“A grim tale of faith perverted to violent ends, and a lesson for those who oppose the spread of far-right ideologies today.”
As Joseph Nevins recently wrote in his Dig review of Charles Gallagher’s “Nazis of Copley Square”:
Charles Gallagher, a Catholic priest and a professor of history at Boston College, valuably excavates this buried past in his new book, “Nazis of Copley Square.” The story he tells is one involving international espionage. It is also one of complicity by elements of the Catholic Church: priests soft-peddled the far-right politics of the Christian Front while providing theological leadership. Meanwhile, the Church hierarchy did nothing to challenge, while often effectively sanctioning, the organization’s hate-filled propaganda.
On Thursday, Jan. 20, you can hear the story from Gallagher himself in an online event sponsored by the Boston Public Library. More from the announcement:
On January 13, 1940, FBI agents burst into the homes and offices of seventeen members of the Christian Front, seizing guns, ammunition, and homemade bombs. J. Edgar Hoover’s charges were incendiary: the group, he alleged, was planning to incite a revolution and install a “temporary dictatorship” in order to stamp out Jewish and Communist influence in the United States. Interviewed in his jail cell, the front’s ringleader was unbowed: “All I can say is—long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!”
Gallagher chronicles the evolution of the front, the transatlantic cloak-and-dagger intelligence operations that subverted it, and the mainstream political and religious leaders who shielded the front’s activities from scrutiny. Nazis of Copley Square is a grim tale of faith perverted to violent ends, and a lesson for those who oppose the spread of far-right ideologies today. Gallagher also examines the forces that enabled it to take root in Boston; Nazis of Copley Square has been called “a searing examination of how a city―where for nearly four centuries the phrase ‘cradle of liberty’ has slipped effortlessly off the tongue with a distinct Boston accent―played host to a group whose leading figures spoke favorably of Nazi Germany.”
[Online. 6pm/free. Register Here]