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America’s “Mein Kampf”: Francis Parker Yockey and “Imperium”

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Anthony Mostrom writes in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

WHILE SITTING ALONE in a quiet garden in Wiesbaden, Germany, in October 1946 amid the rubble of bombed-out streets, an unknown American named Francis Parker Yockey, who had recently been flown out by the US government to work as a review attorney for the War Crimes tribunals, jotted down in a notebook: “The ambition to rule souls is the strongest of all passions. Self-interest is the key to commonplace transactions. Where is the man who would not gladly be stabbed, if in exchange he could be Caesar?”

A strange sentiment, one would think, especially coming from an American hired to sift through the details of slaughter committed by a far more terrible dictator than Caesar. But Francis Parker Yockey’s mind was already fixed (or perhaps fixated) on certain high-stakes goals, and being hired for this particular job at Wiesbaden was part of the plan. Though he was brought onboard as part of the legal team whose job it was to pass judgment on accused “second-string” Nazi war criminals, Yockey (who was 29 at the time) came to Germany prepared to do something else entirely: to help the very Nazis he was hired to prosecute.

Fourteen years later, in June 1960, he would end up committing suicide in a dank jail cell in San Francisco, his body reportedly dressed only in underwear and SS-style boots: a high-strung American fascist operative unwilling to face a psychiatric examination and a possible trial that would surely have disclosed the names of his contacts and his secretive movements worldwide. This amid screaming newspaper headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle declaring the mystery man with many passports to be “as important a figure in world Fascism as we now know.” Today, Yockey is remembered as the father of Holocaust denial.

A graduate of Notre Dame Law School (’41) who also studied at Georgetown University, Yockey had already devoted years of his youth to some high-risk, conspiratorial involvement with far-right groups in the United States before, during, and after World War II. These activities, according to Yockey biographer Kevin Coogan (see the excellent book Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International), included secretly helping German Nazi spies who had landed on American and Mexican shores, at the very moment the US was at war with Germany.

Long remembered in his hometown of Ludington, Michigan, as a talented young man from a good Catholic family, Yockey was intellectually gifted, a concert-level pianist as a teenager, a Marxist-turned-Nazi in college, and, according to conservative historian Arthur Herman (in his book The Idea of Decline in Western History), “self-educated and brilliantly mad.” Just how Yockey, a known pro-Nazi activist in the Chicago area during the 1930s, could successfully campaign to get himself attached to the war crimes trials was just one of many odd twists and turns in this strange and intense man’s life, which became even stranger during the deepest frost of the Cold War.

Evidence exists, for example, to show that while in Wiesbaden, Yockey actively tried to help accused Nazi war criminals by sharing top-secret government documents with German defense lawyers; these defendants included German SS General Otto Ohlendorf, responsible for the deaths of 90,000 people in Ukraine and the Caucasus.

But Yockey’s real and lasting claim to fame involves what occurred after his checkered sojourn in Germany ended. In 1947, Yockey began a pattern of restless travel, and he secured a room at a small inn on the Irish coast to write a 600-page book: Imperium, which called for a transnational, neo-Nazi European Empire that, in his imagining, would one day stretch “from the rocky promontories of Galway to the Urals.”

In an uncanny mirror-image moment of opposing prophecies, Yockey wrote Imperium at the very moment George Orwell was busy writing Nineteen Eighty-Four at his own isolated cottage, on a Scottish island just a short distance away from Yockey’s retreat at Brittas Bay.

Since its publication, Imperium has inspired generations of far-right activists, antisemites, and racially motivated theoreticians (and a few politicians) who dream today of a “Eurasian” imperium based on racial-collectivist principles in Europe, Russia, and the United States. Without question the most influential antisemitic book since Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of ZionImperium has remained in print for almost 60 years.

Yockey’s message made its way to America early on. In 1962, a San Francisco–based far-right activist named  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

16 February 2023 at 11:14 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Politics

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