- Exposing the truth THEY don't want you to know

War is a Racket
by General Smedley Butler - 6th Dec 2003

General Smedley Butler...

This general won two Congressional Medals of Honor, and after 
retiring in 1933 summarized his experience like this:

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of 
it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a 
thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties 
remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of 
higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

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 (where have I heard that name before?). 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.....


War Is A Racket
by General Smedley Butler

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, said:

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 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 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.


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 examples:

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 

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 

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 

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 

Undershirts for soldiers cost 14~cent; [cents] to make and uncle Sam 
paid 30~cent; to 40~cent; 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 

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.


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 

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 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 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 

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 

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 

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.


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 else.

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.

We must take the profit out of war.

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

We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.


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 ~the 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 

So...I say,