George Van Horn Moseley

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George Van Horn Moseley
GVHMlarge.jpg
MG George Van Horn Moseley
Born (1874-09-28)September 28, 1874
Evanston, Illinois
Died November 7, 1960(1960-11-07) (aged 86)
Fulton County, Georgia
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1895-1938
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held Third United States Army
1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars Spanish-American War
Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Honor
Croix de guerre
Order of the Bath
Belgian Order of the Crown
Order of the Crown of Italy

George Van Horn Moseley (September 28, 1874 – November 7, 1960) was a United States Army general. Following his retirement in 1938, he became controversial for his anti-immigrant and antisemitic views.

Biography[edit]

Moseley was born in Evanston, Illinois, on September 28, 1874. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1899 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the cavalry. He served in the Philippines twice, from 1900 to 1903 and 1906 to 1907, where his assignments included commanding a troop of the 1st Cavalry and serving as Aide-de-Camp to Generals J. M. Bell and J. M. Lee. In 1901 Moseley, accompanied by only one other officer, without escort and under conditions of great danger, penetrated a major Philippine insurgent stronghold. 2nd Lt. Moseby and st Lt. George Curry convinced Brigadier General Ludovico Arejola to sign the peace agreement in Taban, Minalabac (Philippines) on 25 March 1901.

The honor graduate of the Army School of the Line in 1908, he also graduated from the Army Staff College in 1909 and the Army War College in 1911. Moseley married Mrs. Florence DuBois in July 1930.[1]

He held camp and Washington assignments from 1920-1929. He was the executive for the Assistant Secretary of War, 1929–30, Deputy Chief of Staff of Army, 1930–33.[2] He served as General Douglas MacArthur's Deputy Chief of Staff during the 1932 Bonus March on Washington, D.C., in the course of which he recorded his fears of a Communist conspiracy against the United States and his identification of Jews with radicals and undesirables. He wrote in a private letter:[3]

We pay great attention to the breeding of our hogs, our dogs, our horses, and our cattle, but we are just beginning to realize the....effects of absorbing objectionable blood in our breed of human beings. The pages of history give us the tragic stories of one-time leading nations which...imported manpower of an inferior kind and then...intermarried with this inferior stock....Those nations have either passed out of separate existence entirely, or have remained as decadent entities without influence in world affairs.

In 1934, he asked MacArthur to consider the immigration issue in terms of military manpower, contrasting a group of "southern lads" of "good Anglo-Saxon stock" with their counterparts from the North with names "difficult to pronounce" that "indicated foreign blood". Moseley linked the latter to labor problems and "so much trouble in our schools and colleges." MacArthur expressed skepticism in response to Moseley's argument that "It is a question of whether or not the old blood that built this fine nation...is to continue to administer that nation, or whether that old stock is going to be destroyed or bred out by a lot of foreign blood which the melting pot has not touched."[4]

He was Commanding General of the 5th Corps Area, 1933–34, 4th Corps Area, 1934–38, and the Third United States Army, 1936-38. He was a member of several important commissions, including the Harbord Commission to investigate Armenian issues. After commanding the Second Field Artillery Brigade, in 1921 he was detailed as assistant to General Dawes in organizing the newly created Bureau of the Budget. In 1921 he was promoted brigadier general, Regular Army. Commanding the 1st Cavalry Division (1927–1929), he successfully interceded, under fire, with principals in a 1929 Mexican insurrection. His actions stopped stray gunfire from Juarez, Mexico, from endangering life and property in adjacent El Paso, Texas, and precluded further incidents. In 1931 he was promoted major general, Regular Army.

Moseley's awards included the Distinguished Service Medal (one oak leaf cluster); Commander, Order of the Crown (Belgian); Companion, Order of the Bath (British); Commander, Legion of Honor, and Croix de Guerre with Palm (French); Commander, Order of the Crown of Italy.

While still on active service, Moseley expressed controversial opinions in public. In 1936, he proposed that the Civilian Conservation Corps be expanded "to take in every 18-year-old youth in the country for a six-month course in work, education and military training."[5] In the late 1930s, when admitting refugees from Nazi persecution was a matter of national controversy, Moseley supported admitting refugees but added the proviso that "that they all be sterilized before being permitted to embark. Only that way can we properly protect our future."[6]

Moseley retired in October 1938 with a statement that described the New Deal as a growing dictatorship: "We do not have to vote for a dictatorship to have one in America....We have merely to vote increased government responsibility for our individual lives, increased government authority over our daily habits, and the resultant Federal paternalism will inevitably become dictatorship." Secretary of War Harry Woodring called his statement "flagrantly disloyal."[7] In April 1939 he attacked Jews and said that he foresaw a war fought for their benefit. He attacked President Franklin D. Roosevelt for appointing Felix Frankfurter to the U.S. Supreme Court. He predicted that the U.S. army would not follow the orders of FDR's leftist Administration if they "violate all American tradition." He described fascism and nazism as good "antitoxins" for the United States, adding that "the finest type of Americanism can breed under their protection as they neutralize the efforts of the Communists."[8]

Time reported his view that "more money should be spent on syphilis prevention and less on national defense"[7] Two months after leaving the military, he questioned the President's proposed increases in military spending: "Much of our present weakness is in the fear and hysteria being engendered among the American people for...political purpose.... A nation so scared and so burdened financially is not in a condition to lick anybody. And then, who in hell are we afraid of? With Japan absorbed...with the balance of power so nearly equal in Europe, where is there an ounce of naval or military strength free to threaten us?"[9] He became increasingly more outspoken and instead of the language of Social Darwinism expressed anti-Semitic and conspiratorial views overtly. In Philadelphia, he told the National Defense Meeting that Jewish bankers had financed the Russian Revolution and that "The war now proposed is for the purposes of establishing Jewish hegemony throughout the world." He said that Jews controlled the media and might soon control the federal government.[10]

In June 1939, Moseley testified for five hours before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He said that a Jewish Communist conspiracy was about to seize control of the U.S. government. He believed the President had the authority to counteract the planned coup and could do so "in five minutes" by issuing an order "to discharge every Communist in the government and everyone giving aid and comfort to the Communists." He said the President could use the army against "the enemy within our gates" but did not seem willing to do so. He said he held no anti-Semitic views and that "the Jew is an internationalist first...and a patriot second." He praised the "impressively patriotic" German-American Bund and said its purpose was to "see that Communists don't take over the country." Among Moseley's supporters who attended the hearing were Donald Shea, head of the American Gentile League and James True of America First Inc.[11] The Committee found a prepared statement he read into the record so objectionable it was deleted from the public record.[12][13] A few days later, Thomas E. Stone, head of the Council of United States Veterans, charged Moseley with treason and wrote that his praise of the Bund "abets a foreign government in the preparation of disruption against the eventuality of possible future hostilities, and that this he is acting in treason to our national safety."[14]

Moseley held anti-immigrant views throughout his life. In his unpublished autobiography, he quoted approvingly from Madison Grant's The Passing of the Great Race.[15] He used the language of Social Darwinism to describe the problem the United States faced:[16]

Watch a herd of animals. If a member of the herd becomes unfit...the unfortunate is recognized at once and driven out of the herd, only to be eaten by the timber wolves. That seems hard–but is it, in fact? The suffering is thus limited to the one. The disease is not allowed to attack the others....With us humans, what we call civilization compels us to carry along the unfit in ever increasing proportions.

He described the Jew as a permanent "human outcast." They were "crude and unclean, animal-like things...something loathsome, such as syphilis."[13] Following the Nazi invasion of France he wrote that in order to match the Nazi threat, the U.S. needed to launch a program of "selective breeding, sterilization, the elimination of the unfit, and the elimination of those types which are inimical to the general welfare of the nation."[10] In December 1941, Moseley wrote that Europe's Jews were "receiving their just punishment for the crucifixion of Christ...whom they are still crucifying at every turn of the road." He proposed a "worldwide policy which will result in breeding all Jewish blood out of the human race."[13]

In 1947, he said of his years as a West Point cadet, "there was one Jew in my class, a very undesirable creature, who was soon eliminated."[17]

In 1951, the president of Piedmont College in Georgia invited Moseley to speak. Students and faculty protested because of his racist views. TIME called him a "trumpeter for Aryan supremacy." One faculty member was fired for speaking in opposition to the speaking engagement.[18] Calls for the president's resignation followed.[19] Almost the entire faculty and 9 trustees resigned in the next two years and enrollment fell by two thirds.[20]

In 1959, Moseley was one of the founders of Americans for Constitutional Action, an anti-Semitic successor to America First.[21]

In retirement he lived at the Atlanta Biltmore Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. He died on November 7, 1960.

Family[edit]

Moseley married Florence DuBois in July 1930[1] and they had three sons:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b TIME: "Milestones, Jul. 7, 1930, accessed March 26, 2011
  2. ^ Weintraub, 12
  3. ^ Bendersky, 202-3
  4. ^ Bendersky, 216
  5. ^ TIME: "Conservation: Poor Young Men," February 6, 1939, accessed March 26, 2011
  6. ^ Bendersky 250
  7. ^ a b TIME: "Moseley's Day Off," October 10, 1938, accessed March 26, 2011
  8. ^ TIME: "National Affairs: Moseley Roars," April 10, 1939, accessed March 26, 2011
  9. ^ TIME "National Affairs: Rearmament v. Balderdash," December 19, 1938, accessed March 26, 2011
  10. ^ a b Bendersky, 255
  11. ^ New York Times: "Moseley Proposes Use of the Army to Drive out Reds," June 1, 1939, accessed April 4, 2011
  12. ^ New York Times: "The News of the Week in Review," June 4, 1939, accessed April 4, 2011
  13. ^ a b c Bendersky, 256
  14. ^ New York Times: "Treason' Charged by Moseley Critic," June 7, 1939, accessed April 4, 2011
  15. ^ Bendersky, 26
  16. ^ Bendersky, 27
  17. ^ Bendersky, 38
  18. ^ TIME: "Education: Give It Back," March 12, 1951, accessed March 26, 2011
  19. ^ TIME "Education: Piedmont Uprising,"April 2, 1951, accessed March 26, 2011
  20. ^ TIME: "Education: For Outstanding Services," June 29, 1953, accessed March 26, 2011
  21. ^ Bendersky, 410

Sources[edit]

  • Bendersky, Joseph W., The Jewish Threat (Basic Books, 2002)
  • James, D. Clayton, The Years of MacArthur, vol. 1: 1880-1941 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970)
  • Smith, Richard Norton, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1981)
  • Weintraub, Stanley, 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall, Three Generals Who Saved the American Century (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2007)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Frank Parker
Commanding General of the Third United States Army
1 October 1936 - 30 September 1938
Succeeded by
Herbert J. Brees