Lincoln Rockwell: A National Socialist Life
On the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Lincoln Rockwell, we present William Pierce’s piece on his life and work.
by Dr. William L. Pierce
ON THE eighteenth of June, 1945, a little over six weeks after the death of Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess wrote the following words in a letter to his wife, from his prison cell:
You will readily imagine how often during the last few weeks my thoughts have turned to the years gone by: to this quarter of a century of history, concentrated for us in one name and full of the most wonderful human experiences. History is not ended. It will sooner or later take up the threads apparently broken off forever and knit them together in a new pattern. The human element is no more and lives only in memory. Very few people have been privileged, as we were, to participate from the very beginning in the growth of a unique personality, through joy and sorrow, hope and trouble, love and hate, and all the manifestations of greatness, and further, in all the little indications of human weakness, without which a man is not truly worthy of love. . . .
Even when one has been privileged to witness the manifestations of greatness, it may be exceedingly difficult to describe adequately in words those manifestations and thereby to paint a true picture of a unique and great personality. When one has not the basis of a quarter-century of participation in the growth of such a personality, but less than two years, the task is especially difficult. It would be a vain hope, then, to expect the pages which follow to reflect the true greatness of the man. That greatness will be best reflected in the fruition of his life’s work in years to come.
Here, however, we can at least hope to evoke an image of the man, imperfect and incomplete though it may be, which will serve to inspire those National Socialists who did not have the privilege of knowing him personally.
George Lincoln Rockwell was born on March 9, 1918, in Bloomington, a small coal-mining and farming town in central Illinois. Both his parents were theatrical performers. His father, George Lovejoy Rockwell, was a twenty-eight-year-old vaudeville comedian of English and Scotch ancestry. His mother, born Claire Schade, was a young German-French toe-dancer, part of a family dance team. His parents were divorced when he was six years old, and he and a younger brother and sister lived alternately with their mother and their father during the next few years.
The young Rockwell passed the greater part of his boyhood days in Maine, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. His father settled in a small coastal town in Maine, and Rockwell spent his summers there; attending school in Atlantic City and, later, in Providence during the winters. Some of his fondest memories in later years were of summer days spent on the Maine beaches, or hiking in the Maine woods, or exploring the coves and inlets of the Maine coast in his sailboat, which he built himself, starting from an old skiff. Rockwell acquired what was to be a lifelong love of sailing and the sea during those early years spent with his father in Maine.
Aside from a bit more traveling about than the average child, it is difficult to find anything extraordinary in his childhood environment. He lived in the midst neither great poverty nor great wealth; he had an affectionate relationship with both his parents, despite their divorce; he was a sound and healthy child, and there seems to be no evidence of prolonged unhappiness or turmoil in his childhood. If he later recalled with greater pleasure the times spent with his father than those spent with his mother, this can be attributed either to the greater opportunities to satisfy his youthful longing for adventure that life on the Maine coast offered relative to that in the city, or to the fact that his mother lived with a domineering sister of whom young Rockwell was not fond.
And yet, even as a boy he displayed those qualities of character which were later to set him off from the common run of men. His most remarkable quality was his responsiveness to challenge. To tell the boy Rockwell that a thing was impossible, that it simply could not be done, was to awaken in him the irresistible determination to do it. He has described an experience he had at the age of ten which illustrates this aspect of his character.
A juvenile gang of some of the tougher elements at the grammar school he was attending in an Atlantic City coastal suburb had singled him out for hazing. He was informed that he was to be given a cold dunking in the ocean, and that he should relax and submit gracefully, as resistance would be futile. Instead of submitting, he ferociously fought off the entire gang of his attackers on the beach, wildly striking out with his fists and feet, clawing, biting, and gouging until the other boys finally abandoned their aim of throwing him in the water and retired to nurse their wounds.
Later, as a teenager, he found that the challenge of a stormy sea affected him in much the same way as had the challenge of the juvenile gang. When other boys brought their boats into dock because the water was too rough, young Rockwell found his greatest pleasure in sailing. He loved nothing better than to pit his strength and his skill against the wild elements. As the wind and the waves rose so did his spirits. Wrestling with tiller and rigging in a tossing boat, drenched with spray and blasted by fierce gusts, he would howl back at the wind in sheer animal joy.
This peculiar stubbornness of his nature – call it a combative spirit, if you will — coupled with an absolute physical fearlessness, which led him into many a dangerous and harebrained escapade as a boy, gave him the willpower as a man to undertake without hesitation ventures at which ordinary men quailed; throughout his life it led him to choose the course of action which his reason and his sensibility told him to be the right course regardless of the course those about him were taking; ultimately it provided the driving force which led him to issue a challenge and stand alone against a whole world, when it became apparent to him that that world was on the wrong course. This trait provides the key to the man.
Two other characteristics he displayed as a boy were an omnivorous curiosity and a stark objectivity. He attributed his curiosity, as well as the artistic talents which he early displayed, to his father, who also exhibited these traits, but the source of his rebellious spirit and his indomitable will is harder to assign. They seem to have been the product of a rare and fortuitous combination of genes, giving rise to a nature markedly different from that of his immediate forebears.
He entered Brown University in the fall of 1938, as a freshman. His major course of study was philosophy, but he was also very interested in the sciences. He used the opportunity of staff work on student periodicals to exercise his talents in drawing and creative writing. In addition to his curricular, journalistic, and artistic activities, he also found time for a substantial amount of skirt chasing and other collegiate sports, including skiing and fencing; he became a member of the Brown University fencing team.
While at Brown he had his first head-on encounter with modern liberalism. He enrolled in a sociology course with the naive expectation that, just as in his geology and psychology courses he would learn the scientific principles underlying those two areas of human knowledge, so in sociology would he learn some of the basic principles underlying human social behavior.
He was disappointed and confused, however, when it gradually became apparent to him that there was a profound difference in the attitudes of sociologists and, say, geologists toward their subjects. Whereas the authors of his geology textbooks were careful to point out there were many things about the history and the structure of the earth which were as yet unknown, or only imperfectly known, it was clear that there were indeed fundamental ideas and well-established facts upon which the science was based and that both his geology professor and the authors of geology textbooks were sincerely interested in presenting these ideas and facts to the student in an orderly manner, with the hope that he would thereby gain a better understanding of the nature of the planet on which he lived.
In sociology, he found the basic principles far more elusive. What was particularly disturbing to him, though, was not so much the complexity of the concepts as the gnawing suspicion the waters had been deliberately muddied. He redoubled his efforts to get to the roots of the subject or, at least, to understand where the hints, innuendoes, and roundabout promptings led: “I buried myself in my sociology books, absolutely determined to find why I was missing the kernel of the thing.”
The equalitarian idea that the manifest differences between the capabilities of individuals and between the evolutionary development of various races can be accounted for almost wholly by contemporary environmental effects — that there really are no inborn differences in quality worth mentioning among human beings — was certainly one of the places his sociology textbooks were leading:
I was bold enough to ask Professor Bucklin if this were the idea, and he turned red in anger. I was told it was impossible to make any generalizations, although all I was asking for was the fundamental idea, if any, of sociology. I began to see that sociology was different from any other course I had ever taken. Certain ideas produced apoplexy in the teacher, particularly the suggestion that perhaps some people were no-good biological slobs from the day they were born. Certain other ideas, although they were never formulated and stated frankly, were fostered and encouraged — and these were always ideas revolving around the total power of environment.
Although he did not clearly recognize it for what it was at that time, young Rockwell had partially uncovered one of the most widely used tactics of the modern liberals. When the clever liberal has as his goal miscegenation, say, he certainly does not just blurt this right out. Instead he will write novels, produce television shows, and film motion pictures which, subtly at first and then more and more boldly, suggest that those who engage in sexual affairs with Negroes are braver, better, more attractive people than those who don’t; and that opposition to miscegenation is a vulgar and loutish perversion, certain evidence of being a ridiculous square at best and a drooling, violent redneck at worst. But if one tries to pin him down and asks him why he is in favor of miscegenation, he will reply in a huff that that is not what he is aiming at at all, but only “justice, or fairness,” or “better understanding between the races.”
And so when Rockwell naively went right to the heart of the matter in Professor Bucklin’s sociology class, he got an angry reprimand. The racial equalitarians have gotten much bolder in the last thirty years, but at that time Rockwell was merely aware that they wanted him to accept certain ideas without actually those ideas out into the open arena of free discussion where they would be subject to attack:
I still knew little or nothing about communism or its pimping little sister, liberalism, but I could not avoid the steady pressure, everywhere in the University, to accept the ideas of massive human equality and the supremacy of environment.
Typically, this pressure resulted not in acquiescence but in his determination to stand up for what seemed to him to be reasonable and natural. He satirized the equalitarian point of view, not only in his column in the student newspaper, but also in one of his sociology examination papers! The nearly catastrophic consequences of this bit of insolence taught him the prudence of holding his tongue under certain circumstances.
As he began his junior year at Brown, the alien conspiracy to use America as a tool to make the world safe for Jewry was shifting its propaganda machine into high gear. National Socialist Germany was portrayed as a nation of depraved criminals whose goal was the enslavement of the world — including America. Hollywood, the big newspapers, and his liberal professors — always the most noisily vocal faction at any university — all pushed the same line, unabashedly appealing to the naive idealism of their audience: “Hitler must be stopped!”
And, like millions of other American patriots, Lincoln Rockwell fell for the smooth lies and the clever swindle, backed as they were by the authority of the head of the American government. Neither he nor his millions of compatriots realized that the conspiracy had reached into the White House, and that its occupant had sold his services to the conspirators:
It is typical of my political naivete of that time that when the propaganda about Hitler began to be pushed upon us in large doses, I swallowed it all, unable even to suspect that somebody might have an interest in all this, and that it might not be the interest of the United States or our people. . . . It became obvious that we would have to get into the war to stop this ‘horrible ogre’ who planned to conquer America so we were told, and so I believed.
Thus, in March, 1941, convinced that America was in mortal danger from “the Nazi aggressors,” Rockwell left his comfortable life at the university and offered his services to his country’s armed forces. Shortly after enlisting in the United States Navy, he received an appointment as an Aviation Cadet and began flight training at Squantum, Massachusetts. He received his first naval commission, as an ensign, on December 9, 1941 — two days after the Pearl Harbor attack. He served as a naval aviator throughout World War II, advancing from the rank of ensign to lieutenant and winning several decorations. He commanded the naval air support during the American invasion of Guam, in July and August, 1944. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in October, 1945, and shortly thereafter returned to civilian life, where he hoped to make a career for himself as an artist.
While still in the navy, he had married a girl he had known as a student at Brown University. The marriage was not a particularly happy one, although it was destined to last more than ten years.
The first five years after leaving the navy were spent as an art student, a commercial photographer, a painter, an advertising executive, and a publisher, in Maine and in New York. Then in 1950, with the outbreak of war in Korea, Lieutenant Commander Rockwell returned to active duty with the United States Navy and was assigned to train fighter pilots in southern California. There almost by chance, the political education of thirty-two-year-old Lincoln Rockwell began.
It was in 1950 that Senator Joseph McCarthy’s investigations into subversive activities and treasonous behavior on the part of a number of United States government employees and officials began to receive wide public notice. Rockwell, like every honest citizen, was horrified and angered by these disclosures of treachery. But he was puzzled as much as he was shocked by the violent, hysterical, and vicious reaction to these disclosures which came from a certain segment of the population. Why were so many persons — and, especially, so many in the public-opinion-forming media — frantically determined to silence McCarthy and, failing that, to smear and discredit him?
McCarthy was an American with a distinguished record. A war hero, like Rockwell he had entered his country’s armed forces as an enlisted man and emerged as a much-decorated officer. He had won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his combat performance in World War II. Now that he was flushing from cover the rats who had sold out the vital interests of the country for which he had fought, Rockwell could not understand why any responsible and loyal citizen should seek to defame the man or block his courageous efforts:
I began to pay attention, in my spare time, to what it was all about. I read McCarthy speeches and pamphlets and found them factual, instead of the wild nonsense which the papers charged was his stock-in-trade. I became aware of a terrific slant in all the papers against Joe McCarthy, although I still couldn’t imagine why.
At this time an acquaintance gave Rockwell some anti-Communist tracts to read. One of the things he immediately noticed about them was their strongly anti-Semitic tone. Although manifest public evidence obliged him to agree with some of the charges made by the authors of these tracts — for example, that there were extraordinarily disproportionate numbers of Jews both among McCarthy’s attackers and among the subversives his investigations were unearthing — he found many of their claims too far-fetched to be credible. In particular, the charge that communism was a Jewish, not a Russian, movement seemed ridiculous when Rockwell considered the fact that Jews were so firmly entrenched in capitalistic enterprises and always had been; capitalism, supposedly the deadly enemy of communism, was the traditional Jewish sphere of influence.
One anti-Communist tabloid went so far as to cite various items of documentary evidence in support of its seemingly wild claims, and Rockwell decided to call its bluff by looking into this “evidence” for himself. On his next off-duty day he went to the public library in San Diego, and what he found there changed the course of his life — and will yet change the course of world history. In his own words: “Down there in the dark stacks of the San Diego Public Library, I got my awakening from thirty years of stupid political sleep….”
Rockwell was staggered by the evidence he uncovered in the library; it left no doubt, for instance, that what had been described in his school textbooks as the “Russian” Revolution was instead a Jewish orgy of genocide against the Russian people. He even found that in their own books and periodicals the Jews boasted more-or-less openly of the fact! In a Jewish biographical reference work entitled Who’s Who in American Jewry he found a number of prominent Bolsheviks proudly listed, although by no stretch of the imagination could they be considered Americans. Among them were Lazar Kaganovitch, the Butcher of the Ukraine, and Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein), the bloodthirsty Commissar of the Red Army, who was given credit in the book for liquidating “counter-revolutionary forces” in Russia.
Another book, written by a prominent “English” Jew, boasted that “the Jews to a greater degree than . . . any other ethnic group . . . have been the artisans of the Revolution of 1917.” An estimate was given in the book that “80% of the revolutionaries in Russia were Jews.”
Musty back issues of Jewish newspapers told the same story, and they were backed up by official U.S. government records. One volume of such records, which had been published twenty years previously, contained ministerial reports from Russia of brutal frankness. Typical of the material in these records was the following sentence written by the Dutch diplomatic official, Oudendyk, in a 1918 report to his government from Russia:
I consider that the immediate suppression of Bolshevism is the greatest issue now before the World, not even excluding the war which is still raging, and unless as above stated Bolshevism is nipped in the bud immediately it is bound to spread in one form or another over Europe and the whole world as it is organized and worked by Jews who have no nationality; and whose one object is to destroy for their own ends the existing order of things.
Shocking as were these revelations, Rockwell was even more disturbed by the fact that the general public was oblivious to them. Why were these things not in school history text? Why was he told over and over again by the radio and newspapers and magazines of Adolf Hitler’s “awful crime” in killing so many Jews, but never told that the Jews in Russia were responsible for the murder of a vastly larger number of Gentiles?
Other questions presented themselves. He had been told that England’s attack on Germany was justified by Hitler’s attack on Poland. But what of the Soviet Union, which had invaded Poland at the same time? Why no English declaration of war against the Soviet Union? Could it be because the government there was in Jewish hands? Who was responsible for the conspiracy of silence on these and other questions? He grimly resolved to find out. And, later, as the facts gradually fitted into place and the whole, sordid picture began to emerge, he saw before him an inescapable obligation.
An honest man, when he becomes aware that some dirty work is afoot in his community, will speak out against it and attempt to rouse his neighbors into doing the same. What if he finds, though, that most of his neighbors do not want to be bothered; that many of his neighbors are already aware of what is afoot but prefer to ignore it because to oppose it might jeopardize their private affairs; that some of his neighbors — some of his wealthiest and most influential neighbors, the leaders of the community — are themselves engaged in the dirty work? If he is an ordinary man, he may grumble for a while about such a sorry state of affairs, but he will adapt himself as best he can to it. He will soon see there is nothing to be gained by sticking his neck out, and he will go on about his business.
Human nature being what it is, he will very likely ease his conscience by trying to forget as rapidly as possible what he has learned; perhaps he will even convince himself eventually that there is really nothing wrong after all, that his initial judgement was in error, and that the dirty work was really not dirty work but merely “progress.” If, on the other hand, he is an extraordinary man with a particularly strong sense of duty, he will continue to oppose what he knows to be wrong and bound to work evil for the community in the long run. He may continue to point out to his neighbors, even after they have made it clear that they are not interested, that the dirty work should be stopped; he may write pamphlets and deliver speeches; he may even run for public office on a “reform” ticket.
But even so, being a reasonable man and no “extremist,” he will feel himself obliged to give the malefactors the benefit of the doubt which must surely exist as to their motives. And perhaps their position is, indeed, not wholly wrong? Surely, some sort of reasonable compromise which will be fair to all concerned is the best solution. If the evildoer had been working alone when discovered, hanging would, of course, be the only admissible solution to the problem: a fitting and total repudiation by the community of his evil deeds. But when so many criminals, with so many accomplices, have been engaged for so long in such an extensive undertaking and have already done such profound damage, surely the most reasonable solution must be just to admonish the criminals — if, indeed, it is fair to call them criminals — try to install a few safeguards against their renewed activity — safeguards which, to be sure, would not be too grossly inconsistent with the “progress” (or was it damage?) already wrought — and then, letting bygones be bygones, try to live with things as they are.
But, it is only one man out of tens of millions — the rare and lonely world-historical figure — who has, first, the objectivity to evaluate such a situation in terms of absolute and timeless standards and, unswayed by popular and contemporary considerations of “reasonableness,” to draw the ultimate conclusions which those standards dictate; and who then has the strength of will and character to insist that there must be no compromise with evil, that it must be rooted out and utterly destroyed, that right and health and sanity must again prevail, regardless of the commotion and temporary unpleasantness involved in restoring them.
Rockwell had seen the facts. To him, it was unthinkable to attempt to wriggle away from the conclusion they implied. And, as he realized the frightening magnitude of the task before him, instead of attempting to excuse himself from the responsibility which his new knowledge carried with it, he felt rising within him his characteristic response to a seemingly impossible challenge.
It was a straightforward sense of commitment which had led him to volunteer for military service in March, 1941, as soon as he had been tricked into believing that Adolf Hitler was a threat to his country, instead of waiting for Pearl Harbor. And in early 1951, when he began to understand that he had been tricked in 1941 and when he began to see who had tricked him and what they were up to and the terrible damage they had done to his people and were yet planning to do, that same sense of commitment left only one course open to him, namely, to fight! He did not stop to ask whether others were also willing to shoulder their responsibility; his own was perfectly clear to him.
But how to fight? Where to begin? What to do? The name of one man who had done something naturally came to his mind: Adolf Hitler. Rockwell has described what happened next:
I hunted around the San Diego bookshops and finally found a copy of Mein Kampf hidden away in the rear. I bought it, took it home, and sat down to read. And that was the end of one Lincoln Rockwell . . . and the beginning of an entirely different person.
He had not, of course, spent nearly thirty-three years completely oblivious to world events. Many things had bothered him deeply, and he had spent years of frustrating effort trying to fathom the apparently meaningless chaos into which the world seemed to be descending. It seemed to him that there must be some logical relationship between the events of the preceding few decades, but he could not find the key to the puzzle:
I simply suffered from the vague, unhappy feeling that things were wrong — I didn’t know exactly how — and that there must be a way of diagnosing the disease and its causes and making intelligent, organized efforts to correct that something wrong.
Adolf Hitler’s message in Mein Kampf gave him the key he had been seeking, and more:
In Mein Kampf I found abundant mental sunshine, which bathed all the gray world suddenly in the clear light of reason and understanding. Word after word, sentence after sentence stabbed into the darkness like thunderclaps and lightning bolts of revelation, tearing and ripping away the cobwebs of more than thirty years of darkness, brilliantly illuminating the mysteries of the heretofore impenetrable murk in a world gone mad.
I was transfixed, hypnotized. I could not lay the book down without agonies of impatience to get back to it. I read it walking to the squadron; I took it into the air and read it lying on the chart board while I automatically gave the instructions to the other planes circling over the desert. I read it crossing the Coronado ferry. I read it into the night and the next morning. When I had finished I started again and reread every word, underlining and marking especially magnificent passages. I studied it; I thought about it; I wondered at the utter, indescribable genius of it . . .
I reread and studied it some more. Slowly, bit by bit, I began to understand. I realized that National Socialism, the iconoclastic world view of Adolf Hitler; was the doctrine of scientific racial idealism — actually a new religion. . . .
And thus Lincoln Rockwell became a National Socialist. But his conversion to the new religion still did not answer his question, “What can be done?” Eight long years of struggle and defeat lay ahead of him before he would gain the knowledge he needed to effectively translate his new faith into action and begin to carry on Adolf Hitler’s great work once again. While he still lacked the wisdom that could only come in the years ahead, he lacked nothing in energy and determination. For a year he continued to explore the ramifications of the new world view he had adopted and also continued his self-education in several other areas, including the Jewish question.
Then, in November, 1952, the Navy assigned him to a year of duty at the American base at Keflavik in Iceland, where he was executive officer and, later, commanding officer of the Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron there, “Fasron” 107. His promotion to commander came in October, 1953, after he had requested an extension of his Icelandic assignment for another year. He also met and fell in love with an Icelandic girl, who became his second wife in the same month he was promoted. This marriage was far happier than his first. The relative isolation and solitude he enjoyed in Iceland gave him a further opportunity to consolidate his thoughts and to plan a campaign of political action based on his National Socialist philosophy. Feeling that his most urgent need was some medium for the dissemination of his political message, he considered various ways in which he might enter the publishing business. He needed to establish a bridgehead in this industry which would provide him with operational funds and living expenses as well as give him a vehicle for political expression.
He finally decided to begin his career with the publication of a monthly magazine for the wives of American servicemen, primarily because the complete absence of any competing publication in the field seemed to offer an excellent business advantage. He felt that he could not only capture this market, thus assuring himself a steady income, but that service families would provide a particularly receptive audience for his political ideas. His idea was to employ the utmost subtlety, disguising his propaganda so carefully that he would not jeopardize any Jewish advertising accounts the magazine might acquire. He naively thought that he would deceive the Jews and move the hearts and minds of his readers in the desired direction simultaneously.
Rough plans had been laid by the time his service in Iceland was over. His return to civilian life came on December 15, 1954. Nine months of more planning, hard work, fund-raising, and promotion led to the realization of his ideas with the publication of his new magazine, for which he chose the name U.S. Lady, in Washington, in September, 1955.
At the same time he was getting his magazine underway, he began making personal contacts in right-wing circles in the Washington area. He attended the meetings of various groups and then began to organize meetings of his own. Before he could put his magazine to use as a medium for disguised propaganda, however, he found himself in serious financial difficulties, due to his lack of capital, and he was forced to sell the magazine in order to avoid bankruptcy.
With undiminished enthusiasm, he continued his organizing efforts among the right wing. Making the same mistake that nearly every other beginner makes, he assumed that the proper way to proceed lay in coordinating the numerous right-wing and conservative organizations and individuals — bringing them together into a right-wing superstructure where they could work effectively for their common goals. He felt that such a coordination could make an almost miraculous transformation in the strength of the right-wing position in America.
To this end he bought radio advertisements, spoke at dozens of meetings, wrote numberless letters, and devoted every waking hour to the promotion of his plan for unity. He created a paper organization, the American Federation of Conservative Organizations, and continued his tireless efforts to inspire and mobilize even a few of the hundreds of right-wing groups and individuals with whom he had established contact, but to no avail: “Our meetings were better and better attended, but there was no result at all — nothing accomplished.”
He sadly learned that all the right-wing groups had one weakness in common: their members loved to talk but were incapable of action. A substantial portion of them were hobbyists — escapists obsessed with various pet projects and absolutely invulnerable to reason, or masochists who delighted in moaning endlessly about treason and decay but who were shocked at the suggestion that they should help put an end to it. Many were so neurotic that the idea of engaging them in any prolonged cooperative effort was untenable. Some were simply insane. Virtually all were cowards. Years of inaction or ineffectiveness had drained the ranks of the right-wing of the type of human material essential for any serious undertaking. Very little was left but the sort of dregs with which nothing could be done.
Unfortunately, he had failed to heed the Leader’s warning that eight cripples who join arms do not yield even one gladiator as a result:
And if there were indeed one healthy man among the cripples, he would expend all his strength just keeping the others on their feet and in this way become a cripple himself.
By the formation of a federation, weak organizations are never transformed into strong ones, but a strong organization can and often will be weakened. The opinion that strength must result from the association of weak groups is incorrect. . . .
. . . Great, truly world-shaking revolutions of a spiritual nature are not even conceivable and realizable except as the titanic struggles of individual formations, never as the undertakings of coalitions.
It has been said that experience keeps a dear school, and in Rockwell’s case it was dear indeed. He had exhausted all the money left from the sale of U.S. Lady by the time the last meeting of his American Federation of Conservative Organizations, on July 4, 1956, failed to produce any concrete results. He had to find a new source of income and considered himself fortunate to obtain a temporary position as a television scriptwriter.
This lasted only a few months, however, and then he took a position on the staff of the New York-based conservative magazine, American Mercury, as assistant to the publisher. He had learned the futility of trying to achieve effective cooperation between the various right-wing groups and had resigned himself to forming a new organization.
Rockwell still had two bitter lessons to learn in the school of experience, however — lessons which the Leader had set forth clearly in his immortal book, but which Rockwell, for all his careful study, had failed to take to heart, just as with the admonition against hoping to gain strength by uniting weaknesses. He still believed that the enemies of our people could be fought effectively by the “respectable” means to which conservatives have always restricted themselves. He thought to avoid the “stigma” of anti-Semitism by working silently and indirectly against treason and racial subversion. This method had the great advantage of not provoking the enemy, so that one could proceed peacefully and safely with one’s “silent” work.
Thus, while working at American Mercury he began to formulate plans for an underground, “hard-core” National Socialist organization, with a right-wing front and financing by wealthy conservatives. Since the organization was to be, in effect, National Socialist, with National Socialists at the helm and carrying out the significant activities, and the conservative front only a disguise, he happily thought he had a plan which would not be subject to all the flaws of those of his conservative efforts of the past.
His new project rapidly foundered on the shoals of reality, however. First he found that wealthy conservatives suffered from most of the character defects that he had already observed in not-so-wealthy conservatives. Money could be gotten from them for “pet” projects — but not for any serious effort which smacked of danger, particularly danger of exposure. A more fundamental weakness of the “secret” approach, however, lay in the fact that it is the surface disguise, the front — not the hidden core — which determines the quality of the personnel attracted to an organization. Thus, when his anticipated source of funds balked and his one National Socialist recruit became discouraged and left, Rockwell was faced with the prospect of scrapping his new idea and starting again from nothing.
Sadly he re-read the words the Leader had written more than thirty years previously: “A man who knows a thing, recognizes a given danger, and sees with his own eyes the possibility of a remedy, damned well has the duty and the obligation not to work ‘silently’, but to stand up openly against the evil and for its cure. If he does not do so then he is a faithless, miserable weakling who fails either from cowardice or from laziness and incompetence. . . . Every last agitator who possesses the courage to defend his opinions with manly forth-rightness, standing on a tavern table among his adversaries, accomplishes more than a thousand of these lying, treacherous sneaks.”
It had taken two years of repeated discouragements and failures to bring this lesson home to him, but now he understood it. He had finally seen the fallacy underlying the conservative premise. In his own words:
Although it is made to appear so, the battle between the conservatives and liberals is not a battle of ideas or even of Political organizations. It is a battle of terror, and power. The Jews and their accomplices and dupes are not running our country and its people because of the excellence of their ideas or the merit of their work or the genuine majority of people behind them. They are in power in spite of the lack of these things, and only because they have driven their way into power by daring minority tactics. They can stay in power only because people are afraid to oppose them — afraid they will be socially ostracized, afraid they will be smeared in the press, afraid they will lose their jobs, afraid they will not be able to run their businesses, afraid they will lose political offices. It is fear and fear alone, which keeps these filthy left-wing sneaks in power — not ignorance on the part of the American people, as the conservatives keep telling each other.
Beyond this however, he was coming to an even more fundamental conclusion: Not only were conservatives wrong in their evaluation of the nature of the conflict between themselves and liberals and wrong in their choice of tactics, but their motives were also wrong; at least, he was beginning to see that their motives differed fundamentally from his own. Basically, the conservatives are aracial. Their primary concerns are economic: taxes, government spending, fiscal responsibility; and social: law and order, honest government, morality. At worst, their sole interest is the protection of their standard of living from the encroachments of the welfare state; at best, they are genuinely concerned about the general decay of standards and the trend toward mobocracy and chaos. But, as a whole, they show very little concern for the biological problem of which all these other problems are only manifestations.
Certainly the right wing was preferable to the left wing in this respect. At least conservatives tended to have a healthy anti-Semitic instinct. But as long as their inner orientation was economic-materialistic rather than racial-idealistic, they would remain primarily interested in the defense of a system rather than a race, they would continue to look for easy and superficial solutions rather than fundamental ones, and they would continue to lack that spirit of selfless idealism essential to ultimate victory. Thus, as the year 1956 drew to a close, Rockwell was certain of one thing: Conservatives would never, by any stretch of the imagination, be able to offer any effective opposition to the forces of degeneration and death. As he wrote later, anyone, when he first discovers what is going on, might be forgiven a certain period of nourishing the delusion and hope that there is a safe, easy, and “nice” solution to the problem. But to pursue the same fruitless tactics year after year is evidence of something else: Conservatives are the world’s champion ostriches, muttering to each other down under the sand “in secret”, while their plumed bottoms wave in the breeze for the Jews to kick at their leisure. They are fooling nobody but themselves.
The answer would have to be found elsewhere — but where, how?
The years 1957 and 1958 were difficult ones. As a representative of a New York management-consultant firm, he spent most of 1957 traveling in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, writing and consolidating his thoughts whenever he could find time. The winter of 1957–58 saw a brief interlude in Atlanta, where he sold advertising.
During this period, Rockwell had an experience about which he has never written and which he related to only a few people. Always a skeptic where the supernatural was concerned, he was certainly not a man to be easily influenced by omens. Yet there can be no doubt that he attached special significance to a series of dreams that he had then. The dreams — actually all variations of a single dream — occurred nearly every night for a period of several weeks and were of such intensity that he could recall them vividly upon waking. In each dream he saw himself in some everyday situation: sitting in a crowded theater, eating at a counter in a diner, walking through the busy lobby of an office building, or inspecting the airplanes of his squadron at an airfield hangar.
And in each dream a man would approach him — theater usher, diner cook, office clerk, or mechanic — and say something to the effect, “Mr. Rockwell, there is someone to see you.” And then he would be led off to some back room or side office in the building or hangar, as the case may have been. He would open the door and find waiting for him inside, always alone — Adolf Hitler. Then the dream would end.
One can most easily interpret these dreams as a case of autosuggestion, but in the light of later developments Rockwell considered them as a symbolic summons, a beckoning onto the path for which he was then still groping, whether that beckoning was the consequence of an internal or an external stimulus.
Early in 1958 he returned to Virginia. His first effort there was in Newport News, where he produced political cartoons in collaboration with the publisher of a small racist magazine which shortly went bankrupt. In Newport News, however, he met a man who was to play a critical role in changing the course of his political career: Harold N. Arrowsmith, Jr.
Arrowsmith was a wealthy conservative with a “pet” project — but he was not like any other wealthy conservative Rockwell had met. Independently wealthy as the result of an inheritance, he had formerly been a physical anthropologist. He had stumbled into politics rather by accident when a friend on the research staff of a Congressional investigating committee had asked him for some help with some library research connected with a case under investigation. In the course of this work he had, to his surprise, come upon some of the documentary material that had so startled Rockwell a few years earlier in San Diego.
Being a trained scholar, a linguist with a dozen languages at his disposal, having access to all the major libraries and archives of the Western world — and with unlimited time and money — he was able to follow up his initial discoveries and soon had unearthed literally thousands of items of evidence. The story they told was a shocking and frightening one: world wars and revolutions, famines and massacres — not the caprices of history, but the results of deliberate and cold-blooded scheming.
Although he had filing cabinets bulging with military intelligence reports, court records, photostats of diplomatic correspondence, and other material, he had not been able to publicize any of his finds. Scholarly journals returned his carefully written and documented papers with rejection slips, and it soon became apparent that no publisher of general periodicals would accept them either. He approached Rockwell with the proposition of printing, publishing, and distributing some of his documentary material, with full financial backing.
They formed the “National Committee to Free America from Jewish Domination,” and Rockwell moved to Arlington, Virginia, where Arrowsmith provided him with a house and printing equipment.
Rockwell had already reached the conclusion that if any progress were to be made, it was necessary to break out of the right-wing milieu into fresh territory. Right-wingers had been exchanging and reading one another’s pamphlets for years, with no noticeable results. They always used the same mailing lists and sent their propaganda to people who, for the most part, had already heard at least a dozen variations on the same theme. What was needed was mass publicity, so that some fresh blood could be attracted into the Movement.
As the normal channels of mass propaganda were closed to most right-wingers — and certainly to anyone whose propaganda might prove distressing to Jews — Rockwell had decided that radical means must be used to force open those channels. He placed this objective before all others. For, he reasoned, if one is to mobilize men into an organization — secret or otherwise — for the purpose of gaining political power, one must first let those men know of one’s existence and communicate to them at least a bare outline of one’s program. Until a mass of new raw material — potential recruits — could be stirred up by making a really significant impact on the public consciousness, there was simply no sense in proceeding further; he had already spent too much time doing things the old way. He was, in fact, prepared to take the next-to-last step in his progress from just another goy to the heir to Adolf Hitler’s mighty legacy. He decided on public agitation of the most provocative sort — agitation of such a blatant and revolutionary sort that the mass media could not ignore it.
In May, 1958, Eisenhower had sent U.S. Marines to Lebanon to help maintain the government of President Chamoun in power, against the wishes of the Arab citizens of that country. The Lebanese Arabs desired closer cooperation with the other Arab states, but Chamoun, much to the pleasure of the Jews, did not. The threat of the overthrow of Chamoun and of a pro-Arab government coming into power in Lebanon, thus adding another member to the Arab bloc opposing the illegal Jewish occupation of Palestine, led U.S. Jews to press the course of U.S. intervention upon Eisenhower, always their willing tool. The issue was much in the public eye during the summer of 1958, and Rockwell decided to use it as the basis of his first public demonstration — a picket of the White House. Calling on many of the contacts he had made around the country during the past few years, he was able to arrange for a busload of young demonstrators to come to Washington and also to organize protest groups in both Atlanta, Georgia, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Then on Sunday morning, July 29, 1958, Rockwell led his group of pickets to the White House, while the groups in Atlanta and Louisville began their demonstrations simultaneously. Carrying large signs which Rockwell had designed and printed himself, these three groups made the first public protest against Jewish control of the U.S. government since the Jews had silenced their critics in 1941. It was indeed a momentous occasion: not yet an open National Socialist demonstration, but a vigorous slap in the face for the enemy — a slap which could not be ignored, as all the “secret” right-wing activity had been for years.
Ten weeks later, on October 12, a synagogue in Atlanta was mysteriously blown up. Police immediately swooped on Rockwell’s men in Atlanta who had demonstrated in July. Newspapers around the world carried front-page stories implicating Rockwell and Arrowsmith in the bombing. Arrowsmith, who felt he was getting more involved in politics than was comfortable, retrieved his printing equipment and withdrew Rockwell’s financial support. For the first time, Rockwell began to get a taste of the difficult times which lay ahead. Hoodlums, instigated by the newspaper publicity, attacked his home. Windows were broken, and stones and firecrackers were thrown at his house late at night. Both by day and by night he and his wife received obscene and threatening telephone calls. Finally, for the sake of their safety, he felt obliged to send his family to Iceland.
With its financial backing gone, the “National Committee to Free America from Jewish Control” was no more. The last of Rockwell’s conservative friends evaporated in the harsh glare of newspaper hate propaganda which was heaped upon him. As the new year, 1959, came in, he found himself alone in an empty house, without friends or money or prospects for the future. He had dared to seize the dragon by the tail and had survived. Yet, in the bleak, cold days of January and February, 1959, this gave him little comfort as he faced an uncertain and unpromising future.
. . . As I sat alone in that empty house or lay alone in that even emptier bed in the silent, hollow darkness, the full realization of what I was about bore in upon me with fearful urgency. I realized there was no turning back; as long as I lived I was marked with the stigma of anti-Jewishness . . . I could never again hope to earn a normal living. The Jews could not survive unless they made an example of me the rest of my life, else too many others might be tempted to follow my example. My Rubicon had been crossed, and it was fight and win — or die.
And then something happened which, in its way, was to be as decisive in his life as had been his finding Adolf Hitler’s message in Mein Kampf, eight years before, in San Diego. Again, it was like a guiding hand reaching to him from the twilight of the past — from a charred, rubble-filled bunker in Berlin — and showing him the way. Waiting for him at the post office one morning at the beginning of March was a large carton. In it, carefully folded, was a huge swastika banner, which had been sent by a young admirer.
Deeply moved, he carried the banner home and hung it across one end of his living room, completely covering the wall. He found a small, bronze plaque with a relief bust of Adolf Hitler, which had been given to him earlier, and mounted it in the center of the swastika. Then he found three candles and candle holders, which he placed on a small book-case he had arranged just below the bronze plaque. He closed the blinds and lit the candles:
I stood there in the flickering candlelight, not a sound in the house, not a soul near me or aware of what I was doing — or caring.
On that cold, March morning, alone before the dimly lit altar, Lincoln Rockwell underwent an experience of a sort shared by few men in the long history of our race — an experience which comes seldom to this world but which may radically alter the course of that world when it does. Nearly fifty-three years before, a similar experience had befallen a man — that time on a cold, November night, on a hilltop overlooking the Austrian town of Linz.
It was a religious experience that was more than religious. As he stood there he felt an indescribable torrent of emotions surging through his being, reaching higher and higher in a crescendo with a peak of unbearable intensity. He felt the awe-inspiring awareness for a few moments, or a few minutes, of being more than himself, of being in communion with that which is beyond description and beyond comprehension. Something with the cool, vast feeling of eternity and of infinity — of long ages spanning the birth and death of suns, and of immense, starry vistas — filled his soul to the bursting point. One may call that Something by different names — the Great Spirit, perhaps, or Destiny, or the Soul of the Universe, or God — but once it has brushed the soul of a man, that man can never again be wholly what he was before. It changes him spiritually in the same way that a mighty earthquake or a cataclysmic eruption, the subsidence of a continent or the bursting forth of a new mountain range, changes forever the face of the earth.
Slowly the storm subsided, and Lincoln Rockwell — a new Lincoln Rockwell — became aware once again of the room about him and of his own thoughts. He has described for us his feeling then:
. . . Where before I had wanted to fight the forces of tyranny and regression, now I HAD to fight them. But even more, I felt within me the power to prevail — strength beyond my own strength — the ability to do the right thing even when I was personally overwhelmed by events. And that strength has not yet failed me. Nor will it fail. . . . I knew with calm certainty exactly what to do, and I knew, in a hard-to-explain sense, what was ahead. It was something like looking at a road from the air after seeing only the curve ahead from the ground. . . . Hitler had shown the way to survival. It would be my task on this earth to carry his ideas . . . to total, world-wide victory. I knew I would not live to see the victory which I would make possible. But I would not die before I had made that victory certain.
And just as Adolf Hitler had said of his experience on the Freinberg, “In that hour it began,” so in that hour it began for Lincoln Rockwell also. He did not realize it then, of course, but this climactic event had come almost exactly in the middle of his political life; he had run just half the course from that fall day in 1950, in the San Diego Public Library, to a martyr’s death in Arlington in the late summer of 1967.
Before, he had been a right-winger, a conservative, albeit a more and more openly anti-Jewish one; before, he had felt the need to keep his National Socialism concealed; before, while he had admired Adolf Hitler as the greatest thinker in the history of the race and Mein Kampf as the most important book ever written, they had not been wholly real to him — and this attitude had resulted in his failure so often to apply the Leader’s teachings to his own political efforts. Now, however, he was no longer a conservative, but a National Socialist, and he would bear witness for his faith before the whole world; now, at last, he recognized in Adolf Hitler not just an extraordinarily great mind and spirit, but something immortal, transcendental, more than human; now he saw the Leader as an embodiment, in a way, of that Universal Soul with which he had briefly communed; now he was prepared to follow the Leader’s teachings without reservation, in all things.
At the same time that these fundamental changes in his outlook took place, he saw the need for a fundamental change in his political tactics. He recalled the Leader’s words:
Any man who is not attacked in the Jewish newspapers, not slandered and vilified, is no true National Socialist. The best measure of the value of his will is the hostility he receives from the mortal enemy of our people . . .
Every Jewish slander and every Jewish lie is a scar of honor on the body of our warriors.
The man they have most reviled stands closest to us, and the man they hate worst is our best friend.
Anyone who picks up a Jewish newspaper in the morning and does not see himself slandered in it has not made profitable use of the previous day; for if he had, he would be persecuted, reviled, slandered, abused, befouled. And only the man who combats this mortal enemy of our nation and of all Aryan humanity and culture most effectively may expect to see the slanders of this race and the efforts of this people directed against him.
It makes no difference whatever whether they laugh at us or revile us, whether they represent us as clowns or criminals; the main thing is that they mention us, that they concern themselves with us again and again, and that we gradually appear to be the only power that anyone reckons with at the moment. What we really are and what we really want, we will show the Jewish journalistic rabble when the day comes.
Rockwell had already recognized the need for gaining mass publicity by radical means, but he had flinched at the thought of the slander and vilification, the misrepresentation and ridicule which must inevitably accompany any publicity he received through the alien-dominated mass media. He had been living in the conservative dream world and had shared with other right-wingers the comfortable illusion that one can keep the enemy fooled — even make him think one is his friend — and fight him effectively at the same time.
Even as he gradually became more forthright in his statements with respect to the Jewish question, he retained the feeling that to speak out openly for Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist world view would be nothing short of suicide.
Thus he had fallen between two stools after his demonstration of July 29, 1958. He had been numbed by the virulence of the hatred unleashed against him, and at the same time found himself crippled by self-imposed limitations in his own campaign.
Now, however, he had decided that not only would he never again flinch under the torrent of abuse and slander which his activities were sure to bring down on him, but he would provoke such attacks by the enemy, looking upon each one as a “scar of honor” and also as another small step toward his eventual general recognition as the opponent of everything the enemy stood for, as “the only power with which [that enemy] reckoned.” And he saw that an open avowal of his National Socialism was not only the strongest irritant he could bring to bear against his enemy, but it was the only realistic basis for gathering around himself those elements of the population needed to build a viable and lasting movement with which eventually to destroy that enemy and restore his own race to the position of strength and health and honor from which it had abdicated.
Actually, he carried the Leader’s counsel about the use of the enemy’s own propaganda to its logical extreme. Looking at the task before him realistically for the first time, he saw that the problems he faced were so severe that, in order to make any progress against them, he would be obliged to concentrate all his energies upon one aspect of those problems at a time.
The first step was general recognition. His earlier conviction that that goal must be attained at the expense of every other consideration was now stronger than ever. Thus, instead of following the natural urge to dissociate National Socialism from the Hollywood image that Jewry had been building for it for more than three decades, he temporarily threw all hopes of “respectability” — even among other National Socialists — aside and set about turning to his own advantage all the Jews’ previous efforts.
Toward this end he deliberately pinned on himself the label “Nazi,” rather than “National Socialist,” using this bit of journalistic jargon which had been coined by the enemy during the early days of struggle in Germany, a term looked upon by National Socialists with about the same feeling that convinced Marxists must look upon the designation “commie,” or “pinko.” Behind this step — one which was to cause much misunderstanding and suspicion in days to come — was the cold-blooded realization that a strutting, shouting uniform-wearing, Hollywood-style “Nazi” was vastly more newsworthy, had vastly more “shock value,” than any mere National Socialist.
As he pondered over his soul-stirring experience and began to lay new plans for the future during the next few days, events began flowing in the new channel marked out for them by the finger of Destiny. Three men, a right-wing acquaintance and two other men who were strangers to Rockwell, dropped in to see him one evening. Initially shocked and repelled by the swastika banner in his living room, they were soon won over by his passionate exposition of the new cause. Two of the three remained to become his first disciples.
Then he opened the blinds on his windows, making his swastika banner visible from the street. He issued swastika armbands to his two recruits, and the three of them swaggered about the house wearing holstered pistols. Later he mounted an illuminated swastika on the roof.
The crowds came to laugh and jeer and throw rocks-but a few remained to listen. His “stormtroopers” grew in number from two, to four, to ten.
These March days in 1959, which witnessed the first genuine rebirth of National Socialist activity after nearly fourteen years of terror and total suppression, marked the beginning of the stormiest and most difficult times Rockwell faced. Harassed by the police with illegal searches and confiscation of his property and materials, assaulted by thugs and vandals whom the police made no efforts to apprehend, he and his small group of followers printed and distributed tens of thousands of leaflets and talked to throngs of curious and hostile visitors who came to see the “American Fuehrer,” as the newspapers laughingly called him. He first chose the name “American Party” for his embryonic organization, but soon changed the name to “American Nazi Party.”
Keeping his initial objective foremost in his mind, he concentrated the activities of his small group primarily on the distribution of inflammatory leaflets, on creating public incidents, on haranguing crowds under circumstances especially chosen to provoke violent opposition — anything and everything, in other words, to gain mass publicity, to become generally recognized as the opponent of the Jews and everything they represented, from Marxism to unprincipled capitalism, from racial degeneration to cultural Bolshevism.
His first soapbox-style public address was delivered on the Mall, in Washington, on Sunday, April 3, 1960, and became a regular occurrence for some time thereafter.
A letter he wrote to his mother during this early period of public speaking gives an idea of a few of the difficulties he faced:
7 July, 1960
Thank you for the letter and the help. It is much appreciated. . . . Don’t pay too much attention to what the papers say, Mother they lie unbelievably. Last week they tried to murder us again on the Mall here and almost killed Major Morgan, whom you met, when they dragged him out — ten of them — and stomped him and left him for dead. But we prevailed, and even though the police, much against their will, were forced to arrest us for “disorderly conduct” (for being attacked by a murderous mob!), the people are with us. This sort of thing is inevitable, and it will get worse. Now they have tried — yesterday — to have me heaved in an insane asylum to shut me up, but they were surprised, as I was relieved, when people rushed forward to offer the huge cash bond they set for me and I will have a psychiatrist of my own choosing deliver a report, instead of the two Jews they planned for me. Do not worry about all this. It is dangerous, painful, and bitter when our own people do not understand what we are doing and suffering for them, but I am sure that the Lord will not permit liars and villains to win in the end. You will yet be mighty proud. . . .
In May, 1960, the National Socialist Bulletin made its appearance as the first periodical published by the American Nazi Party. It evolved in to the Stormtrooper magazine after eight issues. Meanwhile, on February 5, 1960, the United States Navy, under pressure from Jewish groups, forced Rockwell to accept a discharge from the Naval Reserve.
Despite the news quarantine imposed on him, despite beatings and jailings, despite a chronic lack of funds, despite serious personnel problems, and despite a thousand other troubles and difficulties, his campaign to gain public recognition made steady progress. Newspapers found it impossible to completely avoid mentioning his brash and daring exploits; editors and columnists found irresistible the temptation to denounce or “expose” him. Even radio and television emcees, ever on the prowl for sensation, yielded to temptation and defied the ban on publicity for Rockwell.
The image of George Lincoln Rockwell and the America Nazi Party created by the mass media for public consumption was, of course, a grossly distorted one. Rockwell had succeeded in forcing the media, more or less against their will, to give him publicity. Unfortunately, he could not force them to be impartial in their treatment, or even to be truthful, An interview with him published in the popular magazine, Playboy, was prefaced with such editorial remarks as: “Unlike controversial past interviewees Rockwell could not be called a spokesman for any socially or politically significant minority. But we felt that the very virulence of Rockwell’s messianic master-racism could transform a really searching conversation with the 48-year-old Fuhrer into a revealing portrait of both rampant racism and the pathology of fascism.”
Another commented: “The question of George Lincoln Rockwell boils down, then, to the question of how far can America let the hate-mongers go. Will an unsound branch on the tree of American democracy fall off or will it poison the organism?”
The really ambitious writers, editors, and reporters did not restrict themselves to such mildly prejudicial remarks but vied with one another in concocting outrageous lies about Rockwell. He was accused of cowardice, sadism, selfish gormandizing, kidnapping: “Like the late Adolf Schickelgruber, on whom he models himself, he believes in leading from behind — as far behind as possible.” In one magazine, he was “quoted” as boasting that he had once castrated a heckler with his bare hands,” and another reported: “George Rockwell’s hysterical raving has already whipped up the lunatic fringe to the breaking point. Last summer three of his stormtroopers decided to please the Fuehrer by kidnapping a small Jewish child in Washington, D.C., and holding him at the Party Headquarters for several hours. How many more innocent citizens will be subjected to harassment before Robert F. Kennedy and the Justice Department move in?”
Topping them all was the story that “Like a true Nazi top dog, he avails himself of top-dog privileges and orders private meals served in his room. He partakes of such fancy fare as turtle soup, lobster, and steak while the men eat hash. Between meals he enjoys sucking kumquats.” This last flight of fancy is reminiscent of articles published in the German press (before 1933) which portrayed Adolf Hitler as a drunken profligate (Hitler only drank once in his entire life: the night of his High School Graduation) and lecher who dissipated the contributions of his followers in high living, champagne parties, and whoring.
Rockwell accepted these lies and slanders philosophically, for the alternative to this Jew-designed public image even was no public image at all. As a matter of fact, the Jews-and non-Jewish publicists anxious to demonstrate their affection for the Jews — cannot be given all the blame for this poor image. Rockwell himself lent a conscious hand to its creation, as he admitted when he said, “. . . When I have the rare opportunity to use some mass medium, as was recently the case when I gave an interview to Playboy, I am forced to walk a careful line between what I should like to say and what the enemy would like to hear me say. Unless I deliberately sound at least halfway like a raving illiterate with three loose screws, such an interview would never be printed.”
The price he paid for becoming generally recognized as “Mr. Nazi” was a high one indeed. Other men with sound racial instincts but without Rockwell’s understanding of political realities were, naturally enough, appalled by what seemed to be Rockwell’s ridiculous antics. Most people, even relatively sophisticated ones who talk knowingly about “managed news,”simply find incomprehensible the Jewish Big Lie technique.
These sound but simple citizens all too often jumped to the not-implausible conclusion that Rockwell was a kind of agent provocateur, a traitor hired by the enemy to discredit honest racists and patriots. His correspondence with some of them displays a mixture of impatience with their inability to perceive the essence of the real problems facing our race, and a sincere desire to evoke understanding. The following extracts from a letter to a member of a snobbish racist group calling itself the “European Liberation Front” are typical:
Dear Mr. . . .:
I realize that I am only a stupid, silly American, but I do love this country, in spite of your denunciation of it. What you hate about it is what the Jews have done to it, and you are like a man who permits his wife to be debauched by rapists and then tosses her in the garbage can for it. Shame on you! “American” influence on Europe is not American at all, and you damned sure should know it. The real American influence was Henry Ford, our West, and the like.
Europe is a tired old man — more like a tired old lady — and if Western culture is to be saved, it will be saved by the last Western barbarians, the American barbarians I love. Men like you, suave, polished, educated, supercilious, and “above” nasty physical violence, cannot save themselves, let alone a nation, a culture, or a race. You people with your “European Liberation Front” are going at it backwards. You can’t liberate Europe any more with Europeans. Hitler gave that effort every bit of holy genius within him, and he was mashed by the American barbarians. You and your egghead gang of dandies are in love with what is gone and insist on ignoring what is here. Rome is no more. You keep trying to resurrect it, and you can’t, because there are no more noble Romans over there, at least not enough to make a real fight of it, Europe is like one big France — all empty shell, fine words, pretty songs, and dead men. We helped kill Europe. If you did liberate it, like France was “liberated,” it would sink into degeneracy again in a century..
There are, of course, good, vigorous fighting men in Europe, but they are swamped by the human garbage left in the wreckage of two wars promoted by Jews and fought by Americans. I am building National Socialism here, by such expedients and methods as may be possible, and I am succeeding, in spite of your looking down your nose at me . . .
Whenever I can get some or the other of you to ditch the “We’re-the-real-National Socialists” game and start being National Socialists, I give strength to the cause to which I have given my life, my family, my comfort, and everything else I have to give, no matter what you may have been told. . . .
Frankness, not diplomacy, was his strong point.
In order to allay hostility and suspicion as much as he could, he was soon obliged to divert some of his energies from agitation and publicity garnering to a more sober exposition of his ideas. His first major effort in that direction was the publication of his political autobiography, This Time the World. Written hastily in the fall of 1960 between speaking engagements, court appearances, street brawls, and desperate attempts to raise money to sustain his small group, he was not able to publish it until a year later. The printing and binding of the book were done entirely by his untrained stormtroopers, and their only machinery was a tiny, office-style duplicator. The absolute sincerity of its tone failed to convince few of its readers, but the difficulties of distribution, due to the Jewish “quarantine,” limited its circulation to a few thousand copies.
In October, 1961, the first of his Rockwell Reports appeared. Varying in length from four to thirty-six pages, the Rockwell Report appeared semi-monthly at first, then monthly, occasionally lapsing into bi-monthly publication during particularly difficult periods. The Rockwell Reports contained a lively mixture of National Socialist ideology, current political analysis, prognostication, political cartoons and drawings, reproductions of pertinent news clippings, and photographs of Party activities. They all bore his unique stamp and, more than any other one thing, were responsible for drawing to him the idealistic young men who formed the cadre of the growing movement.
From the beginning, Rockwell had understood the necessity for the National Socialist movement eventually to operate from a worldwide basis. For the ultimate political goal of the Movement was the establishment of an Aryan world order, a pax Aryana, as a prerequisite for the attainment of the long-term racial goals of the Movement. From the spring of 1959, this concept had existed on paper as the “World Union of Free-Enterprise National Socialists,” but until the summer of 1962 it was not implemented beyond an exchange of letters with individual National Socialists in Europe. In early August, 1962, Rockwell met with National Socialist representatives from four other nations in the Cotswold Hills, near Cotswold, England, and the World Union of National Socialists formally came into existence. On the fifth of August the protocol now known as the Cotswold Agreements was drawn up, pledging the National Socialist movements of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany (including Austria), and Belgium to a common effort. Annual meetings of the World Union of National Socialists were originally envisaged, but Fate and circumstances prevented this. Rockwell was under increasing pressure in America during the next five years, as the situation there grew steadily more turbulent.
Rockwell’s original program was divided into three phases. The first phase, beginning in March, 1959, was to be a phase of provocative but essentially non-constructive activity, intended to generate publicity and build a public image, no matter how distorted. The second phase was to be a cadre-building phase, during which a strong, disciplined, effective, professional National Socialist organization was to be built and capabilities in propaganda and organizing developed to a high degree. The third phase was to be one of mass organization.
Phase one was masterfully executed. Rockwell proved himself an outstanding tactician in the rough-and-tumble game of smashing through the Jewish blackout barrier. With cool objectivity, he watched the press heap bucket after bucket of lies and filth on his image, provoking them to renewed activity whenever they tired. With keen insight he analyzed the Jewish situation. He understood that though they occupied the key positions of control in the public-opinion-forming networks, they were constrained to a large extent by the fact that that control must remain hidden from the public.
Furthermore, he understood the fact that a very substantial portion of the reporters, editors, columnists, newscasters, and even many individual newspaper and broadcast-station owners are not Jews, and, barring direct and categorical orders to the contrary from the key Jews, these people can be counted upon to react in a more-or-less predictable way to a given stimulus. Thus, by taking a position and making statements which seemed extreme and even ridiculous to the “average citizen,” he could entice publicists to quote him widely, thinking thus to discredit both the man and the philosophy with these average citizens. What they failed to understand was that before the Movement could profit from any mass appeal, it had to appeal to a large number of very un-average citizens — fearless idealists who could form the National Socialist cadre.
And these men responded in a very different way to Rockwell’s message than did the liberal publicists or their average audience. They saw beyond the superficial “ridiculousness” of his message to the kernel of deep truth that it contained. While the average citizen, incapable of thinking beyond the immediate problems of the day, found Rockwell’s message “too extreme,” just as the publicists intended, those who could extrapolate in their minds the developments of the present to the consequences of tomorrow — and of a century hence — saw the compelling necessity of his demands. But such men are rather sparsely distributed throughout the population, and to reach them Rockwell needed to cast his net very wide; this the publicists helped him do while they thought to smear him. Rockwell also understood that the image of him being erected in the minds of the masses, while a liability now, had a value for the future, when conditions had ripened so that at least some of those masses were ready for an “extremist.”
Phase two — cadre building and organizational development — in a sense was co-extant with phase one, for from the very beginning Rockwell’s publicity began to attract a few of the idealists needed for phase two, and these men began to constitute the skeleton of the organizational structure which was later to be filled out. Even a bit of phase three entered the picture during the first phase, when Rockwell conducted a campaign to become governor of the state of Virginia in 1965.
This election campaign proved to be a period of extremely valuable training not only for Rockwell but for the leadership personnel of his entire Party. Realizing the eventual need to develop proficiency at mass campaigning, Rockwell decided to begin acquiring experience in that direction soon rather than late. As he later admitted, after winning less than 1.5% of the votes cast, the campaign also provided a more fundamental lesson and helped him to realistically re-evaluate the entire status of the Movement. Before, he had taken overly optimistic view that the Movement would begin to pick up substantial mass following as soon as it had gained sufficient publicity through his phase-one activities; that is, he believed that phases two and three would be largely concurrent.
After the Virginia campaign, having been reminded once again of the stupendous inertia of public opinion, he realized that phase two would be much longer than originally anticipated, and that the beginning of any substantial success from phase-three activity would have to await two things: a considerable internal strengthening of the Movement and a considerable worsening of the general racial-social-economic situation.
With this first thing in mind, he made the decision in 1966 to inaugurate a general activity. As mentioned before, the first two phases of Party activity overlapped to a large extent, and the transition between the two was marked primarily by a shift of emphasis. Phase one was the “Nazi” era of the Movement. Phase two is the beginning of the National Socialist era. In line with this re-emphasis, the American Nazi Party officially became the National Socialist White People’s Party on January 1, 1967, and that date can reasonably be considered to mark the transition. Six months earlier, the appearance of National Socialist World was a major step in this direction. And six months after that date — in June, 1967 — a historic re-organizational conference of the Party leadership was held in Arlington. There Rockwell set the Movement on its new course, explaining the need for a total professionalization of every activity, from fund raising to propaganda writing, in order to meet the severe demands to be expected during the long period of growth and struggle ahead.
He was now forty-nine years old. For the past eight years he had been working an average sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. The strain on his physical and spiritual resources had been severe. Usually he was obliged to concentrate on the several tasks simultaneously. There was always a demonstration to be planned, a speech to be prepared, propaganda to be written, a court case to be fought, money to be raised, and everything to be done under nearly impossible working conditions, with incessant interruptions. Only the immense vitality of his rugged, six-foot-four-inch frame and a deep reserve of spiritual strength had sustained him in the past.
The course that lay ahead would certainly be no easier; on the contrary, in addition to the old tasks connected with agitation and publicity, there would be many new problems to be faced as the Movement continued into its new phase of activity.
Other men — strong men — might have yielded to the temptation to remain with a prescription to which they had become accustomed and not venture from a beaten path into strange and difficult territory. The slightest trace of subjectivity would allow them to ring forth a hundred reasons for not changing a modus operandi which they had found successful in the past. And yet it was characteristic of Rockwell that he did not hesitate for an instant. When he saw that the time had come for the Movement to change its tactics and accept a different set of challenges, he set himself to the new task with the same determination that he had shown throughout the first phase.
Now it was necessary to build up a whole new public image for the Party, or, rather, gradually to transform the grossly distorted image he had induced the enemy to build for him to one closer to the truth. It was a demanding task, and he spent the summer of 1967 in laying plans for the future and in finishing his new book, White Power.
In one of his last letters, written in August to two faithful Party comrades, man and wife, he reveals a little of the introspection which occupied his mind at this decisive time:
By no means do I get the solid feeling that [you] are clear in your own minds on what has been done, what should be done now, and what might be done (or not done) in the future. For this reason, after much of my favorite recent hobby — tossing and turning — I have arisen as dawn is creeping over this benighted city to set forth on paper some thoughts which might help. (And often I find that such efforts to help others, help me in the process.) There is no plan or overall approach in this letter; it’s just jewels, pearls, and clinkers from a mind which seems to be in a state of near-collapse and rebellion. First let me present an insoluble problem within me. Doing my best to learn from history, I am aware of a fact of all great struggles. There have been millions of causes, battles, and so on, almost all of them lost. History rarely records the losers, except when they get hacked up in a particularly interesting and dramatic manner. But there are some winners, who do get recorded in history and I have examined these pretty carefully (wishing someday to join their exalted ranks) to see if there is any common pattern to their activity on this planet which might be a key to why they won, when almost everybody loses. There is absolutely no doubt about it; there is such a pattern, even though the causes and struggles vary in content or aim from Lenin’s Bolshevism to Adolf Hitler’s National Socialism, from a little old lady set on running her neighbor out of town to Genghis Khan and his human hamburger machine. The winners in every case have been more determined, more fanatical in their ruthless refusal to quit, than their competitors. This would seem to indicate that victory is given to him who is most persevering. But this has not been true, either. History abounds with persevering nuts who have repeatedly hopped off hills and buildings wearing “wings” and just as repeatedly landed on their behinds until there was nothing left. . . .
The conclusion I reach from all this is that it takes three things to make a winner: a good cause, i.e., a cause which is in time, in phase, and needed; a leader who is unshakeable in his determination to fight as long as he has a couple of stumps for legs and who can inspire that same will in his troops; and some plain good luck. As I examine my own cause, leadership, and luck, I find that it is absolutely impossible for me to make a detached judgment on whether I am one of the fanatics hopping off a hill with a pair of Woolworth, glue-and-feathers wings, or whether I am one of the guys who gets modeled into stone images for the benefit of pigeons. . . . I do not think either of you knows the answer to that one, either. However, I have the advantage over both of you in that I long, long ago made up my mind that the best thing I can do with my life — what’s left of it — is to take aim, do my best to control the inevitable shaking, and never take my eye and heart off the target until it goes down . . .
ON THE 25th OF AUGUST, 1967, a Friday, at two minutes before noon, near his Arlington headquarters, an assassin’s bullet struck him down.
The murderer, a man whom Rockwell had expelled from the Party a few months earlier for his repeated attempts to inject Marxist ideas subtly into Party publications and for publicly expounding a doctrine of racial Bolshevism, had lain in ambush atop a nearby building and fired into Rockwell’s car as it drove by. Ironically, Rockwell had rescued this puffed-up little Bolshevik from the gutters of New York City eight years before, and he had taken an almost fatherly interest in him ever since. He had never given up his repeated attempts to instill a little decency and sense of honor into him, despite overwhelming evidence that the man was a compulsive liar and thief and an incurable conspirator. All his well-meant efforts in this direction were rewarded only with heartache after heartache over the years — and finally with death, when the vicious little punk he thought he could make into a man found a chance to “get even” for being expelled from the Party.
Following a denial by the United States government of Commander Rockwell’s right to burial in a national cemetery, his Party comrades had his body cremated, and a National Socialist memorial service was held in Arlington on the afternoon of August 30. His eulogy was short but moving.
National Socialist comrades! Fellow White Americans! Today we take upon ourselves the sorrowful task of laying to rest the mortal remains of our beloved Commander, Lincoln Rockwell, martyred by the bullet of a cowardly assassin. To those of us who worked with him every day, to those Party comrades all over America, and to dedicated National Socialists throughout the world the staggering loss imposed by his death will only be fully felt in the days and years of struggle which lie ahead of us all. His inspiration and his will, the depth of his wisdom and the heroism of his spirit — these are the things which gave us the motivation and the guidance we sorely needed to keep up the fight on so many dark days in years past.
The stunning suddenness of his departure and the ensuing turmoil of the last few days have kept us from yet assessing the magnitude of our loss. But even harder to bear than this, perhaps, has been utterly shabby — the despicably shameful — treatment of our fallen Commander by a government of the nation he served so faithfully throughout all the years of his manhood. George Lincoln Rockwell gave his life in the struggle against Bolshevism at a time when thousands of other American fighting men on the other side of the world are also falling victims to that same Bolshevism — and yet an American government has denied his request to be laid to rest in the place of his choice.
George Lincoln Rockwell served America for twenty years and through two wars, risking his life again and again in defense of the land and the people he loved so well. He was no armchair soldier, but he chose of his own will that soldierly profession demanding the very highest order of courage and skill: he was a fighter pilot. His dedication to duty, his daring, his proficiency led him from the rank of Seaman to that of full Commander, gave him the leadership of three squadrons, and earned him nine decorations. And an American government does not hold him fit to be buried beside his fellow fighting men.
George Lincoln Rockwell has sacrificed more and fought harder for the things he held dear — his native land, his fellow countrymen, and above all his race — than any man now living. He saw his duty and unflinchingly did it, even when that duty led him into opposition to nearly all those around him. He saw further than other men, and he fought harder. Indeed, in this latter regard he cherished the maxim of the great Leader whose philosophy moulded his own thoughts: Those who want to live, let them fight; and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.
He fought, and he died. And yet Lincoln Rockwell is not really dead, for he built a Movement and he spread an idea, and that Movement was not destroyed nor that idea silenced by the bullet that struck him down. And so long as that Movement remains and that idea continues to fill the hearts and minds of men, the spirit of Lincoln Rockwell lives on.
The ashes of the martyr lie here before us, and we cannot help but be filled with a solemn sense of tragedy. Yet we are not really here to mourn him, but to honor him and to rededicate ourselves to the Cause which he served. In the times ahead we must redouble our efforts, so that he will not have died in vain. We must let his great sacrifice serve to inspire us onward in our struggle toward victory — the victory of our people, of our great White race, over the disease which now afflicts it and the enemies who now oppress it. Indeed at this moment we must bear in mind that old saying which the Commander paraphrased for us: ‘The stones and mortar of our Movement are the bones and blood of its martyrs.’ It is this aspect of his death that he would now want us to keep uppermost in mind, forgetting our sorrow and filling ourselves with pride at the knowledge we followed such a leader.
For it was he, Lincoln Rockwell, who again picked up the torch which fell to earth twenty-two years ago. Adolf Hitler founded our great Movement and will forever fill a unique position in the saga of our race; but had it not been for Lincoln Rockwell, Adolf Hitler’s mighty work might well have been in vain. It was Lincoln Rockwell who set us once again on the upward path when we had faltered and wanted to go back again. It was his example which inspired us to do what we knew we should do rather than that which was easiest to do. It was his hand which led us out of the maze of defeat and degeneration and despair, and pointed the way toward higher things; and his voice which reminded us over and over again that we must continue the struggle for our race.
As we lay to rest the mortal remains of Lincoln Rockwell, it is appropriate to read once again that passage from the Leader’s book which he loved best. I shall read from chapter twelve of the first volume of the Commander’s personal copy of Mein Kampf:
When human hearts break and human souls despair, the great vanquishers of distress and care, of shame and misery, of spiritual slavery and physical duress look down upon them from the twilight of the past and hold out their eternal hands to faint-hearted mortals. Woe to the people that is ashamed to grasp them!
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Source: National Socialist World Number 5 (Winter, 1967)