The Allied Forces for Prohibition (AFP)? It was a group of 29 temperance groups. The groups united in 1928.1 They did so in the face of increasing calls for the 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 vote on National Prohibition, Poling reacted. He called it a “fundamental mistake.” Yet he didn’t challenge the Legion’s motives or integrity.3 This was a very polite statement of disagreement. Exchanges between wet and drys were typically highly emotional.
Poling addressed students, faculty and townspeople at Hope College. He argued that most people favored Prohibition. But they lacked motivation to support it. He said 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 gifted speaker and humorist.”4
In 1931, the AFP announced that it had begun publishing the Allied News. It was an eight page weekly paper devoted entirely to news about dry groups.
A newspaper reported that “Daniel A. Poling, former pastor of Marble Collegiate Church [in NY 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 pamphlet titled Prohibition Facts.6
The AFP announced a nation-wide speaking campaign. In 231 days, it planned 1,566 mass meetings in 261 cities. It expected to reach over 2,000,000 people.7 Ms. Norma C. Brown, secretary of the group, was among the speakers on the national tour.8
Then the election of 1932 approached. The Democratic and Republican Parties debated their platforms. Would they include a wet plank? The AFP tried to prevent either party from doing so. They had no success.9
The Allied Forces for Prohibition cooperated with other temperance groups in an effort to draft Sen. William E. Borah as the presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party.10 It failed. Then 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 stance.
But 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
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Repeal of National Prohibition did not end the work of the Allied Forces. 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 and counties. The last state abolished its prohibition in 1966. That’s a third of a century after Repeal.
Viewed in that light, the Allied Forces may have been more successful than might appear. There are still many, many dry counties. And almost one in five US adults today favors making drinking illegal. For everyone of any age. And for any reason. Not even Prohibition prohibited drinking! Learn what Prohibition prohibited. Tens of millions more support neo-prohibition.
Footnotes: Allied Forces for Prohibition
1 Drys Unite. El Paso Eve Post, Dec 19, 1928, p. 4.
2 Spit on Hoover. Ames Daily Trib, Aug 16, 1932, p. 4.
3 Repeal Bill to Congress Assured. Dry Forces Plan to Make Prohib Fences Stronger. Ellensburg Dail Rec, Sept 26, 1931, p. 1.
4 Dr. Poling Thrills Crowd in Address. Hope College Ancha., Dec 2, 1931, p. 1 and p. 4.
5 Dry Tabloid Makes Bow: New Paper Devoted to News of Prohib Groups. Milwaukee J, Sept 6, 1931.
6 Bernstein, O. Capitalize the prohib agitation. Minis, Nov, 1932.
7 Dry Tabloid Makes Bow: New Paper Devoted to News of Prohib Groups. Milwaukee J, Sept 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 Trib, Aug 16, 1932, p. 4.
12 State Dry Forces Plan Enormous Dry Demon Here. Jeff City Post-Trib, Feb 1, 1933, p. 1.