Fascism is in Incipient Stage Here
Menu JTA Search

Fascism is in Incipient Stage Here

Download PDF for this date

Nazi activities in this country have been brought to a head by the first open attack on the Jews of America by the Friends of New Germany, Hitler organization in the United States, which has proclaimed a boycoll on the Jews. The following is the sixth of a series of articles detailing the rise and growth of the Nazi-inspired anti-Semitic movement in this country in all its ramifications. The articles are based on an exhaustive investigation of Nazi propaganda activities in this country and in Germany for a period of over a year.

Despite the claims of overwhelming strength sounded by Fascist leaders in the United States, it is safe to assume at present that no one of them has yet sufficient prestige to seriously threaten the government. The danger of Fascism lies solely in the possibility of one strong group and one strong leader emerging from the political chaos now existent among reactionary forces.

Many persons are being converted to the small groups from the Republican party. As nothing succeeds like success so nothing fails like failure. Hence, we find that many are abandoning the G. O. P. to rally under Fascist banners throughout the country. The same holds true for Communists and Soclalists. Thus far the world has discovered no counter-agent for Fascism, which thrives on the liberality of Democracy until it eventually swallows Democracy in one large, last gulp.

The history of Fascism in Italy, Germany, and Austria, and also of the Fascist movement in France, England, and virtually all other European countries, illustrates the point. Proof of the first point, that is the conversion of Republicans to Fascism, may be found in determining the political credos of Gulden, Pelley, Christians, and other Fascist leaders, all of whom have professed to be Republican. Their following comes from the same fold.

It is from such groups as these and the innumerable groups which constitute dismembered organizations of the oppositionists and reactionaries that American Fascism may some day emerge. It remains for the enterprising Fascist leaders of the country to incorporate in their organizations the small local groups, among whom disgruntled labor factions, the unemployed, the heavily taxed, the rabid patriots and the general cranks are only too willing to cooperate with any movement which will remedy in part or as a whole their real and imagined complaints. It was from such people that the old Ku Klux Klan received support a decade ago.


Today in California the Ku Klux Klan has been rejuvenated in spirit. The terrorist methods of the KKK are carried on in the Imperial Valley by the Vigilantes, which take their name from an honorable organization of pioneers who brought law and order to the western plains before the government could establish adequate protection. The Vigilantes of 1934 have threatened law-abiding citizens, beaten others, and driven the officials of smaller communities to a state of abject fear.

In the Imperial Valley in California, and elsewhere throughout that state, the Silver Shirts have cropped up. In some quarters it is said that members of the Silver Legion are also members of the Vigilantes. If this be so, we have a fairly accurate conception of the ultimate modus operandi of Pelley’s organization.

Farther north, in the San Francisco Bay region of the state, the Liberators hold forth. They are far milder than the Vigilantes. Both, observers say, have become successfully militant under the direction of certain groups of legionnaires (Hitler’s original brown shirts were for the most part veterans), and both have drawn heavily upon the membeship of the Ku Klux Klan. The Liberators have pounced upon the pet peeve of Pelley, the “international money changers,” as the most stalwart plank of a generally inadequate platform. The Liberators are active in civic reform in all small communities, and gradually they are being recognized as municipal and political powers. They are in many ways anti-Roosevelt and anti-Democrat, and their attachment to all civic organizations, which can give them support at the polls, is touching. One of their most recent campaigns has been undertaken for Congressional repeal of the National and Federal Reserve Bank acts.

Sy Foster of Carson City, Nevada, is commander-in-chief of the Liberators. In a recent issue of the Herald of Co-operation, the Oakland organ of the party. Foster began a series of religious-economic lectures. The first came under the headline “Glory to God in the Highest and Resurrection of Economic Truth,” which advocates that the principles of the government be run on a “Christian” basis. An adjoining editorial column was headed, “Soliloquoy of International Money Changer.” The paper has rewritten much of the spoken wisdom of Louis T. McFadden, anti-Scmitic congressman from Pennsylvania and oracle of the Silver Shirt movement.


The American Guardian, a weekly publication emanating from Oklahoma. City, is the organ of the “Minute Men,” a group which claims to have members throughout the middle west. The Minute {SPAN}##{/SPAN} are very much opposed to the present “capitalist rule” in Washington. Its paper professes to be for the laboring classes, and is an outspoken defender of Hitler’s Germany. Its circulation of 45,000 is nationwide with a great perponderance in the middle west and southwest. Siegfried Ameringer is the editor.

The American Guardian and its Minute Men present a good illustration of the tendency in Socialist groups, Both were from their creation three years ago Socialist. They continue to thrive under the Socialist banner, but they have taken decisive steps to the right, completely vaulting over the large middle area. It is said that this step was taken in accordance with the wishes of many German sympathizers of the movement particularly in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois where work of Hitlerites has been most effective. The Minute Men can not be classed as “Christian cranks.” They are rather cranks on such political issues as the NRA and other alphabetic conglomerations from which the present administration is seeking to evolve the word PROSPERITY.

In Idaho, the Farmer Labor Economic Federation, allied to some extent with the Farmer Labor Party and other farmer organizations throughout the country, constitutes one of the state’s strongest forces. In Idaho the Crusaders for Economic Liberty under the guidance of George W. Christians, is said also to enjoy considerable support. It is understood that since the Crusaders, who once described themselves as “The American Reds,” came out as “The American Fascists,” they have made progress among members of the Farmer Labor Economic Federation. It is reported that the Crusaders, not only in Idaho but also in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon and Washington, have attempted to arrange a rapprochement with the Farmer Labor faction and that it has been successful to some extent in winning over members. This is one of the many anomalies in the present political struggle, for the Farmer groups are for the most part closely identified with Socialist policies.


In these western states one of the principal features of many political factions is that of “nationalization.” The South Dakota Farmer Labor Economic Federation stands in part for the nationalization of banking by repealing all existing private banking laws and providing for a government owned, operated and controlled banking system that will serve the people under Civil Service regulations as administered by the postal department; and federal and state ownership of monopolized industries.

The Fascist organizations enjoy much strength in the middle west where their promise of militant leadership is attractive to debtladen agriculturists.

There are many Germans and many Italians in these sections who are fed Fascist propaganda daily through their vernacular press. Regardless of the type of government they might install, the red of the Soviets, the brown of Hitler, or the black of Mussolini, the tendency appears to be in favor of a concentration of power in the hands of a few smpathizers. It calls for a dictator.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund