Bellant: Old Nazis/Preface by Berlet
“One of the great lies of this century is that in the 1930’s
Generalissimo Franco in Spain was primarily a nationalist engaged
in stopping the Reds. Franco was, of course, a fascist who was
aided by Mussolini and Hitler.”
“The history of this period is a press forgery. Falsified
news manipulates public opinion. Democracy needs facts. Once,
while I was questioning publisher and editor William Allen White,
we arrived at a formula that still is the best rule for
journalists–The facts fairly and honestly presented; the truth
will take care of itself.”
(–George Seldes – Hartland Four Corners, Vermont, March 5, 1988)
“Fascism, which was not afraid to call itself reactionary…
does not hesitate to call itself illiberal and anti-liberal.”
“Reactionary concepts plus revolutionary emotion result in
“If fascism came to America, it would be on a program of Americanism.”
(–Huey P. Long)
“The great masses of people. . .will more easily fall
victims to a big lie than to a small one.”
PREFACE by Chip Berlet
In this paper, author Russ Bellant tells us that an
Eastern European emigre fascist network with direct ties to
former Nazi collaborators has penetrated the Republican Party
through its ethnic outreach program. He further argues that this
network has played a significant role in shaping American foreign
policy since World War II, with the goal of rolling back the
borders of the Soviet Union in an inevitable military confrontation.
Mr. Bellant faces a major hurdle convincing us that this
lurid-sounding tale is true, and he faces this challenge head-on.
That ultimately he is successful in this task is due to his
dozens of interviews, hundreds of footnotes, and thousands of
hours of research.
Perhaps a harder question to address than the validity of
the charges, is seemingly the simplest: Should we care? To
understand why the answer is yes, we should care, one must start
by examining the roots of the nationalist political movements of
1930’s Europe, and the role played by political fascism and
Nazism in shaping these movements.
We have all heard of the Nazis–but our image is usually a
caricature of a brutal goose-stepping soldier wearing a uniform
emblazoned with a swastika. Most people in the U.S. are aware
that the U.S. and its allies fought a war against the Nazis, but
there is much more to know if one is to learn the important
lessons of our recent history.
Technically, the word NAZI was the acronym for the
National Socialist German Worker’s Party. It was a fascist
movement that had its roots in the European nationalist and
socialist movements, and that developed a grotesque
biologically-determinant view of so-called “Aryan” supremacy.
(Here we use “national socialism” to refer to the early Nazi
movement before Hitler came to power, sometimes termed the
“Brownshirt” phase, and the term “Nazi” to refer to the movement
after it had consolidated around ideological fascism.)
The seeds of fascism, however, were planted in Italy.
“Fascism is reaction,” said Mussolini, but reaction to what? The
reactionary movement following World War I was based on a
rejection of the social theories that formed the basis of the
1789 French Revolution, and whose early formulations in this
country had a major influence on our Declaration of Independence,
Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
It was Rousseau who is best known for crystallizing these
modern social theories in . The progeny of
these theories are sometimes called Modernism or Modernity
because they challenged social theories generally accepted since
the days of Machiavelli. The response to the French Revolution
and Rousseau, by Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche> and others, poured
into an intellectual stew which served up Marxism, socialism,
national socialism, fascism, modern liberalism, modern
conservatism, communism, and a variety of forms of capitalist
Fascists particularly loathed the social theories of the
French Revolution and its slogan: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”
*** Liberty from oppressive government intervention in the
daily lives of its citizens, from illicit searches and seizures,
from enforced religious values, from intimidation and arrest for
dissenters; and liberty to cast a vote in a system in which the
majority ruled but the minority retained certain inalienable rights.
*** Equality in the sense of civic equality, egalitarianism,
the notion that while people differ, they all should stand equal
in the eyes of the law.
*** Fraternity in the sense of the brotherhood of mankind.
That all women and men, the old and the young, the infirm and the
healthy, the rich and the poor, share a spark of humanity that
must be cherished on a level above that of the law, and that
binds us all together in a manner that continuously re-affirms
and celebrates life.
This is what fascism as an ideology was reacting
against–and its support came primarily from desperate people
anxious and angry over their perception that their social and
economic position was sinking and frustrated with the constant
risk of chaos, uncertainty and inefficiency implicit in a modern
democracy based on these principles. Fascism is the antithesis of
democracy. We fought a war against it not half a century ago;
millions perished as victims of fascism and champions of liberty.
Fascism was forged in the crucible of post-World War I
nationalism in Europe. The national aspirations of many European
peoples–nations without states, peoples arbitrarily assigned to
political entities with little regard for custom or culture–had
been crushed after World War I. The humiliation imposed by the
victors in the Great War, coupled with the hardship of the
economic Depression, created bitterness and anger. That anger
frequently found its outlet in an ideology that asserted not just
the importance of the nation, but its unquestionable primacy and
central predestined role in history.
In identifying “goodness” and “superiority” with “us,”
there was a tendency to identify “evil” with “them.” This process
involves scapegoating and dehumanization. It was then an easy
step to blame all societal problems on “them,” and presuppose a
conspiracy of these evildoers which had emasculated and
humiliated the idealized core group of the nation. To solve
society’s problems one need only unmask the conspirators and
In Europe, Jews were the handy group to scapegoat as
“them.” Anti- Jewish conspiracy theories and discrimination
against Jews were not a new phenomenon, but most academic studies
of the period note an increased anti-Jewish fervor in Europe,
especially in the late 1800’s. In France this anti-Jewish bias
was most publicly expressed in the case of Alfred Dreyfus, a
French military officer of Jewish background, who in 1894 was
falsely accused of treason, convicted (through the use of forged
papers as evidence) and imprisoned on Devil’s Island. <144>mile
Zola mile> led a noble struggle which freed Dreyfus and exposed
the role of anti-Jewish bigotry in shaping French society and
betraying the principles on which France was building its democracy.
Not all European nationalist movements were necessarily
fascist, although many were. In some countries much of the
Catholic hierarchy embraced fascist nationalism as a way to
counter the encroachment of secular influences on societies where
previously the church had sole control over societal values and
mores. This was especially true in Slovakia and Croatia, where
the Clerical Fascist movements were strong, and to a lesser
extent in Poland and Hungary. Yet even in these countries
individual Catholic leaders and laity spoke out against bigotry
as the shadow of fascism crept across Europe. And in every
country of Europe there were ordinary citizens who took
extraordinary risks to shelter the victims of the Holocaust. So
religion and nationality cannot be valid indicators of fascist
sentiment. And the Nazis not only came for the Jews, as the
famous quote reminds us, but for the communists and the trade
union leaders, and indeed the Gypsies, the dissidents and the
homosexuals. Nazism and fascism are more complex than popular
belief. What, then, is the nature of fascism?
Italy was the birthplace of fascist ideology. Mussolini, a
former socialist journalist, organized the first fascist movement
in 1919 at Milan. In 1922 Mussolini led a march on Rome, was
given a government post by the king, and began transforming the
Italian political system into a fascist state. In 1938 he forced
the last vestige of democracy, the Council of Deputies, to vote
themselves out of existence, leaving Mussolini dictator of
Yet there were Italian fascists who resisted scapegoating
and dehumanization even during World War II. Not far from the
area where Austrian Prime Minister Kurt Waldheim is accused of
assisting in the transport of Jews to the death camps, one
Italian General, Mario Roatta, who had pledged equality of
treatment to civilians, refused to obey the German military order
to round up Jews. Roatta said such an activity was “incompatible
with the honor of the Italian Army.”
Franco’s fascist movement in Spain claimed state power in
1936, although it took three years, the assistance of the Italian
fascists and help from the secretly reconstituted German Air
Force finally to crush those who fought for democracy. Picasso’s
famous painting depicts the carnage wrought in a
Spanish village by the bombs dropped by the forerunner of the
which all too soon would be working on an even larger
canvas. Yet Franco’s fascist Spain never adopted the obsession
with race and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories that were
hallmarks of Hitler’s Nazi movement in Germany.
Other fascist movements in Europe were more explicitly
racialist, promoting the slogan still used today by some neo-Nazi
movements: “Nation is Race.” The Nazi racialist version of
fascism was developed by Adolph Hitler who with six others formed
the Nazi party during 1919 and 1920. Imprisoned after the
unsuccessful 1923 Beer Hall putsch in Munich, Hitler dictated his
opus, to his secretary, Rudolph Hess.
(My Battle) sets out a plan for creating in
Germany through national socialism a racially pure
state. To succeed, said Hitler, “Aryan” Germany had to resist
two forces: the external threat posed by the French with their
bloodlines “negrified” through “contamination by Negro blood,”
and the internal threat posed by “the Marxist shock troops of
international Jewish stock exchange capital.” Hitler was named
Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg in January 1933 and by
year’s end had consolidated his power as a fascist dictator and
begun a campaign for racialist nationalism that eventually led
to the Holocaust.
This obsession with a racialism not only afflicted the
German Nazis, but also several eastern European nationalist and
fascist movements including those in Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia,
Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. Anti-Jewish
bigotry was rampant in all of these racialist movements, as was
the idea of a link between Jewish financiers and Marxists. Even
today the tiny Anti-communist Confederation of Polish Freedom
Fighters in the U.S.A. uses the slogan “Communism is Jewish.”
One element shared by all fascist movements, racialist or
not, is the apparent lack of consistent political principle
behind the ideology–political opportunism in the most basic
sense. One virtually unique aspect of fascism is its ruthless
drive to attain and hold state power. On that road to power,
fascists are willing to abandon any principle to adopt an issue
more in vogue and more likely to gain converts.
Hitler, for his part, committed his act of abandonment
bloodily and dramatically. When the industrialist power brokers
offered control of Germany to Hitler, they knew he was supported
by national socialist ideologues who held views incompatible with
their idea of profitable enterprise. Hitler solved the problem in
the “Night of the Long Knives,” during which he had the
leadership of the national socialist wing of his constituency
murdered in their sleep.
What distinguishes Nazism from generic fascism is its
obsession with racial theories of superiority, and some would
say, its roots in the socialist theory of proletarian revolution.
Fascism and Nazism as ideologies involve, to varying
degrees, some of the following hallmarks:
*** Nationalism and super-patriotism with a sense of
*** Aggressive militarism even to the extent of glorifying
war as good for the national or individual spirit.
*** Use of violence or threats of violence to impose views
on others (fascism and Nazism both employed street violence and
state violence at different moments in their development).
*** Authoritarian reliance on a leader or elite not
constitutionally responsible to an electorate.
*** Cult of personality around a charismatic leader.
*** Reaction against the values of Modernism, usually with
emotional attacks against both liberalism and communism.
*** Exhortations for the homogeneous masses ( or folk)
to join voluntarily in a heroic mission–often metaphysical and
romanticized in character.
*** Dehumanization and scapegoating of the enemy–seeing the
enemy as an inferior or subhuman force, perhaps involved in a
conspiracy that justifies eradicating them.
*** The self image of being a superior form of social
organization beyond socialism, capitalism and democracy.
*** Elements of national socialist ideological roots, for
example, ostensible support for the industrial working class or
farmers; but ultimately, the forging of an alliance with an elite
sector of society.
*** Abandonment of any consistent ideology in a drive for
It is vitally important to understand that fascism and
Nazism are not biologically or culturally determinant. Fascism
does not attach to the gene structure of any specific group or
nationality. Nazism was not the ultimate expression of the German
people. Fascism did not end with World War II.
After Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies, the
geopolitical landscape of Europe was once again drastically
altered. In a few short months, some of our former fascist
enemies became our allies in the fight to stop the spread of
communism. The record of this transformation has been laid out in
a series of books. U.S. recruitment of the Nazi spy apparatus has
been chronicled in books ranging from by
Hohne & Zolling, to the recent by Simpson. The
laundering of Nazi scientists into our space program is
chronicled in by Bowers. The global
activities of, and ongoing fascist role within, the World
Anti-Communist League were described in by
Anderson and Anderson. Bellant’s bibliography cites many other
examples of detailed and accurate reporting of these disturbing realities.
But if so much is already known of this period, why does
journalist and historian George Seldes call the history of Europe
between roughly 1920 and 1950 a “press forgery”? Because most
people are completely unfamiliar with this material, and because
so much of the popular historical record either ignores or
contradicts the facts of European nationalism, Nazi
collaborationism, and our government’s reliance on these enemies
of democracy to further our Cold War foreign policy objectives.
This widely-accepted, albeit misleading, historical record
has been shaped by filtered media reports and self-serving
academic revisionism rooted in an ideological preference for
those European nationalist forces which opposed socialism and
communism. Since sectors of those nationalist anti-communist
forces allied themselves with political fascism, but later became
our allies against communism, for collaborationists
became the rule, not the exception.
Soon, as war memories dimmed and newspaper accounts of
collaboration faded, the fascists and their allies re-emerged
cloaked in a new mantle of respectability. Portrayed as
anti-communist freedom fighters, their backgrounds blurred by
time and artful circumlocution, they stepped forward to continue
their political organizing with goals unchanged and slogans
slightly repackaged to suit domestic sensibilities.
To fight communism after World War II, our government
forged a tactical alliance with what was perceived to be the
lesser of two evils–and as with many such bargains, there has
been a high price to pay.
This manuscript tallies some of the moral and political
costs of our government’s disquieting alliance with Nazi
collaborationists and fascists; and follows the trail from the
bloody atrocities of the Waffen SS to the ethnic outreach arm of
the Republican Party and even to the paneled walls of White House
briefing rooms. It is a story many will find unbelievable, yet
its documentation is thorough and its conclusions
warranted–leaving only the question of whether or not we as a
nation find the situation morally tolerable.
(Chip Berlet Cambridge, Massachusetts)
The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Archive/File: people/b/bellant.russ bellant.prefac
From: [email protected] (NLG Civil Liberties Committee)
Subject: Re: Bellant: Old Nazi Networks in US
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 12 Dec 92 02:27:00 GMT
References: <[email protected]>
Nf-From: cdp.UUCP!cberlet Dec 11 18:27:00 1992
/* Written 9:10 pm Dec 8, 1992 by cberlet in igc:publiceye */
/* Written 8:30 pm Dec 6, 1992 by cberlet in igc:p.news */
/* Written 6:16 pm Mar 4, 1990 by nlgclc in igc:publiceye */