The Color of Fascism: Lawrence Dennis, Racial Passing, and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism in the United States

By Gerald Horne | Go to book overview

Preface

Lawrence Dennis, much touted as the “brain” behind U.S. fascism, had “hair” that was “wooly, dark and kinky. The texture of his skin,” said John Roy Carlson, who interviewed him face-to-face in preparing his best-selling book of 1943, “is unusually dark and the eyes of Hitler's intellectual keynoter of 'Aryanism' are a rich deep brown, his lips fleshy.” It was also reported, in words replete with multiple meaning, appropriate for the racially ambiguous, that Dennis was “born in Atlanta 'of a long line of American ancestors.'”1 Encountering him a few years before, in 1927, when he was a highly placed U.S. diplomat with postings ranging from Europe to Latin America, a New York Times journalist was taken by his “tall, trim powerful build with close cropped bristly hair and [skin] deeply bronzed by the tropical sun.”2

PM, the voice of the left-led “popular front” referred to Dennis as “the tall swarthy prophet of 'intellectual fascism,'” as they too danced nimbly around his suspected racial origins,3 as did the historian from the other shore, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who termed him—apparently metaphorically—a “dark and saturnine figure.”4

Charles Lindbergh was quite attuned to the “'rivalry of the races'”; indeed, suggests one perceptive analyst, he had “displayed an obsession with race—its improvement, its degradation, its superior and inferior elements”—with the African deemed decidedly to be among the latter. He was passionately concerned with the ability of the “'White race to live… in a pressing sea of Yellow, Black and Brown.'” Such lunatic notions had not halted his ascension to the status of being deemed a “superhuman figure,” a “'demigod,'” according to one star-struck onlooker.5 But even Lindbergh's signal achievement—his transatlantic flight—was dripping with racial animus. For it was flight and air power, he thought, that guaranteed that a “white” minority could dominate the colored, which is why he was hostile to war between Berlin and Washington since it distracted

-vii-

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The Color of Fascism: Lawrence Dennis, Racial Passing, and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction - More Than Passing Strange 1
  • 1: Passing Fancy? 17
  • 2: Passing Through 31
  • 3: Fascism 44
  • 4: The Face—of Fascism 59
  • 5: Fascism and Betrayal 71
  • 6: Approaching Disaster 85
  • 7: Framing a Guilty Man? 98
  • 8: Fascism on Trial 112
  • 9: A Trial on Trial 126
  • 10: After the Fall 140
  • 11: An Isolationist Isolated? 156
  • 12: Passing On 171
  • Notes 179
  • Index 209
  • About the Author 229
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