J. Edgar Hoover
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1895
Date of Death: 1972
Cause of Death: Cardiovascular disease
Religion: Presbyterianism
Occupation: Lawyer, Law Enforcement Official
Professional Affiliations: FBI
Fictional Appearances:

John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 - May 2, 1972), was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation (predecessor to the FBI) in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972.

While his reforms of the agency were initially quire popular, Hoover's increasing vindictiveness and paranoia throughout the post-World War II years did much to tarnish his reputation prior to and after his death. A rabid anti-communist, Hoover established a "dirty tricks" program called COINTELPRO, which made use of illegal wire taps, infiltration, and burglary. COINTELPRO initially targeted the American Communist Party, but the program soon focused on any number of parties deemed to be "communist", such as civil rights activists, most prominently Martin Luther King Jr., and those who were critical of Hoover and the FBI. The program was terminated in 1971 when leaked files revealed its existence to the general public.

Rumors that Hoover was a homosexual and/or a transvestite have been circulating since the 1940s, but no credible evidence has surfaced to support those rumors.

J. Edgar Hoover in The Hot War[]

The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Bombs Away;
(Death not confirmed until Armistice)
Type of Appearance: Contemporary and posthumous references
Date of Death: 1952
Cause of Death: Killed in an atomic bombing during World War III

J. Edgar Hoover was head of the FBI[1] until he was killed during World War III.[2] He was among the many members of the Federal government killed by the Soviet atomic bombing of Washington, DC in May 1952.[3]

When Lavrenti Beria succeeded Joseph Stalin as ruler of the USSR in June 1952, Soviet affairs expert George Kennan, during a conversation with President Harry Truman, likened Beria's rule to Hoover's hypothetically taking over of the United States. Truman, who had not liked Hoover, found the notion horrible.[4]

J. Edgar Hoover in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference

Certain supporters of the continued U.S. Army presence in Germany vaguely wondered if J. Edgar Hoover's FBI might be used to crack down on occupation-dissenters. When a briefing officer suggested this opinion in a press conference in mid-1946, he was met with outrage from those present. This included promises to sue J. Edgar Hoover if the FBI took such steps.[5]

J. Edgar Hoover in Joe Steele[]

Joe Steele
POD: 1878;
Relevant POD: July, 1932
Novel or Story?: Both
Type of Appearance: Direct
Professional Affiliations: GBI
Political Office(s): "Director" (de facto leader) of the United States (from 1953)

J. Edgar Hoover was the influential and much feared director of the United States Government Bureau of Investigation (GBI). He was appointed to the position by President Joe Steele shortly after Steele's re-election. Hoover had already gained a reputation as a tenacious law enforcement officer while with the Bureau of Investigation.

Hoover first came to Steel's attention when Hoover was with the Bureau of Investigation. In 1933, Steele tasked Hoover with investigating the Congressional opponents of Steele's plan to nationalize the country's banks.[6]  Hoover "found" evidence that the leader of the opposition, Senator Carter Glass, had fathered a love child with his family's Negro maid.[7]  When Steele confronted Glass with this "evidence", Glass caved, and supported the legislation.[8]

After the Supreme Court ruled much of Steele's signature Four Year Plan unconstitutional,[9] Steele ordered Hoover to investigate the court.[10] Then Steele gave a radio speech in which he denounced the Supreme Court as nine old men who were not elected, and who were actively wrecking the country. Steele implied the Court's actions were deliberate, and promised that there would be an investigation.[11]

Hoover discovered "evidence" that four justices, James McReynolds, Pierce Butler, Willis Van Devanter, and George Sutherland, were in fact colluding with foreign powers against the United States. In February, 1934, Hoover led a group of agents to very publicly arrest the Supreme Court Four for treason while they were in the middle of deliberations.[12] After the arrests, Hoover spoke on the record to Charlie Sullivan, an AP reporter friendly to the Steele Administration. Hoover was quite up-front that the four men arrested were most consistent in ruling the Four Year Plan unconstitutional, but was rather more vague about which foreign government they were colluding with.[13]

In March 1937, after an assassination attempt on his life, President Steele reformed the Bureau into the Government Bureau of Investigation, with Hoover in charge. This move prompted some critics compare Hoover to Heinrich Himmler and Genrikh Yagoda.[14] He purged and removed Steele's enemies in the military and the civilian sectors. He helped keep the country's shores safe from Axis spies during World War II, and hunted Communists during the Japanese War. His only real rival was Vince Scriabin, Steele's other longtime ally.

When Steele died in March 1953, Vice President John Nance Garner ascended to the presidency. While he quickly exiled Lazar Kagan and Stas Mikoian, Vince Scriabin refused to go. Garner also secured the resignation of the entire cabinet, save for Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Secretary of War George Marshall.[15] Scriabin tapped into the remaining clout he had in the Senate.[16] Subsequently, Acheson died in a plane crash. A week later Marshall was about to give a speech, when he turned blue and keeled over. Despite there being several doctors on hand, Marshall could not be saved.[17]

Garner figured out quickly that someone was moving against him, which he confided in Charlie Sullivan, who'd joined the administration as a speechwriter in 1939.  Sullivan accused Scriabin, but also reminded Garner that J. Edgar Hoover was also another likely enemy. He suggested that Garner replace his guard detail, almost exclusively GBI agents, with soldiers. No sooner had Garner resolved to do all this than he was informed that the House had introduced legislation to impeach Garner for high crimes and misdemeanors, and suspected Scriabin's hand at work again.[18]

Garner took steps to try to slow down the impeachment process. He issued an executive order eliminating the restricted zone for former wreckers, an act criticized by Hoover. Moreover, the leaders of the impeachment drive were unmoved.[19] The death of Scriabin, who was hit by a car, also did little to halt the impeachment.[20]

In the end the House passed three articles of impeachment, and the case went to the Senate, which voted overwhelmingly for conviction.[21] The following day, J. Edgar Hoover, claiming that Congress was attempting to arrogate the powers of the executive to themselves, took temporary executive authority as Director of the United States. He ordered the citizens to follow the local authorities, outlawed assemblies of ten people or more, and arrested Congressional leaders "responsible" for the current state of affairs.[22] He also cleared out the remaining government employees who'd served under Steele, including Charlie Sullivan.[23] A few months later, a bomb blew up inside GBI headquarters, killing twenty-six people. Hoover had left just half an hour before. The GBI claimed a relative of a Representative who'd voted against impeaching Garner was responsible, and in response, Hoover clamped down further on Congress.[24]

Literary comment[]

In the short story, Hoover's role is the same as it is in the novel up until Steele's death. Upon Steele's death in the short work, John Nance Garner orders the execution of the Hammer and J. Edgar Hoover. The Hammer orders the execution of Garner and Hoover. Hoover orders the execution of Garner and the Hammer, and ultimately triumphs. This is in contrast with the novel, in which the three-way battle is far more "legalistic", Scriabin is instead killed in a car accident, and Garner is impeached and allowed to retire to Texas, but Hoover still winds up as the supreme executive authority in the country.

See Also[]


  1. Bombs Away, pg. 170, ebook.
  2. Fallout, loc. 5217, ebook.
  3. Armistice, p. 105, HC; loc. 1798, ebook.
  4. Ibid., p. 105, HC; loc. 1788, ebook.
  5. The Man With the Iron Heart, pg. 275, HC.
  6. Joe Steele, pg. 59.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid. pgs. 49-51.
  9. Ibid., pg.71-72
  10. Ibid., pg. 73-74.
  11. Ibid., pgs. 76-77.
  12. Ibid., pgs. 83-84.
  13. Ibid., pgs. 84-86.
  14. Ibid., pg. 151.
  15. Ibid., pg. 424.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid., pgs. 424-427.
  19. Ibid., pg. 427.
  20. Ibid. pg. 428.
  21. Ibid, pgs. 432-433.
  22. Ibid., pgs. 434-435.
  23. Ibid., pgs. 436.
  24. Ibid., pg. 437.