Beyond Being Convicted for His Involvement in Watergate, Was G. Gordon Liddy Also a Nazi?

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 3 2023, Published 5:51 p.m. ET

G. Gordon Liddy
Source: Getty Images

G. Gordon Liddy was certainly a character. During his lifetime, he wore many hats. He was an FBI agent, a lawyer, a lecturer, an author, and an actor, and in 1972 he oversaw a break-in at the Democratic National Committee that would eventually be known as the Watergate Scandal. Later in life, Liddy hosted his own radio show where he had a reputation as an "overzealous advocate of conservative causes," per the Associated Press.

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In a profile of Liddy done by The Independent in 2004, he said wild things like, "Environmentalism is a form of pagan fundamentalism." He didn't believe in registering guns and also had a lot to say about Adolf Hitler. Does this make G. Gordon Liddy a Nazi? It certainly doesn't feel like it would be that much of a stretch.

Congressman Bobb Barr (R-GA) (C) and talk show host G. Gordon Liddy (R) talk to a police officer during a bus tour stop Aug. 10, 2002 in Emerson, Georgi
Source: Getty Images

Congressman Bobb Barr (R-GA) (C) and talk show host G. Gordon Liddy (R) talk to a police officer

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We don't know if G. Gordon Liddy was a Nazi, but he sure did like Hitler while growing up.

According to The Independent's 2004 profile on Liddy, "the Fuhrer was G Gordon Liddy's first political hero." He grew up in Hoboken, N.J., in the 1930s with much of his youth being occupied by World War II. At the time, Hoboken was filled with ethnic Germans who "idolized Hitler." Their obsession was so great that nuns forced young Liddy to salute the American flag, Nazi-style. The urge do so continued into his adult life. "I must suppress the urge to snap out my right arm," he told the outlet.

Liddy was very close to his German nanny who was particularly fond of Hitler. She insisted that Hitler used his willpower to "[drag] Germany from weakness to strength." The result of her teachings was that Liddy felt a bizarre sense of strength inside him that he previously didn't believe was there. "Hitler's sheer animal confidence and power of will [entranced me]. He sent an electric current through my body," Liddy told the paper. His response and obsession was almost fanatical.

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Later in life, Liddy would reject all that Hitler stood for.

When asked about his early affection for what he believed Hitler exuded, Liddy told the outlet it was simply "part of his childhood" and that what he felt then had no bearing on his political views as an adult. In fact, he was careful to renounce Hitler's atrocities against the Jews as "evil" while declaring his support for Israel's far right as proof that he wasn't antisemitic. In other words, Liddy claimed he did a hard rebrand.

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However, The Independent pointed out that in Liddy's autobiography he admitted to choosing a wife based on "eugenic grounds" after he read the writings of the Charles Lindbergh — a known antisemite. Liddy brushed this off by alleging that everyone cares about genetics. (In Liddy's own words, he wrote that he wanted a "tall, fair, powerfully built Teuton," which is an ancient Germanic tribe.) "That's how we spoke then. This is political correctness," Liddy told the newspaper.

As a child, Liddy latched onto the idea that willpower is where resilience lives. With this in mind, he went to great lengths to test his own willpower. One of the most bizarre acts was beheading chickens to prepare himself for the military. "I killed and killed and killed, and finally I could kill efficiently and without emotion or thought. I was satisfied; when it came my turn to go to war, I would be ready. I could kill as I could run — like a machine," he told the outlet.

And while killing animals does not a Nazi make, it speaks to Liddy's ability to disregard life for a perceived bigger picture. That's exactly what the Nazis were doing. "Once you start a war, you have to win," he told The Independent. "If you aren't tough, if you don't pull out all the stops, you lose."

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