AMERICANISM

"Americanism is an unfailing love of country: loyalty to its institutions and ideals; eagerness to defend it against all enemies; undivided allegiance to the flag; and a desire to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity."

This was the definition adopted during the late 1920's or early 1930's by the Commanders-in-Chief of the VFW and national commanders of four other veteran's organizations. But long before these leaders agreed on this definition, the VFW had founded its own Americanism program based on the principles of its constitution.

The program got its start under Captain Walter I. Joyce on March 1, 1921. As Chairman of the Committee on Americanization, Joyce embarked on an aggressive campaign to stir up patriotism across the United States. His early efforts were aimed at furthering the goals of the VFW Creed he had developed himself. This creed, adopted by the National Council of Administration in January 1921, declared that the VFW would:

  • Do everything within its power to eliminate the hyphen in organizations composed of residents or citizens of the United States." [That is, that there should be no Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc., only Americans.] 
     

  • That this organization endeavor to bring about the speaking of the language of our country at all times and in all places within the boundaries of the United States. 
     

  • That this organization emphatically favor publication of the newspapers of our country in the language of our country and positively discourage as an act of disloyalty the publication of our newspapers in the language of any other country or race. 
     

  • That we use our utmost efforts through legislation and other means to insist that the alien population of this country prepare to become citizens or prepare to leave the country until they change their minds, and furthermore that all aliens who for cause have been refused citizenship be deported at once.

  1. Resolved, that the above declared principles be spread broadcast by the VFW in carrying out its principles of Americanism."