Allied Forces for Prohibition: Defending Prohibition

Allied Forces

The Allied Forces for Prohibi ­tion was an organization of 29 temperance groups. The groups united in 1928.(1) They did so in the face of increasing calls for the modification or repeal of National Prohibition. By 1932, the Allied Forces claimed to have 1,000,000 adherents.”(2) Rev. Daniel A. Poling headed it.

When the American Legion called for a national referendum on National Prohibition, Poling reacted. He called it a “fundamental mis ­take.” Yet he didn’t challenge the Legion’s motives or integrity.(3) This was an unusually po ­lite statement of disagreement. Exchanges between wet and drys were typically highly emotional.

Allied Forces for Prohibition

Daniel A. Poling

In an address to students, faculty and townspeople at Hope College, Poling argued that most Americans favored Prohibition. But they lacked motivation to support it. He asserted that “prohibition absolutely did not create the ‘speak easy’ — it revealed it!” He believed that ”The liquor traffic is not the result of prohibition, but prohibition is the result of the liquor traffic.” An article in the college newspaper described Rev. Poling as “a gift ­ed speaker and humorist.”(4)

In 1931, the Allied Forces for Prohibition announced that it had begun publishing the Allied News. It was  an eight page weekly tabloid devoted entirely to news about dry organizations. A newspa ­per reported that “Daniel A. Poling, former pastor of Marble Collegiate Church [in New York City] and one of the organizers of the new Allied Forces for Prohibition, and Oliver  W. Stewart of the National Enquirer, are the editors.”(5) The group also published a pam ­phlet supporting Prohibition titled Prohibition Facts.(6)

The Allied Forces announced a nation-wide speaking campaign in support of Pro ­ hibition. In 231 days, it planned 1,566 mass meetings in 261 cities and it expected to reach over 2,000,000 people.(7) Miss Norma C. Brown, secretary of the organization, was among the speakers on the national tour.(8) compare to the Flying Squadron of America.

The Election

As the election of 1932 approached, the Allied Forces attempted unsuccessfully to pre ­vent either the Democratic or Republican Parties from including a wet plank in their plat ­ forms.(9)

The Allied Forces for Prohibition cooperated with other temperance organizations  in an effort to draft Sen. William E. Borah as the presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party.(10) Failing to draft Sen. Borah, the Allied Forces decided to support Herbert Hoover. This was  despite his support for restoring the control of alcoholic beverages to the states. The American Temperance Union took the same position. However, the Anti-Saloon  League, the Prohibition Party, and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union would not support him. They would not endorse the lesser of two evils. Instead, they redirected their efforts to electing dry candidates to Congress.(11)

After Repeal

Repeal of National Prohibition did not end the work of the Allied Forces for Prohibition. For example, it turned its attention to preserving state-wide prohibition.(12) Even after Repeal, almost 40% of the U.S. population lived under prohibition. They were in dry states, counties or other political subdivisions. The last state abolished its prohibition in 1966. That’s a third of a century after Repeal.

Viewed in that light, the Allied Forces for Prohibition may have been more successful than might appear at first glance. There are still many, many dry counties. But today, Prohibition has largely been replaced by neo-prohibi ­tion.

Allied Forces for Prohibition References

1 Drys Unite. El Paso Evening Post, December 19, 1928, p. 4.

2 Spit on Hoover. Ames Daily Tribune, August 16, 1932, p. 4.

3 Introduction of Repeal Bill to Congress Assured. Dry Forces Plan to Make Prohibition Fences Stronger. Will Place the Blame on Consumer as Well as Seller. Ellensburg Daily Record, September 26, 1931, p. 1.

4 Dr. Poling Thrills Crowd in Address. Hope College Ancha., December 2, 1931, p. 1 and p. 4.

5 Dry Tabloid Makes Bow: New Paper Devoted to News of Prohibition Organizations. Milwaukee Journal, September 6, 1931, p. 10.

6 Bernstein, O.O. Capitalize the prohibition agitation. Ministry, November, 1932.

7 Dry Tabloid Makes Bow: New Paper Devoted to News of Prohibition Organizations.  Milwaukee Journal, September 6, 1931, p. 10.

8 Daily Plainsman, April 30, 1932, p. 7.

9 Wet Platform Rumors Bring Worry to Drys.  Cornell Daily Sun, May 26, 1932, p. 6.

10 Drys Still Hope to Draft Borah. Reading Eagle, July 7, 1932, p. 2.

11 Split on Hoover. Ames Daily Tribune, August 16, 1932, p. 4.

12 State Dry Forces Plan Enormous Dry Demonstration Here. Jefferson City Post-Tribune, February 1, 1933, p. 1