Edwin Walker was born Kerr County, Texas, on November 10, 1909. He graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1927. This was followed by attendance at West Point Academy (1927 to 1931). During the Second World War Walker commanded a joint Canadian-American commando team in Italy.
In 1947 Walker helped the monarchists defeat Communist insurgents during the Greek Civil War. Walker also saw action in the Korean War. On his return to the United States he became commander of the Arkansas Military District in Little Rock.
On 3rd September 1957, the governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, used the National Guard to stop black children from attending the local high school in Little Rock. Woodrow Mann, the reforming mayor of the city, disagreed with this decision and on 4th September telegraphed President Dwight Eisenhower and asked him to send federal troops to Little Rock.
On 24th September, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower, went on television and told the American people: "At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that communism bears towards a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence and indeed to the safety of our nation and the world. Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation. We are portrayed as a violator of those standards which the peoples of the world united to proclaim in the Charter of the United Nations."
After trying for eighteen days to persuade Orval Faubus to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court, Eisenhower decided to order paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division, to protect black children going to Little Rock Central High School. The white population of Little Rock were furious that they were being forced to integrate their school and Faubus described the federal troops as an army of occupation.
Elizabeth Eckford and the other eight African American students that entered the school (Carlotta Walls, Jefferson Thomas, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Ernest Green, Terrance Roberts, Gloria Ray and Minnijean Brown) suffered physical violence and constant racial abuse. Parents of four of the children lost their jobs because they had insisted in sending them to a white school. Woodrow Mann and his family received death threats and Klu Klux Klan crosses were burnt on his front lawn.
Walker, a supporter of the John Birch Society, was totally opposed to school desegragation. However, as commander of the Arkansas Military District he was forced to implement the orders of Dwight Eisenhower.
In October 1959 Major General Walker was appointed commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Europe and stationed in Augsburg, Germany. In April 1961 Walker was accused of indoctrinating his troops with right-wing literature from the John Birch Society. With the agreement of President John F. Kennedy, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara relieved Walker of his command and announced an investigation into the affair. Kennedy was accused of trying to suppress the anti-Communist feelings of the military. Walker resigned from the army in protest about the way he had been treated.
David Talbot argues in his book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, that Walker's indoctrination program had been endorsed by General Lyman Lemnitzer. Talbot quotes a letter from Lemnitzer to Walker saying that he found his efforts "interesting and useful."
In September 1961 Walker organized the protests against the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Another incident the following year resulted in two reporters being killed. Attorney General Robert Kennedy responded by issuing a warrant for Walker's arrest on the charges of seditious conspiracy, insurrection, and rebellion.
Walker now became a leading figure in the fight against what he considered to be the liberal establishment. Based in Dallas, he gave many speeches around the country denouncing communism and liberalism. In February 1962 Walker stood for governor of Texas. Although he gained the support of Barry Goldwater, Walker finished last and John Connally went on to be governor.
In December 1962, Felipe Vidal Santiago had a meeting with a lawyer connected to a "Citizen's Committee to Free Cuba". He told Vidal about a conversation he had with Henry Cabot Lodge, who had been told by Walt Rostow, that John F. Kennedy was exploring "a plan to open a dialogue with Cuba." Vidal was furious about what he considered to be an act of betrayal and immediately told leaders of the anti-Castro community and his CIA contact, Colonel William Bishop. According to Dick Russell, Vidal was also "an information conduit for" General Walker.
On 10th April, 1963, Walker was victim of an assassination attempt while he sat at a desk in his Dallas home. It was later claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald had taken the shot at Walker. Marina Oswald reported that she "asked him what happened, and he said that he just tried to shoot General Walker. I asked him who General Walker was. I mean how dare you to go and claim somebody's life, and he said "Well, what would you say if somebody got rid of Hitler at the right time? So if you don't know about General Walker, how can you speak up on his behalf?." Because he told me... he was something equal to what he called him a fascist."
However, there was a witness to the shooting. Kirk Coleman saw two men making their escape, one stopped to place something in the back of his Ford sedan, then they both drove off in different cars. As Oswald could not drive this has raised serious doubts if he could have been involved in this attempt on Walker's life.
Larry Hancock argues in his book, Someone Would Have Talked, that Felipe Vidal Santiago traveled to Dallas on several occasions between 31st October and 21st November 1963 in order to raise funds for the anti-Castro exiles. This included meeting Edwin Walker. On his return to Miami he "reportedly stated that Walker had no further interest in Cuban affairs." However, Gerry Hemming has claimed that Vidal obtained money from H. L. Hunt, who had been largely responsible for funding Walker's campaign for governor in Texas. Clint Murchison and Gordon McLendon have also been suggested as possible contributors to Vidal's operation.
Afer the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a photograph of Walker's home was found among Oswald's possessions. When the photograph was turned over to the Warren Commission by the FBI, a hole had been pushed through it right in the spot where the license plate on the car had been, making the car unidentifiable (it did not belong to Walker). Another photograph, taken by the Dallas police, showed Oswald's possessions laid out on the floor of police headquarters. This included the photograph of Walker's home, without the hole obscuring the license plate.
In 1975 Harry Dean claimed he had been an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1962 he infiltrated the John Birch Society. He later reported that Walker and John Rousselot had hired two gunman, Eladio del Valle and Loran Hall, to kill President John F. Kennedy. However, Dean was unable to provide any evidence to back up his claim.
On 23rd June, 1976, Walker was arrested for public lewdness in a public toilet at a Dallas park and accused of fondling an undercover policeman. He was arrested again for a similar offence on 16th March, 1977. He pled guilty and was given a suspended, 30-day jail sentence, and fined $1,000.
Edwin Walker died of lung disease in Dallas on 31st October 1993. The Major General Edwin A. Walker Society was started in 1999 as a "closed, anti-Communist association of active duty and retired officers and noncommissioned officers who have taken upon themselves the mission of combating the communistic forces of Cultural Marxism, multiculturalism, the United Nations and Boshevist influences in the military".