KATHLEEN BELEW: One thing to understand is that throughout American history, there is always a correlation between the aftermath of warfare and this kind of vigilante and revolutionary white power violence. So if you look, for instance, at the surges in Ku Klux Klan membership, they align more consistently with the return of veterans from combat and the aftermath of war than they do with anti-immigration, populism, economic hardship or any of the other factors that historians have typically used to explain them. Nationalist fervor, populist movements—those are all worse predictors than the aftermath of war.
A.C. THOMPSON: We went out to Texas because Atomwaffen is currently driven from a cell of people in Houston, Texas. Talked to James Mason, who has sort of been the inspiration for this group. We expected that he would say, “Overthrow the government, smash the state, impose fascism.” And he did celebrate Tim McVeigh. He celebrated James Alex Fields, the man accused of killing Heather Heyer. He did say “I welcome the chaos.” But the thing that he said that surprised us is he said, “But you know, I’m sort of reconsidering these days. We have Trump in office now, and I really see Trump as an ally, so I don’t really know where things are going to go from here, and I’m sort of rethinking my philosophy a little bit.” Watch more.