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Kristin Rawls @kristinrawls
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Reading a forthcoming book called Hitler's American Friends.

It's about the America First Committee and will probably be a worthwhile read when it comes out.

There was a lot of infighting about tone -- think alt-lite vs. alt right.
People like Charles Lindbergh were the ones who drummed up the most support for the movement. Because of their openly anti-Semitic views.

There was apparently a lot of fighting between people like Lindbergh & people who thought they should promote fascism with a friendlier tone
And there was a disinformation campaign. Apparently Americans were told that Roosevelt was secretly Jewish and had changed his name from "Rosenfeld." Wow. I did not know this.
There was even a plan between German agents and American fascists to interfere in the 1940 presidential election.

Thousands of people were joining groups like the German American Bund. Americans sent kids to Nazi summer camps.
This is an important book. I would say that my AP US History text in high school taught that people like Father Coughlin were outliers. Our texts are dishonest about how much Nazi support there was before the US entered the war.
This book argues that these people were far more successful than the Germans expected them to be in spreading fascist ideology in the US.

It suggests they didn't succeed in their grander plans (like swinging the US election) in part due to infighting.
Also that Hitler's closest associates chose not to focus these campaigns on the US as much as Europe because they didn't really see it as a great military power that they needed to worry about. But if they had, things might have gone differently.
And they never unified behind an American Hitler. Apparently many believed Lindbergh best fit this bill.
The book also suggests that this never happened in large part because of luck.

But it suggests that the threat of a Nazi takeover was much more serious than many remember today. And that the US was always vulnerable to fascism.
This seems like an important corrective right now.
There was a network of Nazi spies, most of whom were American citizens, that spanned most of the US.
The book draws a lot of comparisons between now and then. I think it will be an important read.
I really had no idea there was a conspiracy theory about Roosevelt's religion reminiscent of the secret Muslim claims about Obama.

This fucking country.
I remember the ONE paragraph about Coughlin in the AP History text. It said he was a radio anti-Semite who got popular. It did NOT tell me that he started a paramilitary group called the Christian Front in which members referred to themselves as "Couglin's brownshirts."
So to clarify something I said up thread. This book isn't just about America First. It's about the whole network of Nazis in America during the 1930s and 1940s, which was considerably more extensive than many recall.

They even focused on turning US college students using... abroad programs to Germany that some universities continued throughout the war (!!!!). At a time when only 5% of the population had a college degree.
By the way, I've mentioned my history education was pretty progressive. That's my elementary and middle school education and then HS through 10th grade.

As soon as I got to AP History, the curriculum turned right wing and racist.
So for example, my 4th and 5th grade teachers taught me the Civil War was fought over slavery.

My AP US History text said it was over state's rights and the economy. I knew better from my mom and from my elementary school teachers.
And I am missing a lot of this US history about American Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.

Is this common?
Yes, I know about this. I just didn't know about all the people and organizations actively supporting the Nazis. Or the extent of the spy network.
So apparently I'm not the only one who remembers this from an AP text. Does anyone else? I graduated in 1998, and I wonder if it's changed since then?
Now I'm on the chapter on the Silver Legion, which at one point was as influential as the German American Bund.

It was started by a Hollywood screenwriter turned fascist spiritualist cult leader...
They tried to recruit Native people by claiming that the Bureau of Indian Affairs was run by Bolsheviks and they too were victims of a Jewish conspiracy.

Their leader wrote to Native groups calling himself "Chief Pelley of the Tribe of Silver."

And as you might guess, he didn't find much support.

But... Also there was reincarnation.
They got some guy named Elwood Towner out of Portland to travel with them under the name "Chief Red Cloud" wearing swastikas. He would speak in fake broken English about a divinely inspired Nazi takeover of America.
I did not know about this group. This may be the most preposterous shit I have ever heard.
Towner claimed Jewish people "would corrupt the Aryan Indians and put them in concentration camps."

I can't... What. I... Given what the white settlers were doing...
So anyway, they didn't succeed in recruiting many Native people. Or, like... More than maybe 1 or 2.
Then Pelley tried outreach to the Japanese-American community with similar results.

He claimed he was divinely tasked with stopping a great war between Japan and the US.
Anyway, they'd say similar things about Jewish people to what racists say about Muslims now.

That they were "out to destroy Christianity."

Which... By the way, Pelley's group was Protestantism but with reincarnation and Pelley as a prophet.
This group was most successful at recruiting in Washington state, in case anyone is wondering.
They stockpiled weapons and tried to infiltrate the Dies House Committee on Un-American Activities which was then investigating Nazis.
Or, it may have been an attempted infiltration. A man who worked for Pelley's press tried to get a job with the Committee and denied his associations with Pelley until repeatedly pressed. He went to prison for perjury.
This group was as large and influential as the German American Bund.

It had at least 15,000 members at one point and was well-armed.

I bet most of you did not know about the Silver Shirts as I did not.
This book comes out Oct 2, so yes I know, it's early to be tweeting it and I'm SORRY.

It is available on NetGalley right now, though. That's how I got it.
So now I'm reading the chapter on Father Coughlin. He really had a group of people who called themselves "Coughlin's brownshirts." They would roam around major cities beating up Jewish people.
The GOP also had Nazis running for major office at the time. This is not a new phenomenon.

A guy named Gerald Winrod ran (and lost) the GOP Senate primary in Kansas, but only because the state GOP organized against him.
One of his colleagues was a German-American Mennonite named John Kroeker. He traveled to Germany on a "cultural appreciation" tour, where he was recruited to push opposition to US involvement in the war.

He was a Nazi who helped run Winrod's campaign.
Given what I know about how Mennonites in Germany largely supported Hitler's regime, this really makes me wonder about the romanticized stories Mennonites told me about their family's trials as conscientious objectors during the war.
I spent a couple of years in the church because I was a war protester and still religious. And they had these heroic stories about their grandparents as peacemakers.

Maybe they were just Nazi sympathizers the whole time.
Kroeker ended up leaving Kansas to live in the Reich. He stayed until the end of the war.

There's more to the story of Hitler and American Mennonites, I bet. The German branch in particular.
I would hear stories about them being mocked and persecuted because they were doing non-combat jobs.

Maybe that's not because they were taking some righteous stand, but because they supported Hitler's regime.
Anyway... The Christian Front, "Coughlin's Brownshirts," were raided by the FBI in 1940. Many members were combat veterans. They had been plotting to overthrow the US government.

So he wasn't just a radio anti-Semite. He had a militia.
They were dubbed the "Brooklyn Boys." The crowd in the courthouse cheered for them everyday, and they were all acquitted.

It was the Catholic Church that ultimately intervened to shut Coughlin's radio show down.
After losing the radio show, he just had his publication left. It was called Social Justice (He was a populist who wanted things like a national income for white people.).

In Social Justice, he claimed the attack on Pearl Harbor was a Jewish false flag event.
The US government was keeping track of him then. The postmaster general ultimately banned distribution of Social Justice. They claimed it might harm military morale.
In 1941, another religious right leader, a guy named Gerald L.K. Smith who had worked with Huey Long, ran for US Senate in Michigan as a Republican. He campaigned as a Nazi supporter on "the Bible and America first" and would go on to start the America First Party in 1944.
The GOP dragged its feet with him but did finally unite to stop him from winning.
So Nazis running on the GOP ticket is nothing new.
Meanwhile on US Senate floor in 1940, Ernest Lundeen of the Farmer Labor Party was giving speeches written by a German propagandist to demonize Roosevelt and diminish US support for a war.
More than 2 dozen US senators ended up distributing Nazi propaganda to the public.
And most of them knew what they were doing.
The mastermind was a writer named George Sylvester Virereck, who set up a Nazi propaganda outfit out of the German Tourist Information office beginning in 1933.
It started simply: He was supposed to place articles sympathetic to Germany in mainstream American news outlets.

So anyway, there is nothing new under the sun.
So Viereck set up an operation out of Lundeen's Senate office. He worked American journalists and US lawmakers for intelligence that was passed straight to Germany. He did this relatively out in the open.
One thing they would do is make copies of the isolationist speeches Viereck wrote for senators -- and then use franking privileges (free postage for statements from the Senate floor) to send them to millions of Americans.
British intelligence ultimately caught on to the scheme by adding addresses to Viereck's mailing list.

When they discovered this, they started intercepting his communications with Berlin.
This book suggests he didn't directly help sway the perspectives of many Americans through propaganda, but that his main contribution was cultivating relationships with American elites.

He was eventually arrested, and British intelligence officers testified against him.
One thing that keeps coming up for me is that 2016 was not the first time the American press was deployed to spread propaganda in favor of a dictatorship with hostile designs on the United States.

That this history is largely forgotten made us vulnerable again.
So most of you know about the investments of Coca-Cola and IBM in Germany throughout the war.

But did you also know about a failed oil baron named William Rhodes Davis who got involved in a Reich plot to stop Roosevelt's reelection?
So American businesses were heavily invested in Germany by 1933.

Business leaders were generally anti-Roosevelt and anti-intervention.

They naturally supported the Reich because it persecuted Communists.
Americans generally supported continued business involvement with Germany.

A 1940 Fortune poll found that 44% supported business ties with the Reich should it win the war. 40% were opposed.
The Greatest Generation, y'all.

Wow, did they rewrite history.
This book has good information, but the author is far too sympathetic to the businesses that worked with the Reich.

I hope this "they had no choice" bullshit is edited out of the final draft.
The GM-owned company Opel fired all of its Jewish staff in the Reich, and the author actually writes that "to its credit," it found jobs for most of the fired workers outside Germany. To its credit!
So the laws of the Reich actually made it hard for American companies to get profits out of Germany. Often it just accrued in German banks, and... Frankly, this should have been a reason for companies to extract themselves. Many did.
And in addition to disseminating the Protocols, Henry Ford shipped parts for 300 military vehicles to Germany to be used in the occupation of Czechoslovakia.
So back to William Rhodes Davis. He would buy an oil refinery in Germany, where he would send crude oil from Mexico to be refined and sold to the Germans.

Winkler-Koch Engineering of Kansas, owned by Fred Koch of that Koch family, was hired to build the refinery.
The scheme involved shipping millions of barrels of oil to the Reich, including about 30% of their total oil supply between 1938 and 1939.
The Davis plot to bring down Roosevelt ended up involving John L. Lewis, head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

So a leftist labor leader ended up getting involved in the Nazi plot.
Heyyyy, Khalek and Blumenthal, heyyyy, you're not the first "leftists" deployed to support a fascist regime, and I suppose you won't be the last.
Davis got rich from his oil scheme, and the war put it in jeopardy.

Lewis thought a war would be bad for organized labor, so he decided to join Davis to set up a meeting with Roosevelt and help personally broker peace with Germany.

They met, and it didn't work.
This is when Davis and Lewis were registered as German agents to help swing the presidential election.
It's unclear what Lewis knew at this point.

But. Davis started working directly with Hermann Göring in the election plot. He received $5 million directly from Germany to help turn the election.
Davis had trouble finding a candidate to run against Roosevelt. He wanted Lewis to do it, but Lewis wasn't popular with labor.

When Davis failed to present a viable candidate, Davis and Lewis threw in with GOP candidate Wendell Willkie just because he wasn't Roosevelt.
I'll be unlocked in about a week if you'd like to share this thread in the future.
So Lewis went on the radio to publicly endorse Willkie, saying that Roosevelt would bring dictatorship to America.

He promised to resign as head of the CIO if Roosevelt won a third term.
They paid $55,000 for the radio spot. The money came from a Nazi agent.
Of course we know the plot wasn't successful. And Davis died of a heart attack before the end of the war. Assassination plots were whispered about but never proven.
Lewis resigned from the CIO in 1941 and took the United Mine Workers with him.
He'd go on to work with them for over a decade.

That he was a registered German agent has been largely forgotten today.
Meanwhile in the universities...

German exchange programs brought Nazi officers into American universities, where they worked unchecked as propagandists. American students were sent to Germany to be indoctrinated in Reich propaganda.
Some of this happened under the guise of German language and culture appreciation clubs.
During the 1930s and 1940s, American professors were not really allowed to speak outside their areas of expertise.

But many university administrations enforced this unevenly, ousting anti-Nazi professors and keeping Nazi sympathizers.
The German American Bund and Silver Shirts had been popular in California.

Nazis also had a lot of support on California campuses like UCLA and Stanford.
Anti-Semitism was high on college campuses. Harvard and other universities set limits on the number of Jewish students that could be admitted to placate anti-Semitic donors.
German exchange students held speaking events on the Stanford campus to promote the Reich.
And in "both sides" bullshit, Stanford hosted a debate between a German exchange student named Adolf Bode and a refugee professor's daughter.

Bode was an active Nazi Party member while in the US.
The universities in New York also had a lot of Nazi influence. An American fascist named Laurence Dennis was invited to speak at Columbia (He was Black, hid his identity to escape the Jim Crow South and became the "intellectual face" of American fascism for a while.)
Dennis attended the Nuremberg Rally and bragged about personal meetings with high ranking Nazi officials.

He wrote in favor of a Hitler figure taking over in the US. He worked with Viereck as a Nazi agent.

He was seen as an important conduit between the Reich and US academia.
He wrote a book called The Coming American Fascism which argued that fascism would solve America's economic problems.

The book was embraced by many American academics.
A man named Friedrich Ernest Auhagen worked as a German propagandist while a doctoral student in the German department at Columbia.
The president of Columbia, Nicholas Murray Butler, was also a known Nazi sympathizer.
A doctoral student in European history named Henry Miller Madden became a prominent pro-Nazi voice at Columbia.
Yale was the birthplace of America First. After it's creation, chapters sprang up on other campuses.
By the time of America First, promoting Nazi-style government in the US became less acceptable. Instead they would promote non-intervention and sometimes be less explicit about their anti-Semitism.
Madden was conscripted into the navy and tried to get out of it but failed.

He went on to a successful career in academia, and his pro-Nazi organizing never really hurt him.
So many of these people got away with it. While we were doing de-Nazification in Germany, they were going on to elite careers.

Madden's colleague and fellow pro-Nazi organizer William Oswald Shanahan also suffered no consequences and continued in academia.
Then, as now, the idea that high profile fascists like Laurence Dennis were entitled to speaking engagements on major US campuses went largely unchallenged.

Meanwhile, anti-Nazi intellectuals were not given the same access to platforms.
Next up! America First Committee.
America First was viewed by British intelligence as the most formidable of Nazi sympathizing groups. It attracted members of all the groups discussed thus far, including US Senators who had worked with Viereck.

And it was started by a Yale student.
I wonder what Yale, Columbia, Stanford and UCLA students learn about this history?
So America First was started in 1940 by Yale Law student Robert Douglas Stuart, Jr., son of the vice president of Quaker Oats.

It started out as meetings between about 2 dozen concerned law students who wanted to turn national sentiment against Roosevelt.
America First wanted to be the "alt-lite" of the day. It wanted to attract powerful leaders in business and government. And it did.

But it also brought in hard core Nazis like members of the Bund and Coughlin's brownshirts who embarrassed the elites but made up the base.
Joe McWilliams of a pro-Nazi group called the Christian Mobilizers was at the big Lindbergh rally in 1941.

The crowd was a little embarrassed and debated kicking him out, but ultimately decided he could stay.
Some famous business leaders got involved. Notably Jay C. Hormel (of Hormel meat packing and Spam), William Regnery (clothing manufacturer whose son owns Regnery Publishing and funds Richard Spencer) and General Robert E. Wood (Sears and many other companies).
Regnery and Wood would be two of the main financial backers of America First.

So the Regnery family has supported generations of American fascists.
In 1940, they opened offices in the same building as Quaker Oats headquarters.
So many connections between those fascists and today's fascists. The Koch family, the Regnery family...
Chicago was the home base of America First. It's where Wood, Regnery and Stuart (Yale student) were based.

They involved dozens of business elites, and there was serious corporate money behind this. They hired a staff of 100 people.
Some of the research in the book comes from declassified MI-6 and FBI reports.
Okay, so it was a nationwide movement, but it's power was centered in the Midwest. 2/3rds of its membership was within 300 miles of Chicago.
At first, anyone anywhere could start their own chapter, but they were embarrassed when jack-booted thugs waving swastikas got involved.

So they started imposing rules so as not to offend corporate interests and elites.
Top down hierarchical leadership was imposed because they didn't want their people influenced by the German American Bund or the Silver Shirts.
They had chapters in every major city, but were least successful organizing in the South because of the competing Klan
-- and because the South was Democratic and saw this as a Northern GOP big business scheme.
At the height of its membership, there were about 800,000 members.
There were pacifist religious groups like the Quakers involved, groups that really have romanticized their history as "peace churches."

I didn't know they were just Nazi sympathizers all this time.
British intelligence wrote that "extreme left" elements in the US were involved. The labor leader we've already discussed, John L. Lewis became a leader in America First, as did his daughter (whose name isn't mentioned here).
This really does make me think of Khalek, Blumenthal and their merry band of Assadists.
But big business was the biggest, most influential and most important group that got behind America First.
Lindbergh was by far the most popular leader in the movement. He'd get tens of thousands of people out to rallies.

British spies described him "untrained in democratic argument" and "politically immature." They said he had a "messianic view of politics" but...
...that his "apparent and adolescent honesty has a definite appeal" to Americans.

So, he was a Trump figure.
So we've got a...less mature and less astute version of Lindbergh as president.
All right, so Lindbergh went on some trips to Germany to look at airplanes in the 1930s.

While in Munich, he visited the Degenerate Art exhibition and said he was so disgusted by modern art and art by Jewish artists that he almost threw up.
In a 1938 visit, he was awarded the Service Cross of the Order of the Golden Eagle for his work in aviation and service to the Third Reich. Henry Ford also won this award.
There was backlash in the American press.

Kristallnacht happened a few months later, and Lindbergh's diaries from this period reflect how ignorant he was about everything. "It seems so contrary to their sense of order, and their intelligence in other ways."
Rich celebrity who knows absolutely nothing about anything happens into undue political influence and thinks he has something worthwhile to say...

Where has this happened before?
So Lindbergh worked with the US military for a while on...plane things, but became more and more of a hardliner against intervention.
He went on all 3 radio stations and argued that getting involved in the war would lead to dictatorship here.
He publicly implied that Jewish people controlled the American press and that press reports about atrocities in Germany could not be trusted.
Again, backlash. The radio stations quickly put out disclaimers. "Lindbergh's views are his own."

He was denounced in the press but also drummed up a lot of public support.
Then there was another radio address in which he cemented his views, which caused even more backlash.

A 1940 poll found that 51% of Americans had read the radio address. 24% agreed with him and 56% disagreed.

Not unlike the 30% who support Trump today.
In a 1939 Fortune poll, 9% of Americans wanted Lindbergh to run for president (We have ALWAYS had the celebrity element in our politics, it's not new.).

But 26% wanted him appointed to a high public office like war secretary.
So he was taken seriously by a good 25-30% of Americans. Not a thing has changed.
His involvement with America First began with an October 1940 speech at Yale.

He got a worshipful reception. And he liked it.
By 1941, he was packing Madison Square Garden.

Just as H*imbach and his ilk attended the Trump rally, so did more militant Nazis attend the Madison Square Garden rally.
Also by 1941, about 74% of Americans wanted the Nazi regime destroyed.

So American First had to tow a line. They couldn't openly root for the Nazis, so it was all about peacemaking and non-intervention.
Lindbergh was seen as the man who could "unite the right," as he had followers among all the disparate far right groups.
An aviator named Laura Ingalls, a distant cousin of Laura Ingalls Wilder who was close to her far-right daughter Rose, was paid by the German consulate to act as a Nazi propagandist. She was a frequent America First speaker.
What this book is really bringing home for me is this:

There has always been a core 30% of dedicated fascists.
All right, so Laura Ingalls went to prison for failing to register as a foreign agent under FARA.
Finally, Lindbergh stepped a little too far over the line, which caused business leaders to distance themselves from him.

He said that should America enter the war, Jewish people would "be among the first to feel it's consequences."
Business leaders who worked with America First freaked out.

"But we weren't talking about religious tolerance/freedom!"

He had stopped dog-whistling and was instead making direct threats.
One of his few elite defenders at this point was North Dakota Senator Gerald P. Nye, another isolationist Republican. Defending Lindbergh ended up costing him his political career.
By the time he gave that speech, Lindbergh had become even further radicalized by friendships with radio anti-Semite Fulton Lewis and German angent/"intellectual leader" of the American fascists Laurence Dennis.
Dennis, you'll remember, wrote a book embraced by American academia that predicted imminent fascist revolution in the US.
During this period, Lindbergh was writing journal entries favoring violence against Jewish Americans. He said things like, "on the one hand, it is essential to avoid anything approaching a pogrom..."
Although some business leaders got spooked, the America First organization backed Lindbergh and accused his critics of being snowflakes who were using Lindbergh's political incorrectness to obscure "the real issues."

A lot of influential people loudly condemned Lindbergh and the America First stance on it.

The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who supported intervention, called on the Committee to "clean its ranks of those who would incite to racial and religious strife in this country."
And you know those ridiculous gay jokes about Putin and Trump?

Around LA, "Adolf loves Lindy" posters popped up.
Meanwhile, CA had a pretty big Nazi problem, so state senator Jack Tenney set up a Tenney Committee for the state that did some of the same work as the Dies Committee.

They made America Firsters testify back to back with members of the Bund.
The America Firsters brought their lawyers to cause a major spectacle. They brought demonstrators and a huge crowd and turned it into a circus.
The whole thing discredited them in the eyes of the public. Lindbergh's star began to fade, and he gave a last speech at Madison Square Garden a few months before Pearl Harbor.
NOTABLY, CBS radio refused to air that event live, stating, "We know of no reason why Lindbergh should have a nation-wide network every time he speaks."

So the media would actually de-platform sometimes back then.
America First more or less folded when Pearl Harbor was bombed after issuing a "we were right about everything" final statement.

Lindbergh was barred by Secretary of War Henry Stimson from serving in the war because of his political activities.
This book argues that Lindbergh may actually have had a shot at the presidency in 1940 before he made his most egregious speeches. He might have won the GOP nomination by tapping into big business and Nazi sympathizers. Things could have gone very differently.
Next chapter: The network of Nazi spies in America.
In 1939, Hitler's commanding officer in WWI, Captain Fritz Wiedemann moved to San Francisco under the guise of promoting trade between Germany and the US.

He would oversee the Nazi spy operation throughout much of the Western Hemisphere.
But he was also sent away because he had fallen out of favor with Hitler.
In the late 1930s, there were about 50 Nazi spies passing secrets to the Germans in the US. Some worked in the defense industry, which meant some military secrets were passed along.
The first Nazi spy ring came out of Friends of the New Germany in 1934. This organization had been the precursor to the German American Bund.
One Ignatz T. Griebl moved to the US in the 1920s and became a US citizen.

As president of Friends of the New Germany, he also worked as a spy.
There was another guy named Gunther Gustav Rumrich who grew up in Austria-Hungary and wound up in Chicago.

He got in trouble for embezzling funds from the US Army, and he ended up with a job as a spy because no one else would have him.
Griebl and Rumrich were caught, though Griebl managed to escape to the Reich on a German ship.
Wiedemann came in after their operations out of New York imploded.
He got to do a lot of things out in the open because he had diplomatic immunity.
He had intelligence officers bound for Asian and Latin American destinations shipped through town, and the FBI knew about it.

He wasn't low profile. He did features in Life magazine and had his mistress Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe of Vienna stay with him.
Stephanie had at least one Jewish parent and maybe two. But she became friends with Hitler and worked as a conduit between him and Lord Rothermere of the Daily Mail.
So Wiedemann and Princess Stephanie were meant to travel to London and set up a backchannel for negotiations with the British government.
They did that, but some of Hitler's inner circle felt sidelined and got mad. And Hitler was jealous of Wiedemann's affair with Princess Stephanie, so... That's how he ended up in San Francisco.
Stephanie fled to the United States because of a scandal involving Rothermere and the Daily Mail.
In 1940, Wiedemann claimed he feared for his life should he return to Germany and offered to defect to Britain.

The offer was rejected. British and US intelligence did not think it was sincere.
Oh my god. So I need a whole book on Princess Stephanie. She broke up with Wiedemann in 1940, got picked up by the INS in 1941 for overstaying her visa, and got out of it by seducing the commissioner of the INS, Lemuel B. Schofield.
Anyway, Wiedemann was ordered out of the United States in 1941. He was sent to China, and worked in German intelligence there until the end of the war.
Meanwhile, an FBI double agent named William Sebold was infiltrating an East Coast ring.

A German-American, he was approached by the Gestapo on a visit to his mother. He was ordered to go back and work as a German agent, or harm would come to his family.
He tipped off the FBI and went to infiltrate a ring in New York led by South African spy Frederick Duquesne.

This ring was pretty successful. It stole the Norden bombsight.…
This gave German bombing campaigns more precision.

But Sebold's sting operation brought the ring under FBI surveillance and led to arrests and imprisonment of dozens of German agents.
Then there was Operation Pastorius, the terrorist plot on dams, bridges train stations and manufacturing facilities, also to be carried out by German-Americans.

This chapter is one big list of German-American spies. And to think we started interning Japanese-Americans in 1942.
They got 8 co-conspirators who went for training in bombs and explosives in Brandenburg.

They were given false identities, and they just showed up via U-boat on the coast of New Jersey with a bunch of explosives.
The Coast Guard found all their explosives, alerted the FBI.

One of the people involved turned himself in and decided to cooperate with the FBI.
They took everyone into custody and stopped the terrorist plots.

I mean, these white people just showed up in the coast of New Jersey with boats of explosives...

They were tried by military tribunal, ruled "enemy combatants." 6 of the 8 were executed. Other 2, 30 yrs and life.
And the Germans didn't attempt a terrorist plot in the United States again.
So the epilogue to this book discusses the legal troubles many of the key players encountered, but also says many were able to move on with their lives as if nothing had happened.

It asks, what if McCarthy had instead investigated past Nazi allegiances and advocacy?
The senators who worked with Viereck all got away with it, partly because the British chose not to share evidence against them due to the sensitivity of the matter.
They said "it would be likely to implicate a number of distinguished Congressmen and national figures."
A sedition case against leaders of the German American Bund, the Silver Shirts, and others like Laurence Dennis and Winrod didn't go anywhere because the judge died in the middle of hearing the case.
Dennis never really disavowed his fascist views, but in the 1950s he opposed McCarthyism and the arms build up.

He was tangentially connected to the Goldwater campaign, but most politicians wanted nothing to do with him. He died in 1977.
William Dudley Pelley of the Silver Shirts was in prison until 1950. The far right campaigned for his release during this time.

When he got out of prison, he continued as a spiritualist/cult leader and got into UFOs and alien abductions.
He died in 1965. His writing on UFOs is still used by people in the...ufology movement.

His Nazi writing is still read and cited by today's Nazis.
Gerald Winrod went back to Kansas but no one was interested in his preaching anymore.

He got involved in a crusade against traditional medicine and promoted herbal "cures" for cancer. He started an anti-science group called the Christian Medical Research League.
He died in 1957, refusing medical treatment to the end.

A group he started early in his life to battle against the teaching of evolution -- Defenders of the Christian Faith -- is still with us.
Coughlin got very rich from his work in the media.

He was pushed into retirement in 1966 and started critiquing Vatican II. He never really changed his views after getting out of politics and died in 1979.
Gerald L.K. Smith became a Holocaust denier after the war. He was a big supporter of Joseph McCarthy and segregation in the South. He ran for office a few times and failed. Became a reluctant Nixon supporter, though Nixon disavowed him. Died in 1976.
George Sylvester Viereck got out of prison in 1947 and tried to revive his writing career. Published a novel in 1952, died in 1962.
There's more, I'll come back to this tomorrow.
After the US entered the war, journalists published some exposés about congressmen and senators who participated in the Viereck operation.

Some lost seats. Those who did blamed communists, of course.
A prosecutor named O. John Rogge investigated the extent of U.S. business ties to the Reich beginning in 1946.

He traveled to Germany and interviewed Nazis himself. He made a list, but Attorney General Tom Clark prohibited making it public because he had friends on the list.
So it was leaked to the press, and Rogge was fired within a couple of days.

So Rogge started traveling the country, speaking and writing about his findings. He stated that law enforcement was withholding the information because it named American Nazi collaborators.
I think Comey sees himself as a kind of Rogge figure, except he only did anything courageous in his own estimation.
The FBI started monitoring him and claiming that he might be a Soviet agent.

Later he became an attorney and did some work with the ACLU. He was prohibited from publishing his full report on Nazi collaboration until 1961.
He died in 1981. He'd helped bring down both Huey Long and Hitler's American collaborators.
But! Companies profited from their German investments during and after the war.

Coca Cola got away with it because the Reich turned against it in the last days of the war and threatened to send the head of the German operation to a concentration camp. He was now seen as a hero.
Ford and GM more or less got away with it.

Ford used a bunch of Vichy-captured forced laborers at their factory in France. The US Air Force tried to bomb this factory in 1944 but hit the laborer barracks instead.
The area was evacuated, so the factory did have to shut down. Ford just left the enslaved people there behind barbed wire, and they were not discovered until US troops came through to free prisoners at the end of the war.
A US government investigation found that Ford had collaborated with the Reich with the knowledge of Henry Ford, but the US government took NO action against Ford, in part because his son was dying and he was going through family succession drama.
I mean, the consideration paid to Ford over his personal trauma in spite of everything he'd done!

So Ford retired and died in 1947. His grandson took over and said some words condemning anti-Semitism. No consequences for the company.
Former forced laborers were part of a class action suit in 1995, but it wasn't successful.

Ford and GM both started voluntary compensation programs in the late 1990s. They paid out a few million dollars.
So nothing until the 1990s. The book says "millions," so possibly more than a few. But they got nothing until many were undoubtedly dead.
The way in which elected officials grovel to business leaders is nothing new.
When one of the men who oversaw the German GM operation got a job at Ford and one Democrat dared criticize him...

A GOP rep leapt to his defense and called him "a man of proven patriotism."
Like Ford, GM used enslaved labor. GM profited even more than Ford did from its investments in the Reich.

They got all the money that had been held in Germany during the war out. GM only compensated former enslaved laborers out of a fund that totallled $15 million. In the 1990s.
William Rhodes Davis, who had tried to swing the 1940 presidential election, died before the US entered the war.
His son, Gray Davis, was the Democratic California governor who lost his office to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
John L. Lewis pledged to support the war effort after Pearl Harbor.

He was mired in controversy for the rest of his life, and stayed with the UMW until 1960. Died in 1969.
It's unclear what Lewis knew about everything. We don't know whether or not he knew he had been registered as a German agent, or whether he knew Davis was setting him up to run against Roosevelt.
During the war, Lindbergh worked with Henry Ford on something with airplanes.
He was not allowed to join the military when he tried after Pearl Harbor.

He did finally join in 1944 and took part in combat missions against Japan.

In 1942, 82% of Americans viewed him unfavorably, 10% favorably.
He wrote some memoirs and consulted for Nixon on environmental policy. Also worked with the World Wildlife Fund. Died in 1974.

20 years later, 52% of Americans viewed him as a hero.
Stuart, the Yale law student who started America First, entered the army and then went to work for Quaker Oats.

He corresponded with Henry Regnery, who now finances Richard Spencer, about commissioning an official history of the group in 1963. Nothing came of that.
Stuart served as Ronald Reagan's Illinois campaign finance chair, worked for Reagan as ambassador to Norway, and then got appointments from presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton to evaluate post-Cold War military facility closures.
He died in 2014 at 98, and America First was barely a footnote in his obituaries.
The Nazi PhD student at Columbia, Henry Miller Madden, worked as an academic librarian in California.

He did abandon his Nazi beliefs.
His friend Shanahan went on to become a successful historian.

The students didn't really see any consequences at all. They just went on to privileged lives.
Truman gave the 2 bomb plot co-conspirators -- the 2 who were not executed -- clemency in 1948 and had them deported to West Germany.
About 100 Nazi agents, most US citizens, were convicted during WWII. Only the ring leaders got lengthy sentences. Most got out in 5-10 years. Many changed their names and just went on with their lives.
Princess Stephanie went to prison for a few years, got out and got back together with the head of the INS.

Then she became a journalist of sorts and managed to interview both JFK and LBJ. She died in 1972.
Wiedemann was a witness at the Nuremburg Trials who said the worst war criminals deserved death.

He was denazified by paying a 2,000 Deutschmark (about $6,000 USD in 2018). Princess Stephanie helped him write his memoirs and he died in 1970.
And that's the end of the book. The author ends it by suggesting there wasn't a Nazi takeover at the time because...

Strength of institutions, principled leaders in both parties and courageous leadership blah blah blah...

I think it was luck.
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