Evil plots aren’t just the stuff of Hollywood thrillers. If it were true that villains only existed in the minds of screenwriters and spy novelists, the world would probably be better off, but most likely much less interesting.
History is full of evil plots, some foiled and some successful. Each has a lesson for us to understand why someone might do something we would look back at and consider evil, when the villain at the time probably didn’t see himself that way at all.
In fact it is probably a good truism that villains don’t see themselves as villains, but rather as heroes misunderstood, fighting for a noble cause against overwhelming odds.
It really depends a lot on your perspective, but within reason, of course. The plot I am about to tell you is not one of those plots. The plotters were certainly not acting for the greater good, but clearly for their own power and benefit.
Many evil plots fail to stand the test of logic and reason, and often they were launched upon the most narrow of perspectives.
One of the most interesting and evil plots in American history is known as the White House Coup, also known as the Business Plot. It was revealed to Congress in testimony delivered by Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most highly decorated military officers in the history of the Armed Forces.
Smedley Butler is am amazing story unto himself. He served in numerous American invasions overseas, earning multiple awards for bravery and heroism, before retiring to become an outspoken critic of American imperialism and modern war.
Here is a powerful summary of his opinions that comes from a 1935 article in the socialist magazine Common Sense:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.
In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912.
I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903.
In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts.
I operated on three continents.
After leaving the military, Butler was approached by business leaders who, during the Great Depression, saw FDR as a threat to their economic interests. The New Deal was rewriting the regulations of American commerce and capitalism.
Butler blew the whistle on a plot they wanted him to lead, a scheme to overthrow the United States government and put into place a fascist, pro-business military dictatorship, similar to the one that was rebuilding Germany under Hitler.
Among the industrialists was Prescott Bush, the father of future President George H.W. Bush and the grandfather of President George W. Bush. The patriarch of the the Bush Clan was an outspoken supporter of the Nazi leadership, and was involved in major finance and banking interests in Germany even after war broke out between the U.S. and Germany.
Bush was a close business associate with German industrial leaders who had funded Hitler’s Nazi Party. After the war started, Bush and his friends in Germany shifted billions in assets through Dutch banks and into the United States, where Bush was a partner at Union Bank Corporation.
Butler named Prescott Bush and other American capitalists leaders as the men who had approached him to lead their plot against FDR. Butler testified under oath that these men had organized nearly 500,000 troops in the army to mobilize behind Butler, and were ready to move to take control of the government, reversing the Neutrality Acts and embracing Hitler’s plan for European domination.
Butler rushed to Congress to alert them that the plot was real.
Here is a documentary about the Business Plot:
The plot never transpired, most likely because of Smedley Butler’s quick action. Prescott Bush went on to become a United States Senator, and his close ties to the Nazi regime were largely overlooked, even after they were later discovered in the United States Archives.
These documented financial crimes in “aiding the enemy” have been largely ignored in the United States, because it would be too embarrassing to accuse the father and grandfather of two U.S. Presidents of being a Nazi sympathizer, regardless of how clearly he was and how he had planned to overthrow the United States government.
But maybe it’s just a conspiracy theory.
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