Adolf Hitler, The Fuhrer. Matt Hale, Pontifex Maximus. Adolf Hitler, author and publisher of Mein Kampf (My Struggle). Matt Hale, author and publisher of The Struggle. Adolf Hitler, born the fourth child. Matt Hale, born the fourth son also. Adolf Hitler, a struggling artist who chose politics. Matt Hale, student who double majored in Political Science and Music: a violinist who eventually turned away from politics. Adolf Hitlerís comrades cried "Heil Hitler" and Matt Haleís comrades of the church cry "Hail Klassen! RAHOWA!" One single symbol, the swastika on a flag of red, black, and white unites Hitlerís comrades. Matt Haleís church promotes a red, black, and white flag similar in other ways. Adolf Hitler believed the white race should be supreme and he followed a quest to eliminate the Jewish race. Matt Hale acknowledges the white race as supreme and preaches a creed of sixteen commandments, which includes "Remember that the inferior mud races are our deadly enemies, and the most dangerous of all is the Jewish race. It is our immediate objective to relentlessly expand the White Race, and keep shrinking our enemies." (The Creator Membership Manual).
There are many similarities between Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany and Matt Hale of the United States. How did these two persons come into power? What motivates them to struggle toward a creed of white supremacy? Will the Third Reich happen again in these United States or any other country? As one reviews the literature and creed of the World Church of the Creator it is apparent their leader, Matt Hale, is not unlike Adolf Hitler.
In order to understand Matt Hale, we must first examine Adolf Hitler. In his early twenties, Hitler was a successful commercial artist. At age twenty-five he entered the German army and served from 1914 to 1918. He performed well and became a corporal. In June 1919, he was selected for political duties by the army. After observing a meeting of the small German Workersí Party, Hitler took exception with views being expressed and made an impromptu speech at this meeting. The founder of the group, Anton Drexler, invited him to join the organization. In October of that year he made his first formal speech at the partyís public meeting. That is when Hitler first became aware of the power of speech. He had experienced control over an audience. After he was discharged from the army, Hitler pursued politics as a founding member of the National Socialist German Workersí Party. Thus, his climb to national power had begun.
Matt Hale was attracted to National Socialism at a very early age, reading works such as Mein Kampf and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It is undoubtedly sure that he was highly influenced by the power of Adolf Hitler. In the 8th grade he formed a group called "The New Reich". After high school he attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and gained some attention for distributing fliers on campus for his "American White Supremacist Party". The high point of his involvement with the AWSP was when members in Colorado flew him from Peoria to Denver to speak on the capitol steps on Hitlerís birthday, April 20, 1991. This was a large gathering of many pro-white activists, counter-demonstrators, and the police. Parts of his speech were broadcast on CNN. Like Hitler, Matt Hale had tasted power by delivering this speech. In 1992, at the age of twenty-one, he became the leader of the National Socialist White Americansí Party. There was no turning back, for he had tasted the same power that he had read about Hitler possessing. The NSWA disbanded in 1995 but he had his moment of power and glory by giving interviews to NBC, CNN, the Associated Press, and others.
It was also during his tenure at Bradley University that the Church of the Creator and its teachings came to his attention. He felt that Creativity encompassed all of the great ideas of National Socialism that he had been supporting. He was self-appointed at this time and had only a very small following. In April of 1995 Hale ran a four-month campaign for a seat on the East Peoria City Council. He was defeated but shocked the Jewish community by receiving fourteen percent of the vote.
Matt Hale chose to steer away from politics and became more active with the World Church of the Creator. He had finally found a purpose to life. It was not sports or academia, music or politics. But rather, it was a commitment to doing his part to keep the white race intact. In 1996 Matt Hale was just twenty-four years old and became the Pontifex Maximus (Supreme Leader) of the church and has remained in that position since.
How did Matt Hale come into this position? First let us review what enabled Hitler to become so powerful. Hitlerís power rose from four conditions. The four factors include 1) a despondent nation which is weakened by inflation and unemployment, 2) a weak government with a strong left or right wing, but no modification, 3) a charismatic leader who shows promise of great abilities, and 4) a program ñ something which is offered to unify the people. In comparison, the Church of the Creator was in total disarray following the death of its founder, Ben Klassen. There were many scandals surrounding different leaders who had tried to gain control and the church had lost its support for Creativity. Matt Haleís activism and support for Creativity caused him to rise within the church ranks. He showed the charisma necessary to become a leader. Finally, Hale also offered a program or plan to unite the white race. On July 27, 1996, Matt Hale was unanimously confirmed to the appointment of Pontifex Maximus, or supreme leader of the World Church of the Creator.
Let us consider how these two men became powerful. First, one must recognize that both Hitler and Hale had been able to project their personal desires, insecurities, and hostilities onto a much larger group. "They accomplish this by exploiting the waves of group discontent that occur when a country or organization, that is, an entity definable as a large group is in an unstable state." (Berke, 1995, p.1) Adolf Hitler collected a nation that was extremely unstable after World War I. His country was broken, economically battered, and in total chaos. Matt Hale came upon the World Church of the Creator when its leadership was at an all time low. Both Hitler and Hale put forth a plan to unify their people. When there is enough discontent within an organization, the person chosen as the ëleaderí is able to amplify the hostilities that already exist or may be planted by the leader. Hitler and Hale were powerful speakers with enough charisma and leadership skills to activate the herd instincts of the masses. By proposing their plan to be for the common good of all people, they recognize that an individual will identify with the masses and can disguise any feelings of guilt or wrong doing. Both Hitler and Hale recognize the natural human instinct to deny any hostilities, guilt, or negative feelings by turning thoughts to mutual support or solidarity. Both men came into power by playing on group discontent. Personal prejudices and their personal quests for power guided them. They both operate by fueling the hatred of the masses and then using propaganda to turn this hatred into nationalism.
Joseph Berke (1995) expresses this nationalism as narcissism.
Nationalism is to the state what narcissism is to the individual. It is a form of national narcissism, the expression of a perverted or pathological ëselfí-absorption and pride. National preoccupations with size (bigness), shape (borders and boundaries), inner content (racial purity) and outer appearance (prestige) mirror narcissistic concerns.
This describes Adolf Hitler and Matt Hale. Both men express a need for greater numbers of comrades, invasion of foreign borders, and racial purity. Only the desire for prestige is unspoken, but certainly is inferred by both leaders. Hitler and Hale both use the human desire to be part of a group, play upon this natural instinct, propose it as the common good, obtain the result of patriotism, and then become even more powerful by continuing to portray themselves as the symbol of national unity and national greatness. Because of their charisma, narcissistic tendencies, and their target groupsí desperation, the power becomes even more omnipotent.
Adolf Hitler and Matt Hale are both masters of propaganda. Interestingly, both the Nazi Party and the Church of the Creator have insignias and flags by which they are recognized. According to Hitler, "what the party lacked, he saw, was an emblem, a flag, a symbol, which would express what the new organization stood forÖ" (Shirer, 1959, p.43). Both the insignia and the flag were intended to inspire the masses and keep them united. Examination of the Nazi and WCOTC symbols reveals many similarities. The Nazi flag and symbol is red, black, and white. Each of these colors symbolizing something pertinent. Hitler expresses in Mein Kampf "In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalist idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man." (Hitler, 1943, pp.496-97) Haleís church has similar symbols, which are attached in the appendix. The flag shows the letter "W" topped by a crown and halo. "The ëWí, of course stands for our White RaceÖThe Crown signifies our aristocratic position in Natureís scheme of things, indicating that we are the elite. The Halo indicates that we regard our race as being unique and sacred above all other values". (About the World Church Of The Creator) Symbolism of the flag is as follows:
A. The blood-red color of our flag symbolizes our struggle for the survival, expansion and advancement of the White Race.
B. The endside triangle of pure white color symbolizes the emergence of a Whiter and Brighter World of our struggle.
C. The center of the flag is adorned with the WCOTC logo, which symbolizes our unique White Racial Religion-CREATIVITY: the Beacon of Hope and Salvation for the White People. (About the World Church Of The Creator)
Both Hitler and Hale recognize the influence of symbolism. Hitlerís flag was carried at every parade, mass meeting, public speech and outing. "This may not have been ëart,í but it was propaganda of the highest order. The Nazis now had a symbol which no other party could matchÖThey began to flock under its banner." (Shirer, 1959, p. 44) The Creator Manual suggests spreading Creativity by displaying the flag, armband, or other paraphernalia exhibiting the insignia at every opportunity. The WCOTC is certainly using the same tactics to unite its members and incite new membership.
Leadership tactics of both Hitler and Hale are very similar. Hitler organized German comrades under the NSDAP Organizational Handbook. The WCOTC Manual follows the creed according the White Manís Bible. The socialist subscribed to the twelve "Duties of a Party Comrade". The Creator Membership Manual includes sixteen very similar commandments. Hitler was successful in organizing the Hitler Youth program, stormtroopers, the SA, and SS to create nationalist unity, protection, and carry out his mission. Similarly, the WCOTC has an organized security system: the White Berets and White Rangers. The primary mission of the White Berets and White Rangers, collectively known as the Security Legions, is to provide security services for members and church property. Both the White Rangers and White Berets are the only uniformed members of the church. Similar to Hitlerís design of slightly different uniforms for the different members of his party, the White Berets and White Rangers are recognized by the difference in their hats and style of boots.
One reason Hitler was so successful in recruiting members into socialism is that he targeted the youth, choosing those who were mentally and physically strong. They grew up in a semi-brainwashed condition, National Socialism being the only system to which they were exposed. Similarly, The Mission of the White Berets and White Rangers from the WCOTC manual states:
Although orientated towards our youth as the most energetic defenders of our Race, White Berets and White Rangers impose no age limitations on their membership. However, every member must be physically and mentally able to perform his duties effectively. (The Creator Membership Manual)
Although the primary mission expresses a need for security to church members and property, the final mission continues "Our main goal is to revive the attitude of white militancy ñ the will to fight for what is white and defend the one and only, true and revolutionary white racial religion ñ Creativity."(The Creator Membership Manual) Is this not similar to Hitlerís military? Under the guise of providing protection and security, the Gestapo became the most powerful German political division and eventually came to symbolize the power of the Third Reich.
One might ask why this author chose to investigate the similarities of Adolf Hitler and Matt Hale. It has become an intriguing topic since one member of the subject has personally touched our community. First, the national headquarters for the World Church of the Creator is located in Peoria, Illinois, a mere 230 miles from the community in which we live. In 1996, only two years prior to this writing, Matt Hale entered law school here at Southern Illinois University. The following year, the Daily Egyptian published his advertisements for the WCOTC. The advertisement called for white people to unite. Our Jewish community, in particular the Hillel Foundation student organization, became directly involved when Hale became active on campus. Elizabeth Leverett, faculty advisor to this organization, says the "existence of such a group on campus is a reminder that hate toward Jews and other racial groups still is very much alive in society." (Chase, 1997). As a scheduling coordinator on the SIU campus, I have come into contact with both Ms. Leverett and Matt Hale. However, not until Matt Hale was actively preaching the creed of the WCOTC on the SIU campus, did the impact of his teaching hit so close to home. In the spring of 1997, Matt Hale took his mission to the Free Forum of the SIU campus. As the scheduling supervisor of this area, I received numerous complaints about the activities occurring. Eventually, I was directed to call security to persuade Hale and his comrades to cease their speeches. At that time, I questioned the purpose of the Free Forum area. As per the name, this is an area on campus available for exactly those purposes: an open and free forum. As Prof. Eugene Basanta, then associate dean of the SIU School of Law, indicated "ÖHale has a first amendment right to articulate the ideas of his church, as "bizarre" as they may seem." (Chase, 1997). As the supervisor of the Free Forum area, I must recognize these rights. However, when does one discern when riot is about to erupt? In an institution of more that 20,000 students we probably should not be concerned that some students have ideas or beliefs that are divergent. But, Prof. Basanta summarizes it well; "Certainly any notion of racial or ethnic superiority is inconsistent with our institutional views." (Chase, 1997).
Matt Hale graduated from the SIU School of Law in May of 1998. Although he has physically left our community, I am not certain he has not left an impression upon us. With a national following of over 3,000 members, and the national headquarters only 230 miles from Carbondale, I am quite certain that Matt Hale holds influence in our community. If he is alive here, in our community of 27,000 people, this makes one wonder just how strong and active the WCOTC is in its entirety. This leads us to the next question.
Is it possible that the Holocaust can happen again in this modern and technological world? Erna von Pustau expresses a real concern in her interview, "Modern technique combined with the century-old prejudice against other people-that is the great danger in America." (Buck, 1947, p.247) As earlier stated, little men can become big men when they are allowed to exploit group discontent and pursue their personal ambitions. This is particularly true during the previously enumerated conditions of national despondence, a weak government, a charismatic leader, and a proposed program. These conditions combined with periods of religious, cultural or technological changes could be especially volatile. Unfortunately, one or more of these conditions seems to be evident in developing nations. Although technology allows us greater access to media and nearly immediate deployment of decisions, the same technology can be used against the common good.
It appears that mass education is a viable solution to deterring another Holocaust. The greater number of individuals who are educated to the past and the possibilities of the future are a possible defense.
And still the lesson the Holocaust has to teach us has not been learned. Prejudice, bigotry, and hatred have not disappeared. On the contrary, in the past few years violent acts motivated by prejudice have increased. And often the people guilty of painting swastikas on Jewish buildings, of attacking Jews, blacks, and others, are young people. (Adler, 1989, p.17)
This seems to speak directly of the World Church of the Creator. Remember that Hitler and Hale both succeeded in their quest by targeting the youth of their generations. If leaders like Matt Hale are allowed to infiltrate young minds, it is conceivable that a future generation may become despondent enough to turn to these teachings. Although the First Amendment provides for freedom of speech and there is no means of squelching this type of information, it is necessary to provide the alternative. The First Amendment provides an open forum for Matt Hale to continue solicitation to the World Church of the Creator. However, the very same First Amendment allows for debate of his philosophy. Under the protection of the First Amendment, those in opposition to the WCOTC can publicly denounce these teachings and continue educating future generations.
Erna von Pusta proceeds (Buck, 1947) that the young must learn quickly before a new war begins. Education is a compilation of facts, and facts are only fragments unless we understand their meaning. "And we all must learn that this world is one world and this mankind is one mankind regardless of race, color, and creed." (Buck, 1947, p.274) It is important to teach the youth of each generation the facts of Nazi Germany. "To be fooled once is tragic. To be fooled twice is unforgivable." (Schultz, 1944 p.xi)
About The World Church Of The Creator. [On-line] Available: http://www.creator.org/about.htm.
Adler, David A. (1989). We Remember The Holocaust. New York: H. Holt.
Berke, Joseph H., (1995, April). When Little Men Become Big. History Today. Vol. 45. 4-8.
Buck, Pearl S. (1947). How It Happens. New York: John Day Co.
Chase, Marc. (1997, February 17). Superior Above All. Daily Egyptian. P.3.
The Creator Membership Manual. [On-line] Available: http://www.creator.org/manual.
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