fascist

Gov Martin speechBy Finn J.D. John
It was the morning of Oct. 1, 1938, at the ceremonial dedication of the new Oregon state capitol building. Following several dedicatory speeches (including one by President Franklin D. Roosevelt), the ribbon was cut and the crowd outside invited to come inside and have a look.
But as the crowd moved forward, those at the front found themselves up against a door stuck shut. The crowd of Oregonians found itself packed tightly against the door.
Then a voice rang out, strident and harsh and full of authority. It was the governor of Oregon, Major General Charles Henry Martin, and if he’d been in his dress uniform he would probably have had his sword out whacking people with the flat of its blade.
“Get back, you bastards!” he roared.
“It was just like a blowtorch,” former Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield told historian Gary Murrell. “The people fell back.”

Charles MartinBy Finn J.D. John
Remember General Jack D. Ripper, the character from the 1964 movie “Dr. Strangelove; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”? Can you imagine what might have happened if General Ripper had been elected governor?
For Oregonians, just a few years ago, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. In 1934, voters elected a retired major general named Charles Henry Martin — known to the soldiers assigned to his care during the First World War as “Old Iron Pants.” And although Martin isn’t known to have gone on any anti-fluoridation rants or spluttered about “precious bodily fluids,” his political style was more than a little reminiscent of Ripper’s … and, of course, it’s not a work of fiction.
“If things come to a crisis,” he wrote to a sympathetic fellow military man in 1937, while discussing the likelihood of a Communist takeover in America, “there are enough strong men left in the country to handle it properly. … The Italians wouldn’t submit; they organized their blackshirts. The Germans wouldn’t submit, so they had their brownshirts and Hitler. I don’t believe Americans will submit.”

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.