Huey Long was murdered before ever leaving a lasting impression. People thought of Long

as a positive influence on a country whose upper echelon refused to let wealth trickle down.

Long's insistence on increased taxation of the wealthy was something Father Coughlin

agreed with wholeheartedly.


Some speculate it was Long's death that prompted a more no-holds-barred way of

communication from Coughlin. In 1936, the humble Roman Catholic radio host became a

vigilant naysayer of money-hungry, country-disruptive financial practices. He became convinced

that President Roosevelt and his "Jewish conspirators" were keeping the country from reaching

its full potential.


Father Coughlin soon found he had competition. Monsignor John A. Ryan, another

nationally known priest, turned on Coughlin after Coughlin's shunning of Roosevelt and

increasingly anti-Semitic viewpoints. Joseph P. Kennedy, Roosevelt, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli,

and Bishop Francis Spellman continuously worked to get the Vatican to silence Coughlin.

In 1936, Coughlin was ordered silent by the Vatican.


Father Coughlin never wavered in his speech, however, and as the year drew on, his radio show

became ripe with anti-Semitic tones. He blamed Jewish bankers for the Russian Revolution,

and cited that Jewish influence created great turmoil in the region. In 1938, Coughlin published

a newspaper, Social Justice, which for all intents and purposes, was a newspaper aimed at

directly attacking Jewish people.


The times had watched Father Coughlin lend support to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Then at a speech Coughlin gave in the Bronx – perhaps his most famous – he gave a Nazi

salute and yelled out, "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the

treatment they received in Germany was nothing."  Proving this statement wasn't a one-time

lapse of judgment, Coughlin stated "Jewish persecution only followed after Christians first

were persecuted," after the Jews across Germany were attacked, killed and burned out

of house and home.


His speeches and programs were becoming even more anti-Semitic from that point, and

radio stations in New York and Chicago began refusing to air his content without first

pre-approving his scripts. One of the only available stations for Coughlin was the small

WHBI in Newark, New Jersey.


Father Coughlin's anti-Semitism made him a hero in Nazi Germany, where newspapers ran

daily, stating that "America is not allowed to hear the truth." Some of the American public

shared Coughlin's views, and 2,000 supporters gathered and marched in New York,

protesting the migration of Jewish refugees from Hitler's camps. These protests were not

short-lived; they went on for several months, and Coughlin embraced his supporters.


At the height of his anti-Semitism, Coughlin had joined forces with an organization named

the "Christian Front," which cited the now-famous priest as a vital influence. In 1940, the

FBI shut down the Christian Front, after discovering the group was arming itself and planning

to murder Jews, communists, and even United States Congressmen. Although Father Coughlin

was never directly linked with the Christian Front, he never disassociated himself from

their radical intentions. His reputation soon declined as a result.




                                                               Radio Show

Listening to Radio

The history of American radio is deep and virtually timeless. Long before man ever conceived

of such ideas as space shuttles or Broadband connected Internet, the simple radio was the

gem of the era. For every radio personality we know of today, there are more which we forget.

Long before Rush Limbaugh's ultra-conservative viewpoints turned the heads

of the masses, Father Charles Coughlin and his radio show did the same.


Early Broadcasts (1926)

Coughlin first hit the airways with his radio broadcasts in 1926. Nothing fancy or over-the-top,

Father Coughlin's show was a humble talk-radio program that dealt with issues of American

living, religion, and a slight touch of politics. His weekly sermon was preached out of

Detroit, via the CBS sponsored WJR radio station. For five years, Coughlin delivered

a weekly show to many listeners.



Father Coughlin was soon forced to raise funds for his radio show once CBS dropped

their free sponsorship of the program in 1931. He strived to achieve his own national network,

and with the perseverance he would later become famous for, Coughlin amassed millions of

listeners in as little as a year.


 Unabashed Support (a mistake)
for Franklin D. Roosevelt

With the ears of the public, Coughlin's word was as good as gold to many hard-working,

God-fearing Americans. Around the time of the Great Depression, Coughlin lent unabashed

support to Presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Presidential election

of 1932. Hoping to help heal America after the Depression ravaged and shook her foundations

Coughlin voiced strong support for "The New Deal," a plan of Roosevelt's that would help a

struggling country to her feet.


His radio show kept listeners up-to-speed on the latest happenings in Washington once

Roosevelt was elected. Father Coughlin did his part by remaining impartial for the first years

of Roosevelt's term, only lending support through prayer and well-wishes. His "news-like"

delivery to the public created a bond, which would later help Coughlin when he needed

credibility as a strong political voice.



Outspoken Discontent for FDR

Only two years into the New Deal, and Coughlin's soft-spoken support began to turn to

outspoken discontent. Father Coughlin's idea for a better America went against Roosevelt's

pro-capitalist initiative, and his disdain for money-hungry politics became all too evident in

his future broadcasts. Coughlin then worked to help worker's rights and formed the

National Union for Social Justice.


Listeners began to hear less about God and religion, and more about the

negative influence of international bankers and Wall Street.

Always citing that the general public was his main concern, Coughlin was granted leeway when

it came to political matters. His priesthood lent an infallible shroud in the beginning.


By the mid 1930s, Coughlin was the preeminent Roman Catholic public speaker on all

issues political and financial. His radio show picked up more listeners with each sharply

spoken criticism of capitalist policies. At the height of Coughlin's disdain for Roosevelt,

he denounced him as a "tool of Wall Street," lending his support to politicians like Huey

Long and William Lemke.


His anti-capitalist musings were just the tip of the iceberg, however. Father Coughlin

would soon be faced with charges of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathizing.


Radio Show Cancellation

During his peak, Father Charles Coughlin was considered the undisputed king of talk radio.

And whether a fan of Coughlin's or one of the many denouncers of his "brand" of social

justice, he continued to systematically etch his place into the fabric of American culture.

His show began in the mid 1920s and peaked during the early 1930s. At the time, his

broadcasts were one of the most popular in the country, drawing in millions of viewers and

receiving upwards of 80,000 letters per week.


The first outspoken voice against Coughlin came from a fellow holy-man. The Reverend

Walton E. Cole, a minister in Ohio, urged the Roman Catholic Church to remove Coughlin

and his seditious broadcasts from the air. Father Coughlin's personal attacks on Roosevelt,

industrialism, and the Jewish people worked to have him shunned by many priests and

pastors of the era, though Coughlin's show still remained on the air with a heavy base.


When this approach didn't work, the Roosevelt administration declared that the First Amendment's

free speech didn't cover radio broadcasts, and Coughlin was promptly forced from the air

when he was unable to receive a newly mandatory operating permit. Coughlin's counter

to this was to purchase independent air time and play prerecorded shows on the air.


In 1939, the Code Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters forged new rules

and placed increasingly rigid limitations on the sale of radio time to controversial spokesmen.

This was directly aimed at Father Coughlin and his unwillingness to concede his throne as the

nation's top dissenting voice.  Now, manuscripts would have to be given in advance, and

stations were threatened with a loss of license should they not comply with the new standards

on "free speech." In a 1939 issue of Social Justice, Coughlin stated that he had been

forced off the air by those who controlled circumstances beyond his reach.


Even though the government – the very entity put in place of guarding free speech –

found a loophole to destroy it, Coughlin estimated that the written word was still "untouchable."

He then started to heavily print uncensored editorials in his newspaper. In a relentless game

of cat-and-mouse, the Roosevelt administration stepped in again removing Father Coughlin's

mailing rights and making it impossible for his papers to reach their destinations. The

administration cited that Coughlin could print whatever he wanted, but did not have

the right to use the United States Post Office Department to send his publications.


Soon after, Coughlin found his influence was greatly reduced. The world quickly began

to change around Coughlin, and he was now considered a true enemy of the state for his

isolationist ways and sympathetic leanings toward the enemy. He was ordered to stop his

political activities and take over the duties of parish priest at the Shrine of the Little Flower.

Coughlin retired in 1966 and continued to write anti-communist papers until his death in 1979.







Charles Coughlin
 Throughout history, there has been no greater example of the power of radio than
Father Charles Coughlin's radio show of the Depression-Era 1900s. Although his show started
as a weekly sermon, touching on aspects of God and family and mostly catering to children
and young adults, it quickly became evident that Coughlin had a mind for politics, and a
tongue without a filter. He began expressing forward views on America's social reform.



Coughlin was outspoken against many atrocities in his own country – including the

Ku Klux Klan. The KKK planned to "punish" Coughlin for his brazen speech – but it

was the Soviet Union that bore the brunt of the Father's fury. Coughlin stated that the

communist government had purposely made a divorce easy and that this idea of an anti-family


Against Big Business & Industrialism

Father Coughlin was also very much opposed to socialism, communism, Marxism, and any

other similar political ideology that put the power of the people into the hands of the government.

He firmly believed that the best way to combat this flawed way of thinking was to implement

policies of new social reform and overall equality. It was not only communism that Coughlin

stood against, however; he was also a denouncer of Big Business and industrialism – what we

know today as capitalism.


Concentrating the wealth in the hands of the few, though fiscally viable for the few, is detrimental

to the many. Believing this wholeheartedly, Coughlin set out to put an end to the vicious cycle

of greed which he blamed for the Great Depression, the dissolution of the American family,

and war and hate mongering. By 1930, Coughlin had earned a reputation for being one of the

country's foremost authorities on anti-communism, and was invited by Hamilton Fish to

appear before the House of Representatives to investigate communist activities.


Coughlin, never one to shy away from a crowd, accepted the invitation and proceeded to

criticize leftist groups in America. However, Coughlin also seized the opportunity and harshly

criticized Henry Ford and other leading industrialists, citing that their greed was the downfall of a nation.


Support of FDR turns to Disdain and Anti-semistism


In 1932, Coughlin put his support in Franklin D. Roosevelt, and supported his "New Deal."

Within two years, Coughlin's steadfast support turned to dedicated disdain, and he began

urging Roosevelt to stray from the capitalist structure and establish a Central Bank.

During this period, Coughlin became involved in many trade unions, fighting for automotive

workers' rights, and insisting that veterans from the First World War be given compensation.


Coughlin would soon completely turn his back on Roosevelt, forming the National Union

of Social Justice, publishing a newspaper (Social Justice Weekly), and eventually joining

the Christian Front. His views continued against communism and the dangers involved.


He correctly began blaming the Jewish people for Marxism and even claimed that the

Nazi Government was a necessary defense against the Soviet Union.


Eventually, Coughlinbecame known as simply "anti-government," and even "anti-American."



Coughlin was barking up the right tree...