Friday, December 11, 2009

Pivotal moments in US history changed by the courageous actions of 1.

The citizens of the country were in turmoil. "The President is a socialist" they cried. A large group of protesters formed to demonstrate around the county. "We need to take back the country and follow the Constitution" were the slogans used by some of the most affluent New York investors. They had lost a fortune in investments and were convinced that the country was headed in a hopeless direction of Socialism. They saw the rapid demise of all they had built up. Something must be done......

You may think that this was a description of the "Tea Baggers" and the harsh words were for President Obama. Well, think again. The President is Franklin Roosevelt and the time is during the Great Depression. Roosevelt had just begun execution of a program called the "New Deal".

The "Tea Baggers" of that time were called the American Liberty League and they had actually more in mind than just protesting. What they had in mind was a coup d'etat, a forceful overthrow of the US Government. So some of the wealthiest men in the country along with the help of a large group of investment bankers held a secret meeting in New York to organize and bankroll this devious plan. They then appointed a go-between messenger, Gerald McGuire, of the American Liberty League, to enlist the help of a U.S. Marine Major General by the name of Smedley Butler to gain control and lead the military.

They claimed that they already had control of the newspaper publications and also had immediate access to 3 million dollars to start the coup and up to 300 million if it was needed. That was a huge amount of money in the 1930's!

Smedley Butler wasn't just any sort of General. He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal from both the Army and the Navy. He was also one of only 20 people to receive the Marines Brevet Medal and one of only a handful to twice, let me repeat that, twice receive the Medal of Honor. A national hero if there ever was one.

Initially Gerald McGuire approached the General saying he was from the Committee for a Sound US Dollar, a organization determined to force Roosevelt back to the Gold Standard. He implied that the organization had the support of several political leaders and was bankrolled by the country's most affluent individuals and corporate leaders.

After several meeting with Smedley not showing any interest whatsoever, McGuire dropped all pretenses and at a restaurant meeting laid it all on the line. McGuire indicated that he had the support of key industrial figures and had 3 million in cash to bankroll the cause. He stated that he would like General Butler to lead a force of 500,000 disgruntled Veterans and they were to overthrow the US government. The president and other existing US leadership would keep their positions but the General was to become the secretary of the Office for General Affairs and decisions were to be given to him as to the new formed government.

General Butler expressed interest in this so he joined with the group. After some months of planning, the time for action was now. In the autumn of 1934, General Butler called a press meeting to discuss matters of grave importance. But when the press meeting occurred, he didn't demand the surrender of the US Government. Instead he related to the reporters the details of the plot, complete with names and dates. He had been just playing along with the conspirators all this time. General Butler had also enlisted the help of a undercover reporter by the name of Paul French who was keeping a detailed record of the plot.

After the startling press meeting, Paul French and the General were called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for a full accounting. After their testimony and also testimony from James Zandt, National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who also had been approached to lead 500,000 veterans on a march on Washington, the HUAC concluded that there was compelling evidence of a coup plot. They stated that there was no doubt that certain persons had made an attempt to establish new governmental control in this country.

Suddenly all the newspapers ran stories as to a "plot without plotters" and ridiculed that US corporate leaders could participate in such "Rabble Rousing" behavior. The governments action was of complete inaction. Criminal charges were brought against no one and the collection of listed people in the report were immediately excused from ever testifying. In addition, the go-between, Gerald Mcguire died suddenly 1 month after the report was made public. But the plan had been stopped abruptly even before a shot was fired.

Who knows what might have happened if it wasn't for the actions of one man, General Smedley Butler, who by the way was also known as the "Fighting Quaker".


  1. I was unaware of this story, but how amazing - especially in the context of the current political climate... and what a movie this would make !

  2. @Greg
    A excellent book if you would like more stuff on the subject...

    The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR
    By Jules Archer

  3. Fascinating!! Movie material for sure.