United States becomes Fascist in 1932 or 1936

What if The United States became a Fascist nation by the 1932 or 1936 presidential election?
How?
What would American Fascism look like? ( I do believe that American Fascism would be similar to Mosley's BUF)

Potential Party Members and Position?
( President: William Dudley Pelley? Huey Long?

Minister of Propoganda: Father Thomas Coughlin?)
 
If Huey Long was elected (FDR dies early?) but faced an assassination attempt against his life (like an actual business plot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot ) and he survived I could see this pushing him more radical and possibly giving him the sympathetic backing of the masses to sweep in the midterms and carry out his policies which were already widely popular but now further validated by the business classes trying to resort to assassinating him in order to stop him. Properly pivoting off of the anti-corporate fervor you might get a non-ethnic-based equivalent to left left-wing nationalism, state capitalism, left-wing fascism or strasserism. (he was a left-wing populist so these would be more likely for a more radicalized Huey Long) and while he did not stand up for minorities, to my knowledge he also did not actively try to put them down but it's possible that elements of his administration might be less neutral to issues like this (Huey Long did have some off-color allys like father Coughlin which may make it into the mainstream radio broadcasts as a type of proto political radio, but might also might have a shot of getting into Huey Longs administration) Since this is an era before term limits are a thing, in theory, Huey long can maintain this as long as he stays popular enough and does not allianate to many people. So if he continues to use his power in an enlightened fashion as a sort of modern-day Robinhood (taking from the rich and giving to the poor, being a simplification) I can see him maintaining election but if he goes to tyrannical and actually try to go fascist in the style of Germany or Italy I feel with the safeguards of the united states he might be running on a timmer because he can't just declare himself dictator the way Hitler did after the burning of the Reichstag do to how cumbersome a process it is to change the constitution or add and subtract amendments so instead he needs to maintain the support of the people in a wide enough margin to get the legislative support in elections to actually put policy into practice.
(He cant rule by decree but if needed, the closest tools he has wiggle room in are in the case of national emergency powers and possibly executive orders, but even these have limits)
 
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A country like the USA needs much more than just a few years of Depression to go fascist, period. USA is not Austria, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia or Weimar Republic, all of these were countries with zero democratic tradition.

In a no FDR scenario, Garner would have handled the Depression fine enough. If Garner fails, then Alf Landon would roll out a Republican New Deal in 1936.
 
Since Huey Long is so often mentioned in connection with American fascism, it might be worthwhile to quote the judgment of James Weinstein: "Of all the 1930s radical politicians, Louisiana Governor Huey Pierce Long Jr. was by far the most successful. A charismatic figure, he is often mistakenly remembered as the first American dictator or the first great native fascist. As his biographer T. Harry Williams wrote, Long was in fact a uniquely democratic politician who had nothing in common with the dictators except their popularity. As a consistent champion of working people and an implacable enemy of the corporate monopolies and Eastern banks, he commanded one of the largest mass followings in the country. " https://books.google.com/books?id=pYHeUBZzCDYC&pg=PT105

That being said, there is no way that Huey Long is getting nominated in 1932, even if FDR isn't around. Remember the two-thirds rule--there would be way more than one-third of the delegates, especially from the Northeast, who would think Long too radical (many felt the same even about FDR).

Indeed, the striking thing about 1932 was the weakness of radicalism of both the left and right. As E. B. White wrote, 'People are in a sad, but not a rebellious mood." https://books.google.com/books?id=AXCnQaJCtQ4C&pg=PA435
 
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Since Huey Long is so often mentioned in connection with American fascism, it might be worthwhile to quote the judgment of James Weinstein: "Of all the 1930s radical politicians, Louisiana Governor Huey Pierce Long Jr. was by far the most successful. A charismatic figure, he is often mistakenly remembered as the first American dictator or the first great native fascist. As his biographer T. Harry Williams wrote, Long was in fact a uniquely democratic politician who had nothing in common with the dictators except their popularity. As a consistent champion of working people and an implacable enemy of the corporate monopolies and Eastern banks, he commanded one of the largest mass followings in the country. " https://books.google.com/books?id=pYHeUBZzCDYC&pg=PT105

That being said, there is no way that Huey Long is getting nominated in 1932, even if FDR isn't around. Remember the two-thirds rule--there would be way more than one-third of the delegates, especially from the Northeast, who would think Long too radical (many felt the same even about FDR).

Indeed, the striking thing about 1932 was the weakness of radicalism of both the left and right. As E. B. White wrote, 'People are in a sad, but not a rebellious mood." https://books.google.com/books?id=AXCnQaJCtQ4C&pg=PA435
Yeah from my knowledge, Long was obviously a rather corrupt individual, but he wasn't an authoritarian on the level that one needs for fascism.
 
D.C. Stephenson wins the 1922 congressional race in which he ran. He manages to remain in Congress, becoming Newton Baker's running mate in the 1932 presidential election. Baker dies early in his second term, and Stephenson is president in 1937.
 
Huey Long I think simply didn't have it in him to be an actual fascist dictator; D C Stephenson's biggest enemy was himself - he was a monster. If the rape/kidnapping/murder charges hadn't stuck, he would've done some other sordid or lethal thing to discredit himself.

Here's another potential take though - WHAT IF Smedley Butler's purported "Business Plot" was real (which it very well may have been, to a degree) and had succeeded? Corporate America by and large hated FDR, and the super-rich despised him as a "class traitor". The conspirators could've formed a junta with some popular military or political leader as a figurehead (not Butler, as he was the "whistleblower") - exactly who wouldn't matter so much as the corporate heads would've held all the real power. Seems like a "corporate fascism" - not to be confused with "classical" corporatism in the sense of organizing the masses into "corporate" entities for a massive re-ordering/restructuring of society, but a hard-right authoritarian state controlled directly by the "captains of industry" themselves, would allow for a uniquely American and ardently capitalist form of totalitarianism to develop.
Now, there's the question of appealing to "the masses", as otherwise these super-rich "one-percenters" would have difficulty with this in 1932 as the Depression was raging. All that might would take is sufficient propagandization, fear-mongering and scapegoating... after all, as Goering once noted, "it works the same in any country..."
 
Just noticed this a couple of days later but since @Gukpard mentioned me:

I've always kinda wanted to make a timeline based on the Business Plot happening in 1933. My version would have the plotters approach MacArthur who goes along with the plan and the government is overthrown. It would start as a "regular" military junta, but people like Henry Ford and George Moseley slowly gain influence and transform the regime into a pseudo-fascist corporatocracy. Butterflies make it so that Nazi Germany aids China, causing Japan to reluctantly side with Britain against them when war breaks out, while the USA slowly aligns more and more with the German-China axis, and Italy remains neutral. (I'll end my summary there since I might still make it a timeline and don't want to spoil anything.)

Also since Huey Long was mentioned, Long was by no means a fascist. He ran a political machine and had authoritarian leanings in certain ways sure, but he was always for a populist-progressive agenda and he aligned with many progressive politicians in the senate. Not exactly fascist material.
 
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I don't think any kind of Business Plot would raise enough men to be successful - given how immensely popular Roosevelt was at the time - I mean, among the people. They are not going to get 500k men, period. It would end up failing way worse than the 6 February 1934 crisis. In addition, a military coup would be completely un-American for the people and the large swath of America would reject it - expect a popular revolt against the plotters.

In addition, with the choice of Smetley Butler, the Plot was most likely some kinds of crazy ramblings by a bunch of wealthy old men.
 
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Regardless of who becomes president, the key thing that hinders a Fascist movement in the US is the lack of unity among Fascist parties. You have to somehow get the Silver Legion, the German- American Bund and Corporate America to become a singular movement.

On another note, the only way for a Fascist leader to become president is by legitimate means. Had the business plot actually happened, it would be enough to spark a second civil war. Additionally, Smedley Butler at this time was a firm Socialist.
 
Fascism for America (editorial in the Paris Herald Tribune later to become the International Herald Tribune):

"May 22, 1932--The hour has struck for a fascist party to be born in the United States. In the face of the most critical financial situation in the history of the country, Washington presents the amazing spectacle of more special groups seeking to get their fingers in the national treasury than ever before. From every section and from every layer of our economic life, the embattled lobbies have descended upon the capital. Bills to appropriate millions for the aid of special classes or industries are tossed into the House of Representatives, at the moment when federal finances are strained to the breaking point. Congress has one plain duty, to balance the budget, and to refuse every subtle appeal for money that is not foreseen by that budget. In the cities, where authorities confess themselves unable to cope with the sinister enterprise arrayed against them; in state capitals and county towns, where special privilege is bought and sold; wherever patronage is distributed and crime protected, there is the rumble of indignation among householders, the anger and disgust of taxpayers, which presage the gathering of moral forces into overt movement.

Someone will give the signal. It may be a mechanic, coming out of his engine-room, wiping his hands upon oily waste, in despair at the insecurity of his home; it may be a veteran teacher--like Peter the Hermit preaching a crusade --shocked to find the holy sepulchre of our national liberty in the hands of vandals. It may be the clean youth and imagination of a Charles Lindbergh, calling upon men of goodwill to join him in a party of law and order. It may be the sagacity and experience of a Henry Ford, summoning men to match the organization of the underworld with a still more potent organization. In every part of the country men are waiting for the call, and when it is heard, there will be a roar of assent from a million throats. The elements are assembled for the formation of this kind of fascism in the United States, composed of householders, heads of families and taxpayers. The stage is set."

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/14/opinion/international/may-22-1932-fascism-for-america.html

Two things I find interesting about the editorial:

(1) It shows that some perfectly respectable Americans had no fear of the word fascism in 1932. This is a bit less predictable than that people proposed to meet the Depression with authoritarian methods without using that particular f-word...

(2) Lindbergh is mentioned as a potential leader of a fascist party even though AFAIK he had not spoken out about politics at that time (and was too young to run for president in either 1932 or 1936). Perhaps it was assumed that as a victim of a horrible crime--remember that the Lindbergh baby's body was found on May, 12, 1932 and this editorial was published ten days later--Lindbergh would naturally want to lead a party dedicated to "law and order."
 
If your PoD is far enough back this might work. One of the huge things that grows fascism in a country is something that can be viewed as a national humiliation that caused significant disorder and mistrust of current political institutions. The Depression isn't the worst place to start looking, but one of the things about multi-party democracy is that people didn't see it as a failure of liberalism so much as a failure of the Republican Party, and most people earnestly believed putting in a Democrat would fix things to the extent that many wanted Roosevelt to attempt a Mussolini style coup leading up to his inauguration. That said, Roosevelt knew better than to try and public support for it died down not long after the calls for such an expansion of authority began.
One option might be somehow building a more influential Marxist or Anarchist labor movement, especially if it's a multiracial coalition. If a general strike turns into an early version of fourth-generation warfare you might get a situation in which some President or another would feel like increasingly building on wartime powers already being applied to domestic citizens, especially if they pulled off an assassination like the one on William McKinley. Doubly so if democratic institutions can be portrayed as slowing down the process of catching the "wreckers" and "terrorists."
 
One option might be somehow building a more influential Marxist or Anarchist labor movement, especially if it's a multiracial coalition. If a general strike turns into an early version of fourth-generation warfare you might get a situation in which some President or another would feel like increasingly building on wartime powers already being applied to domestic citizens, especially if they pulled off an assassination like the one on William McKinley. Doubly so if democratic institutions can be portrayed as slowing down the process of catching the "wreckers" and "terrorists."
Yeah, if you can expand and radicalize the communists, that would help a lot in expanding and radicalizing the anti-communists. That was a big factor in Germany, after all. Perhaps have the departure during the short but deep recession after WWI; at the low point of that period, have an assassination of a prominent figure (have Eugene Debs murdered in prison under suspicious circumstances, perhaps?) triggering socialist rioting, anti-communist counter-attacks, and some tit-for-tat follow up political murders. Things would probably still calm down during the roaring 20s, but with memories of past grievances to animate them the responses to the Great Depression could then end up involving a lot more radicalism on both sides.
 
Regardless of who becomes president, the key thing that hinders a Fascist movement in the US is the lack of unity among Fascist parties. You have to somehow get the Silver Legion, the German- American Bund and Corporate America to become a singular movement.

On another note, the only way for a Fascist leader to become president is by legitimate means. Had the business plot actually happened, it would be enough to spark a second civil war. Additionally, Smedley Butler at this time was a firm Socialist.
Like I said, since Butler was the whistle-blower, he definitely would not be at the helm...
 
I don't think any kind of Business Plot would raise enough men to be successful - given how immensely popular Roosevelt was at the time - I mean, among the people. They are not going to get 500k men, period. It would end up failing way worse than the 6 February 1934 crisis. In addition, a military coup would be completely un-American for the people and the large swath of America would reject it - expect a popular revolt against the plotters.

In addition, with the choice of Smetley Butler, the Plot was most likely some kinds of crazy ramblings by a bunch of wealthy old men.
All that may be true, but the investigative committee couldn't definitively say that there was no "there" there :)
 
Say the US joins the Central Powers in ww1 and conquers Canada and and the US Navy helps the German Navy break GB's blockade of the North Sea, causing a Central Powers victory in WW1. Outraged at loosing a 4th major war against the US and being humiliated by "upstart" nation's a British Nationalist assassinates President Harding in 1923 or 1924. William Dudley Pelley then leads a Fascist movement to become president in 1936 or 1940 using the assassination of Harding to bolster his party and with Father Charles Coughlin, who speaks on the radio to a now national audience, convinces voters to elect Fascist party members to the House and Senate. Pelley's campaign is also funded by Corporate America.
 
Say the US joins the Central Powers in ww1 and conquers Canada and and the US Navy helps the German Navy break GB's blockade of the North Sea, causing a Central Powers victory in WW1. Outraged at loosing a 4th major war against the US and being humiliated by "upstart" nation's a British Nationalist assassinates President Harding in 1923 or 1924. William Dudley Pelley then leads a Fascist movement to become president in 1936 or 1940 using the assassination of Harding to bolster his party and with Father Charles Coughlin, who speaks on the radio to a now national audience, convinces voters to elect Fascist party members to the House and Senate. Pelley's campaign is also funded by Corporate America.
First, US joining CP requires a pre-1900 POD

Second, I can't see how Harding being assassinated leading to William Dudley Pelley, who was a nobody during the 1920s. Not to mention that the 1920s was incredibly prosperous.

Third, the Depression again, but most likely a Democrat would get elected and implement an ATL New Deal. Don't forget that the OTL New Deal Congress was one of the most liberal Congress in the entire American history, an ATL New Deal would be implemented and extremism would be defused.
 
I spent some time thinking on this, and I had an idea:

What if Abraham Lincoln survived his second term? Let's say that his second term doesn't go so well and he leaves just about all of the South and a fair amount of the North absolutely pissed off and divided due to how he had to try and handle both sides of the Republican Party at the beginning of Reconstruction and continuously sides with workers in labor disputes against big business, expanding Federal power in the process. After he leaves office, he becomes the Father of American Socialism and tours the country advocating a modified version of Marxist theory aimed at an American populace. With stronger unions and a popular if controversial figure behind the movement, American Socialism gets more popular (it probably leans strongly Libertarian Socialist, with a strong anarchist component but not quite as strong as it was in the real life US labor movement), future Republicans and Democrats alike unite to use the expanded Federal Powers of the Lincoln Presidency to crack down on civil liberties and worker's rights, which in some ways hurts the movement in general but bolsters its more radical elements. Given that police are only just starting to form, stories of martyrdom from government and paramilitary brutality continue to divide the country. Localized general strikes slow down the American economy from time to time, and World War I doesn't have a strike truce as most of the Socialist movement is anti-war. This exacerbates the post-war economic downturn and radicalizes parts of the military. The Roaring Twenties is an age of extremes where you have socialists brawling in the streets against police and right-wing paramilitaries, and when the crash hits a general strike spirals out of control into an almost-revolution. Most of the largest attacks , but acts of red terrorism continue to be a going concern going into the 1932 Presidential Election. Then, whoever wins (the opposite party of whoever was in power during the crash) would have the ability to effectively suspend all civil liberties as a wartime President with a major economic downturn and no confidence whatsoever in Democracy. In fact, I would expect the winner's platform to strongly mirror Mussolini's, but with a strong streak of Hitlerian racism aimed primarily at Blacks, but with a fair amount of antisemitism and anti-Catholic sentiment sprinkled in.

Thoughts?
 
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