harry leslie smith

Screengrab via The Guardian/YouTube

WWII pilot calls out Charlottesville neo-Nazis: ‘It reminded me of who I fought’

The 94-year-old former RAF pilot was not having it.


Chris Tognotti

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 13, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:45 pm CDT

Here’s a lesson for anyone planning to opine about white supremacists and neo-Nazis on Twitter: Make sure not to cross Harry Leslie Smith with any denials about fascism. The 94-year-old British political commentator and former Royal Air Force pilot, Smith served in World War II, and he had a pretty pointed observation about the far-right demonstrations and lethal attack on anti-racist counter-protesters that unfolded this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

And when he was challenged on that point, by someone insisting the protesters were not genuine Nazis but merely “young white men asserting themselves,” Smith was unsparing in his response.

Smith has been tweeting regularly and forcefully about the Charlottesville incident and what it says about racism and white supremacy in America. Specifically, he’s been calling out people who believe they know more than him about the nature of fascism.

Suffice to say Smith has lived more of this sort of history than many modern political commentators have even been alive for, and he’s not shy about saying so.

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*First Published: Aug 13, 2017, 2:12 pm CDT