delusions. In the lunchroom, the jurors, freeh’ mingling withrnthe defendants, were often heard to complain that the’ still hadrnno idea what the case was all about.rnDennis set the tone for the defense in his two-hour openingrnstatement, pointing out that the evidence—the defendants’ oppositionrnto the war—did not fit the charge, which was that theirrnactions were designed to “counsel, urge and cause insubordination,rndisloyalt), mutiny and refusal of dut’ b’ nicnibers of thernmilitary and naval forces of the United States.” None of the defendantsrnhad ever been in touch widi members of the ArmedrnForces, and no attempt was made to show otherwise. The pro,secutionrnclaimed in the indictment that the defendants had “disseminatedrn. . . oral, written, and printed statements… assertingrnamong other things that in substance: democracy is decadent,”rnand that “the acts, proclamations, and orders of the public officialsrnof the United States and the laws of C^ongress arc illegal,rncorrupt, traitorous and in direct iolation of the Constitntion ofrnthe United States.” Among their crimes was the view that “PresidentrnRoosevelt is reprehensible, a warmonger, liar, unscrupulous,”rnand entirely the servant of “Communists and Plutocrats.”rnIn short, the defendants had dared to tell the truth about PDR,rnwho was now Hie irtual dictator of the countr’, and for tiiatrnthey would pay a high price.rnThe price woidd be higher for some. The elderlv Elmer J.rnGarner—editor oi Publicity, one of the proscribed publicationsrn— met his maker just as the trial got under way; he diedrnv ith 40 cents in his pocket. Others, such as Dennis, had evenrnmore to lose. Before the Sedition Trial ot 1944, he had al\asrnfound a platform for his iews; after it was oer, he was relegatedrnto the margins and virtualK forgotten, except to be dredgedrnup by his old enemies even once in a while as an example ofrnunreconstructed e’il. Arthur Schlesingcr, Jr., depicted Dennisrnas having “Goebbels-likc qualities” because he was “clever, glibrnand trencliant”—but “Goebbels-likc” more truly describes thernqualit}’ and character of the propaganda campaign unleashedrnagainst Dennis and the other defendants. Rogge smeared Dennisrnas “tiie Alfred Rosenberg of the Nazi Fifth Golumn in HiernU.S.,” although the onK e’idcnec presented against him wasrnthe fact that his books and articles had been quoted seven timesrnin the publications of the German-American Bund.rnWith the whole weight of public opinion, the media, and thern.sstem of legalized repression bearing down on his shoulders,rnDennis went on the offensie. .Against a charge of conspiracy,rnmost lawyers would deny tiiat their client was part of any suchrnconspiracv. But from his opening statement, Dennis challengedrndie central premise of the prosecution: Such a conspiracv,rnhe asserted, had never existed. The Nazi part}’, unlike diernSoviet, was not an international movement; there was a Comintern,rnbut no Nazintcrn, for die simple reason tiiat Germanrnnational socialism was a strietl) nationalist ideolog}’, withoutrnan- real apjiieal outside of a Greater German’. There never wasrna Nazi fifth column of anv significance in the United States —rnalthough there was, as recent work b- liistorians such asrnThomas F. Mahl has reealed, a substantial and influentialrnBritish fifth column in tiiis conntn- run directiy b British intelligence.rnMost of tiic defendants, too poor to hire legal counsel, hadrnbeen assigned separate lawyers by tiic court. These drafteesrnwere naturally resentful that the’ had been conscripted to representrnclients who could not pa-, and after the trial had draggedrnon for weeks, without the go’crument presenting even a scintillarnof real e’idence, this resentinent Ix-gan to boil over. Inspiredrnand organized by the combative Dennis, the defense rallied —rnand turned the tables. ‘I’he’ objected to die introduction of e-rner’ single piece of irrelcxant evidence —all of them, singly andrnin unison. They filed nrotions to impeacli the judge, and se-rneral were admonished from the bench: Two were thrown out ofrncourt. The paper figer Rogge and his political police crumbledrnunder their combined assault. Judge Eichner pounded his gavelrnalmost continuously, as if to drown out die rising chorus ofrnprotests —not only from die defense lawyers but from the media,rnwhich demanded to know why he had permitted the defendantsrnto turn his courtroom into a circus. As historianrnWayne S. Cole put it, the defense “exhausted his energies, hisrnskills, and his health.”rnOn November 30, 1944, Judge Eichner spent all day fumingrnbecause the defendants were defiantK’ addressing envelopesrnstiifted w ith copies of a speech b’ Sen. William Langcr (R-ND)rndemanding their release, and he contemplated citing themrnall — including Langer—for contempt of court. He decided tornsleep f)n it—and never woke up. Wifti the death of Eichner, arnmistrial was declared: Much to the dismay of tiie Da/7y Workerrnand Dorothy Thompson, the ease was never retried.rnDennis rehirned to a semblance of the life he had known.rnHis Weekly Foreign Letter was revived under a new tide, ihe Appealrnto Reason, which was published until ver)- near the end ofrnhis long life. (He died in 1977.) But tiie trial had devastatedrnhim financially and .spiritually. Many intellectuals, writers, andrnactivists suftered grcatiy as a result of Hie anti-isolationist purgernof the professions, inelnding John T. Elynn, Caret Garrett, AlbertrnJa- Nock, Frank Chodorov, publicist Joe Kanip, and actressrnLillian C^isli. But none suffered as much as Dennis, w4iornw as left virtually penniless by the ordeal and only survived duernto the support of those few who admired his work. The Appealrnto Reason, with fewer than 900 subscribers, nonethelessrnreached an influential circle of conservative activists and politicians,rntile hard core of the dwindling Old Right.rnIn the Appeal and in his 1967 book. Operational ihinking forrnSiurival, Dennis surveyed the political landscape with the samernpenetrating vision that had informed his earlier writing. As diernmost consistent and uncompromising of all die old isolationists,rnhe opposed every step in the escalation of flic Cold War. Inrn1946, he wrote that the elites required “a war nnih against foreignrndevils. Yesterday it was Hider; soon it will be Stalin.” liernwas right. Having been ftie victim of a political frame-up, herndisdained McCarftiy and die “anti-red squealers” and “neurotic,rnnuth apostates” who were leading the new crusade.rnBv die sheer logic of his utterly uncompromising “isolationism”rnand his view of war as the great collcctivizer, Dennis revertedrnto an eariier belief in laissez faire. Militarism was at ftierncore of the new American socialism: The militarv’ was “the mostrnsocialist institution of the State in America today,” he wrote atrnthe height of flic Cold War. The liberal internationalists whornw ere calling for a holy war against Soviet Russia would turn tiiisrncountry into a “socialist soeieh b conscription, controls and rationing.”rnAt the end of his life, ftie “Alfred Rosenberg of America’srnFifth Column” was preaching peace and denouncing fticrngrowth of a “police garrison state.”rnDennis deserves far better tiian die smearsrnof the court historians. Once rescued fromrnthe likes of John Roy Carlson and ArtliurrnSchlcsinger, Jr., his legacy will enrich andrninspire a new generation of the Americanrnright.rn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn