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

[1]MP3: Side 1 [2] | Side 2 (FTR 448) [3]REALAUDIO [4]
NB: This stream con­tains both FTR #602 fol­lowed by a FTR #448 [5]. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast. Orig­i­nal­ly record­ed July 1, 2007

PREFACE, DECEMBER 30, 2008: With an appar­ent new Great Depres­sion bear­ing down upon us and a Demo­c­ra­t­ic reform Pres­i­dent-elect wait­ing in the wings, it is vital to remem­ber what tran­spired dur­ing the first Great Depres­sion and Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt’s first admin­is­tra­tion. Dom­i­nant ele­ments of the Amer­i­can pow­er elite attempt­ed to stage a fas­cist coup. It is note­wor­thy that many of these same indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions sup­port­ed and financed Hitler [6] and Mus­soli­ni [7]. The Bush fam­i­ly [8]was part of the milieu that birthed the coup attempt [9]. The Bush fam­i­ly’s sup­port [10]for the Third Reich con­tin­ues to be a source of con­tro­ver­sy [11], despite the fact that it is well doc­u­ment­ed [12].

(For a brief and inter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal syn­op­sis of the coup attempt, lis­ten to the BBC Radio pro­gramme: The White House Coup [13].)

Sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous cov­er­age of the U.S. fas­cist coup attempt of 1934 [14], 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 [15], 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 [16]. 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 [17] (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 [18] 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.) [19]

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.