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On February 15, 1933, President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States had just sat down after giving a speech at the Bayfront Park in Miami, Florida when five shots rang out. Giuseppe Zangara, an Italian immigrant and unemployed bricklayer, had emptied his .32 caliber pistol while aiming the best he could at FDR while standing on a wobbly chair about 25 feet away. One shot hit Chicago's Mayor Anton Cermak, mortally wounding him in the stomach. Three shots went into the crowd and inflicted minor injuries. And one shot entered the president's left eye and into his brain, killing him instantly. Zangara was quickly arrested, plead guilty, and was executed.


Zangara's mug shot

Americans were shocked. The man who had promised an end to the recession and a New Deal for the American people was dead. The New Deal Party System that Roosevelt had built up collapsed without Roosevelt to lead them. Further more, he had died before ever taking office, prompting a constitutional crisis. Never before in history had a president been assassinated before taking office. However, it was decided that John Nance Garner, Roosevelt's running mate and the current Speaker of the House, would be inaugurated just as if Roosevelt had been the sitting president when he died. President Garner was inaugurated on the 5th of March, 1933.


President Garner, one of the most hated presidents in American history

Garner proved to be far different then Roosevelt in terms of policy. He, like Hoover, did not support interventionist policies. With no government help, banks and businesses collapsed and unemployment rates reached an unheard of thirty percent by the end of 1933. If that was not enough Garner quickly earned the hated of the American people in other ways, as he authorized the national guard to break up over two-hundred strikes over the course of his presidency. These were about the only times he exercised federal power during his presidency, for the most part letting state governments run without federal interference. State governments also did little to ease unemployment, which would continue to rise throughout Garner's presidency, reaching thirty-eight percent by the end of his term.


Lines such as these could be found on every block during Garner's presidency

Americans had had enough. The Republicans had failed and the Democrats had failed. Capitalism and the free market had failed. Trade Unions were being crushed by the twin hammers of unemployment and Garner's policy toward them. People were starving and dying. Everywhere businesses collapsed. People were desperate for some light in the darkness. And so they turned to Huey Pierce Long, Jr.

Known by most as "The Kingfish."
 
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Undead-Hippie

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It's rare you see a AAR about Long. Most of the time it's about the Federals or Reed and the Syndies. Will be watching this one.
 

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Hmmm, the Kingfish has his day eh? Will be interested to see his running mate. Burton K. Wheeler perhaps?
 

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Well, look what you did Mr. Zangara!

I'll be gleefully watching this.
 

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It's rare you see a AAR about Long. Most of the time it's about the Federals or Reed and the Syndies. Will be watching this one.
Glad to have you. The rarity of AARs about Long is actually what motivated me to start the AAR.

Lighthearter said:
Subbed! Kaiserreich or normal?

-L
Normal, although I added a few ministers and modded the 1936 election event.

H.Appleby said:
Hmmm, the Kingfish has his day eh? Will be interested to see his running mate. Burton K. Wheeler perhaps?
Oh no... he will have a far more sinister running mate. *evil laugh*

SovietAmerika said:
Well, look what you did Mr. Zangara!

I'll be gleefully watching this.
In one stroke I changed him from one of the least successful to one of the most successful anarchists ever. :rolleyes:

Aetherius said:
For fascism !
For our great defender: Huey Long!
 

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Ummm, Fritz Kuhn? Lawrence Dennis? Father Coughlin? *GASP* NOT..... BIEBER
 

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Rise of The Kingfish

Huey Long started his political career in 1918, when he was elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission. He quickly became well known in the state for his viscous attacks on Standard Oil and other big business in the state. He ran for governor in 1924 on the Democratic ticket, but lost, mostly because of his anti-KKK stance, which dominated the states politics. However, when he ran again in 1928, the forty-three percent he won was enough to bring him victory, as the race was divided three ways.


Huey Long celebrating his victory

His political tactics involved extensive use of posters and pamphlets, along with exhausting amounts of campaigning through rural areas. His slogan, "Every man a king," was actually taken William Jennings Bryan, one of the leaders of the original populist movement. His speeches were mostly improvised, and usually focused on attacking the utilities industry and major corporations. He generalized the wealthy as greedy "parasites" who lived off the hard work of the poor. He would also attack his opponents personally, either for being wealthy themselves, or acting immorally. He also tried to be as entertaining as possible and made comical similes and cracked jokes that sometimes made his viewers laugh out loud.


Posters like these could be found all over rural Louisiana prior to the election

At the time of Huey Long's election, the rural poor comprised 60 percent of Louisiana's population. The entire state had roughly 300 miles of paved roads and only three major bridges. The literacy rate was the lowest in the nation (75 percent), as most families could not afford to purchase the textbooks required for their children to attend school. A poll tax kept many poor whites from voting. (Of the 2 million residents, only 300,000 could afford to register to vote.) Together with selective application of literacy and understanding tests, however, blacks had been effectively completely disenfranchised.

As so as he was elected, Long fired hundreds of people from the state bureaucracy from the cabinet down, replacing them with his own political supporters. He worked on a patronage system; each state employee who depended on Long for a job was expected to give certain part of their salary to fund Long's political campaigns. Any that would not were fired and prevented from getting a new job anywhere in the state. He also controlled the state legislature; senators that refused to take bribes would find all of their government employed relatives fired. He also tightly controlled public opinion with huge numbers of propaganda posters and films that showed what he was doing to improve the state. A very large portion of the propaganda was used for calling his political opponents "money grubbing fat cats."


A picture of Long cutting the ribbon for a new public works program, for use in propaganda

Long unarguably improved conditions in Louisiana, enacting a free textbook program for children and an adult literacy program. He also initiated one of the largest public works programs in United States history, building roads, bridges, hospitals, and educational institutions all across Louisiana. Opposition from corporate interests was crushed by Long's political machine. An attempt to impeach him in 1929 was quickly killed, and he won overwhelming support in the 1930 midterms. He was elected to the senate in 1931, although he completed his four year term as governor beforehand. He continued to keep tight control of Louisiana even when he went to Washington.

Once in the senate Long became a massive and vocal critic of President Garner, quickly becoming the leader of his opposition within the Democratic party. He was elevated to the national stage for his fierce rhetoric against corporations and the president. Among the unemployed and the rural poor he became hugely popular, and many social progressives saw him as the savior of the movement. As more Democrats joined his side of the party, a split became necessary.


Long announcing the Democratic split on NBC radio

The new party was officially named the New Democrats, but became almost universally known as the Kingfish Party, after Long's nickname. The Kingfish Party was made up of progressiveness and populists, and it is important to note that they probably didn't consider themselves fascists at the time, but a progressive, or even social democratic party. Long was the primary shaper of party policy, and because of his popularity most other members of the party let him.

However, the Kingfish Party was not the only political organization under Long's command. He was also head of the Share Our Wealth Society, founded in 1934, which pushed for a radical redistribution of wealth. The SOWS took a far more radical perspective on populism and progressivism. It's members were more directly loyal to Long then any political organisation or ideology, essentially becoming his cult of personality. By 1936 it had over 400,000 members across 7,000 branches. He was also head of The Militia, a paramilitary organisation and the fighting arm of the party, and responsible for protection of "party interests". By 1936 they had 50,000 trained and armed members.


A button of the SOWS


Photo taken at the rally of the Kentucky branch of The Militia in 1935

Long spent most of 1935 and 1936 campaigning for the Kingfish Party across the United States, and although he still had tight control over Louisiana, he was only visited twice during those years. He also published his first autobiography,Every Man a King which became a New York Times bestseller practically overnight. With both the Democrats and the Republicans rendered unpopular, it was clear Long would be a major contender in the 1936 elections.


A Kingfish Party rally in 1936
 

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I see Long has his own Brownshirts. *A gun is pointed to my head.* I mean Civilian militia!
 

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Other Kingfish

Huey Long was not the only major member of the Kingfish Party. The rapid increase in popularity was made possible by a number of prominent American figures joining the parties ranks. Some would form the basis for Long's cabinet in office. Others would carry party policy to local state levels. And some would become liabilities that would be eliminated.

Charles Lindbergh



Lindbergh was thirty-four at the 1936 elections, incredibly young for a politician. Yet he was a very well known face in America thanks to his 1927 flight across the Atlantic ocean. He was relativity uninterested in politics, but found that many of his personal opinions were the same as those expressed by the Kingfish. He blamed the economic collapse on Jewish capitalism, and helped develop the party's antisemitic stance. He was a firm isolationist, saying the intervention in the first world war had been a mistake, just as Long did, and he blamed the Jews for pushing America into the war. He was good friends with Herman Goring, head of the Luftwaffe, and supported expansion of the air force. Aside from that his political viewpoints were fuzzy at best, but he never the less delivered dozens of speeches in support of Long that were heard by millions. As the best known figure of the party aside from Long himself, Lindbergh was selected as Long's running mate for the 1936 elections, despite having no previous political experience.


Henry Ford



Ford was one of the few businessmen who sided with the Kingfish party. While other major companies denounced Long as "un-american" he threw his full support to Long and became a prominent figure in the party. He, like Lindbergh, was antisemitic, and supported an isolationist policy. He provided huge funds for the party, and was vital in winning over many northern voters. He started a number of soup kitchens in New York and Chicago, and Long hailed him as a "rich man with a good heart." He was an active member of the SOWS, and commanded his own branch of The Militia.


Father Coughlin



One of the first political leaders who used radio to reach a mass audience, more then thirty million Americans listened to Father Coughlin's rhetoric against Jews, bankers, and congress. He rarely spoke about religion, instead focusing on economic and social issues. He believed that America had to follow the example set by Mussolini and Hilter. He also ran the National Union for Social Justice, an organization similar to the SOWS but more casual, and as a result more popular, with membership numbering several million by 1936.


Lawrence Dennis



Described by Life magazine as "America's number 1 intellectual fascist," Dennis wrote numerous books on Fascism, mostly focusing on it's anti-capitalist element. Although not against capitalism personally, he considered doomed and thought that fascism was the best replacement. His best known work was Is Capitalism Doomed? which advocated that the free market was in it's death knell. He one over many intellectuals to the Kingfish party, and his relativity moderate stance convinced many that the Kingfish Party was less radical then they appeared. He was the most prominent of a trio of American Fascist intellectuals that were allowed to shape advanced party ideology.


Ezra Pound



Having lived in Europe for most of his life, Pound returned to his native America to aid the Kingfish Party and help another fascist nation rise. He was primarily a poet, but he also worked as an editor for numerous pro-fascist newspapers. He expressed deep admiration for Mussolini and later Hitler. A first hand observer of the first world war, he believed that strong leadership was necessarily to prevent war, and that democracies started wars to keep their citizens in line. He was the second of the intellectual trio.


Seward Collins

No picture available.

The last major American Fascist intellectual and assuredly the most radical, Collins wrote numerous essays, books, and poems praising Mussolini and Hitler, along with the totalitarian systems that they employed. He believed that capitalism was collapsing and that anarchists and communists would take over if strong action against them was not taken. He believed the only people strong enough were fascists.


Fritz Julius Kuhn

No picture available.

As leader of the German American Bund, essentially an American branch of the NAZI party, Kuhn would play a surprisingly small role in support of the Kingfish. Although he agreed with many Kingfish ideals, including anti-capitalism and antisemitism, he advocated a much closer relationship with Germany then Long was comfortable with. Eventually a rift developed because of the two men's personal dislike for one another. By 1936 the rift was so large that Kuhn banned members of the Bund from meeting with Kingfish. He would play little part in the election.



There were large numbers of other Kingfish that would play large parts in state politics, but the major national figures of the party were quickly established. They were quite a diverse group, and could appeal to all classes of American society. This however, did not mean that there was no opposition. Both the Republicans and the Democrats had every intention of beating the Kingfish in the 1936 election.
 
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Ummm, Fritz Kuhn? Lawrence Dennis? Father Coughlin? *GASP* NOT..... BIEBER
All has been revealed!

SovietAmerika said:
I see Long has his own Brownshirts. *A gun is pointed to my head.* I mean Civilian militia!
Good to see so much healthy party loyalty!
 

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Some of these faces scare me. Let's hope the more moderate people win in the end....
 

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Pound was a handsome fella.

Also, 'viscous' and 'vicious' aren't the same thing. Is there space for a spelling nazi in the cabinet?
 

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I never really got the characterisation of Huey Long as a Fascist, he always seemed quite a leftwing figure to me - as you can clearly see from this last update its these other figures who bring the more 'fascisty' and rightwing elements to the Kingfish Party. But I guess it is extremely difficult to see how a collection of people like that could ever create a mass base without using the populist anti-capitalist policies of Long.
 

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The 1936 election candidates

The election of 1936 would go down as one of the most violent and partisan elections in US history, beaten only by the 1800 election. A three way race between Democrats, Republicans, and Kingfish was waged for the better part of the year. President Garner announced he would not run for a second term, meaning that no matter what happened, America's future would be changed dramatically in this election.


Republican: William Edgar Borah


The Republicans expected to be Long's primary opposition in the election, and Borah was a surprisingly liberal choice for the Republican.He was a fairly moderate progressive, although not a populist like Long. He had a powerful oratory talent, and went from state to state making speeches about how a "moderate but vigorous" approach would get the economy back into the black and ease unemployment. He tried to distance himself from the disaster of Hoover, and tried to portray himself as Teddy Roosevelt style of Republican. His running mate, Frank Knox, was even more moderate, and had little political experience.


Democrat: Harry S. Truman


The dark horse candidate for the election, Truman won the democratic nomination by a slim margin. His biggest assets were his support for the recreation of the New Deal coalition and his fanatical opposition to Long. He called Long a "totalitarian" who would wage wars of expansion that would destroy America. A fiery speaker if anything else, he beat his way through the ranks to the party's presidential candidacy. Most of the Democrats thought that Truman was the party's doom. He was considered too liberal to appeal to the Southern Democrats, too interventionist to appeal to most middle class Americans, and wasn't very well educated or considered very smart. His running mate, Henry A. Wallace, was one of the few high-ranking Democrats who had faith in Truman.


New Democrat/Kingfish: Huey Pierce Long Jr.


There was never a shadow of a doubt that Long would be the Kingfish candidate. Easily the most radical presidential candidate in US history, Long went from state to state, making speeches in every state capitol along with hundreds of others. His heavily anti-capitalist stance appealed to unemployed, rural farmers, and the antisemitic stance of other Kingfish appealed to the conservative anti-immigrant voting base. He constantly brought up Louisiana as an example of what he could do for the United States. His now definitely fascist policies appealed to everyone aside from the Jewish and recent immigrant population. His running mate, Charles Lindbergh, was a major public figure and very popular, although he had no political experience at all.
 
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An intriguing idea; I can't wait to see the actual gameplay!
It will get interesting!

BeardedHoplite said:
Radical Fascists, antisemites and controlled economists? Oh crap!
They're just the kind of people you would find in a moderate, responsible, party who will follow the Constitution to the letter. (sarcasm)

SovietAmerika said:
Some of these faces scare me. Let's hope the more moderate people win in the end....
I didn't even think there was such a thing as a moderate fascist.

Undead-Hippie said:
Oh snap....
I believe you mean "Oh fudge"

Earl Uhtred said:
Pound was a handsome fella.

Also, 'viscous' and 'vicious' aren't the same thing. Is there space for a spelling nazi in the cabinet?
Why can't I ever speel anything right? And yes, yes he was.

Tommy4ever said:
I never really got the characterisation of Huey Long as a Fascist, he always seemed quite a leftwing figure to me - as you can clearly see from this last update its these other figures who bring the more 'fascisty' and rightwing elements to the Kingfish Party. But I guess it is extremely difficult to see how a collection of people like that could ever create a mass base without using the populist anti-capitalist policies of Long.
I believe the word to describe Long's political stance would be "opportunistic." Besides, once you get far enough left and far enough right they start sounding very similar...