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News ::
29 Dec 2001
War is a racket...

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

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.



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 pocketed.

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 [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid
30 to 40 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



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

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

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 is His will that
the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the 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

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.



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

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.



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.


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 a "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 makers.

So...I say,

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