Top U.S. General on Cover-up of Forces Behind War
That war is a racket has been told us by many, but rarely by one of this stature. Though he wrote the landmark book War is a Racket in 1935, the highly decorated U.S. General Smedley Butler (two esteemed Medals of Honor) deserves to be heralded for this timeless message, which rings true today more than ever. Below is an engaging two-page summary.
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 in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. In the World War [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 huge gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows. [Please note these are 1935 U.S. dollars. To adjust for inflation, multiply all figures X 15 or more]
WHO MAKES THE PROFITS?
The World War cost the United States some $52 billion. That means $400 [over $6,000 in today’s dollars] to every American man, woman, and child. The normal yearly profits of a business concern in the U.S. are 6 to 12%. But war-time profits, that is another matter – 60, 100, 300, and even 1,800% – the sky is the limit. 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, leap, and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.
Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people. The average pre-war earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6 million a year. Now let’s look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. $58 million 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%.
Take one of our steel companies. Their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6 million. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49 million a year! Or, let’s take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105 million a year. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240 million. Not bad.