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

10

After the Fall

There was a mistrial declared after the judge suffered a fatal heart attack, unable to deal with the circus over which he was supposed to preside as ringmaster. But as Dennis's daughter, Emily, recalled, the trial devastated her father, he never recovered financially, which placed strains on his marriage and probably contributed to its demise. This financial burden complicated his ability to send her to Vassar and her sister, Laura, to Bryn Mawr—which made him more dependent on the kindness of wealthy benefactors.1 Perhaps the final stake driven through his reputation was the fact that his family ancestry became a subject of wider discussion in 1946 in the trial's aftermath—as if this were a punishment more severe than imprisonment.

A year after the mistrial Roger Baldwin of the American Civil Liberties Union was told that the case was dead, the only problem being that of “how to get the corpse out of the room,” as Dennis so inelegantly put it. In January 1946, defense lawyers asked for a dismissal on account of failure to prosecute during a period of over a year after the mistrial, but the prosecutor, Rogge, asked for time to hunt new evidence in Germany. His motion was granted. Rogge uncovered, as Dennis noted, “plenty of wonderful evidence to smear all sorts of prominent people including such names as ex-President Herbert Hoover, ex-Vice President Garner, Jim Farley [prominent New Dealer], Senator Wheeler and John L. Lewis [labor leader], as co-conspirators with the Nazis…. much of the evidence was what the now very dead Goering and Ribbentrip had told Rogge.”

Of course, Dennis's version of events is one-sided. Rogge's evidence was not just a matter of a “smear”; however, the defeat of the Axis, and the concomitant onset of tensions between Moscow and Washington, had altered profoundly the political calculus. There was little appetite in the

-140-

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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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