Who Was George Lincoln Rockwell?

George Lincoln Rockwell

I suppose most readers of this publication have heard of George Lincoln Rockwell (1918–1967), but some may not know much about him.  For those unfamiliar with Rockwell, perhaps this writing, drawn from my book on the late William Pierce, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds, will provide a sense of him.

George Lincoln Rockwell was a tall, slim, dark-haired, good-looking fellow in his forties when, for a few years in the 1960s, he became a prominent figure in American life.  Rockwell billed himself as the Commander of the American Nazi Party, which he founded and headquartered at Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.   He had twenty or so active participants in his organization, and a few hundred subscribed to his publications, Stormtrooper and The Rockwell Report.

Rockwell projected a dashing, rakish image with his corncob pipe, and tended to approach things with a showbiz touch.  His public rallies, with him surrounded by “stormtroopers” and American and Nazi flags and decked out like Hitler in a brown uniform and boots and a swastika armband greeting his audience with the Roman salute, had a theatrical and, to many, frightening quality.  In his speeches Rockwell railed against Jews for being behind communism and scheming to mongrelize the American racial stock by promoting racial integration and interbreeding with blacks.  He called for resettling American blacks in Africa in a new African state at public expense.

Rockwell was both serious and tongue-in-cheek.  In response to the freedom rides, as they were called, where civil rights activists rode buses in the South to integrate interstate bus travel, Rockwell and some of his fellow Nazis drove a “hate bus” through the South.  With reference to the strong Jewish presence among psychoanalysts and therapists, Rockwell put out a pamphlet that gave instructions on “how to combat the Jew mental health attack.”  And there was his booklet, “The Diary of Ann Fink.”

I came upon an audiotape of a Rockwell speech to a college audience in November of 1966.  The speech was given at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where Rockwell had been a student before the outbreak of World War II.  I presume the audience was made up primarily of Brown students and faculty.

Rockwell’s speech took about an hour.  He had an upbeat manner and a rapid-fire speaking style reminiscent of a standup comic (“Let me tell you, ladies and gentleman . . .”).  There was a lightness and likeability about him: he wasn’t dark or harsh, although there were a few moments where he got a bit testy.

Throughout Rockwell’s speech, members of the audience shouted derisive comments.  The shouting served as a backdrop to Rockwell’s microphone-amplified voice and became part of the speech and, to a great extent, gave definition to the event.  There was a stagy quality to the occasion.  It was hard for me to tell how real the event seemed to the people who were in the audience, as opposed to a kind of improvisational theatrical performance in which they were participants.

Rockwell’s speech wasn’t a straight-line presentation—it went from here to there and back again.   He would frequently interrupt his prepared remarks to spar with hecklers and go off into what appeared to be spontaneous digressions.  Despite the zigging and zagging, however, it seemed that Rockwell never lost his audience, and I had the impression that when he finished, those in attendance would have preferred that he continue.  I suspect it wasn’t so much that they wanted to hear more of what he was trying to get across.  Rather, they were having a good time and didn’t want it to end.

Rockwell began his talk by telling the audience he was going to present a sample of the “shocking facts” that had turned him into a National Socialist.  He then remarked that the last time he was in this hall, he was “half stewed, hanging on to a girl at a dance,” which got a sarcastic laugh.  He said that he had read an article about Jewish organizations working all week to “nullify” what he would say in his speech that evening.  “The last time a communist spoke here on campus, he was invited to tea with the Pembroke girls [Brown’s sister school] and the Jews didn’t say a word.  When is the last time you heard of Jews protesting a communist?”

His thesis tonight, Rockwell said, is that you can’t have an educated opinion or manage a democracy unless you are given all the facts about things.  Most liberals are sincere and dedicated people, he acknowledged, but the reason they are liberals is that the facts they are provided leave them no room to make any other choice than to be a liberal.

Rockwell started to read a London newspaper clipping from 1920 by Winston Churchill.  Someone in the audience hooted, and Rockwell remarked that is the first time he had heard Winston Churchill get that kind of reaction.  Rockwell said he would send copies of any of the material he would refer to in his speech to anyone who wanted it, and that if any of it proved to be phony he would “go to work for Harry Golden and the NAACP.”  The Churchill article said that the Russian revolution in 1917 was by and large a takeover of that country by Jews.  Of the 383 commissars after the revolution, over three hundred were Jews, Rockwell noted.  “Why haven’t you been told this?”

“In Russia,” Rockwell went on, “you can criticize anybody you want—except the communists, that is.  And the same thing holds true in China.  You can criticize anybody but the communists.  In Cuba, same thing—anybody but Castro.  In the United States, you can criticize Irishmen, Italians, the French, people from Brown and Pembroke, anybody but the Jews.  You can’t criticize them.   If you think you can, try it tomorrow.  You’ll be called an anti-Semite.   Nobody dares say anything critical against Jews.”

“Jews don’t burn books to keep you from reading them.  They are more sophisticated than that.  They don’t burn them because then you’d know about it.  They just quietly say to booksellers, ‘If you sell any book we don’t like, you won’t get any more books,’ and since they control the publishing industry they can make good on their threat.  The result is you can’t buy books they don’t like.”

Rockwell took out what he said was a memorandum addressed to booksellers from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, a Jewish organization.  According to Rockwell, it said “Scribner’s has published a book by Madison Grant entitled The Conquest of a Continent.  It emphasizes the Nordic superiority theory and negates the melting pot philosophy with regard to America.  We are interested in limiting the sale of this book.”  The Grant book at no time criticizes Jews, Rockwell contended.  “It simply says that the white man is the master race and created America.  And you can’t read it, you can’t buy it, it isn’t available.”

“Now, I’ve written a book.  It may be the worst book in the world, but don’t you think you should be able to decide that for yourself?  Do you think the ADL and the Jewish War Veterans should be able to say you will not read Rockwell’s book?  And that you won’t hear him speak?  And that if he does somehow manage to speak, he’ll speak in a small hall?  And that he won’t be on television speaking for himself?”

Rockwell then produced another document he said it was from the American Jewish Committee.  He said it told people how to deal with him if he does manage to get heard: “Don’t respond to the points Rockwell’s making.  Don’t argue with him.  Just point out what a rat he is.  Call him names.”

“You are not only being denied information.  You are being told what you will like and not like, and in case you rebel and say ‘Oh no I won’t go along with that,’ they use plain old-fashioned terrorism.  Anybody thinks they don’t, get up and try to give a so-called anti-Semitic speech.  Try distributing the Churchill article I read to you.  They won’t argue with you, they won’t deny what you say, they’ll just shut you up.”

“This is supposed to be a free college [at Brown].  There are a lot of colleges around the country where people say ‘I’m a communist’ all the time.  But try saying something against the equality of the races or against the Jews, that they might be involved in communism or behind race-mixing, and you will be silenced.”

It is this suppression of the facts that accounts for liberalism, argued Rockwell.  “You have been told that the Negro is a white man with a dark skin.  If that is the truth, then we have no business discriminating one bit.  We should marry them, we should mix [have children] with them.  But if there is a difference other than the color of skin, we ought to discuss it.  But that you can’t do.  The minute you try to point out the fact that there are differences other than color of skin, you are in trouble.  You are a racist, a fascist, a hater, a bigot.  All of these are names.  Nobody discusses the facts.  If the facts are as they say they are, that the Negroes are wonderful and the Jews are even better, then we ought to mix and Jews ought to run the country, and we might as well fold up, us white Christians.  We’ve got no business trying to run our country.  We’re too stupid.  But those aren’t the facts.

“The Roman Empire perished from senility—old age.  It decayed.  It went rotten.  America isn’t an old country, but it is decaying.  The reason this is happening isn’t because we are old, senile, or feeble.  It is because we are being purposefully rotted.  The soul of America is being rotted out by germs.  I have a Viet Cong flag I tore down with my own hands.  The communist who was parading around the White House with it went on parading, and I went to jail.  Treason is going on in our country, and nobody even gets indignant, nobody even cares any more.  America will sit around and watch anything happen now days.  Anything goes, and nobody will do anything about it.   I’m trying to create a movement to stop the rot and decay in America.”

Rockwell gave what he said were examples of rot and decay.  He said he knew something about art.  He had won first prize in a commercial art contest for a full-page ad he’d done for the American Cancer Society that ran in The New York Times.  “Where did this screwy [modern] art come from?  Paintings that look like an automobile accident.  And how about the screwy poetry, and the sculpture that looks like cow dung piled up?”  His point was that it came from Jews.  He said that at first he thought Picasso was just a Spaniard, but then he learned that he was “one of the boys.”  (Picasso wasn’t Jewish.)  Another example of the Jews he is talking about, he said, was this Ralph Ginzburg (a magazine publisher); or no, he corrected himself, this other one, the poet, whose first name he couldn’t recall (Allen Ginsberg).  “This kind of art is destroying order, and when that happens you are defenseless.”

“In Washington, D.C., right where I live, a woman can’t walk on the streets alone because they [undoubtedly meaning blacks] are dropping out of trees.  [Laughter.]  It’s true!  They actually did drop out of a tree onto the daughter of one of the big State Department officials.  I’m not making that up.”

He then went on to talk about “a big convention of queers at one of the major hotels in Washington—the Shoreham.”  He didn’t mention that he had put up one of his young followers to dress up as a delivery man and interrupt a speaker at that meeting asking him to sign for a large box labeled as containing an emergency supply of Vaseline.

“There comes a time when you draw a line and say this is wrong and immoral and we are going to put a stop to it.”

“You hear about the six million [killed in the Holocaust], but do any Jews ever tell you what they did in Russia to the Christians, killing twenty million of them?  [He was referring to the extermination of political opponents and independent farmers, called kulaks, during the Stalin era.]  No movies, no tears.”

“Now, blacks have a tough life.  The commies move in and say ‘We are going to help you poor people.’  And then they have march-ins and crawl-ins and squirm-ins and wet-ins [building laughter] and they get all you people to go down to Selma [Alabama, the site of a major civil rights march] and help them.  The guy leading it all is Martin Luther King.  I look at all the red organizations he belongs to, and he’s got communist assistance.  I say he’s a red!”

Jews are behind the civil rights movement, Rockwell declared, because they are communists and want to promote miscegenation and the disintegration of the white race.

Rockwell told his audience that when he saw all this going on in this country, he first joined with the conservatives as a way to do something about it.  But he quickly became disenchanted with conservatives, who he said turned out to be “the most cowardly bunch of finks I ever had to deal with.”  He gave up on them and told himself that he was going to “fight, tell the truth, every bit I know.”

“I have been telling the whole truth since then, and even though it has been tough, I have been winning some of the most wonderful people I have ever met, people who aren’t hypocrites and cowards.  This country is drowning in hypocrisy and cowardice.  Conservatives say ‘I love Jews and Negroes are my best friends.’  How is that going to save the country?  I became a Nazi because I found out what a Nazi is.  A Nazi is a man who believes in the white race above all things.  That doesn’t mean we have to persecute anybody, but it does mean that we have to keep our country white.  If Israel is a Jewish country and has a right to be Jewish, if Ghana is a black country and has a right to be black, why don’t we have the right to keep a white country white and Christian?  How long do you people think you’d last if you went to Israel and campaigned in the Jewish schools against singing Jewish songs?  And yet they are over here campaigning against us singing Christmas carols in ours.  They won’t tolerate it, but we must.

“They are destroying our culture, our civilization, and they have millions of good Americans like many of you helping them to do it because you really believe you are helping to build a better world.  Every time I speak, I get letters saying ‘I agreed with what you said but I was afraid to say it.’  This has to stop.  No man in America should be afraid to say what is in his heart.  I am a Nazi because I am no longer going to be a slave to fear.  I’m no longer going to be afraid to say what I believe to be the truth.  If I’m wrong, show me and I’ll quit, but stop calling me sick and stop calling me names and trying to punch me in the face.  That will never stop me.  It never stopped our forefathers.  No American worthy of the name in the history of this country has ever backed down because somebody beat on him or called him sick or threw something at him, and I’m not about to do it either.”

At this point several people in the audience shouted.  I couldn’t pick up what they were saying.

“I’m going to run this orderly or I’m not going to speak.”

“Don’t speak!” yells a male voice.  Cheers follow.

“Would you like me to quit?  I’ll be glad to quit.”

Much yelling, blending into a roar.

“Tell these Jews to shut up and I’ll go ahead!  I’m not going to speak in the middle of disorder!”

“You aren’t saying anything anyway!”


“When the Jews are quiet, I’m going to continue.”

“Leave now!”

“Now’s your chance, Jews.  Let the Christians see how you operate.”

“The Negroes in my opinion are biologically inferior.  Not all of them—you may have some in this room who are smarter than I am.  I’m talking about the average ghetto Negro.  The great mass of Negroes just can’t make it in modern society.  That is not their fault and it is not mine, but the way to remedy it is not to take your rights away and give them to the Negroes, because that won’t help either one of you.  It just pulls everybody down.  I think we [the races] ought to separate.  I don’t think segregation will work, and I know integration won’t work.  If we can’t get them [blacks] to Africa, I’m willing to give them part of the United States—namely, Brooklyn and Miami Beach!”  (Laughter)

Rockwell then went into how “Jews’ business genius” has gotten them in control of television, “an industry that controls the minds of America.”

“Television is the most powerful medium in the world.  There are only [at that time] three television networks.  At NBC, the Chairman is Robert Sarnoff, a Russian Jew.  At ABC, the Chairman is Leonard Goldenson, a Russian Jew.  At CBS, there’s William Paley—Palinsky—another Russian Jew.  They control everything you see on television, and as a result, even though 85% of the serious crime in this country is committed by Negroes, have you ever seen a Negro criminal?  Every time you see a Negro he’s a judge or a lawyer or a very great man.  On the opposite hand, whenever you see a whodunit and you are trying to figure out who the dirty rat is that did it, and a guy comes along and says ‘Hi y’all, I’m from Alabama,’ he done it, that’s the guy!  He’s usually unshaven and dirty and filthy—Southern white Christian Protestant, no-good.  That is what has happened to your television.  Jewish businessmen have gotten to the top, which is their privilege, but then they use their position to brainwash our country so that you don’t anymore know what is going on.

“I believe communism is rapidly disappearing as an issue in this country.  I think the issue is rapidly going to become race and I’m going to fight.  I did it in World War II and I did it in Korea and I’m going to do it again right here.  Thank you very much.”

Silence and then scattered applause.

George Lincoln Rockwell was murdered by a former member of his inner circle leaving a laundromat in Arlington, Virginia on August 25th, 1967.

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