is a racket. It always has been.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
them were wounded or killed in battle?
of war nations acquire additional territory,
if they are
victorious. They just take it. This newly
acquired territory promptly is exploited by
few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out
of blood in the war. The general public
shoulders the bill.
what is this bill?
bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly
Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken
hearts and homes. Economic instability.
and all its attendant miseries.
Back-breaking taxation for generations and
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.
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
Germany cast sheep’s eyes at each other,
forgetting for the nonce [one unique
their dispute over the Polish Corridor.
assassination of King Alexander of
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
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.
bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being
trained to be dancers?
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
future and the development of humanity
quite apart from political considerations
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
upon the people who have the courage to
Mussolini means exactly what he says. His
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
after the assassination of Dollfuss showed
it too. There are others in Europe too whose
sabre rattling presages war, sooner or
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
increased the term of military service for
its youth from a year to eighteen months.
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,
Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our
old friends the Russians and backed Japan.
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.
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
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
of thousands of physically maimed and
mentally unbalanced men.
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.
would fare well.
they are getting ready for another war. Why
shouldn’t they? It
pays high dividends.
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
does it profit anyone except the very few to
whom war means huge
and what does it profit the nation?
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
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
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.
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.
Makes The Profits?
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
woman, and child. And we haven’t paid the
debt yet. We are paying it, our children
pay it, and our children’s children probably
still will be paying the cost of that war.
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.
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:
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
the world for democracy? Or something? How
did they do in the war? They were a
corporation. Well, the average earnings of
the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914
$6,000,000 a year. It wasn’t much, but the
du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now
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
profits of normal times were pretty good. An
increase in profits of more than 950 per
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
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!
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
war and up went the profits. The average
yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was
$240,000,000. Not bad.
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.
for instance. Average yearly earnings during
years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the
war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to
$34,000,000 per year.
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.
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
war. The average yearly profits for this
group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.
little increase in profits of approximately
200 per cent.
war pay? It paid them. But they aren’t the
only ones. There are
still others. Let’s take leather.
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
Central Leather returned a profit of
$15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per
That’s all. The General Chemical Company
averaged a profit for the three years before
war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came
the war, and the profits jumped to
a leap of 1,400 per cent.
Nickel Company – and you can’t have a war
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.
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 recorded.
to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth
on corporate earnings and government
revenues. Considering the profits of 122
packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299
garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340
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.
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.
here’s how some of the other patriotic
speculators chiseled their way into war
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
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.
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
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.
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
American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to
get rid of this leather, however. Somebody
to make a profit in it – so we had a lot of
McClellan saddles. And we probably have
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,
one of these mosquito nets ever got to
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.
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
couple of consignments of mosquitoes to
plant in France so that more mosquito
would be in order.
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
made their little profit of 30, 100, or
perhaps 300 per cent.
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
the steel helmet manufacturers – all got
when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of
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
manufacturers collected their wartime
profits on them — and they will do it all
again the next time.
were lots of brilliant ideas for profit
making during the war.
very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve
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
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.
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
Andy Jackson riding in a buckboard. Well,
some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle Sam
the use of colonels! Not one of them was
used. But the buckboard manufacturer got his
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
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.
has been estimated by statisticians and
economists and researchers
that the war cost your Uncle Sam
$52,000,000,000. Of this sum,
expended in the actual war itself. This
expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in
That is how the 21,000 billionaires and
millionaires got that way. This
profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite
a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.
Senate (Nye) committee probe of the
munitions industry and its
wartime profits, despite its sensational
disclosures, hardly has scratched the
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
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
in the World War would be limited to some
however, the plan does not call for any
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
or one arm, or to limit his wounds to one or
two or three. Or to limit the loss of life.
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
division shall be killed.
course, the committee cannot be bothered
with such trifling matters.
Pays The Bills?
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
the bankers. These bankers collected $100
plus. It was a simple manipulation. The
control the security marts. It was easy for
them to depress the price of these bonds.
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.
the soldier pays the biggest part of the
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
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
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
who stayed at home.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
don’t even look like human beings. Oh, the
looks on their faces! Physically, they are
good shape; mentally, they are gone.
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
that excitement – the young boys couldn’t
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
with heartbreaks when they tore themselves
away from their firesides and their families
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
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
in the mud and the cold and in the rain –
with the moans and shrieks of the dying for
a horrible lullaby.
don’t forget – the soldier paid part of the
dollars and cents
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,
many instances, before they went into
service. The government, or states, paid as
$1,200 for an enlistment. In the
Spanish-American War they gave prize money.
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
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.
“All men are
enamored of decorations . . . they
positively hunger for them.”
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
was handed out. It made enlistments easier.
After the Civil War no new medals were
until the Spanish-American War.
the World War, we used propaganda to make
the boys accept
conscription. They were made to feel ashamed
if they didn’t join the army.
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.
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
make people war conscious and murder
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
States patents. They were just told it was
to be a “glorious adventure.”
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.
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
it) and kill and kill and kill . . . and be
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
support his dependents, so that they would
not become a charge upon his community. Then
made him pay what amounted to accident
insurance – something the employer pays for
an enlightened state – and that cost him $6
a month. He had less than $9 a month
the most crowning insolence of all – he was
blackjacked into paying for his own
ammunition, clothing, and food by being made
Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers got no money at
all on pay days.
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 bonds!
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
their beds and tossed sleeplessly – his
father, his mother, his wife, his sisters,
his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.
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
Bonds and contributed to the profit of the
bankers after the Armistice in the
of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.
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
Smash This Racket!
it’s a racket, all right.
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.
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
armament factories and our munitions makers
and our shipbuilders and our airplane
and the manufacturers of all the other
things that provide profit in war time as
the bankers and the speculators, be
conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same
as the lads in the trenches get.
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
to a total monthly income not to exceed that
paid to the soldier in the trenches!
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.
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
hungry. The soldiers are!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
to be able to read and write before you may
vote. In some, you must own property. It
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
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
should have the right to vote.
third step in this business of smashing the
war racket is to make
certain that our military forces are truly
forces for defense only.
each session of Congress the question of
appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair
admirals of Washington (and there are always
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
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
For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh,
no. For defense purposes only.
incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the
defense. Uh, huh.
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.
maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps
even thirty-five hundred miles, off the
Japanese, a proud people, of course will be
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
the Japanese fleet playing at war games off
ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be
by law, to within 200 miles of our
coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the
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
in the opinion of experts, for defense
purposes. Our nation cannot start an
if its ships can’t go further than 200 miles
from the coastline. Planes might be
to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for
purposes of reconnaissance. And the army
should never leave the territorial limits of
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
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
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.
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
away were not asked whether they wanted to
go forth to suffer and die.
what caused our government to change its
mind so suddenly?
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
manufacturers, American speculators,
American exporters) five or six billion
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 . . . ”
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
But this conference, like all war
discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy.
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.”
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
or Italy or Austria live under democracies
or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or
Communists? Our problem is to preserve our
very little, if anything, has been
accomplished to assure us that
the World War was really the war to end all
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
our diplomats to these conferences. And what
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
all these conferences, lurking in the
background but all-powerful, just the same,
sinister agents of those who profit by war.
They see to it that these conferences do not
disarm or seriously limit armaments.
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
any potential foe.
is only one way to disarm with any semblance
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.
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.
each nation is studying and perfecting newer
means of annihilating its foes wholesale.
Yes, ships will continue to be built, for
shipbuilders must make their profits. And
guns still will be manufactured and powder
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
victory or defeat will be determined by the
skill and ingenuity of
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
useful job, we can all make more money out
of peace than we can out of war – even the
… I say,
TO HELL WITH WAR!