|Birth name||Edwin Anderson Walker|
|Born||November 10, 1909|
Kerr County, Texas, U.S.
|Died||October 31, 1993 (aged 83)|
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1931–1961|
|Commands held||24th Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
Edwin Anderson Walker (November 10, 1909 – October 31, 1993) was the only U.S. Army general officer to resign his commission amid his tour of duty in the 20th century. After serving in World War II and the Korean War Walker became better known for his white supremacism and extreme political opinions, often made on-duty and in uniform for which he was criticized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Walker resigned his commission in 1959, but Eisenhower refused to accept his resignation and gave Walker a new command of the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg, Germany.
Walker again resigned his commission in 1961 after being publicly and formally admonished by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for allegedly referring to Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman as "pink" in print. Walker had also violated the Hatch Act of 1939, they charged, by attempting to influence the votes of his troops. President John F. Kennedy sought to avoid the scandal of the resignation of a US General, so he offered Walker a new command in Hawaii. Walker refused it, and instead chose to move to Dallas, Texas, where anticommunist supporter H.L. Hunt had offered to finance Walker's campaign to be the Governor of Texas.
In early 1962, Walker campaigned to become governor of Texas and lost the Democratic primary election to the eventual winner, John Connally. In October 1962, Walker was arrested for promoting riots at the University of Mississippi in protest against the admission of black student James Meredith into the all-white university. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered Walker committed to a mental asylum for a 90-day evaluation, but the ACLU and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz protested along with rightist groups, and Walker was released in five days. Attorney Robert Morris in early 1963 convinced a Mississippi grand jury to acquit Walker.
Walker reported that he was the target of an assassination attempt at his home on April 10, 1963, but escaped serious injury when a bullet fired from outside hit a window frame and fragmented. After its investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Warren Commission concluded that Walker's assailant had been Lee Harvey Oswald.
Early life and military career
Walker was born in the town of Center Point in Kerr County, Texas, in the Texas Hill Country. He graduated in 1927 from the New Mexico Military Institute. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1931.
Walker's training was in artillery, but in World War II he commanded a sub-unit of the Canadian-American First Special Service Force. Walker took command of the force's 3rd Regiment while still in the United States, and commanded the regiment throughout its time in Italy. Their first combat actions began in December 1943, and after battling through the Winter Line, the force was withdrawn for redeployment to the Anzio beachhead in early 1944. After the fight for Rome in June 1944, the force was withdrawn again to prepare for Operation Dragoon. In August 1944, Walker succeeded Robert T. Frederick as the unit's second, and last, commanding officer. The FSSF landed on the Islands of Hyeres off the French Riviera in the autumn of 1944, defeating a strong German garrison. Walker commanded the FSSF when it was disbanded in early 1945.
Walker was then assigned as commander of the Arkansas Military District in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1957, he implemented an order by President Eisenhower to quell civil disturbances related to the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School. Osro Cobb, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, recalls that Walker "made it clear from the outset ... that he would do any and everything necessary to see that the black students attended Central High School as ordered by the federal court... he would arrange protection for them and their families, if necessary, and also supervise their transportation to and from the school for their safety."
Walker repeatedly protested to Eisenhower that using federal troops to enforce racial integration was against his conscience. Although he obeyed orders and successfully integrated Little Rock High School, he began listening to segregationist preacher Billy James Hargis and oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, whose anti-communist radio program Life Line was supported by conservative activist and publisher Dan Smoot. Anti-communist activists in the late 1950s claimed that communists controlled important parts of the U.S. government and the United Nations, and that some Soviet spies and agents occupied prominent jobs within the federal government, for example, some of the Silvermaster group.
In 1959, Walker met publisher Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society who taught his followers that President Eisenhower was a communist and that the civil-rights movement was a communist plot.
On August 4, 1959, Walker submitted his resignation to the U.S. Army on grounds of an alleged international conspiracy. President Eisenhower denied Walker's request, however, and instead offered him command of the more than 10,000 troops in Augsburg, Germany, in the 24th Infantry Division, which Walker accepted. He began promoting his "Pro-Blue" indoctrination program for troops, which included a reading list of materials by Hargis and the John Birch Society. The name "Pro-Blue", said Walker, was intended to suggest "anti-red." He later wrote that the Pro-Blue program was based upon his experiences in Korea, where he saw "hastily mobilized and deployed soldiers 'bug out' in the face of Communist units with inferior equipment and often smaller numbers. American soldiers, unprepared for the psychological battlefield, needed to know why they had to beat the enemy as well as the how."
The John Birch Society regularly claimed that all U.S. presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt onward had been communists, and Walker was quoted by the Overseas Weekly as saying that Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson were "definitely pink." Finally, a number of soldiers had complained that Walker was instructing them how to vote in the forthcoming American election by using the Conservative Voting Index, which was biased toward the Republican Party. Walker denied the allegation that he provided voting instructions to soldiers and that the allegation was based on an article in the division newspaper that provided instructions for filling out absentee ballots. Walker was relieved of his command by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, while an inquiry was conducted. In October, Walker was reassigned to Hawaii to become assistant chief of staff for training and operations in the Pacific region.
Walker decided for the second time to resign from the US Army. He was entitled to retire, but he chose instead to make a political statement. Walker chose political activism to his 30-year military career, so on November 2, 1961, Walker publicly resigned (thereby forfeiting his Army pension). President Kennedy offered Walker a new command in Hawaii instead, but Walker spurned it. Weeks later Walker said: "It will be my purpose now, as a civilian, to attempt to do what I have found it no longer possible to do in uniform."
During December 1961, as a civilian, Walker began a career making political speeches along with Billy James Hargis. Walker enjoyed enthusiastic crowds all over the United States and his anti-communist message was popular. He also promoted the McCarthyist belief that communists were inside the United States government. Walker's home base was Dallas, Texas, where he received considerable assistance from oil billionaire, publisher and radio host H. L. Hunt. Hunt assisted Walker's first campaign for governor of Texas. A Newsweek cover proclaimed Walker the public face of the anti-communist conservative movement.
In February 1962, Walker began his campaign for governor, but finished last among six candidates in a Democratic primary election. The winner in a runoff election was John B. Connally, Jr., the choice of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Other contenders were Governor Price Daniel, Highway Commissioner Marshall Formby of Plainview, Attorney General of Texas Will Wilson, and Houston lawyer Don Yarborough, the favorite of liberals and organized labor. Because of disfranchisement of minorities in Texas since the beginning of the century, Democratic Party primaries were the only strongly competitive political contests in the state at that time. In the course of his campaign, Walker assaulted journalist Thomas V. Kelly (father of journalist and editor Michael Kelly), who had asked him for a response to praise of Walker from American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell; Walker's response was to strike Kelly in the left eye, an attack that was widely reported in the press.
Though Walker had obeyed orders during the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, he acted privately in organizing protests in September 1962 against the enrollment of James Meredith, an African-American veteran, at the all-white University of Mississippi.
On September 26, 1962, Walker broadcast this message on several radio stations:
Mississippi: It is time to move. We have talked, listened and been pushed around far too much by the anti-Christ Supreme Court! Rise...to a stand beside Governor Ross Barnett at Jackson, Mississippi! Now is the time to be heard! Thousands strong from every State in the Union! Rally to the cause of freedom! The Battle Cry of the Republic! Barnett yes! Castro no! Bring your flag, your tent and your skillet. It's now or never! The time is when the President of the United States commits or uses any troops, Federal or State, in Mississippi! The last time in such a situation I was on the wrong side. That was in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957-1958. This time -- out of uniform -- I am on the right side! I will be there! 
On September 29, 1962, he issued a televised statement:
This is Edwin A. Walker. I am in Mississippi beside Governor Ross Barnett. I call for a national protest against the conspiracy from within. Rally to the cause of freedom in righteous indignation, violent vocal protest, and bitter silence under the flag of Mississippi at the use of Federal troops. This today is a disgrace to the nation in 'dire peril,' a disgrace beyond the capacity of anyone except its enemies. This is the conspiracy of the crucifixion by anti-Christ conspirators of the Supreme Court in their denial of prayer and their betrayal of a nation.
White segregationists from around the state joined students and locals in a violent, 15-hour riot on the campus on September 30. Two people were killed execution-style, hundreds were wounded, and six federal marshals were shot. Walker was arrested on four federal charges, including sedition and insurrection against the United States. He was temporarily detained in a mental institution on orders from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy demanded that Walker receive a 90-day psychiatric examination.
The attorney general's decision was challenged by noted psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who insisted that psychiatry must never become used for political rivalry. The American Civil Liberties Union joined Szasz in a protest against the attorney general, completing this coalition of liberal and conservative leaders. The attorney general had to relent, and Walker spent only five days in the asylum.
Walker posted bond and returned home to Dallas, where he was greeted by a crowd of some 200 devotees. After a federal grand jury adjourned in January 1963 without indicting him, the charges were dismissed. Because the dismissal of the charges was without prejudice, the charges could have been reinstated within five years.
In February 1963, Walker joined Billy Hargis on an anticommunist tour named "Operation Midnight Ride." In a March 5 speech, Walker called on the American military to "liquidate the [communist] scourge that has descended upon the island of Cuba." Seven days later, Lee Harvey Oswald ordered a Carcano rifle by mail using the alias A. Hidell.
While initially skeptical about the photographic evidence provided by the FBI, the Warren Commission reported that Oswald photographed Walker's Dallas home on the weekend of March 9–10, 1963. Oswald's friend, 51-year-old Russian émigré and petroleum geologist George de Mohrenschildt, would later tell the Warren Commission that he "knew that Oswald disliked General Walker."
On April 10, 1963, as Walker was sitting at a desk in his dining room, a bullet struck the wooden frame of his dining-room window. Walker was injured in the forearm by fragments. Marina Oswald later testified that her husband had told her that he traveled by bus to General Walker's house and shot at Walker with his rifle. Marina said that Oswald considered Walker to be the leader of a "fascist organization."
Police detective D. E. McElroy commented, "Whoever shot at the general was playing for keeps. The sniper wasn't trying to scare him. He was shooting to kill." The bullet was too badly damaged to provide conclusive ballistics tests, but neutron activation analysis tests later determined that it was "extremely likely" that the bullet was manufactured by the Western Cartridge Company and was the same type of ammunition as was used in the Kennedy assassination.
A note that Oswald left for Marina on the night of the attempt with instructions for her should he not return was not found until ten days after the assassination. Marina Oswald stated later that she had seen Oswald burn most of his plans in the bathtub, though she hid the note that he had left for her in a cookbook, with the intention of bringing it to the police should Oswald again attempt to kill Walker or anyone else. Marina later quoted her husband as saying, "Well, what would you say if somebody got rid of Hitler at the right time? So if you don't know about General Walker, how can you speak up on his behalf?"
The Warren Commission questioned Walker about an interview that he had granted on November 22 in Shreveport, Louisiana that appeared in the November 29, 1963 edition of the extreme-right German newspaper Deutsche National-Zeitung, in which Walker accused Oswald of having attempted to kill him. Marina Oswald was asked about the report during a two-week-long detention in which she was interrogated by federal investigators, and she said that she believed that the report was true.
Walker organized an October 24, 1963 UN Day attack on Adlai Stevenson, American ambassador to the United Nations, in Dallas. In mid-October 1963, Walker rented the same Dallas Memorial Auditorium in which Stevenson would later speak. He promoted his opposition event as "US Day" and he invited members of the John Birch Society, the National Indignation Convention, the Minutemen and other organizations opposed to communism and the United Nations.
The verbal attacks on Stevenson were traced to plans organized by Walker and his devotees in the John Birch Society, according to the November issue of the magazine Texas Observer. On November 22, a black-bordered advertisement ran in the Dallas Morning News and "Wanted for Treason: JFK" handbills appeared on the streets. They were traced to Walker and his associate Robert Surrey by the Warren Commission. After the assassination, Walker wrote and spoke publicly about his belief that there were two assassins at the "April Crime", Oswald and another person who was never found.
Immediately after the Warren Commission released its report in September 1964, Walker described it as a "farcical whitewash." Although he accepted the commission's finding that it had been Oswald who had shot at him the previous year, Walker claimed that the commission was attempting to hide "some sort of conspiracy" that included an association between Jack Ruby and Oswald.
Associated Press v. Walker
Angered by negative publicity, Walker began to file libel lawsuits against various media outlets. One suit responded to negative coverage of his role in the riot at the University of Mississippi protesting Meredith's admission. The Associated Press reported that Walker had "led a charge of students against federal marshals" and that he had "assumed command of the crowd." Several newspapers were named in the lawsuit. If successful, Walker could have been awarded tens of millions of dollars.
A 1964 Texas trial court found the statements to be false and defamatory. 
By then, Walker and his lawyers had already been awarded more than $3 million from other lawsuits.
The Associated Press appealed the decision as Associated Press v. Walker, eventually to the United States Supreme Court, where it was consolidated with Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled against Walker and found that although the statements might have been false, the Associated Press was not guilty of reckless disregard in its reporting about Walker. The court, which had previously said that public officials could not recover damages unless they could prove malice, extended it to public figures as well.
Arrest and conviction
By resigning instead of retiring, Walker became ineligible for an Army pension. He made statements at the time to the Dallas Morning News that he had "refused" his pension. However, he had made several previous requests for his pension dating back to 1973. The army restored his pension rights in 1982.
Walker, at age 66, was arrested on June 23, 1976 for fondling and propositioning a male undercover police officer in a public restroom in a Dallas park and charged with public lewdness . He was arrested again in Dallas for public lewdness on March 16, 1977. He pleaded no contest to one of the two misdemeanor charges, and was convicted and sentenced to jail time, which the judge suspended. He was also fined $1,000.
- Together with Air Force general Curtis LeMay, Walker was said to have inspired the character of the Air Force general James Mattoon Scott (played by Burt Lancaster) of the movie Seven Days in May; Walker is also referred to in the movie.
- Walker was said to have inspired the character of General Jack D. Ripper (played by Sterling Hayden) in Stanley Kubrick's anti-war movie Dr. Strangelove.
- Laugh-In character General Bull Right, played by host Dan Rowan, was partly inspired by Walker.
- Cameron Mitchell portrays Walker as a supporting character in the 1985 film Prince Jack. It includes Walker's perspective in a dramatization of Oswald's assassination attempt against him.
- Oswald's attempted assassination of Walker is part of 11/22/63, a novel by Stephen King about a time traveler who tries to prevent the Kennedy assassination. In 11.22.63, a television adaptation of King's novel, Walker is portrayed by Gregory North.
- Oswald's assassination attempt of Walker is also part of The Third Bullet, a Bob Lee Swagger novel by Stephen Hunter.
- Walker is a character in The Bettor, an alternative history novel by Tim Parise, in which he is described as attempting to stage a coup by seizing control of the Pentagon during anti-communist riots in 1967.
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- "Chapter 4: The Assassin". Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964. pp. 183–187.
- Handbook of Texas: "Center Point, Texas." Retrieved March 16, 2007.
- Joyce, Ken Snow Plough and the Jupiter Deception: The Story of the 1st Special Service Force and the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, 1942-1945 (Vanwell Publishing Ltd., St. Catharines, ON, 2006) ISBN 1-55125-094-2, p. 118.
- Joyce (2006), Snow Plough and the Jupiter Deception, p. 273.
- Osro Cobb, "Osro Cobb of Arkansas: Memories of Historical Significance," Carol Griffee, ed. (Little Rock, Arkansas: Rose Publishing Company, 1989), p. 238.
- p. 105 Schoenwald, Jonathan M. A Time for Choosing: The Rise of American Conservatism, Oxford University Press, 2001.
- Major General Edwin A. Walker, Censorship and Survival (New York, The Bookmailer Inc. 1961) pp. 14, 18.
- Lemza, John W. (2016). "One. From First Arrivals to Established Network (1946-1967)". American Military Communities in West Germany: Life in the Cold War Badlands, 1945-1990. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9781476664163.
- Major General Edwin A. Walker, Censorship and Survival (New York, The Bookmailer Inc. 1961), p. 59.
- "I Must Be Free . . .," Time, November 10, 1961.
- Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker "Thunder on the Right" Newsweek cover December 4, 1961.
- Elections of Texas Governors, 1845–2010.
- "Washington journalist and Capitol Hill resident Thomas V. Kelly dies at 86".
- Images, Historic. "1962 Press Photo Edwin Walker Tom Kelly Subcommittee testimony Statement Lincoln". Historic Images. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
- Edwin A. Walker and the Right Wing in Dallas, Chris Cravens, 1993, p. 120.
- "Walker Demands a 'Vocal Protest,'" The New York Times, September 30, 1962, p. 69.
- Edwin A. Walker and the Right Wing in Dallas, Chris Cravens, 1993, p. 130.
- "Crowd Welcomes Ex-Gen. Walker's Return to Dallas," Dallas Morning News, October 8, 1962, sec. 1, p. 1.
- The Strange Case of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker.
- "Hargis Says Walker Will Join in Tour," Dallas Morning News, February 14, 1963, sec. 1, p. 16. "Walker Preparing for Crusade," Dallas Morning News, February 17, 1963, sec. 1, p. 16. "Pickets Protest Talks Given by Hargis, Walker," Dallas Morning News, March 28, 1963, sec. 4, p. 18.
- Dallas Times Herald, March 6, 1963.
- Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 17, p. 635, CE 773, Photograph of a mail order for a rifle in the name "A. Hidell," and the envelope in which the order was sent.
- Construction work seen in one of the photos was determined by the supervisor to have been in that state of completion on March 9–10. Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 22, p. 585, CE 1351, FBI Report, Dallas, Tex., dated May 22, 1964, reflecting investigation concerning photographs of the residence of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker. Archived October 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- George de Mohrenschildt. Staff Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, vol. 12, 4, p. 53–54, 1979.
- Testimony of George de Mohrenschildt, Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 9, p. 249.
- Testimony of Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald, Warren Commission Hearings, volume 1, p. 17.
- Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Chapter 4 1964, p. 187.
- "Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 1, p. 16, Testimony of Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald.
- Testimony of Dr. Vincent P. Guinn, HSCA Hearings, vol. I, p. 502.
- Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 23, pp. 392–393, CE 1785, Secret Service report dated December 5, 1963, on questioning of Marina Oswald about note Oswald wrote before he attempted to kill General Walker.
- Testimony of Ruth Hyde Paine, Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 9, pp. 393–394.
- "Oswald Notes Reported Left Before Walker Was Shot At", Dallas Morning News, December 31, 1963, sec. 1, p. 6.
- Testimony of Marina Oswald Porter, HSCA Hearings, vol. II, p. 232.
- President (1963-1969 : Johnson). President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (November 30, 1963). Walker, Edwin A. Series: Records Relating to Key Persons, 11/30/1963 - 9/24/1964.
- Minutaglio, Bill; Davis, Steven L. (November 19, 2013). "A Month Before JFK's Assassination, Dallas Right Wingers Attack Adlai Stevenson". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
- "Probe Is Whitewash: Walker". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. March 31, 1964. p. 3. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
- "Warren Probe Whitewashes Plot: Walker". Chicago Tribune. Vol. 118, no. 272 (Final ed.). UPI. September 28, 1964. Section 1, page 2. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
- Associated Press v. Walker, 393 S.W.2d 671, 674 (1965).
- "The General v. The Cub", Time, June 26, 1964.
- Associated Press v. Walker, 389 U.S. 28 (1967).
- Warren Weaver, Jr., "Pension Restored for Gen. Walker", The New York Times, July 24, 1983, p. 17.
- "General Walker Faces Sex Charge: Right-Wing Figure Accused in Dallas of Lewdness", United Press International, The New York Times, July 9, 1976, p. 84.
- "Catch as Catch Can," Time, July 26, 1976.
- "Trial for Walker Routinely Passed", Dallas Morning News, September 15, 1976, p. D4.
- "Police Arrest Retired General for Lewdness," Dallas Morning News, March 17, 1977, p. B18.
- "General Walker Free on Bond", The New York Times, March 18, 1977, p. 8.
- "Judge Convicts, Fines Walker", Dallas Morning News, May 23, 1977, p. A5.
- Pace, Eric (November 2, 1993). "Gen. Edwin Walker, 83, Is Dead; Promoted Rightist Causes in 60's". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- Smith, Jeff (March 19, 2009). The Presidents We Imagine: Two Centuries of White House Fictions on the Page, on the Stage, Onscreen, and Online. Univ of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299231835. Retrieved March 4, 2019 – via Google Books.
- The Presidents We Imagine: Two Centuries of White House Fictions ..., p. 170.
- America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era from Elvis to the Fall of ..., p. 68.
- Parise, Tim (2014). The Bettor. The Maui Company. pp. 404–406, 414–417.