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31

2017

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Trump's 'America First' Pledge Has Echoes Of Rhodesia's Racist White Nationalists

By Brooks Marmon, University of Edinburgh

Donald Trump’s bleak inauguration speech has attracted attention for, among other things, employing the phrase “America first”.

The term was popularised by the famed aviator Charles Lindbergh and is associated with anti-Semitic and Nazi sympathisers who sought to keep the US out of World War II.

But Lindbergh and the America First Committee are not the only 20th century white nationalists to use the term. The small band of racist whites in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, employed a version of it as protest against the onset of decolonisation and the spread of black rule across Africa.

In the late 1950s, William J. Harper, who was also known for his daring aviation exploits in World War II, made waves by using the slogan.

Rhodesia first, last, and always.

A few years later, Harper struck one of the most dramatic blows for white supremacy as a signatory

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