truster for the forces of appeasement” was almost certainly anrnMrican-American.rnThe revelation of Dennis’s ethnicit}’ is unlikely to rehabilitaternhim in liberal quarters—quite the eontrar)’. Liberals were deafrnthen to his argument that Anglo-American policy “assume[cl]rnthat certain races like the Germans and Japanese can be treatedrnas we treat the negroes or the British treat the darker races underrntheir rule,” and they are unlikely to be convinced at this laterndate. The notion that “Germans can no more enjoy ec[uality ofrnopportunity in a liberal, capitalistic Anglo-Saxon world orderrnthan negroes can enjoy equalit)’ in white America” so enragedrnliberals that they determined to shut him up for good.rnGarlson’s book Under Cover, published in 1943, was a key elementrnof a campaign to criminalize opposition to the President’srnwar plans. Working as an “undercover agent” in thernAmerica First movement wliile on the payroll of such groups asrnthe “Friends of Democracy,” Carlson posed as the publisher ofrnan antisemitic rag, the Christian Defender, and spread race haternin the name of “exposing” it. Quoting a fanciful conversationrnwith Dennis verbatim, Garlson depicted him as the intellectualrnSengali of the Nazi fifth column, the link between AmericarnFirst and the pro-Nazi fringe; his book was essentially a dramatizationrnof the charges filed by the Justice Department againstrnDennis and 27 other defendants in the mass Sedition Trial ofrn1944.rnThe trial had its genesis in early 1941. At the close of a Cabinetrnmeeting, FDR took Attorney General Francis J. Biddiernaside. After the others had left, the President took out arnpacket and laid on the table a number of pamphlets, newspapers,rnand leaflets. It was a miscellaneous assortment of literaturerndenouncing the President as a warmonger and calling forrnhis impeachment.rnThe President leaned forward in his chair and asked, “Whatrnare on going to do about this?”rn”Mr. President,” replied Biddle, “nothing can be done.”rnThe attorney general, who came from a distinguished Virginiarnfiimily—his mother’s ancestors included John Randolphrnof Roanoke and Edmund Randolph, the first attorney general ofrnthe United States—may have been under the illusion that hernwas still living in a free country. The President quickly disabusedrnhim of that cjuaint notion, shouting across the table: “Irnwant something done about these cases—and you go ahead andrndo it!”rnFor months on end, the President bullied Biddle in Cabinetrnmeetings, demanding to know, “when are you going to indictrnthe seditionists?” The attorney general patientiy explained thatrnit was necessar}’ to build a case. As Biddle put it in his memoirs,rnFDR “was not much interested in the theory of sedition, or inrndie constitutional right to criticize the government in wartime,rnfie wanted this antiwar talk stopped.”rnWilliam Power Maloney, a left-wing New York lawyer andrnardent New Dealer, was put in charge of the investigation. Byrndie summer of 1941, Maloney began to round up the “suspects”rnand call witnesses, including Carlson and scores of isolationistrnand “far-right” activists, from the prominent to the obscure. Inrnthe summer of 1942, the President finally stopped badgeringrndie befiiddled Biddle: The first indictment was handed down,rnnaming 28 individuals. A second indictinent, handed down inrnJanuary’ of the following year, expanded the scope of the case,rnnaming five more individuals, 30 publications, and 26 organizations,rnincluding the America First Committee, the NationalrnCommittee to Keep America Out of Foreign Wars, the ConstitutionalrnEducational Ijeague Bulletin, and Scrihner’s Commentator.rnA cooperative judge, E.G. Eichner, a former Democraticrncongressman and 100-percent New Dealer, was lined up.rnThere was only one problem: The government had no case,rnand Biddle knew it. Sen. Burton K. Wheeler (D-MT), who hadrnstood up to pro-war mobs as a coimtv’ attorney during WorldrnWar I, stormed into Biddle’s office and threatened a congressionalrninvestigation of the department’s misconduct. Biddlernreined in Maloney, replaced him with another prosecutor (overrnthe Presidenf s protests), and dropped the America First Committeernand die more mainstream conservative groups from thernindictment. However, he added eight more individuals andrnscores of publications — including Lawrence Dennis, The Dynamicsrnof War and Revolution, and Dennis’s Weekly Foreignrnl£tter, which had continued to blast away at FDR’s war maniarnafter Pearl Harbor.rnFor Dennis to be anointed leaderrnofa racist fifth column inrnAmerica was just another irony in arnlife rich with them. For Dennisrnhardly fit the Aryan mold.rnI’hc defendants were a diverse lot who had only one belief inrncommon: tiicir opposition to the idea that it was the moral dut’rnof die United States to go to war with Germany in order to savernthe British and Soviet empires. Some, like Elizabeth Dilling,rnautiior of The Red Network, were militant anticomniunists; others,rnlike William Dudley Pclley, organizer of the Silver Shirts,rnwere antisemitic agitators; others, such as Dennis, were isolationistsrnor nationalists. Some were simply crackpots who representedrna threat to no one but diemselves.rnA “conspiracy” hatched bv defendants with only die mostrntenuous aifiliation had to be a conspiracy of ideas: As Dennisrnand Maximilian St. George, one of the defense lavwcrs in therncase, put it in dieir book, A Trial on I’rial (1945), die casernmarked “a trend toward application here in America of the tiieoriesrnand practices of the totalitarian states, in which people arerntried, convicted and often sentenced to death for having beenrnon die losing side in a political fight.” The key to understandingrnthe meaning of die trial, and the motives of its sponsors, wasrna full-page advertisement placed by F’reedom I louse in the NewrnYork Times and the Herald Tribune on January 30, 1943, declaring:rn”First, we must win the war. Second, we must destroy isolationismrnforever.”rnFrom die beginning, Dennis insisted diat die governmentrnhad no case. As the trial dragged on, the mountain of “evidence”rnamassed by prosecutor O.J. Rogge amounted to nothingrnmore than the various public statements of the defendants —rnleaflets, arficles, books, and speeches. The jury, the defensernlawyers, and the defendants, all wilting under this daily bombardment,rndeveloped a sense of camaraderie and began to thinkrnof diemselves as fellow prisoners of the prosecutor’s elaboraternMAY 2000/21rnrnrn