I propose to introduce General Walker to the reader in a way that nobody else has yet attempted, i.e. to expose his six copyrighted speeches. I found the full text for all these speeches in 2012, inside his personal papers collection stored at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Walker’s speeches tell more about him than any narrative I’ve read.
These speeches are relevant to the WANTED FOR TREASON handbill, especially as it deals with the word “treason” in the context of Walker’s connection with the John Birch Society from 1959 to 1963. I’ll summarize each speech in the coming weeks.
To best understand these speeches, however, we should first backtrack to the Korean War, and a little before, to help us evaluate Walker’s motivations for his accusations of Presidential treason in his speeches. So, before we begin, here is some background history that will help us analyze the speeches.
GENERAL EDWIN WALKER – HIS MILITARY BACKGROUND
General Edwin Walker was a career soldier. Born in 1909 in Texas, he began his career as a boy in military school. He entered West Point in 1927 and graduated in the bottom ten percent of his class in 1931. He immediately joined the US Army, starting as an artillery man, and moved up to training in special forces. As the US entered World War II in 1941, Walker was assigned to the 3rd Regiment of the Canadian/American FSSF (First Special Services Force) starting in Italy, ultimately to take Rome in 1944.
In August 1944, Walker was promoted to Major General and made commanding officer of his Regiment, leading the FSSF at the Islands of the French Riviera. There they defeated a strong German garrison in heavy combat and held the Islands until the Allied victory in 1945.
In 1950 General Walker was again assigned to combat in the Korean War, commanding the 7th Infantry Regiment of the Third Infantry Division, and serving as a senior advisor to the South Koran Army. He greatly admired General Douglas MacArthur.
Everything was shattered when President Truman relieved MacArthur of his command in Korea in 1951. Walker was shocked.
Like General MacArthur, General Walker had also favored using nuclear bombs across the Yalu River. They both felt that Truman’s policy was appeasement – mere coexistence with communists. In the opinion of General Walker, after MacArthur was sacked, the United Nations ran the Korean War by using a “no win” policy. Commanders were under orders to tell their troops as late as 10 PM whether they would be allowed to shoot at the enemy the next day!
After 23 months and 33,000 American casualties, Walker’s forces ended back at the 38th parallel where they had begun. Walker reported a low morale of his troops due to this appeasement policy. His own morale was also at an all-time low. When the war finally ended on 27 July 1953, Walker vowed to never again enroll in a “no win” war.
During 1955, General Walker became mesmerized by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Did the communists truly infiltrate Washington DC at the highest levels? It certainly seemed that way starting with the Korean War. Walker joined the new HUAC chorus. He pointed to the medals on his jacket and told a reporter: “What good are they? The war isn’t over. It can never be over as long as subversion exists in America.”
Soon, however, General Walker’s life was about to change forever. We now return to our story, starting with 1957.
GENERAL EDWIN WALKER – 1957-1959
In response to the 1954 Supreme Court mandate, the Little Rock School Board submitted their plan to racially integrate Little Rock High in the 1957 school year. Many angry white parents complained to Governor Orval Faubus, who then decided to oppose that racial integration. As September 1957 arrived, Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to turn away a group of nine black students attempting to enter the high school. President Eisenhower, however, ordered Governor Faubus to withdraw the National Guard. He did so.
As the first semester began on September 23, 1957, these nine black students approached Little Rock High School only to be blocked by a large assembly of white protestors who threatened violence if they stayed. State Police had to escort the students away to safety.
The very next day, September 24, 1957, President Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10730, authorizing Federal Troops to forcibly integrate Little Rock High. The President federalized the Arkansas National Guard and combined them with troops from the 101st Airborne Division. In a fateful decision – President Eisenhower assigned General Walker as Commander of the Arkansas Military District with headquarters in Little Rock (hometown of the retired General MacArthur).
Walker obeyed these orders, although he held deep personal doubts about a violation of US guaranteed States’ Rights by forcing racial integration. In Walker's political opinion, every State had the right to racially integrate – or not. Walker repeatedly reported to the Pentagon that this task properly belonged to the Mississippi National Guard. They ignored him.
Eisenhower was charged with executing the Supreme Court ruling, so the order remained as written. General Walker winced every time Governor Faubus called Walker the “Commander of the Little Rock occupational forces.” Still obeying orders, however, Walker marched into the High School Auditorium accompanied by armed troopers, and addressed the students at their assembly, saying:
We are all subject to all the laws, whether we approve of them personally or not…and we have an obligation in conscience to obey them. There can be no exceptions; if it were not otherwise, we could not be a strong nation but a mere unruly mob. (Walker, 1957)
Walker successfully integrated Little Rock High, although his conscience was torn. The disaster of Korea was now compounded with this plausible violation of States Rights. While in Little Rock for the next two years, General Walker devoted his free time to reading Radical Right literature. He met many leaders of the US Radical Right, including Robert Morris, Billy James Hargis, H.L. Hunt and Robert Welch.
Walker became energized and he drew up plans for his own Army troop propaganda program, Pro-Blue (i.e. Anti-Red). He envisioned a book list for Army required reading, and a list of Radical Right speakers for troop seminars. Within this context, Walker corresponded often with Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society. Then, in May 1959, Robert Welch personally convinced General Walker that President Eisenhower was a secret communist and a traitor to America.
After the Little Rock High 1959 semester ended, Walker submitted his resignation to the US Army. He would not report to a communist traitor. This was radical. Walker had given 28 years of loyal service to the US Army, and he had every right to retire and receive his large Army pension. Instead, by resigning, Walker would forfeit his Army pension, and he would become the only US General to resign in the 20th century.
Why would he do this? Clearly General Walker wanted to make a political statement. On August 4, 1959, Walker officially explained his resignation citing “…a fifth column Conspiracy...to minimize or nullify the effectiveness of my ideals and principles.”
‘Fifth column’ means foreign – he didn’t want to say Russian in official letters, yet that’s what he meant, since he was resigning after having become convinced by Robert Welch that the Pentagon itself was riddled with communist traitors in favor of Russia. Otherwise, they would never cooperate with a communist traitor like President Eisenhower.
Yet the US Army was stunned. Why would Walker forfeit his Army pension? Why make such a self-defeating move? He could just as easily retire and receive his fat pension along with his honorable discharge papers, and then join the Nazi Party if he wanted to! It is a free country. So, the Army denied Walker’s resignation, and rewarded him for his loyal Army service by promoting him to Commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg, Germany. Walker would defend the Berlin Wall.
Walker stopped cold. This was the golden ring for any Major General. As Commander in Germany, he could roll-out his Pro-Blue program and begin training US troops with John Birch Society materials. Walker read the 1958 NSC Directive which gave military brass a role in the indoctrination of troops regarding Cold War issues. It looked good, so he took the job. As 1960 began, General Walker assumed command over 13,000 troops and their 10,000 dependents in Germany. He was at the top of his career.
GENERAL EDWIN WALKER – 1960-1961
By April 1960, General Walker’s Pro-Blue program was in full gear; obviously patterned after John Birch Society seminar programs. His recommended book list was the same as that for sale at a typical Bircher bookstore, for example:
A Guide to Anticommunist Action by Anthony Bouscaren
A Primer on Communism by George Cronyn
Brainwashing in the High Schools by E. Merrill Root
Communism: What It Is – How It Works by the US Gov’t Printing Office
Masters of Deceit by J. Edgar Hoover
No Wonder We are Losing by Robert Morris
Techniques of Communism by Louis Budenz
The God that Failed by Richard Crossman
The Life of John Birch by Robert Welch
The Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen
The Pentagon Case by Colonel Victor Fox
Tito – Moscow’s Trojan Horse by Slobodan Draskovich
Up from Liberalism by William F. Buckley, Jr.
American Opinion Magazine ed. Robert Welch
Walker violated Army Regulation AR 355-5 by saying inflammatory and derogatory things about past US public officials, promoting inflammatory material, and contracting inflammatory speakers. During speeches to his troops, Walker said that Communism has infiltrated every institution in the US and aims to overthrow our way of life. He told his troops that President Truman, Dean Acheson and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had been, “leftist affiliated.”
Walker told his troops that 60% of US Press, Radio and TV were “communist influenced,” and that TV newscasters Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid were “confirmed communists.”
Walker agreed fully with the John Birch Society doctrine that communists have infiltrated every sphere of American Life. Walker agreed that communists controlled so much of our Press, Radio and TV that the truth about Communism was consistently erased by "pink" censors.
Walker sponsored H.L. Hunt’s Life Line essay contest, 'The socialist evils of income tax.’
Despite all this, the Pentagon had looked the other way. Walker’s troops exhibited a high morale in Germany, so the Pentagon was surprised when General Walker became a target of an all-out attack by US Army newspaper, The Overseas Weekly. On April 17, 1961, General Walker was in the crosshairs of the entire first page and all the middle pages. They condemned his relentless propaganda for the John Birch Society.
The Pentagon didn’t care about Walker’s political beliefs – but the Pentagon surely cared about a US Army scandal in Cold War Europe! So, the Pentagon rushed to remove Walker from his command the very next day. Their issue was the shore flap, not anything about Party affiliation.
Please note – the Pentagon did not fire Walker. Walker was still a US General. Also note that JFK did not fire Walker. Nor did JFK care that the Pentagon removed him from his post. JFK was concerned that a US General resigning from the US Army looked bad during the Cold War. So, JFK instructed the Pentagon to offer Walker another post – including troop indoctrination – in Hawaii. It was a sweet offer. JFK did not want Walker to resign.
Nevertheless, during mid-1961, General Walker resigned for the second time. He would take no deals this time. He was convinced that the offered post in Hawaii was just a maneuver to draft him for the Vietnam War -- another "no-win" war. Walker got a lot of media attention from Life, William F. Buckley, Time, Kent and Phoebe Courtney, the cover of Newsweek and countless newspapers. Walker encouraged the urban legend that he, like General Douglas MacArthur, had been “fired” by an incompetent US President.
During this time however, Walker was still a General, and William F. Buckley hoped that Walker would remain a General, to keep the scandal of his dissatisfaction with the JFK administration a hot button for the Press. In mid-1961, Walker enjoyed giving several interviews to the Press, with his theme of “muzzling the military who warn of the communist threat.” (Senator Goldwater had donated the buzzword, “muzzling.”)
Walker, however, proved to be a faithful evangelist for Robert Welch. Walker echoed the John Birch Society doctrines, blasting the Supreme Court and especially Chief Justice Earl Warren, charging that Warren “voted 36 out of 39 times in favor of communism” (whatever that means). Walker continued with his plans to resign from the Army.
Walker told the Press that the Overseas Weekly attack against him was part of a global communist plot. The communists were afraid of his Pro-Blue program, he insisted. In this way, General Walker would get more publicity for his Pro-Blue program.
The Fulbright Memorandum
On July 13, 1961, THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES revealed that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to revise the 1958 NSC “Cold War” directive which permitted military brass to educate their troops and dependents in Anti-communism.
Now, it was under this very directive that General Walker had set up his Pro-Blue program in the first place. The proposed revision by McNamara would require that only professional military education could continue. In other words, Walker’s Pro-Blue program would be forever canceled. It could not be retained by his loyal officers remaining in Germany.
Walker researched this directive at high priority. William Fulbright’s June 1961 Memorandum to Secretary McNamara as leaked to Senator Strom Thurmond by office workers at the White House, proved to be the linchpin.
It was soon after reading Senator Fulbright’s memo, claimed Walker, that Secretary McNamara took measures to cancel the Pro-Blue program. Walker convinced himself that there was a direct connection between the June Fulbright Memorandum and the cancelation of his Pro-Blue program (although he surely knew that he had been canceled in April, 1961, when the Pentagon removed him from his command).
Walker took direct aim at the Fulbright Memorandum. It exposed the naked contempt in which JFK held the American People, he sobbed. JFK and his staff would take it upon themselves to unilaterally interpret the extent of the communist menace. Walker wrote:
“This job would be done by Arthur Schlesinger, Dean Rusk, Adlai Stevenson, Arthur Sylvester and other experts in appeasement.”
According to Walker, the Fulbright Memorandum subverted the US military by requiring that higher Army ranks in the future could be filled only with those with University degrees in government, foreign policy, and history. That would plainly exclude General Walker, who had no such college degrees.
That was outrageous, Walker exclaimed, because a college education was brainwashing by the Eastern Establishment! US Universities were left wing ferments that indoctrinate students to appease Communism! Such appeasement, claimed Walker, was the “permanent policy of the Kennedy Administration.”
Let’s look at the precise words of the Fulbright Memorandum, to appreciate the scope of the enemy that Walker was attempting to confront:
“Pride in the World War II victory and frustration with Korean War restraints led to MacArthur’s revolt and to McCarthyism.”
That is exactly right, boasted Walker! That is solid proof that most Americans are patriotic and have “never before allowed Washington DC to shamelessly sacrifice America on the altar of appeasement.” But military men, trained to identify and defeat the enemy, would never propose a foreign policy of slow surrender to the enemy!
At this point, some supporters resolved to nominate General Walker for US President. H.L. Hunt took a personal interest in Walker’s political career, so that Citizen Walker moved to Dallas, Texas. On December 12, 1961 Walker gave his first copyrighted speech at the Dallas Memorial Auditorium, entitled, “Who Muzzled the Military?” With our next blog post we’ll take up Walker’s first speech in Dallas.