Intl. Notebook Mar 21 2012
HOUSE THAT HATE BUILT
Los Angeles bunker intended to house Adolf Hitler set to be demolished for picnic area.

The Pulp Intl. tour across America has left San Francisco for our last stop, Los Angeles, and our timing was good, because this interesting item appeared in the news yesterday. Apparently, a Los Angeles bunker intended to house Adolf Hitler is being razed to make room for a picnic area. Set on several acres in what is now Will Rogers State Park, it was built during the 1930s by a group of fascist adherents who called themselves the Silver Legion of America, or Silvershirts, with the idea of giving Hitler a base of operations in America. Though the land was purchased by Winona and Norman Stephens, the mastermind behind the project was William Dudley Pelley, below, a well-known fascist of the time. The sprawling site was inhabited by his Silvershirts, and besides a large house intended for Hitler, included a diesel plant, a sprawling garden, and a bomb shelter.

Pelley and his Silvershirts numbered about 15,000 official members during the mid-1930s, and certainly there were many more sympathizers. The group was powerful enough that it became a concern for President Franklin Roosevelt, who ordered FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to keep an eye on them. Hoover did so, but left the group more or less in peace until Pearl Harbor was bombed, at which point feds raided the ranch and arrested the occupants. That was 1941, and by then the Silvershirts had already declined in membership and influence. The raid pretty much destroyed what was left of the group, and the base designed and built forAdolf Hitler fell into disrepair. We think the place would serve an important purpose if at least one building could be saved and perhaps adorned with a historical marker. Picnic areas need bathrooms, after all, and what better place to take a piss than in a monument to global fascism. But of course, what else would we think? We’re a history site, and we believe covering up the past serves no one. Some say the Silvershirts were never important enough to be considered a threat to American democracy, and thus should not be remembered, but they only seem hapless in hindsight. It’s precisely when people think their society is immune to malign influences that they always seem to take hold. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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