Revilo P. Oliver

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This article is about the college professor. For the cartoonist, see Oliver Christianson.
Revilo P. Oliver
Revilo p oliver.jpg
Revilo P. Oliver in 1963
Born Revilo Pendleton Oliver
(1908-07-07)July 7, 1908
Corpus Christi, Texas
Died August 20, 1994(1994-08-20) (aged 86)
Urbana, Illinois
Occupation Author, commentator
Subject American conservatism, politics, anti-communism, religion
Spouse Grace Needham

Revilo Pendleton Oliver (July 7, 1908 – August 20, 1994) was an American professor of Classical philology, Spanish, and Italian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who wrote and polemicized extensively for white supremacist and right-wing causes and ultimately became a supporter of Adolf Hitler.[1]

Oliver also briefly received national notoriety in the 1960s when he published an article following the John F. Kennedy assassination, suggesting that Lee Harvey Oswald was part of a Soviet conspiracy against the United States; in response, he was called to testify before the Warren Commission.[2]


Oliver was born near Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1908. He attended two years of high school in Illinois. Disliking the severe winters, and once requiring hospitalization "for one of the first mastoidectomies performed as more than a daring experiment",[3] he relocated to California, studying Sanskrit, using Max Müller's handbooks and Monier Williams' grammar, later finding a Hindu missionary to tutor him.

As an adolescent, he found amusement in going to watch evangelists "pitch the woo at the simple-minded", attending performances of Aimee Semple McPherson and Katherine Tingley. He entered Pomona College in Claremont, California, when he was sixteen.[4]

In 1930, Oliver married Grace Needham. He began attending the University of Illinois and studied under William Abbott Oldfather. His first book was an annotated translation, from the Sanskrit, of Mricchakatika (The Little Clay Cart) published by the University of Illinois in 1938. He received the degree of Philosophiae Doctor in 1940. That same year, the University published his Ph.D. thesis: Niccolò Perotti's translations of the Enchiridion (republished in 1954 as Niccolo Perotti's Version of the Enchiridion of Epictetus, with an Introduction and List of Perotti's Writings). He began teaching graduate classes immediately after receiving the degree. For a number of years he also gave graduate courses in the Renaissance, which put him also in the Department of Spanish and Italian.

During World War II Oliver states that he worked at an unnamed War Department agency from 1942 until the autumn of 1945, writing that " By good luck, I found myself in charge of a rapidly expanding department, and soon advanced from Analyst to Director of Research, finding myself responsible for the work of c. 175 persons."[5] He claimed that in his privileged position, he learned what he called "the ultimate secret of Pearl Harbor". In a paper called The Final Secret Of Pearl Harbor he wrote "The author, to protect himself, has had to seem to acquiesce in the current form of the Big Lie about the most loathsome War Criminal of all history. Since it is now fairly well known that the diseased and part Jewish monster called Roosevelt contrived the catastrophic war that was the Suicide of Europe and induced the Japanese to destroy the American fleet that he had put in Pearl Harbor as tempting bait, the revised version now is that the foul anthropoid had to start the war to save mankind (i.e., the Sacred Sheenies) from Aryan civilization."[6]

Oliver left Washington, D.C. (which he called the "District of Corruption") in 1945. He was convinced that within a few years the facts of pro-Soviet actions and other operations would become known and the American people would react with a violent "housecleaning" of the government. Confident that the future popular reaction was inevitable, Oliver returned to the University of Illinois as an Assistant Professor, became an Associate Professor in 1947, and Professor in 1953. He held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946–47, and a Fulbright (in Italy), 1953–54.

In 1955, Oliver's friend, Professor Willmoore Kendall, discussed plans for the journal which was eventually called National Review. Kendall "desiderated a 'conservative' antidote to the New Republic, etc.," and had among his pupils at Yale, William F. Buckley, Jr. Kendall convinced Oliver to write on political subjects for the journal.[7]

In 1958, Oliver joined Robert W. Welch, Jr. in being one of the founding members of the anti-Communist John Birch Society. He was repudiated by Buckley and National Review. Oliver wrote frequently for the Birch Society magazine American Opinion, his most widely-noted piece being a two-part article called "Marxmanship in Dallas" that asserted that Lee Harvey Oswald had carried out the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as part of a Communist conspiracy. In Oliver's opinion, the Communists wished to eliminate Kennedy as a puppet who had outlived his usefulness. Oliver testified before the Warren Commission on the basis for his assertions but was unconvincing. He was reprimanded for his remarks by the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees, but they did not try to unseat him.[8][9][10]

In the 1960s, Oliver broke with American conservatism[11] and, having become convinced that Welch had either tricked him from the start or sold out later, he even severed his connections with what he called "the Birch hoax." He thus came to openly embrace an essentially far-right worldview, and eventually to assist William Luther Pierce in forming the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization, a significant portion of whose supporters and members would re-form under the name National Vanguard.

Oliver was an editorial advisor for the Institute for Historical Review, an organization devoted primarily to historical revisionism of World War II and the holocaust. He was also a regular contributor to Liberty Bell.

He retired in 1977. In 1994, suffering from leukemia and severe emphysema,[12] he committed suicide in Urbana, Illinois, aged 86.


Oliver believed that religion was one of the major weaknesses of his nation and civilization. He characterized Christianity as "a spiritual syphilis," which "has rotted the minds of our race and induced paralysis of our will to live."[13]


He also used the pen names "Ralph Perier" (for The Jews Love Christianity and Religion and Race) and "Paul Knutson" (for Aryan Asses). It is sometimes claimed[by whom?] that Oliver was the actual author of the Introduction (credited to Willis Carto) to Francis Parker Yockey's Imperium.

As a palindrome[edit]

"Revilo P. Oliver" is a palindrome—a phrase that reads the same backwards and forwards. One of his articles was denounced as a transparent fraud because the palindrome looked suspicious, but according to Oliver, it was a family custom that went back six generations.[14]


  • The Little Clay Cart. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1938
  • Niccolò Perotti's translations of the Enchiridion. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1940 [reedited 1954]
  • History and Biology, Griff Press, 1963
  • All America must know the terror that is upon us. Bakersfield, Calif.: Conservative Viewpoint, 1966 [Reedy, W. Va.: Liberty Bell, 1975]
  • Conspiracy or degeneracy?, Power Products, 1967
  • Christianity and the Survival of the West. Cape Canaveral: Howard Allen, 1978
  • America's Decline: The Education of a Conservative. London: Londinium Press, 1981
  • The Enemy of Our Enemies, Liberty Bell Publications, 1981, reedited 2003
  • "Populism" and "Elitism", Liberty Bell Publications, 1982
  • The Yellow Peril, Liberty Bell Publications, 1983, reedited 2005
  • The Origins of Christianity, Historical Review Press, 1994 (posthumously)
  • Reflections on the Christ Myth, Historical Review Press, 1994 (posthumously)
  • The Origins of Christianity, Historical Review Press, 2001 (posthumously)
  • The Jewish Strategy, Palladian Books, 2002 (posthumously)
  • Against the Grain, Liberty Bell Publications, 2004 (posthumously)


  1. ^ Bevan, Nesta (2009). "The Forgotten Conservative," Taki's Magazine, September 22.
  2. ^ Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XV, p. 709.
  3. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. "The Jewish Strategy" First Edition Third Printing (June 2005) – Page v . Retrieved from
  4. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. "The Jewish Strategy" First Edition Third Printing (June 2005) – Page vi . Retrieved from
  5. ^ Oliver, Revilo. "The Jewish Strategy". Revilo Oliver. 
  6. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. (July 1989). "THE FINAL SECRET OF PEARL HARBOR". Liberty Bell. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  7. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. (July 1989). "THE NEW ORDER CHANGETH, TOO". Liberty Bell. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  8. ^ "Professor Censured for Attack on Kennedy". Los Angeles Times. 1964-03-19. p. 11. 
  9. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. "Marxmanship in Dallas". Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  10. ^ "The Testimony of Professor Revilo Pendleton Oliver before the Warren Commission". 1964-09-09. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  11. ^ Gordon, David (1992). "In Search of Buckley's 'Hypersensitivity to Anti-Semitism'," The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, p. 4.
  12. ^ NNDB. "Revilo P. Oliver". 
  13. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. (November 1990). "A CRINGING LORD". Liberty Bell. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  14. ^ Oliver, Revilo P. (2002). "Introduction". The Jewish Strategy. Palladian Books. My first name, an obvious palindrome, has been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations. 

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