White nationalists leaders on their controversial beliefs: 'We look up to men like Adolf Hitler'

"I crossed a Rubicon long ago that I'm willing to die," Richard Spencer told ABC News' "20/20."
7:26 | 08/19/17

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Transcript for White nationalists leaders on their controversial beliefs: 'We look up to men like Adolf Hitler'
Reporter: This spring we traveled up a gravel mountain road, near a reclaimed coal mine. Where we've managed to get special access to a conclave of white nationalist groups convened to discuss a favorite topic, the future. This is not business as usual. This is a political revolution. And tomorrow belongs to us. Defeat never, victory forever. Hail victory. Reporter: There are several speakers here. We are white people. We are aryans. Reporter: But none quite like Matt Heimbach, who is practically worshipped by many of his followers. Matt Heinbach is extremely articulate, well spoken, he is a genius and he is what's taking this movement forward. They see me as their leader, the one that's fighting for them. And I couldn't do any of this without them. Reporter: You look up to someone like Adolf hitler? Of course, we look up to men like Adolf hitler. We look up to him as inspirations for what we can achieve. Reporter: Also inspired to follow Heimbach here, some who prefer to remain anonymous. I'm a Baptist preacher, so I got to maintain a low profile. There's a festive mood as they pose for photo and load up on pose for photo and load up on ss patches and other nazi-themed merchandise. Heimbach was making headlines back in 2014, for his attempts to form white students groups at college campuses. Racists, fascists, anti-gay. Kkk, go away. Reporter: Today, Heimbach, a delivery truck driver, and a father of two, says his moment has arrived. Is your movement on the upswing? Our movement is growing very, very quickly. Reporter: Heimbach's ideology is nothing new, but what's most disarming and disturbing is his manner. Friendly, soft-spoken, this teddy bear of a guy looks like he belongs behind the counter of an ice cream parlor. So the Klan wore hoods, they hid their identity. Why don't you guys wear hoods? We have nothing to hide. We're here to bring our message to our people and to fight for them. Reporter: Needless to say, aside from street-level actions, Heimbach has discovered the power of social media, especially YouTube. Hello, comrades. Miscarriage of justice. They hate white people. It's just basic like speaking videos. I'm not shooting a Hollywood movie, I don't need a big jewish budget. Reporter: Do you hate jewish people? Hate, do they hate me? Reporter: I don't know, I'm asking you. We were with Heimbach back in April, when he arrived at Alabama's Auburn university with his posse. He's here to support alt-right leader Richard Spencer in a nationwide campus recruiting effort. Since mid-2016, we've documented about 250 instances of white supremacist flyers and recruitment going on, on college campuses. We are here to be able to ensure that they hear Mr. Spencer's sessage. One that should inspire the white students to love their people. Reporter: Private school educated, from a wealthy family, sharply dressed. Spencer presents as the white nationalist for the upper tax brackets. He had two goals. One, make white nationalism more intellectualized and have a greater appeal to young people by toning down some of the more obvious uses of Nazi symbology. Greatness is far more important than equality. Equality is for losers. Reporter: Why not just call it white supremacy? Why not call it neo-nazism? Whenever anyone stands up for our identity, we get called this collection of names, like, "You're a neo-nazi." The idea that hitler has a monopoly on identity for white people is just simply ridiculous. He's a spoiled rich kid. Who's never had a real job other than conservative propagandist. Reporter: Antifa activist Daryl Jenkins has attended many Spencer events and today his comrades would love to stop Spencer from delivering what they consider a dangerous speech. It's not so much shutting them up, it's about shutting them down. Reporter: Afraid of violence, Auburn's administration revokes Spencer's permission to speak. Professor Geoffrey stone says caving in to the mob is a mistake. What happens then is anyone who wants to speak, if other people want to shut them down, all they basically have to do is say, "Well, we're going to be violent, we're going to disrupt, we're going to riot." And then the police will go and shut down the speakers. Reporter: Spencer, happy to play the first-amendment martyr, takes the fight to court. We are on 85 south, and we are going to the courthouse to file a junction. Reporter: Hours later, the court says it's a clear first amendment issue. Auburn university cannot stop Spencer from speaking on campus. I thought our chances for victory were slim, but we did it. Reporter: An hour before Spencer speaks, the action outside is already heating up. And Heimbach's men chant. Communist scum, off our streets! Communist scum, off our streets! If you believe America is a communist country, you're a traitor. Reporter: As students make their position clear. This is our home. Reporter: Finally, flanked by private security and a police escort, Spencer makes his entrance. Despite a few interruptions, he makes his case. Systematic discrimination against white people at all levels of society. Reporter: So white supremacy, he says, requires a white homeland to flourish. There is nothing that can stop an idea whose time has come. And that time is now. Reporter: His followers up front cheer while the students sit in stony silence. 90 minutes later, his mission accomplished, Spencer takes off, in a fast retreat. Spencer sucks. Spencer sucks. Reporter: Heimbach isn't as lucky. With no police to protect him, an angry crowd soon descends on him, and he is literally chased down the street. No Nazis! I crossed a rubicon long ago that I'm willing to die. And I -- that might sound stark. That might sound a little scary. Reporter: A little dramatic. A little dramatic. Sure. But the fact is, you know, politics can be -- it can be a war. Reporter: A spenc victory? Perhaps, but coming up, antifa strikes back. As neo-nazis prepare to descend on a small Kentucky town. Stay with us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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