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DiCaprio as Hoover

Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's biopic "J. Edgar"











John Edgar Hoover (born: January 1st, 1895) - commonly referred to as "J. Edgar", or just "Edgar" to his friends - is the first and current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He is also called "Pompey" by President Clariston, a reference to Roman military & political leader Gnæus Pompeius Magnus: the entrenched old Roman statesman who was an ally, then later rival and enemy, of Gaius Julius Cæsar.

Early YearsEdit

Mr. Hoover was born on New Years Day of 1895 in Washington, D.C., to a mother of Swiss-German extraction - Anna Scheitlin - and Dickerson Naylor Hoover, who had English and German ancestries. He was extremely close to his mother, who harbored great ambitions for him. He spent his teens attending Central High, in the D.C. Neighbourhood of Columbia Heights, where he was a debate team star and member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). He also sang in the school choir.

As a child, Hoover suffered from Alalia Syllabaris of unspecified cause, i.e. a stutter. He overcame this, with the help of his mother, by teaching himself to speak in a rapid and precise manner - something which would become a distinctive, identifiable trait of his later in life (and is something which he shares with the current President of the United States, Charlotte Clariston). At times, both he and Mrs. Clariston speak with such intensity that many stenographers have trouble following their dictations.

J. Edgar obtained an his LL.M. (Legum Magister, i.e. Master of Laws) in 1917 from the George Washington University Law School. During this time, he developed an acute interest in the career of former United States' Postal Inspector Anthony Comstock, who was known for waging a series of protracted and controversial "campaigns" - inspired by staunch personal adherence to Victorian-era Morality - against "fraud" and "vice". This would profoundly shape Mr. Hoover's own conduct and leadership within the investigative & intelligence apparatus of the United States' government.

Rise to PowerEdit

During the Great War - immediately after obtaining his LL.M. - Hoover was hired by the War Emergency Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, wherein he quickly rose to head its Alien Enemy Bureau: a branch dedicated to the identification and neutralization, through jail or deportation, of foreigners deemed "disloyal". This was done without trial: they were not American Citizens and thus not under the protection of the complete Rights of the United States' Constitution. Under the powers of the Espionage Act of 1917, Hoover presided over the arrests of several thousand non-citizens - mostly British and Russian immigrants - who were subsequently jailed and deported.

Following the end of the War, he was appointed to lead the General Intelligence Division of the then-relatively-new Bureau of Investigations (BOI; precursor to the FBI). This unit was often called the "Radicals Division", because its purpose lay in keeping tabs on, disrupting and generally discrediting "extrmist" elements. Essentially, Mr. Hoover, during this time, prosecuted a clandestined war against "subversive" domestic elements: Left-wing agitators, pro-Confederates (the Confederate States being under U.S. military occupation at the time) and actively-dissenting Anglophiles who supported the United Kingdom or Canada (the latter also under American occupation).

Hoover's rise began with the Palmer Raids, where he - under orders from then-Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer - arrested and detained the members of various Left-wing radical (particularly Anarchist) cells between 1919-1920. Many of those apprehended by Hoover's men were subsequently deported, of whom the most famous was Russian-American Emma Goldman, a U.S. Citizen. Hoover had her deported anyway because her citizenship was only by dent of her marriage to the late Jacob Kershner, whose citizenship had been revoked. Hoover argued successfully that Emma's citizenship was no longer valid and had her ejected from the country.

Jeh&rfk

Mr. Director Hoover with the current United States' Attorney General, Robert "Bobby" Francis Kennedy - who is nominally J. Edgar's boss. The two men detest one another immensely.

In 1921, he was appointed Deputy Head of the Bureau of Investigations at the age of only 26. A mere three years later, he was made its acting director. Thus began the indisuptable but often controversial reign of one of the most powerful men in the United States of America.




Emperor of the FBIEdit

"When morals decline and good men do nothing, evil flourishes. Every citizen has a duty to learn of this that threatens his home, his children. A Society uninterested - unwilling - in learning from its past is doomed. We must never forget our history. We must never lower our guard." - J. Edgar Hoover As the Great Depression rocked the United States of America, Hoover - to his immense chagrin - was essentially powerless. His agents were not issued firearms and did not have the power to make arrests, while Federal Laws in those days were few and far between. Despite his best efforts to "throw the book" at anyone and everyone he saw reason to target, the American state began rapidly disentigrating. Riots wracked major U.S. cities. Canadian "freedom fighters" destroyed rail lines, bombed administrative buildings and clashed with American occupation forces in their attempts to rid the former British dominion of the 'Yankee' military yolk.

480px-SmedleyButler

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, whom Hoover would eventually cause to be tried and dishonorably discharged for his support of the Bonus Army

Chaos & The Bonus ArmyEdit

In the Spring of 1932, the biggest public disorder disaster of the Great Depression era began. The so-called "Bonus Army" - an assemblage of several hundred thousand destitute Great War veterans and their families led by former Sergeant Walter W. Walters - marched on Washington, D.C. to seek early cash redemption of their Service Certificates and "set up" across the Anacostia River from the federal core of the city, just south of the 11th Steet Bridges. They were supported by the immensely popular Major General Smedley Butler. The Veterans of the Bonus Army established a tightly-controlled camp, organizing its construction - including roads & sanitation facilities - and forming daily parades.

Bonus Army on Capitol lawn

Bonus Army marchers protest before the United States' Capitol - June 17th, 1932

On June 17th, the Bonus Army massed outside the U.S. Capitol, just as the Senate failed to pass the Wright Patman Bill (which would have pushed back the due date of the veterans' benefits even further). Whether their presence had anything to do with the results of the vote cannot be said for certain. Nevertheless, the marchers withdrew to their camp and waited to see what would happen. They engaged in no unlawful or disorderly conduct.

However, their mere presence inspired further disorder, arson and rioting throughout the Federal District. As such, Attorney General William D. Mitchell, on the advice of J. Edgar Hoover, ordered the marchers dispersed. They refused to leave their camp and formed up to oppose the officers. This led to a grand clash on June 28th between the Capitol Police and the bitter veterans, sparked by the shooting of two Bonus Army marchers - William Hushka & Eric Carlson. Many on both sides were killed or wounded before the police were forced to withdrawal. The Bonus Army, now more agitated than ever, remained in place, while the news of their confrontation further destabilized the general situation in the city.

Much to the dismay of J. Edgar, President Herbert Hoover responded with military force. Thus, the following day, at 16:45 (4:45 PM), the 4th Infantry Division - with four Infantry Regiments, three battalions of artillery and two Machine Gun Battalions - along with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, led by Major General George Smith Patton, Jr., formed up in Pennsylvania Avenue under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. The force was further supported by a battalion of Great War vintage Renault tanks. Thousands of Civil Service employees and civilians lined the historic street to watch the soldiers march off, chanting: "Shame! Shame!" Refuse - then eventually rocks & bottles - were hurled. Patton requested permission to "discourage" the onlookers, but MacArthur denied him.

The Bonus Army, believing the troops to be marching in their honor, cheered. Then the 4th Division's artillery unlimbered and opened fire using chemical shells filled with Adamsite, an arsenic-based vomitting agent. Patton's 3rd Cavalry charged, while three of the four Infantry regiments moved in behind them with fixed bayonets. The 12th Infantry Regiment and the two Machine Gun Battalions, meanwhile, were placed at the rear to hold an angry and violent mob of outraged Washingtonians.

A great many of the more radical Bonus Army men (perhaps the majority), being veterans themselves, were armed as well as versed in tactics to resist gas attacks. Such an eventuality had been prepared for, with the help of Mj.Gen. Butler (whom Hoover would later ruin as revenge for the incident). Those who refused to resist broke down and wept. A few committed suicide on the spot, while still others simply surrendered.

Bonus army firing squad

Riflemen of the 59th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division, rounding up a group of marchers who'd fought back while the Bonus Army disintegrates around them. These veterans would be shot by the enraged soldiers, who would receive no penalty for their actions.

A general bloody mélée ensued, but MacArthur's professional forces - despite being heavily outnumbered - inevitably triumphed. The Bonus Army fled to their largest camp, across the Anacostia River. Gen. MacArthur - believing the marchers to be attempting an overthrow of the U.S. government - ignored the orders of President Hoover and pursued them. Those veterans who did not surrender or resisted and then failed to escape were killed or arrested. Thousands were injured. Even once ordered to stand down, many 4th Division personnel, in fits of rage, continued violence against their fellow Americans. Some marchers were shot by U.S. soldiers even after surrendering, before Patton's cavalry and the Infantry Regiments' officers could restore order.

MacArthur, for his part, was disgusted with the results but did not blame himself; he had simply followed orders. then-Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, at the time one of the General's junior aides, strongly protested MacArthur's involvement, believing that the highest-ranking officer of the Army had no moral right to lead an action against fellow war veterans. "I told the dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there," he would later say. "I told him it was no place for the Chief-of-Staff." The scathingly-critical after action report he drafted would, as Eisenhower rose in prominence with the Army, haunt MacArthur's career for the rest of his days. Mj.Gen. Patton was wounded the following day by a bullet, fired from the old M1903 service rifle of former Private 1st Class Joseph T. Angelo - a decorated veteran who'd saved Patton's life during the Great War - out of revenge.

Aftermath - J. Edgar Steps InEdit

White house bombing

Onlooker's photograph of the White House following the Bombing

President Hoover, for his part, was thrown into a state of shock and suffered a nervous breakdown out of regret, blaming himself and his conduct for the entire affair. The situation in the Capital city, meanwhile, deteriorated completely. Hundreds of police officers - let alone civilians - were killed / injured as Washington law enforcement attempted to maintain some semblence of Law & Order.On July 4th - approximately 5 days after the "Veterans' Massacre", as it had come to be known in the Press - an unknown group of arsonists attacked the White House with home-made mortars before the soldiers stationed around the perimeter could respond. Several government employees died or were hospitalized.

In the wake of the White House Bombing, the young Director Hoover approached his President, emploring him to declare a state of martial law in the Capital and, more importantly, grant the Bureau of Investigations more powers in order to contain the erupting chaos. A dazed and distraught Herbert Hoover, in no position to lead or fufill the duties of his office, acquiesced. These would be the last actions taken by the 31st President of the United States of America under his own innitiative. The next day, the Hoover family retired to their residence in Palo Alto, California, leaving the effective running of the country in the hands of Vice President Charles Curtis.

Curtis appointed George S. Patton - who, by now, had recovered sufficiently from his gunshot wound to be released from the hospital - "Acting Governor" of the District of Columbia and bypassed MacArthur, the General's reputation having been completely ruined in the wake of the 4th Inf.Div's actions. Over the next few months, Patton and J. Edgar developed a kind of mutual respect and cold friendship as they cooperated to gain a handle on their crumbling, economically-starving country.

End of an EraEdit

The Election of 1932 was the most one-sided in United States history. The popular and well-known, if little-understood and much underestimated, Governor of the country's most populous State, Franklin D. Roosevelt, took the American people by storm to the campaign song of "Happy Days are Here Again". Herbert Hoover, the Republican incumbent, refused to run, leaving Charles Curtiss to contend with the bouncy, optimistic and silver-tongued New England aristocrat.

Parade

The 1933 Inaugural Parade

Uniting the Democrats in lock-step behind him, Roosevelt and his party mobilized the much-swelled ranks of the poor, the "ethnic" Americans (German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jews, etc), immigrants, urbanites, minorities and southern Whites to their side. However, the would-be President made no actual specific promises as to what he was going to do, and Historians still debate whether he simply hadn't yet clearly formulated the grand, sweeping changes he would come to implement once in office, or deliberately withheld them to avoid being devisive. Either way, FDR garnered nearly 23 million votes - the largest in history for any candidate in a U.S. Presidential Election before or since - and became the 32nd President of the United States on the promise of "A New Deal for Every American". The flames of anarchy and chaos subsided in D.C. - and throughout the United States - as winds of change seemed to spread across the country.

Director J. Edgar Hoover initially distrusted the bouncy and quasi-populist Roosevelt, cooly watching the March 4th Inaugural Parade from the balcony of his office with not but a courteous wave. However, he was immediately summoned to the White House the following day. There, he and the new President struck a deal. Hoover's DOI - which had been shuffled around between various Federal departments and renamed multiple times since its 1908 creation - was officially christened the "Federal Bureau of Investigation" and made responsible only to the United States' Department of Justice. This considerably strengthened the powers at J. Edgar's disposal, and FDR promised him the passage of a multitude of new Federal laws that would enable him to better fufill both his duties and his vision for the Agency. In return, Hoover - notorious for his \Conservativism - was to support Roosevelt and his social reform agenda.

Rise of the New Deal StateEdit

Hoover rode the waves of expanding government power as the promised New Deal transformed the United States to create a centralized law enforcement and intelligence apparatus for the country - acting at times with, as well without, the approval of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The pedantic, obsessive, workaholic FBI Director amassed thousands of confidential private files on anyone and everyone he deemed important, powerful or a threat (to either the country or to himself, which he felt were senonymous conditions). His agency pioneered all manner of advances in police science & technology: rigid investigative proceedure, the use of fingerprints (for which Hoover compiled the world's first centralized database) and specialized investigative laboratories, to name a few.

During the first years of the New Deal, J. Edgar expanded his small and nearly powerless Agency into a massive criminal investigation and intelligence apparatus. Admission into the FBI was handled entirely, personally, by Hoover, who screen every potential agent intensely - rejecting the majority of applications out right and then interviewing the remaining candidates personally. Strict codes of conduct, morality and behavior were enforced for all members, but most stringently for field agents. FBI men and women were expected to abstain from consumption of "intoxicants". Anyone caught smoking by Hoover or one of his 'loyals' would be severely reprimanded; to be found smoking outside an Agency building or while "on the job" would have you fired immediately.

During the '30s and '40s, Hoover waged a multi-front domestic war on radicalism, organized crime and anything or anyone he perceived as "subversive". Extremist (i.e. Fascist and Communist) political parties - and, to a lesser extent, organizations in general - were banned outright, often being forcibly broken up by raids. Hoover exhaustively investigated all newspaper & radio outlets no matter how small or local, working tirelessly to shut down (or failing that, discredit) any which he deemed "un-American" or which were overly critical of the New Deal regime. Every Congressman, Senator, Federal Judge, Government office head, high-ranking Military officer, State Governor and even celebrity was monitored.

Hoover dispensed scorn or praise to law enforcement officers throughout the country, building up a nation-wide network of admirers and supporters. His agents - dubbed "G-men" (short for "Government Men") by the Public - became a ubiquitous presence throughout the United States. With nearly every law Roosvelt passed, with every tightening of the President's grip, the power of the Bureau increased.

Hoover & RooseveltEdit

Although it began well, the relationship between FBI Director and President deteriorated with time. The latter quickly realized Hoover was a force unto his own who could not be controlled. J. Edgar's "Personal & Confidential" library of files - accessible only to him and to his secretary - grew to be considerably larger than the Library of Congress. Within it where plenty of files on Roosevelt, his wife and his family - not to mention his closest and most relied-upon officials. In 1947, following the end of the Anglo-American War, Roosevelt consolidated the various other foreign-oriented intelligence agencies of the U.S. government into the Department of Central Intelligence, or CIA. General George S. Patton - by then a decorated hero - had been wounded in a Jeep accident while acting as Occupation Governor of Great Britain and retired from his Military post. As such, he was made the new organization's first Director. This essentially gave Hoover control of the CIA, as Patton was his close friend from their days in Washington, D.C. in the wake of the White House Bombing.

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