By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and the United States entry into World War II in 1941, a K of C welfare program for servicemen had been well established by Canadian Knights, built and modeled on the Knights’ World War I work at the Supreme Convention in 1944, the Order established a $1 million trust fund for the children of members who died or became disabled in World War II. Following the end of the war in 1945, the Order turned its attention to the growing threats of communism and fascism. To combat these dangers, the Knights launched in 1946 the Crusade for the Preservation and Promotion of American Ideals, which published books and pamphlets to educate the public on “the perils of communism”.
Meanwhile, the postwar years saw a membership boom for the Order in the Philippines. Jesuit Father George J. Willmann envisioned the Knights as the premiere lay society in the Philippines and set about establishing councils and recruiting members. He appealed to the Supreme Council in 1947 for permission to establish three new councils in the Philippines and served as the country’s first district deputy. By the time Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart visited Manila in 1955, the Order had expanded to include 50 Filipino councils.
1941: When the U.S. enters World War II, the Order’s outreach to soldiers is conducted via the National Catholic Community Service organization. The NCCS models many of its programs on the Order’s successful WWI efforts.
1944: The Order creates a $1 million trust fund for the education of children of members who lost their lives in or as a result of World War II. This evolves into the current scholarship fund for use at Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
1945: John E. Swift is elected supreme knight. Among his first initiatives is to authorize funding for full-page advertisements in 12 major U.S. newspapers and five Canadian papers highlighting the dangers of communism. The ad offers a free copy of Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen’s pamphlet, “Communism, the Opium of the People.”
1946: The Order launches its Crusade for the Preservation and Promotion of American Ideals. Educational pamphlets on communism and the dangers of secularism are published and distributed. By August 1948, there are more than 1,300 K of C discussion groups.
1947: Several hundred radio stations broadcast K of C-sponsored programs with the titles “Safeguards of America” and “Foundations of Our American Ideals.”