Saturday, November 1, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: George Lincoln Rockwell

George Lincoln Rockwell (1918-1967)

It may well be impossible to find a neutral account of George Rockwell's life. I will try to stick to the facts as I know them (and even they may be wrong), and avoid editorializing.

Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Rockwell's parents were both vaudevillians and actors. Though brought up as a Christian, he later considered himself an agnostic; still later, he identified himself with the racist "Christian identity" movement. He attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and majored in philosophy. In 1939 he quit school to join the U.S. Navy, since he had come to the conclusion that war with Nazi Germany was unavoidable. He attended flight school and earned his wings in 1940. He served in the Pacific theater and participated in the retaking of Guam.

After the war, he became a commercial artist, opening a photography studio and painting signs. In 1948 he won a $1,000 award for an ad he made for the American Cancer Society. He civilian life was interrupted when he was recalled to active duty at the beginning of the Korean War. He served in California, training Navy and Marine pilots.

Rockwell was married twice but had no children (as far as I can tell).

During his time in California he became an ardent anti-communist and supporter of Joe McCarthy. He also supported Douglas MacArthur's bid for president, adopting the corncob pipe in emulation of the famous photo of MacArthur.

In 1958 he protested the sending of U.S. troops to the Middle East. An admirer sent him an enormous swastika flag, which he turned into the centerpiece of a shrine to Adolf Hitler. He soon became a leader in the American Nazi movement, making white supremacy the focus of his political activism.

In 1959 he formed the American Nazi Party. He ran the lecture circuit, and was in high demand, lecturing against non-whites, Jews, and communists (he considered Jews to be communists anyway). He formed alliances with the Ku Klux Klan and other supremacist groups. In 1967 he changed the name of the American Nazi Party to the National Socialist White People's Party (apparently completely missing the irony of claiming to be an opponent of communism while simultaneously calling himself a socialist). He was also a holocaust denier (surprise, surprise).

Rockwell died of multiple gunshot wounds on August 25, 1967. The man convicted for his murder was one of his own followers whom he had been feuding with, but there is still some debate as to the real identity of his murderer.

Upon being informed of Rockwell's death, his own father is said to have stated, "I am not surprised at all. I’ve expected it for quite some time."


  1. Interesting. I assume he smoked Missouri Meerschaum? Do you know which style?

  2. Rockwell did in fact have children, a son and a daughter. I have been trying to find out which brand of tobacco he smoked but so far i haven't found any information.