The Neo-Fascist and Neo-Nazi

Research Paper Framework Assignment


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This week’s articles:


This week’s Reading:

American White Supremacist Movements Continued

The Ku Klux Klan groups ultimately failed to preserve the white power structure in the South. Despite violence and intimidation, segregation ended not with a bang but with a whimper. This defeat was not taken easily by white Southerners and their supporters elsewhere around the country. It ended a way of life. Exactly who were the Klansmen who fought against integration of African Americans into the American mainstream? George Thayer tried to explain the nature of the support for the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s:


Who are these Klansmen? Unquestionably most of them come from the working classes of white society, where the technological rejects, the insecure, the unassimilated, the despairing and the frightened congregate. The average Klansman has a fifth-grade education and is usually a day laborer, a mechanic or an industrial worker who works where job security is virtually nonexistent and where competition with Negroes is immediate and real. He lives in an urban society, but his heart is in the country. He sees himself as a poor white and knows that he is unwelcome in the city; but he also realizes he cannot return to the simple rural life he prefers. Often, he straddles the two societies, operating a gas station, selling cars or lightning rods, quick lunches-businesses that usually congregate along the “neon strip” border between center city and the farm. His slight education does little to ease his plight, for it gives him enough knowledge to be aware of his predicament, but not enough to escape it. He is not a part of the white power structure, and in this respect his actions reflect the same frustrations as the Negro, Catholic and Jew who are also excluded, for the most part from it. He feels trapped and sees no way out except by lashing out viciously at the Negro below him and the white power structure above him. (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 549-560)


A myriad of Ku Klux Klan groups are still active in the early years of the 21st century. The Klan movement has become so decentralized that anyone can claim leadership of a group and recruit a few members. These Klan group members can find robes and give themselves fancy titles. Next, the Klan groups plan a demonstration to gain maximum publicity to recruit other members. The latest issue that Klan groups are exploiting is the anti-immigration theme. Some claim that this issue will revitalize the Klan movement.


White Supremacy

The Ku Klux Klan was by no means the only white supremacist movement active in the United States in the period after 1945. Several other groups appeared eager to play the white supremacist race card without going around in outlandish costumes and burning crosses. Some of these groups preferred to work behinds the scenes, believing that they could block the civil rights movement and racial equality more effectively from that vantage point. Others were just as aggressive and violent as the Ku Klux Klan, but they wanted less notoriety. A culture of white supremacy had developed in the South, but it had allies throughout the nation. Supporters of white supremacy had control of the major institutions in the South. Among these institutions were the white churches. An example of justification of white supremacy by an advocate was Blake Craft, minister of the First Methodist Church in Clayton, Georgia, and editor of One Methodist Voice. He advanced a theology for advocates of white supremacy:


1. “God designed it…. I do not believe that God in His creative processes happened to smear a little black by mistake on some primitive man from which sprang the Negro man”

2. “Mongrelization would mean the destruction of a cherished race history” with its “highest culture and purest faith.”

3. “All of the revealed truth of God in the development of real religion has been discovered and received by the people of the white race.”


Craft then lectured that the blacks have “a sense of gratitude for the white people who made it possible for them not to have been born in the jungles and brought up in paganism.” The eugenics movement became an ally of white supremacy. Starting out with good intentions to improve human life, it soon became an instrument for racists. “American eugenicists, armed with charts, photographs, and even human skulls, were there to provide the visual and mathematical support that rendered racism scientifically valid and politically viable” (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 571-579).


Much of the efforts of American eugenicists were in restricting immigration in the 1920s, but their argument of the superiority of northern European and inferiority of others, including Jews and southern Europeans, reinforced racism in the United States. Many members of the eugenics movement were pro-Nazi before World War II. The exposes’ of Nazi racial, negative eugenics leading to the Holocaust temporarily sidetracked the momentum of the eugenics movement. After World War II, eugenicists “merely bowed to post-Holocaust sensibilities, publicly … while maintaining its race-based practices. American scholar Nancy Ordover concluded that eugenics is a scavenger ideology: “Eugenics … is a scavenger ideology, exploiting and reinforcing anxieties over race, gender, sexuality, and class and bringing them into the service of nationalism, white supremacy, and heterosexism-not for the first time, but under a cover of a new phraseology” (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 571-579).


White supremacy was the dominant philosophy in America from colonial times. It manifested itself in a variety of ways, from outright racism to subtle methods to control various minorities. Books were written to justify racism. The most effective way was to use the legal systems in The United States. Legislatures have had little difficulty in passing the laws, and local law enforcement entities have had no problem enforcing the law. The period covered in the course textbook was the era when this consensus broke down. Individuals and organizations lamented this breakdown but could do little to stop it. Now it is necessary to look at the more violent neo-Nazis.


Neo-Fascist and Neo-Nazi

Beside both the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups has stood America’s brand of fascism and neo-Nazism. The Depression in the United States produced extremism on both sides of the political spectrum: communism and fascism. Of the two, fascism for a time seemed to have a better chance to grow in America because of the apparent success of fascism in Benito Mussolini’s Italy. Germany’s brand of fascism was crude, and Nazism alienated almost as many as it attracted. Communism had its appeal, but to be a communist took total commitment, and Stalin’s regime always had a grim visage. In the late 1930s, American Nazi and fascist groups proliferated. There were 120 fascist organizations in the 1930s, but it was impossible to unite them because of the jealousy among these “self-styled fuhrers.” Fascism had too much baggage as a foreign ideology for it to be converted into an American mass movement. Consequently, these groups always remained small, but they had a common characteristic-hate. John Roy Carlson served as an undercover journalist investigating these groups, and he concluded,


“Hate was the international cement that held fascism together, and America’s fascist leaders built their organizations on a framework of hate. Hate was their handshake and hate their parting word. To join a ‘one hundred per cent Christian-American-Patriotic’ group you didn’t have to be Christian. Heathens and Mohammedans were welcome. Japanese were eligible. Crooks, thugs, racketeers, step right up. There was just one requirement. Hate! Hate the Niggers, the Jews, the Polacks, the Catholics, the Communists, the Masons, the bankers, the labor unions! Democracy. Hate anything, but hate!” (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 1071-1075)


Among the groups that were active were Jack Cassidy’s Christian Front, George E. Deatherage’s American Nationalist Confederacy, Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams’s Christian Mobilizers, George A. Van Nosdall’s Crusaders for Americanism, and Peter Stahrenberg’s American National-Socialist Party. More than a hundred groups formed, and each was competing for the same constituency. Of the groups, four made a national impact-the Khaki Shirts of America, the Silver Shirts, the German American Bund, and the America First Committee.


World War II was a dividing point between prewar American Nazi and fascist movements and the modern variants. Before the war, there was at least a veneer of respectability for extremist causes. The war ended this veneer, but the specter of postwar communism allowed right-wing radical extremism to revive as supposed patriotism. Some of the prewar players resumed their roles, but others fell by the wayside.


The intermediary between American prewar Nazism and the postwar neo-Nazism was Harold Keith Thompson. He was born around 1922 in New Jersey. As a teenager, he joined the German American Bund and the isolationist America First Committee.’ His attraction to Nazism led him to become a Nazi SD/Overseas Intelligence agent during World War 11.2 During the war, Thompson entered Yale University, from where he graduated in 1946.


Throughout the postwar era, Thompson continued to help German ex-Nazis and encourage American neo-Nazis. By the 1950s, he had become a successful executive, owning a public relations firm. With his extensive political connections, Thompson represented the prominent ex-Nazis Otto Skorzeny and Otto Remer in American political circles. Thompson served as the official American representative of the German neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party, and he lobbied American officials for favorable treatment of this party. He also established a good working relationship with Admiral Karl Doenitz, Hitler’s chosen replacement as head of the postwar Nazi movement. Among his American contacts was the neo-Nazi James Madole, the founder and head of the National Renaissance Party.


The American skinhead movement is an offshoot of the English skinhead movement. English skinheads had formed in the 1970s in a reaction to the hippie movement. Most of these skinheads were from the English lower classes alienated from British society. With their shaved heads, blue jeans, Doc Martens boots, and a belligerent attitude, they gloried in violence. Their other loves were beer and soccer teams. Soon, a wing of the skinhead movement became attracted to white supremacy and neo-Nazism. Within years, the skinhead movement had migrated to continental Europe and shortly thereafter to the United States.


One of the earliest American skinhead groups was the Chicago-based Romantic Violence. It also was known as the Chicago Area Skinheads (CASH). Six skinheads founded this group in 1987. The leader of this group, which glorified violence, was Clark Martell, who said, “I am a violent person. I love the white race, and if you love something, you’re the most vicious person on earth.” Before becoming the head of Romantic Violence, Martell had been a member of the American Nazi Party. He had also served 30 months in prison for an attempt to firebomb the home of a Hispanic couple in Cicero, Illinois. Martell spent much of his time recruiting members for his skinhead group. In 1989, he was in legal trouble again for home invasion, aggravated battery, and robbery. His conviction was for 22 years, but he served only 3 years. After release from prison, Martell disappeared from the skinhead scene, but he left a legacy of violence and a much stronger skinhead presence in Chicago (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 1835-1844).


It took less than a decade for a multitude of skinhead groups to spread throughout the United States. Most cities had one or more skinhead groups, sometimes competing for recruits and turf with each other. All it took to form a skinhead group was for a band of friends to gather around a leader.


Often several young skinheads, male and female, will join together as a household. They hang out, listen to music, and get drunk. Not all skinheads are racist, but part of the point is to shock society by their appearance and actions. They may seek out people of color or gay men and lesbians to rob and assault. Symbols are important: hairstyle, tattoos, leather and chains, Doc Marten boots, makeup. In the Northeast, white shoelaces indicate a white-power skinhead; yellow laces denote Asian bashers; pink laces, gay bashers; black shoelaces, however, mean the wearer is antiracist.


Former skinhead Thomas “T. J ” Leyden described how easy it is to become a skinhead:


“We were middle-class to rich, bored white kids. We had a lot of time on our hands, so we decided to become gang members. When a kid doesn’t have something else constructive to do, he’s going to find something, whether it’s football, baseball or hanging with neo-Nazi Skinheads. I tell people all the time, ‘Every kid wants a sense of belonging.’ And what easier group to fit in with than Skinheads? You’re white, you’re Nazi, you fit the criteria.” (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 1835-1844)


Soon after a skinhead group formed, it would be engaged in violent activities. A favorite place for violence was at punk rock concerts. Leyden claims that if he filled a room with 1,000 neo-Nazi skinheads, probably 900 of them would say that the music was the single most important thing that had influenced him to join the neo-Nazi skinhead movement. Not all skinheads were neo-Nazis; the Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) was also active. Fights between the neo-Nazis and SHARPs could become especially vicious.


The propensity of the neo-Nazi skinheads for violence soon attracted attention from right-wing white supremacists. Most prominent of these was Tom Metzger and his White Aryan Resistance (WAR). Metzger believed recruiting neo-Nazi skinheads could provide the storm troops of his movement. He sent a representative, Dave Mazzella, to Portland, Oregon, to organize the skinheads there to support WAR. This initiative soon proved to be a miscalculation after three skinheads-Kyle Brewster, Ken Mieske, and Steve Strasser attacked three Ethiopians and killed one of them, Mulugeta Seraw. The three skinheads were soon caught and convicted of murder. They are now serving long prison sentences. Metzger’s flirtation with the skinheads proved costly after the civil suit by the Southern Poverty Law Center bankrupted both WAR and Metzger. Since then, white supremacists have been reluctant to recruit skinheads into their ranks.


White supremacist leaders have realized that the skinheads are too unstable to control. Violence is such a part of their code of conduct. David Mazzella testified about this at the Mulugeta Seraw trial: “With skinheads, it’s all about respect. Skinheads will only respect someone who is violent and who will kick some ass.” Although white supremacists might be sympathetic to this code, leaders of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are reluctant to embrace a philosophy that will lead them to lengthy prison sentences. In the meantime, the neo-Nazi skinheads resort to random acts of violence, sometimes among themselves (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 1835-1844).


White supremacy is still a potent element in American society. It appears in various guises during periods of social stress and then recedes into the background ready to spring up again. Several white supremacist organizations have enjoyed periods of popularity before sliding back into obscurity. Other groups have emerged, made a splash of publicity, and then self-destructed; this has been true of several organizations-the American Nazi Party, the National Socialist Party of America, the National Alliance, and the Aryan Nations. The success of these groups has depended heavily on the charismatic appeal of a leader. George Lincoln Rockwell is the obvious example, but even the less charismatic types, Richard Girnt Butler and William Pierce, could hold an organization together. Where the problem has been is in the succession. None of the groups has had success in the picking a viable successor. The result is that groups have split as dissension sets in, almost destroying the organization.


Like many of the other extremist groups, neo-Nazi groups have little chance of gaining political power in the United States. Pseudo fuhrers appear periodically, filled with ideas that they are going to follow the path of Adolf Hitler and come to power in a peaceful coup d’etat. The problem for them is that it just has not happened. Even George Lincoln Rockwell came to realize that Americans were not going to flock to an American Nazi organization, no matter the situation. He began to look for alternatives in a white supremacy organization. Sometimes, these leaders become discredited, or others challenge them for leadership, so that the group disintegrates into smaller subsections. Others are so obscure that no one knows or cares about their existence. Only in times of national crisis could one of these groups appear to an alienated segment of American society, but only in the guise of another type of organization. Neo-Nazis just have too many liabilities for them to succeed in the United States.


The real danger is the skinhead movement. Disaffected youth have flocked to various skinhead groups. Striking back at society through violence appeals to them. Recruiters from the skinhead groups are always looking out for potential members. Although none of the skinhead groups are large, the potential for growth is apparent in troubled times (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 1882-1895).


In almost all right-wing movements, there are either vestiges of anti-Semitism or outright advocacy of it. This anti-Semitism can be displayed in various ways, from outright attacks on Jews by individuals to rantings about Jewish bankers and their influence on the American economy. In times of economic or social stress, anti-Semitism is particularly virulent. This phenomenon appeared most starkly during the Depression. Donald Strong pointed this out in his book on organized anti-Semitism in America in 1941: “Anti-Semitism in the United States may be considered as a phase of the anti-alien sentiment that has periodically manifested itself. The Jew is the perpetual alien. Since he is frequently identified as a member of a separate group, he is invariably a victim of any anti-alien movements.”


The influence of Henry Ford on American anti-Semitism cannot be overestimated. Although Ford later recanted many of his anti-Semitic stances, in the 1920s, he actively advanced anti-Semitism through his newspaper the Dearborn Independent. He also packaged the anti-Semitic pamphlet The Protocols of the Elders of Zion into his book The International Jew. For several years in the 1920s, Ford presented his book to those buying Ford automobiles.


There was a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic groups during the 1930s. From a mere handful of anti-Semitic groups in the early l930s, there appeared 121 “anti-revolutionary, anti-Semitic organizations during the years 1933-194O.” Part of this growth was the result of an idealization of the German and Italian brands of fascism. Italian fascism was more nationalistic than anti-Semitic, but the Nazis incorporated anti-Semitism as one of the prime facts of their ideology.


The outbreak of World War II muted anti-Semitism in the United States, and news of the Holocaust made anti-Semitism less respectable, but its main adherents simply went underground. The anti-Semitic extremists still advanced their views, but in more inconspicuous ways. Anti-Semitism reappeared strongly in the South during the civil rights movement. Southerners blamed Jewish radicals for encouraging blacks to challenge the segregationist system. Even after black leaders weaned their organization of Jews, Southern segregationists still blamed the Jews for the civil rights movement.


Among America’s prominent anti-Semitic leaders was William Pierce of the National Alliance. It was in his 1978 novel The Turner Diaries that popularized the term ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government). This term entered the vocabulary of anti-Semites to express the idea that Jews controlled the federal government. During the farm crisis of the 1970s, resentment against bankers and foreclosures of farms led to charges against Jewish bankers.


The development of Christian Identity also gave anti-Semites a religious reason to hate Jews. By making Jesus Christ an Aryan and rejecting Jews’ claims to being the chosen people, Christian Identity preachers hammered their congregations with anti-Jewish claims. As Christian Identity became a white supremacist church, it soon attracted extremists of all kinds, from the Ku Klux Klan to neo-Nazism. The unifying theme was always that Jews were evil and a threat to American civilization (Atkins, 2011, Kindle Locations 1902-1912).


Old-fashioned anti-Semitism was difficult to sustain. Anti-Semitism had become so embedded with Nazism and the Holocaust that it was no longer respectable to the American public. Individual and anti-Semitic groups never changed their views, but they began to look for more respectable outlets. The best one proved to be Holocaust denial. Another was the anti-Semitism of Christian Identity.



Research Paper Framework Assignment


For this assignment, you will develop a framework to outline your research paper for this course that will be due in week 6. 

For this assignment you will outline your research paper by doing the following: 

Pick 2 domestic extremist or terrorist groups to analyze (one left wing, one right wing). See below for more information on the 8 categories of domestic extremists’ threat groups to choose from. Include the two chosen domestic extremist or terrorist groups in your title or subtitle. The title of your paper should be brief but should adequately inform the reader of your general topic and the specific focus of your research. Keywords relating to parameters, population, and other specifics are useful. 

Develop a purpose statement for your research paper. The purpose statement orients the reader to the central intent of the study and from it all other aspects of the research project follow. The purpose statement should be a concise paragraph that describes the intent of the final research paper, specifically address the reason(s) for conducting the study and reflects the research questions. Begin the purpose statement with a succinct sentence that indicates the study method and overarching goal. “The purpose of this study is to… (describe the study goal that directly reflects and encompasses the research questions). 

Craft research question(s). Present here the specific research question(s) which will be addressed in the upcoming research paper assignment. For more on this see the APUS Writing Center on Graduate level writing, the section on research questions can be found at

 Write a draft outline. Explain the sections you plan to use in you research paper.

Include a reference list of at least six scholarly sources. Ensure you use only scholarly sources from the required readings as well as conducting your own outside research. See this APUS Library discussion on How do I find peer reviewed or scholarly articles?

Details on the research paper assignment (due at the end of week 6):

Select two domestic extremist or terrorist organizations within the United States and complete an in-depth profile of both groups. One group must be right wing, and the other left wing. Write a graduate level research paper that provides a description of each organization including their ideology, goals & objectives, political actions, propaganda techniques, and specifics of their violent actions. Also address their recruitment and radicalization process. Then compare and contrast your two selected groups within your research paper. Finally, you are to discuss counter violent extremism approaches that you asses would be effective if employed against both groups. 

For this research paper we are looking at extremists inspired by domestic causes within the U.S. from both the left wing and right wing. The FBI generally describes domestic extremist causes or ideology by listing the following threat categories: 

Right Wing:

  • Abortion Extremists (such as the Christian Identity Movement)
  • Militia Extremists
  • Sovereign Citizen Extremists
  • White Supremacy Extremists

 Left Wing:

  • Animal Rights Extremists
  • Anarchist Extremists and Anti-Fascists (Antifa)
  • Black Nationalist Extremists
  • Environmental Extremists

 Technical Requirements

  • Your paper must be at a minimum of 2-3 pages (the Title and Reference pages do not count towards the minimum limit).
  • Scholarly and credible references should be used. A good rule of thumb is at least 2 scholarly sources per page of content.
  • Type in Times New Roman, 12 point and double space.
  • Students will follow the current APA Style as the sole citation and reference style used in written work submitted as part of coursework. 
  • Points will be deducted for the use of Wikipedia or encyclopedic type sources. It is highly advised to utilize books, peer-reviewed journals, articles, archived documents, etc.
  • All submissions will be graded using the assignment rubric.


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