Ray Chase sought out relationships with leaders of pro-Nazi, antisemitic, and extremist groups that had a strong foothold in Minnesota and the Midwest.
This letter to Harry A. Jung (?-1954) is an example of the ideas and political methods of Chase.
Jung founded the American Vigilant Intelligence Federation, which was an antisemitic, anti-New Deal lobbying group during the 1930s. Scholarly sources refer to Harry A. Jung as a man obsessed with “Jewish conspiracies,” and their desire to take over the world. The group distributed millions of copies of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” He was a founder of “Patriotic Societies” that came into existence during WWI when extensive espionage was sanctioned by the United States government against those deemed unpatriotic during WWI. Jung continued his attack on leftists and Jews.
Jung also published The American Gentile, which was backed by Nazi money, and focused on Jung’s conspiracy theories about Jews. This same publishing house also distributed anti-Roosevelt propaganda during the election campaign of 1936.
This letter focuses on the Dies Committee. Chase offers Jung “evidence which will be of interest and value to you” in exchange for information that challenged the Dies Congressional Committee that investigated “un-American activities.”
The house Committee on Un-American Activities, known as the Dies Commission in this period, was created by Martin Dies, a Texas congressperson in 1938. Its purpose was to investigate disloyal activities of communists and fascists who were private citizens or public employees. In fact, it focused exclusively on Communists. In a Republican-led House of Representatives Dies was able to create this committee with a Republican majority. Its purpose was to demonstrate that the Franklin D. Roosevelt White House was infiltrated by communists. It was, among other things, an assault on the New Deal and its social programs.
Harry Jung was an “investigator” for the committee, meaning that he sent them information, just as he sent information to the FBI. Like Chase, he was in the “information” business, often creating false accusations against activists, and labeling those with whom he disagreed communists in order to end their employment. There was considerable public opposition to the committee because of its methods of “naming names” and offering little opportunity for people to defend themselves.
This letter reveals the connections among anticommunists and anti-labor activists during the New Deal. It underlines Chase’s quid pro quo approach to his work and politics and his constant association with notorious antisemites.
Sources for this description include:
Regin Schmidt. Red Scare: FBI and the Origins of Anticommunism in the United States 1919-1943, p. 35; “The American Vigilant Intelligence Federation.” Historical Dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929-1940. James Stuart Olson Ed; John L. Spivak. “Nazi Spies and American “Patriots.” Souciant. http://souciant.com/2017/01/nazi-spies-and-american-patriots. Posted January 31, 2017.
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