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Introduction Massachusetts Congressman Thomas P. O’Neill once famously remarked that in the United States, “all politics are local.” O’Neill made a good point, but it was only half true, because local politics in the United States, especially during wartime, have also been shaped by the political and religious loyalties that immigrants bring with them. Government officials who fail to take account of such loyalties and rivalries may find themselves duped into becoming partisans on one or another side of local political battles when they make decisions about who is and who is not a security risk during wartime. Their commendable zeal to protect the nation from harm can lead them to violate the constitutional rights of citizens while doing nothing to protect domestic security. That is exactly what happened in the case of Sylvester Andriano, an Italian-born San Francisco attorney and local government official who was forcibly removed from the West Coast in 1942 on the basis of politically inspired false charges that he was a Fascist agent. The Andriano case provides a cautionary tale about the sometimes deleterious impact on our national life of religious and ideological zealotry in our communities, no-holds-barred political competition in 2 INTRODUCTION our big cities, and fallible power-seeking public officials in our national security agencies during wartime. This book is about the ordeal of Sylvester Andriano, but it is first and foremost a book that means to restore our appreciation of the impact of European political and religious rivalries in the political cultures of American cities in the first half of the twentieth century . The setting is San Francisco, California, the second-largest city west of the Mississippi River at the time. During the World War II years most of the city’s residents were Irish, German, or Italian immigrants, their children, and their grandchildren. These men, women, and children made up nearly two-thirds of the city’s population at a time when 94 percent of San Franciscans were persons of European descent. The devout Catholics among them asserted their faith-based convictions in public debates about a range of issues, as did a variety of zealous anti-Catholic residents, including Communist Party members. And San Franciscans kept informed about and were deeply concerned with, disturbed by, and divided over the political crises that roiled European affairs, from Mussolini’s March on Rome in October 1922 to Hitler’s Blitzkrieg against Poland in September 1939. When the United States entered World War II, anti-Catholic activists seized on the fact that Italy was now allied with Germany and Japan against America to convince domestic security officials that Sylvester Andriano was a Fascist agent. Anti-Catholic zealots targeted Andriano because he served as president of the Catholic Men of San Francisco, a Catholic Action program established by Archbishop John J. Mitty in 1938. After Mussolini and Hitler signed their Pact of Steel agreement on May 22, 1939, and especially after Italy declared war against the United States on December 10, 1941, Andriano’s anti-Catholic Masonic, Socialist, and Communist enemies seized the opportunity to remove the Catholic attorney from political influence by accusing him of being a Fascist agent. Federal and state loyalty investigating committees , the FBI, and the U.S. Army accepted the truth of the bogus charges and issued Andriano an “individual exclusion order,” forcing him to be relocated away from coastal states on the grounds that he was a security risk. INTRODUCTION 3 In order to better understand the story of Andriano’s ordeal, I begin by detailing the transnational political rivalries that divided many American cities between the First and Second World Wars: rivalries between devout Catholics and committed anti-Catholics in Italian communities and between Catholic anti-Communists and their Communist Party competitors. Then I zero in on the operations of the California and federal legislative loyalty investigating committees in 1941 and 1942 and on the consequences of J. Edgar Hoover’s expansion of the FBI’s domestic security responsibilities at the beginning of the war. During the 1930s Sylvester Andriano emerged as the leading figure in a faith-based cultural and political reform movement known as Catholic Action. Along with other militant lay men and women, Andriano joined his local archbishop in using church resources to battle communists, socialists, freethinkers, and anarchists , as well as reformers who advocated birth control, divorce, eugenics, and the undoing of traditional gender role definitions. He also participated in the cultural and business outreach programs of the...


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