General Smedley Darlington Butler
“The Plot to Seize the White House”
Written by Jules Archer
By Richard E. Noble
This book is basically a biography of General Smedley D. Butler. Once again I must admit my ignorance in stating that I had never heard of this General or this plot against Franklin Roosevelt or of the author Jules Archer.
General Butler as it turns out was quite well known in his day, the plot to seize the White house was investigated in Congress and Mr. Archer has written many successful books.
Smedley Butler was a Marine and quite a Marine he was. He is another great General from a Quaker background. His dad was a judge and served in the congress for 32 years.
Smedley fought in Cuba, in the Philippines, in Mexico, in Nicaragua, in Honduras, in Granada, in Haiti, in China, and in Europe during World War I. He served in the Marine Corps for 33 years and on August 21, 1931 in a speech before the American Legion convention in Connecticut he summed up his career with the following:
“I spent 33 years ... being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short I was a racketeer for capitalism ... I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.
“In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested ... I had ... a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions ... I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents.”
And he went on.
As you can imagine he created quite a stir. But his marines loved him. They lined up everywhere to hear him speak and to shake his hand. He was under fire over 120 times in his career, wounded numerous times and had a chest full of medals - he was presented with the prestigious Medal of Honor twice. On the first presentation he sent it back saying that he didn’t deserve it. The Marine Corps sent it back to him and ordered him to wear it. So he did.
At his retirement at Quantico he gave his farewell speech to his beloved Leathernecks and said; “It has been a privilege to scrap for you just as you have scrapped for me ... When I leave I mean to give every one of you a map showing you exactly where I live. I want you to come around and see me, especially if you ever get into trouble and I will help you if I can. I can give you a square meal and a place to sleep even if I can not guarantee you a political job.”
He actually gave out maps and it is said that he lived up to all his promises.
He supported the 1932 Bonus Army and their march on Washington and the Hover government. The same group of World War I vets who were routed out of their cardboard shacks and tents by MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton brandishing their sabers and doing their duty to defend America against America’s past heroes.
General Butler supported Franklin Roosevelt and he had this to say in one of his speeches:
“Today, with all our wealth, a deathly gloom hangs over us. Today we appear to be divided. There has developed, through the past few years, a new Tory class, a group that believes that the nation, its resources and its manpower was provided by the Almighty for its own special use and profit ... on the other side is the great mass of American people who still believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
“This Tory group, through its wealth, its power and its influence, has obtained a firm grip on our government to the detriment of our people and the well being of our nation. We will prove to the world that we meant what we said a century and a half ago - that this government was instituted not only to secure to our people the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but the right to eat and to all our willing millions the right to work.”
He developed a really unique military strategy. He shook the press and all the big wigs up when he said that he would never again carry a gun on foreign soil. He went on to propose two Constitutional amendments. In the first he suggested that only those
who were physically able to fight be allowed to vote on any war. In the second he suggested that our planes and ships guard our coastline exclusively. He wanted it to be an end to U.S. imperialism and foreign wars. He was even opposed to our entry into World War II.
This book then goes on to tell of a plot on the part of the disgruntled rich and wealthy in America to seize the U.S. Government via an organization of soldiers and World War I veterans and establish a Fascist Government. Just as had been done in Italy and Germany. Butler exposed the plot and named names - the Du Ponts, J. P. Morgan, Rockefeller, Pew, Mellon, Al Smith, John J. Raskob and others of the rich and prominent were all brought under the spotlight.
An investigation in Congress took place and, of course, all the charges were denied. No one was ever indicted or prosecuted, but all of Butler claims were verified and corroborated by the investigators. The plot was foiled by its exposure and the American people and its government was alerted to the danger.