Smedley Butler and the Business Plot
How corporate America nearly destroyed democracy in the United States in 1933
It is unsurprising that powerful vested interests in business and government, as well as many within the media and academia who are devoted to these powers, attempt to shape perceptions, distort or conceal information, and do so with considerable success, even in relatively free and ostensibly democratic societies. What is almost amazing, however, is that at least one event of the greatest significance in the past one hundred years, was successfully erased from history and the peoples’ awareness almost completely. I am talking about the little known “Business Plot” of 1933, in which a number of the most powerful of the American business elites, including individuals from General Motors, Prescott Bush, grandfather of George Bush Jr., J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller dynasty, attempted to seize the White House by military coup, and to install a fascist regime in America. Americans as well as people across the Western world, indeed, the world as a whole, should know about his dark scheme by the business elite to destroy democracy, a scheme which would have been successful but for the integrity and courage of U.S. Major-General Smedley Butler.
We are extraordinarily fortunate that the business elite chose the wrong man for the job – that Smedley Butler, very intelligently, listened to the plotters’ plans and went along with them long enough to find out who was involved, and then went immediately to Washington, and testified before Congress as to the atrocity which was being planned by some of the most powerful U.S. citizens and business “leaders.”
This was the last straw for the highly decorated General. He wrote what should be required reading for all high school students, “War Is A Racket,” in which he declared he has been a “gangster for capitalism” for over thirty years, on three continents. After having been corporate America’s man for so long, leading the charge to secure territory, resources, cheap labour and markets for U.S. business interests, he was asked to go one step further in the betrayal of his conscience, and perform the same function at home: destroy democracy and install a business-friendly dictatorship. His stomach turned, his conscience revolted, and the rest, is history – or it would be, if it had not been erased.
In order to correct this dark and dangerous silence, it is important that Smedley Butler’s tale now be told. In his own words:
“The U.S. has routinely destroyed democracy throughout the globe while its leaders spout words about spreading democracy.
“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….
“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. 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 benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
– Major-General Smedley Butler, 1933.
“According to retired Representative John W. McCormack, former Speaker of the House, if the late Major General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps had not been a stubborn devotee of democracy, Americans today could conceivably be living under an American Mussolini, Hitler, or Franco.
“An ironic aspect of the conspiracy General Butler unmasked is that few Americans have ever heard about it, or even know anything about the general.
“Former Speaker McCormack told the author, “In peace or war he was one of the outstanding Americans in our history. I can’t emphasize too strongly the very important part he played in exposing the Fascist plot in the early 1930’s backed by and planned by persons possessing tremendous wealth.”
“The crucial events of the plot to seize the White House unfolded between July and November, 1933, with hearings before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee begun in New York City on November 20, 1934. On November 26 the committee released a statement detailing the testimony it had heard, and its preliminary findings. On February 15, 1935, the committee submitted to the House of Representatives its final report, verifying completely the testimony of General Butler.
“There is strong evidence to suggest that the conspirators may have been too important politically, socially, and economically to be brought to justice after their scheme had been exposed before the McCormack-Dickstein Committee of the House of Representatives. The largely anti-Roosevelt press of the New Deal era scotched the story as expeditiously as possible.”
(From The Plot To Seize the White House, by Jules Archer)
The story resurfaces:
In July of 2007 an American investigative journalist, John Buchanan, broke through more of the fog surrounding these largely buried events of critical importance to our understanding of both history and on-going political-economic realities of power in society. What he found was that in addition to the details already outlined here, it is established beyond any doubt that Prescott Bush, George Bush Jr’s grandfather, was indeed involved in this grim and sinister plot. After this reporter again broke through the icy chill of silence and forgetfulness, a U.K. newspaper picked up the story, the Guardian, followed by the BBC, which did a full documentary on the subject. Since that one brave and determined journalist sought and found the truth, and unearthed the story in July 2007, there has been a growing revelation and interest surrounding this most astonishing, or at least, striking of events. Smedley Butler should be read and honoured, and the Business Plot both studied, and more importantly, learned from. The next coup against democracy may not be so direct, but no less dangerous. The price of freedom is in truth, eternal vigilance. This is neither paranoia nor “conspiracy theory” but simply a clear and honest understanding of history.
J. Todd Ring
(Free use with attribution)
(My apologies for the primitive formatting of this article. I’ll polish it later. Content first.)
Articles, videos and books:
The White House Coup – BBC Documentary: US Business elite attempt to install fascism in America, 1933
The Plot to Seize the White House, by Jules Archer
By the way, the Bush family really does have a history of fascist sympathies and Nazi collaboration – something we might want to know: (Search “John Buchanan” Bush YouTube, if this link is deleted)
In Search of History – The Plot to Overthrow FDR – History Channel
War Is a Racket: The Anti-War Classic by America’s Most Decorated General, Two Other Anti-Interventionist Tracts, and Photographs from the Horror of It
Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History