but scathing analysis of the New Deal as “social fascism” – as the reality of fascism cloaked with a thin veneer of populist demagogy. No Conservative opponent has ever delivered a more vigorous or trenchant denunciation of the New Deal. The Roosevelt policy, wrote Dutt, was to “move to a form of dictatorship of a war-type”; the essential policies were to impose a State monopoly capitalism through the NRA (National Industrial Recovery Act), to subsidize business, banking, and agriculture through inflation and the partial expropriation of the mass of the people through lower real-wage rates and to the regulation and exploitation of labor by means of government-fixed wages and compulsory arbitration. When the New Deal, wrote Dutt, is stripped of its “social-reformist ‘progressive’ camouflage,” “the reality of the new Fascist type of system of concentrated State capitalism and industrial servitude remains,” including an implicit “advance to war.” Dutt effectively concluded with a quote from an editor of the highly respected Current History Magazine:
‘The new America [the editor had written in mid-1933] will not be capitalist in the old sense, nor will it be socialist. If at the moment the trend is towards fascism, it will be an American fascism, embodying the experience, the traditions, and the hopes of a great middle-class nation.’
In a 1934 interview of Joseph Stalin by H.G. Wells, Joseph Stalin and H. G. Wells, Marxism VS. Liberalism: An Interview, published in 1937, Stalin explained that what was taking place in America under FDR was not in any way the same thing that was taking place in the U.S.S.R. Stalin stated:
“The United States is pursuing a different aim from that which we are pursuing in the U.S.S.R. The aim which the Americans are pursuing arose out of the economic troubles, out of the economic crisis. The Americans want to rid themselves of the crisis on the basis of private capitalist activity without changing the economic basis. They are trying to reduce to a minimum the ruin, the losses caused by the existing economic system. Here, however, as you know, in place of the old destroyed economic basis an entirely different, a new economic basis has been created. Even if the Americans you mention partly achieve their aim, i.e., reduce these losses to a minimum, they will not destroy the roots of the anarchy which is inherent in the existing capitalist system. They are preserving the economic system which must inevitably lead, and cannot but lead, to anarchy in production. Thus, at best, it will be a matter, not of the reorganization of society, not of abolishing the old social system which gives rise to anarchy and crises, but of restricting certain of its bad features, restricting certain of its excesses. Subjectively, perhaps, these Americans think they are reorganizing society; objectively, however, they are preserving the present basis of society.”
It must be noted that while the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) gave official support to the New Deal and President Roosevelt in 1935, it retracted that support and began opposing FDR in 1939 when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, also known as the Soviet-Nazi pact or Stalin-Hitler pact, was signed between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Soviets signed this pact in an effort to prevent what they felt would be an imminent invasion by the Germans had they not signed it, and Germany promoted the offer in an attempt to annex Poland without causing war. Nonetheless, Britain and France did declare war on Germany when the Germans invaded Poland. During the time between the signing of this pact and the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany, the CPUSA, at the direction of Moscow, called for non-involvement on the part of the United States in the European War and waged a campaign against FDR. The effect of the CPUSA’s campaign was minor on the general public, but it did cause many members of the CPUSA to break ranks with the party and the party lost considerable credibility.
Neither Winston Churchill nor FDR were in favor of Communism, but they began more and more to view Germany and Italy as greater rising threats to the capitalist interests of their countries than was the Soviet Union. Churchill was very outspoken in his contempt for the Bolsheviks, but he, along with FDR, began trying to court Russia in what amounted to a containment strategy of Germany. This was a program that FDR himself felt very strongly about, but he faced a nation of citizens who were either extremely pacifistic, anti-war, or were sympathizers of the European fascists.
This is not to say that everyone during this time understood what was going on, the intentions of the various players in the situation, or the actual implications of the policies being implemented. FDR, while popularly supported overall, still received strong criticism from the “right” and “far left.” The New Deal was representative of the types measures that were observed to work for the Fascists in Italy in pushing back Communist political advances, and in addition it was simply a pragmatic way to deal with the real problems of laissez-faire capitalism. The New Deal embodied measures of collectivism and centralization, but not with the same goals of socialist measures. The New Deal made no attempt to fundamentally change the American economic system, only to stabilize it and strengthen the capitalist system. The New Deal was implemented with all of the best intentions in mind.
In 1933 US Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd issued a speech titled Dilemma in the United States in Berlin at an American Club Dinner about the situation in America. Dodd was also a professor of history.
Parts of this speech read:
“The Federal Constitution is a balanced instrument of most limited powers, and all executive functions are subject to legislative and judicial approval. Only in time of war may a President take any decisive action. Lincoln violated the Constitution to save the Union, and Wilson sometimes transcended his powers for the obvious common good, though actual violations of the fundamental law were not a part of his practice. Might men interpret the events of March 1933 as warlike?
In the chaotic situation, with banks closing their doors everywhere, President Roosevelt acted as if he were in a state of war. He declared a bank holiday and hastened the assembling of congress. Excitement was everywhere as great as in 1917. Senators and Representatives recognized urge of the hour; but they also felt the pull of the American Legion and the pressure of local demands. It was a situation which legislators are apt to convert into an impasse, witness the panicky times of Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland when all Presidential action was defeated. But Roosevelt had converted his long struggle for recovering his health into a ten-year study of history and economics. He had learned how men behaved in past crises.
He held conferences with the greater committees of both houses of Congress; he consulted experts on subjects on which expert opinion was needful; he coaxed semi-hostile newspaper folk to delay their opposition; and he postponed appointments to ten thousand offices in which mere politicians were interested. It was a human picture, a Jefferson urging Southerners to abolish slavery, lest they themselves be abolished; a Wilson urging war to end war. And Roosevelt was successful. A banking war was enacted which gave the Federal Government powers which must paralyze all state systems. A control over the issue of securities was enacted which would probably have prevented the depression if applied in 1921-1929. The farmers of the West were told in legal form how much wheat they might plant, and cotton growers were ordered to plow up ten million acres of the 1933 crop. If railroads were to operate, their managers must submit to orders from the White House. The whole economic life of the country was taken in hand upon mandates voted by both houses of Congress. There had never been anything like it before, but some way to recovery must be sought, else even greater catastrophe than that of 1929 might come. It was not revolution as men are prone to say. It was a popular expansion of governmental powers beyond all constitutional grants; and nearly all men everywhere hope the President may succeed. If he is able to put half the unemployed back to work; if the new banking law and corporation control yield half the desired results, the cause of democracy and personal liberty may survive the onslaughts of our times.”
This is a fairly accurate account of what happened and the perception of the conditions under which it did happen. It was a change, a significant change, of that there is no doubt, and it was a change of the economically fascist type, but that is not meant in a negative way per-se. It was a change that brought the economy under a new level of control by the federal government, and it was done for much the same reasons that it was done in Italy and Germany, in order to save the economy from collapse or vulnerability. Unlike Italy and Germany however, the “threat of communism” was essentially nonexistent in America, whereas in Italy and Germany communists held significant political power, which was part of the reason why regimes there were much more extreme.
FDR himself would have in no way considered any of his policies “fascist,” nor would he ever have compared himself to the fascists of Europe, of that there is little doubt. FDR despised dictatorship and he despised the actions of the Nazis especially, yet the fact remains that fundamentally they were all walking along many of the same lines. Their objectives and ideologies were very different but they were all faced with the same issues and all arrived at similar solutions. The problems inherent in laissez-faire capitalism and the opposition to Marxist ideology resulted in the middle ground development of economic fascism in all three places, and there was a measure, especially early on, of admiration and imitation of the Italian system by contributors to the New Deal.
As was the case in Germany and Italy, people began to look more and more to the State, and to Roosevelt himself, as their savior. The State was playing a much larger role in people’s lives under Roosevelt than at any other time in American history.
In addition to his economic agenda, FDR shared some other traits of fascist leaders of the day as well, such as his “cult of personality.” FDR was, and perhaps still is, one of the best loved presidents of all time. He was an excellent speaker and motivator and unlike any president before or since he made a connection to the people. FDR held frequent radio addresses to the public, his “Fireside Chats”, which took on the air of a personal conversation.
Much like the Italians and Germans did with Mussolini and Hitler, the American public identified strongly with FDR as “their leader,” however FDR’s approach and message was much different than that of the European fascists. FDR did not preach hate or conquest, or try to fill people’s heads with messages of superiority. It has to be remembered too though that in fact the majority of the message of the fascists of Europe was not one of hate, they too spoke primarily about unity and building a stronger nation.
Though much is made about the fact that FDR served an amazing four terms in office, what is often overlooked is that FDR was ready to retire after his second term, in fact he nearly declined the 1940 Democratic Party nomination. It was at first said that FDR would not run for office again, but at the Democratic National Convention he received a standing ovation and chants of “We want Roosevelt, We want Roosevelt,” and indeed he did finally accept by saying “If nominated and elected, I could not in these times refuse to take the inaugural oath, even if I knew I would be dead in thirty days.” (a reference to his poor health)
His four terms were served at public request because he was very popular; he inspired people, and the same can be said of the European fascists; they all had developed a “cult of personality.” They were inspiring people, as a member of the SS said of Hitler:
“As far as Hitler is concerned, we regarded him as a true man. He was only a corporal when he earned the Iron Cross First Class in World War I. In those days that was quite an achievement. When he spoke at meetings or rallies he managed to captivate his audience. He was able to get us in a mood where we believed everything he said and we left fired with enthusiasms. Everyone I met respected and trusted Hitler and I myself shared these feelings and opinions.”
– Standartenoberjunker Jan Munk – SS
The Term “Liberal” Redefined
The term “liberal” in America has been redefined from its classical meaning. Liberalism, in the classical sense of the word is a laissez-faire approach to economics and social issues. Liberalism in the true sense of the word means “hands off,” “let people do what they will”.
In America the term “liberal” has become synonymous with “big government.” This is because FDR proclaimed himself to be a champion of liberalism. Thus what happened during FDR’s 12-year term in office is that he single handedly changed the American perception of what “liberal” meant.
Below are a few quotes from FDR that demonstrate how FDR really created the modern image of what it means to be “a liberal” by proclaiming himself to be a liberal and proclaiming that his actions were of a liberal nature.
“A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted-in the air. A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward. A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards. A liberal is a man who uses his legs and his hands at the behest of his head.” – date unknown
“Throughout the world, change is the order of the day…. In most nations social justice, no longer a distant ideal, has become a definite goal. We seek it through tested liberal traditions.
We find our population suffering from old inequalities…. In spite of our efforts… we have not weeded out the overprivileged and we have not effectively lifted up the underprivileged. .
We have, however, a clear mandate from the people, that Americans must forswear… the acquisition of wealth which, through excessive profits, creates undue private power over private affairs and, to our misfortune, over public affairs as well….” – 1935 Inaugural Address
Speaking about very wealthy American capitalists:
“The “privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction….” They erected a “new industrial dictatorship” which controlled the “hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor….”
“For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor-other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real….”
“Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended …” – 1936
FDR’s 1944 “Economic Bill of Rights”:
“It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people-whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth-is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights-among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our nation has grown in size and stature, however-as our industrial economy expanded-these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.”
There is some merit to the way in which FDR used the word liberalism as well though. When FDR used the word liberalism or when he described his policies as “liberal”, what he meant was that private power was becoming anti-liberal. In other words, private power was becoming controlling. Wealthy capitalists had consolidated so much power in America that by government taking a “hands off” approach all it was doing was allowing these private institutions and individuals to dictate the country’s economic conditions and thereby allowing these private entities to become controlling forces in people’s lives.
So, in that respect FDR saw his policies of taking some of that power away from the private institutions as “liberal” in the sense that is was restoring liberty to the common man.
FDR’s policies dramatically increased the scope and power of the federal government and thus became associated with “big government” and “tax and spend,” when in fact neither the idea of “big government” or “tax and send” are “liberal ideas.” They are in fact fundamentally fascist qualities, which were implemented for the purpose of solving real problems that existed in the American economy. What has to be remembered is that aside from all the bad things which we now associate with fascism, the fascists did develop some successful policies and they were popularly supported at the time.
The entire world was facing many of the same issues. The period of the 1920s and 1930s represented a worldwide crisis in capitalism. The crisis was in laissez-faire capitalism and fascism was the means of “saving” capitalism by: number one: stopping the blatant abuses of the system, and number two: preventing an overthrow of capitalism by socialism and communism.
American Race relations during Roosevelt’s administration
“District Judge Caruthers convened a grand jury in June 1911 to investigate the lynching of [this] Negro woman and her son. In his instructions to the jury, he said, “The people of the state have said by recently adopted constitutional provision that the race to which the unfortunate victims belonged should in large measure be divorced from participation in our political contests, because of their known racial inferiority and their dependent credulity, which very characteristic made them the mere tool of the designing and cunning. It is well known that I heartily concur in this constitutional provision of the people’s will. The more then does the duty devolve upon us of a superior race and of greater intelligence to protect this weaker race from unjustifiable and lawless attacks.””
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s race relations in America were in a general decline at the social level. This is one reason why the situation in Germany with the Jews was not seen by many Americans as anything extraordinary. That Jews were discriminated against in Germany and segregated was nothing new to Americans who were accustomed to racial segregation. In fact Hitler mentioned that his segregation practices were based on the American example.
The term lynching originated in America when, after the American Revolution, a judge named Lynch became well known for the large number of loyalists that he sentenced to hanging. After the Civil War the lynching of blacks took on a new aura as it was seen as a “defense of white culture against the Negro.” The practice, after blacks had been freed as slaves, was to keep blacks in fear and in a subordinate status. There were close to 2,000 lynching in America in the 20th century, almost all of them coming before World War II. In terms of violence and repression Germany was not much more repressive than America until the war broke out. The Germans did not begin the mass killing of Jews and others until after the war started. Prior to that the situation in Germany was mostly one of segregation, discrimination, and public acts of violence, nothing that was out of character in American race relations of the time.
Early 20th century lynchings in America
For more information on these and other lynchings see:
When FDR came into office his primary goal was the passing of his New Deal legislation. The New Deal represented a tremendous change in the American system, and thus FDR was always walking a fine line in Congress in terms of getting support for his measures. Because of this FDR tried to distance himself from race issues as much as possible because, being a Democrat, most of his fellow Democrats were from the South. At the time the South was politically dominated by conservative Democrats, also known as Dixiecrats. So in order for FDR to pass his New Deal legislation he needed Democratic support; in order to keep his Democratic support he could not be very progressive on race matters.
Roosevelt expressed personal sympathy with the cause of blacks in America, but for the reasons mentioned above he never committed to any progressive racial legislation. However, the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a vocal advocate of racial justice and she visited with blacks and invited blacks to the White House, something that was very progressive for the times.
While Roosevelt was in office anti-lynching bills were proposed. The anti-lynching bills were quite divisive and Roosevelt tried to distance himself from them. In speaking about the Wagner Bill (the anti-lynching bill) FDR told Walter White of the NAACP: “I did not choose the tools with which I must work. Had I been permitted to choose then I would have selected quite different ones. But I’ve got to get legislation passed by Congress to save America. The Southerners by reason of the seniority rule in Congress are chairmen or occupy strategic places on most of the Senate and House committees. If I come out for the anti-lynching bill now, they will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing. I just can’t take that risk.”
While the Wagner bill was pending in Congress in 1934 lynching did subside for a bit, but as soon as the bill failed to pass lynching started up again.
In October of 1934 a particularly gruesome lynching took place in Marianna Florida as is recounted here:
Not long after midnight on October 26, ‘an armed mob of approximately 100 men stormed the county jail at Brewton, Alabama,’ and seized Claude Neal, a black man accused of the murder of a white women. According to an NAACP investigator, the mob took Neal back to Florida, where the murder had been committed, and subjected him to ‘the most brutal and savage torture imaginable, the greatest possible humiliation and agony.’ They sliced him with knives, severed parts of his body, and made him eat his penis and testicles. Then they branded him with red hot irons, choked him several times with a rope, tied him to the back of a car, and dragged him to the home of the dead woman, where a member of her family drove a butcher knife into his heart. A crowd of thousands assembled; the body was repeatedly trampled, and ‘little children waiting with sharp sticks drove their weapons deep into the flesh of the dead man.’ The mutilated body was hung on a tree in the courthouse square; hawkers sold photographs for fifty cents apiece.
Source: Farwell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR by Nancy J. Weiss
It was common practice for photographs of lynchings to be sold to the pubic, and even postcards that could be sent through the mail, which is why so many photos of lynchings exist today. It was also common for lynchings to be large public events with hundreds or thousand of participants. This was not a backwoods occurrence of a few deranged men, this was a commonly accepted social practice in the regions where lynchings took place, primarily the South. Children were also commonly involved and children observers can be seen in many lynching photographs.
Body mutilation was also common in lynchings, with one of the common practices being the live castration of the victim. Lynchings were most often directed against alleged criminals, however the first problem is that there was seldom any trail, and often allegations against blacks quickly sprang up as soon as any violent crime was committed with the result being that “some” black man was going to get lynched. Often who got lynched was based on a “hunch” by the vigilantes, and blacks were often simply scapegoats for crimes committed by whites. Whites were occasionally lynched as well. Group lynchings and family lynchings were also not unheard of. Victims were also burned at the stake on occasion, or burned alive while they hung.
Two lynchings from 1935
Throughout FDR’s administration Eleanor continued to support racially liberal causes, despite the fact that FDR himself seldom gave public support for them. This was a somewhat calculated measure because they both supported progressive racial causes, however Roosevelt knew that in the racial climate of the day his direct involvement in racial issues would be political suicide for him, thus he and she took on a somewhat detached public stance, she taking on the issues that FDR felt were too radical for his own platform.
Eleanor received a lot of criticism for her actions however, especially on race issues. Some familiar complaints were: “She goes around telling Negroes they are as good as anyone else.” “Wherever she has spoken the Negroes always act like they are white folks.”
Despite FDR’s conscious attempts to distance himself from racial issues it seemed that nothing was ever good enough for the American public. FDR drew constant criticism on matters of race. In relation to the New Deal’s equal treatment of blacks and whites a man from Dearborn Michigan (familiar place eh?) wrote that “any white man who worked for the betterment of negroe [sic] races, the President included, was a traitor.”
FDR and Eleanor were often referred to as “nigger lovers”. During the 1936 presidential campaign a popular anti-Roosevelt song was as follows:
“You kiss the niggers,
I’ll kiss the Jews.
We’ll stay in the White House
As long as we choose”
In letters to the White House people stated:
“Let [the Negro] stay in his place.”
“Mr. President, we southern people don’t believe in no such stuff as social equality with the negroes as you are doing.”
During the 1936 political conventions the Democrats began reaching out to blacks for the first time. At a Democratic convention black pastor Marshall L. Shepard gave the invocation, a first for such an event, however immediately after the pastor spoke “Dixie” was sung by the group. When the pastor took the podium Senator Ed Smith from South Carolina walked out stating: “By God, he’ as black as melted midnight!” “Get out of my way. This mongrel meeting ain’t no place for a white man!” “I am not opposed to any Negro praying for me but I don’t want any blue-gummed, slew footed Senegambian praying for me politically!” Smith later stated that “acceptance of the Negro on terms of political equality humiliated the South.”
Through all of this Roosevelt did little of substance directly for blacks. Eleanor reached out to them socially, as did a few other politicians, but no legislation of any substance was passed to protect or promote blacks during the 1930s. Blacks began voting in large numbers for FDR because he was at least not hostile to them (something that was an accomplishment in the times), because Eleanor had established a good public image towards blacks, and because the New Deal helped them in the same way that it helped whites.
The perception that Roosevelt was favorable to blacks (because he wasn’t oppressing them) had a negative impact on him politically, however the economic situation was such that people were voting primarily with their pocketbooks, even if they were uncomfortable with their views that Roosevelt was friendly to blacks. Despite the fact that Roosevelt never supported any racially progressive laws, just the mere fact that he wasn’t taking action against blacks was bad enough for some Americans, especially in the South.
The Rise of the Black Legion
image image Poster for 1936 “based on a true story” movie about the Black Legion
As I said, after the demise of the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1920s due to legal problems, the ideology of the Klan still lived on among the American public. By the 1930s a new organization had formed out the remains of the of KKK, but this new group, The Black Legion, was larger, more aggressive, and estimated to have as many as 7 million members nation wide.
Below is a collection of new paper articles on the Black Legion from the 1930s:
As stated above, the group primarily targeted Communists, blacks, Jews, and Catholics in the name of God and protecting white Protestant America. The group was also opposed to FDR and his policies and was involved heavily with the Republican Party. The group was political, large, and took serious action, including lynching people, shooting murders, floggings, kidnappings, and general threats of violence against people and groups that they opposed. The Black Legion was also acting in accord with the interests of some corporations as will be discussed below. They were involved in union busting and threatening labor organizers. In addition to this there were institutional members of the Black Legion, just as there had been institutional members of the KKK. As discussed above, members of the military and National Guard were of the Legion.
The Black Legion was the most violent expression of organized opposition against FDR and his New Deal policies. The Black Legion openly acknowledge that they considered the president a threat and sought the overthrow of the government.
More on the Black Legion can be found in the Federal Freedom of Information Archives, which states:
“This cult-type organization operated in the Midwest in the 1930’s supposedly to protect the country from various forms of “isms”. Members wore black costumes with skull and crossbones insignia and were allegedly responsible for numerous murders.”
Supporters of the European Fascists
While FDR was busy bringing American capitalism under the control of the State, many American capitalists began looking to blatantly Fascist Italy and Germany, who were engaged in a large amount of spending, as favorable regions to expand their capitalist empires. In addition, many of America’s wealthy elite were primarily concerned with Communism and viewed the Fascist regimes as a bulwark against the spread of Communism.
Some of these people were simply businessmen doing business, but others were more involved.
image Professor William E. Dodd
William E. Dodd, the US Ambassador to Germany, gave important insight into German and American economic alliances. He wrote of the situation in general that:
“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. ”
“Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there.”
– William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937
Some of the primary and more famous American companies and individuals that were involved with the Fascist regimes of Europe are: William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy (JFK’s father), Charles Lindbergh, John Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon (head of Alcoa, banker, and Secretary of Treasury), DuPont, General Motors, Standard Oil (now Exxon), Ford, ITT, Allen Dulles (later head of the CIA), Prescott Bush, National City Bank, Coca-Cola, and General Electric.
It should be noted that businessmen from many countries, including England and Australia, also worked with the Fascist regimes of Europe prior to WWII. The Fascist governments were involved in a high level of construction, production, and international business. All in all, American corporate investments in Germany grew by almost 50% between 1929 and 1940, while declining in the rest of continental Europe.
I.G. Farben, a German company, was the largest chemical manufacturing enterprise in the world during the early part of the 20th century. As such, the company had many holdings in a variety of countries, including America. The American holdings of I.G. Farben included Bayer Co., General Aniline Works, BASF, Agfa Ansco, and Winthrop Chemical Company.
image I.G. Farben stamp showing corporate logo
I.G. Farben was critical in the development of the German economy and war machine leading up to WWII. During this time I.G. Farben’s international holdings along with its international business contracts with companies like Standard Oil, DuPont, Alcoa, and Dow Chemical were crucial in supplying the Nazi regime with the materials needed for war, as well as financial support.
Ford and GM supplied European Fascists with trucks and equipment, as well as investing money in I.G. Farben plants. Standard Oil supplied the fascists with fuel. US Steel and Alcoa supplied them with critically needed metals. American banks gave them billion’s of dollars worth of loans. American banks and businesses continued to support the Fascist regimes of Europe legally up until the day Germany declared war on America and the activities were stopped under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Despite this, some companies and individuals still maintained a business relationship with the Third Reich.
The following is excerpted from a report printed by the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1974:
The activities of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler prior to and during World War II…are instructive. At that time, these three firms dominated motor vehicle production in both the United States and Germany. Due to its mass production capabilities, automobile manufacturing is one of the most crucial industries with respect to national defense. As a result, these firms retained the economic and political power to affect the shape of governmental relations both within and between these nations in a manner which maximized corporate global profits. In short, they were private governments unaccountable to the citizens of any country yet possessing tremendous influence over the course of war and peace in the world. The substantial contribution of these firms to the American war effort in terms of tanks, aircraft components, and other military equipment is widely acknowledged. Less well known are the simultaneous contributions of their foreign subsidiaries to the Axis Powers. In sum, they maximized profits by supplying both sides with the materiel needed to conduct the war.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, the Big Three automakers undertook an extensive program of multinational expansion…By the mid-1930’s, these three American companies owned automotive subsidiaries throughout Europe and the Far East; many of their largest facilities were located in the politically sensitive nations of Germany, Poland, Rumania, Austria, Hungary, Latvia, and Japan…Due to their concentrated economic power over motor vehicle production in both Allied and Axis territories, the Big Three inevitably became major factors in the preparations and progress of the war. In Germany, for example, General Motors and Ford became an integral part of the Nazi war efforts. GM’s plants in Germany built thousands of bomber and jet fighter propulsion systems for the Luftwaffe at the same time that its American plants produced aircraft engines for the U.S. Army Air Corps….
Ford was also active in Nazi Germany’s prewar preparations. In 1938, for instance, it opened a truck assembly plant in Berlin whose “real purpose,” according to U.S. Army Intelligence, was producing “troop transport-type” vehicles for the Wehrmacht. That year Ford’s chief executive received the Nazi German Eagle (first class)….
The outbreak of war in September 1939 resulted inevitably in the full conversion by GM and Ford of their Axis plants to the production of military aircraft and trucks…. On the ground, GM and Ford subsidiaries built nearly 90 percent of the armored “mule” 3-ton half-trucks and more than 70 percent of the Reich’s medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American intelligence reports, served as “the backbone of the German Army transportation system.”…
After the cessation of hostilities, GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. Government for wartime damages sustained by their Axis facilities as a result of Allied bombing… Ford received a little less than $1 million, primarily as a result of damages sustained by its military truck complex at Cologne…
Due to their multinational dominance of motor vehicle production, GM and Ford became principal suppliers for the forces of fascism as well as for the forces of democracy. It may, of course, be argued that participating in both sides of an international conflict, like the common corporate practice of investing in both political parties before an election, is an appropriate corporate activity. Had the Nazis won, General Motors and Ford would have appeared impeccably Nazi; as Hitler lost, these companies were able to re-emerge impeccably American. In either case, the viability of these corporations and the interests of their respective stockholders would have been preserved.
In 1940 Graeme K. Howard, of General Motors, published America and the New World Order, in which he advised that America give full cooperation to the Nazi regime. In his book he blames FDR for causing the war in Europe and goes on to say that the fascists should be supported as the better alternative to the spread of Communism.
Ambassador Dodd also relayed important information about major American publicist William Randolph Hearst’s relationship with the European fascists and how Heart’s publications were influencing American readers.
By the late 1930s a significant coalition of wealthy American businessmen had formed opposition to FDR. Many believed that he was getting too cozy with the Soviet Union and perceived his New Deal as communist style legislation, which in fact it was not.
FDR did want to form peaceful relations with the Soviet Union however, as he did with all nations. FDR’s vision of the future was one of peace among all nations, who would work together cooperatively. FDR saw the fascists in Europe, especially Germany, as a threat to that climate. Both Roosevelt and Churchill, while opposed to Communism, also preferred opening relations with the Soviets in order to contain the fascists.
So, while FDR was pursuing peace with the Soviet Union and a domestic program of serious economic reform, powerful American businessmen interpreted his actions as “Red” and formed coalitions against him and began working hard on all fronts, political, economic, foreign and domestic, to oppose FDR and his policies.
A 1935 letter to FDR from Dodd relayed a conversation that Dodd had with Karl von Wiegand, a 25 years principal correspondent of the International News Service in Central Europe.
Dodd stated that:
Since the present regime began, von Wiegand has been very much embarrassed, and Hearst has been even more embarrassing to him. A little more than a year ago he and George Vincent were guests at my house, and he told us then how Hearst had subsidized Mussolini.
Dodd then went on to relay information directly from von Wiegand:
…In 1924, Hearst sent Bertilli, one of his best correspondents, to Italy for a series of articles designed to appraise accurately the Mussolini movement. After a month or so of work, the first article was sent to Hearst. It was plain enough that the verdict of Bertilli was not flattering.
It had also been understood that Hearst had no sympathy with dictatorial governments. Strangely enough, Bertilli was recalled and all his work scrapped. Another strange thing, Gianini, President of the Italian Bank System of California, an ardent supporter of Mussolini, agreed to lend Hearst some millions of dollars, Hearst being thought at that time to be in embarrassing financial circumstances…
Hearst then sent me (von Wiegand) to Rome for an interview with Mussolini, and asked me to engage him to write articles whenever he chose for the Hearst press at $l a word. Mussolini was greatly pleased and he wrote articles over a number of years, and I delivered to him large checks from time to time. From that time on Hearst was considered by his correspondents as an ally of Mussolini…
In 1934 he (Hearst) came with a big party, including his mistress, and spent the summer at Nauheim. Once more representatives of the German Government visited him, and finally Rosenberg (editor of the VOELKISCHER BEOBACHTER and representative of German foreign propaganda work) made an engagement for him to see the Chancellor, and he flew to Berlin one night in September. The next day he had an interview of nearly an hour with the Chancellor, and he reported to me that he was greatly impressed with the genius and friendliness of Hitler…
A little later he asked me to negotiate a deal with Goebbels for supplying the German Propaganda Ministry with all the Hearst news service. I declined. Hearst then appointed Hillman, of London, to work out the deal, and I went to London to continue my work for the International News Service. Hillman arranged for the Propaganda Ministry to have all continental Hearst information in Europe delivered to its office at the same time it went to the Hearst press over the world. For this service Hearst was to receive $200,000 a year, and he at once began to bring pressure to bear on his correspondents to give only friendly accounts of what happened in Germany…
…I learned a little later that all my reports from Germany went directly to Hearst and were re-edited so as to fit the new program…
…he at the same time sent Dosch-Fleurot here from Paris to administer the service in such a way that it would always be friendly to the Hitler regime. However, Dosch-Fleurot’s attitude in the winter of 1934-35 began to change, and now he is called home for discipline. I might add that other representatives of the service in Germany have been dismissed, and still others dislike to write one-sided reports…
In his closing Dodd stated:
You will see from von Wiegand’s statements that what I told you about Hearst being an ally of Mussolini and Hitler is correct.
This relationship between Hearst and the Nazis has even greater implications than it first seems as well. Hearst’s relationship with the Nazis in 1934 is of critical importance in understanding a major element of American anti-Communist propaganda. In 1934 Hearst published a number of stories about the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine. Nazi Germany had been waging a major anti-Communist propaganda campaign as part of its agenda, fascism being the “sworn enemy” or communism. In 1933 of course, Hitler falsely blamed the Reichstag fire on Communists, which triggered the beginning of the militarization of the German government and establishment of concentration camps in Germany.
image Hearst with Nazi officers
As part of this larger propaganda campaign the German Ministry of Propaganda created a story about a Soviet program of genocide in Ukraine. This was all part of the larger German plans to not only put down Communist support in Germany, but justify later invasions to the east under the banner of “liberation.”
The Germans manufactured stories about the famine in Ukraine and used false photographs to depict the famine conditions as worse than they really were, including pictures from a 1920-22 famine in Russia during the Russian Civil War and pictures of famine conditions during World War I of regions that were not even Russian.
The Germans wanted to expand this propaganda campaign against the USSR to potential rival states which it hoped to build support in, such as the United States and Britain. This is where Hearst came in.
Hearst’s role for the Nazis was to try and build Nazi sympathy in America, which was to be achieved by both portraying Nazi Germany in a good light, as well as portraying Germany’s primary target, the Soviet Union, and Communism in general, in an exaggeratedly negative light.
Hearst picked up the Ukraine famine story in 1934, about a year after the famine actually took place. In a press like the Hearst Press everything relied on “breaking news.” Had Hearst had a real interest in covering the Ukraine famine it would have been covered in 1932 and 1933 when it was taking place, however it was not covered in Hearst presses until 1934, after he picked up the story for the Nazis.
1935 Hearst publication showing pictures taken prior to 1930. Notice claim that “reporter risked life to get photographs”
Hearst’s Ukraine famine stories have proven to have had a huge impact among Americans, and even today the majority of Americans believe that there actually was a “Ukraine Holocaust.” Common figures are that 6 million people died in Ukraine under Stalin’s rule in what was an intentional starving to death of these millions of people. This 6 million figure is in fact a pure fabrication of Nazi propaganda. The idea that Ukrainians were intentionally starved to death is likewise a product of Nazi propaganda, picked up by Hearst and spread to the United States, where it was accepted at truth, and for the most part still is today.
For more on the Ukrainian famine and the role of the Hearst Press in creating the myth of a Ukrainian genocide see: Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard
In 1938 George Seldes, famous American journalist, wrote of Hearst in Lords of the Press:
The year 1935 marked the height of the Hearst Red-baiting campaign in the universities. It must be remarked here and now that there is no Red teaching in the schools and colleges of the United States, but the institutions of learning of our country still attempt to give their students a liberal education. It is inconceivable that they should do anything else. No school can supply an anti-liberal education, or a Fascist education, as these terms are contradictory. Liberalism and education are one, and all Hearst did was to call liberal education “Red” education.
To this day the Hearst press is filled with Red-baiting articles and attacks upon such notable Americans as Prof. Charles A. Beard, Prof. George S. Counts, of Teachers College; Prof. E.A. Ross, of the University of Wisconsin; Prof. Frederick L. Schuman, of Chicago. Hearst reporters in numerous instances have been sent as students to interview professors or to take courses for the purpose of writing Red-baiting articles. When these reporters found nothing to write about they falsified. In several cases they later confessed.
In the 1930s Heart Consolidated Publications was the largest publishing business in the world, and his publications had a definite impact on the views of Americans. It is obvious that Hearst was attempting to influence Americans to be sympathetic to the European fascist cause, and it is arguable that it his efforts were in fact working.
In 1937 Fortune Magazine, a Hearst publication, stated that:
The good journalist must recognize in Fascism certain ancient virtues of the race, whether or not they happen to be momentarily fashionable in his own country. Among these are Discipline, Duty, Courage, Glory, Sacrifice.
The Reader’s Digest, another Hearst publication, reprinted and article from The New Statesman, also a Hearst publication, that stated:
That Hitler’s conquest of the hearts and minds of all classes of Germans is now so complete that even if all his Brown Shirts and Steel Helmets were to be disbanded, tomorrow he would still be easily the strongest man in Germany, and on any appeal to the electorate would be confirmed in power by a quite overwhelming majority of votes.
Hitler is recognized by the whole of the political and official intelligentsia as an exceedingly able man. As of the militarist question: One may say with complete certainty that what Hitler said in his Reichstag speech on May 17 was exactly what he meant and accurately represents the policy that he will pursue.
I found no German who dreamed of the possibility of war, few who did not hope that it might be prevented in the future altogether. The truth is that the Nazi mind is concentrated on the internal problems of Germany and does not want to be bothered by foreign affairs for a long time to come.
Hitler has passed from the stage of party leader to being the national prophet of an exceedingly serious people, and it would need another prophet to replace him.
Below is a copy of a 1938 article published in Better Homes and Gardens, a Hearst publication. The article paints a quaint portrait of Hitler as a nice, humble, personable man of taste.
Another fact about Hearst is that Hearst originally backed FDR and the New Deal, but again, in 1935 Hearst turned decidedly against FDR and the New Deal, launching a media campaign against it calling it the “Raw Deal”.
In 1941, after the Nazis began their invasion of the Soviet Union, President Roosevelt extended Lend-Lease aid to the Soviets. In response to this Hearst presses attacked FDR’s policies, as in the example below:
If we are fighting totalitarianism as a foul principle and oppressive policy, why in the name of high heaven should we not desire to see the two totalitarian powers exterminate each other and destroy not only the principle but the practice of despotic government?
If we are citizens–or subjects–of a genuine democracy and if we are devoted to the ideals of democracy, and honestly desirous of preserving and perpetuating those ideals, why should we not desire to see the enemies of democracy destroy each other?…
Is our free country piling up deficits, bleeding its citizens white with confiscatory taxation, rushing headlong into national bankruptcy, shoveling out our wealth abroad, and shipping our war materials to alien nations to bolster up Bolshevism in Russia to spread it over all of Europe, including Britain, and to breed it and broadcast it in our own America?
We may not think that this is what we want to do, but this is exactly what we are doing with our Bolshevist alliance, and no smoke screen of fine phrases can obscure that outstanding fact.
No country which fights for Russia can claim to be honestly opposed to tyranny, since Bolshevism is the basest and bloodiest tyranny that has disgraced the supposed civilization of Europe since the time of Ivan the Terrible.
No country can truthfully claim to be crusading for democracy and the four freedoms when it is supporting a tyranny which is the most evil enemy of democracy–a tyranny where all the four freedoms have been brutally suppressed–a tyranny with no liberty, no opportunity, no morality, and no God.
New York Journal-American, September 5, 1941.
The plot deepens though. There were some much more substantial contributors to the Nazis, direct contributors to the Holocaust itself and the German plans for “master race.”
Perhaps one of the most egregious contributors to the Nazi cause was IBM under the direction of Thomas J. Watson.
IBM knowingly helped to setup Nazi census databases through the use of data sorting machines that enabled the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust in a way that they would not have otherwise been able to. Point blank, IBM increased the size and scope of the Holocaust, and did it for profit. Not only this, but IBM leased the machines, which they had developed especially for the Nazis, with the intention of taking them back “once they were finished with them.” Thomas Watson was awarded a medal by Adolph Hitler for his role in assisting in the Nazi regime, and Watson expressed, “the necessity of extending a sympathetic understanding to the German people, and their leader Adolph Hitler.” He also expressed, “the highest esteem for Hitler, his country, and his people.”
Despite Watson’s blatant support of the Nazi regime and IBM’s involvements in Germany, Watson still maintained a positive profile in American society and among America’s elite, even among members of the Roosevelt White House. IBM was pioneering punch card and computing technology, and the regime of Nazi Germany was their biggest client in that field. The Nazi’s were using IBM punch card tabulating technology to administer their war effort, and to organize and administer the Holocaust. In Germany IBM operated under its Germany subsidiary, Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft. The German subsidiary was no rogue branch though, the Germany subsidiary operated with the cooperation of IBM America and under the knowledge of Thomas Watson.
image 1934 poster reads: “See everything with Hollerith punchcards”
Below are excerpts from Harold J. Carter’s 1944 report for the Department of Justice, War Division, Economic Warfare Section:
“CONTROL IN BUSINESS MACHINES”
This is a story of a peculiar type of cartel. Generally speaking, the cartel arrangements which have been heretofore considered deal with instances wherein the cartel control stems from Germany, or one of the other Axis countries, and into the United States for the purpose of curtailing production of critical materials following a deliberate plan of Nazi economic warfare. Previously a villain like I.G. Farben or Siemens Halske has reached its tentacles into American Industry and curtailed production through patents, licensing agreements, and other types of control. This story deals with an American firm which has deprived not only our own citizens by limiting supply but also the citizenry of the world. Americans and Germans alike have felt the pinching hand of Thomas J Watson and International Business Machinery manifested through universal limited production and international high prices. In this case, the monopoly control originates in the United States and operates throughout the world. And what Hitler has done to us through his economic warfare, one of our own American corporations has also done. In this “arsenal of democracy”, which supplies materiel for over half the warring world, limited production spells our worst enemy. Hence IBM is in a class with the Nazis.
Further, we have a peculiar clash of interests. This [World War] is a conflict of warilke nationalistic states, each having certain interests. Yet we frequently find these interests clashing diametrically with the opposing interests of international corporate structures, more huge and powerful than nations. These corporate entities are manned not by staffs of citizens of any nation, but by citizens of the world looking solely to the corporate interest and pledging loyalty thereto. We see revealed [in] this clash, this dichotomy of culture between our nation and an international corporation whose interests do not coincide…
Dr. Hollerith was employed by the U.S. Bureau of Census in 1880 where it was necessary for him to spend much time in the routine of addition and subtraction. As a timesaving device, he invented these tabulating machines run by electric current for the use of the Census Bureau. He sold his patents to the predecessor of International Business Machines Company, who set up their legal monopoly based on these patents. The patents have since expired but so many additional patents were taken out by IBM on improvements and refinements of the original Hollerith machines that the field has been entirely weighted down and the legal monopoly extended. The monopoly still exists because of the many patents taken out by IBM on many small technical changes but all based upon the original Hollerith patents. A question might well be raised as to whether the patents belong to Dr. Hollerith or the U.S. Government in the first place… Since Dr. Hollerith was an employee of a branch of our government and since there was a definite connection between his work of computing and his invention, the question might well be raised as to whether the patents belonged to Dr. Hollerith and were his to sell or to the U.S. Government at the time of their grant…
As to the fact that these monopolies [IBM and the ones IBM imposed on Powers and Remington Rand in the U.S.] existed, there can be little doubt. These companies deliberately conspired to limit production, dictate price and restrain competition as much as possible. This fact has been declared by the United States Supreme Court. We see a monopoly inflicted on the people of the United States. We shall now attempt to show the effect of this monopoly on the outside world, the international cartel arrangement.
This is a story of circumstantial evidence. Practically no documentation or direct evidence can be produced proving the existence of the cartel. Yet one indirect source after the other points to that ultimate conclusion and the indirect evidence is so frequent as to be almost undeniable…
These international corporations have grown so large that very often their interests and the national interests within which they are supposedly contained do not coincide. The personnel of IBM, though nominally citizens of the United States, is actually composed of citizens of the world. Their loyalties to their corporation know no national bounds. Mr. Thomas J. Watson, President of IBM, was one of the leading figures in the international peace movement- not for altruistic motives alone. IBM’s far-flung empire was going much too smoothly to be interrupted by war and Mr. Watson’s goal is profit…
Certainly it can be said that his company is not an American company, but an international company… The company has not only worked hardship on the people of the U.S. but also people in Germany. When the German section of the world monopoly grew too burdensome on the German people, the Hitler Government apparently sought to interfere… The entire world citizenry is hampered by an international monster and the indirect evidence herein presented seems to the writer conclusive enough to warrant an extensive search into files of the companies mentioned so that direct evidence may be obtained.
IBM, like hundreds of other major American companies, including Ford, GM, Standard Oil, and Coke-a-Cola, was able to have its subsidiaries in Axis territories classified as “American property,” which meant that this property was to be protected and not bombed or destroyed by the military. In fact, after the war was over several companies, including Ford and GM, sued for damages and won. They were paid from American tax payer money for damage done to their property by the American military in Germany, property which was being used against America.
Of this situation the British embassy wrote during the war: “It is only too clear that where U.S. trade interests are involved, these are being allowed to take precedence over ‘hemispheric defense,’ and… over cooperation with us.”
Source for information on IBM: IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black
It goes beyond that though. Remember the American eugenics programs that started at the turn of the century?
image The above from War Against the Weak
The “German” quest for “Master Race”, was in fact a product of German cooperation with American racial supremacists. IBM’s punch-card system for census and categorization of citizens was a critical element in the Nazi system for racial and genetic analysis of the population for their large scale breeding program. The Nazi program was based on the American eugenics programs, but was taking it to a new level. The plan was ultimately “for the good” in the eyes of those perusing it; the elimination of poverty, “stupidity”, and genetic diseases was the objective. One problem with these plans though, ignoring the obvious, is that many of the traits that were targeted for “treatment” by the breeding program, such as poverty and ignorance, are not caused by heredity, they are socially created problems.
For more on this see War Against the Weak
Almost all of the major American supporters of the European Fascists were advocates of peace and non-involvement on the part of America. Thomas J. Watson of IBM was a major peace advocate during the 1930s and early 40s, but one of the most vocal and active was famous American pilot Charles Lindbergh.
Lindbergh began a tour of Europe in 1935, and in 1936 he attended the Olympic games in Berlin as a guest of Hermann Georing. Lindbergh became so impressed with Nazi society in 1936 that he strongly considered moving to Berlin as he noted in his personal diary. Lindbergh stayed in Germany for some time and inspected German military facilities, accessed the German Luftwaffe, and attended parties hosted by the Nazis. In 1938 he was given the Service Cross of the German Eagle while attending a dinner party in Berlin.
Lindbergh later founded the America First Committee in 1940, after the outbreak of war in Europe.
Lindbergh and the America First Committee opposed American intervention in the war in Europe and pushed a media campaign strongly opposed to the policies and rhetoric of the Roosevelt administration. Lindbergh promoted the idea that that Germany, Britain, and France could all get along and that it was actually Jews who were causing the conflict, and he believed that the unification of Europe under Germany, and even the possible alliance of America with Germany, was an essential task if Western Civilization was to save itself from the “yellow hordes” of Asia, particularly China. This was something that the Nazis advocated as well and it is likely that Lindbergh’s views on this were impacted by his relations with the Germans who advocated such ideas. The following is a recount of a conversation by Artur Silgailis, of the Latvian Waffen SS, with Heinrich Himmler, where Himmler expresses what is essentially the same view that Lindbergh also held on the issue of the Nazi movement:
“He (Himmler) then singled out those nations which he regarded as belonging to the German family of nations and they were: the Germans, the Dutch, the Flemish, the Anglo-Saxons, the Scandinavians and the Baltic people. ‘To combine all of these nations into one big family is the most important task at the present time’ (Himmler said). ‘This unification has to take place on the principle of equality and at that same time has to secure the identity of each nation and its economical independence, of course, adjusting the latter to the interests of the whole German living space. . . After the unification of all the German nations into one family, this family. . . has to take over the mission to include, in the family, all the Roman nations whose living space is favored by nature with a milder climate…I am convinced that after the unification, the Roman nations will be able to persevere as the Germans…This enlarged family of the White race will then have the mission to include the Slavic nations into the family also because they too are of the White race . . . it is only with such a unification of the White race that the Western culture could be saved from the Yellow race . . . At the present time, the Waffen-SS is leading in this respect because its organization is based on the principle of equality. The Waffen-SS comprises not only German, Roman and Slavic, but even Islamic units and at the same time has proven that every unit has maintained its national identity while fighting in close togetherness .”
Lindbergh was also extremely anti-Communist and supported the Nazi programs against Communism, as many people did all throughout the world.
America First reached a membership of 800,000 people and hosted many speeches and produced many publications as well as keeping its message in the public press. After his death Lindbergh’s private journal revealed that he was very “active behind the scenes in generating antiwar sentiment. The flier worked intimately with Robert R. McCormick, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune; Robert Wood, board Chairman of Sears, Roebuck; former president Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, Handford MacNider of the American Legion, Senator Burton K. wheeler of Montana and John T. Flynn, the economist.”
In his campaign to keep America out of the war in Europe Lindbergh stated:
“If any one of these groups–the British, the Jewish, or the administration–stops agitating for war, I believe there will be little danger of our involvement.”- September 11, 1941
However the Roosevelt administration did not stop agitating for war, nor did the British or Jews. All of those groups did agitate for American entry into the war in 1941 for what are now obviously some very good reasons.
In the cartoon below the cover of the book held by FDR reads:
“The Story About the Destruction of Religion Throughout the World.”
The boy is replying:
“Gee that’s awful: Now read the part about Uncle Joe killing the fifty thousand Christians.”
The poster is interesting for several reasons. One is that it addresses the fact that Roosevelt conveyed the idea that the Fascists were trying to destroy religion, and this was part of his campaign to agitate the public to support going to war in Europe. In truth Roosevelt was not being honest in his portrayal of that situation. Two, it has the boy pointing out Russian religious oppression, which is meant to be a stab at Roosevelt’s courting of the Soviets as allies. The poster paints Roosevelt as a hypocrite on this issue, which in fact he was. The Roosevelt administration did overstate and misrepresent many aspects of the German situation in order to influence public opinion.
image America First brochure
Unlike some of the others who opposed American entry into the war in Europe, Lindbergh went farther and advocated total neutrality and opposed American aid to Britain and France. Of course Lindbergh also considered the Germans to have by far the most advanced and powerful military in the world and so it was quite obvious that his position amounted to German support.
In this political climate many American citizens opposed American entry into war in Europe, either out of their pacifist ideologies, or out of Nazi sympathy encouraged in part by anti-Roosevelt campaigns. While racism was growing in Europe it was growing in America too, including anti-Semitism. American society was very polarized and the society itself was moving towards increasing intolerance as the tensions in society increased.
In 1937 Gallup reported that a full 94% of Americans said that America should “keep out” of European affairs. Roosevelt felt strongly opposed to this position, but in order to maintain support he publicly stated again and again, even during the 1940 presidential campaign, that he would not send Americans to fight in a foreign war.
Despite these promises, Roosevelt was doing everything he could behind the scenes to get America as involved as possible.
The Outbreak of War
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which FDR’s policies helped to provoke, America began taking on more and more qualities that were similar to its own opponents. The American public had turned extremely hostile towards Japanese Americans and there was a feeling that Japanese Americans, and all other aliens, posed a security risk to the country.
Interestingly, many people inside the Roosevelt administration disagreed with the Executive Order to place aliens and Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, including people like J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Francis Biddle.
image Map showing internment camp locations, which did include Italian and German Americans, as well as Japanese
The arguments went back and fourth on both sides of the issue:
“For several weeks there have been increasing demands for evacuation of all Japanese, aliens and citizens alike, from the West Coast states. A great many West Coast people distrust the Japanese, various special interests would welcome their removal from good farm land and the elimination of their competition… My last advice from the War Department is that there is no evidence of imminent attack and from the F.B.I. that there is no evidence of planned sabotage.” – Francis Biddle
“The present procedure of keeping loyal American citizens in concentration camps on the basis of race for longer than is absolutely necessary is dangerous and repugnant to the principles of our Government. It is also necessary to act now so that the agitation against these citizens does not continue after the war” – Francis Biddle
“My friends in the War Relocation Authority, like Secretary Ickes, are deeply distressed over the effects of the entire evacuation and relocation program upon the Japanese-Americans, particularly upon the young citizen group. Persons in this group find themselves living in an atmosphere for which their public school and democratic teachings have not prepared them. It is hard for them to escape a conviction that their plight is due more to racial discrimination, economic motivations, and wartime prejudices than to any real necessity from the military point of view for evacuation from the West Coast.
Life in a relocation center cannot possibly be pleasant. The evacuees are surrounded by barbed wire fences under the eyes of armed military police. They have suffered heavily in property losses; they have lost their businesses and their means of support. The State Legislatures, Members of the Congress, and local groups, by their actions and statements bring home to them almost constantly that as a people they are not really welcome anywhere. States in which they are now located have enacted restrictive legislation forbidding permanent resettlement, for example. The American Legion, many local groups, and city councils have approved discriminatory resolutions, going so far in some instances as to advocate confiscation of their property. Bills have been introduced which would deprive them of citizenship…
Furthermore, in the opinion of the evacuees the Government may not be excused for not having attempted to distinguish between the loyal and the disloyal in carrying out the evacuation.
Under such circumstances it would be amazing if extreme bitterness did not develop.” – Milton Eisenhower
What is interesting about this is how it illuminates the cultural issue, explaining that nativist and conservative groups like the American Legion were supporters of the internment of the Japanese.
“The necessity for mass evacuation is based primarily upon public and political pressure rather than on factual data. Public hysteria and in some instances, the comments of the press and radio announcers, have resulted in a tremendous amount of pressure being brought to bear on Governor Olson and Earl Warren, Attorney General of the State, and on the military authorities…
Local officials, press and citizens have started widespread movement demanding complete evacuation of all Japanese, citizen and alien alike.” – J. Edgar Hoover
“The situation in California is not the same [as in Hawaii]. You have no doubt become aware of the existence of active and powerful minority groups in California whose main interest in the war seems to take the form of a desire for permanent exclusion of all Japanese, loyal or disloyal, citizen or alien, from the West Coast or, at least, from California…. This means that considerations other than of mere military necessity enter into any proposal for removal of the present restrictions.” – John McCloy Assistant Secretary of War
“[The Justice officials] said there is too much hysteria about this thing; said these Western Congressmen are just nuts about it and the people getting hysterical and there is no evidence whatsoever of any reason for disturbing citizens, and the Department of Justice, Rowe started it and Biddle finished it — The Department of Justice will have nothing whatsoever to do with any interference with citizens, whether they are Japanese or not. They made me a little sore and I said, well listen Mr. Biddle, do you mean to tell me that if the Army, the men on the ground, determine it is a military necessity to move citizens, Jap citizens, that you won’t help me. He didn’t give a direct answer, he said the Department of Justice would be through if we interfered with citizens and writ of habeas corpus, etc.” – Marshal Allen W. Gullion recalling a conversation between the War Department and Justice Department.
“[Washington is] lax, tolerant, and soft toward the Japanese who have violated American hospitality; Shinto Temples still operate; propaganda outlets still disseminate propaganda material; and Japanese, both alien and American citizens, still spy for the Japanese government.” – Texas Congressman Martin Dies
Martin Dies was a conservative Democrat and chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was also a staunch anti-Communist.
“I phoned the Attorney General’s office and told them to stop fucking around. I gave them twenty four hours notice that unless they would issue a mass evacuation notice I would drag the whole matter out on the floor of the House and of the Senate and give the bastards everything we could with both barrels. I told them they had given us the run around long enough… and that if they would not take immediate action, we would clean the god damned office out in one sweep. I cussed at the Attorney General and his staff himself just like I’m cussing to you now and he knew damn well I meant business.” – California Congressman Leland Ford
“Once a Jap always a Jap. You cannot change him. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
“The white man’s civilization has come into conflict with Japanese barbarism [and] one of them must be destroyed.” – Democratic Congressman John Rankin
“I’m for catching every Japanese in America, Alaska, and Hawaii, now and putting them in concentration camps… Damn them! Let’s get rid of them now!” – Democratic Congressman John Rankin to Congress December 1941
John Rankin was a conservative Democrat from Mississippi who was also active in the House Un-American Activities Committee. His views were shared by many Southern Politicians, such as Tennessee Senator Tom Stewart and Congressmembers William F. Norrell (Arkansas), Jennings Randolph (West Virginia), Schuyler O. Bland (Virginia), and Martin Dies (Texas).
“Their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or trust even the citizen Japanese.” – Secretary of War Henry Stimson
There is evidence that suggests that Roosevelt did eventually back the measure to intern Japanese citizens because he was concerned about the upcoming election and he knew that many Americans had a strong taste for revenge after Pearl Harbor. In addition Roosevelt wanted to concentrate on the war in Europe more than was popular among the public, so it is suggested that he approved of interning the Japanese in order to help satisfy American demands for revenge against the Japanese while he shifted more effort towards Europe.
For more on internment during WWII see:
Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II
During World War II many things happened in American society and politics.
Even after the war started there was not overwhelming support for the war in Europe. There were still fascist sympathizers and there were still many Americans who felt that Communism was a bigger threat than the Nazis. This contributed to the fact that 67% of the men who fought in World War II had to be drafted.
Once drafted men were exposed to an intense propaganda regiment that included the use of hate rhetoric, especially against the Japanese, and that also promoted a number of distortions about Japanese and Nazi culture.
This is not to say that these enemies didn’t deserve every bit of American hate, but nevertheless soldiers and citizens were not given honest view of the situation. As the cliché goes, “truth is the first casualty of war,” and this was true on all sides. It cannot be overstated that this was the largest mobilization effort in American history for what was to be one of the most important wars in the history of the world, during an extremely dire situation. In this situation, the propaganda and hate rhetoric promoted by the White House can certainly be justified. Once America entered the war, it was no less than a global fight for survival, in which every advantage had to be maximized.
Nevertheless, many incorrect stereotypes and ideas about the Japanese and Nazis were promoted, and then after winning the war nothing was really done to correct those misconceptions, and in fact many of them actually served to help promote the continuing agenda of American leadership.
The posters of enemies harming women were more typical abroad in military barracks and such. It was determined that images of the enemy harming women evoked the strongest response and promoted the most hatred among soldiers, who were often homesick and missed their wives, mothers, or girlfriends.
Another common theme in American World War II propaganda was that of describing the Nazis as anti-Christian or trying to destroy religion. As was discussed in Fascism Part I, there is a margin of truth to this, however Nazi society was highly religious and Christianity was predominate among Germans. The impression given to Americans was that the Germans, and Nazism, were anti-Religious when the fact of the matter is the exact opposite.
There is much more to the role of religious propaganda in World War II than first meets the eye though.
Because the United States was allied with an officially atheistic country the message that the enemy was “anti-Christian” became all the more important, and it was constantly pounded home in an effort to keep America and its allies on the “moral side” of the war.
image In 1942, during the midst of war, Congress officially recognized The Pledge of Allegiance for the first time and entered it as part of the U.S. Flag Code. Less than a year after its adoption however, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to compel students to recite the Pledge.
When the pledge was officially adopted the old salute was dropped, because it resembled the fascist salute, and was replaced with the new method of reciting the pledge with the hand over the heart.
Just prior to the end of the war FDR died and Vice President Harry Truman took over. Truman did not have a lot of experience and was not deeply involved in FDR’s administration. In fact, Truman was not Roosevelt’s choice for Vice President, Roosevelt wanted his previous Vice President, Henry Wallace, or failing that, James Byrnes, however conservative Southern Democrats, who held the majority of power at the Democratic conventions, wouldn’t stand for Wallace and instead they insisted on Harry Truman. Truman was chosen for FDR as his running mate by the Democratic Party, against his wishes. Some of Truman’s views differed from those of FDR and because of his lack of experience, he relied extensively on advice and support from other high ranking officials, such as the Secretary of War.
Corporations and the Military-Industrial Complex
Throughout Roosevelt’s administration the majority of businessmen felt themselves at odds with the president. Though the New Deal did provide government money to corporations for government funded works projects, those bids went to the lowest bidders and were relatively few in number compared to the larger number of businessmen who felt that the New Deal policies had a negative impact on their businesses because of things such as the government endorsement of unions in the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. However, once serious preparation for the war effort began a new alliance between government and business formed. Those who were able to secure government contracts benefited greatly, while others faced a difficult struggle.
Prior to World War II military contracts were made through sealed bids, but with the war the system changed to negotiated bids, which involved a more personal and subjective system for awarding bids, i.e. the start of the “good ole boy” system.
Secretary of War Henry Stimson stated: “If you are going to try to go to war, or to prepare for war, in a capitalistic country, you have got to let business make money out of the process or business won’t work.”
As proof of how influential and wide ranging the effects of the war effort were for corporations, even Coke-a-Cola became part of the “military-industrial complex.”
During the first world war materials were rationed, and sugar was one of those materials. The rationing of sugar significantly hurt Coca-Cola’s profits. During the depression of the 1930s Coke’s major competitor, Pepsi, was able to increase market share by adopting more economical bottling practices, giving them a cheaper product.
Understanding the implications of sugar rationing Ben Oehlert, a Washington lobbyist for Coca-Cola, promoted the need to secure a government contract during war time. By getting war time contracts Coca-Cola would able to avoid the rationing penalties that were placed on other food makers. In order to get contracts it was said that Coca-Cola could play an important role in the operation of the military, by providing an energizing drink during pauses in action.
In 1942 sugar rationing went into effect and Coca-Cola was awarded an exclusive contract to supply soft-drinks for the US military. Coca-Cola was then able to completely dominate all competition because not only did they have a huge contract, but they also had un-rationed access to sugar. Pepsi nearly went bankrupt during WWII, while Coke flourished.
Sixty-four Coca-Cola bottling plants were built in Allied territory on military bases, and the bottling plants were moved forward with the progression of the military advances. Ironically, at the same time, Coca-Cola’s bottling plants in Nazi Germany were continuing production as well, under the Fanta brand name, which was changed so as to disassociate America with the drink. Coca-Cola, like so many other companies, was making money off both sides of the war.
Coca-Cola played up its patriotic image through the war, both in domestic advertisements, and also on military bases.
One military advertisement stated:
Stonewall Jackson taught us what the pause that refreshes really means…. On the march he gave his men rations of sugar and at intervals required them to lie down for a short rest. Thus he marched troops farther and faster than any other general in the field. Since his day all marching troops have been given a short rest period out of every hour.
Stonewall Jackson was a Confederate General and Southern hero for his opposition to the Union. Coca-Cola of course is an Atlanta based company, but nevertheless, it is an additional point of interest that Coke used a Confederate General as part of their “patriotic” advertising campaigns, associating Coke with a military “tradition” of giving soldiers rests for “sugar breaks.” The basis of Coke’s military contract with the military was regimented and regular consumption of Coke by soldiers as part of the moral and energy boosting program.
A domestic Coke ad read:
And no matter what anybody is doing to help (this doesn’t go for fighting men) nobody is doing his full share if he’s not buying U. S. War Bonds and War Stamps regularly. Are you buying them? Are you buying your share in Victory and in the good American way of Life?
Of course, Coca-Cola was paid by the US Government out of money raised by selling War Bonds. The promotion of buying War Bonds was in effect a means of Coke promoting its own financial security. The more money that the government raised for the war effort, the more money they could afford to spend on Coca-Cola contracts.
After the war was over, the sugar rations stayed in place until 1947, continuing to give Coke a major lead over competitors due to its insider status, and Coke has remained very close to the White House ever since.
Another commodity industry that became heavily involved in the war effort was the tobacco industry.
Coca-Cola though is of course not what people think about when they think of the “military-industrial-complex.”
The majority of the World War II production contracts went to large corporations, such as General Motors, Ford, and Dupont, many of the same companies that had been involved military production in World War I. The rate of profit for these companies in World War II was much less than during World War I, where rates of profit reached over 1,000%, but they were still well above peace time profits, especially by Depression era standards. Furthermore there was little or no risk once contracts were established. General Motors was the leading contractor of World War II, receiving about 8% of the total value awarded, despite the fact that government officials knew that GM and other companies had been supplying the fascists with materials as well.
Government contracts were awarded in a fairly concentrated manner. Two thirds of the Research & Development contracts went to 68 companies. During the war the US government became the largest investor in American private business to the tune of $17 billion 1941 dollars. Again, this can hardly be criticized, this was a war for national life and death, and one of the most important events in all of human history. Nevertheless, the business relations between certain private corporations, indeed specific individuals in those corporations, and the US government became very strong during this time and huge profits were made at little risk for companies and businessmen, while American citizens bought War Bonds and paid taxes to fund it and soldiers went abroad to fight and die.
It was at this time the aircraft industry became the number one industry in the nation, having previously not been a major industry at all. To this day the aviation industry has one of the strongest relationships with the federal government of any private industry.
While there was a dramatic increase in corporate-government relations during the war, and while the companies involved did make handsome profits with little risk, it also has to be remembered that there was significant attention paid to the regulation of profits as well. In World War I companies made huge profits from the war effort and there was an enormous backlash against the government and industry for this, thus during the Second World War close attention was paid to limiting excessive profits.
Even President Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke about the significance of the Military-Industrial complex when he left office in 1961, Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
American-Nazi Collaboration After the War
As the war was being rapped up in Europe America was quick to secure Nazis scientists, spies, and officers who they knew were dedicated to fighting Communism. Even Nazis who were known to have been war criminals were aided by Americans so that they could avoid war crimes trials in order to cooperate with American interests. In 1945 the Joint Chiefs of Staff advised General Eisenhower to begin arresting and holding Nazi war criminals, with the qualification that, “in your discretion you may make such exceptions as you deem advisable for intelligence and other military reasons.”
This is one illustration of the fact that, not only were there members of the military in the field that were immediately interested in turning the war effort against the Soviet Union, but the view of the Communists as the enemy, against which the most advanced “Communist hunters” in the world, the Nazis, were reasonable to employ was held in Washington DC as well. World War II was largely a war against Communism. Both the fascists in Europe and the Japanese were fighting against Communist forces and arguably the fight against Communism was one of the primary objectives of the European fascists. The majority of Americans were on the fascist’s side of that issue when it really came down to it, including many people in the FDR administration. The major war against Communism started in 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union and it didn’t end until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Germany and Japan fought the first leg of that war, the baton was then passed to the United States.
In 2000 the CIA was forced to begin releasing the names of Nazi and Japanese war criminal that it had employed or worked with under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, signed into law by President Clinton. In accordance with the law the names of over 400 war criminals were identified as having worked with or for the Central Intelligence Agency.
More on this can be found here:
CIA Intends to Release Records on Cold War Spymaster
Opening of CIA Records under Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act
“Name Files” released in response to the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act and the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act
CIA admits employing Nazis
In testimony before the Subcommittee on Government Management Information and Technology of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in 1999 Elizabeth Holtzman stated:
Over the years, there have been many indications that our own government was working with Nazi war criminals. For example, a General Accounting Office report issued in the 1970’s pointed out that some twenty Nazi war criminals had been employed by US government agencies which knew the allegations against them. But the report did not disclose the names of those Nazis, the work they did, why they were hired–and it was not complete.
It was testimony like this that eventually led to the signing of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.
After FDR died, and the American military machine had been established, many of FDR’s opponents flooded the political scene.
Prescott Bush, who had been implicated in financial dealings with the Nazis became a Senator, Allen Dulles became head of the new CIA, and conservatives who had developed ties with the Republicans through the American Liberty League began their strong effort to promote a Republican based anti-communist and anti-liberal agenda, which resulted in a increase in Republican political power.
With the end of World War II American leadership immediately took a position hostile to Russia and other Communist Party countries. Aid was given to Chaing Kai Shek, leader of the Kuomintang, and American soldiers are deployed to China in 1946 to fight against the Red Army, which had been a major factor in helping American forces in the battle for the Pacific. The top Kuomintang General, Tai Li, acknowledged during the war that Heinrich Himmler was his role model.
When NASA was founded many of the initial and most important scientists were Germans, former Nazi scientists. Werner von Braun was of course the most famous of the ex-Nazi scientists and one of the most important men in the American space program. Von Braun designed the German V-2 rockets that were used against Britain, which were built by thousands of enslaved Jews in a vast underground facility where people typically only survived for a few weeks. Von Braun was in fact a member of the SS. The NASA program was started as an anti-communist program as part of the Cold War, and von Braun was a vocal promoter of America anti-communist action.
From the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure act Report:
Between 1945 and 1955, 765 scientists, engineers, and technicians were brought to the United States under [Operations] Overcast, Paperclip, and similar programs. It has been estimated that at least half, and perhaps as many as 80 percent, of the imported specialists were former Nazi Party members. By the end of the mid-1980s three of them had left the country for various reasons relating to their wartime activities. One of them was Arthur Rudolph who had been a V-2 project engineer and worked first for the Army and then NASA developing the Saturn V rocket. Rudolph left the United States in 1984 and surrendered his U.S. citizenship following the Office of Special Investigations’ discovery of his role in the persecution of slave laborers at an underground V-2 missile factory at the Nordhausen Concentration Camp, where thousands of prisoners died.
Many former Nazis were also put to work in the American chemical and biological weapons programs.
American leadership was actually very impressed with the Germans, obviously in part because of the superior German technology such as rocketry, jet technology, and chemical weapons technology. Americans were also very impressed by the capabilities of German propaganda.
With the high influx of German personal into these very significant programs, and in a position where the Germans were actually the superior in terms of knowledge, many Americans who worked with these Germans admired and respected them. The Germans, though having technically been through “de-Nazification” programs, still held their same views about the Soviets and the former Nazis, in part of out a desire to work, and in part because they truly believed in the global Soviet threat, advocated programs of strong Soviet opposition. They found plenty of sympathetic ears in the American ranks, especially due to the fact that many Americans were so impressed with the knowledge and capabilities of these Germans.
Some of the suggestions made by the Germans were at first not taken too seriously, but when North Korean invaded South Korea, and then again when Sputnik was launched Americans began becoming even more sympathetic to the German ideology of need for conflict with, and the destruction of, the Soviet Union. There were plenty of strong anti-Communists before the war, but their influence was mitigated by those who were on the fence or seeking peace, but as the Soviet Union became stronger those people on the fence fell more in line with the strong anti-Soviet ideology and the influence of the German ideology increased.
The House Un-American Activities Committee
Audio Clip of members of the House Un-American Activities Committee
When HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee, was established by President Roosevelt in 1938 its primary purpose was to investigate the activities of German and Italian fascist supporters in the United States. Despite this, HUAC focused mainly on communism and the activities of communists in America. The members of HUAC were largely conservative Democrats. The chairman of HUAC was Martin Dies; other members included John Rankin, John Wood, and future president Richard Nixon.
Despite the fact that there were calls for HUAC to investigate the Ku Klux Klan, Dies, Rankin, and Wood were all known sympathizers of the KKK.
In 1937, while the formation of HUAC was in progress, a member of the KKK sent a telegram to Martin Dies stating:
Every true American, and that includes every Klansman, is behind you and your committee in its effort to turn the country back to the honest, freedom-loving, God-fearing American to whom it belongs.
While a few investigations into the activities of overt Nazi supporters did take place, attention quickly turned to communism.
Importantly, many Committee hearings were publicly broadcast. These hearings become a major interest of the nation and were influential on public opinion. It was in many ways a means to put communism on trial in America, in an environment where the anti-communists were very much in charge. Though there were of course those who voiced opposition to the Committee, the majority of Americans were supportive of the Committee throughout the bulk of its activities.
A favorite target of HUAC was labor unions. Though the Labor Relations Act of 1935 gave government support to labor unions it also brought new levels of government control over organized labor as well. Labor unions were no longer separate and independent organizations of men, but were now organizations under the direct influence of the Federal Government. This resulted in major reforms of labor unions and more investigations of their members.
The most significant anti-communist efforts of HUAC took place after World War II, but even prior to the war the primary focus, even though Nazi Germany was our official enemy, was on American communists.
It must be stated that even though the activities of HUAC did become extreme, and should have been considered un-Constitutional in some cases, the committee also engaged in valid investigation as well.
One of the major aspects of HUAC that brings much criticism is that the focus of HUAC was in proving that individuals were members of the Communist Party in America. The issue is that the Communist Party was a perfectly legal political party. Many people joined the Communist Party during the 1930s due to a real desire to work towards improving social conditions in America. One of the strongest aspects that drew drew individuals to the party at that time was the position of the Communist Party on women’s and minority rights.
At that time the Communist Party was the largest political party that had the promotion of racial and gender equality as a part of its platform. So, many people who were active in the party prior to World War II were active in it largely for that reason, as is described by party member Eugene Dennett, who was a member from 1931 to 1947.
“I was disturbed because there were no remains of the Party unit I had led in Rainier Valley before joining the army. The people who used to be active in it seemed to no longer have any ties to our equal rights efforts for Negroes and women. Before I left for the army, our Party unit had recruited about 150 members around the issues of equal rights for women and the many minorities that had deep roots in the Rainier Valley area. Our Party unit was inspired by the public response to our efforts to stop discrimination against any minority.”
The results of being called to testify before the Committee could be extremely ruinous to a person’s life, even if they themselves were never a member of the party. Even if one was a member of the party and did share many views of the party platform it still didn’t necessarily warrant to treatment given by the Committee. For example the biggest achievement of the Washington State Communist Party was to draft Washington state Initiative 141, which guaranteed seniors a minimum $40 income per month; a state Social Security program. The measure was passed by popular vote.
Gary Costigan is an example of someone who came before the Committee to testify against the Communist Party as a former member who still lost his job and received ill treatment from the Committee, despite the fact that he was naming names and testifying against communism.
Below is an excerpt from his 1948 testimony:
Q. The Communist Party has pursued a course of vilification and persecution?
A. Well, all you have to do is to take a look at the “New World” [a pro-communist newspaper published in Seattle]… to find out that I am probably hated more than anyone in the Pacific Northwest by the Communist Party. As a matter of fact, I see no particular reason. I am perfectly willing to testify before this committee. I have nothing I want to cover up. As a matter of fact, I haven’t anything to lose; that is, at least I haven’t a job to lose, because your headlines last week from these committee rooms, saw to the fact that my job was taken too. So-
Q. You have lost your job since this-
A. Oh, yes,-
Q. -hearing began?
A. -I mean, some of the more flamboyant testimony last week helped to do that.
Pete Seeger was a singer/songwriter who was a member of the Communist Party. He is most famous for writing We Shall Overcome.
An excerpt of Seeger’s testimony:
I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, that I am any less of an American than anyone else.
I am saying voluntarily that I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and Holy Rollers and Revival Churches. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent the implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, make me less of an American.
Seeger was eventually sentenced to 12 months in prison for contempt because he refused to name names of people who he knew were associated with the Communist Party.
Several professors were fired from their positions and prevented from teaching through the efforts of HUAC.
One of the most widely publicized actions of HUAC was the sentencing of “the Hollywood 10” and the blacklisting of 324 other Hollywood workers, preventing them from being able to work in their profession. The Hollywood 10 were sentenced for contempt for refusing to name names.
The actions of HUAC in strongly perusing members of the film industry played a significant role in shaping film industry content during the 1950s.
In the 1950s, lead by Senator Joseph McCarthy, the committee went on to allege that hundreds of federal employees were communist sympathizers or in fact communist secret agents. These charges came after the 1950 conviction of Alger Hiss on charges of perjury during the HUAC investigation of him. Alger Hiss was a high level State Department official in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. In 1948 Whittaker Chambers, a former member of the Communist Party, testified before HUAC and named Hiss as a communist sympathizer. Upon this testimony Hiss, still a government official, asked to testify before the Committee to defend himself against the the claims.
image Hiss on lower right in 1948
During Hiss’ examination by HUAC Richard Nixon aggressively went after Hiss. Hiss then sued Chambers, who claimed to be a former friend of his, for libel because of the impact that the HUAC investigation was having on him.
After Hiss sued Cambers, Chambers lead Nixon to a set of documents that he claimed he had gotten from Hiss back in 1938. These documents, known as “the pumpkin papers” (because Chambers had stored the evidence in a pumpkin) were critical in the prosecution of the Hiss case.
Richard Nixon holding up the “pumpkin papers” microfilm
Though the “papers” actually amounted to little in terms of actual content, Nixon portrayed them in the press as “the most confidential, highly secret , State Department documents,” which he stated were obtained for the purpose of sending them to the Soviet Union.
Click to View footage of the Nixon Broadcast
When asked to hand over the documents to the Committee, Nixon refused, but was later forced to by court order. After reviewing the documents it was clear that they didn’t represent “the most confidential, highly secret, State Department documents,” but they did contain confidential government documents nonetheless.
Because of the statue of limitations, it was impossible to prosecute Hiss on charges of espionage, but he was convicted on two counts of perjury and sentenced to 3 years 8 months in jail. Hiss maintained his innocence all his life; he died in 1996. There is still controversy today as to whether or not Hiss actually was working with the Soviets. A few things are known for certain, including the fact that several aspects of Chambers testimony were definitely wrong, and while at the Yalta Conference in 1945 Hiss took a strongly pro-American position and presented opposition to some Soviet proposals.
After the Watergate scandal, the famous Nixon tapes revealed many comments by Richard Nixon about the Hiss case while he was in the White House, some 20 plus years later:
“We won the Hiss case in the papers. We did. I had to leak stuff all over the place. Because the Justice Department would not prosecute it. Hoover didn’t even cooperate. It was won in the papers. We have to develop a program, a program for leaking out information. We’re destroying these people in the papers.”
Much more on the Hiss case can be found here:
The Alger Hiss Story
Summary of Hiss Case
After the successful prosecution of the Hiss case, HUAC’s investigations into other government officials increased, primarily at the direction of Joseph McCarthy, as was stated earlier.
McCarthy, a vocal Irish Catholic receiving support from the Church, claimed that he knew of 205 “card carrying” Communists working in the State Department, and that he intended to root them out. In a telegram to President Truman, McCarthy indicated to the President that he was going public with his claims about Communist infiltration of the American government.
After publicly attacking a number of government officials, McCarthy went on to bring allegations against the US military. It was when he did this that he finally stepped on too many toes. Not only did his institutional support come out from under him, but he lost the support of the American public as well.
The point of understanding HUAC is neither to demonize it or defend it, but rather to understand the impact that HUAC had on society. Arguments can be made, especially if one is anti-communist, that the actions of HUAC were justifiable. That’s not really the issue in my opinion. There is no need to pass judgment on HUAC either way to understand its role in American history and shaping American politics and political attitudes. Its also understood that by the 1950s many members of HUAC, including men like Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, were using charges against government officials as a political tool to try and discredit the political establishment and many members of the Democratic Party who were politically connected to the Roosevelt and Truman administrations in order to make way for conservative Republican politicians.
For more on HUAC and its impact on America see:
Telegram from Senator Joseph McCarthy to President Harry S. Truman
HUAC and Censorship Changes
The Cold War and Red Scare in Washington State
House Un-American Activities Committee
American Society After the War
After World War II American society took on characteristics similar in fashion, though not as dramatic, to the European fascist societies. All of the same issues came up in America that had been critical in Europe during the rise of fascism there. Despite the fact that many Americans were still fond of FDR, the increase in conservative political power after FDR was gone gave the country a strong conservative environment and the growing anti-communist agenda, which was heavily contributed to by HUAC, also contributed to this. The efforts of HUAC also made many people suspicious of political figures associated with the Roosevelt administration.
Just as in fascist Europe, gender roles became more pronounced with men becoming “sole providers” and women staying at home. This is also exactly what happened in Germany and Italy under fascism. In Germany a woman’s place was considered to be to with the, “Kinder, Kueche, and Kirche,” or, children, kitchen, and church.
Patriotism soared, of course in part due to the effects of the war, this was only natural, but nevertheless its effects on society were the same and it was taken advantage of by political leaders as well as American corporations who were beginning to take advantage of the new medium, television, to promote their products. Patriotism was used in advertising, especially among companies like Coca-Cola, auto, and cigarette companies, in ads such as the one below, which claims that something “new” (muscles) was added to men returning from the war and a new “more powerful punch” had also been added to the cigarettes.
Perhaps most importantly though, religious participation increased dramatically after the war. This is typical of all wars, but in this case there was more to it than just that.
The American government began strongly promoting religion as part of an overall strategy to distance American culture from Soviet culture, which was the same thing that the Fascists did as well.
In addition to this however, the Communists and Nazis were painted with the same brush by American leadership as both being anti-religious, which was in fact not correct, as has already been discussed. The Nazis were in fact extremely religious. Some members of Nazi leadership opposed the power of the churches in Germany when the church interests and State interests were in conflict, and some members of Nazi leadership were anti-Christian in that they believed that Christianity had its roots in Judaism and thus was “tainted” by “the Jews.” However Nazi Germany was, on the whole, a Christian society and it was an extremely religious society where lack of faith was simply not acceptable. Atheists were put into concentration camps in Nazi Germany and in Fascist Italy Catholicism was the official State religion.
However, this was not made clear to the American public, it served a better purpose to simply allow people to have misconceptions about Nazi Germany and for American leadership create distance between American culture and Nazi culture, so the misconceptions that were promoted during the war about the Nazis were allowed to stand. Likewise religious leaders were quick to condemn the fascists once the obviousness of their horrors was apparent to all, and to point the finger at every other source of blame rather than the roles of Christianity in those cultures in contributing to anti-Semitism and nationalism.
FDR had created the economic tools of fascism. He organized capitalism under the influence of the State for the purpose of bettering society, and he was successful in doing that, and long after the war that agenda was still being followed, the agenda of using the State to direct the economy in ways that would benefit society. As much as we take that for granted as a “good idea” that was part of the development of Fascism during the 20th century, prior to that the idea that the State should “direct” anything was considered a “no no” among western democracies.
So, FDR created the economic tools of fascism, but it was not until the 1950s that America would actually become a truly fascist country in both the economic and social sense.
During the 1950s all aspects of life were brought in line with “the interests of the State.” Not nearly so strictly as in fascist Europe, but the focus did shift to the State as a director of American society like never before, and, just as in Europe, a conservative public mentality encouraged this increased control and contributed to growing social fascism as a means to quell dissent, not just as something that was imposed by the State, but, like in Germany and Italy, as something that the public majority itself participated in, and in fact, just as in Italy and Germany, benefited from. The latent social conservative tendencies inherent in American culture during the 1930s found institutional support from leadership in America during the 1950s.
Nowhere is this more strongly evidenced than with the changes made to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.
image The pledge was again changed in 1954, during the McCarthy era. The change in 1954 was the addition of the words “under God”, so that the pledge then read:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
This last change was requested by the Knights of Columbus, a conservative Catholic organization.
The account of how this change to the flag was made can be seen here:
How the words “UNDER GOD” came to be added to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
It is meaningful to note here that the Catholic Church was a major factor in the spread of fascism in Europe. The history of the relationship between fascism and the Vatican is controversial one, but it cannot be denied that in both Germany and Italy the rise to power of the fascists was aided by the Catholic Church. Why? Because the Catholic Church was rapidly losing membership with the advancement of liberalism and secularism in Europe. The fascists promised to promote the interests of the Church if they were able to get into power. Mussolini made good on his promise when he signed the Lateran Treatyin 1929, giving increased powers to the Catholic Church, establishing Catholicism as the official state religion of Italy, and ensuring that Catholicism would be taught in public schools.
image Cardinal Gasparri and Benito Mussolini seated after singing the Lateran Treaty
In a 1937 Encyclical Letter titled On Atheistic Communism, issued from Rome Italy, Pope Pius XI stated:
Duties of the Christian State Aid to the Church
73. Such is the positive task, embracing at once theory and practice, which the Church undertakes in virtue of the mission, confided to her by Christ, of constructing a Christian society, and, in our own times, of resisting unto victory the attacks of communism. It is the duty of the Christian state to concur actively in this spiritual enterprise of the Church, aiding her with the means at its command, which although they be external devices, have nonetheless for their prime object the good of souls.
74. This means that all diligence should be exercised by States to prevent within their territories the ravages of an anti-God campaign which shakes society to its very foundations. For there can be no authority on earth unless the authority of the Divine Majesty be recognized; no oath will bind which is not sworn in the Name of the Living God. We repeat what We have said with frequent insistence in the past, especially in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi: “How can any contract be maintained, and what value can any treaty have in which every guarantee of conscience is lacking? And how can there be talk of guarantees of conscience when all faith in God and all fear of God have vanished? Take away this basis, and with it all moral law falls, and there is no remedy left to stop the gradual but inevitable destruction of peoples, families, the State, civilization itself.” (Encycl. Caritate Christi,May 3, 1932 [A. A. S., vol. XXIV, 1932, p. 190].)
Provision for the Common Good
75. It must likewise be the special care of the State to create those material conditions of life without which an orderly society cannot exist. The State must take every measure necessary to supply employment, particularly for the heads of families and for the young. To achieve this end demanded by the pressing needs of the common welfare, the wealthy classes must be induced to assume those burdens without which human society cannot be saved nor they themselves remain secure. However, measures taken by the State with this end in view ought to be of such a nature that they will really affect those who actually possess more than their share of capital resources, and who continue to accumulate them to the grievous detriment of others.
Prudent and Sober Administration
76. The State itself, mindful of its responsibility before God and society, should be a model of prudence and sobriety in the administration of the commonwealth. Today more than ever the acute world crisis demands that those who dispose of immense funds, built up on the sweat and toil of millions, keep constantly and singly in mind the common good. State functionaries and all employees are obliged in conscience to perform their duties faithfully and unselfishly, imitating the brilliant example of distinguished men of the past and of our own day, who with unremitting labor sacrificed their all for the good of their country. In international trade-relations let all means be sedulously employed for the removal of those artificial barriers to economic life which are the effects of distrust and hatred. All must remember that the peoples of the earth form but one family in God.
Unrestricted Freedom for the Church
77. At the same time the State must allow the Church full liberty to fulfill her divine and spiritual mission, and this in itself will be an effectual contribution to the rescue of nations from the dread torment of the present hour. Everywhere today there is an anxious appeal to moral and spiritual forces; and rightly so, for the evil we must combat is at its origin primarily an evil of the spiritual order. From this polluted source the monstrous emanations of the communistic system flow with satanic logic. Now, the Catholic Church is undoubtedly preeminent among the moral and religious forces of today. Therefore the very good of humanity demands that her work be allowed to proceed unhindered.
Encyclical Letters are letters by the Pope which are distributed to every Bishop in the world and filtered down to the individual church level to be read by every Priest. This is part of the globally centralized Catholic system of administration. In fact, this particular Encyclical Letter contributed to significant opposition to the American alliance with the Soviet Union during World War II among Catholics.
In 1943 author Joseph McCabe wrote in The Papacy in Politics Today:
…I invite him [the reader] to reflect on these facts, which must be within his knowledge:
1. The Roman Church has remained throughout the war in friendly relations with the three aggressive Powers–we shall see that the occasional friction in Germany was a purely ecclesiastical affair–and the Papacy has never condemned the crime of their aggressions and the bestialities of their methods.
2. All Roman Catholic countries–Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Eire, most of the South American Republics, and now France and Belgium–are Fascist, and they rightly declare that they have adopted Fascism in obedience to the Papal Encyclical Quadragsimo Anno.
3. All non-Catholic States of Europe and America that are still free are democratic, and the only great Powers fighting for civilization are those in which Catholics are a relatively small minority. Catholics form little more than one-tenth of the population of the United States and less than one-twentieth of the population of Great Britain.
4. In the democratic States that are fighting for civilization the Catholic minorities have been the most obstructive force, and their attitude was mainly based upon Papal declarations, especially about Russia. All papers admitted that the Catholics were “the core of the Isolationists” in America until Japan opened its treacherous attack. Quebec, a Fascist State, has greatly embarrassed, and still embarrasses, the Canadian Government, and the Catholics of Australia under their bitter Irish leader, Archbishop Mannix, have given serious trouble in that Dominion.
5. Whenever a country of mixed Catholics and non-Catholics has been conquered by the Nazis it has, with the cordial cooperation of the Vatican, either, like France and Belgium, been put under a despotic Catholic minority or, as in Czecho-Slovakia, Catholic provinces have been detached and converted into Fascist Catholic States.
6. In short, the three great Powers which to-day sustain at appalling cost the fight for civilization–a fight upon which the Pope has not bestowed one word of human benediction–are non-Catholics to the extent of more than ninety per cent. The Powers (outside Asia) which would destroy civilization or which give sympathy or active support to the criminals–Vichy France, Spain, Portugal, Eire–are or claim to be solidly Catholic. Germany is at least one-third Catholic.
The Catholic Church of course has little concern for the separation of Church and State. The Catholic Church is itself the creation of the Roman State and has for all time been the strongest opponent of separation of Church and State. The history of Mexico is an excellent testament to this, Mexico having struggled for centuries to break free from Catholic government rule.
Pope Leo XIII stated:
It is quite unlawful to demand, defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, or speech, of writing or worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man.
-Pope Leo XIII, “Great Encyclical Letters”
They [Catholics] must penetrate wherever possible in the administration of civil affairs… all Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitution of states, and legislation to be modeled on the principles of the true Church.
-Pope Leo XIII, “Encyclical of Leo XIII”
Hence follows the fatal theory of the need of separation between Church and State.
-Pope Leo XIII, “Libertas”
The Catholic Church is the foundation of ties between Church and State in Western Civilization. The Catholic Church has been the world wide leader in movements to restore the role of the Church within the State, which has often been advocated under the banner of fighting communism.
This last change to the pledge is very symbolic of the finalization of the fascist state in America. During the 1950s, as happened in Italy and Germany, the barriers between Church, State, and Corporation had all been broken.
In 1956 Congress changed the national motto from “E Pluribus Unum” to “In God We Trust”, and “So help me God” was added to federal oaths (despite the fact that the Christian Bible clearly states not to swear on God or any other person, place, or thing when taking an oath. Matthew 5:33-37, James 5:12).
All of this is exactly the same type of thing that took place in Fascist Europe, and just as in Europe these were changes that were not forced upon people by the State, but they were in fact supported by the people out of the increasingly conservative social climate.
Just as in Germany and Italy the increased religiosity and patriotism also corresponded with increased intolerance and minorities were further ostracized.
It would be wrong to conclude that all elements of fascism in general, and particularly American fascism, are by definition negative though. Aside from the war and horrible racial oppressions among the European fascists, the European fascists did provide a variety of benefits to their nations, such as increased employment, the construction of the national autobahn (highways) in Germany, and a strong focus on scientific research, though most of it was on weapons technology.
Many of these same things took place in America, and people benefited from these State programs. After the war President Eisenhower commissioned the building of Federal highways, the G.I. Bill sent thousands of men to college, the government poured money into scientific research and large government contracts with businesses. The government aided millions of American in buying their first homes, and so on and so fourth. The biggest beneficiaries of American fascism during the early years was the middle class.
The Enlightenment era of the 18th and 19th century created a whole new world of ideas for mankind. The new ideologies that developed out of The Enlightenment, combined with the sweeping changes ushered in by the development of democracy, science, and industrialization, resulted in a highly ideologically polarized world in the 20th century. All of these changes challenged traditional world-views and institutions. Laissez-faire capitalism had expanded rapidly in America during the late 19th century, but laissez-faire capitalism reached a world-wide stage of crisis in the early part of the 20th century, both moral and practical, resulting in two primary outcomes: The rise of the socialist movement to overthrow capitalism, and the development of fascism to use the State to prop it up.
Fascism, though, embodied more than just that, because the once revolutionary institution of capitalism had now become the potential “victim” of the next revolution. Capitalism, once independent from the State and aligned with liberalism, then became aligned with elements of conservatism. The State and Capital together reached back into the Old World, grasped onto the Church, and called on the name of God Almighty to save them from revolution. This is fascism. The rejoining of Church, State, and Commerce into a unified and mutually supportive relationship for the maintenance of power.
The rise of fascism took a different, non-revolutionary, path in America than it took in Europe. European fascism was certainly more extreme and malignant, but it has to be repeated that the term “fascism” has an unfairly negative connotation today because of its association with the Axis powers. Describing the post Second World War American State as fascist isn’t an attempt to stigmatize it, but rather to understand the qualities of the modern American State, for better or for worse, and to understand the many different factors that contributed to the establishment of the greatly more powerful American Federal Government during World War II and to what ends that power would be wielded in the second half of the 20th century.