Willis Carto

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Willis Carto
Born Willis Allison Carto
(1926-07-17)July 17, 1926
Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Died October 26, 2015(2015-10-26) (aged 89)
Virginia, USA
Cause of death cardiac arrest[citation needed]
Known for Far right advocate

Head of Liberty Lobby (defunct)

Founder of the Institute for Historical Review

Willis Allison Carto (July 17, 1926 – October 26, 2015) was a notable figure on the American far right. He described himself as Jeffersonian and populist, but was primarily known for his promotion of antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial.[1][2][3][4]

Carto was considered to be one of America's most influential political racial theorists through the Liberty Lobby and successor organizations which he helped create. Carto ran a group supporting segregationist George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign which formed the basis for the National Youth Alliance which promoted Francis Parker Yockey's political philosophy. Carto helped found the Populist Party, which served as an electoral vehicle for White nationalist and Ku Klux Klan members, such as David Duke in 1988 and Christian Identity supporter Bo Gritz in 1992. Carto's current American Free Press continues in the spirit of the Liberty Lobby's The Spotlight, running columns by Joe Sobran, James Traficant, Paul Craig Roberts, presidential candidate Ron Paul,[5] and others. It continues to promote alternative theories to the 9-11 attacks and support presidential candidates favoring individual liberty.[6] Carto's many other projects include the Institute for Historical Review, which promotes Holocaust denial.

Early life[edit]

Willis Carto was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He fought in World War II, serving in the Philippines and earning the Purple Heart.[7] After leaving the military he lived with his parents in Mansfield, Ohio. He took at least some class at the University of Cincinnati Law School. He later worked for Procter & Gamble and moved west to San Francisco, California where he worked for the Household Finance Company.[8]

Influences on Carto[edit]

Willis Carto has been described as a devotee of the writings of Francis Parker Yockey.[9] Yockey promoted harsh criticism of the influence of Jews, and Hitler's German National Socialism movement and other Fascist causes. Yockey contacted or worked with the Nazi aligned German-American Bund and the National German-American Alliance. After the defeat of the Axis in the Second World War, Yockey continued to promote neo-Fascist causes. Yockey also met Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and wrote anti-Zionist propaganda for the Egyptian government, seeing Arab nationalism as another ally to challenge "the Jewish-American power". While in prison for possessing falsified passports, he was visited by Carto who eventually became the chief advocate and publisher of Yockey's ideas. Yockey's best known book, Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics, was adopted by Carto as his own guiding ideology.[9] Later, Carto would define his ideology as Jeffersonian and populist rather than National Socialist, particularly in Carto's 1982 book, Profiles in Populism.[10] That book presented sympathetic profiles of several United States political figures including Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, Henry Ford as well as Catholic priest Father Charles Coughlin who used radio to issue commentary in support of the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.[10][11]

Liberty Lobby and newspapers[edit]

In 1955, Carto founded an organization called Liberty Lobby, which remained in operation under his control until 2001, when the organization was forced into bankruptcy as a result of a lawsuit.[1] Liberty Lobby was perhaps best known for publishing the newspaper The Spotlight between 1975 and 2001.[1]

Carto[12] and several Spotlight staff members and writers have since founded a new newspaper called the American Free Press. The paper includes articles from syndicated columnists who have no direct ties to Carto or his organizations. Like its predecessor, it takes a populist tone and focuses on conspiracy theory, nationalist economics, and Israel.

Other activities in the 1950s and 1960s[edit]

In 1966, Carto acquired control of The American Mercury via the Legion for the Survival of Freedom organization. The magazine was once a highly respected periodical associated with H.L. Mencken, but was failing by the time Carto acquired it. It was published until 1980.

Carto ran a group called Youth for George Wallace to aid the third party presidential campaign of George Wallace in 1968.[13] When the campaign failed, he converted what remained of the Youth for George Wallace organization into the National Youth Alliance. As National Chairman for this group, Carto was successful in recruiting William Luther Pierce, who later became famous for his authorship of The Turner Diaries.[13] Eventually Carto lost control of the National Youth Alliance to Pierce, who transformed it into the National Alliance, which is today a white nationalist and white separatist political organization.

On September 10, 1971, the conservative opinion magazine National Review published a detailed critique of Carto's activities up to that point. It was titled "Liberty Lobby - Willis Carto and his Fronts."

Carto, revisionism, and Holocaust denial[edit]

Carto was also the founder of a publishing company called Noontide Press, which published a number of books on white racialism, including Yockey's Imperium and David Hoggan's The Myth of the Six Million, one of the first books to deny the Holocaust.[14] Noontide Press later became closely associated with the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), and fell out of Carto's hands at the same time as the IHR did.[1] The IHR was founded by Willis Carto in 1979, with the intent of promoting the proposition that the Nazi Holocaust never happened—a view known as Holocaust denial. The IHR and Carto suffered a significant reversal in 1981 as the result of a lawsuit brought by public interest attorney William John Cox on behalf of Auschwitz survivor Mel Mermelstein. In that case, the court took "judicial notice of the fact that Jews were gassed to death at Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland during the summer of 1944." The court went on to say, "It is simply a fact."[15][16] After losing control of Noontide Press and the IHR in a hostile takeover by former associates, Carto started another publication, The Barnes Review, which also focuses on Holocaust denial.

Populist Party (1984–1996)[edit]

In 1984, Willis Carto was involved in starting a new political party called the Populist Party.[1] It quickly fell out of his hands in a hostile takeover by disgruntled former associates. Critics asserted that this Populist Party (not to be confused with the Populist Party of 1889) was little more than an electoral vehicle for current and former Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity members. Olympic athlete Bob Richards (1984), David Duke (a founder of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and a future Louisiana state representative, 1988) and former Green Beret Bo Gritz (1992) were the Populist Party's only three presidential candidates. It folded before it could nominate a candidate for the 1996 elections.

Other activities[edit]

Carto's Liberty Lobby acquired the Sun Radio Network in December 1989, and attempted to use talk radio as a vehicle for espousing his views. It was eventually a financial failure. Liberty Lobby and American Free Press also sponsored the Radio Free America talk show.

In 2004, Carto joined in signing the New Orleans Protocol on behalf of American Free Press. The New Orleans Protocol seeks to "mainstream our cause" by reducing internecine warfare. It was written by white nationalist David Duke.

Carto has also been featured as a guest on The Political Cesspool which in its statement of principles represents "a philosophy that is pro-White."

While Carto has been associated with views critical of US and Israeli military policy, his views towards Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq have been more moderate. In 2007, Carto condemned the "genocidal maniacs like Vice President Cheney and commentator Bill O’Reilly" in their support of the Bush administration's attack on Iraq. Carto defended the much-vilified nation of Iran as a "highly civilized, independent, stable country with 6,000 years of proud history" where over "800,000 innocent men, women and children have been killed, and at least one million wounded, an untold number of homes have been demolished, roads blown up, buildings destroyed." Carto warned "now the crooks are prodding America to attack Iran" and condemned "the war cries of cowardly 'neo-con' Israel-firsters who literally demand war against Iran". He feared that American bombs might kill enough Iranians so that Israel will "establish control over the entire theatre and those who presently live there will become Jewish serfs—like the Palestinians." [17] His media outlets have consistently supported candidate and congressman Ron Paul, who has consistently maintained a moderate view towards Iran and Muslim nations.

Carto died on October 26, 2015 at the age of 89.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Willis Carto". Anti-Defamation League. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  2. ^ Kaplan, Jeffrey, ed. (2000). Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. AltaMira Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0742503403. 
  3. ^ Levy, Richard, ed. (2005). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Volume. ABC-CLIO. p. 107. ISBN 978-1851094394. 
  4. ^ Michael, George (2012). Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA. Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 978-0415628440. 
  6. ^ Paul Disowns Extremists’ Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support
  7. ^ Marans, Daniel (2 November 2015). "Famed Holocaust Denier Could Be Buried In Arlington National Cemetery". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Martin, Douglas (2 November 2015). New York TImes http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/us/willis-carto-far-right-figure-and-holocaust-denier-dies-at-89.html?_r=0. Retrieved 3 November 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ a b Willis Carto and the IHR
  10. ^ a b Lyons, Matthew N. and Berlet, Chip. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. 2000, page 188.
  11. ^ John Shelton Lawrence and Robert Jewett, The Myth of the American Superhero, (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002), 132
  12. ^ Aaronovitch, David (2010). Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History. Riverhead Books. ISBN 9781101185216. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Kaplan, Jeffrey. Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. 2000, page 43.
  14. ^ "Willis A. Carto: Fabricating History". Anti-Defamation League. 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  15. ^ "Mermelstein Victory", Heritage, October 23, 1981.
  16. ^ "Footnote to the Holocaust", Newsweek, October 19, 1981, p. 73.
  18. ^ "Willis Allison Carto, American, Rest in Peace". Barnes Review. Barnes Revoew. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 


  • Carto, Willis A. (1982) Profiles in Populism. Washington: Flag Press.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cox, William John. (2015) The Holocaust Case: Defeat of Denial. Little Elm, TX: eLectio Publishing.
  • Coogan, Kevin. (1999) Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.
  • Michael, George. (2008) Willis Carto and the American Far Right. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.
  • Mintz, Frank P. (1985) The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  • Piper, Michael C. (1994) Best Witness: The Mermelstein Affair Washington: Center for Historical Review. (Afterword by Carto.) America First Books (e-book)

External links[edit]