Traditionally, rightist and fascist movements possessed a penchant for conspiracy theories as one of their explanations of historical and social change, and the American Nazi movement is no exception. Conspiracy ideology basically maintains that history is made by the decisions of secretive bodies which are morally evil and opposed to the very existence of Western civilisation. Often, the conspirators are credited with the power to deceive and corrupt the subjects of the conspiracy. Sometimes, their powers are said to be satanic and their conspiracy all-embracing. Essentially, there are different forms of conspiracy theory. (1)
The belief that western society was distorted by a conspiracy goes back to the 1780's when the Bavarian government exposed the plots of Spartacus Weishaupt, the Jewish organiser of a mystical semi-masonic society, the Illuminati. One major student of the conspiracy-ideology, Nesta Webster, claimed that Illuminism sought to overthrow all European monarchies and establish world dictatorship. (2) It was held to be the grandparent of Bolshevism. Knowledqe of the alleged workings of Illuminism reached America in the 1790's when a certain John Robinson published his
1 Gail Ann Sindell, "Gerald B. Winrod And The Defender: A Case Study Of The Radical Right," Case Western Reserve University, Ph.D. thesis, 1973, pp. 128, 143.
2. Nesta Webster, The Socialist Network, London, 1926, pp.20-36.
Proofs Of A Conspiracy. (3) Some early 19th century proponents of conspiracy theories, interpreted the French Revolution as a conspiracy of Masonry, Illuminists and Jews, and later they questioned the credentials of all movements of an exotic or revolutionary nature. Religion, property, monarchy and state were all held to be in mortal danger of overthrow, (4) and organisations were formed to fight the conspiracy.
Similarly, in the United States, the anti Masonic movement of the 1830's and 1840's, and the virulent anti-Catholicism of these years, found later political expression in the Know Nothing Party of the late 1840's and early 1850's. (5) The tendency in the United States to blame certain results of industrial-urban growth on a conspiracy, appeared in these years, as America seemed to be fighting a holy war against anti-American tendencies. Such an attitude lay at the core of Amiercan nativism and Extreme Right politics in the twentieth century.
In the 1890's, the rhetoric of some Populists was directed against the Eastern Establishment and a "conspiracy centred in two continents." (6) Their opposition to the "money-power" added to American conspiracy-lore a fixation
3. John Robinson, Proofs Of A Conspiracy, Boston, 1970, passim. This work was strongly recommended by the John Birch Society.
4. Nesta Webster, The World Revolution, 1972. (City of publication not stated.), pp. 1-30.
5. Seymour Lipset and Earl Raab, The Politics Of Unreason: Right-wing Extremism In America 1790 - 1970, New York, 1970, pp. 40-57.
6. "The Populist Party Platform, July 4 1892," quoted in Henry Steele Commanger, Documents of American History, 6th edn., New York, 1958, Vol II, p. 143.
with financial matters and the operators of "the banking system." The Populist theory had some appeal to people ruined by depression and by new economic forces which they failed truly to comprehend. (7) Not surprisingly, it has been argued by Victor Ferkiss, and by self-proclaimed fascist Ezra Pound, that Populist ideology was one base for the emergence of American fascism.(8) Certainly, while the Populists were busy locating a bankers' conspiracy, proto fascist formations in Europe such as Action Francaise and the German Volkische were postulating a similar notion. (9)
(a) The American Conspiracy Ideology
It is impossible to be sure which particular aspect of conspiracy-ideology attracted the individual American Nazi or provided a rationale for any of his beliefs. However, in Rockwell's case, this can be shown; and Rockwell, as founder of the movement, its first strategist and tactician, put forward certain conspiracy ideas which show the links between ideas and political action. To locate the sources of Rockwell's beliefs in conspiracy, I have examined his works for references to various writers on that subject. I have also examined various booklists distributed by Rockwell's Nazis (and later Nazi groups) and from them extracted twenty five works of reference.
7. Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style In American Politics And Other Essays, New York, 1966, passim.
8. Victor Ferkiss, "Populist Influence In American Fascism," Western Political Quarterly, June 1957, and W. T. Tucker, "Ezra Pound, Fascism and Populism," Journal Of Politics, XVII, February 1956, pp. 105-7.
9. Eugene Weber, Action Francaise: Royalism And Reaction In Twentieth Century France, Stanford, 1969, passim.
Rockwell's understanding of conspiracy was not unlike ideas spawned in Europe and America; indeed Rockwell appears to have summed various postulates into a single argument.
He accepted the most basic "fact" of twentieth century conspiracy ideology: that there existed an international Jewish conspiracy which aimed to subvert Western civilisation. This idea was largely a Russian product, thanks to groups like the Union of the Russian People which first spread The Protocols of Zion, "the blueprint for world Jewish domination." (10) That was in 1905, the first time that conspiracy ideology fueled a mass popular movement. The notion of a Jewish conspiracy raised anti-semitism from the prejudice of the Ivy League and Karl Lueger's Viennese Social Christian Party, to the level of a social movement. The case of the Union of the Russian People proved that anti-semitism was a dynamic ideology capable of even engendering a revolution in its own right. After the Bolshevik Revolution, URP members fled to Germany, where some gained influence within the fledgling Nazi Party, and to the United States where they engaged in anti-semitic propaganda. (11)
The idea of "Jewish Bolshevism" arose in America after the Great War, mostly with the assistance of Henry Ford Snr. through his Dearborn Independent and his four
10. Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Protocols Of Zion And The Myth Of The Jewish World Conspiracy, London, 1967, p. 88.
11. Alfred Rosenberg and Scheubner-Richter were two Nazis in very close contact with Russian emigres. A Russian Fascist Party was eventually founded in the U.S. from emigre circles.
volume work, The International Jew. (12)
Ford's views emerged probably independently of direct foreign influence. His works have remained popular with America's anti-semites and Nazis. Ford detected a world-wide Jewish movement towards communism and announced that powerful Jewish interests were intent on world revolution. However, for the Nazis, particularly Rockwell, a statement by Winston Churchill best expressed the concept. Churchill wrote in 1920:
In violent opposition to this [constructive Zionist] sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the international Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up amongst the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most of them... have forsaken the faith of their forefathers and divorced from their minds all hope of the next world. This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx and down to Trotsky (Russia) Bela Kun (Hungary) Rosa Luxemburg (Germany) and Emma Goldmann (U.S.), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, envious malevolence and impossible equality has been steadily growing. It played as... Nesta Webster has shown, a definitely recogniizable part in the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement in the 19th century; and now, at last, this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America has gripped the Russian people... and have become the undisputed masters of this enormous empire. (13)
12. Henry Ford, The International Jew, 4 Vols., Sausalito, 1968.
13. Winston Churchill, "Zionism Verses Bolshevism: A Struggle For The Soul Of The Jewish People," Illustrated London Sunday Herald, February 8, 1920. This piece was reproduced by the ANP as a leaflet, date uncertain.
This quotation from Churchill was one of Rockwell's favourites and appeared in some of the Commander's writings and in many of his speeches. It was the essence of the conspiracy ideology. The idea of Jewish Bolshevism was discussed in 1920's America but by contrast with Europe, there was an absence of any revolutionary social movement or crisis which prevented anti-semitism from having a major impact. (14) However during the Depression, and especially in the New Deal period, conspiracy ideology developed and inspired several extremist movements. Certain conspiracy ideas which became part of the folklore of the Extreme Right in those years later served as a partial basis for Rockwell's thinking.
Broadly speaking America's conspiracy ideologists argued that Roosevelt's administration consolidated the power of conspiratorial Jewish and banking forces. (15) The first really successful act of the conspiracy in America was the promulgation in 1913 of the Federal Reserve Act. (16) The Warburg family and their co-conspirators in the "eastern banking establishment" centralised the American financial system through the "unconstitutional" Federal Reserve Bank. From there the conspirators elected Woodrow Wilson to the
14. Joachim Fest, Hitler, passim. Fest illustrated the nature of the European social crisis in detail, particularly in a section of his Hitler, "The Great Dread:' America had no similar social crisis which dictated that anti-semitism had no revolutionary potential.
15. Elizabeth Dilling, Roosevelt's Red Record, New York, 1950, passim. This work was a good example of this view.
16. Conspiracy writers, Elizabeth Dilling, Mrs. Lesley Fry and N. Skousen argued in this way. So did Rockwell.
Presidency and thereby involved the U.S. in the Great War to secure Zionist control of Palestine. (17) Conspiracy ideologues seized upon the 1930's Nye Commission's findings that American bankers engineered U.S. entry into the Great War to secure their investments. The Nye Commission gave substance to the image of the "international banker," the anonymous economic planner who initiated war and depression only for the purpose of furthering his desire for wealth and dominance. The idea of a money-conspiracy was very popular in America from the time the Populists first located it. It was similarly popular with the Right, for whom only a reform of money and banking could reverse the conspiracy. (18)
The effort to reform the banking system, or more particularly, the plan for national control over the issuing of money, was much of the drive behind Extreme Right activity in the 1930's and after. There was a fear of money, its power and its corrupting influence over American society. Extreme Right groups based in rural areas were most strident in their aversion to "the banking system," and as Victor
17. Douglas Reed, The Controversy Of Zion, Durban, 1978, pp. 231-260. This work was a major summary of earlier U.S. conspiracy writers.
18. W. Cleon Skousen, The Naked Capitalist, Salt Lake City, 1972, pp. 16-22. Money reform was a vital plank of the platforms of most Extreme Right groups from Winrod to the Klan, to Rockwell. The importance of a money reform was usually overestimated by the more conservative groups. Ferkis, op. cit., mentions this trend. Ezra Pound's writings strikingly illustrate the right-wing preoccupation.
Ferkiss noted, were heirs to the Populist tradition in their respective locales. (19) Religious ideas were closely allied to this type of financial thinking, and Christian-Nationalist groups such as Gerald Winrod's Defenders and Gerald L. K. Smith's Crusaders can be mentioned in this regard. Often, their fundamentalist faith metamorphosed a bankers' conspiracy into an explosion of satanism. (20)
Winrod and Smith agitated for pressure upon Congress to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and carry out a policy of "cheap credit" as per the theories of Major C. H. Douglas, the originator of 'Social Credit'. The logic of these fundamentalists was impeccable since the conspiracy was evil and the American Constitution an inspired Christian charter for a special society, then men had only to demand Constitutional Government to win the day. (21) But this was still a long way from the political revdlution advocated by fascists like Lawrence Dennis - and later by Rockwell.
It would appear that the fascists selectively use conspiracy ideology for political mobilisation; the other rightists, as will be shown, defeat themselves by their own arguments. An examination of certain conspiracy ideas of the 1930's illustrates this point and assists in locating the Rockwell movement as a fascist rather than a traditional reactionary organisation. It shows, more importantly, the
19. Ferkis, op. cit., passim.
20. William Guy Carr, The Red Fog Over America, 3th Edn., 1968, pp. 1-4 (no city of publication stated).
21. Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy, Boston, 1972, pp. 129, 135, 137.
general qualities of an American fascism which later emerged with Rockwell.
The rightists were deeply shocked by the liberal policies of the Roosevelt Administration. Often, the same groups who responded to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's equated Roosevelt's policies with socialism, communism and Jewish conspiracy. (22) In certain geographic locales, where Christian fundamentalism was strong, conspiracy ideology took virulent expression. Gerald B. Winrod of Wichita, William Dudley Pelley of North Carolina and others such as Elizabeth Dilling, Leslie Fry and Dennis Fahey shaped the conspiracy ideology. (23) These agitators postulated a moralistic, apocalyptic vision In the first instance the conspiracy was all-embracing. It had grown from the days of the Protocols of Zion into a massive octopus with tentacles in all parties, administrative agencies and social life. The conspiracy was of Satanic inspiration since no rational human reason for it could be found. It was a gross evil assault against morality, family, property and nationality. The conspirators had diabolical intelligence with which to deceive the victims. International Jewry was
22. Francois Duprat and Alain Renault, Les Fascismes Americaines 1923-41, Le Trait, 1975, pp. 26-30 passim.
23. These writers were the major authors. Fry wrote Rivers Flowing Eastward. Dilling remained active until the 1950's. Gail Sindell maintained that Winrod's prolific pamphleteering made his views "important." Gerald L. K. Smith disseminated the views of these writers in his wide circulation Cross And The Flag.
the leading agency of the conspiracy for a world-republic, and Jews were a sort of evil opposite to the virtuous white Christian American. The Roosevelt Administration was an instrument of the conspiracy in its plan to Sovietise America. (24)
Having described the nature of the conspiracy, the theorists identified its targets: the U.S. Constitution, private property, religion and the integrity of the white race in America. For example, the Extreme Right was furiously opposed to Roosevelt's courting of ethnic minorities and to his appointments of Jews to government positions. As war threatened in the late 1930's the conspiracy ideologists detected that Roosevelt was leading America into war with the Axis powers. (25) They preferred neutrality, a policy which endeared these "patriots" to Rockwell.
The conspiracy theorists of the 1930's found the conspiracy to be masonic in form; that is, there were many degrees of understanding of its objectives within the ranks of the conspirators. The delineation of the nature of the conspiracy was elevated into a science. One writer was convinced that Felix Frankfurter, a Supreme Court judge was "central" (27) another pursued Justice Brandeis; another
24. Rev. Dennis Fahey, The Mystical Body Of Christ In The Modern World, and Arnold Leese, Gentile Folly, London, 1950, passim.
25. John Roy Carlson, Under Cover: My Four Years In The Nazi Underworld Of America, New York, 1943, passim.
26. Elizabeth Dilling, The Red Network, New Jersey, 1953, passim. She believed not all conspirators were fully "briefed."
27. Henry Klein, Frankfurter Over The White House, Metairie, 1976. This pamphlet was a reprint of a 1945 edition.
assailed the redoubtable Bernard Baruch, one of America's major power brokers. (28) As Jews, all these public figures were immediately suspect. Similarly, Roosevelt's Brain Trust was perceived as an extra-Constitutional agency and part of the real power in 1930's America. (29) The B'nai B'rith and the Anti Defamation League were held up as watchdogs of the conspiracy willing and able to blacklist patriotic Americans. (30)
George Seldes called the "100% American" anti-New Dealers the catalysts for American fascism. (31) Michael Billig has observed that "... the conspiracy tradition became the property of the dispossessed... (32) In the American case, conspiracy ideology became the property of persons deeply disturbed by the New Deal. Such persons were certainly potential recruits for American fascism, but they developed some rather non-fascist characteristics. (33) The conspiracy type was not in the fascist mould. The 1930's period saw the emergence of the type which was attracted to the conspiracy faith. Richard Hofstadter has postulated
28. Lt. Colonel Creach-Scott, Hidden Government, 1968 (no city of publication stated). This document is a reprint of a 1930's tract which quoted from Fry and Dilling.
29. Fred Morgner, "Ultra Conservative Response To Supreme Court Judicial Behaviour: A Study In Political Alienation 1935-65," University of Minnesota Ph.D. thesis, 1970, pp. 27, 62-63.
30. Robert H. Williams, The Anti-Defamation League And Its Part In The World Communist Offensive, Metairie, 1976. Wi11iams was a correspondent of Rockwell in the 1950's.
31. George Seldes, One Thousand Americans, New York, 1947, p. 213.
32. Michael Billig, Fascists: A Social-Psychological View Of The National Front, London, 1978, p. 296.
33. Duprat and Renault, op. cit., pp. 83-89.
the existence of a specific socio-psychological category willing to embrace a creed of grandsimplicities, the "paranoid style." (34) As shown in this chapter and in chapter one, the Right's "paranoids" were centred mainly in the "Christian Nationalist" group of organisations. This group enjoyed being in possession of the great historical truths of conspiracy ideology. Secretive discussions of social collapse, revolution, evil, satanism and apocalypse were commonplace to such circles. There were "degrees" of understanding of the conspiracy of the Elders of Zion. It was important for novitiates to proceed into a full study of the "truth" Once this was unravelled the Biblical saying "know the truth and the truth shall make you free" took new meaning. The novice had become "free" from the conspiracy's psychological tentacles. (35) Further, there was a converse to this Biblical rule which was central to Rockwell's 1950's move from conservatism to fascism. As Christians argue, the devil fears exposure, the light of day, the truth. The Christian conspiracy-mongers decided to "wake up America" by exposing the conspiracy. No thought was given to the replacement of institutions by a new party or how the conspiracy would be defeated. It was simply assumed that once fully exposed to
34. Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style, passim.
35. The idea that "Truth", particularly religious truth, could free people from the conspiracy's grip, was widespread. Even today, rightist pamphleteers write in this way. For example, in Australia, the League Of Rights bulletin Intelligence Survey, says on its masthead, "know the truth and it shall make you free."
the niajority of Americans, it would somehow disappear. (36) The fascists of the 1930's rejected this viewpoint just as Rockwell did in the 1950's. Of such logic, Rockwell wrote: "The slave knows the truth that he is a slave -but he is still a slave." For freedom "one has to fight as the Founding Fathers of our country fought." (37)
Since revolutionary activity was not on the agenda for the Christian right, they formed loose clandestine circles devoted to pamphleteering and endless discussion. The pattern set in the 1930's continued until the 1950's in an undisturbed form. While fascists in the 1930's and the 1950's accepted the facts of conspiracy, they recognised the tension between the esoteric ideas of conspiracy, and the need for a mass base to effect political change. (38)
The conspiracy creed tended to paralyse its protagonists politically, since the conspiracy-monger could not act without fearing he would serve the conspiracy. (39) After all, the conspiracy worked through mass movements and took even antagonistic movements under its wing. Conspiracy circles were often distrustful of Italian fascism and German National Socialism on these grounds. The fascists, however, concerned with the problem of political mobilisation, had
36. Gary Allen, None Dare Call it Conspiracy, passim, and John A. Stormer, None Dare Call it Treason, passim.
37. George Lincoln Rockwell, radio interview, Nazi Rockwell.
38. Martin Walker, The National Front, London, 1977, deals with this question in the case of Britain's League of Empire Loyalists.
39. George Lincoln Rockwell, White Power, pp. 384-86. I found this in Australia's case also, after interviewing Eric D. Butler in March 1980. Butler was the National Director of the Australian League of Rights.
no choice but to reject the reactionary Right's paranoia over popular movements. Rockwell encapsulated this in White Power by arguing:
The masses instinctively sense the need for authority and unconsciously seek a strong leader. And the masses in turn are the very essence of that we need to win. (40)
(b) Rockwell's Conspiracy Ideology
Rockwell's political origins were clearly betrayed through his conspiracy writings. His writing contained echoes of the conspiracy writings of the preceding three decades. Indeed, Rockwell used the idea of conspiracy to explain the necessity of a dynamic counter-creed and organisation. Initially, he had drifted into belief in a conspiracy through initial contacts with the conservative right-wing. In This Time The World he wrote of his reaction to the conspiracy: -
The whole thing however still didn't register with me. It was too fantastic. I felt sure there was some misrepresentation somehow... I looked at the first paper. It was Common Sense and the headline was 'Red Dictatorship by 1954'... It seemed too silly and disgusting for an intelligent man to waste time on... But in the few lines I did read Common Sense gave what it claimed were startling "facts" about the Jewishness of Communism. It listed was the sources of these unbelievable facts the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia and various official U.S. government documents. This seemed like an excellent opportunity to spike the fantastic idea that Communism was Jewishand I decided to check these
40. George Lincoln Rockwell, White Power, Dallas, 1967, p. 373.
"facts" out... Down there in the dark stacks of the San Diego Public Library I got my awakening from 30 years of stupid political sleep... (41)
Rockwell hence became a correspondent of conspiracy writers such as Major Robert Williams and Elizabeth Dilling. He also became an avid reader of Common Sense and The Cross And The Flag. (42) Later he would recommend two key books utilized by the 1950's Right: Iron Curtain Over America and Behind Communism. (43) It is little wonder therefore that Rockwell's Nazi literature reflected strongly the arguments of the 1950's conspiracy writers.
Initially, Rockwell's Nazi literature was full of references to the conspiracy. He took up the idea that the United Nations was to be the centre of a Jewish World Government. (44) He charged that this organisation had been established as a result of Soviet inspiration and that its charter had been written by Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish communist. (45) The U.S. government, Rockwell believed, had surrendered its constitutional powers to an international body. (46) There was some confusion in Nazi literature over whether this new world authority would call itself Zionist, Communist or simply democratic, and Rockwell was also confused. It was not established whether the One World movement served Soviet communism or vice versa or whether
41. George Lincoln Rockwell, This Time, p. 141.
42. ibid., pp. 145, 165.
43. American Nazi Booklist, ANP leaflet, date of publication unknown.
44. George Lincoln Rockwell, DallasSpeech to Birchers.
they were both agencies of another "hidden hand" or "invisible government." (47) Nonetheless, this ideology was suited to the Cold War and the early 1960's, since at this time communism was held as an enemy of the American people. Rockwell learned and repeated stories of communist spies (mostly Jewish) in the U.S. government, who worked for Moscow. In 1961 he broke his own spy story after an American Nazi admitted he had once been approached by a Soviet agent. (48) This was part of Rockwell's attempt to present his party as a patriotic American organisation. However, for Rockwell, the liberal establishment of America had permitted the infiltration of the government in the Roosevelt era to distort American foreign policy. (49) That establishment was the primary enemy.
Rockwell was incensed that American military power was being frustrated in its attempt to halt the spread of communism, a sense of frustration that also contributed to the emergence of numerous anti-communist movements in the early 1960's. (50) He concluded that a conspiracy had to be afoot since victory had failed to come to American arms. The defeats in Asia had generated a considerable volume of conspiracy literature, with which Rockwell was generally familiar. For example, he contended in several speeches and in Rockwell Report, that China had been betrayed to47. None of the conspiracy literature examined for this study has been clear on this point.
Mao Tse Tung. Liberal opinion had been mobilised in America in support of "the agrarian reformer," Mao Tse Tung. (51) In 1960, Rockwell added that Cuba had been turned over to another agrarian reformer," Fidel Castro. (52) As indicated above, Rockwell, as a political strategist, had to marshall the "facts" of conspiracy to serve his programme of action and enhance the appeal of his movement. He chose to direct himself to immediate issues - race and New Leftism. Rockwell detected conspiracy behind the integrationist movement, and in this respect his views were remarkably similar to those of the Citizens' Councils of the 1950's. It was obvious to him that Communists and Jews were intent on "destroying the white race," and it was a central theme of the ANP that Zionist interests controlled the NAACP and Martin Luther King, that Jewish money interests were keen to support civil rights. (53) However it was in relation to the discussion of New Leftism that Rockwell's conspiracy ideology was unique.
The anarchy of the 1960's was a product of Jewish intellectuals, Rockwell contended. Behind the counterculture and the youth movements lay "Jewish bolshevism," the same force which shook Weimar Germany in the 1920's in preparation for communism. (54) The leaders of this movement were Jewish: Rubin, Hoffman, Dylan and Ginzburg, which
51. George Lincoln Rockwell, Brown University Speech, Arlington, ANP recording, 1966.
52. Rockwell Report, November 1960, p. 3.
53. George Lincoln Rockwell, Lynchburg Armory Speech, Liverpool, British Patriot Publications recordings, 1976.
54. George Lincoln Rockwell, Brown University Speech.
answered his rhetorical question in the book White Power: "Where is all this spiritual syphilis coming from?" (55) In White Power Rockwell posited three centres of the modern conspiracy: "The Chart Forgers," "The Friends of the Captain," and "The Friends of the Crew." (56)
The first category comprised the academics, philosophers, liberal sociologists and media barons who set the values and goals of American society. Divided into two groups, the conscious conspirator and the dupe, this group was preaching diverse creeds ranging from free love to multi-racialism. Such ideologies were bound to wreck America or weaken it in the fight against international communism. The "Chart Forgers" were usually Jews, (57) and Rockwell mentioned Herbert Marcuse, Walter Winchell and Ashley Montague in this context. (58)
The second category, "The Friends of the Captain," were those Jews involved in the capitalist system and democratic politics. They stood close to all administrations and initiated their programmes. They steered the "ship of state" into waters charted by liberal intellectuals, or as Rockwell's analogy put it, by "The Chart Forgers." Rockwell included Anna M. Rosenberg and Dwight Eisenhower in this category. (59) Earlier "friends" included Harry Dexter White, a Soviet spy,
55. George Lincoln Rockwell, White Power, p. 58.
56. These are the titles of three chapters of White Power.
57. George Lincoln Rockwell, White Power, passim.
59. George Lincoln Rockwell, This Time, pp. 357-59.
and Anna M. Rosenberg. The aim of the "Friends of the Captain" was to foment class war - from above.
The third category, "The Friends of the Crew," was supposedly the very opposite of the "Friends of the Captain." They were the leftists, the advocates of proletarian revolution." However, according to Rockwell, the capitalist Jews and the communist Jews were in cahoots to deceive the majority of the people. This concept was the classical statement of German Nazism placed on a purely racial level: that both capitalism and communism were similar materialist ideologies directed by the perennial Jew. Like the conspiracy ideologists mentioned above, Rockwell was uncertain of the exact relationship between the two arms of the single conspiracy. At one point he suggested that the Jewish communists "didn't wish to wait" while the Jewish capitalists seized the world, and caused a "division in the soul of the Jewish people." (60) Some Jewish communists thought even Stalin's model too slow and pursued Trotskyism. (61) However, on the other hand, he believed that communism was always brought to power by Jewish capitalists:
This idea that because Jews love money they couldn't be communists would be true - if communism were 'on the level' - if communism were actually a movement to help poor people as it pretends to be. (62)
"Communism exists to put Jews in power," he continued. (63)
60. George Lincoln Rockwell, White Power, p. 143.
61. ibid., p. 90.
62. ibid., pp. 148-49.
63. ibid., p. 149.
This somewhat contradicts the ideas just quoted which tend to suggest Rockwell believed communism was an ideology and a policy in itself, but one used for other ends. Whatever the case, inconsistency is not surprising, since the notion of a direct managed conspiracy between capitalist and communism is a difficult construct to argue logically. Faced with such a difficulty, Rockwell wrote:
By no means are all Jews communists, nor are all communists Jews. The scientific proof is simply that, on the basis of undeniable statistics, an unknown Jew is probably, but not certainly, pro Marxist, whether communist or Trotskyist or just a race mixing liberal. ( 64)
While post-Rockwell Nazis have concluded that contemporary Jews are more interested in Zionism and One World-ism than Marxism, Rockwell's intellectual-political origins precluded this idea. Basically Rockwell learned his anti-semitism at a time when McCarthy was active and numerous Jewish communist spies were uncovered. Further, his Nazi tactics were designed to burst through the media's silence with a denunciation of Jewish communism. Even so, there were pressing tactical reasons to insist on a Jewish/Communist dichotomy once the mass New Left demonstrations encouraged strong oppositional feelings from the Right. Rockwell was trying to acquire political influence by alerting the right to the real significance of New Leftism. His perception of German National Socialism also pushed him to this type of propaganda. He took the German Nazi 'Jewish-Bolshevik'
64. George Lincoln Rockwell, This Time, p. 168.
rhetoric seriously and equated American New Leftism with German communism. Rockwell noted that "the German people had enough of conservatives"; a direct parallel between Hitler's party and his own party was possible. (65) Only a radical party could defeat communism. Rockwell's attempts to make his conspiracy theories relevant to the contemporary context illustrate his skill as a political strategist. Given that a militant leftist movement was in operation, Rockwell could attract support by exposing it. Since the reactionary right had no formula to defeat communism, other than pamphlet circulation, he could point to Hitler who told "the truth" and acted on it, thereby "whipping communism". (66) In taking this line Rockwell was appealing to the Right. His use of basic conspiracy ideology was certainly a point in common with the Right, and his answer to the conspiracy could be posed in similar language, except, of course, that Rockwell rejected the idea that political action was wrong. The Right's path to the new National Socialism lay in their recognition that a powerful plot could only be defeated by energetic struggle. (67)
Rockwell's drive to impress the right again illustrated his understanding of political psychology. His work, This Time The World, which was important particularly
65. George Lincoln Rockwell, radio interview, Nazi Rockwell.
66. George Lincoln Rockwell, Brown University Speech.
67. George Lincoln Rockwell, In Hoc Signo Vinces, Arlington, 1972, passim.
to the first phase of the ANP, was written very much as a confession to the Right. It explained his conversion to conspiracy ideology and his struggle to apply this knowledge to a given political landscape. His failure, despite several attempts, to build a conservative organisation, was directly equated with the Right's failures generally. (68) For the Right, Rockwell's book was a rough equivalent of Lenin's What is to be Done?, arguing that while the content of the Right's message was good, the tactical forms would not bring success. (69) The Right's failure was attributed to another aspect of the conspiracy which the conservatives had failed to understand: the media. The media's propaganda regimented Americans; the media would not report the activities of the right except with "smears." But Rockwell's "dramatic nazi tactics" would "smash through the paper curtain" and expose the "deadly conspiracy." Rockwell's effort to mould conspiracy ideology into a system which demanded action places him apart from the Right - and in the category of the fascists.
This was not his only point of difference with the Right, as a comparison of Rockwell's Nazism with the John Birch Society makes clear.
68. George Lincoln Rockwell, This Time, pp. 195-200.
69. ibid., pp. 196-206, and George Lincoln Rockwell, In Hoc, passim. There was no material from the then contemporary U.S. Right comparable to Rockwell's material on the issue of "power."
(c) The John Birch Society, U.S. Nazism and Conspiracy
The John Birch Society had produced the most erudite and widely disseminated literature of conspiracy theory. Its ideology was coloured by Cold War fears, its first target being the "Soviet conspiracy" to subvert America. (70) As I argued in Chapter One, a thaw in the Cold War caused the breakup of the 1950's Right, permitting hardline anti-communists to develop organisations free of anti-semitic or fascist influence. Anti-communist leaders such as Billy James Hargis, Fred Schwarz, Kent Courtney, Karl McIntyre, Dan Smoot and Robert Welch emerged, and various books and articles referred to such men as "super-patriots. (71)
The superpatriots detected a communist conspiracy to undermine values such as family, property, law, country, flag, Constitution and Christianity. U.S. military might had the moral obligation to uphold these values anywhere around the world. (72) American patriots would expose those communists who had infiltrated the government to push welfare legislation, civil rights, progressive income tax, centralisation and big-government ideas. Their sales-pitch was directed at the small man; the rallying call was for rugged individualism to overcome socialist collectivism. (73) Rockwell, however,
70. Robert A Schoenberger, The American Right-Wing: Readings in Political Behaviour, New York, 1969, p. 10.
71. W. V. Tucker, Power on the Right, Berkeley? 1971, passim.
72. Schoenberger, op. cit., pp. 2, 172.
73. James McEvoy III, "Radicals Or Conservatives: The Contemporary American Right," University of California Ph.D. thesis, 1971, pp. 1-2.
found himself in agreement with the conservatives' values only when they did not conflict with his populist economics and authoritarian political philosophy.
As the 1960's wore on the JBS underwent a mutation and the slogans of superpatriotism were twisted to suit a particular anti-establishment ideology. By 1966 the JBS took to exposing "The Insiders," the agents of the international "Bilderberg Conferences." The Bilderberger group of western finance leaders had first been exposed by A..K. Chesterton in his journal Candour and in his book The New Unhappy Lords, (74) but it was some time before the Birchers saw the practicality of these ideas as a propaganda instrument which gave crude anti-communism a certain sophistication.
The Birchers argued that the real government of the United States was "invisible," centred in the Council for Foreign Relations and co-ordinated by the Bilderberger group into an international political and financial network. (75) The plot was supposedly begun in the late 19th century by Cecil Rhodes who desired an Anglo-American Union, and tied in with the ideas about international bankers and the Eastern Establishment otherwise popular on the Right. The CFR was the major force in the takeover of the U.S. government. (76) Communism was a movement which worked
74. A. K. Chesterton, The New Unhappy Lords, 1956, (no city of publication stated), passim. The John Birch Society took over Chesterton's research into Bilderbergism, the Round Table, Chatham House, the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.
75. Gary Allen, op. cit., pp. 78-98.
76. Skousen, op. cit., pp. 30-34.
to provide docile labour pools for international business. According to the Birchers, the USSR's economy was developed largely by U.S. corporations. (77)
Neither Rockwell's party nor the post-Rockwell Nazis denied any of this. In fact such research has been at the bottom of some Nazi publications. Rockwell, for example, denounced CFR sponsored organisations and prominent U.S. Establishment figures who had supposedly betrayed China to Mao's communists. (78) In 1971, White Power ran a lead article on the secret Bilderberger meeting of that year and its relevance to the capitalist-communist nexus. However while the JBS detected only the hand of Nelson Rockefeller, the Nazis have reverted to placing blame upon the Jews.
The JBS sponsored books such as F. Skousen' s The Naked Capitalist and Gary Allen's None Dare Call it Conspiracy, which pursue ideas moderately akin to the American Nazi position that Bolshevism was a creation of western bankers. (79) However, Rockwell and his successors have had one advantage in this area. Since the Birchers were not anti-semitic, they could not confront the question as to why many Jews were involved in Russian communism. This issue, in the closed world of rightist politics, caused defections from the Birchers to other formations including
77. Anthony Sutton, National Suicide: Military Aid To The Soviet Union, Boston, 1972, passim.
78. George Lincoln Rockwell, White Power, pp. 112-20.
79. Rockwell's career brought continued references to Kuhn Loeb and Co. and their alleged funding of Bolshevism. The major thrust of Communism was always "Jewish."
the Nazis. (80)
Generally the Nazis (from 1960 until the present) have believed that Bolshevism was part of Jewish messianism and the Marxist goal of a World Republic, the product of a Jewish ideal: the realisation of God's Kingdom on Earth. The Nazis would denounce rightist groups, such as the JBS, which refused to publicise this "truth." To them, the JBS was "kosher conservative" for refusing to confront the Jewish question. (81) It was the standard whipping boy of U.S. Nazism 1960-78; its watery conservatism was criticised.
The JBS, epitomising the conservative Right organisations, disavowed anti-semitism and denounced Hitler's National Socialism as part of the international conspiracy. This situation was a recapitulation of the 1930's when the radical right at least acknowledged the successes of German fascism, while conservatives found Nazism was "communistic." The 193Q's conspiracy writer James True, for example, found the Nazis' profession of socialism was proof of their link to communism. (82) The Birchers argued the same case. Since Nazism was a totalitarian ideology it approximated communism in its suppression of individualism -
80. Eric D. Butler, conversation with author, 1980. Butler claimed many Birchers drifted further Right. Also, Rockwell, St. Louis Speech. In this address, it was specifically mentioned that many conservatives were very interested in learning more of Rockwell's position.
81. Matt Koehl, The White Man's Viewpoint, Arlington, NSWPP recording, 1975.
82. James True, The Strange Workings Of Communism, Metairie, 1974, p. 10.
and the individual was the precise target of the collectivist conspiracy. (83) According to the JBS, Hitler was "used" to bring communism to Europe. (84)
The case of Hitler had been a contentious issue in rightist circles going back to the 1930's. Some 1930's writers, such as Gerald Winrod, believed Hitler had fought the good fight against "international finance," and according to the records of Rockwell's Dallas speech to the local Birchers, some JBS members thought the same. (85) Hitler's credentials as a true (and successful) anti-Marxist were also acknowledged. In the early phase of the Nazi movement, 1959-65, Rockwell had been keen to prove this point: that his movement was, in the long term, the premier anti-communist force in America since it paralleled the most successful German anti-Marxist force.
One final point of comparison between the Birchers and the Nazis exists. In the social context of the 1960's, the Nazi analysis of conspiracy was more pointed; while the Birchers believed that the anarchy of those years was the result of Supreme Court decisions and conscious conspiratonal-revolutionary acts, Rockwell saw the social-psychological aspects of the problem. Youth had "putrid slime" for values
83. Sindell, op. cit., pp. 110-112; Morgner, op. cit., passim.
84. The Socialist Revolutions Of Nazism And Communism, Boston, 1973. This J.B.S. inspired picture book contended that Nazism aided Communism by preaching socialist collectivism. Also: Anthony Sutton, Wall Street And The Rise Of Hitler, New Rochelle, 1976. passim.
85. George Lincoln Rockwell, Dallas Speech.
he argued. (86) The Civil Rights movement could not be reversed by pushing to "impeach Earl Warren. (87) Throughout the 'Sixties he was contending that there was a crisis of the system, while the conservative groups were offering panaceas - impeaching a justice or withdrawing from the United Nations, for example. Whatever else can be said of post-Rockwell Nazism, the tendency to indict a system, rather than a few laws or men, has been retained. This divides the radical from the conservative Right.
(d) A Matter Of Psychology - Or Pathology?
Michael Billig in Fascists: A Social Psychological View Of The National Front hinted that believers in conspiracy ideology are pathological, (88) and from the frenzied tone of some U.S. Christian-Nationalist literature of the 1950's there may be some substance to the allegation. But while the Nazis (1960-7.8) have used conspiracy ideology as propaganda, it has never been a matter of all-consuming passion. Further, their conception of conspiracy has varied from that examined as "pathological" by Billig. As Rockwell wrote:
... the Jews do indeed have a conspiracy going but it is not total. They can't possibly have everyone in on it... The
87. The slogan "Impeach Earl Warren" was a major 1960's J.B.S. effort. The idea was that Warren was supporting leftist legislation. Rockwell however demanded a "revolution" and "mass action" to reverse civil rights.
88. Billig, op. cit., pp. 322, 332, 339.
conspirators are forced to rely on a few key Jews, a few stupid or shabbez goyim... a larger group of brain washed boobs who imagine themselves progressive or enlightened; this whole apparatus works... mostly because of the cowardice of those who discover the truth about it. (89)
The frenzied - and perhaps pathological - nature of much of the Right had repelled Rockwell in the 1950's, and he sought to make a bid for rationality in his conspiracy propaganda. The effect of irrational assertions such as the "satanic nature of the plot" on the public, was not lost on him, and his conspiracy was therefore more akin to an indictment of the capitalist class performed by a Marxist.
That some decisions are made by powerful persons and international groups beyond the control of the citizens of Western democracies is indisputable. However, it is a clear leap from postulating the idea of a tyranny of the apparatus to conscious conspiracy. After Rockwell's death, the possibility of a more plausible conspiracy doctrine presented itself to U.S. Nazis. They came to suggest that lobby groups held power over U.S. politics. One U.S. neo-fascist group argued in the early 1970's that America was run by a shaky arrangement of a small number of America's social sectors, groups rising and falling depending on circumstances, and including Jews, Negroes, chicano minority bloc interests, oil monopolies, Zionists, monster corporations
89. George Lincoln Rockwell, This Time, pp. 388-89.
and media czars. Although some Nazi parties have echoed this line, the notion of Jewish conspiracy, closely linked to the Zionist lobby in Congress, has remained a more popular theme. Basic conspiracy doctrines elaborated by Rockwell have been retained, but generally directed to the question of U.S. Middle-East policies.
The positing of a conspiracy ideology placed Rockwell, and in some ways his successors, within an American historical tradition. Rockwell had spiritual links to 1950's anti-communists, 1930's anti-semites and to men like Henry Ford. However, the conspiracy-tradition in America reaches further back than 1920. It can trace its lineage behind the years of the Populist agitation, back to Know-Nothingism, the anti-Masonic movement of 1820's America, and even to the fears of the Illuminati plots of the Eighteenth Century. There have clearly always been Americans ready to believe that there existed conspiracies to subvert what Rockwell called "the best form of government ever devised: the American Constitutional Republic." (91)
Rockwell brought together the various strands of conspiracy; he acknowledged himself heir to the conspiracy-
90. A general conclusion from readings of Attack! and National Vanguard, newspapers issued by the National Alliance, Washington D.C.
91. George Lincoln Rockwell, "Our Fascist Founding Fathers," Rockwell Report, (exact publication details unknown).
circles, the little bands of self-appointed opponents of subversion - to win their support. However, he used conspiracy ideology for a political mobilisation, which places Rockwell in both the American and Continental fascist traditions. Rockwell did not wish to "expose" the conspiracy and "wake up America," but to make a revolution. He opposed the conservative Right on its own ground, as was illustrated in his Dallas speech to conservatives in which he pilloried them for their lack of influence, while admitting that their ideas were right. Further, in Rockwell's system only fascism, especially Hitler's brand, had overcome the conspiracy, proving the necessity of similar tactics in America - the tactics of radicalism.
Rockwell's successors have generally continued to acknowledge the founder's ideas on the subject. But whereas Rockwell used conspiracy ideas to mobilise against the 1960's New Left, later Nazis tried to work against Zionist control over U.S. Middle East policy. They were not successful in this endeavour though their failures probably had more to do with their overall presentation than with any "flaw" in their conspiracy doctrine.