Silver Legion of America


Silver Legion of America

The Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts, was an American fascist organization founded by William Dudley Pelley on January 30, 1933.

American Silver Shirts

The Silver Legion’s emblem was a scarlet 'L'. It stood for Loyalty to the American Republic, Liberation from materialism and, of course, the Silver Legion itself.

The uniform of the Silver Legion members consisted of a cap identical to those worn by German Stormtroopers, blue corduroy trousers, leggings, tie, and silver shirt with a red "L" over the heart. The Silver Legion had "Silver Shirts" in a like manner to the Italian Fascists and the British Union of Fascists having Blackshirts and the German Nazis having Brownshirts.

By 1934, the Silver Shirts had about 15,000 members. Most members were middle-class. The movement's strength dwindled after 1934. Four years later, the Silver Legion was down to a membership of about 5000. In 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war on the United States by Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy led to the immediate collapse of the Silver Legion.

In popular culture

* In the 1972 George Roy Hill movie "Slaughterhouse-Five", which is based on the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel, the character Howard W. Campbell Jr. who comes to the German POW camp and attempts to proselytize the American prisoners into joining the "anti-bolshevik" struggle of Germany is a clear reference to the Silver Shirts.
* A fictionalised depiction of the Silver Shirts forms a large part of the plot in the thriller "The Night Letter" by Paul Spike.
*The Silver Shirts are also a British political movement in Harry Turtledove's American Empire and Settling Accounts series of novels. They are likely an analog of the British Union of Fascists, as Oswald Mosely is a prominent leader.

ee also

* William Dudley Pelley
* German American Bund
* Neo-Nazi groups of the United States
* Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini.

References

* "The Millenarian Right: William Dudley Pelley and the Silver Legion of America" by John Werly (Ph.D. diss. Syracuse University, 1972)
* Ribuffo, Leo Pual, Protestants on the Right: William Dudley Pelley, Gerald B. Winrod and Gerald L.K. Smith, two volumes, Yale University, 1976 Liberation magazine, January 1936, New York City Library

External links

* The Holocaust Chronicle [http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/StaticPages/89.html PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust, page 89]
* [http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=6070 The American Jewish Committees' archive on the Silver Shirts]


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