“Nazis of Copley Square: the Forgotten Story of the Christian Front” will be a book presentation by author Fr. Charles R. Gallagher, S.J. and hosted by the Friends of the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library. Thursday, September 22, 6:30 pm. The event is free and open to all, including a book signing. Wheelchair accessible; conveniently located near public transportation. Charlestown Branch Library, 179 Main Street, Charlestown. For more information: www.facebook.com/Friends CharlestownBranchLibrary, [email protected], 617-242-1248.
Nazis of Copley Square is the forgotten history of American terrorists who, in the name of God, conspired to overthrow the government and formed an alliance with Hitler.
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!”
In Nazis of Copley Square, author Fr. Charles R. Gallagher provides a crucial missing chapter in the history of the American far right. The men of the Christian Front imagined themselves as crusaders fighting for the spiritual purification of the nation, under assault from godless Communism, and they were hardly alone in their beliefs. The front traced its origins to vibrant global Catholic theological movements of the early twentieth century, such as the Mystical Body of Christ and Catholic Action. The front’s anti-Semitism was inspired by Sunday sermons and by lay leaders openly espousing fascist and Nazi beliefs.
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 warning for those who hope to curb the spread of far-right ideologies today.
Fr. Charles R. Gallagher, S.J. is Associate Professor of History at Boston College. His book Vatican Secret Diplomacy won the John Gilmary Shea Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association.
The Friends of the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library was formed in 1953, becoming the second Friends group to organize within the Boston Public Library system. As a non-profit organization, the Friends schedule four to six evening adult programs per year, helps to support programs for children held during the day, and maintains the library’s landscaping. The mission of the Friends remains today what it was in 1953: to serve as an advocacy and support group for the needs of the Charlestown Branch Library, its staff, and users. facebook.com/FriendsCharlestown BranchLibrary
Save the following date for another Charlestown Friends’ Fall 2022 program:
— Thursday, October 27: The Great Boston Fire: the Inferno that Nearly Incinerated the City; presentation given by author Stephanie Schorow. In recognition of the 150th anniversary of that massive fire, that took place in November 1852.