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
Major General Smedley Butler wrote about his thoughts on war after retiring from the Marines. The entire five chapters are on this website.
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?