In 1934, Oregon’s newly-elected governor was a conservative anti-New Deal Democrat in a party dominated by President Roosevelt and his reformers. Here was a volatile combination certain to involve Charles Henry Martin in major political controversy. Governor Martin quickly turned his formidable talents to the destruction of labor unions and reformers in Northwest industries. He formed a secret Red Squad within the Oregon State Police bureaucracy, which operated up and down the West Coast. In addition to spying and using disruptive tactics, the Red Squad was linked to the framing and conviction of union activists in California.
Martin earlier had served two terms as a U.S. Representative Contemporaries, including his political enemy Richard Neuberger, gave Martin considerable credit for the authorization of Bonneville Dam when he lobbied and cajoled FDR and congressional colleagues. Though Martin fought vigorously for the project, he also waged a struggle against the proponents of “public power,” who Martin believed wanted the dam’s output “socialized.” Martin concealed the fact that “public” electrical distribution could harm his regional stock and real estate holdings. After political defeat in 1938, Martin blamed much of his troubles on the National Labor Relations Board, accused FDR of being a Communist and Fascist, and counseled appeasement with Hitler.
The author also explores Martin’s equally intriguing military career (1887 – 1927). A graduate of West Point, Martin was at center stage in a number of remarkable events—frontier garrison duty, chasing elements of Coxey’s Army, The Philippines acquisition, China’s Forbidden City and the Boxer Rebellion, commanding the all-Black 92nd Division during World War I, the Panama Canal Zone, and perpetuating the Army’s discriminatory policies of the 1920s.
Photographs / notes / bibliography / index / 250 pages (2000)