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The American Nazi Party (ANP) was founded by retired U.S. Navy Commander George Lincoln Rockwell. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Rockwell initially called it the World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists (WUFENS), but Rockwell renamed it the American Nazi Party in 1960 to attract maximum media attention. The party was based largely upon the ideals and policies of Adolf Hitler's NSDAP in Germany during the Third Reich but claimed that it was in conformance with the Constitutional principles of the U.S.'s Founding Fathers. It also added a platform of Holocaust denial.

Contents

Headquarters

The WUFENS headquarters was first located in a residence on Williamsburg Road in Arlington, but was later moved as the ANP headquarters to a house at 928 North Randolph Street (now a hotel and office building site). Rockwell and some party members also established a "Stormtrooper Barracks" in a farmhouse in the Dominion Hills section of Arlington at what is now the Upton Hill Regional Park, the tallest hill in the county. After Rockwell's death, the headquarters was moved again to one side of a duplex brick and concrete storefront at 2507 North Franklin Road which featured a swastika prominently mounted above the front door. This site was visible from busy Wilson Boulevard. Today the Franklin Road address is often misidentified as Rockwell's headquarters when in fact it was the successor organization's last physical address in Arlington (now a coffeehouse).[1]

Activities

Modern Ad

The American Nazi Party published racist cartoon books portraying white men fighting and defending white school children allegedly oppressed by blacks. "Send Them Back to Africa" was a common theme. ANP members stood in the parking lots of local junior high & high school parking lots handing out these cartoons to young students, Thomas Jefferson Junior High School (now Thomas Jefferson Middle School) in particular.[citation needed]

Name change to National Socialist White People's Party and Rockwell's assassination

After several years of living in impoverished conditions, Rockwell began to experience some financial success with paid speaking engagements at universities where he was invited to express his controversial views as exercises in free speech. This inspired him to end the rancorous "Phase One" party tactics and begin "Phase Two", a plan to recast the group as a legitimate political party by toning down the verbal and written attacks against non-whites, replacing the party rallying cry of "Sieg Heil!" with "White Power!", limiting public display of the swastika, and entering candidates in local elections. On January 1, 1967 Rockwell renamed the ANP to the National Socialist White People's Party (NWSPP), a move that alienated some hard-line members. Before he could fully implement party reforms, Rockwell was assassinated on August 25, 1967 by disgruntled follower, John Patler.

Assassination of George Lincoln Rockwell

An assassination attempt was made on Rockwell on June 28, 1967. As Rockwell returned from shopping, he drove into the party headquarters driveway on Wilson Boulevard and found it blocked by a felled tree and brush. Rockwell assumed that it was another prank by local teens. As a young boy cleared the obstruction, two shots were fired at Rockwell from behind one of the swastika-embossed brick driveway pillars. One of the shots ricocheted off the car, right next to his head. Leaping from the car, Rockwell pursued the would-be assassin. On June 30, Rockwell petitioned the Arlington County Circuit Court for a gun permit; no action was ever taken on his request.

On August 25, 1967, Rockwell was killed by John Patler, a former party member whom Rockwell had ejected from the party for allegedly trying to introduce Marxist doctrine into the party's platforms. While leaving the Econowash laundromat at the Dominion Hills Shopping Center in Arlington, Virginia, two bullets entered his car through his windshield, striking Rockwell in the head and chest. His car slowly rolled backwards to a stop and Rockwell staggered out of the front passenger side door of the car, and then collapsed on the pavement.[2]

Koehl succession and ideological divisions

Rockwell's deputy commander, Matt Koehl, a staunch Hitlerist, assumed the leadership role after a party council agreed that he should retain command. Koehl continued some of Rockwell’s reforms such as emphasizing the glories of a future all-white society but retained the pseudo-Nazi uniforms of the party's "Storm Troopers" who had been modeled on the NSDAP's Sturmabteilung, and the swastika-festooned party literature. In 1968 Koehl moved the party to a new headquarters at 2507 North Franklin Road, clearly visible from Arlington's main thoroughfare, Wilson Boulevard. He also established a printing press, a "George Lincoln Rockwell Memorial Book Store", and member living quarters on property nearby.

The party began to experience ideological division among its followers as it entered the 1970s. In 1970, member Frank Collin, broke away from the group and founded the National Socialist Party of America, which became famous due to an attempt to march through Skokie, Illinois, a community with a large Jewish population that included numerous survivors of the Holocaust. The event was dramatized in the television film Skokie and is mocked in the film The Blues Brothers. Collin, who was secretly an ethnic Jew, chose to lead demonstrations in Chicago's Marquette Park area and Skokie for a demonstration. In 1979 Collin was convicted of child molestation and his Jewish ethnicity revealed during subsequent investigations.[3]

Other dissatisfied members of the NSWPP chose to support William Luther Pierce, eventually forming the National Alliance in 1974.

Further membership erosion occurred as Koehl, drawing heavily upon the teachings of Hitlerian mystic Savitri Devi, began to suggest that National Socialism was more akin to a religious movement than a political one. He espoused the belief that Hitler was the gift of an inscrutable divine providence sent to rescue the white race from decadence and gradual extinction caused by a declining birth rate and miscegenation. Hitler's death in 1945 was viewed as a type of martyrdom; a voluntary, Christ-like self-sacrifice, that looked forward to a spiritual resurrection of National Socialism at a later date when the Aryan race would need it the most. These esoteric beliefs led to disputes with the World Union of National Socialists, which Rockwell had founded and whose leader, Danish neo-Nazi Povl Riis-Knudsen, had been appointed by Koehl. Undaunted, Koehl continued to recast the party as a new religion in formation. Public rallies were gradually phased out in favor of low-key gatherings in private venues. On Labor Day 1979, in a highly unpopular move for some members, Koehl disbanded the party's paramilitary "Storm Troopers". The Koehl organization is now known as the New Order and operates so far from the public spotlight that few of today's neo-Nazis are aware of its existence or know that it is the linear descendant of Rockwell's original ANP.

Namesake organization

Today, the name "American Nazi Party" has been adopted by an organization headed by Rocky J. Suhayda. Headquartered in Westland, Michigan, this group claims George Lincoln Rockwell as their founder, but there is no actual connection to the original ANP or its successor organizations, apart from the fact that their website sells nostalgic reprints of Rockwell's 1960s-era magazine "The Stormtrooper".

References

  1. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502676.html Washington Post - "It's Just Nazi Same Place" - Gene Weingarten
  2. ^ "American "Nazi" Shot Dead". BBC News. August 25, 1967. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/25/newsid_3031000/3031928.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  3. ^ “Hate Groups, Racial Tension and Ethnoviolence in an Integrating Chicago Neighborhood 1976-1988,” by Chip Berlet; in Betty A. Dobratz, Lisa K. Walder, and Timothy Buzzell, eds., Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 9: The Politics of Social Inequality, 2001, pp. 117–163.

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