Born to Quaker parents he broke with his family traditions and joined the military just before he turned In the aftermath of the Great War, Butler began a nationwide lecture opposing the growth of militarism in the US. His parents were Thomas and Maud Butler. While Butler was at Haverford his father was elected to the US House of Representatives, where he served until his death in
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Born: West Chester, Pa. 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, 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. The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters.
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,, men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.
Are these 40,, 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. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war -- anxious for it, apparently.
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 , 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? Or the Philippine Islands? 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. Ship builders. Meat packers. They would fare well. Yes, they are getting ready for another war.
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. Then we became "internationally minded.
We acquired outside territory. 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. Figure it out. The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent.
But war-time profits -- ah! All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. 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. Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. 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 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. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making.
Both of his parents were of entirely English ancestry , all of whom had been in what is now the United States since the 17th century. Nevertheless, Haverford awarded him his high school diploma on June 6, , before the end of his final year. His transcript stated that he completed the scientific course "with Credit". He once became drunk and was temporarily relieved of command after an unspecified incident in his room. In the initial moments of the assault his first sergeant was wounded. Butler briefly panicked, but quickly regained his composure and led his Marines in pursuit of the fleeing enemy.
“War is a racket. It always has been,” Smedley Butler
How to smash this racket! To hell with war! It contains this summary: " War is a racket. It always has been.