The Smear Terror
New York: John T. Flynn, 1947. First edition. Pamphlet. Stapled wraps, 6 x 9 inches, 30 pp. Browning to newsprint, otherwise very good. Item #51
An exceptional version of this pamphlet written and self-published by John T. Flynn (1882–1964) in which Flynn “tells the story of one of the strangest chapters in our history—the story of private gestapos formed to terrorize citizens who differ with the objectives of the operatives.” Their purpose, he asserts, “is to frighten into silence all who dare question their plans at home and abroad. This story is told here for the first time.” Flynn then details the methods by which communist sympathizers, among others, coordinate to defame and smear the reputations of anti-communist writers, journalists, and politicians. Flynn was a journalist, author, and polemicist of the “Old Right,” and remained ardently opposed throughout his life to the centralization and militarization of the U. S. government. Flynn helped create the America First Committee in 1940, which lobbied for American isolationism in the early years of World War II. The AFC became one of the largest anti-war organizations in the country, but it would dissolve shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor initiated America’s entry into the war. Flynn remained a bitter opponent of President Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the growing welfare-warfare state that burgeoned in the post-war years. As a result of his anti-war and anti-communist positions, Flynn would cross swords with numerous political opponents during and after the war. This pamphlet offers a fascinating glimpse into the political jungle in which Flynn waged his duels.