Contents 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, 1914 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.
CHAPTER ONEWar Is A RacketWAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only oneinternational in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and thelosses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority ofthe people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefitof the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make hugefortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 newmillionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. Thatmany admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other warmillionaires 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 ofthem spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gunbullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them werewounded or killed in battle? Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. Thisnewly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrungdollars 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 itsattendant 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 Iretired 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. Italyand Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep’s eyes ateach other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the PolishCorridor. The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters.Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other’s throats. Italy wasready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are lookingahead to war. Not the people -- not those who fight and pay and die -- only those who fomentwars and remain safely at home to profit. There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomatshave 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, atleast, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in "InternationalConciliation," the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: "And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development ofhumanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in thepossibility 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 ofplanes, and even his navy are ready for war -- anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand atthe side of Hungary in the latter’s dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurriedmobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showedit 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 ofmilitary 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. Inthe Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, wekicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generousinternational bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against theJapanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China isabout $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 inthe 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 investmentsof less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and goto war -- a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands oflives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed andmentally 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 well. Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends. 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 NorthAmerica. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then webecame "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father ofour country. We forgot George Washington’s warning about "entangling alliances." We wentto war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct resultof 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 wasabout $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 billsto stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and otherunderworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred tothe people -- who do not profit. CHAPTER TWOWho 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 ourchildren’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, andsometimes 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. Allthat 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 andleap and skyrocket -- and are safely pocketed. Let’s just take a few examples: Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people -- didn’t one of them testify before aSenate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world fordemocracy? 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 ayear. It wasn’t much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let’s look at theiraverage yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a yearprofit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times werepretty 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 andgirders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earningsaveraged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptlyturned to munitions making. Did their profits jump -- or did they let Uncle Sam in for abargain? 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 tothe war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and up went theprofits. 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 littlecopper, 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 anaverage 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 thepre-war period 1910-1914 were $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The average yearlyprofits 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 takeleather. 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 Leatherreturned a profit of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per cent. That’s all. The GeneralChemical 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 percent. International Nickel Company -- and you can’t have a war without nickel -- showed anincrease 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 beforethe war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was recorded. Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress, reporting on corporateearnings and government revenues. Considering the profits of 122 meat packers, 153 cottonmanufacturers, 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 between100 per cent and 7,856 per cent on their capital stock during the war. The Chicago packersdoubled and tripled their earnings. And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of theprofits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they donot 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 littlesecrets never become public -- even before a Senate investigatory body. But here’s how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled their wayinto war profits. Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They madehuge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers andarmament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar whether it comes fromGermany or from France. But they did well by Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold UncleSam 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 ofthese shoes probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war wasover Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought -- and paid for. Profitsrecorded and pocketed. There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam hundreds ofthousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn’t any American cavalryoverseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a profitin 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 20,000,000mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. I suppose the boys were expected to put itover them as they tried to sleep in muddy trenches -- one hand scratching cooties on theirbacks and the other making passes at scurrying rats. Well, not one of these mosquito netsever got to France! Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no soldier would bewithout his mosquito net, so 40,000,000 additional yards of mosquito netting were sold toUncle Sam. There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days, even if there were nomosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war had lasted just a little longer, the enterprisingmosquito netting manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a couple of consignmentsof 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 livelong enough -- was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines that never left theground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion dollars worth ordered, ever got into abattle in France. Just the same the manufacturers made their little profit of 30, 100, orperhaps 300 per cent. Undershirts for soldiers cost 14¢ [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid 30¢ to 40¢ each forthem -- a nice little profit for the undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking manufacturerand 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 thingsthat go to fill them -- crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrappedbecause the regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers collected theirwartime 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 werevery 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, thewrenches were put on freight cars and shunted all around the United States in an effort tofind a use for them. When the Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow to the wrenchmanufacturer. He was just about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. Then he planned tosell these, too, to your Uncle Sam. Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn’t ride in automobiles, nor shouldthey even ride on horseback. One has probably seen a picture of Andy Jackson riding in abuckboard. 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 thatmade 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 yourUncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual waritself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how the 21,000billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezedat. 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, despiteits 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 wonderfulplan to spring. The Administration names a committee -- with the War and NavyDepartments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall Street speculator -- to limitprofits in war time. To what extent isn’t suggested. Hmmm. Possibly the profits of 300 and600 and 1,600 per cent of those who turned blood into gold in the World War would belimited to some smaller figure. Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of losses -- that is, the lossesof those who fight the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is nothing in thescheme to limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to limit his wounds to oneor 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 regimentshall 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.
CHAPTER THREEWho 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 LibertyBonds 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 easyfor them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us -- the people -- got frightened andsold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulateda boom and government bonds went to par -- and above. Then the bankers collected theirprofits. 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 visitany of the veteran’s hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst ofwhich I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals forveterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men -- men who were the pick of thenation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; atMilwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veteransis 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 andclassrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; theywere made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulderto shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for acouple 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 timethey had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers’ aidand advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn’t need them any more. So wescattered 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 theycould not make that final "about face" alone. In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundredof them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the buildings and on theporches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don’t even look likehuman 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 thetime. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement -- theyoung 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 themselvesaway from their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam -- on which aprofit had been made. They paid another part in the training camps where they wereregimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their places in the lives of theircommunities. The paid for it in the trenches where they shot and were shot; where they werehungry for days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain -- with themoans 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 andsailors 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 anenlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave prize money. When we captured anyvessels, the soldiers all got their share -- at least, they were supposed to. Then it was foundthat we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all the prize money and keeping it, butconscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway. Then soldiers couldn’t bargain for their labor,Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier couldn’t. 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 itcould get soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil Warthere were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed out. It madeenlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals were issued until theSpanish-American War. In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They weremade 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 exceptionsour 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 thesame God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war consciousand murder conscious. Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to endall wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned tothem, 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 theirown brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross mightbe torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to bea "glorious adventure."
Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay forthe 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 theirjobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill andkill . . . and be killed. But wait! Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard or a laborer in a munitionsfactory 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 whatamounted 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 hisown ammunition, clothing, and food by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers gotno money at all on pay days. We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them back -- when they cameback 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 sameheart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches andwatched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and tossed sleeplessly -- hisfather, 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 sufferedtoo -- as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed theirdollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and themanufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought Liberty Bonds and contributed tothe profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bondprices. And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those whonever were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying. CHAPTER FOURHow 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 bydisarmament 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 bytaking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before thenations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript theyoung men of the nation -- it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officersand the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and ourmunitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of allthe other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, beconscripted -- 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, allexecutives, all directors, all managers, all bankers -- yes, and all generals and all admiralsand all officers and all politicians and all government office holders -- everyone in the nationbe 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 andall our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to theirfamilies 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 mindsshattered. 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 else. Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won’t permit thetaking of the profit out of war until the people -- those who do the suffering and still pay theprice -- make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their bidding, and not thatof the profiteers. Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is the limited plebiscite todetermine whether a war should be declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but merely ofthose who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There wouldn’t be very muchsense in having a 76-year-old president of a munitions factory or the flat-footed head of aninternational banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of a uniform manufacturing plant -- allof whom see visions of tremendous profits in the event of war -- voting on whether thenation should go to war or not. They never would be called upon to shoulder arms -- to sleepin a trench and to be shot. Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for theircountry should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go towar. There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those affected. Many of our states haverestrictions on those permitted to vote. In most, it is necessary to be able to read and writebefore you may vote. In some, you must own property. It would be a simple matter each yearfor 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 wouldtherefore be called upon to bear arms in the event of war would be eligible to vote in alimited plebiscite. They should be the ones to have the power to decide -- and not a Congressfew of whose members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are in physicalcondition 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 militaryforces are truly forces for defense only. At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. Theswivel-chair admirals of Washington (and there are always a lot of them) are very adroitlobbyists. And they are smart. They don’t shout that "We need a lot of battleships to war onthis nation or that nation." Oh no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menacedby a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of thissupposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Thenthey begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. Fordefense 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 themaneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be twothousand, 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 unitedStates fleet so close to Nippon’s shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents ofCalifornia were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing atwar games off Los Angeles. The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically limited, by law, to within 200miles of our coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the Maine would never have gone toHavana Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would have been no war withSpain 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 furtherthan 200 miles from the coastline. Planes might be permitted to go as far as 500 miles fromthe coast for purposes of reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territoriallimits 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 notthere should be war. 3. We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.
CHAPTER FIVETo 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 wantwar, 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 theirminds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were notasked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die. Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly? Money. An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war declaration andcalled on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of thecommission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President andhis 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, Americanspeculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars. If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lose) we, England, France andItaly, cannot pay back this money . . . and Germany won’t. So . . . " Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the pressbeen invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to broadcast theproceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But this conference, like allwar discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war theywere 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, whatbusiness is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austrialive under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Ourproblem is to preserve our own democracy. And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War wasreally the war to end all wars. Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don’tmean 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 theseconferences. And what happens?
The professional soldiers and sailors don’t want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without aship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are notfor 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 whoprofit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limitarmaments. The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve disarmamentto 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 nationsto 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, notwith 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 itsfoes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make theirprofits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will be made, for themunitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wearuniforms, 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 andexplosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job ofbuilding greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we can allmake more money out of peace than we can out of war -- even the munitions makers. So...I say, TO HELL WITH WAR!