- Coughlin, Charles E.
- (1891–1979)Father Charles Edward Coughlin was a Canadian-born Roman Catholic priest at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Church in Royal Oak, Michigan. He was one of the first political leaders to use radio to reach a mass audience, as more than 10 million people tuned in to his weekly broadcasts during the 1930s. Early in his career Coughlin was a vocal supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his early New Deal proposals, before he became a harsh critic of Roosevelt. In the mid-1930s, Coughlin began to use his radio program to broadcast anti-Semitic commentary, extolling the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. In 1936, he established his weekly newspaper, Social Justice, and subsequently joined forces with the anti-Semitic demagogue Gerald L. K. Smith and Francis E. Townsend to support the presidential candidacy of William Lemke of the newly formed Union Party in the 1936 election.Following the election, Coughlin intensified his attacks against Jews and the New Deal. He serialized the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Social Justice, reprinted Nazi propaganda from Joseph Goebbels, and continued to attack bankers and New Dealers of Jewish descent. He charged that Jews were responsible for Freemasonry, the French and Russian revolutions, world communism, and attacks on Christian civilization. When World War II broke out, Coughlin railed against the “British-Jewish-Roosevelt conspiracy,” and after Pearl Harbor, when the government warned Archbishop Edward Mooney of Detroit that Coughlin would face sedition charges for his pro-Axis activities, the Catholic Church moved to silence him, although he remained the pastor of his parish at Royal Oak until his retirement in 1966.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.