A Review Of Hitler’s Echo
Paul Jackson: Colin Jordan and Britain’s Neo-Nazi Movement: Hitler’s Echo. Bloomsbury Academic.
e-book, 2016. ISBN 9781472514592. £ 84.99
Hardback, 2016, ISBN 9781472509314. £ 85.00
As the author notes, this is a political not a personal biography of Colin Jordan with the intent being to use Jordan’s political life as a means of understanding post World War II National Socialism in the context of the definition by the author of what ‘neo-nazism’ is.
This definition is detailed, but in essence states that neo-nazis have a revolutionary goal which is futural, of creating a new era, a new order, anti-liberal in ethos and practice, with this new order drawing inspiration from Hitler and the Third Reich, and consequently involves the belief that the Jews pose an existential threat, celebrates the ideal of racial identity and the development of new communities and/or nations while developing fraternal ties with other White peoples. In addition, neo-nazism has elements that make it a modern political religion and is currently distinguished from inter-war fascism and German National Socialism by the fact it is not a mass political movement but devolves around groupuscules which tend to be in permanent state of flux and which are invariably, in political terms, marginalized.
Aside from the use by Jackson of the pejorative term conspiracy theory to describe the belief that the Jews pose a threat, his definition is a welcome academic step forward for those interested in contemporary fascism and National Socialism.
A substantial part of the book is given over to an academic analysis of the literature concerning fascism and neo-nazism, which is unsurprising given that the intended audience is an academic one. However, given that this analysis occupies the long first chapter it may deter many contemporary fascists and National Socialists – interested in the life of Colin Jordan – from buying the book. Which would be a shame as it provides the most detailed narrative of Jordan’s life and writings currently available using many unpublished or hard to access sources and documents.
While the narrative is – as befits an academic work – generally free from obvious bias, on several occasions a certain bias is evident, as for example at the beginning of chapter two – From Private Jordan To Emergent Leader – when Jackson writes that “[Jordan] used his prejudices to make sense of the confusion he saw in the immediate post-war world…” whereas it would be more apt, and certainly more academic, to write something akin to “his political beliefs enabled him to understand he confusion he saw in the immediate post-war world…”
Similarly, the author accepts without question that the Shoah is historical fact, and that the National Socialist belief – contemporary and as manifest by Hitler and his NSDAP – that the Jews pose a threat and have too much influence in certain spheres is ‘a conspiracy theory’ ungrounded in reality.
Such lapses into bias aside, his narrative provides an insight into the political activities and writings of Jordan; so much so that Jordan emerges, in the context of academic research (rather than in the frame provided by neo-nazi supporters), as an important, and indeed a pivotal, figure of post-war National Socialism in two respects: keeping alive and propagating, in Britain, the tenets of National Socialism, and, by his overt political activities, becoming and then being the respected figure that young National Socialists and others would often go to or would correspond with for guidance, to learn about National Socialism, or to “carry forward” through the political activities of his various groups the flame of the new order.
Jackson’s book, with its multitude of verifiable sources, also provides context for the self-published biography of Jordan titled Twaz a Good Fight! The Life of Colin Jordan and written by Stephen L. Frost, a sympathetic supporter and member of British Movement, one of the groupuscules that Jordan founded. According to Frost, his account is based on unpublished autobiographical notes written by Jordan himself, a claim which Jackson also mentions and accepts but with the obvious caveat that in the matter of such memoirs, and texts written by admirers and supporters, they are often “romanticised evocations” and/or “idealized” versions of events.
If there is one criticism of both books it is that both, in their different ways, tend to overemphasize Jordan’s importance as a theorist and writer while Jordan’s strengths were as an activist and as a propagandist. A case in point being the ideas Jordan propounded during his Gothic Ripples period, especially that of the abandonment of the political route to power and promotion of the idea of a vanguard, of alternative National Socialist and White-only communities, followed by sabotage of the old order to prepare the way for the new. For these were basically a melding and a development by Jordan of the ideas of Joseph Turner – Jost – and his NS kindred, of activists such as David Lane, and of writers such as William Pierce.
However, that said, Jackson’s book is recommended reading for those – be they contemporary National Socialists or otherwise – desirous of learning both about a pivotal figure in post-war National Socialism and about what modern National Socialism is. For Jackson succeeds in shedding light on neo-nazism by his political biography of Colin Jordan.