Hugh Samuel Johnson: Wikis


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Hugh S. Johnson on the cover of Time

Hugh Samuel Johnson (August 5, 1882 – April 15, 1942) American Army officer and National Recovery Administration official.



He was born in Fort Scott, Kansas in 1882. After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1903, Johnson became an officer in the US Army. Johnson served under General John J. Pershing in Mexico during 1916 and the following year became deputy provost marshal general in Washington.

When the United States entered the First World War, Johnson helped draft the Selective Service Act of 1917. By 1918 Johnson had reached the rank of brigadier general. His main duty was coordinating Army's purchases with the War Industries Board. He retired in 1919 and became an executive of Moline Plow Company. He left to become an advisor to Bernard Baruch in 1927, and campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election

Johnson played a major role in the New Deal. While helping organize the Democratic Party convention of 1932, he distributed a memo proposing that FDR become a Mussolini-like dictator in the economic sphere. In 1933 Roosevelt appointed Johnson to administer part of the National Recovery Administration (NRA). Johnson has been said to have looked on Italian Fascist corporativism as a kind of model.[1] He distributed copies of a Fascist tract called "The Corporate State" by one of Mussolini's favorite economists, including giving one to Labor Secretary Francis Perkins and asking her give copies to her cabinet.[2] The NRA involved organizing thousands of businesses under codes drawn up by trade associations and industries. He was recognized for his efforts when Time Magazine named the colorful New Dealer Man of the Year of 1933. "Old Iron Pants" could mix theorizing about industrial reorganization with evangelism for the NRA's omnipresent symbol, the "Blue Eagle." He was faltering badly by 1934, which historians ascribe to the profound contradictions in NRA policies, compounded by heavy drinking on the job. Roosevelt replaced him in September 1934, reassigning him to a Works Progress Administration position. Johnson was criticized by Labor Secretary Frances Perkins for having Fascist inclinations. Johnson supported Roosevelt in the 1936 presidential election, but when the Court-packing plan was announced in 1937 he denounced Roosevelt as a would-be dictator. He supported Wendell Willkie the Republican candidate in the 1940 presidential election, and in retaliation Roosevelt denied him any role in World War II.

An article in Time Magazine reported that during an NRA parade, as department store marches passed by waving their Blue Eagle placard, Johnson raised his hand in a "continuous Fascist salute".[3] Johnson in his memoir on the event and article, claimed that the photograph had been altered and that someone else's body had been superimposed over his.:

I stood in the reviewing stand in that parade and there were hundreds of people I knew who waved as they went past. Down below were massed batteries of cameras, and I knew if I raised my hand higher than my shoulders, it would seem and be publicized as a "Fascist salute." So I never did raise it higher. I just stuck my arm out straight and wiggled my hand around. But that didn't help me—Time came out saying I had constantly saluted au Mussolini and even had a photograph to prove it, but it wasn't my arm on that photograph. It wore the taped cuff sleeve of a cut-away coat and a stiff round cuff with an old fashioned cuff button and I never wore either in my whole life. I think it was the arm of Mayor O'Brien who stood beside me which had been faked onto my body.

Johnson wrote a number of articles and stories. One future history piece, The Dam, was written in 1911 and appears in the Sam Moskowitz anthology, Science Fiction by Gaslight. In it Japan invades and conquers California.

See also


  1. ^ Stanley Payne. History of Fascism. 1995. p 230.
  2. ^ Goldberg, Jonah. Liberal Fascism. Random House, Inc., 2008. p. 156
  3. ^ Not Since the Armistice... Time Magazine. Monday, September 25, 1933

For further reading

  • Ohl, John Kennedy. Hugh S. Johnson and the New Deal (1985), academic biography.
  • Johnson, Hugh S. The Blue Eagle, from Egg to Earth 1935, his memoir online edition

External links



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