D. W. Griffith and "The Birth of A Monster"

How The Confederacy Revived The KKK and Created Hollywood

by Mark Calney

Printed in The American Almanac, January 11, 1993.


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In the context of the campaign to tear down the statue of Ku Klux Klan founder and Confederate General Albert Pike in Washington, D.C., and the need to remove, as well, the successors of the Confederacy from control of the U.S. government, this report is being issued to address two related topics: (1) the revival of the Ku Klux Klan as a mass-based, fascist movement in the United States in the twentieth century, and (2) the birth modern culture's "Rosemary's Baby": Hollywood.

The mediator for these two phenomena was D.W. Griffith's 1915 motion picture The Birth of a Nation -- originally titled The Clansman -- a film which presented a re-writing of the actual history of post Civil War Reconstruction by the same Confederate traitors aginst whom the war had to be fought. It portrayed African-Americans in the post-Civil War South as depraved, lascivious beasts whose rampant lawlessness and alleged domination of the South -- through military force and control of the state legislatures -- threatened to destroy "Southern civilization" and "mongrelize the races". The film asserts that this could only be stopped by the glorified lynchings and reign of terror carried out by the "honorable" new, secret order of the "chivalrous" Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

These twin evils -- Hollywood and the KKK -- come from the group of elite Anglo-Americans who were made up of the direct heirs, philosophically and often biologically, of the old Confederacy. They are the same treasonous scoundrels who organized the U.S. entry into WWI on the side of the British, and organized the Versailles System at the end of that war which created the pre-conditions for the outbreak of World War II.


The "Invisible Empire"

The creation of the Ku Klux Klan in 1865, and its later revival, was not just a spontaneous social phenomenon. In both cases, we find the guiding hand of those individuals and institutions, such as the Scottish Rite Freemasons, who have always opposed the republican principles upon which the United States of America was founded and the Christian idea that man is created in the image of the living God -- imago viva dei.

The revival of the KKK in the early part of this century was ushered in by a project which culminated in the release of the two-hour and forty-five minute silent movie, The Birth of a Nation. Never before or since has a motion picture generated the kind of political and social explosion that this one did.

The initiating ceremony reviving the Ku Klux Klan occurred on Thanksgiving Eve of 1915, when a group of fifteen men huddled together in the cold autumn air before a makeshift altar of rocks atop of Stone Mountain, Georgia, sixteen miles outside of Atlanta. That dubious assemblage included two members of the original Klan and a Georgia legislator. When "Colonel" William J. Simmons stepped forward and lit a match to the kerosene-soaked, pine boards rising above the altar, a burning cross lit up the Georgia countryside. Col. Simmons intoned:

"Under a blazing, fiery torch the Invisible Empire was called from its slumber of half a century to take up a new task and fulfill a new mission for humanity's good and to call back to mortal habitation the good angel of practical fraternity among men." [fn1]

That ritual had been in preparation for some time, and was executed on that day in order to coincide with the opening presentation of The Birth of a Nation one week later in Atlanta. The day the film was shown, the local newspaper carried Col. Simmon's announcement of "The World's Greatest Secret, Patriotic, Fraternal, Beneficiary Order," next to the advertisement of the movie.

The Birth of a Nation was literally a recruitment film for the Ku Klux Klan, and the target of its revival was not principally the South but was the old Union strongholds of the Northern states. It not only appealed to the popularized Southern conception of "unjust Reconstruction" policies imposed after the Civil War, but, more importantly, promoted the ideas of white race supremacy. This dovetailed with the ongoing British Empire campaign of eugenics -- the so-called "race science" -- which in the USA found its most enthusiastic sponsors among such Anglophile financiers as John D. Rockefeller and Averell Harriman.

This central theme of "Anglo-Saxon Supremacy", with all its Romantic trappings, was the vehicle used to recruit large numbers in the Northern states to the "lost cause" of the Confederacy, so that by 1923 the Klan's active membership was estimated at over 1.5 million (total members of the KKK enrolled from 1915 to 1944, has been estimated at 2,028,000 [see Appendix]). The majority of these KKK members (1915-1944) lived NOT in the South, but in the urban centers of Northern states. The Klan's largest base of support in any one city was Chicago (20 chapters totaling 50,000 members), the old center of republicanism which had organized the strategically critical election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. In fact, the city of Chicago had 10 times as many Klan members as the entire state of South Carolina, the "spiritual capital" of the Confederacy and home of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Freemasons which had spawned the secessionist movement and the original KKK.


"The Clansman"

D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation was based on a book written in 1905 by Thomas Dixon, Jr. titled The Clansman - An Historic Romance of the Ku Klux Klan. Dixon dedicated the book to the memory of "A Scottish-Irish leader of the South, My Uncle, Colonel Leroy McTee, Grand Titan of the Ku Klux Klan." Dixon considered himself a great defender of the Anglo-Saxon race, claiming that "the beginning of Negro equality is the beginning of the end of this nation's life."

Dixon describes the importance he placed on his poorly written work in its preface:

"'The Clansman' is the second of a series of historical novels planned on the Race Conflict. `The Clansman' develops the true story of the `Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy,' which overturned the Reconstruction regime... "In the darkest hour of the life of the South, when her wounded people lay helpless amid rags and ashes under the beak and talon of the Vulture, suddenly from the mists of the mountains appeared a white cloud the size of a man's hand. It grew until its mantle of mystery enfolded the stricken earth and sky. An `Invisible Empire' had risen from the field of Death and challenged the Visible to mortal combat.

"How the young South, led by the reincarnated souls of the Clansmen of Old Scotland, went forth under this cover and against overwhelming odds, daring exile, imprisonment, and a felon's death, and saved the like of a people, forms one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race." [fn2]

Thomas Dixon, Jr. was born in Shelby, North Carolina, during the Civil War in 1864. He graduated from Wake Forest College in 1883, and went on to study at Johns Hopkins University, which at that time was a hotbed of British intellectual subversion of the U.S. Its Anglo-Saxon History Department became famous, along with its promotion of Social Darwinism, exemplified by Thomas H. Huxley, who was the inaugural speaker at the school's founding in 1876. While at Hopkins, Dixon became a close friend of another southern student of history, a Virginian by the name of Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Dixon's friendship with the future U.S. President would play an important role in the future of The Birth of a Nation.

After returning to school in North Carolina, Dixon received a law degree and was elected to the state legislature. But, it was as a Baptist minister that Thomas Dixon, Jr. first achieved national fame. He preached for a decade (1889-1899) in New York City and associated closely with the Social Gospel Movement, and formed the nondenominational "People's Church" in downtown Manhattan. It was there that Dixon caught the eye of John D. Rockefeller, who talked of building him a great tabernacle. But Dixon traded his pulpit for a lectern, hit the lecture circuit from 1899 to 1903, and wrote the first of two novels of his racist trilogy. The first, The Leopard's Spots, subtitled "A Romance of the White Man's Burden 1865-1900" (1902), concluded that peace could only be achieved through the separation of the races. The second novel was titled The One Woman (1903).

Rev. Dixon submitted his manuscript of The Leopard's Spots for publication to an old friend from North Carolina who had also attended Johns Hopkins University and had been the editor of a Raleigh newspaper, the State Chronicle. That old friend, Walter Hines Page, had become the co-owner of the New York publishing firm Doubleday, Page and Company. A virulent Anglophile, Page later became U.S. ambassador to Great Britain under President Woodrow Wilson, and played a critical role in organizing the American entry into the First World War on the side of the British Empire.

The Confederate gushings of Thomas Dixon's pathetic, racist novel found a warm reception in Walter Hines Page, the son of a slave owning family. Page eagerly published Dixon's The Leopard's Spots and the book sold more than 100,000 copies in the first three months after its release. The publication of The Clansman, in 1905, outsold Dixon's first two books, and induced Dixon's to re-write the "The Clansman" as a theatrical production.

In June 1906, "The One Woman" was similarly rewritten by Rev. Dixon as a play, in which he asked two then little-known actors to perform: D.W. Griffith, and his wife, Linda Arvidson.


The Real D.W. Griffith

David Wark Griffith is the man worshipped by the modern cultural mafia as the "genius director" who revolutionized cinematic technique, catapulted the moving picture into an "art form", and thereby created the idea and form of what Hollywood has become today. Griffith can be looked upon as a bridge built by the Confederate Army Corp. of "social engineers". One end of the bridge is firmly rooted in the old plantation despotism of the Confederate States of America (CSA), characterized by the British oligarchical free trade policies of slavery and usury, and accompanied by all its inherent Romantic, cultural baggage. The other end of that bridge brings us to Hollywood -- "Entertainment Capital of the World" -- which from its very inception, to the present day, has been run by an overlapping combination of Anglo-American financiers, organized crime, and cultural warfare experts of the most degenerate sort.

A descendant of Britain's Lord Barrington (1700s) (exiled from Britain in the early 1700's and took his wife's maiden name, Griffith), D.W. Griffith was born 20 miles east of Louisville, Kentucky in 1875. His family were slaveholders, owning a small 264 acre estate in Oldham County. At the outbreak of the Civil War, and with Kentucky joining the Union, his father, Jacob Wark Griffith, organized the 1st Kentucky Cavalry which became attached to the Confederate Army's famous "Orphan Brigade", and became a colonel. After the surrender of Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, the Secretary of State of the CSA, John C. Breckinridge assigned Col. Jacob Griffith the task of secretly escorting CSA President Jefferson Davis to a small remaining spot of "Confederate soil" in Kentucky, in order to keep alive the CSA government as a resistance operation, in hopes that the Confederacy would somehow rise again.

As a young man, D.W. Griffith got his start in show business working part-time as a "super" at the local theater in Louisville, Kentucky. It was during this time that he joined the Masons and began his acting career. By 1908 Griffith began working as a film actor for the Edison Studio in the Bronx, N.Y., and later that same year began directing films for Edison's American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.

Griffith's memories of his Confederate father and of the burning down of the Griffith estate, must have been quite vivid as he picked up the project of transforming Dixon's The Clansman into the first American epic motion picture. Later, while filming the picture in California in 1914, Griffith was often heard bragging about how his father had ridden with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1913, Griffith started working for Harry and Roy Aitken as head of production for Mutual Film Production, the distributing agency for the producing companies of Majestic and Reliance, also owned by the Aitkens. At a $1,000 a week salary and the right to make two of his own films per year, D.W. Griffith, became the highest paid director of motion pictures, at the time.

During the winter months, beginning in 1909, Griffith had begun to shoot films in a small town north of Los Angeles where there was sunny, fair weather 300 days out of the year. In the spring of 1914, Griffith was working out of a studio at 4500 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. His production of movies like The Battle of the Sexes had attracted such investors to Griffith's filming set in New York as Crawford Livingston and Felix Kahn (owner of New York's Ritz theater and brother of Otto Kahn, the Wagnerian proprietor of the Metropolitan Opera). From New York City, Harry Aitken wrote to Griffith to convey his optimism about the potential to finance lengthier and more expensive films: "I am having a great time showing your film [probably The Escape - editor] in my apartment to Mr. Irving Cobb, Otto Kahn, May Wilson Preston, Daniel Frohman, editors and society people. This method of presenting them is getting a kind of recognition, which I am sure will be a great boost to you." [fn3]

It was during this time that Griffith and an associate film critic, Frank Woods, obtained the first copyright for the motion picture production of The Clansman. The story is conveyed in Griffith's autobiography:

"One fortunate day he (Woods) brought a a book in to me. It was `The Clansman' by Thomas Dixon. I skipped quickly through the book until I got to the part about the Klansmen, who, according to no less than Woodrow Wilson, ran to the rescue of the downtrodden South after the Civil War. I could just see these Klansmen in a movie with their white robes flying." [fn4]
At the time he told one of his leading actresses, Lillian Gish,
"I've bought a book by Thomas Dixon called `The Clansman'. I'm going to use it to tell the truth about the War between the States. It hasn't been told accurately in history books. Only the winning side in a war ever gets to tell its story." [fn5]

The first meeting between the Aitken brothers, Thomas Dixon, and D.W. Griffith was held in 1914. By summer, arrangements were made for Dixon's participation in drafting the script for the film and his payment for the screen rights. The Aitkens and Griffith formed a corporation, Epoch Productions, for the exclusive purpose of releasing The Clansman and by March had sold over 107,000 shares of stock. Shooting of the film started on July 4, 1914, in Hollywood.

In addition to consulting with Dixon about the period of Reconstruction, Griffith drew heavily on Woodrow Wilson's A History of the American People from which he quotes directly in the written dialogue of the movie. For Klan material he utilized Ku Klux Klan -- Its Origin, Growth and Disbandment by John C. Lester and D.L. Wilson.

The silent film's first scene is captioned: "The bringing of the Africans to America planted the first seed of dis-Union", which is followed by shots of slaves at an auction. The story line of the film centers around two families, the Stonemans from Pennsylvania and the Camerons from South Carolina. The first segment of the film portrays the supposedly peaceful, idyllic, ante-bellum South during which the Stonemans visit the Camerons, and romance begins to stir between the young Elsie Stoneman (played by Lillian Gish) and Ben Cameron, the "Little Colonel". However, Civil War disrupts the tranquil proceedings, and the sons of both families enlist in their respective opposing armies. Amidst the famous battle scenes directed by Griffith, several of the sons die.

The tragic assassination of Lincoln, Congressman Austin Stoneman, the Radical Republican Senator (a vile caricature of Lincoln's associate and U.S. Representative, Thaddeus Stevens) goes to South Carolina with his mulatto protègè Silas Lynch, stating: "We shall crush the white South under the heel of the black South". "The blacks shall be raised to full equality with white," Stoneman declares.

The scene then changes to the "Carpetbaggers' rally before the election" where Stoneman is the honored guest,and signs are displayed reading, "Forty acres and a Mule" and "Equality...equal marriage". On election day, according to the film, "All blacks are given the ballot, while the leading whites are disfranchised", giving control of the courts and legislature to the African-Americans. "The helpless white minority" is now at the mercy of the newly elected South Carolina House of Representatives where the African-American delegates are portrayed as whiskey-swilling, bare-foot bums who engage in the "Passage of a bill providing for the intermarriage of blacks and whites." Lynch has been elected lieutenant-governor, and becomes intoxicated with his new found power.

As the disenfranchisement of Southern whites grows under increasing abuses of "Negro domination", Ben Cameron determines to create a secret society of hooded vigilantes:

"The Ku Klux Klan, the organization that saved the South from the anarchy of Black rule, but not without the shedding of more blood than at Gettysburg, according to Judge Tourgee of the Carpetbaggers" [title, after scene 755].
Thus begins "The new rebellion of the South."

The first "beneficiary" of KKK justice in the film is Gus, captain of the black Union soldiers, who, in his attempt to rape Ben Cameron's sister, Flora, forces her to leap to her death. Gus is then hunted down by the Klan, given a "fair" trial by his hooded betters, found "Guilty", and killed. His body is left on Lynch's doorstep with a note pinned to his chest with the picture of a skull and cross-bones and the letters "KKK", as the following title appears on the screen: "On the steps of the Lt. Governor's house. The answer to the blacks and Carpetbaggers."

The next evening, a `blood and soil' ritual takes place, with all the Klansmen in their full regalia. Taking his dead sister's shawl (a Confederate flag!), "The Little Colonel", Ben Cameron, dips it in a pail of her blood and then does the same with a small wooden cross, as he swears: "Here I raise the ancient symbol of an unconquered race of men, the fiery cross of Old Scotland's hills...I quench its flame in the sweetest blood that ever stained the sands of Time!" The Klan is now prepared to storm the town and "disarm all blacks that night."

To the relief of all -- except those African-Americans slaughtered in the process -- the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan ride to the proverbial rescue to the blaring sounds of Wagner's `Ride of the Valkyries.' In one of these scenes, several members of the Cameron and Stoneman families take shelter from a band of crazed black soldiers in a cabin occupied by two white Union veterans. The following original screen title gives the viewer the central message of the film's producers and pormotors: "The former enemies of North and South are united again in common defense of their Aryan birthright." Later editing of the film substituted the words "Aryan birthright" with a phrase regarding the "Carpetbaggers' political folly".

The film culminates in a "Parade of the liberators" through the South Carolina town of Piedmont by the Klansmen, while the orchestra plays `Dixie'. Original editions included a bizarre image of Christ appearing in the heavens as the last scene.


The Truth about the "Radicals"

Central to the theme of The Birth of a Nation is the post-Civil War lie promoted universally by the British and their Confederate allies which claims that Abraham Lincoln was really a "Southerner". A political myth was created that cast Lincoln as a "liberal" in direct opposition to the "radicals" in Congress led by Thaddeus Stevens. This myth, reported in every current high school history textbook, goes on to claim that once Lincoln was murdered, the "radicals" were left unchecked, and their policy of "vengeance" against the South dominated Reconstruction. This is clearly shown in "The Birth of a Nation" by the scene of a confrontation between Lincoln and Stoneman (Stevens) titled: "Stoneman's protest against Lincoln's policy of clemency for the South."

However, what is not discussed in the film, or by Southern historical revisionists, like Edward Pollard, is the fundamental economic policies which Lincoln and Stevens both represented, and over which the Civil War was fought.

This Confederate school of history is reflected by the most prominent 20th-century Lincoln "scholar", Carl Sandburg, who many years after the production of The Birth of a Nation presented his work on Abraham Lincoln to Lillian Gish, the lead actress in the film, and stated: "I think you will find the first two volumes especially interesting, because I tried to put into them the same American flavor and spirit that Griffith got in `The Birth of a Nation'". [fn6]

Thaddeus Stevens was Abraham Lincoln's closest ally in the Congress. Both were leading exponents, along with Lincoln advisor Henry Carey, of the American System of economics, which was diametrically and explicitly opposed to the British System of usury and slavery.

So, in viewing Griffith's The Birth of a Nation we see that he, for instance, duplicated the set used for the interior of the South Carolina House of Representatives in every detail, but the content of his story and the debates which actually occurred in that hall are distorted beyond the grotesque. During Reconstruction, those white representatives in the state legislatures of South Carolina, Virginia, and elsewhere who lobbied for the implementation of railroads and other infrastructure projects were labeled as "nigger lovers" by the KKK/Confederates and ultimately were forced from office.

Griffith was not satisfied with directing the filming of his epic tribute to the Ku Klux Klan, but also oversaw production of the monumental musical score which was to complement the silent picture. Griffith contracted Joseph Carl Breil, a popular composer of sentimental tunes, to write a score for the film. Breil's music for the tender scenes between the "Little Colonel" and Elsie Stoneman was later published as "The Perfect Song," which became the theme song for the racist radio show "Amos `n Andy".

The music called for a 40 piece orchestra with an offstage chorus and sound effects. In addition to the popular songs of the Civil War era, the musical accompaniment drew from Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, Grieg, Tschaikovsky, Mahler, and most importantly and prominently, Richard Wagner. Wagner, a worse anti-Semite than Adolph Hitler and an Anglo-Saxon "race patriot" in his own right, was appropriately used to provide the "Clan Call", a two-note fanfare for brass which was identical to the The Ride of the Valkyries.

The official premiere of The Clansman took place on February 8, 1915, at the opulent Los Angeles theater of W.H. Clune, an investor in the film and owner of the Clune Auditorium, who also provided the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The opening, however, did not meet with universal approval by all the city's citizens. One group, in particular, was all too familiar with the racist outpourings of Rev. Dixon. That was the small local Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which went into court in an attempt to obtain an injunction against the showing of the film.

The legal argument employed, which was to be used subsequently by other branches of the NAACP, was based on the grounds that exhibiting the film would be a threat to public safety, by heightening racial tensions that could incite violence and possible rioting. The Los Angeles NAACP only won an injunction that prevented the matinee showing on opening day. The evening event witnessed a packed house of 2,500 people.


Mr. Griffith Goes to Washington

Less than two weeks after its Los Angeles premiere, The Clansman arrived in New York City. Harry Aitken announced that the Liberty Theater would begin showing the movie twice a day, all seats reserved, for the admission charge of the then unheard-of price of $2.00. The first showing was to a small select group, which included Rev. Thomas Dixon. After viewing the film for the first time, Dixon approached Griffith and told him that such a magnificent work deserved a more appropriate title, and ought to be called The Birth of a Nation, the subtitle for the picture which had appeared on poster advertisements. However, simply changing the name on Griffith's cimematic bottle of poison was not deemed adequate by the film's creators and promoters to stave off the expected adverse public reaction to such an explicit display of Confederate treason. Therefore, it was decided that before the film's public opening in New York, it would be wise to garner endorsements for the film by some of America's more "respectable" establishment figures. Thinking big, Griffith's KKK roadshow headed for the nation's capitol, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Dixon wrote a letter to his old college friend from Johns Hopkins University, now President Woodrow Wilson, requesting a half-hour interview, which the President granted. By mid-February, Dixon was in the White House meeting with Wilson, and stating that he had a favor to ask of him, "Not as chief magistrate of the Republic but as a former scholar and student of history and sociology." That favor was to have the President view Griffith's new movie, as Dixon said, "not because it was the greatest ever produced or because his classmate had written the story...but because this picture made clear for the first time that a new universal language had been invented...a new process of reasoning by which will could be overwhelmed with conviction." [fn7]

So, on February 18, 1915, The Clansman became the first motion picture ever to be shown in the White House. The audience in the East Room included President Wilson and his family, members of his staff and Cabinet, along with their wives. Wilson's comment, after viewing the film was:

"It is like writing history with Lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." [fn8]
This quotation was quickly put into general circulation, although the White House staff would later attempt to downplay the endorsement.

From the White House, it was on to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the help of another old friend from North Carolina, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels, Rev. Dixon arranged a private meeting with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Edward White. The old jurist, who had never seen a motion picture, was not inclined to do so, until Dixon told him that it was about the Ku Klux Klan. At that point White's manner changed, and Dixon reports the following exchange:

"'You tell the true story of the Klan?', White asked. 'Yes - for the first time.' White removed his glasses and pushed his book aside, as he leaned towards Dixon and said in a low tone: 'I was a member of the Klan, sir. Through many a dark night, I walked my sentinel's beat through the ugliest streets of New Orleans with a rifle on my shoulder. You've told the true story of that uprising of outraged manhood?' 'In a way I'm sure you'll approve,' the Reverend replied. 'I'll be there!' said White. [fn9]

The night after the White House debut of The Clansman, another private showing was arranged, at Washington's Raleigh Hotel, for a specially invited audience of several hundred people, including members of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Congress, and the diplomatic corps. True to his promise, Chief Justice White attended and brought several other associate justices of the Supreme Court with him.

The blessings and endorsements of Washington officialdom were to help overcome the general stormy resistance to Griffith's epic film but it was not to be all "smooth sailing" for Griffith's "Klan Ride" into the cities of the North.

After the New York City premiere of The Birth of a Nation on March 3, 1915, the reviews of most of the major papers side-stepped the racial controversy and praised the film, as exemplified by the following account in the New York Times:

"In terms of purely pictorial value the best work is done in those stretches that follow the night riding of the Ku Klux Klan, who look like a company of avenging spectral crusaders sweeping along the moonlight roads." [fn10]
Moving Picture World wrote that the audience:
"felt the grip of the story and sympathized with the work of the Ku Klux Klan battling against Negro domination." [fn11]
The newspapers of William Randolph Hearst, ran numerous articles endorsing Griffith's Confederate interpretation of history.

Rev. Thomas B. Gregory, a regular Hearst contributor wrote:

"That the story as told by the pictures is true I am ready to swear on the Bible. I am prepared to say that not one of the more than five thousand pictures that go to make up the wonderful drama is in any essential way an exaggeration. They are one and all faithful to historic fact, so that looking upon them, you may feel that you are beholding that which actually happened." [fn12]
C.F. Zittel, of Hearst's Evening Journal gave a threatening vision of the future destruction of education, when he wrote:
"First of all, children must be sent to see this masterpiece. Any parent who neglects this advice is committing an educational offense, for no film has ever produced more educational points than Griffith's latest achievement." [fn13]
The New York run of The Birth of a Nation at the Liberty Theater lasted 48 weeks.

During the filming of The Birth of a Nation, someone had mentioned to Griffith that if the film were ever shown in Atlanta the result would be a race riot. To this Griffith prophetically replied, "I hope to God they do." [fn14]

In most of the Northern cities where the The Birth of a Nation was scheduled to be shown, political fights exploded, and some small riots did occur in Philadelphia and elsewhere where the film was shown. The NAACP and others attempted to seek either a banning of the film completely, or to force the editing-out of the most egregious racist scenes. For the most part, those attempts were futile. Endless hearings were held before mayors, state legislatures, city councils, and state and city censorship boards across the country. The Illinois legislature voted 111-2 to ban the showing in that state, but eventually lost on judicial appeals filed by the film's promoters.

Those hearings became platforms for the pro-Griffith lobby to pronounce the alleged virtues of eugenics. In New York City, Griffith's lawyer Martin W. Littleton told Mayor Mitchell that the film was a "protest against the mongrel mixture of black and white."

In Boston, a major battle occurred, led by William Monroe Trotter, editor of the local black neswpaper, The Guardian. After blacks were refused entry to the theater where The Birth of a Nation was showing, city police and Pinkerton guards cleared the theater and surrounding area, and arrested the protesters. A mass meeting was held at Faneuil Hall, where Trotter put Mayor James Curley on notice:

"It is a rebel play...an incentive to great racial hatred here in Boston. It will make white women afraid of Negroes and will have white men all stirred up on their account. If there is any lynching here in Boston, Mayor Curley will be responsible...If this was an attack on the Irish race he would find a way pretty quick to stop it." [fn15]
Curley's predecessor had banned Dixon's play The Clansman, and Curley himself had banned other controversial performances.

Through all of this, the debate raged in the local press. The Rev. Thomas Dixon had a lengthy letter published in the Boston Globe on April 7 virulently defending the "truth" of The Birth of a Nation which listed six major points, including, "It tends to prevent the lowering of the standard of our citizenship by its mixture with Negro blood", and "It reaffirms Lincoln's solution of the Negro problem as a possible guide..." [fn16] Dixon's own program (which Lincoln had only briefly considered) was to ship every African-American in the United States back to Africa. This is another example of histroical lying by Dixon, who placed the following words into the mouth of Abraham Lincoln: "The Nation cannot now exist half white and half black any more than it could exist half slave and half free." [fn17]

Griffith had a similar letter published in Boston, which stated:

"The attack of the organized opponents to the picture is centered upon that feature of it which they deem might become an influence against intermarriage of blacks and whites." [fn18]
Griffith's sexual fantasies evidently clouded his recognition of the fact that the NAACP (publicly referred to by Rev. Dixon as "The Association for the Intermarriage of the Races") had not even made intermarriage an issue in opposing the film.


The "Intolerance" of Griffith

The fact that a significant portion of the American people would not readily accept, as simple fact, the distorted and degraded view of Man displayed in The Birth of a Nation incensed D.W. Griffith to no end. He was infuriated that he personally had to lobby government bodies, like the Virginia State Legislature, to allow the showing of his great "masterpiece." In self-righteous indignation he produced a mass pamphlet, entitled The Rise and Fall of Free Speech, which argued against the attempts to censor his cinematic adaptaion of The Clansman. This supposed "intolerance" (a word repeated throughout his pamphlet) toward Griffith's Confederate view of history was to become the subject of his next motion picture extravaganza. D.W. Griffith can not only be credited with the creation of Hollywood, but also with the campaign to justify the mass-distribution of Hollywood's perversion by mis-using the "free speech" clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Griffith's vision of the future of the motion picture presaged George Orwell's book 1984, in which there was no need for historical reseachers. Libraries would be replaced by "experts" dispensing their wisdom via hi-tech video equipment. The next generation, Griffith said, "will be wedded to the movies. You will not be able to satisfy them with anything else....the arts and possibly the mental sciences..." would be taught by "audio-visual" methods. He goes on to ask his readers to:

"imagine a public library of the near future, for instance. There will be a long row of boxes or pillars, properly classified and indexed, of course. At each box a push button, and before each box a seat. Suppose you wish to `read up' on a certain episode in Napoleon's life. Instead of consulting all the authorities, wading through a host of books, and ending bewildered...confused at every point by conflicting opinions about what did happen, you will merely seat yourself at a properly adjusted window...press the button and actually see what happened." [fn19]

Griffith elaborated on his idea of the human mind in another article which appeared the same month, which gets to the heart of the Aristotelian evil which underlies the media industry of Hollywood today. In praising the "new art" of cinema, he said that "words, after all, are a clumsy method of conveying thought. They clog expression in so many ways..." [fn20] He then continues to insist that human beings do not think in words, and that the form in which ideas mostly come to us is in pictures. Therefore, he concludes, movies are a direct form of expressing our basic concepts and emotions more than literary forms.

Griffith's next film Intolerance -- was his answer to his critics. The film is truly Masonic in theme and content. Griffith attempted to splice together four separate stories, including St. Bartholomew's Massacre and the Crucifixion of Christ, whom he gives the gnostic label "Man of Men". But the overwhelming majority of the film's time and production costs is devoted to ancient Babylon, which Griffith titles: "The first known court of justice in the world."

The streets of Hollywood were literally converted into a mock-up of the most evil citadel of ancient human history. Movie sets of the towering walls of Bablylon, atop which two chariots could ride abreast, were constructed hundreds of feet into the air. The pitiful, melodramatic story of a pagan romance was overshadowed by the plots of princes and priests, over which Satanic god would rule Babylon, as expressed in the following scene caption: "The priest of Bel-Marduk, supreme God of Babylon, jealously watches the image of the rival goddess, Ishtar, enter the city, borne in a sacred ark."

Nudity, satan worship, and graphic violence that could compete with any modern "slasher movie", including a gory decapitation, is what Griffith threw in the face of the public with his Intolerance. But the American people weren't quite ready to drink from the that golden cup of adominations. Intolerance was a financial bomb.

Above all else, The Birth of a Nation; was a box office smash, and as actress Lillian Gish revealed in an interview many years later, "They lost track of the money it was making. But it started all the fortunes of Louie B. Mayer -- all the people in films." [fn21] At a time when the average entrance fee to a movie theater was 15 cents, the admission cost to "The Birth of a Nation" was $2.00. By the end of 1915, the gross receipts for New York City alone were $3.75 million. It ran for almost a year in Boston and Chicago. At one point, there were 28 companies touring the film in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. In the South, the film ran for twelve consecutive years. In the first two years of its showing, Griffith's film played to an audience of over 25 million people in the United States. Estimates are that the total box office take was more than $100 million. The cost of making Birth was only about $61,000 with another $30,000 spent in advertising and making duplicate prints.


Hollywood: "Mother of Harlots"

It became apparent to all that there were big profits to be made from a relatively small investment in motion pictures. So, the floodgates of fast-buck artists, common criminals, and Wall Street investors opened and poured into Hollywood.

In 1915, Louis B. Mayer ran the ditributorship for a small string of theaters out of Haverhill, Massachusetts. As "The Birth of a Nation" was about to start its continuous showing in New York, Mayer arranged a deal to distribute the film in New England, for his payment of $50,000 and a fifty-fifty split, after costs. In that single deal, Mayer made at least $500,000, although Harry Aitken, the film's distributor maintained (and was later proven right) that Mayer had fudged his books and made an extraordinary profit. With that profit Louis Mayer went on to found the Hollywood studio company, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). In 1939, MGM released the first full-length sound and color motion picture based on the Confederate tradition of D.W. Griffith -- Gone With the Wind. Its author, Margaret Mitchell, after obtaining fame and fortune, wrote to her mentor, the Rev. Thomas Dixon, to relate the tremendous influence that his novels had made upon her since childhood.

Felix Kahn, one of the early investors in Birth, sold his large New York theater to Paramount, and became both a member of its board of directors, and a close friend of the owner, Adolph Zukor. It was through Felix that Zukor met Otto Kahn, a partner in the Warburg financial firm of Kuhn, Loeb and Company. By 1919, Zukor had arranged a $10 million loan from Kuhn Loeb through Otto Kahn, and created the Paramount film empire, putting film production, distribution, and exhibition in the same hands.

Warner Brothers Pictures became a major studio with the 1925 investments made by Goldman, Sachs and Company.

The man who became the movie mogul of Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohen, was a notorious lecher and an ardent devotee of the Italian fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. Cohen made a documentary of "Il Duce", and accepted an invitation to visit him in Rome, becoming so infatuated with Mussolini that, upon his return to Hollywood, he redecorated his entire office to look like that of the dictator. The detail went down to the semi-circular desk, on which he displayed a photograph of Mussolini, even after World War II had ended.

Cohen was not alone in his admiration for Mussolini. In 1924, upon his return from Italy, D.W. Griffith told the New York press corps: "Mussolini is a great man. With the allegiance of youth behind him, he could do great things. Who knows but that he may be a Napoleon who'll sweep the world...I believe that anything may happen as a result of this fascism. I should like to put into a film the remarkable spirit of the fascisti." [fn22]

Later, we would see publicly identified mobsters like Meyer Lansky, Moe Dalitz, and Bugsy Siegel involved in Hollywood's "legitimate" operations. For example, two members of the Dalitz mob, Merv Adelson and Irwin Molasky, founded Lorimar Productions, which was responsible for such TV series as "Dallas" and "The Waltons", and such unforgettable items as the "Jane Fonda Workout" video-tape.

In April 1919, Griffith, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin founded United Artists Corporation. The man who drafted the legal articles of incorporation, and also became a partner in United Artists, was the former U.S. Treasury Secretary, William Gibbs McAdoo, the son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson, who became the Ku Klux Klan's candidate for the 1924 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Even the old Rev. Thomas Dixon took a stab at being a Hollywood producer in 1917, when he built The Dixon Studios, Laboratory and Press on Sunset Boulevard and Western. One of his more forgettable films was The Fall of a Nation, an anti-German propaganda piece designed to build popular support for U.S. entry into the First World War on the side of the British.

As World War I began, Griffith's role as a propaganda agent for British strategic policy in the arena of cultural warfare was to take an even more prominent position.

Even though the film Intolerance was a flop, it was officially banned by the federal government because of its "anti-war theme." However, Charles S. Hart, a Hearst executive and the director of the U.S. government's film propoganda division, asked D.W. Griffith to head Woodrow Wilson's Liberty Loan drive. Griffith subsequently was invited to the White House prior to U.S. entry into the war. President Wilson requested that he go to England to "make some picture showing our fight for democracy." [fn23]

Griffith immediately packed his bags and set sail for London with his troupe of actors and cameramen. When he arrived, Intolerance; had just opened in London's old Drury Lane Theater to rave reviews of the British press. Griffith was immediately taken under the wing of the Minister for Information for Great Britain, Lord Beaverbrook, and promptly introduced into the fox hunting circles of the British aristocracy. A meeting was arranged for Griffith at No. 10 Downing Street with the Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Lloyd George informed Griffith that he had "the greatest power in his hands for the control of men's minds that the world has ever seen," and that he should seriously undertake Winston Churchill's ideas for film scenarios to promote the war effort. "I want you to go to work for France and England and make up America's mind to go to war with us", Lloyd George told the director. Griffith readily accepted and with the financial backing of the French and British governments, he and his company were soon in France shooting the film Hearts of the World.

Though America entered the war before Hearts of the World was finished, the film's "successful" showings in America and Europe in the post-war period certainly tempered the public's attitude towards the side of the Anglo-Americans in their imposition of the hideous Versailles System on the entire world.

Griffith continued his career in Britain for a short time. He shot his next motion picture, The Great Love; on Lady Mary Paget's estate near London, where he fell into an unrequited love with an English bit actress, Lady Diana Manners. Lady Manners introduced Griffith to the Astor set of the British aristocracy, later know as the pro-Nazi Cliveden Set.

But the high point of Griffith's tour in Great Britain was a formal meeting arranged by Lord Beaverbrook at Buckingham Palace with the Queen Mother Alexandria. Griffith would later constantly refer to the incident as his "greatest hour" and wrote about it in his autobiography: "Now I was going to meet the Queens! Filled with dreams, I was determined to make an impression on these ladies...one that they would never forget. In fact, I was mentally already right in the bosom of the royal family." [fn24]

Meanwhile, far from being the generator and exporter of human culture, Hollywood and its environs has become the largest manufacturing center of pornography in the world. It is the producer of the mental pabulum that fogs the mind from the crimes of Confederate justice. It has become one the leading centers for organized child abuse. It has also become one of the nation's nexus points for drug-money laundering. This organized destruction of the human mind, often called "entertainment", is an accuate reflection and logical extension of the Confederate legacy David Wark Griffith established 78 years ago.


FOOTNOTES

  1. [return to text]
    William G. Shepherd, How I put Over the Klan, Collier's, LXXXII (July 14, 1928), 6-7, 32, 34-35. Interview with William Joseph Simmons.
  2. [return to text]
    Burton J. Hendrick, The Life and Letters of Walter Hines Page, Garden City, NY, 1924-1926, Vol. I, p. 11.
  3. [return to text]
    Aitkin/Griffith, April 15, 1914. (letter)
  4. [return to text]
    D.W. Griffith, The Man Who Invented Hollywood, The Autobiography of D.W. Griffith, Touchstone Publishing Company, Louisville, KY, 1972, p. 88.
  5. [return to text]
    Lillian Gish with Ann Pinchot, Lillian Gish, The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969, p. 131.
  6. [return to text]
    Ibid., Gish, Lillian Gish, p. 150.
  7. [return to text]
    Raymond Allen Cook, Fire from the Flint: The Amazing Careers of Thomas Dixon, Winston-Salem, N.C., John F. Blair, 1968, pp. 169-170.
  8. [return to text]
    Thomas Cripps, Slow Fade To Black: The Negro in American Film 1900-1942, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 52.
  9. [return to text]
    Thomas Dixon, Southern Horizons: An Autobiography, an unpublished manuscript from the private papers of Mrs. Thomas Dixon, p. 433. Also, quoted in Cripps, Slowfade, p. 53.
  10. [return to text]
    New York Times, March 4, 1915.
  11. [return to text]
    Moving Picture World, March 13, 1915.
  12. [return to text]
    New York American, March 5, 1915.
  13. [return to text]
    Evening Journal, March 4, 1915.
  14. [return to text]
    Reported by Karl Brown, assistant cameraman in the filming of The Birth of a Nation, in an interview on the film documentry Hollywood - The Pioneers, Thames Television, 1980.
  15. [return to text]
    Stephen R. Fox, The Guardian of Boston: William Monroe Trotter, Atheneum, 1970, pp. 192-197.
  16. [return to text]
    Boston Globe, letter to the editor, April 7, 1915. Gish, p. 160.
  17. [return to text]
    Thomas Dixon, The Clansman, Doubleday, Page and Company, 1905, p. 47.
  18. [return to text]
    New York Globe, April 10, 1915.
  19. [return to text]
    St. Louis Dispatch, April 11, 1915.
  20. [return to text]
    New York Globe, April 10, 1915.
  21. [return to text]
    Ibid., Hollywood - Pioneers, interview.
  22. [return to text]
    New York World, May 9, 1924.
  23. [return to text]
    Ibid., D.W. Griffith, The Man Who Invented Hollywood, p. 121.
  24. [return to text]
    Ibid., D.W. Griffith, The Man Who Invented Hollywood, p. 33.
  25. [return to text]
    Ibid., Shepherd, How I Put Over the Klan.


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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.


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