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Press ReleaseMilitias
DATE: MAY 16, 1996

The Turner Diaries recently drew national attention when it was disclosed that Timothy McVeigh, the accused Oklahoma City bomber, actively promoted the book before the April 1995 bombing. Originally published in 1978 by the author -- one of America's most notorious neo-Nazis -- the novel was available only through limited distribution channels, primarily from far-right hate groups. With its announced publication by Lyle Stuart's Barricade Books, it could become accessible through mainstream booksellers.

This Q&A may be reproduced in its entirety or as excerpts with proper credit to the Anti-Defamation League.

What is The Turner Diaries?

The Turner Diaries, first published in 1978, is a novel popular among far-right extremists. Written by William Pierce (under the pseudonym of Andrew Macdonald), it portrays the violent overthrow of the Federal Government, and the systematic killing of Jews and non-whites in order to establish an "Aryan" world.

What influence has The Turner Diaries had on violent, far right extremists?

It is known that accused Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was an avid reader and enthusiastic promoter of The Turner Diaries. There are remarkable similarities between the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma city and a scene in The Turner Diaries which graphically describes the preparation of a bomb which is used to destroy the national headquarters of the FBI.

Similarly, The Turner Diaries is seen as the likely inspiration for the violent extremist group known as "The Order," which in the early 1980's committed a series of crimes including murders, robberies, counterfeiting, and the bombing of a synagogue. Robert Mathews, the leader of this terrorist gang, told an acquaintance that the bank robberies committed by The Order were the beginning of the American Nazi revolution depicted in The Turner Diaries. Mathews was killed in a fire resulting from a shootout with FBI agents in 1984, and most of the other leaders of The Order are serving long prison terms.

What are some representative quotes from The Turner Diaries?

* "My day's work started a little before five o'clock yesterday, when I began helping Ed Sanders mix heating oil with the ammonium nitrate fertilizer in Unit 8's garage. We stood the 100 pound bags on end one by one and poked a small hole in the top with a screwdriver, just big enough to insert the end of a funnel. While I held the bag and funnel, Ed poured in a gallon of oil. . . It took us nearly three hours to do all 44 sacks, and the work really wore me out.

Meanwhile, George and Henry were out stealing a truck. With only two-and-a-half tons of explosives we didn't need a big tractor trailer rig, so we decided to grab a delivery truck. . ."

* ". . .If the White nations of the world had not allowed themselves to become subject to the Jew, to Jewish ideas, to Jewish spirit, this war would not be necessary. We can hardly consider ourselves blameless. We can hardly say we had no choice, no chance to avoid the Jew's snare. We can hardly say we were not warned."

* ". . .the people had their share of the Jews and their tricks. . . If the Organization survives this contest, no Jew will - anywhere. We'll go to the utmost ends of the Earth to hunt down the last of Satan's spawn. . ."

Who is William Pierce?

William Pierce is the leader of the West Virginia based National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group. Under the pseudonym of Andrew Macdonald, he is the author of the racist and anti-Semitic fantasy novel The Turner Diaries. Pierce holds a Ph.D. in physics, and formerly held a teaching position Oregon State University. He has, at various times, been affiliated with George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party, and Willis Carto's National Youth Alliance (Carto now heads the Washington, D.C. based Liberty Lobby, the largest and most well funded Anti-Semitic organization in America today), though Carto and Pierce are currently rivals.

Pierce is also a founder and trustee of the "Cosmotheist Church," a "Christian Identity" group which shares membership and organizational space with the National Alliance. (The pseudo-religious Identity Church movement holds that whites are the "chosen people" of the Bible, and that Jews and blacks are "mud people" and the children of Satan)

What is the National Alliance?

Since the 1970's Pierce has run The National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization based in West Virginia, which actively promulgates racist and anti-Semitic propaganda. Its subsidiary, National Vanguard Books, pushes such notorious titles as Mein Kampf, The International Jew, and of course, Pierce's own The Turner Diaries. In 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, agreeing with an amicus brief submitted by ADL, the American Jewish Congress, and the NAACP, found that National Alliance was not an educational organization and upheld an I.R.S ruling stripping it of its tax exempt status.

What else has Pierce written?

In addition to The Turner Diaries, Pierce (again under the pen name Andrew Macdonald) has written a similar racist fantasy novel entitled Hunter. Hunter depicts the story of a drive-by killer who begins murdering inter-racial couples and eventually begins assassinating Jews in order to "cleanse" America and save the future of white civilization. The book is dedicated to Joseph Paul Franklin, a fire bomber of synagogues who is serving multiple life sentences for the sniper murders of at least two black men.

Pierce is also the editor of National Vanguard, and the National Alliance Bulletin, both published by the National Alliance, and appears regularly on his own short-wave radio program called "American Dissident Voices."

How does Pierce try to recruit or attract new supporters?

New World Order Comix is a comic book published by National Vanguard Books. Aimed at white teenagers, the goal of the comic is to recruit young people to the National Alliance neo-Nazi cause. The book is replete with racist and anti-Semitic sentiments. For example, "New World Order Comix #1" is subtitled "The Saga of. . . White Will," the name of the young "hero" of the story, who has conflicts with the blacks and Jews in his class and is eventually turned on to the National Alliance by the father of a friend.

The National Alliance also maintains a site on the World Wide Web of the Internet, where computer users can download written materials, and request information about the organization.

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1996 Anti-Defamation League