War Is a Racket is a speech and a short book, by Smedley D. Based on his career military experience, Butler discusses how business interests commercially benefit, such as war profiteering from warfare. He had been appointed commanding officer of the Gendarmerie during the United States occupation of Haiti , which lasted from to The speech was so well received that he wrote a longer version as a short book published in His work was condensed in Reader's Digest as a book supplement, which helped popularize his message. In an introduction to the Reader's Digest version, Lowell Thomas praised Butler's "moral as well as physical courage".
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He had also become an unrelenting voice against the business of war. Raised by prominent Quaker parents, Smedley Butler defied his pacifist lineage by joining the Marines just before his 17th birthday. Butler was known for his leadership and commitment to the welfare of the men under his command.
He rose quickly through the ranks to become, at age 48, one of the youngest major generals. He was punished for telling an unfavorable story about Mussolini, avoided court-martial by accepting a reprimand. Because of his rank, he was able to write his own reprimand and never apologized to Mussolini. Butler retired from the military in By then, he was beginning to question US involvement in foreign conflicts.
He had come to believe that war--in particular WWI--was really a profitable business for the few and at the expense of thousands of lives. He thought of himself as a cog in the imperialist war machine. At least 21, new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War…. How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle?
The general public shoulders the bill. And what is this bill? Mangled bodies. Shattered minds…For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out. War is a Racket grew out of a series of speeches Butler gave to whatever group wanted to hear his views. Though he faced criticism, Butler was steadfast in his beliefs about war, US imperialism, and a growing Pro-Fascist movement.
He spoke frankly and honestly about his experiences and opinions, and was very popular with the American public. He had been recruited by a group of wealthy Pro-Fascists who had hoped to use him in a coup against President Franklin D. He went along, gathering intelligence about the plot, and took it to Congress. Butler's assertions were not aggressively pursued, and the matter was largely dismissed. Smedley Butler died in , but his presence is still very much alive.
Butler Brigade", and he is featured in the documentary The Corporation. Received 16 military medals, 5 for valor. Is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice.
Major General Smedley Butler
Chapter 3: Who Pays The Bills? Chapter 5: To Hell With War! Smedley Darlington Butler. Born: West Chester, Pa. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious.
Philippine—American War. Mexican Revolution. Butler was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U. Butler later became an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. Butler also exposed an alleged plan to overthrow the United States government. In , he became involved in a controversy known as the Business Plot , when he told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt , with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become dictator, similar to Fascist regimes at that time.
War is still ‘a racket’
He had also become an unrelenting voice against the business of war. Raised by prominent Quaker parents, Smedley Butler defied his pacifist lineage by joining the Marines just before his 17th birthday. Butler was known for his leadership and commitment to the welfare of the men under his command. He rose quickly through the ranks to become, at age 48, one of the youngest major generals.