The pledge of allegiance was the origin of the
salute of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party
(Nazi Party) because Francis Bellamy was a self-proclaimed
national socialist who promoted “military socialism”
(a Bellamy term). To promote militarism, Bellamy's
pledge of allegiance began with a military salute.
The military salute was
held for the phrase “I pledge allegiance” and then the
right arm extended straight outward toward the flag for the
rest of the chant. Historic photographs are linked
The first description of
the pledge had the palm of the hand turned upward for
the straight-armed gesture. The gesture changed
in use, growing into the "Heil Hitler" (the Hitler Greeting or
Hail Hitler) appearance because of the military salute (palm
down) extended casually straight toward the flag.
James Bailey Upham made
a suggestion to Bellamy of the gesture. Upham’s suggested
gesture included the palm upward as if saying “Here is the flag.”
It was because of the inclusion of the military salute
that the pledge evolved into the Nazi-style. Bellamy liked
the military salute because Bellamy's cousin Edward Bellamy
was the originator of "military socialism" as a political philosophy,
and Francis was Edward's biggest fan and cohort.
Bellamy even used military
groups to promote the pledge, including the Grand
Army of the Republic, a group of Northern Civil War veterans.
Upham was also familiar
with Bellamy's "military socialism" dogma because
Edward Bellamy, cousin and cohort to Francis, had written of
it in the international bestseller "Looking Backward" in 1888,
and both Bellamys had been openly involved in the national socialism
movement and the "Nationalist" magazine.
Edward Bellamy was a bitter
West Point failure but he loved Prussian militarism
and the educational system. According to Tom Peyser "On his
deathbed, he wiled away the hours by arranging tin soldiers
along the folds of his coverlet." That would interest all who
loathe the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, because Prussia
led to the formation of the German empire, and after World War I,
Prussia continued to exist as the largest Land (state) within the
Weimar Republic and under the National Socialist German Workers’
Party. After World War II it was dissolved by decree of the Allied
Control Council in 1947.
Even with the palm turned
upward, people would later see the relationship to
the National Socialist German Workers' Party and that is why
the straight-arm salute was disfavored in 1942, and the hand-over-the-heart
was adopted. (On June 22, 1942, the pledge was included in the U.S.
Flag Code, but Congress gave it the modern hand-over-the-heart
gesture. There is probably one overriding reason why Congress
interfered: to make everyone drop the straight-arm salute, which
was becoming very embarassing and very revealing. The US had entered
WWII on December 7, 1941 against Japan after Pearl Harbor. On December
11, 1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and
the U.S. declared war on Germany and Italy.)
It is interesting to note
that Upham's father had operated a school in New Hampshire
that included Roman and Greek classics and Upham had attended
that school. It is not clear how this might have
influenced the “Roman salute” myth that eventually arose about
the straight-armed salute.
Upham was the head of the
premium department of the Youth’s Companion Magazine
and was also a junior partner in its firm, the Perry Mason
Company of Boston, which was owned by Daniel S. Ford, uncle-by-marriage
Ford had supported churches
where Francis Bellamy preached socialism. Ford was
attracted to socialism and was interested in the Social Gospel
which, to his friend Francis Bellamy, meant Christian Socialism.
At his death Ford bequeathed almost one million dollars to the
Baptist Social Union of Boston, and that money was used to build
Ford Hall, the meeting place of the Ford Hall Forum, which still
exists. In leaving money to the Forum, Ford said that the Social
Union and the nation should foster closer personal relations between
Christian businessman and the workingman because of the latter's "religious
indifference, his feverish unrest and his belief that businessmen
and capital are his enemies.”
Before Bellamy worked for
the Youth’s Companion, Upham had promoted the use of
the Flag in government schools. In 1891 and 1892, Upham
coordinated a national celebration of Columbus focused
on government schools and a flag ceremony with the as yet unwritten
pledge (Columbus "sailed the ocean blue" in 1492). Upham
wrote many drafts of a pledge and asked for comments from the magazine’s
staff. He was never happy with his drafts and he asked Bellamy
to take over.
The only well known flag
salute at that time was Colonel Balch's salute, written
in 1889. That salute went as follows: "We give our
heads and our hearts to God and our country; one country,
one language, one Flag." During the speel, the youngsters
would point at their heads, their heart and then at the flag.
Thus, Balch’s chant ended with a straight arm pointing at the flag.
Balch had first used his pledge on Flag Day, June 14th, in his
free kindergarten for New York City's poor and immigrants where he
served as a principal. It seems to have become a daily salute in
the classroom for all of his students.
Bellamy and Upham wanted
a better pledge.
When Bellamy finished writing
the pledge in August, 1892, he showed it to Upham.
The pledge still did not have a salute. Upham came
to attention, snapped his heels together and chanted, "I pledge
allegiance to my flag," and he stretched out his right arm and
hand with palm up while he recited the rest of the pledge.
Later, the first program
for the pledge stated: “At a signal from the Principal
the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the
Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil give the Flag the
military salute - right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line
with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together,
slowly: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which
it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
At the words, "to my Flag," the right hand is extended gracefully, palm
upward, towards the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end
of the affirmation.; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the
Because of Bellamy’s military
socialism and his addition of the military salute,
the pledge’s salute evolved into the Nazi-style salute.
Government schools teach
that the pledge was created to sell flags to schools
and Francis Bellamy is described as an advertising pioneer.
That is a whitewashed piece of the whole story. A
better description is that Bellamy was a propaganda pioneer,
comparable to Leni Riefenstahl.
Germans learned bad American
behavior via old films, via WWI, and via the widespread
use of the straight-arm salute by German-American groups
(including the German American Bund) in the USA, and from Germans
who were educated in the USA or resided in the USA, and vice
versa. It led to its adoption later by the National Socialist
German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party).
Even if Hitler (or anyone
else) misunderstood the salute to be an old Roman salute
(and it is not clear that Hitler believed it to be an old
Roman salute), that would not alter Hitler's (or anyone else's)
knowledge that the salute was in widespread use in the USA (from
1892). Anyone who thought it was an old Roman salute,
also thought that it was an old Roman salute used throughout
the USA. The part that was correct was that it was a salute
used throughout the USA.
Bellamy believed that government
schools with pledges and flags were needed to brainwash
children to embrace nationalism, militarism, and socialism.
Bellamy wanted the government
to takeover everything and impose the military’s “efficiency,”
as he said. It is the origin of the modern military-socialist
Bellamy wanted a flag over
every school because he wanted to nationalize and militarize
everything, including all schools, and eliminate all of the
better alternatives. During Bellamy’s time the government was
taking over education.
Bellamy wanted government
schools to ape the military. Government schools
were intended to create an “industrial army” (another Bellamy
phrase, and the word “army” was not metaphorical) and to help
nationalize everything else.
That is one of many reasons
why Francis Bellamy and his also-famous cousin Edward
Bellamy are known as the "American Hitlers" and as the first
"American Nazis." http://rexcurry.net/pledge1.html
Germany and the entire world
is owed an apology for the horrid influence that government
had inside the U.S. in promoting socialized schools, military
socialism within government schools, the creation of industrial
armies, and daily robotic pledges of allegiance in military
formation with the infamous straight-arm salute.