cover image Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front

Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front

Charles Gallagher. Harvard Univ, $29.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-674983-71-7

Boston College history professor Gallagher (Vatican Secret Diplomacy) provides an eye-opening look at the Christian Front, a far-right political movement founded in 1939 in response to radio personality Fr. Charles Coughlin’s call for an “advance guard in a holy war against Communists and Jews.” Inspired by Coughlin, lay Catholics John F. Cassidy and Francis Moran led the New York and Boston branches of the Christian Front in the belief that defeating Judeo-Bolshevism was essential for the survival of Christianity. Cassidy planned terrorist attacks against Jewish-owned businesses in New York City, in a plot to incite a revolution and install a “temporary dictatorship” in the U.S., while Moran aided Nazi spies in America. In addition to delineating the Christian Front’s concerted campaign against U.S. involvement in WWII, Gallagher links these past events to recent ones, noting that Moran, like President Trump’s allies Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, was investigated for being an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Gallagher also explains how the Christian Front’s “interlac[ing] of Christianity and patriotism” influenced today’s religious right, and analyzes how political extremists exploit free speech protections. This vigorously researched chronicle uncovers a dark chapter in American history. (Sept.)