a review of the book
My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld in America
by John Roy Carlson
In 'Under Cover-My Four Years in the Nazi
Underworld in America', John Roy Carlson penned the account of
his successful infiltration of the vigorous Nazi Fifth Column
that existed in the United States before and during World War
II. Posing as a sympathizer and activist on behalf of the Nazi
cause, Carlson gained access to the inner sanctum of the traitors-great
and small-who sought to replace the Stars and Stripes with the
Swastika. In Under Cover, the author chronicles the operations
and ideological tenets of a large (and frequently overlapping)
group of organizations that operated on behalf of the Third Reich
(and also Imperial Japan). As Carlson illustrates in the book,
the "small fry" domestic fascists are often cats' paws
for larger, more prominent political and economic figures. Many
of the organizations were actually directed and financed by the
Deutsches Ausland Institut-the foreign section of the Nazi party
"America First" became the title
of an organization devoted to keeping the U.S. out of World War
II. Although some of its members were sincerely opposed to war,
the majority were of fascist persuasion, many of them German spies.
"America First" echoed the sloganeering of fascist movements
in other countries, including the Croix de Feu in France and the
Falange in Spain-both covered at length in the Cot's Triumph of
Treason and Chase's Falange. On pages 498 and 499, Carlson relates:
" . . . Mussolini's fascist system was first described as
'nationalist.' The French fascist organization Croix de Feu, which
developed into a Vichy instrument was called 'nationalist.' The
Nazi party is the National-Socialist Party. The Japanese War Party
is a 'nationalist' party. All these countries had their 'Germany
First,' 'France First' and 'Spain First' parties. Recall that
the motto of Sir Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts was 'Britain First'
and Stahrenberg's slogan of the American National-Socialist Party
was 'America First, Last and Always.' 'America First' can be no
different in its connotation and ultimate outcome despite the
sincere intents of some of those who mouth it. 'America First'
is a cry unwittingly used by Liberty's hangmen."
If patriotism is-as Dr. Johnson observed-"the
last refuge of a scoundrel," then religion is usually the
first. A staggering number of the fascist Fifth Column organizations
in the U.S. professed to be "Christian." Most prominent
among the fascists marching behind the façade of Christianity
was the infamous Father Coughlin -- the driving force behind the
Christian Front. Railing against President Roosevelt, Jews and
anything that stood in the way of the Third Reich's path of conquest,
Couglin used Social Justice as his primary bully pulpit. After
the war, it emerged that he was actually in the pay of Third Reich
intelligence. Invoking the name of Jesus to support everything
Christ condemned, fascists and fascist institutions masquerading
as Christians abounded within the Fifth Column-the Reverend Gerald
Winrod, the Christian Mobilizers, The Cross and the Flag, ad infinitum.
Indeed, author Carlson was able to infiltrate the Fifth Column
by posing as a fascist pamphleteer, publishing The Christian Defender.
This ingratiated him to the traitors.
Among the Christian prelates operating
on behalf of the Nazi cause was the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale.
Best known as the exponent of "the power of positive thinking,"
Peale long graced the pages of publications like Reader's Digest
and his name became synonymous with wholesome, mainstream Americana
in the postwar years. Prior to and during the war, however, Peale
fronted for Edward A. Rumely, a spy and agitator for Germany during
both World Wars. Like so many others, Rumely, too, benefited from
his association with Hitler benefactor Henry Ford. Note that another
of Rumely's fellow travelers in the Fifth Column movement was
Frank Gannett, founder of the newspaper chain that bears his name.
On pages 474 and 475, Carlson writes: "Rumely is boss of
the Committee for Constitutional Government and second in command
to Frank E. Gannett, publisher of a string of newspapers and founder
of the committee in 1937. As soon as the Senatorial investigation
was over, Rumely literally went underground and erased his name
from the Committee stationery. But he continued to run it by appointing
a docile Protestant clergyman as 'acting chairman and secretary'
who visited the office only occasionally. He was the Reverend
Norman Vincent Peale, once a joint speaker with [American fascist]
Mrs. Elizabeth Dilling and the Reverend Edward Lodge Curran [key
aide to Father Coughlin] at a 'pro-American mass meeting sponsored
by more than 50 patriotic organizations' at the Hotel Commodore
in New York. . . . Rumely's friendship with Henry Ford dated prior
to the summer of 1918 when Ford rushed to Washington in an unsuccessful
attempt to save Rumely from being indicted. . . ."
When evaluating the significance of the
Fifth Column for contemporary Americans, it is important to remember
that there was no de-Nazification process for the United States
after the war. The Nazi conspirators in this country not only
went untouched, many of them became prominent, or continued in
positions of prominence. In addition, some of the most heinous
Third Reich alumni were imported into this country under the auspices
of the Gehlen spy organization, Project Paperclip and the Crusade
For Freedom, where they joined their domestic American partners
in corrupting postwar American politics. Noting the rise of the
reactionary Christian forces in this country, one must wonder
if they are heirs to Father Coughlin and his ilk.