Reproduced for "fair use"


War Is A Racket    
By Major General Smedley Butler   

 Chapter 1: War Is A Racket           
 Chapter 2: Who Makes The Profits?           
 Chapter 3: Who Pays The Bills?           
 Chapter 4: How To Smash This Racket!           
 Chapter 5: To Hell With War!           

Smedley Darlington Butler

•Born: West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881
•Educated: Haverford School
•Married: Ethel C. Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905
•Awarded two congressional medals of honor: 1.capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico,
2.capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917

•Distinguished service medal, 1919
•Major General - United States Marine Corps
•Retired Oct. 1, 1931
•On leave of absence to act as
director of Dept. of Safety, Philadelphia, 1932
•Lecturer -- 1930's
•Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932
•Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940
•For more information about Major General Butler,
contact the United States Marine Corps.

| Top |


War Is A Racket  

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the
only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in
dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the
majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is
conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of
war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least
21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the
World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns.
How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a
trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-
out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and
shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an
enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it.
This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few
who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies.
Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all
its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

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.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by
side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany
cast sheep's eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their
dispute over the Polish Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters.
Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other's throats.
Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of
them are looking ahead to war. Not the people -- not those who fight and pay and die
-- only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and
diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He,
at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in "International
Conciliation," the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,

"And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the
development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment,
believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. . . . War alone
brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon
the people who have the courage to meet it."  

Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great
fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war -- anxious for it, apparently. His
recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter's dispute with Jugoslavia showed
that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the
assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre
rattling presages war, sooner or later.

Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more
arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the
term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the
loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and
Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then
our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to
poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to
us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We
have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our
bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less
than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private
investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up
to hate Japan and go to war -- a war that might well cost us tens of billions of
dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of
thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit -- fortunes would be
made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers.
Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and
sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of
North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000.
Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of
the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's warning about "entangling
alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World
War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt
had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the
twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely
bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might
well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who
pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like
bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of
operations is always transferred to the people -- who do not profit.

| Top |


Who Makes The Profits?  

The World War, rather our brief participation in it, has cost the United States some
$52,000,000,000. Figure it out. That means $400 to every American man, woman,
and child. And we haven't paid the debt yet. We are paying it, our children will pay it,
and our children's children probably still will be paying the cost of that war.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and
sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits -- ah! that is another matter --
twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent -- the
sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it.

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about
patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the
profits jump and leap and skyrocket -- and are safely pocketed. Let's just take a few

Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people -- didn't one of them testify before
a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for
democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic
corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914
were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn't much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on
it. Now let's look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918.
Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times,
and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than
950 per cent.

Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of
rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914
yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens,
Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump -- or did
they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000
a year!

Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period
prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and
up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was
$240,000,000. Not bad.

There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let's look at something else.
A little copper, perhaps. That always does well in war times.

Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-
1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to
$34,000,000 per year.

Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period.
Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.

Let's group these five, with three smaller companies. The total yearly average profits
of the pre-war period 1910-1914 were $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The
average yearly profits for this group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.

A little increase in profits of approximately 200 per cent.

Does war pay? It paid them. But they aren't the only ones. There are still others.
Let's take leather.

For the three-year period before the war the total profits of Central Leather
Company were $3,500,000. That was approximately $1,167,000 a year. Well, in
1916 Central Leather returned a profit of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per
cent. That's all. The General Chemical Company averaged a profit for the three
years before the war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came the war, and the profits
jumped to $12,000,000. a leap of 1,400 per cent.

International Nickel Company -- and you can't have a war without nickel -- showed an
increase in profits from a mere average of $4,000,000 a year to $73,000,000 yearly.
Not bad? An increase of more than 1,700 per cent.

American Sugar Refining Company averaged $2,000,000 a year for the three years
before the war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was recorded.

Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress, reporting on
corporate earnings and government revenues. Considering the profits of 122 meat
packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340
coal producers during the war. Profits under 25 per cent were exceptional. For
instance the coal companies made between 100 per cent and 7,856 per cent on their
capital stock during the war. The Chicago packers doubled and tripled their earnings.

And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the
cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated
organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as
secret as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and their billions I
do not know, because those little secrets never become public -- even before a
Senate investigatory body.

But here's how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled
their way into war profits.

Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They
made huge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions
manufacturers and armament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a
dollar whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by Uncle
Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs of hobnailed service
shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight pairs, and more, to a soldier. My
regiment during the war had only one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes
probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over
Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought -- and paid for. Profits
recorded and pocketed.

There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam
hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn't any
American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however.
Somebody had to make a profit in it -- so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we
probably have those yet.

Also somebody had a lot of mosquito netting. They sold your Uncle Sam 20,000,000
mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. I suppose the boys were
expected to put it over them as they tried to sleep in muddy trenches -- one hand
scratching cooties on their backs and the other making passes at scurrying rats.
Well, not one of these mosquito nets ever got to France!

Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no soldier would
be without his mosquito net, so 40,000,000 additional yards of mosquito netting were
sold to Uncle Sam.

There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days, even if there were
no mosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war had lasted just a little longer, the
enterprising mosquito netting manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a
couple of consignments of mosquitoes to plant in France so that more mosquito
netting would be in order.

Airplane and engine manufacturers felt they, too, should get their just profits out of
this war. Why not? Everybody else was getting theirs. So $1,000,000,000 -- count
them if you live long enough -- was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines
that never left the ground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion dollars worth
ordered, ever got into a battle in France. Just the same the manufacturers made
their little profit of 30, 100, or perhaps 300 per cent.

Undershirts for soldiers cost 14¢ [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid 30¢ to 40¢
each for them -- a nice little profit for the undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking
manufacturer and the uniform manufacturers and the cap manufacturers and the
steel helmet manufacturers -- all got theirs.

Why, when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of equipment -- knapsacks and
the things that go to fill them -- crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are
being scrapped because the regulations have changed the contents. But the
manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them -- and they will do it all over
again the next time.

There were lots of brilliant ideas for profit making during the war.

One very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve dozen 48-inch wrenches. Oh, they
were very nice wrenches. The only trouble was that there was only one nut ever
made that was large enough for these wrenches. That is the one that holds the
turbines at Niagara Falls. Well, after Uncle Sam had bought them and the
manufacturer had pocketed the profit, the wrenches were put on freight cars and
shunted all around the United States in an effort to find a use for them. When the
Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow to the wrench manufacturer. He was
just about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. Then he planned to sell these, too,
to your Uncle Sam.

Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn't ride in automobiles, nor
should they even ride on horseback. One has probably seen a picture of Andy
Jackson riding in a buckboard. Well, some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle
Sam for the use of colonels! Not one of them was used. But the buckboard
manufacturer got his war profit.

The shipbuilders felt they should come in on some of it, too. They built a lot of ships
that made a lot of profit. More than $3,000,000,000 worth. Some of the ships were
all right. But $635,000,000 worth of them were made of wood and wouldn't float! The
seams opened up -- and they sank. We paid for them, though. And somebody
pocketed the profits.

It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and researchers that the war
cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended
in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is
how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000
profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.

The Senate (Nye) committee probe of the munitions industry and its wartime profits,
despite its sensational disclosures, hardly has scratched the surface.

Even so, it has had some effect. The State Department has been studying "for some
time" methods of keeping out of war. The War Department suddenly decides it has a
wonderful plan to spring. The Administration names a committee -- with the War and
Navy Departments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall Street
speculator -- to limit profits in war time. To what extent isn't suggested. Hmmm.
Possibly the profits of 300 and 600 and 1,600 per cent of those who turned blood
into gold in the World War would be limited to some smaller figure.

Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of losses -- that is, the
losses of those who fight the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is
nothing in the scheme to limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to
limit his wounds to one or two or three. Or to limit the loss of life.

There is nothing in this scheme, apparently, that says not more than 12 per cent of a
regiment shall be wounded in battle, or that not more than 7 per cent in a division
shall be killed.

Of course, the committee cannot be bothered with such trifling matters.

| Top |


Who Pays The Bills?  

Who provides the profits -- these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800
per cent? We all pay them -- in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we
bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers.
These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers
control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds.
Then all of us -- the people -- got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The
bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government
bonds went to par -- and above. Then the bankers collected their profits.

But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or
visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in
the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government
hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men -- men
who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at
the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told
me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who
stayed at home.

Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories
and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made
over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day.
They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were
entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think
nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face" !
This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology,
sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them
any more. So we scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan"
speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually
destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.

In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five
hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the
buildings and on the porches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These
boys don't even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they
are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and more are coming
in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that
excitement -- the young boys couldn't stand it.

That's a part of the bill. So much for the dead -- they have paid their part of the war
profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded -- they are paying now their
share of the war profits. But the others paid, too -- they paid with heartbreaks when
they tore themselves away from their firesides and their families to don the uniform
of Uncle Sam -- on which a profit had been made. They paid another part in the
training camps where they were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs
and their places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the trenches where
they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for days at a time; where they
slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain -- with the moans and shrieks of the
dying for a horrible lullaby.

But don't forget -- the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents bill too.

Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize system, and soldiers
and sailors fought for money. During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many
instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as
$1,200 for an enlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave prize money. When
we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got their share -- at least, they were
supposed to. Then it was found that we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all
the prize money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway. Then
soldiers couldn't bargain for their labor, Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier

Napoleon once said,

"All men are enamored of decorations . . . they positively hunger for them."  

So by developing the Napoleonic system -- the medal business -- the government
learned it could get soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated.
Until the Civil War there were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor
was handed out. It made enlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals were
issued until the Spanish-American War.

In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They
were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army.

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few
exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans.
God is on our side . . . it is His will that the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies . . . to
please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make
people war conscious and murder conscious.

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the
"war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No
one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would
mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot
down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on
which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United
States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help
pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month.

All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give
up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and
kill and kill and kill . . . and be killed.

But wait!

Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard or a laborer in a
munitions factory safe at home made in a day) was promptly taken from him to
support his dependents, so that they would not become a charge upon his
community. Then we made him pay what amounted to accident insurance --
something the employer pays for in an enlightened state -- and that cost him $6 a
month. He had less than $9 a month left.

Then, the most crowning insolence of all -- he was virtually blackjacked into paying
for his own ammunition, clothing, and food by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most
soldiers got no money at all on pay days.

We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them back -- when
they came back from the war and couldn't find work -- at $84 and $86. And the
soldiers bought about $2,000,000,000 worth of these bonds!

Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family pays too. They pay it in
the same heart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in
the trenches and watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and
tossed sleeplessly -- his father, his mother, his wife, his sisters, his brothers, his
sons, and his daughters.

When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they
suffered too -- as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too,
contributed their dollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and
shipbuilders and the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought
Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the
hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.

And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those
who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.

| Top |


How To Smash This Racket!  

WELL, it's a racket, all right.

A few profit -- and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by
disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-
meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed
effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor
before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government
can conscript the young men of the nation -- it must conscript capital and industry
and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our
armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane
builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time
as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted -- to get $30 a month,
the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages -- all the workers, all presidents,
all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers -- yes, and all generals and all
admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders --
everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid
to the soldier in the trenches!

Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in
industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30
wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

Why shouldn't they?

They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their
minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The
soldiers are!

Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by
that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket -- that and nothing

Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won't permit
the taking of the profit out of war until the people -- those who do the suffering and
still pay the price -- make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their
bidding, and not that of the profiteers.

Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is the limited plebiscite
to determine whether a war should be declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but
merely of those who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There
wouldn't be very much sense in having a 76-year-old president of a munitions factory
or the flat-footed head of an international banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of
a uniform manufacturing plant -- all of whom see visions of tremendous profits in the
event of war -- voting on whether the nation should go to war or not. They never
would be called upon to shoulder arms -- to sleep in a trench and to be shot. Only
those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the
privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.

There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those affected. Many of our
states have restrictions on those permitted to vote. In most, it is necessary to be
able to read and write before you may vote. In some, you must own property. It
would be a simple matter each year for the men coming of military age to register in
their communities as they did in the draft during the World War and be examined
physically. Those who could pass and who would therefore be called upon to bear
arms in the event of war would be eligible to vote in a limited plebiscite. They should
be the ones to have the power to decide -- and not a Congress few of whose
members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are in physical condition to
bear arms. Only those who must suffer should have the right to vote.

A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to make certain that our
military forces are truly forces for defense only.

At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up.
The swivel-chair admirals of Washington (and there are always a lot of them) are
very adroit lobbyists. And they are smart. They don't shout that "We need a lot of
battleships to war on this nation or that nation." Oh no. First of all, they let it be
known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these
admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and
annihilate 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger
navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only.

Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline on the Pacific. Will
the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers
will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see
the united States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the
residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the
Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.

The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically limited, by law, to within
200 miles of our coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the Maine would never
have gone to Havana Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would
have been no war with Spain with its attendant loss of life. Two hundred miles is
ample, in the opinion of experts, for defense purposes. Our nation cannot start an
offensive war if its ships can't go further than 200 miles from the coastline. Planes
might be permitted to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for purposes of
reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territorial limits of our nation.

To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.

1.We must take the profit out of war.

2.We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide
whether or not there should be war.

3.We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.

| Top |


To Hell With War!  

I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I know the people do not
want war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be pushed into another war.

Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that
he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied promise that he would "keep us out of
war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.

In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed
their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed
away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.

Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?


An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war
declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of
advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language,
this is what he told the President and his group:

"There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. We now
owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers,
American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars.

If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lose) we, England,
France and Italy, cannot pay back this money . . . and Germany won't.

So . . . "

Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the
press been invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to
broadcast the proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But
this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our
boys were sent off to war they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for
democracy" and a "war to end all wars."

Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than it had then.
Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or
France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are
Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War
was really the war to end all wars.

Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences.
They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been
nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our
diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?

The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be
without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without
jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all
these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the
sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do
not disarm or seriously limit armaments.

The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve
disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more armament for itself and less for
any potential foe.

There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of practicability. That is for all
nations to get together and scrap every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every
war plane. Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.

The next war, according to experts, will be fought not with battleships, not by
artillery, not with rifles and not with machine guns. It will be fought with deadly
chemicals and gases.

Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of
annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders
must make their profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will
be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of
course, must wear uniforms, for the manufacturer must make their war profits too.

But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists.

If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical
and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive
job of building greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job,
we can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war -- even the
munitions makers.

So...I say,


Reproduced for "fair use " from the internet!