John Birch Society

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  • The John Birch Society was founded by Robert Welch and eleven other political activists in Indianapolis, Indiana, during December 1958. The organization's namesake was an American who was killed in 1945 by communists in China, which in Welch's eyes made him the first U.S. citizen killed in the Cold War. Although many viewed the John Birch Society as an extreme right-wing organization, it did attract a significant following in mainstream political circles during its first decade of existence.

    Welch, the guiding force behind the John Birch Society in its early years, made his fortune as a candy manufacturer. During World War II, he served on the Office of Price Administration's advisory committee for the candy industry. While traveling extensively on behalf of his business interests and ...

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