America First Party (1944)
- For other parties with this name see: America First Party
The America First Party of 1944 was a political party which was founded on January 10, 1943. Its leader, Gerald L. K. Smith, was the party's presidential candidate in the 1944 U.S. Presidential Election. Harry Romer was the party's vice presidential candidate.
In 1944 Smith preferred the Republicans to nominate a strong candidate to run against President Roosevelt. But when they nominated Wendell Willkie who Smith saw as an internationalist he felt he had no choice but to form the America First Party.
The party wanted to send the Blacks back to Africa. It also called for an investigation on the relationship of the Jews with communism and the New Deal. Smith suggested Canada should be adsorbed and the island of Greenland bought by America.
On the question of race there are indications that Smith was not in favor of a Back to Africa program since he previously stated the party was not against the Negro.
On August 29-30, 1944 the America First Party held its national convention in Detroit, Michigan and nominated Gerald L. K. Smith to be President and Harry A. Romer to be Vice President. Delegates included Carl H. Mote, George T. Foster, Homer Maertz, Mrs. Catherine Brown, Charles J. Anderson, George Vose, S. O. Sanderson, and Joseph Stoffel.
At the convention Dr. Homer Maerz proposed the following resolution on the Jewish Question:
- Whereas America is confronted with an acute Jewish problem which seems destined to lead to bloodshed and strife as in the case of other nations where Jews have surreptitiously maneuvered to a dominant political, social and economic status...
- Be it resolved, by the delegates here assembled that all Jews be deported to a later designated area or voluntarily leave American shores within five years to countries of their own choosing, and
- Be it further resolved, that those Jews who elect to remain in America submit to sterilization, thus solving the American Jewish problem for all time.
There was no second to the motion and the plank of the platform did not pass.
The results of the election were less than encouraging for America First Party members; Smith received 1,780 votes, mostly where the party appeared on the ballot in the states of Texas and Michigan. In Michigan the FBI reported in an internal memo that the American First Party vote total was "short-counted" as much as ninety percent.
In 1952 a rump America First Party nominated Douglas MacArthur for President, and Harry F. Byrd for vice president, without their consent, while the Christian Nationalists nominated MacArthur and crusading anti-Communist California State Senator Jack B. Tenney. This election apparently marked the final time that candidates were fielded by the original Smith movement or its offspring.
Party officials and candidates
- Earl Southard, state chairman Illinois
- William C. Richardson, candidate for State Senate 12th district, Michigan
Jeansonne, Glen Gerald L.K. Smith: Minister of Hate New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988
- George Vose
- List of political parties in the United States
- Lineage of American Nationalist organizations and individuals