Joseph Hansen

Stop Fascism in America!

Will Father Coughlin Become Dictator of the United States?

(August 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 62, 25 August 1939, p. 2.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2016 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2016; This work is completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet address and the publishing information above.

(Fifth Installment)

For years certain German industrialists, who pondered very deeply over what had happened in Italy, kept a few promising politicians of the lunatic fringe well-fed and noisy enough to attract a skeleton even of thugs and bigots to their banner.

Principal among these capitalist politicians – he had taken over similar groups – was Adolf Hitler, an obscure moocher of the Vienna cafes and pool halls who considered himself a hot-shot hair-splitter when the boys in the beer joints untangled their tongues and warped views on life. He had served in the World War, claimed to have been a housepainter for a few weeks until the painters’ union ran him off as a scab when he refused to take out a union card.

A Catholic, he admired the organizational methods of the Roman Church very much, even studying them carefully, according to his own admission. (Mein Kampf, Hitler’s Autobiography, p. 682)

Adolf Hitler was well-liked by the more astute of Germany’s capitalists. They talked about him in their exclusive clubs, studied his program, listened to him orate, watched him in action.

So far as they could judge, Hitler had all the marks of a German Mussolini.

He swung a powerful salute, combed his hair down over his forehead in a forelock. When he spoke, the veins in his forehead and neck swelled out like knotted cords. He dubbed himself Der Fuehrer.

For years he had been whacking away at constructing a national scapegoat. In private conversations with Big Business men, he washed off the circus paint and spoke very coolly and precisely about what he could do for them and by what organizational and tactical methods.

Let it not be misunderstood for one moment that Adolf Hitler was a representative of Italian Fascism. He was not.

Hitler admired Italian Fascism. He spoke well of Mussolini. But he was not an agent of Mussolini.


It is true that Hitler, like Mussolini, advocated a CORPORATE STATE.

But his was a German movement. He didn’t call it fascism.

He called it NAZISM.

Hitler Grinds Out Promises

Few demagogues in history gave away brighter promises than Adolf Hitler. He not only promises everybody the fulfillment of his dream, but he painted new dreams to embellish the old.

First he talked the situation over with the big industrialists such as Thyssen, the steel magnate. They settled very easily, quickly, and amicably between themselves the question of just who would own the national industries and just what would be done about preserving PRIVATE PROPERTY.

Then with Big Business pumping money into his treasury, he started automobiles, radio stations, and airplanes going in a propaganda campaign super-colossal enough to make a Hollywood press agent bite his lip.

But all these promises constituted only run of the mill filler in his program. More important were his scathing attacks against the Versailles treaty which had humiliated Germany, forced her to pay reparations, taken away her colonies, crushed her armed might, split her people among different border nations.

All this Der Fuehrer promised to rectify immediately. Then – most important of all for his strategy – he utilized these grievances as a springboard for a poisonous and relentless attack against racial minorities in Germany, who, he said, were the real cause of the economic ills rocking the land.

The Art of Constructing a Scapegoat

How to divert the rage and desperation of the people away from the real cause, the capitalists, to some scapegoat?

That was the crucial problem facing Der Fuehrer.

“A number of essentially different internal enemies must always be regarded as one in such a way that in the opinion of the mass of one’s own adherents the war is being: waged against one enemy alone. This strengthens the belief in one’s own cause and increases one’s bitterness against the attacker.” (Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, p. 153)

Before he began propagandizing, there was very little prejudice in Germany against the Jews, as Hitler himself points out in Mein Kampf. He counts it as one of his supreme achievements to have whipped up one of the greatest and most bloody pogroms in history against these unfortunate people. Hitler remarks that his audiences were astonished at first and refused to believe him when he declaimed that the “Jew” was their enemy.

But the people were suffering so terribly from hunger, the democratic capitalist government gave so little for relief, that they were willing to turn to almost anyone who promised a positive program and was clearly headed in the direction of action.

When Hitler saw the oppressed layers begin to fall for his line, he rejoiced. He knew that it would lead inevitably to the major objective, smashing the labor movement through splitting the oppressed into two camps, those whom he dubbed “Jews” and those whom he dubbed “Gentiles,” who would then tear at each ether’s throats until one fell; and the other, exhausted by the struggle, could not ward off the axe of the capitalist executioner.

(Continued in next issue)


Last updated on: 12 March 2016