Huey Long was murdered before
ever leaving a lasting impression. People thought of Long
as a positive influence
on a country whose upper echelon refused to let wealth trickle down.
insistence on increased taxation of the wealthy was something Father Coughlin
agreed with wholeheartedly.
Some speculate it was Long's death that prompted a more no-holds-barred way of
communication from Coughlin. In 1936, the humble Roman Catholic radio host became a
vigilant naysayer of money-hungry, country-disruptive financial practices. He became convinced
that President Roosevelt and his "Jewish conspirators" were keeping
the country from reaching
its full potential.
Father Coughlin soon found he had
competition. Monsignor John A. Ryan, another
nationally known priest, turned
on Coughlin after Coughlin's shunning of Roosevelt and
viewpoints. Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli,
Francis Spellman continuously worked to get the Vatican to silence Coughlin.
1936, Coughlin was ordered silent by the Vatican.
Father Coughlin never wavered in his speech, however, and as the
year drew on, his radio show
became ripe with anti-Semitic tones. He blamed Jewish bankers for the Russian
and cited that Jewish influence created great turmoil in the region.
In 1938, Coughlin published
a newspaper, Social Justice, which for all intents
and purposes, was a newspaper aimed at
directly attacking Jewish people.
times had watched Father Coughlin lend support to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Then at a speech Coughlin gave in the Bronx – perhaps his most famous – he gave a Nazi
salute and yelled out, "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think
treatment they received in Germany was nothing." Proving this
statement wasn't a one-time
lapse of judgment, Coughlin stated "Jewish
persecution only followed after Christians first
were persecuted," after
the Jews across Germany were attacked, killed and burned out
of house and home.
speeches and programs were becoming even more anti-Semitic from that point, and
stations in New York and Chicago began refusing to air his content without first
pre-approving his scripts. One of the only available stations for Coughlin was the small
WHBI in Newark, New Jersey.
Father Coughlin's anti-Semitism made him a hero in Nazi Germany, where
daily, stating that "America is not allowed to hear the
truth." Some of the American public
shared Coughlin's views, and 2,000
supporters gathered and marched in New York,
protesting the migration of Jewish
refugees from Hitler's camps. These protests were not
short-lived; they went
on for several months, and Coughlin embraced his supporters.
At the height of his anti-Semitism, Coughlin had joined
forces with an organization named
the "Christian Front," which cited
the now-famous priest as a vital influence. In 1940, the
FBI shut down the
Christian Front, after discovering the group was arming itself and planning
to murder Jews, communists, and even United States Congressmen. Although Father Coughlin
was never directly linked with the Christian Front, he never disassociated himself from
their radical intentions. His reputation soon declined as a result.