Charles Frederick Higham

Charles Frederick Higham

Charles Frederick Higham, the eldest of three sons of Charles Higham (1851–1885), a solicitor's clerk, and his wife, Emily Trigg Higham, was born at Walthamstow, on 17th January 1876. Higham left home at thirteen and after a series of different jobs he returned to England and found work with W. Smith, the newsagents.

According to his friend, Ethel Mannin: "At twenty-four he was a salesman earning three pounds a week; within two months he was earning ten pounds a week writing advertisements; within two years he was earning a thousand pounds a year as manager of one of America's largest department stores. By the time he was thirty he had had twenty-nine jobs. His own explanation of this was that he could never endure to stay long enough in one job to risk getting into a rut." Higham also claimed he was "sacked into success."

Higham eventually established his own advertising agency, Charles F. Higham Ltd. Nothing is known of his first marriage but he was described as a widower on his second marriage to Jessie Munro (1882–1925) on 15th December 1911. According to his biographer, Gordon Phillips: "Higham was a rumbustious, fiercely energetic, and indefatigable self-publicist, but though he understood the power of advertising, he failed to accept the growing trend for sophisticated market research." A friend claimed that "without that dynamic personality, that consuming egotism, that colossal faith in himself, he could not have risen from literally nothing to his present position."

During the First World War Higham was appointed to a government committee on recruiting, dedicated to encouraging patriotism. This included the production of posters such as Your Country Needs You by Alfred Leete. As director of the National War Savings Committee helped organize the victory loan campaign of 1917. Ethel Mannin has claimed: "The secret of Higham's success, of course, lies in the fact that he has always known what he wanted and gone straight for it; never been afraid of taking a risk, never minded starting over and over again at the bottom, and never lost courage or faith in himself when things have gone badly."

Higham became a member of the Conservative Party and in the 1918 General Election he was elected to represent South Islington in the House of Commons. He was awarded a knighthood for his war-work in 1921. He decided not to stand in the 1922 General Election. In 1924 Higham led a campaign in America to popularize tea-drinking. According to Gordon Phillips "It took that country by storm, and within weeks tea-shops were opening across the continent." In 1926 he helped establish the Advertising Association.

Ethel Mannin wrote in her autobiography Confessions and Impressions (1930): "Fifteen years ago Charles Higham made out a list of the things he wanted in life. There were five of them. A Rolls-Royce, a title, a seat in the House of Commons, a flat in Albany, and enough money to buy the comforts of life. In less than ten years he made all these dreams come true. Today he is left with nothing more to want. I think he was happier before he had everything. Today he gets what he wants without wanting it very much."

After the death of Jessie Higham he married Eloise Rowe Ellis (born 1895) on 20th August 1925. This marriage was dissolved and on 17th July 1930 he married Josephine Janet Keuchenius (born 1903). They had one son. This marriage was dissolved in April 1934, and he married Ruth Agnes Marian Neligan (born 1910) on 30th July 1936 and soon afterwards she gave birth to a daughter.

Charles Frederick Higham died of pneumonia and cancer of the mouth on 24th December 1938 at his home, The Mount, South Godstone, Surrey.

Charles Higham comes first in my gallery of full-length portraits of people who have interested me, for two reasons; one, because he represents the first striking personality I ever met, and two, because for force of personality I have never met anyone to equal him; for sheer individuality he stands head and shoulders above all the others. He has a dynamic quality which I have never found in the same degree of intensity in anyone else. When the first of my novels to attract attention, Sounding Brass, appeared, Fleet Street and the advertising world immediately fastened on it as a portrait of Higham. Higham himself used to go about saying, "Of course everyone knows it's me." Well, in some respects the personality of James Rickard and Charles Higham are one; Rickard forcing his way to success in life is Higham; and the Rickard storming up and down the office in the process of getting things done, but the analogy goes no farther.

Some aspects of the advertising world amused me, and in that book I deliberately satirized it - for the hot-air in the advertising world I have an amused contempt, but for the most outstanding figure in the advertising world I have nothing but the most sincere respect and admiration and affection. In many ways I think I admire Higham more than anyone I know. We are in some respects very much the same kind of people. I do not mean that we share the same aesthetic tastes, or that I believe in all this Better Spirit in Business and Hands-Across-the-Sea stuff which is the breath of life to him, but we are alike in that we both know what we want of life and set out to get it by the most direct route and with unfaltering determination. We are alike in our singleness of purpose, in the lowliness of our beginnings, and in our pride in being self-made. We both began at zero and had to work our way to where we each stand today in our respective professions.

Fifteen years ago Charles Higham made out a list of the things he wanted in life. Today he gets what he wants without wanting it very much.

I know of nobody who has had a more remarkable career. He has done "everything," from standing on street-corners without money, food, or lodgings, to serving in the American Army during the Spanish-American war, despite the fact that he was British born. His whole life-story has been one of violent contrasts. When he was eleven he wore a little velvet suit and presented a bouquet to royalty at Euston; when he was thirteen he was cleaning the windows of a chemist's shop in America. The first time he went to America he went steerage, and the second time he travelled in a suite-deluxe on the fastest ocean liner afloat.

He was born in London within sound of Bow Bells, left school at eleven, and went with his parents to America when he was thirteen. He wanted to be an actor and became a book-keeper. It is typical of Higham's audacity that he once accepted a job which involved touring America on a bicycle without being able to ride a bicycle. At twenty-four he was a salesman earning three pounds a week; within two months he was earning ten pounds a week writing advertisements; within two years he was earning a thousand pounds a year as manager of one of America's largest department stores. His own explanation of this was that he could never endure to stay long enough in one job to risk getting into a rut....

At the age of thirty the vicissitudes of his life - a story in itself - found him back in London with precisely twelve pounds between himself and the next twist of circumstance. Characteristically he put up at one of the best hotels in town. He had to do it, he says, lest he lose faith in himself. It is part of his psychology that he thinks in terms of success. He did not in the least know what his next move was to be. He had no influence, no capital beyond his twelve pounds, a magnetic personality, a brain quick with ideas, and a terrific belief in himself and his potentialities. He had the germ of power within him, and he knew it, but it had to find an outlet. He believed then as now that the world is run by ideas ; then as now he saw the press as the most potent power in civilization. He had this knowledge, this realization, and twelve pounds....

In the Strand that day, wandering, wondering what to do, looking for work-any kind of a job that would tide him over-he encountered the late James Murray Allison, who invited him to dinner with a few other young men who were later to become forces in Fleet Street. The party was a late one - so late that it wound up, at Higham's suggestion, with a breakfast party at his expensive hotel. This breakfast party cost the host eleven pounds, four shillings and sixpence - so that out of his precious twelve pounds he had fifteen shillings and sixpence left.

As a result of this party he had an introduction to the manager of an advertising agency. He went along and applied for a job; he asked for ten pounds a week - and was refused. At parting he told the manager that in a year's time he would offer him, Higham, not ten pounds a week, but twenty. And one year later he did.

It all sounds incredible, but then the whole of Higham's amazing career is incredible. The day after that breakfast party and that "turn-down" he applied for another job, with another advertising agency, and this time he was taken on - at five pounds a week. At the end of six weeks he was discharged. His chief said he was "no salesman." Two days later he applied to the same chief for a job as manager - and got it.

The secret of Higham's success, of course, lies in the fact that he has always known what he wanted and gone straight for it; never been afraid of taking a risk, never minded starting over and over again at the bottom, and never lost courage or faith in himself when things have gone badly.


Charles Higham, Noted Film and Political Biographer, Dies at 81

The author profiled, often in controversial fashion, the likes of Errol Flynn, Howard Hughes, Katharine Hepburn and Orson Welles.

Todd McCarthy

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Charles Higham, the prolific author of best-selling and sometimes controversial biographies of film stars and political figures, died April 21 at his home in Los Angeles of an apparent heart attack. He was 81 and had broken his hip in a fall.

Among Higham&rsquos most notable books were Kate: The Life of Katharine Hepburn, his first best-seller, in 1975, and The Duchess of Windsor (1988). Certainly his most controversial was Errol Flynn: The Untold Story (1980), in which the author offered evidence that the actor had worked as a Nazi spy, stirring up a frenzy of denials and debate that still persists. His Howard Hughes: The Secret Life became the main source for Martin Scorsese&rsquos The Aviator.

Two of Higham&rsquos most enduring works dealt directly with American business and financial complicity with the Third Reich and its sympathizers before, during and after World War II: Trading With the Enemy: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933-1949, and American Swastika: The Shocking Story of Nazi Collaborators in Our Midst From 1933 to the Present Day.

The son of Sir Charles Frederick Higham, the English advertising tycoon and member of Parliament, young Charles was raised in upper class London until his father died when the boy was 7. With his mother, long since divorced from her husband, Charles lived in much reduced circumstances during World War II and thereafter until, in 1954, he emigrated to Australia.

Working as a journalist and film critic in Sydney, he began profiling Hollywood stars and directors as well as contributing to international film journals. Based on his reputation as a poet, he was invited to be Regents Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1969 and shortly thereafter settled permanently in Los Angeles, where he became a regular Hollywood feature writer for The New York Times and conducted interviews for Time-Life Books&rsquo phonographic history of American films.

He also quickly became notorious in some circles due to his contention, in his generally admiring scholarly book The Films of Orson Welles in 1970, that the celebrated director suffered from a &ldquofear of completion&rdquo that helped explain his many unfinished film projects. During the next 35 years, Higham wrote biographies of well over a dozen major show business figures, including Welles, Florenz Ziegfeld, Cecil B. DeMille, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Charles Laughton, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Merle Oberon, Louis B. Mayer and the sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine.

Still, Higham&rsquos personal favorite among his biographies was of an author, The Adventures of Conan Doyle: The Life of the Creator of Sherlock Holmes (1976) his father had served on World War I committees with the famous writer.

Among Higham&rsquos many other books were Hollywood in the Forties and The Celluloid Muse (both with Joel Greenberg) The Art of American Film, 1900-1971 Dark Lady: Winston Churchill&rsquos Mother and Her World Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery, about the notorious 1922 murder of film director William Desmond Taylor The Midnight Tree: A Fairy Tale of Terror and five volumes of verse. His frank autobiography, In and Out of Hollywood: A Biographer&rsquos Memoir, was published in 2009. He also wrote many plays, most notably His Majesty Mr. Kean and Murder by Moonlight, which were staged in Los Angeles and New York. Higham received the French literary prize, Prix des Createurs, in 1978, as well as the Poetry Society of London Prize.

Higham had been married once, in the 1950s. His longtime companion, Richard Palafox, died two years ago. He leaves no survivors.


MEMBER:

International Institute for Strategic Studies, American Aviation Historical Society, U.S. Naval Institute, American Military Institute, Air Force Historical Foundation, Organization of American Historians, Aviation/Space Writers Association, American Committee on the History of the Second World War (member of board of directors, 1980—), American Association for State and Local History, Society for History of Technology, Council of the Society for Army Historical Research (corresponding member), Conference on British Studies (member of publications committee, 1965—), Friends of the RAF Museum, Arnold Air Society (life member), Society for Scholarly Publishing, Conference of Historic Aviation Writers (organizer, 1982—), Riley County Historical Society (director, 1983-88), United States Military History Commission (director, 1994-98).


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Charles Frederick ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Charles Frederick. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Charles Frederick census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Charles Frederick. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Charles Frederick. For the veterans among your Charles Frederick ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Charles Frederick. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Charles Frederick census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Charles Frederick. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Charles Frederick. For the veterans among your Charles Frederick ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Higham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Higham name come from when the Anglo-Saxon tribes ruled over Britain. The name Higham was originally derived from a family having lived in or beside an enclosed region. The surname Higham originally derived from the Old English word "hegham" which referred to an "enclosed dwelling." [1]

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Early Origins of the Higham family

The surname Higham was first found in Norfolk at Heigham, Potter, a parish, in the hundred of Happing. [2]

The parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was recorded as Echam. [3]

But by 1182, the parish was known as Higham Potter and possibly meant "homestead with a hedge or hatch-gate. The affix must allude to the pot-making here at an early date." [4]

As far as early records of the family is concerned, Osward de Hecham was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Essex in 1176 and a few years later, Hugo de Hegham was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Kent in 1198. [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had three early entries for the family: Ralph de Hegham, Norfolk Thomas de Hegham or Heyham, Kent and Robert de Heyham, Suffolk. [1]

Later, Robertus de Hegham was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. "This surname is derived from a geographical locality, 'of the Hegham,' i.e. the enclosed dwelling, a spot in East Cheshire that gave rise to a surname now very familiar to the directories of the surrounding district. Also parishes in the Dioceses of Norwich, Peterborough, and Rochester, which no doubt have contributed to the list in South England." [1]

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Early History of the Higham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Higham research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1440, 1560, 1495, 1571, 1554, 1555, 1555, 1558, 1559, 1570, 1568, 1634 and 1545 are included under the topic Early Higham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Higham Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Higham include Hyam, Hyams, Hygham, Hyham, Higham, Highams and many more.

Early Notables of the Higham family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Clement Higham, (also Heigham), of Barrow Hall, Suffolk, (1495-1571), a Member of Parliament, Speaker of the House of Commons (1554-1555), Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and a Privy Councillor to Queen Mary. He was of a Suffolk family, son of Clement Heigham of Lavenham. "On 27 January 1555 he was knighted by King Philip (Machyn, Diary, p. 342), and on 2 March 1558 he succeeded Sir David Brooke as lord chief Baron of the exchequer. He received a new patent on Queen Elizabeth's accession, but on 22 January 1559 he was.
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Higham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Higham migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Higham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Lawrence Higham, who landed in Maryland in 1671 [6]
  • Thomas Higham, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1698
Higham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Higham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Higham, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812 [6]
  • Thomas Higham, who arrived in New York in 1822
  • Abel, James, and William Higham, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1828
  • John Higham, aged 58, who arrived in New York in 1868 [6]
Higham Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Francis Higham, aged 25, who settled in America from Wigan, in 1901
  • David Edward Higham, aged 45, who landed in America from Surrey, England, in 1908
  • Florence Higham, aged 37, who landed in America from London, in 1908
  • Emma Higham, aged 10, who immigrated to the United States from Wigam, England, in 1910
  • Edward Higham, aged 29, who immigrated to America from Bolton, England, in 1911
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Higham migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Higham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Abraham Higham, English convict who was convicted in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Candahar" on 26th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Thomas Newbold Higham, aged 30, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Amazon"

Higham migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:


The Story of Royal Worcester China and Some Notes on a Visit to the Ancient City of Worcester (Paperback)

Charles Frederick Higham

Published by Franklin Classics Trade Press, United States (2018)

From: The Book Depository (London, United Kingdom)

About this Item: Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface.We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. Seller Inventory # AAV9780344577062


Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Charles Frederick Higham

According to his friend, Ethel Mannin: "At twenty-four he (Charles Frederick Higham) was a salesman earning three pounds a week within two months he was earning ten pounds a week writing advertisements within two years he was earning a thousand pounds a year as manager of one of America's largest department stores. By the time he was thirty he had had twenty-nine jobs. His own explanation of this was that he could never endure to stay long enough in one job to risk getting into a rut." Higham also claimed he was "sacked into success."

Higham eventually established his own advertising agency, Charles F. Higham Ltd. Nothing is known of his first marriage but he was described as a widower on his second marriage to Jessie Munro (1882�) on 15th December 1911. According to his biographer, Gordon Phillips: "Higham was a rumbustious, fiercely energetic, and indefatigable self-publicist, but though he understood the power of advertising, he failed to accept the growing trend for sophisticated market research." A friend claimed that "without that dynamic personality, that consuming egotism, that colossal faith in himself, he could not have risen from literally nothing to his present position."


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Charles Frederick Higham - History

"More Than Money: American Collaboration with the Third Reich"

Book Essay on:
Charles Higham, American Swastika
(Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 332 pages.
UCSB Library E743.5 .H5 1985

by Joshua Morris
March 14, 2008

for Prof. Marcuse's lecture course
The Holocaust in German History
UC Santa Barbara, Winter 2008

I am a 4th year history major focusing on the political and economic outcomes of policies in Europe during the 20th century. I have been interested in history since I was taught how valuable it was by my father with his stories from the Submarine Service. I have taken 5 courses in total which covered German history and 6 courses which covered the Third Reich. I have always been interested in the Third Reich because it is a pivotal regime and era for understanding my main focus on 20th century Germany, the GDR. I chose Higham&rsquos book because I felt that it highlighted many feelings and theories about American involvement with the Third Reich that I had already presumed, or concluded based on other resources.

Charles Higham&rsquos text on American collaboration with the Nazis is a quick easy read, perfect for the novice historian. Covering an expansive 45-year period, Higham draws a line to link all the known U.S. collaborators with Nazism and highlights one major feature as the thesis for the text, that the majority of collaborators did so for personal ideological reasons not financial ones much different from the traditional view that U.S. support for Nazism was motivated by a drive to succeed financially. Many remember Henry Ford&rsquos close relationship with the Nazi camps of France to make tanks for the regime while producing capital back home in the states what many do not remember is that Ford, and many others, were antisemitic themselves and supported the Third Reich for far more elaborate reasons than to merely &lsquobring the U.S. out of depression&rsquo. American Swastika traces from the origins of the war-time German-American Bund to the most recent Klaus Barbie trial of 1985, which was Higham&rsquos original motivation for writing the book. Never before has such a collection of stories been linked together to prove something so distasteful about our own commanding economic heights, and about the true motivations of those participating in the economics of World War 2.

Book Summary

Few books in our collection of libraries have historically taken on the challenge of attacking pro-Fascist groups in America throughout the Cold War. Most of the American groups associated with Nazis during the 1930s were assumed to be financial businesses and corporations like Henry Ford trying to help America out of the depression by supporting whatever buyers they could find. Charles Higham approaches this subject and tells a very different story, portraying the majority of Nazi collaborators as perceived allies and members of the American government. In an overall attempt to highlight the Klaus Barbie trial of 1985, Higham uses his book to draw a line historically connecting the trials of Nazi perpetrators and the effects of their actions on not only America, but the war itself.

The styling and presentation of Higham&rsquos book is well thought out and well researched. Each chapter leads into the next and creates a cohesive narrative. Each story is told in a way to condemn the particular group or individual it is highlighting, such as the German-American Bund or Klaus Barbie, by showing that the group or individual was not acting in accordance with personal reasons for financial gain, but rather they were ideologically and materially supporting pro-Nazi organizations here in the States. In this way Higham tries to rid the notion that certain groups like Ford were collaborating with the Third Reich for such noble notions as &lsquoaiding the end to the American depression&rsquo or &lsquoprotecting young American boys from war&rsquo, and instead portray them as ideological opponents to the ideals of democracy and the American way of life.

Overall, Higham&rsquos book is a stylistic and enthusiastic read for the avid Nazi historian. The only reservations I have against it are that it relies heavily on research previously made in Higham&rsquos older publication, Trading with the Enemy. It assumes that readers have extensive knowledge of World War 2 and the Nazi groups associated with it. The drawback here is that background research and information is left out and readers are forced to either presume that Higham is correct, or research the material themselves. The book however is clear, entertaining, and concise.

The story of American collaboration with the Third Reich is an intriguing one that attracts attention and provokes the imagination. Ideological support of the Nazis was never a secret, even in the 1930s, as many well known American businessmen supported the Third Reich because they shared Hitler&rsquos vision of a great fascist society. Businessmen like Henry Ford and American icons like Charles Lindberg supported the Nazis in various ways for different reasons. Strangely, few historians have attempted to connect these events and circumstances and explain them collectively. Historian Charles Higham, author of other World War 2 highlights such as Trading with the Enemy, 1982, has attempted such a collective analysis of Nazi conspirators in his volume American Swastika, 1985. Published in 1985, this book was written to draw attention to the Klaus Barbie trial, set to air on television later that year. Drawing from his previous research, Higham attempts to trace the history of Nazi collaboration and its subsequent effect on the war from the early instances of the German-American Bund to the most recent Barbie case. The conventional view that &ldquo[conspirators] and isolationists in the Senate and the House were merely misguided, that in their desire to keep America out of the war, to protect young American boys from being killed, they meant well that they were innocently oblivious of the real meaning of Fascism in Europe&rdquo (Higham 38) leaves out any possibility of antisemitism and/or sedition. One problem with Higham&rsquos text is its attempts to link events together without creating an overall thesis. Rather what we see when observing these cases is that allegiance to Hitler, and illegal funding for the German cause, was far more than just a desire to protect America. Although Higham argues that people collaborated with the Nazis for many different reasons, common to all of them was a strong ideological affinity to the ideals of the Third Reich: each case was characterized by an obvious allegiance to Nazi Germany as well as a personal commitment to the ideals of world Fascism.

The German-American Bund

The origins of American support of Nazism are best expressed in the origins of the pro-Nazi American interest group, the German-American Bund. Hitler&rsquos secretary, Hans Thompsen, arrived in America in 1936 to promote the foundation of a pro-Fascist organization protected by the American bill of rights. According to Higham he had no trouble finding supporters of appeasement in the states where &ldquoanti-Semitism and fear of communism were two overriding concerns&rdquo (Higham 2). Thompsen knew that the American public &ldquowanted to stay out of the European conflict for as long as possible&rdquo (Higham 2) and thus knew that his goal would be promoting a platform of non-involvement. Fritz Kuhn was the man who quickly became head of this organization, and its principal leader in spearheading American politics. Laying down the constitution of the Bund, Kuhn hypocritically called for an &ldquoallegiance to the United States and to the preservation of law and order&rdquo (Higham 5), despite the fact that the &ldquoorganization was bent upon the wholesale subversion, subordination, and collapse of the U.S. democratic system from within&rdquo (Higham 5). Even more compelling is that &ldquomany Bund members were trained in the use of rifles, pistols, and machine guns and were expert in demolition work&rdquo (Higham 7). In this ironic way, the Bund was as active as the Communist Party during the 1930s and condemned it for promoting a very similar platform, which was the subversion of capitalism by the lower classes. The unique feature of the Bund was its ability to &ldquocrystallize the feelings of a vigorous minority of Americans while greatly aggravating the majority with its torchlit street parades and strutting in uniform&rdquo (Higham 3). As a result the Bund made the headlines frequently during the &lsquo30s, and was sometimes just as controversial as the Communist Party.

The German-American Bund was much more than just a pro-German organization, however. The Bund&rsquos activities likely fit the description of a terrorist organization, similar to how we view some radical organizations today, such as PETA. To this end, the Bund was relatively unsuccessful at promoting fascism in the states, mainly because it was turning the fear of communism into a fear of Nazism. One of the most obvious problems to the organization was that part of its audience, German-Americans, had left Europe to escape the very totalitarianism the Bund was promoting. Newsreels and press releases had a field day exposing the Bund&rsquos camps where children were indoctrinated with Nazism as they &ldquoate, slept, talked, and dreamed Nazism just as the Hitler Jugend did&rdquo (Higham 6). Overall the Bund was very unsuccessful and was eventually suppressed during the war, but it was clearly the first instance of a large pro-Nazi presence that was not financially motivated in supporting the Third Reich, but rather supported Nazism for ideological reasons.

America First!

The next major case from Higham&rsquos analysis was the research done on the America First! campaign. One of America&rsquos most prominent &lsquoheroes&rsquo at the time was Charles Lindberg, and it was he who advocated this radical new perspective on the changing nature of European politics. Lindberg was most concerned with what he called the &lsquoyellow peril&rsquo, or the Chinese and Japanese alliance which he believed was masked over by a global conflict involving the Jews and the Germans (Higham 12). In a very racist tone Lindberg condemned the Chinese and the Japanese as a threat to whites around the world, and that &ldquoGermany could have been used as a weapon against this alliance&rdquo (Higham 12). It was on this pretext that Lindberg concluded that America needed to be more concerned with its own safety as a predominantly white nation and alliances with other white nations, including Nazi Germany, should be encouraged to strengthen that safety net. Thus America First! became the largest active &lsquopolitical force&rsquo which continuously advocated a peace with Nazi Germany. According to Higham the philosophy behind America First! was much deeper than just a fear of the &lsquoyellow peril&rsquo, it &ldquowas based on ideological as well as financial considerations: purity of race and the destruction of Jewry and communism allied with financial empire-building all over the world&rdquo (Higham 13). This platform successfully attracted many of America&rsquos most prominent figures including Henry Ford, Alice Roosevelt, John T. Flynn, and Kathryn Lewis. It is here where we see a clear distinction between supporting Nazism purely for financial reasons, and supporting it for not only personal gain but also because of their own sense of morality. It is expected that businessmen would be attracted to the prospect of increased revenue, but what we find after examining later meetings is that almost all members unquestionably supported Lindberg and his perspective, especially after his 1941 speech in Iowa where he stated that &ldquothe world conflict was engulfing the United States because of &lsquothe British, the Jews, and the Roosevelt administration&rsquo&rdquo (Higham 14). America First! was only one of the many Nazi organizations in the States investigated by the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover. Postwar reports showed that America First! was allied with many other pro-Nazi groups such as the German-American National Alliance, which &ldquocirculated Nazi propaganda appealing for contributions to America First!&rdquo (Higham 15). Fortunately, the organization&rsquos appeal and ability to attract attention to fascism died out quickly after 1943 and the inevitability of the war&rsquos conclusion. America First! however, does give readers a quick glance at the philosophical motives of many prominent American icons such as Henry Ford, who was later found to have negotiated with Hitler to build tanks in occupied France most specifically though, it shows that there was much more than just financial gain behind the motives of these individuals.

Conspiracy on Capitol Hill

The final case in this analysis was the Capitol Hill conspiracy, which investigated the covert support of pro-Nazi organizations by many prominent U.S. senators and members of congress. Following the mysterious death of Senator Ernest Lundeen from Minnesota, William Maloney took it upon himself to begin the investigation of Nazi propaganda activities within the congress. Maloney was a radical leftist who aided the Attorney General in investigating Nazi covert actions in the States. Using research gathered from Lundeen&rsquos former secretary Harriet Johnson, Maloney was able to fit the jigsaw pieces into a narrative which &ldquopresented an unsavory picture of corruption and Nazi collaboration in both the Senate and the House&rdquo (Higham 38). Citing the conventional view of Americans at the time, Higham uses Maloney&rsquos testimony to cover up the myth that senators meant well in their actions to try and prevent American involvement in the war. The truth, as explained by Maloney, is that seven senators and thirteen congressmen were negotiating secretly with the Nazi government, all of whom &ldquoaided and abetted the Nazi government by using their franking privileges&rdquo which allowed them &ldquoto distribute isolationist speeches, reprints of articles, and even books through the mail&rdquo (Higham 38). Far more controversial than merely trying to keep the country out of war, these members of congress showed elements of not only direct treason, but political and national dishonesty as well. These men, some of whom were bribed and thus not necessarily ideologically committed, were committed nonetheless to supporting the Nazi regime for their own personal benefit.

Hans Thompsen, a name we have seen already, knew how important penetrating Capitol Hill was to Hitler. He was able to &ldquofind valuable friends in the devious Assistant Secretary of the State Breckinridge Long,&rdquo and praised Hitler&rsquos accomplishments in the States during the 1930s. Thompsen took it upon himself to help aid the penetration of Congress in 1940 when he stated it was &ldquonecessary to take &lsquoliterary countermeasures&rsquo against Roosevelt&rdquo (Higham 39), which he believed would help gain popularity of isolationism from the U.S. public. He proposed five book projects which were carefully created in order to portray isolationism as not only desirable for Americans, but necessary as well. Later in 1941 he arranged for the German-American National Alliance to support America First! with campaign funds and German agents in order to organize a &ldquoflood of isolationist letters to Congress.&rdquo (Higham 39) Thompsen&rsquos most important contact however was George Sylvester Viereck, who received $500,000 from the Nazi government to aid in the subversion and corruption of U.S. congressmen and the administration itself. Viereck as early as 1910 had written about his personal opinions about the necessity of an American-German alliance, and was thus very ideologically connected to the nationalist sentiments of Nazi Germany (Higham 40). Throughout the 1930s as an author, Viereck spent most of his time praising Hitler&rsquos regime and writing books and articles talking about the necessity of a German-American alliance. Viereck was only one person who aided the Nazi infiltration of the Congress, but he is clearly an element with much larger visions than someone merely trying to exploit a situation for financial gain.

Higham&rsquos text was criticized as being &ldquojounalistic whistle blowing&rdquo (Booklist review) by the reviewers at Booklist, most likely referring to the energetic nature of the text&rsquos presentation. What I think this review does highlight though is the way the text expects readers to have already known Higham&rsquos previous research and is thus more of a journalistic coverage of Nazi collaboration than it is just one examination of it. Higham&rsquos text definitely lacks in its ability to bring all the elements together into an overall thesis, instead choosing to link the events chronologically to 1985. The text however was not without its own arguments and its own specific perspectives on Nazi collaboration, which the book would have better presented if it had addressed a specific aspect about Nazi collaboration in the States, namely that the most prominent supporters did it not for financial reasons but rather because of their ideological affinity to fascism or Nazism. We see this all linked together with the German-American Bund, which was ideologically committed to fascism the America First! foundation and its success in attracting prominent businessmen, who also found an ally in America-Nazi collaborators and finally the flood of Congress with Nazi reports, isolationist speeches, and illegal contract funding. When we look back on this history with this new perspective, it is hard to say that we have not been affected in some way by fascist politics. Charles Higham&rsquos text does a good job at creating this new perspective, even if it lacks the cohesiveness of true historical writing. Hopefully we can use this information to help us better explore our own nation&rsquos desires at a time when we thought we were all on the same side.

Bibliography and Links (back to top) (links last checked 3/24/08)

Book Review

  • "Review of Higham, Charles: American Swastika." Booklist. Chicago: American Library Association, 1985. 803-804.
    &ldquoThis Prolific and popular writer has explored U.S. cooperation with Nazis before, in Errol Flynn: The Untold Story (Booklist 76:1333 My 15 80), a biography of the famous action that suggested he was a Nazi spy, and Trading with the Enemy: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949 (79:414 N 15 82), in which Higham held up for public disdain some deals made during World War II between Germany and U.S. companies. This time he is incensed over the assistance given to Nazism during World War II and afterward by still more people in influential places in this country. Amazingly, this group of Third Reich supporters even included some U.S. senators and congressmen. Exactly what all the individuals he has unearthed did and why they did it will leave wide-eyed those many readers who love loud (but documented) journalistic whistle-blowing.&rdquo
    Bibliography to be indexed. WBH.

    Provides a quick synopsis and name index of Higham&rsquos book and its overall aim in highlighting the Klaus Barbie trial of 1985.
    Amazon.com&rsquos page for the book provides a single neutral review by an anonymous user user states that the book is well researched but not well written.
    Wikipedia&rsquos biography of the author. Provides background information on the author as well as some more details about his earlier book on Errol Flynn.
    Complete list of Higham&rsquos works provided by alibris.com.
    Contains excerpts of Higham&rsquos more controversial book, Trading with the Enemy.
  • Higham, Charles. Trading with the Enemy: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949 (Booklist 79:414 Nov. 15, 1982) (amazon) excerpts available at http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/Trading_Enemy_excerpts.html
  • Higham, Charles. Errol Flynn: The Untold Story. (New York: Doubleday, 1980)(amazon)
  • Sutton, Antony. Wall Street & the Rise of Hilter (GSG & Associates, June, 1976)(amazon)

Any student tempted to use this paper for an assignment in another course or school should be aware of the serious consequences for plagiarism. Here is what I write in my syllabi:

Plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education. I report offenses to the Office of the Dean of Students for disciplinary action.


Sir Charles Frederick Higham

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