The following is the newest piece in an ongoing series by ECW contributor Michael Gladius. I think it is the most fascinating one yet, and I highly encourage you to check it out.
It is about an extremely interesting real-life sequence of events in post-WWII Athens, Tennessee, which I had strangely never heard of before this.
Counter-revolutionary Case Studies
by Michael Gladius
Introduction: I will be writing a series of essays on various conflicts that I think will be appropriate for the counter-revolution. History offers us many lessons, and I hope to make them known to you, gentle reader. Most of these conflicts are lesser-known, obscure events, which I feel is easier to study objectively. I encourage you to read up on these events more, as my essays are merely a summary of what happened, condensing the lessons useful to our cause.
All of them take place in the 20th century, and I will proceed in chronological order.
The Battle of Athens, Tennessee (the anti-Bastille Day)
History/Battle of Athens Summary:
Athens, TN was evenly divided between republican and democrat from the Civil war, on through the 1930s.
During the reign of FDR, Paul Cantrell was elected sheriff. Cantrell came from a wealthy family, and had many political connections. He alternated the office of sheriff with Pat Mansfield, one of his deputies. Between the two of them, they monopolized the votes through shady means, and rode roughshod over the citizenry.
The most hated system involved paying deputies per arrest. Travelers would be arbitrarily and falsely arrested, ticketed, and fined for drunk driving, men would be beaten up and extorted for money, and the names of the dead would appear on voter rolls each election.
Furthermore, these men held a monopoly on who was hired by the schools and newspapers, giving them tremendous leverage over what could or could not be protested.
Nothing happened during WWII, since a sizable portion of the young men were away fighting. This also meant that a significant number of Cantrell’s deputies were ex-convicts.
When the veterans returned home, they were favorite targets of opportunity for Cantrell’s men. The veterans’ love of alcohol was the only justification needed in most instances, and at one point Cantrell’s men shot two GIs who were on leave.
When the war ended, the GIs decided to nominate their own candidates as independents, and take action against election fraud.
Henry Knox was their lead candidate for sheriff, and Bill White was a head organizer. White knew the resentment the GIs felt against the corruption among the deputies, and their fears that stealing the votes would be accompanied by voter intimidation. He organized a core group of roughly 30 men, all veterans, and armed them with pistols, paying out of pocket with his own stipend.
On the day of the election, Cantrell’s men numbered 200, many from out-of-state. A series of confrontations occurred at the polling stations, and guns were drawn at several.
In a separate instance, an African man was shot by a deputy, and rumors spread that he had been shot in the back (this was later proved false). The veterans went to their prearranged meeting place, and armed themselves.
Cantrell’s men took the ballot boxes and took them to the jailhouse. More veterans arrived, and they opened the local National Guard Armory and seized the guns before moving onto the jailhouse. Enroute, more local men armed with rifles, pistols, and shotguns joined the force.
The Veterans knew that time was not on their side. If they delayed, Cantrell might call in the National Guard and put down the revolt.
The veterans and townsfolk came to the jail and took up firing positions. Once in position, they demanded the ballot boxes be returned and the election be decided.
The men in the jailhouse refused, and both sides began shooting at each other. Most of the men did not shoot to kill, but merely shot at the jailhouse.
Outside the battle, many townsfolk began overturning and torching the deputies’ cars, as many of them had out-of-state license plates. Some men fled the jailhouse out the back door, and the GIs deliberately let them go free. During the confusion, Cantrell and Mansfield escaped in an ambulance.
After a few hours, the stalemate continued, with no fatalities on either side. The GIs broke the deadlock after two attempts, first with Molotov cocktails (which failed because they could not be thrown far enough), and finally with dynamite.
The dynamite blew open the front door to the jail, and the deputies inside surrendered. The veterans herded them out and retrieved the ballot boxes.
The final tally was a decisive win for Knox over Cantrell, and the veterans policed their town as volunteers until order was fully restored. The governor of Tennessee had hesitated to send in the guard when the battle started, and then finally chose to stand down when he received news that the battle was over. He reportedly said that he did not want to send in the guard against combat veterans who had just defeated Germany and Japan.
How it’s relevant for us
Athens in 1946 resembles today in many respects. Big money in politics, voter intimidation, and outside interests haven’t changed. We are also facing the risk of becoming a minority of voters by unlimited immigration. Yet we are not lost, no matter how bad it can get.
The veterans, like many right-wing parties today, are trying to solve our problems in a law-and-order fashion. These efforts need to be backed up by threat of force. Otherwise, the violent can simply ignore them.
PEGIDA alone can muster 25,000 demonstrators (http://www.thisblogisdangerous.com/stop-complaining-life-isnt-fair/#more-845), yet without the threat of force, they achieve nothing of substance. The protestors go home, and the leadership ignores them until they shut up.
The veterans organized themselves well in this case. They all had military training, and understood discipline, chain of command, and communications. When threatened, the veterans drew their own guns, and never did so alone. There were no lone wolves.
When they made the decision to march on the jailhouse, they successfully spread the word and non-veterans who sympathized with them knew where and how to join them. Without a network, this would not have been possible. If you, dear reader, had to make such a move within the next five minutes, whom would you call? Do you have such a list? Or a plan that you yourself can initiate?
These non-veterans did not show the same discipline and restraint that the veterans did, and were uncontrolled for most of the battle. What little control the veterans did have over them was due to their legitimacy as soldiers, rather than arbitrary standards and/or ego.
The veterans’ legitimacy also meant that they could acquire weapons more easily with which to fight. Random strangers and civilians would never have been given access to the National Guard armory.
The battle itself was short and basic, with few combat lessons, other than from the other side. Cantrell’s men barricaded themselves inside the jailhouse, and could not escape. Those that ran outside the thick walls were entirely at the mercy of the GIs.
A far better strategy would have been for them to occupy several buildings surrounding the jailhouse, forming a perimeter with the jailhouse in the middle as a command center. 200 men could easily do it. Such a move would grant them places to fall back to in case of being overrun, places to launch counterattacks from, and ensure that they had some mobility left.
Without this mobility, their only hope was to await reinforcements, which did not come. When the time comes to fight, we must ensure both that we can escape to fight another day, and that help can come to us. Lacking mobility and lacking backup are equally disastrous, whether singly or together.
It was the aftermath, however, that is most telling. With Cantrell’s men defeated, the veterans who overthrew them had to restore order in the town. This they did, and did so admirably.
Once again, their status as veterans gave them legitimacy in the eyes of the lazy neutrals, and their organization meant that their efforts to restore order were coordinated and not piecemeal.
Those on the right who wish to remove power figures must realize this, and prepare a suitable replacement to prevent anarchy. The presence of Islam will make this need even more dire.
Editor’s Note: Big thanks to Michael for another excellent article!
Here is some related content:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946) (Battle of Athens summary on wikipedia)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c-Dsg4X4Dk (link to full film of the Battle of Athens on Youtube)
An American Story – Hallmark (link to buy the film that was made about The Battle of Athens on Amazon)
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae (excellent book on war/military stuff)
On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (Excellent book by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RDCtMEHFLM (Speech by Lt. Col. Grossman)
Way of the Warrior Kid: From Wimpy to Warrior the Navy SEAL Way: A Novel (Amazing Jocko Willink book that resident preservationist Steve recommended)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljqra3BcqWM (Jocko Willink speech on Youtube)
Sportsman Buffalo 32 Long Capacity Gun Safe with Door Organizer (a gun safe for your own preparation 🙂 )
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