Gerald Burton Winrod
Winrod c. 1940–1950
|Born||March 7, 1900|
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||November 11, 1957 (aged 57)|
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
|Parent(s)||Mable E. (1881–1971)|
John W. Winrod (1873–1945)
Gerald Burton Winrod (March 7, 1900 – November 11, 1957) was an antisemitic evangelist, author, and political activist. He was charged with sedition during World War II, charges were later dropped.
He was born on March 7, 1900, to Mable E. (1881–1971), originally from Illinois, and John W. Winrod (1873–1945), originally from Missouri. His father, John, was a former bartender whose saloon was attacked by Carrie Nation.
In 1918, he was the chief clerk at the Kansas Gas and Electric Company in El Dorado, Kansas. By 1925, he formed the Defenders of the Christian Faith, a fundamentalist Christian-fascist organization that opposed teaching evolution in public schools, supported Prohibition, opposed homosexuality, and expressed support for racial segregation. Defenders of the Christian Faith existed in Kansas at least up to 1980, though many offshoots in Topeka, Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City were expected to exist.
Winrod professed strongly antisemitic views, earning him the nickname "The Jayhawk Nazi" ("Jayhawk" being a nickname for a Kansan). Winrod offered the following defense of his views in the introduction to his book The Truth About the Protocols which proclaimed the veracity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: "After observing the title of this book, some will accuse me of being anti-Semitic. If by this they mean that I am opposed to the Jews as a race or as a religion, I deny the allegation. But if they mean that I am opposed to a coterie of international Jewish bankers ruling the Gentile world by the power of gold, if they mean that I am opposed to international Jewish Communism, then I plead guilty to the charge." Winrod believed the United States to be the chosen land of God and, when the Great Depression struck, publicly stated that it was the work of Satan. He believed Franklin D. Roosevelt was a "devil" linked with the Jewish-Communist conspiracy and that Hitler would save Europe from Communism.
Winrod said in his book The Jewish Assault on Christianity, published in 1935 by a publishing company in Topeka, Kansas, said "The same forces which crucified Christ nineteen hundred years ago are today trying to crucify His Church. Many Christian leaders have not yet realized it, but Christianity is in the grip of a life and death struggle at the present time. International Jewish Communism, which has already undermined all nations, firmly expects to exterminate all Christians. What the Cause of Christ has endured in Russia the past eighteen years, surpasses its suffering at the hands of bloody Nero. One of the purposes of the present treatise is to show that this conspiracy is not of recent origin." The book was met with positive reception by many Christians at the time. Winrod would go on to say that he believed Jews were damned to hell, and that Jesus Christ condemned them in the Bible. He expanded upon these views, being quoted, "Will the Church be able to demonstrate sufficient power to triumph over its foes in the present crisis, or has it become so weakened by apostasy and pernicious teachings that it will have to be drenched in its own blood before it can be brought to its senses? Jesus knew better than anyone else the unspeakable crimes of which [the Jews] are capable. The Jesus of the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, is not the quiet, reticent Jesus of modern literature and the fashionable pulpit. The Jesus, whose righteous indignation is here asserted, is a man of words and action, a man in the act of pronouncing eight woes upon the Jewish leaders and finally condemning them to the damnation of hell."  Winrod spread these views through his newspaper, The Defender, which by 1937 achieved a 100,000 monthly circulation. Some of the articles reproduced materials from the pro-Nazi and virulently antisemitic international Welt-Dienst/World-Service/Service Mondial news agency founded in 1933 by Ulrich Fleischhauer.
Winrod ran for a U.S. Senate seat from Kansas in the 1938 elections, but was defeated in the Republican primary when a popular former governor, Clyde M. Reed, was lured out of retirement by the party establishment to run against him. With 21.4% of the vote, Winrod was a distant third after Reed and Dallas Knapp of Coffeyville, Kansas.
Gerald B. Winrod was among the inspirations for the character of Buzz Windrip in the novel It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis in which Windrip becomes the fascist leader of the United States.
Winrod developed a strong following among German-speaking Kansas Mennonites who identified with his religious, anti-World War II, and pro-Germany views. The Defender was printed by Mennonite-owned Herald Publishing Company of Newton, Kansas from 1931-42. Winrod found support in Bethel College and Tabor College and from editors of local Mennonite papers, and some Mennonite precincts voted predominantly for Winrod in the 1938 Senate primary.
According to the 1941 Theologue, the yearbook of Practical Bible Training School (now Davis College) located just outside Binghamton, New York, Winrod was a member of the school's administration. No details are given as to what Winrod's duties were. In 1942 the federal government indicted Winrod for sedition, alleging conspiracy against the U.S. government. The political aspect in attempting to suppress free speech troubled civil libertarians in what critics derided as the Great Sedition Trial. The death of the judge ended the trial in 1944. The government decided not to renew the prosecution, so Winrod and his fellow defendants were freed.
- "The Winrod Legacy of Hate". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on 2002-09-11. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
Gordon Winrod, 73, is the pastor of Our Savior's Church in Gainesville, MO. His two children who were arrested with him are Stephen Winrod, 33, and Carol Winrod, 27. The elder Winrod is the son of the late Reverend Gerald Winrod of Wichita, Kansas, a pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic preacher active in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Winrod in the 1910 US census living in Wichita, Kansas
- Juhnke, James C. (1975). A People of Two Kingdoms: the Political Acculturation of the Kansas Mennonites. Faith and Life Press. p. 137. ISBN 0-87303-662-X.
- World War I draft registration; September 12, 1918
- American Jewish Yearbook, covering the period from July 1, 1938 to June 30, 1939, pg. 216
- Juhnke, pg. 138
- Juhnke, pg. 139
- Juhnke, p. 140.
- Lewis, Sinclair. "It Can't Happen Here by". Feedbooks.
- "Gerald B. Winrod, Wichita Minister. Baptist Clergyman, Writer Dies. Accused of Fascist and Nazi Sympathies. Sought Senate Nomination. Stated His Position". New York Times. Associated Press. November 13, 1957. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
The Rev. Dr. Gerald B. Winrod, evangelist and publisher whose controversial views led to a sedition charge in World War II, died here last night of pneumonia at his home. He was 57 years old. ...