Silver Legion of America

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The Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts, was an underground American fascist organization founded by William Dudley Pelley that was headquarted in Asheville, North Carolina[1] and announced publicly on January 30, 1933.

History[edit]

A white-supremacist, anti-Semitic group[2] modeled after Hitler's Brownshirts, the paramilitary Silver Legion wore a silver shirt with a tie along with a campaign hat and blue corduroy trousers with leggings. The uniform shirts bore a scarlet letter L over the heart: an emblem meant to symbolize Loyalty to the United States, Liberation from materialism, and the Silver Legion itself. The blocky slab serif L-emblem was in a typeface similar to the present-day Rockwell Extra Bold. The organizational flag was a plain silver field with such a red L in the canton at the upper left.

By 1934, the Silver Shirts had about 15,000 members.[3] Circa 1935 with Nazi German funding, the Silver Shirts had begun construction of the Murphy Ranch, situated on a secluded 55 acre site in the Los Angeles hills, which was meant to serve as a fortified world headquarters after the expected Fascist global conquest.[4]

Silver Shirt leader Pelley ran for President of the United States in the 1936 election on a third-party ticket. Pelley hoped to seize power in a "silver revolution" and set himself up as dictator of the United States; the presidency remained in the hands of incumbent Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt. By around 1938, the Silver Legion's membership was down to about 5,000.[3]

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941, local police occupied the "world headquarters" bunker compound and detained members of the 50-man caretaker force.[4] The declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy led to the rapid decline of the Silver Legion.

In fiction[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/THR-SS1.PDF "The Silver Shirts: Their History, Founder, and Axtivities". August 24, 1933
  2. ^ Van Ells, Mark D. (August 2007). "Americans for Hitler". americainwwii.com. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The Holocaust Chronicle PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust, page 89". Holocaustchronicle.org. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  4. ^ a b "Heil Hollywood: The Los Angeles bunker from which Hitler planned to run Nazi empire after the war". Daily Mail (London). 18 March 2012. 
  5. ^ It Can't Happen Here

Further reading[edit]

  • Joe Allen, "'It Can't Happen Here?': Confronting the Fascist Threat in the US in the Late 1930s," International Socialist Review, Part One: whole no. 85 (Sept.-Oct. 2012), pp. 26–35; Part Two: whole no. 87 (Jan.-Feb. 2013), pp. 19–28.
  • Leo Paul Ribuffo, The Old Christian Right: The Protestant Far Right from the Great Depression to the Cold War. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983.
  • John L. Spivak, Secret Armies: The New Technique of Nazi Warfare. New York: Modern Age Books, 1939.
  • John Werly, The Millenarian Right: William Dudley Pelley and the Silver Legion of America. PhD dissertation. Syracuse University, 1972.
  • Glen Yeadon, The Nazi Hydra in America. Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive Press, 2008.

External links[edit]

Archives[edit]