A colonel saved U.S.
Recently I learned about a little known incident in our country’s history I felt was worth sharing with everyone. This is not the kind of history you learn in school, but it is true nonetheless. It tells of how in 1934 an honored Marine Corps general saved America from becoming a fascist state.
America was in the Great Depression that began with the stock market crash of 1929 that put millions out of work, and that event brought Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democrats into the White House in 1933.
1933 was also the year Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power in Germany, and wealthy industrialists in Germany and in other nations, including the United States, supported them. Hitler assumed dictatorial powers after the Reichstag fire, which was blamed on the German Communists but actually set by Hitler’s SS. The Nazis quickly crushed the Communists, and Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, soon had complete control of the German press. The German people were told only what the Nazis wanted them to hear. Hitler wrote, “The great masses of the people … will more easily fall victim to a great lie than to a small one.”
Some very powerful people in our country began to worry that Roosevelt’s new deal was the beginnings of socialism in our country, and a few felt that Roosevelt was secretly a communist. That many American workers and intellectuals were joining the U.S. Communist Party was a fact that also worried these powerful people. They were becoming afraid.
The conspirators believed that a fascist system in the United States could protect them from socialism and communism. Early in 1934, backers at the Morgan Bank, General Motors and Du Pont put together $3 million to finance the coup, with Irenee du Pont and GM President William Knudson working on the plan.
Part of the plan involved using “communist” terrorists to create chaos, while putting together a “fascist” army from the many disgruntled WWI veterans who were not receiving benefits. The conspirators would also have the Hearst newspaper chain on their side.
They needed a military man, a hero, to be the leader in this fascist movement, and decided to approach retired Major General Smedley Butler to lead the veterans’ march on Washington they were planning. While still in his teens, Butler had joined the Marines, and fought in the Spanish American War, the Boxer Rebellion, in Nicaragua, Mexico, commanded a Marine regiment in France, Haiti and China, and was awarded two Medals of Honor in his career. Retiring in 1931, he had supported veterans’ benefits and had become an outspoken critic of FDR, and seemed the perfect man for the job.
Butler was approached by Wall Street people and asked to lead 500,000 veterans on a march to Washington, allegedly to protect the president from a communist plot, but with the idea of taking total power. During meetings with Butler, they had dropped the names of some of the powerful people involved in the plot.
Butler would have none of it. As he testified before Congress, he told the conspirators, “my interest is, my one hobby is, maintaining a democracy. If you get these 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of fascism, I am going to get 500,000 more and lick the hell out of you, and we will have a real war right at home.”
When he figured out what they were up to, Butler went straight to President Roosevelt and told him the plan.
Franklin Roosevelt was in a bad spot, for if he ordered the arrest of some of the most powerful men in our nation and charged them with treason in the middle of the Depression, it could trigger another Wall Street crash. Other powerful people might turn against him, and the president knew he had to keep them on his side.
Roosevelt was a smart man, so he mentioned at a press conference, somewhat lightly, that he had heard that these certain people were plotting to overthrow his presidency. While the newspapers, many of which were owned by elitists, downplayed the plot as a ridiculous rumor, Congress appointed a special committee to investigate it. Several of the primary plotters went on extended overseas vacations during the four years it took the special committee to release its report. While downplaying the seriousness of the coup, the report stated “certain persons made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country” and that they were “able to verify all pertinent statements made by General Butler.”
General Smedley Butler possibly saved America from becoming a fascist state in 1934, and he deserves recognition. Butler saw that there were powerful forces at work behind the scenes in our country, and in 1935 was quoted, “I
helped make Mexico and especially Tamico safe for American oil interests. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long … . I felt like I might have given Al Capone a few hints.”
Butler, who died in 1940, spoke out frequently against war and fascism, and became an isolationist, arguing for a military that could not operate more than 500 miles outside our territorial boundaries, so they would not become a tool of Wall Street. He saw war as a racket of the American and European bankers, who lent money to nations on both sides of a conflict, and who often worked behind the scenes to promote war. War is good business for some.
This little known incident in our nation’s history certainly has implications today. In 1934, powerful elitist groups tried to overthrow our elected president. If you are someone who believes that these elitists still wield power, then you would probably believe that there has been one successful coup in our country, the murder of John Kennedy in 1963, and another attempted one, the shooting of Ronald Reagan in 1981. The behind the scenes history of the 20th Century presents solid evidence that elitist groups have control through the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the “Bilderbugers,” the Order of the Skull & Bones, and the international banking interest, and have influenced and manipulated much of our history during this time.
The events leading to the horror of 9/11 and the War with Iraq show that powerful forces are still at work controlling our government, and much of the news media, from behind the scenes. Freedom of the press depends on who controls the presses and the TV and radio networks. We may soon be living in a corporate version of a fascist state, run by a small group of very powerful men. To them today, as it was in 1934, it is a global game of wealth and power, and greed.
For Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, it was always Duty, Honor, Country. He was a true American hero.