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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is there any reason to be circumspect about Karl Allen as a source on Rockwell, Patler, and Koehl?

Rick Cooper featured in his polemic against Matt Koehl1 an accusation allegedly based on an incident that occurred in 1960, which Rear Admiral John G. Crommelin is said to have mentioned to Karl Allen, who then told an associate of his, who then told Rick Cooper: 

Years later, Crommelin told former deputy commander of the American Nazi Party (ANP), Karl Allen, that Mullins and Koehl were queers. Karl Allen later told former ANP member Christopher Bailey, and Chris then told Director Cooper in the early 1980s.

Harold Covington reproduces these sentences almost verbatim in his A Brief History of the White Nationalist Movement.

There are at least two problems of credibility here. 

First, the rumor is several generations removed from the original source: the accusation may have been distorted in transmission, or one of the men credited with repeating this rumor may never have said it2

Second, there is no mention of the fact that Karl Allen was a hostile source regarding Matt Koehl (for reasons unrelated to the content of that rumor). Karl Allen in 1963 had a falling out with Rockwell and was leading his own group, which was in competition with the National-Socialist White People's Party during the last three or four years of Rockwell's life. Matt Koehl was given Allen's erstwhile position as deputy commander.

I find that Frederick James Simonelli, in his book American Fuehrer (1999), where he mentions Karl Allen's view of Rockwell's assassination by John Patsalos ("John Patler"), is completely misinformed about Allen's relationship with Rockwell at the time of the assassination, and accordingly misinforms his readers:

Karl Allen, a high-ranking ANP officer and devoted Rockwell loyalist, organized a John Patler Defense Fund in the months following the murder. He initially accepted the conclusion of the police that Patler was Rockwell's killer, but he soon came to see the markings of a Jewish conspiracy in the affair -- if not in the murder itself then certainly in the arrest of Patler.... [Frederick James Simonelli, American Fuehrer: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party (1999), p. 131]

Karl Allen's concern for Defendant Patler of course could only be sincere and motivated by love of justice, if indeed Allen had been a "devoted Rockwell loyalist." But this is not accurate. Simonelli's characterization of Karl Allen's attitude toward Rockwell is completely contradicted by some other sources:

In late 1963, Rockwell fell out with his deputy, Karl Allen, who seceded and founded the American White Party. Supposedly, Allen was inspired by the works of Oswald Spengler and Francis Parker Yockey, and rejected Rockwell’s preference for Hitler. A later Nazi [NSPA, Frank Collin's group] publication called Allen "Rockwell’s mortal enemy." Allen acquired one of the ANP’s printing works in Spotsylvania and from there organised a book company and orchestrated a smear campaign against Rockwell. The actual cause for the feud is impossible to disentangle and Allen’s role continued to be disruptive until he dropped out of politics in 1967. The loss of membership and prestige as a result of the Allen schism weakened the Nazi Party. [James Saleam, American Nazism in the Context of the Extreme Right: 1960-1978, ch. 2]

Karl Allen and John Patsalos seem to have been like-minded in their criticisms of Rockwell's endeavor. This casts an interesting light on Allen's readiness to come to Patler's aid.

Although he achieved little notoriety with his American White Party, Karl Allen did not completely drop out of politics in 1967. Journalists sought his comments about the NSWPP after Rockwell's death. A newspaper item from 1968 describes Karl Allen's relationship to the NSWPP at that time:

A schism -- of a type that probably caused Rockwell more trouble than any other single thing -- has developed into a complete split within the party. Rockwell used to call it "the problem of reconciling my thinkers, my intellectuals, and my doers, my strong men of action."

An FBI agent described it as "friction between the weirdos and the rednecks3. The weirdos like to spin dreams about ruling the world. The rednecks want to go break heads."

However the two factions are characterized, the former is now grouped around Matthias Koehl in Arlington, and the latter around Karl Allen, of Alexandria, Va., late of the White Citizens Council, whose wing calls itself the "white party." The Arlington group busies itself with producing reams of literature, ranging from crude broadsides and reprints of that ancient hoax, "the protocols of the learned elders of Zion," to scholarly-looking quarterlies.

The Alexandria group is not much heard from, although Allen is doing what he can to further the presidential campaign of George Wallace. [Hank Burchard, The Windsor Star, 28 September 1968]
While this report correctly states that there was a division among men who at various times had supported Rockwell, the uninformed reader would understand this split (such as there was in 1968) to be a result of Rockwell's death, which it was not. Karl Allen had been antipathetic toward Rockwell since 1963, as he was now toward Koehl.

Karl Allen's position on the assassination of George Lincoln Rockwell and his comments about the character of Rockwell's successor perhaps should be considered in that light.

1.  Rick Cooper's A Brief History of White Nationalism is mainly an attack on Matt Koehl. It should not be confused with the anonymous work promoted and distributed by Harold Covington since Cooper's death, which incorporates some of Cooper's writing and has almost the same title, but only agrees with Cooper's presentation in certain respects.

2.  Rick Cooper sent a registered letter to Karl Allen seeking confirmation of the rumor: Allen never responded

3.  The FBI agent's comment seems to label Karl Allen (a native of Tallahassee, Florida) as a "redneck," which seems a bit reckless given that Allen had been described by others as "a dapper Harvard graduate" (The Miami News, 22 May 1962).

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