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America First, 1940

The definitive, organised expression of isolationism was the America First lobby founded at Yale University Law School, September 1940. One of its founders was Gerald Ford, who became US president in 1974 but was then the university's assistant football coach. The chairman of Sears Roebuck and the Chicago Tribune owners added sufficient gravitas. The anti-Semitic aviator Charles Lindbergh, the actress Lillian Gish, who was immediately black-listed by Hollywood and the New York journalist John Flynn joined to great acclaim. These people deplored fascism but did not know how to defeat it.

America First's supporters were isolationists who believed the world beyond the US was intractable to American ideals and expected the US to ignore it from the safety of a continent between two oceans. So what if Hitler took over Europe?

The whole of Europe was regarded as a belligerent tangle, replete with ancient enemies. These America First luminaries did not want the US to play the role of global policeman, or, as Herbert Hoover claimed, to embark on a new Children's Crusade against many totalitarian enemies. The only state where America First did well was Florida, it was strong in the Mid-Western states distanced from the usual Irish-American Democrat-voting aficionados in the big cities and the German-Americans of the Great Plains states. Farmers resented the east coast Bankers who urged the nation into war to make profits from armaments. Women idealised farm life and hated Hollywood for their values which they equated with Jews.

Anglophobes derided the British and French colonies as morally worse than Hitler's Reich. Sufficient America First supporters were in favour of the Nazis and hated the Jews of New York and Hollywood, clearly important motives and in the case of Lindbergh who implied the Jews had dual loyalties. An Israel to galvanise the many American anti-Semites did not exist in the 1930s as there was no Christian right to support the Jew's cause. Both Lindbergh and Olympic Games Avery Brundage were jettisoned by the America first national committee because of their hatred of the Jews.

Americans despised the British rigid class system, US Jews were hostile to British concern for the Arabs of Palestine. The British, aided by the FBI who moved against isolationists by a well placed propaganda campaign mounted by the British in the US.

Modern politics, led by a self interested fraud with no regard for law or morality borrowed America First and MAGA the latter a meaningless slogan when America is an enduringly great economic and military power. The tangerine tyrant, is he the poor person's idea of a rich person - looks rich talks brash-, diminished by a recent indictment knows nothing of the relevant history of America First. Does the gobshite understand anything of the world outside of the US? How could this individual act in such a tawdry manner? 'The Emperor has no clothes'- Stephanie Clifford; Karen McDougal remains silent. Both were bribed for their silence. The office of US president demands a dignified individual not this rabble rouser. The Joker of Gotham arraigned, catharsis palpable, his legal travails will run and run.

Moral Combat, Michael Burleigh, Harper Press, 2011


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