New Order (Neo-Nazi group)
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New Order, a successor organization to the original American Nazi Party, is now a self-styled National Socialist religious group which promotes Esoteric Nazism as an alternative faith for "Aryans" (white people of Indo-European descent).
Foundation and Rockwell leadership
Led by Matt Koehl, the New Order began as a radical fringe political movement founded by George Lincoln Rockwell in Arlington, Virginia, in 1958. Initially called the World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists (WUFENS), Rockwell reorganized the group in 1960 and gave it the intentionally inflammatory name the American Nazi Party (ANP) under the theory that negative media publicity was better than no publicity at all. By the mid-1960s, Rockwell began to see some steady financial success from colleges and universities that paid controversial figures to speak on campus as exercises in freedom of speech. This inspired Rockwell to end "Phase One" party tactics which often employed rancorous public rallies. Rockwell's "Phase Two" plan was to bring the group closer to the mainstream by reforming it along the lines of a conventional political party and enter candidates in local elections. As a result, he changed the organization's name to the National Socialist White People's Party (NSWPP) and sought ways to tone down the group's negative public image. Before he could fully institute these measures, Rockwell was assassinated on August 25, 1967, by John Patler, a disgruntled former follower.
Koehl succession and ideological division
As the NSWPP's ranking officer and therefore Rockwell's designated successor by default, Matt Koehl assumed the leadership role after a 16-member party council agreed with uncharacteristic unanimity that he should retain command. Koehl continued Rockwell's restructuring by dropping the group's negative verbal and written attacks against racial minorities and began emphasizing the positive aspects of National Socialism and the glories of a future all-white society. In 1968, Koehl moved the party to a new headquarters at 2507 North Franklin Road, clearly visible from Arlington's main thoroughfare, Wilson Boulevard. Koehl also established a printing press, a "George Lincoln Rockwell Memorial Book Store", and member living quarters on property nearby.
The NSWPP began to experience ideological division among its followers as it entered the 1970s. Some elected to follow Frank Collin to Chicago where he formed the National Socialist Party of America. Others chose to support William Luther Pierce, eventually forming the National Alliance in 1974. Further membership erosion occurred as Koehl, drawing heavily upon the teachings of Hitlerian mystic Savitri Devi, began to suggest that National Socialism was more akin to a religious movement than a political one. He espoused the belief that Adolf Hitler was the gift of an inscrutable divine providence sent to rescue the white race from decadence and gradual extinction caused by a declining birth rate and miscegenation. Hitler's death in 1945 was viewed as a type of martyrdom; a voluntary, Christ-like self-sacrifice, that looked forward to a spiritual resurrection of National Socialism at a later date when the Aryan race would need it the most. These esoteric beliefs led to disputes with the World Union of National Socialists, which Rockwell had founded and whose leader, Danish neo-Nazi Povl Riis-Knudsen, had been appointed by Koehl. Undaunted, Koehl continued to recast the party as a new religion in formation. Public rallies were gradually phased out in favor of low-key gatherings in private venues. On Labor Day 1979, Koehl disbanded the party's paramilitary "Storm Troopers" who had been modeled on the NSDAP's Sturmabteilung. This was done in part to overcome perceptions that the group was just a political cult with a fetish for Nazi uniforms and to attract members possessing a genuine intellectual interest in National Socialism.
New name and reorganization
The New Order name was adopted on January 1, 1983, and reflects the group's Nazi mysticism. The organization briefly attracted the media's attention in October 1983, when it held a private meeting at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia. A non-uniformed gathering of members was held indoors while the police kept a crowd of counter-protesters at bay outside. This event marked the last publicized appearance of Koehl and the New Order in Arlington. From that point forward the only outward sign that the group was still operational was the annual appearance of the swastika and Betsy Ross American Revolutionary War flags flying from the party's nondescript headquarters building on North Franklin Road every April 20 (Hitler's birthday).
By the mid-1980s, membership defections, trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, and the high cost of living in the Washington, D.C. area, forced Koehl to relocate the group's headquarters. He ceased printing the organization's White Power newspaper, sold its Arlington, Virginia real estate holdings, and dispersed the group's various operations to scattered locations in Wisconsin and Michigan. A secluded 88-acre (356,000 m2) rural property called "Nordland" was purchased in New Berlin, Wisconsin, to serve as living quarters and to host annual meetings and ceremonial events.
Today the New Order operates quietly far from the public spotlight, eschewing the confrontational public rallies that were once a hallmark of its previous incarnations. It maintains a web page and a Milwaukee, Wisconsin post office box providing information and template material promoting National Socialism. It has no members but rather "registered supporters" who pledge to mail in donations on a monthly basis. Financing is also obtained through sales of books and other merchandise under an affiliate business, NS Publications of Wyandotte, Michigan. The NS Bulletin, a newsletter, is sent to supporters on a quarterly basis. The group holds occasional ceremonial gatherings at undisclosed private locations such as an annual observance of Hitler's birthday each April 20.
The New Order web site states that it "is a National Socialist community representing a revolutionary, new faith and a great historic movement" that wants "to build a separate, all-white society, with its own unique culture and way of life." and that "we are the Movement of Adolf Hitler. We are His heirs."
- "What is the NEW ORDER". Retrieved December 2, 2011.
- Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas. Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and Neo-Nazism. New York: New York University Press, 1998; ISBN 0-8147-3111-2
- ---- Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York: New York University Press, 2001; ISBN 0-8147-3155-4
- Schmaltz, William H. Hate: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 1988; ISBN 1-57488-171-X
- Simonelli, Frederick J. American Fuehrer: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999; ISBN 0-252-02285-8 and ISBN 0-252-06768-1
- New Order webpage
- "Who is Hitler?" transcript of remarks by Matt Koehl
- "Populism And Socialism In American Nazism", chapter five of American Nazism in the Context of the American Extreme Right: 1960–1978 by Jim Saleam
- "Pierce, Koehl and the National Socialist White People's Party Internal Split of 1970" by H. Michael Barrett
- "The Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party" by Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie Shanks-Meile
- "Frank Collin: From Neo-Nazi to Hyper-Diffusionist"
- "Neo-Nazis: Longtime Hitlerian Activists" on the Anti-Defamation League's website.
- "William Pierce: A Political History" on Southern Poverty Law Center website
- "A Brief History of White Nationalism" on Zoominfo web site