The pro-Nazi origins of “America First”

January 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm (anti-semitism, apologists and collaborators, conspiracy theories, fascism, history, populism, posted by JD, Racism, reactionay "anti-imperialism", Trump, United States)


Above: Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech

  • “The American carnage stops right here, right now. From this day forward a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward it’s going to be only America first! America first!”  – Donald Trump

In his characteristically poisonous inaugural address, Trump once again used the sinister slogan “America First,” the name of the isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler.

The America First Committee began in spring 1940 at Yale University, where Douglas Stuart Jr., the son of a vice president of Quaker Oats, began organizing his fellow students. He, together with future US president Gerald Ford and Potter Stewart, a future Supreme Court justice, drafted a petition stating, “We demand that Congress refrain from war, even if England is on the verge of defeat.”

Their proposed solution to the international crisis was a negotiated peace with Hitler. Other Yale students — including Sargent Shriver, who served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and Kingman Brewster, the chairman of the Yale Daily News, future president of Yale and ambassador to the UK– joined the isolationist crusade.

Robert Wood, the chairman of Sears Roebuck became the group’s chairman. The organization soon included Col. Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune; Minnesota meatpacker Jay Hormel; Sterling Morton, the president of Morton Salt Company; U.S. Rep. Bruce Barton of New York; and Lessing Rosenwald, the former chairman of Sears.

Soon the organization had several hundred chapters and almost a million members, two-thirds of whom lived in the Midwest. The celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh joined America First in April 1941, serving as the committee’s principal spokesman and star of its rallies.

Seeking to present itself as a mainstream organization, America First struggled with the problem of the anti-Semitism of some of its leaders and many of its members. It had to remove from its executive committee not only the notoriously anti-Semitic Henry Ford but also Avery Brundage, the former chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee who had prevented two Jewish runners from the American track team in Berlin in 1936 from running in the finals of the 4×100 relay.

Still, the problem of anti-Semitism remained; a Kansas chapter leader pronounced President Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt “Jewish” and Winston Churchill a “half-Jew.”

After Pearl Harbor, the America First Committee closed its doors, but not before Lindbergh made his infamous speech at an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, in September 1941. After charging that President Roosevelt had manufactured “incidents” to propel the country into war, Lindbergh proceeded to reveal his true thoughts.

“The British and the Jewish races,” he declared, “for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.” The nation’s enemy was an internal one, the Jews. “Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government,” he contended. Booing began to drown out the cheers, forcing him again and again to stop, wait out the catcalls, and start his sentences over.

“Lindbergh ought to be shipped back to Germany to live with his own people!” shouted a Texas state representative before the House of Representatives in Austin passed a resolution informing the aviator that he was not welcome in the Lone Star State. Across the country, newspapers, columnists, politicians and religious leaders lashed out at Lindbergh.

“The voice is the voice of Lindbergh, but the words are the words of Hitler,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle. “I am absolutely certain that Lindbergh is pro-Nazi,” wrote New York Herald Tribune columnist Dorothy Thompson.

Trump is a supremely ignorant man, but he surely knows the filthy origins of the slogan he’s used time and again: we have been warned.

22 Comments

  1. Mick said,

    This is even lazy by Godwin standards.

    Same as saying Jo Cox’s killer was from Britain First just because he exclaimed those words.

    Well I suppose it’s either that from the left, or being told to check our privilege all the time.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Jo Cox’s killer was, indeed, from the ‘Britain First’ tradition and an avowed neo-Nazi. Trump, ignorant as he is, surely knows the tradition he’s referencing; after all he’s shamelessly quoted Mussolini before now.

      • @pplswar said,

        Trump has no fucking clue. And that wasn’t a quote from Mussolini.

      • Mick said,

        He wasn’t from Britain First. If Britain First promotes and practices murder, I will happily admit I was wrong.

        But the central point stands. When convenient for the Left, you’re guilty by association. He said America First! Therefore, he’s a KKK Nazi!

  2. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) said,

    • Mick said,

      Well, when the Left’s brotherhood of man crap always fails, whip up a Nazi scare.

  3. @pplswar said,

    • Jim Denham said,

      Thanks @pplswar: the same old “Socialism of Fools” is rife in the Uk Stop The War Coalition, including its leadership.

  4. Ben said,

    I don’t think JD has succeeded in demonstrating that there is something sinister in Trump’s usage of the slogan “America First”. The only movement in the world today whose toxicity and barbarism can be compared to the German National Socialism of the 1940s is ISIS, and Trump has spoken out as strongly against ISIS as is possible, more strongly than his predecessor in fact.

    It should be remembered that many in the US left also strongly supported the 1940’s America First movement. It would behove those on the left today to acknowledge this rather than to brush it under the carpet.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      The left today think the islamists are anti capitalist.

      • Mick said,

        Well, Islamists are rotten at market economies, on the whole.

        And they can’t even sell their free oil without rigging the market.

  5. Glasgow Working Class said,

    The left will be blaming the USA for the rise of Adolf and the death camps. It wisnae the Germans it was an American plot tae dae in the Jews.
    The left have lost the plot. It seems Trump is to blame for women from ROI and NI not getting the right to abortion. Blame Trump for everthing that has happened before his inaurgination seems to be the order of the day from the mad left.

    • Mick said,

      Indeed, they’re screaming in the street.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    For all their rather pathetic denial, Trump apologists cannot escape from straight FACT that their hero used the slogan of the US pro-appeasement movement. His attitude to minorities also echoes Lindbergh’s comments about Jews, though Lindbergh expressed himself, if anything, less hatefully: he didn’t, for instance, accuse Jews of being rapists.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Iistening to some Yank protestors being interviewed and some are convinced the Russians rigged the election. Maybe Kim Jung Eck should talk to the Russkies.

    • Mick said,

      No wonder the SJWs have actual street meltdowns on camera, with this kind of propaganda!

      People have said America or Britain First with no other connotation whatever. The movements adopted the expression, not vice-versa.

      Also, Trump clearly stated ILLEGAL immigrants were to be dealt with, plus sexual criminals are indeed coming up from central America. Only a ‘holohoax’-type leftist would deny it,

  7. Jim Denham said,

    The pathetic, breathless, admirers of stwongman Twump (and his pal Putin) continue in denial. Either their stwongman-hero is unaware of the provenance of “America First”, in which case he’s even more ignorant than suspected … or he *is* aware of it, and happy to be part of the pro-appeasement anti-Semitic tradition.

    • Mick said,

      The left are in denial. America First was a sentiment in popular mindset way before any group formed to take the name.

      Trump won, get over it.

      • Jim Denham said,

        “Trump won, get over it”: well, yes. If you ignore the actual voting figures. But he won the electoral college. That doesn’t mean we have to accept the crook that is Putin’s man as legitimate. Hopefully, he’ll be impeached.

    • Mick said,

      That’s comedy. When conservatives put their reasons for Obama being an illegitimate president, leftists laughed and told them to get over it.

      Well well well, how the tide is turned! You just keep on squealin’! You’ve four more years (maybe at least) of meltdown yet to come!

      The Electoral College is made up of elected members, the side with the most backing them gets their man as president. Bit like parliamentary constituencies. It’s all fair.

      Get over it.

  8. John Rogan said,

    Unfortunately, the Labour campaign for Mayor in the West Midlands has decided that “Taking back control, putting West Midlands first” is the “populist” way to win.

    Their leaflet prominently features a St George’s flag saying “This is England – and we deserve the best deal from Brexit.”

    So here we have the Labour Party trying to build up support, not only by implying there is some kind of “best deal” to be had from Brexit but, more shamefully, aping the language of Farage and Trump. It legitimises their language and politics which, as in “taking back control”, is really an anti-immigration message.

    So, logically, will we have Jeremy Corbyn calling for “Taking back control, putting Britain first” in the General Election?

    • Mick said,

      As long as the Left see national pride as hate, they will never understand it and look like bad comics when trying to ape it.

      And anyway, Labour are the kings (and kingesses) of centralised government. They love Whitehall controlling and the EC controlling even more.

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