Anti-Prohibition Congress

The Anti-Prohibition Congress was held in Brussels in 1922. Attending were politicians from Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The Congress was viewed as a threat to National Prohibition in the U.S. which, at the time, had been in existence less than two years.

The Anti-Prohibition Congress, wrote Commissioner Roy A. Haynes of the U.S. Prohibition Bureau, was working with Count Albert de Mun, "president of one of the largest champagne companies in France and formerly an extensive exporter to the U.S.", to supply money and "the active support of a hundred million European advocates" in an effort to repeal National Prohibition in the U.S. In spite of these assertions, no evidence of such actions was produced.

With the passage of time it became increasingly clear that not only had Prohibition failed, but that it was counterproductive. It promoted drinking in often dangerous illegal establishments; it led to the widespread production of moonshine that sometimes contained toxins that caused blindness, paralysis and even death; it contributed to the rapid growth of organized crime; it promoted violence; it led to corruption of public officials; it resulted in disrespect for law; it reduced tax revenue; it led to increased expenses for criminal justice administration, and many other serious problems.

The views of the Anti-Prohibition Congress ultimately found expression in Repeal, which ended National Prohibition in the U.S. in 1933.

Although Prohibition was rejected over 75 years ago, many people and organizations today support neo-prohibition ideas and strongly defend the vestiges of Prohibition that still remain.

Resources and References on the Anti-Prohibition Congress

  • Behr, Edward. Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America. NY: Arcade, 1996.
  • Haynes, Roy A. Prohibition Inside Out. NY: Doubleday, 1926. Roy A. Hayes was very critical of the Anti-Prohibition Congress
  • Cashman, Sean D. Prohibition: the Lie of the Land. NY: Free Press and London: Collier Macmillan, 1981.

Filed Under: Prohibition