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A Time for ChoosingThe Rise of Modern American Conservatism$
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Jonathan Schoenwald

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157260.001.0001

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The Case of General Edwin A. Walker

The Case of General Edwin A. Walker

(p.100) 4 The Case of General Edwin A. Walker
A Time for Choosing

Jonathan M. Schoenwald

Oxford University Press

In mid-1961, Robert Welch was the only official spokesman for the John Birch Society. However, its most prominent member was the dashing Major General Edwin A. Walker. He was officially “admonished” by the commander in chief of the army in Europe, General Bruce C. Clarke, for teaching his strong anticommunist views to his troops. There are five themes which connected the John Birch Society to the General Walker case. The Walker incident helped bridge the gap between political incubation and political activism. The importance of Edwin Walker is described. Although the press was reluctant to support Walker as an individual, they supported what he stood for: free speech, a willingness to acknowledge the real dangers of the Cold War, and caution in accepting the word of dubious publications like the Overseas Weekly. The Walker incident gave conservatives the false impression that they could find a common ground on which all factions would remain politically viable, a vision aided by focusing on attacking the Kennedy administration.

Keywords:   Edwin A. Walker, Robert Welch, John Birch Society, conservatives, political incubation, political activism

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