America First in the News, with special thanks to Timothy McGinnis

Racist "Ve Vant Var" label issued by the German American Bund

Recently Donald Trump announced part of his foreign policy plan; calling it, America First. The phrase, America First, was used patriotically in WW1, and it is reasonable to assume he was using the phrase in this manner.

Over 20 years later, in 1940, the America First Committee was formed by Yale Law student, Robert Douglas Stuart. Seals issued by this society are listed in the Mosbaugh All Fund Catalog, Patriotic and Veterans #10, published by the Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society. Click on the pdf file below to view an excellent collection of "America First". Nearly all of this material was issued by the America First Committee, with notable exceptions being the 1939 "Ve Vant Var" label and the WW1 era patriotic labels on top of page 8.

The America First Committee was one of the foremost non interventionist groups against American entry into WW2. Noted members of the America First Committee included future Peace Corp Director, and George McGovern's Presidential running mate, Sargent Shriver; future President Gerald Ford; and future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

American aviator Charles Lindbergh became a public spokesperson for the America First Committee, and though he expressed sympathy for the plight of the Jews in Germany, he argued that, "... entry into the war would serve them (Jewish people) better (than average Americans)." Lindbergh identified the forces pulling America into war as, "...the British, the Roosevelt administration, and the Jews." But throughout American history most of us have been inspired by our political, and religious freedoms to act as ambassadors of liberty.

Though listed as an issue of the America First Committee, CS&CSS member Timothy McGinnis (author of the revised Easter Seal section of the Mosbaugh All Fund Catalog) questioned if the rare "Ve Vant Var" label met the standards of the organization, or if it was issued by an entirely different organization. This label makes fun of a Jewish immigrant accent, and behind the "V" for victory symbol is the Jewish Star of David, implying that Jewish people were promoting American involvement in the war. Of course many were, but this racist label implies that Jewish people weren't worth fighting for.

McGinnis uncovered information which confirmed the origin of this seal. California court case People vs. Noble, 3rd Dist April 24th, 1945, detailed how members of the German American Bund, a pro Hitler organization, created and distributed the 1939 "Ve Vant Var" labels.

Lindbergh was a poor choice for spokesperson of the America First Committee. Though a national hero at the time, his motive for being opposed to war was tainted by his eugenics beliefs. Eugenics promoted practices that aimed at improving the genetic quality of the human population, and was a philosophy with implications for a racially based social order. The height of this movement is associated with Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust.

PDF icon america first collection.pdf