The roots of the Christian Identity movement can be traced back to British-Israelism, the conviction that the British are the lineal descendants of the "ten lost tribes" of Israel. It is a belief that existed for some time before it became a movement in the second half of the 19th century. The writings of John Wilson helped to extend the idea of British-Israelism to Anglo-Israelism, which included other Teutonic peoples -- mostly northern European peoples from Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland. British-Israelism was brought to America in the early part of the 1920s, where it remained decentralized until the 1930s. At that time, the movement underwent the final transformation to become what we know as Christian Identity, at which time its ties to the original English movement were cut and it became distinctly American.
Wesley Swift is considered the single most significant figure in the early years of the Christian Identity movement in the United States. He popularized it in the right-wing by "combining British-Israelism, a demonic anti-Semitism, and political extremism." 21 He founded his own church in California in the mid 1940s where he could preach this ideology. In addition, he had a daily radio broadcast in California during the 1950s and 60s, through which he was able to proclaim his ideology to a large audience. With Swift's efforts, the message of his church spread, leading to the creation of similar churches throughout the country. In 1957, the name of his church was changed to The Church of Jesus Christ Christian, which is used today by Aryan Nations (AN) churches.