John T. Flynn

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John T. Flynn (October 25, 1882 – April 13, 1964) was a prominent American journalist, author, economist, and political commentator known for his outspoken criticism of both the New Deal and American foreign policy during the mid-20th century. In 1940, Flynn helped set up the America First Committee. Flynn's work, characterized by its staunch anti-statism and advocacy for non-interventionism, and opposition to the United Nations made him a significant figure in the American conservative and libertarian movements.

Early Life and Career

John Thomas Flynn was born in Bladensburg, Maryland, and later moved to New York City. He graduated from Georgetown University Law School in 1907 but chose to pursue a career in journalism instead of law. His early career saw him writing for a variety of publications, starting at the New Haven Register in 1916[1], and later including Collier's Weekly from 1937-1942 and The New Republic from 1931-1940, where he initially supported progressive causes. He had been the city editor and then managing editor of the New York Globe 1920-1923, and wrote for the Capital Times.[2] In 1954 he became a commentator for the Mutual Broadcasting System.

In 1934 he was a member of the advisory council to the Nye Committee, investigating the munitions industry after World War I.

Shift to Conservatism

During the 1930s, Flynn's political views shifted significantly. Initially a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Flynn became increasingly critical of the New Deal and fell out of love with Roosevelt. He argued that the expansive government intervention in the economy was detrimental to American liberties and free enterprise. This period saw Flynn emerging as a leading critic of Roosevelt and the New Deal policies, along with the United Nations.

Major Works and Themes

Flynn's writings covered a broad spectrum of political and economic issues. Some of his most notable works include:

  • "Country Squire in the White House" (1940): A critical biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, highlighting what Flynn saw as the President's overreach and authoritarian tendencies.
  • "As We Go Marching" (1944): This book warned of the dangers of militarism and the military-industrial complex, predicting that World War II would lead to an era of perpetual warfare and government expansion.
  • "The Roosevelt Myth" (1948): Perhaps Flynn's most famous work, this book offered a detailed critique of Roosevelt's presidency, arguing that the New Deal was an unprecedented expansion of federal power.


Flynn was a leading advocate of non-interventionism, particularly before and during World War II. As a member of the America First Committee, he argued vehemently against U.S. involvement in the war, believing that it would lead to unnecessary entanglements and the erosion of American freedoms. Flynn also wrote about the early-warning theory of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, where he claimed that Roosevelt and the military commanders had reason to expect the Japanese attack. Flynn is blamed by mainstream sources for starting the so-called 'conspiracy theory' about Roosevelt having advance knowledge and/or planning the Pearl Harbor attack to bring America into World War II.

Later Life and Legacy

In the post-war period, Flynn continued to write and speak out against what he saw as the growing threat of the military-industrial complex and the Cold War policies of both Democratic and Republican administrations. His later works focused on the dangers of unchecked government power and the need to preserve individual liberties.

Flynn was the author of more than 15 books. His book, "The Road Ahead" warning about 'creeping socialism' sold more than 800,000 copies.

Flynn's influence extended into the burgeoning conservative and libertarian movements of the 1950s and 1960s. His critiques of government overreach and advocacy for limited government resonated with many who were skeptical of post-war American liberalism and the expanding federal bureaucracy.

Flynn's papers are at the University of Oregon.[3]


  • "Investment Trusts Gone Wrong" (1930)
  • "Graft in Business" (1931)[4]
  • "God's Gold: The Story of Rockefeller and His Times" (1932)[5]
  • "Security Speculation - Its Economic Effect" (1934)
  • "Country Squire in the White House" (1940)
  • "Men of Wealth: The Story of Twelve Significant Fortunes from the Renaissance to the Present Day" (1941)[6]
  • "Meet Your Congress" (1944)
  • "As We Go Marching" (1944)
  • "Truth About Pearl Harbor" (1944)
  • "Final Secret of Pearl Harbor" (1945)
  • "The Epic of Freedom" Philadelphia: Fireside Press, (1947)
  • "The Roosevelt Myth" (1948)
  • "The Road Ahead: America's Creeping Revolution" New York: Devin-Adair Publishing Company, (1949)
  • "While You Slept: Our Tragedy in Asia and Who Made It" (1951)
  • "The Decline of the American Republic" (1951)
  • "Communists and the New Deal: Part II" New York: American Mercury, 1952.
  • "America's Unknown War: The War We Have Not Begun to Fight" America's Future, 1953.
  • "McCarthy: His War on American Reds, and the Story of Those Who Oppose Him". 1954.
  • "The Decline of the American Republic and How to Rebuild It]". New York: Devin-Adair Publishing Company, 1955. 212 pages.
  • "Fifty Million Americans in Search of a Party". 1955.


John T. Flynn remains a significant figure in American political thought, particularly within conservative and libertarian circles. His work continues to be referenced for its critical perspective on government expansion and its staunch defense of non-interventionist foreign policy.