Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #602 The Plot to Seize the White House: Interview with Jules Archer

MP3: Side 1 | Side 2
NB: This RealAu­dio stream con­tains both FTR #602 fol­lowed by a rebroad­cast of FTR #448. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast. Recorded July 1, 2007

(For a brief and inter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal syn­op­sis of the coup attempt, lis­ten to the BBC Radio pro­gram: The White House Coup.)

Intro­duc­tion: Sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous cov­er­age of the U.S. fas­cist coup attempt of 1934, this broad­cast is an emo­tional pro­fes­sional mile­stone for Mr. Emory. When first under­tak­ing this field of research, he read inves­tiga­tive reporter, author and anti-fascist Jules Archer’s The Plot to Seize the White House, pub­lished in hard­cover by Hawthorne books.

After learn­ing that Mr. Archer was alive, well and 90-years young, Mr. Emory was delighted to find out that The Plot to Seize the White House is being repub­lished in paper­back by Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing. This inter­view com­mem­o­rates Mr. Archer’s work and cel­e­brates the pub­lish­ing of the paper­back edi­tion of his book.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of the Lib­erty League, a con­sor­tium of wealthy and pow­er­ful indus­tri­al­ists and financiers who were the core of the coup plot; the coup plot­ters’ enthu­si­as­tic sup­port for Hitler and Mus­solini; the nomen­cla­ture of the mem­bers of the coup cabal; an overview of the career of Gen­eral Smed­ley But­ler, the patri­otic hero who betrayed the coup plot; the media’s sup­pres­sion of accu­rate reportage on the coup plot; the role of a small num­ber of inves­tiga­tive reporters who brought the coup to light; the sup­pres­sion of part of the report of the McCormack-Dickstein Com­mit­tee (formed to inves­ti­gate the coup).

1. Begin­ning with analy­sis of the career of Marine Corps Gen­eral Smed­ley But­ler, the pro­gram high­lights Butler’s sin­gu­lar pop­u­lar­ity among enlisted men. “A soldier’s gen­eral” But­ler stood up for the “grunt” and didn’t auto­mat­i­cally favor the “Brass” (the offi­cer corps). This qual­ity made him the choice to be “The Man on the White Horse” to lead the coup attempt. Men who served with But­ler (such as for­mer Marine Corps Com­man­dant David Shoup) praised But­ler in the most extrav­a­gant terms. It is worth not­ing that But­ler was a prac­tic­ing Quaker who came to feel that war, in gen­eral, was “a racket.”

2. After not­ing Butler’s extra­or­di­nary career, the dis­cus­sion sets forth two issues that might be unfa­mil­iar to younger lis­ten­ers: the “bonus” from World War I and the Gold Stan­dard. Sol­diers who enlisted in World War I were promised a cash bonus, which they never received. When the Great Depres­sion struck, many of the vet­er­ans orga­nized and mobi­lized in order to pres­sure the gov­ern­ment to grant them the bonus to which they were enti­tled. A march by the “Bonus Army” in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. was vio­lently bro­ken up by troops under the com­mand of Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur, the first choice of the plot­ters to lead the coup. Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt removed the U.S. from the Gold Stan­dard, a deci­sion which alien­ated many of the wealthy. The coup plot­ters wanted Smed­ley But­ler to make a speech at an Amer­i­can Legion con­ven­tion in favor of the Gold Stan­dard, the the­ory being that But­ler could present this as desir­able to the bonus marchers. Their “bonus” would then be backed by gold.

3. Much of the pro­gram high­lights points of infor­ma­tion set forth in FTR#448 about the coup attempt itself. In par­tic­u­lar, this por­tion of the broad­cast cen­ters on the Lib­erty League, a domes­tic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was the back­bone of the coup plot.

“ . . . Head­ing and direct­ing the orga­ni­za­tion were Du Pont and J.P. Mor­gan and Com­pany men. . . . Heavy con­trib­u­tors to the Amer­i­can Lib­erty League included the Pit­cairn fam­ily (Pitts­burgh Plate Glass), Andrew W. Mel­lon Asso­ciates, Rock­e­feller Asso­ciates, E.F. Hut­ton Asso­ciates, William S. Knud­sen (Gen­eral Motors), and the Pew fam­ily (Sun Oil Asso­ciates). J. Howard Pew, long­time friend and sup­porter of Robert Welch, who later founded the John Birch Soci­ety, was a gen­er­ous patron, along with other mem­bers of the Pew fam­ily, of extrem­ist right-wing causes. . . . Two orga­ni­za­tions affil­i­ated with the league were openly fas­cist and anti­la­bor. One was the Sen­tinels of the Repub­lic, financed chiefly by the Pit­cairn fam­ily and J. Howard Pew. Its mem­bers labeled the New Deal ‘Jew­ish Com­mu­nism’ and insisted ‘the old line of Amer­i­cans of $1,200.00 a year want a Hitler’. . . . ‘The brood of anti-New Deal orga­ni­za­tions spawned by the Lib­erty League,’ the New York Post sub­se­quently charged, ‘are in turn spawn­ing fascism.’”

(The Plot to Seize the White House; by Jules Archer; Copy­right 1973, 2007 by Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing Inc.; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; ISBN-13: 978–1-60239–036-2; p. 31.)

4. An impor­tant point of infor­ma­tion for younger lis­ten­ers con­cerns the Amer­i­can Legion. Orig­i­nally formed as a reac­tionary orga­ni­za­tion used by the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers to break strikes, the Amer­i­can Legion even­tu­ally cast off its reac­tionary lead­er­ship and became the respectable vet­er­ans orga­ni­za­tion that it is to this day. In Butler’s time, the Legion was seen as a pos­si­ble recruit­ing ground for sol­diers for the coup plot.

5. Jules high­lights some of the key fig­ures in this drama includ­ing: coup fig­ure Ger­ald McGuire (a wealthy bond sales­man who was selected by the coup plot­ters as their pri­mary con­tact with Smed­ley But­ler); Robert S. Clark (another coup plot­ter who had known But­ler when serv­ing in the mil­i­tary in China); Grayson M-P.Murphy (another of the wealthy coup plot­ters, Mur­phy was a Mor­gan part­ner and had been dec­o­rated by Ben­ito Mus­solini); Han­ford McNider (a wealthy for­mer leader of the Amer­i­can Legion, seen as a pos­si­ble sec­ond choice to But­ler to lead the coup.)

6. In addi­tion, Jules Archer sets forth some of the jour­nal­ists who worked to expose the coup: Philadel­phia Record jour­nal­ist Paul Comly French (assigned to help cover the story as it was being revealed by Gen­eral But­ler); George Seldes (the ven­er­a­ble anti-fascist writer whose work has been accessed by Mr. Emory for decades, Seldes was an early and pro­lific writer about the coup attempt); John L. Spi­vak (another early anti-fascist writer who revealed that the report of the McCormack-Dickstein Com­mit­tee con­tained key omis­sions about the coup plot).

7. Sadly, the main­stream media did not give effec­tive cov­er­age to the coup attempt—in fact they helped to cover it up. Jules Archer cites The New York Times and Time as two of the many pub­li­ca­tions that exer­cised will­ful cen­sor­ship of the cov­er­age of the coup plot. It is also worth not­ing that Amer­i­can acad­e­mia has also remained largely obliv­i­ous to this piv­otal event.


One comment for “FTR #602 The Plot to Seize the White House: Interview with Jules Archer”

  1. [...] FTR #602 The Plot to Seize the White House: Inter­view with Jules Archer This entry was posted in Cor­po­rate State, Fas­cism, Nazism and tagged Alfred P. Sloan, Amer­i­can Legion, Black Legion, Charles Higham, Dou­glas McArthur, Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt, Gen­eral Ani­line and Film, Ger­ald McGuire, GM, Gold Stan­dard, Hitler, I.G. Far­ben, Irénée DuPont, J.P. Mor­gan, Jules Archer, L. K. Smith, Lib­erty League, Mus­solini, Nazi Ger­many, New Deal, Opel, Rock­e­feller, Smed­ley But­ler. Book­mark the perma­link. ← Chris Holton about Shariah Finance and HSBC on Secure Free­dom Radio [...]

    Posted by Interview with Jules Archer about the 1934 coup attempt to seize the White House | Lys-d'Or | July 26, 2012, 10:08 am

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