History of the United States

Why The U.S. Bellamy Salute Was Problematic

The Bellamy salute was named after Francis J. Bellamy, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance. However, anyone can see the trouble this salute may have caused in the WWII era. The similarities between the Bellamy salute and Hitler's salute drew commentary as early as the mid-1930s. Congress feared footage of the Bellamy salute could be used by Nazis as propaganda: "the photos could be mischaracterized as proof that Americans were expressing support for the ideologies of Hitler and Mussolini."

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The original salute to the American flag was the Bellamy salute, which looked similar to the Nazi salute. 00:04

  2. Frances Bellamy is author of the Pledge of Allegiance. 00:17

  3. Due to controversy over the Bellamy salute, placing the hand over the heart took place as the gesture to perform during the Pledge of Allegiance. 00:21

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