The Plot To Seize The White House
By Jules Archer
This is the true story of a remarkable American who, during the
early New Deal years, was sought by wealthy plotters in the United
States to lead a putsch to overthrow the government and establish an
American Fascist dictatorship.
According to retired Representative John W. McCormack, former
Speaker of the House, if the late Major General Smedley Butler of
the U.S. Marine Corps had not been a stubborn devotee of democracy,
Americans today could conceivably be living under an American
Mussolini, Hitler, or Franco.
An ironic aspect of the conspiracy General Butler unmasked is that
few Americans have ever heard about it, or even know anything about
the general. As children all of us were taught about the treason of
Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold, whose betrayals were safely
cobwebbed by the distant past. But school texts that deal with the
New Deal are uniquely silent about the powerful Americans who
plotted to seize the White House with a private army, hold President
Franklin D. Roosevelt prisoner, and get rid of him if he refused to
serve as their puppet in a dictatorship they planned to impose and
There is strong evidence to suggest that the conspirators may have
been too important politically, socially, and economically to be
brought to justice after their scheme had been exposed before the
McCormack-Dickstein Committee of the House of Representatives. The
largely anti-Roosevelt press of the New Deal era scotched the story
as expeditiously as possible by outright suppression, distortion,
and attempts to ridicule General Butler's testimony as capricious
Smedley Butler's whole life, however, was proof that he was a man of
incorruptible character, integrity, and patriotism, with a deserved
reputation for bluntly speaking the whole truth at all times,
regardless of the consequences. He was named by Theodore Roosevelt
"the outstanding American soldier." The official Marine Corps record
calls him "one of the most colorful officers in the Marine Corps'
long history" and "one of the two Marines who received two Medals of
Honor for separate acts of outstanding heroism." He was decorated no
fewer than twenty times.
Former Speaker McCormack told the author, "In peace or war he was
one of the outstanding Americans in our history. I can't emphasize
too strongly the very important part he played in exposing the
Fascist plot in the early 1930's backed by and planned by persons
possessing tremendous wealth."
The crucial events of the plot to seize the White House unfolded
between July and November, 1933, with hearings before the
McCormack-Dickstein Committee begun in New York City on November 20,
1934. On November 26 the committee released a statement detailing
the testimony it had heard, and its preliminary findings. On
February 15, 1935, the committee submitted to the House of
Representatives its final report, verifying completely the testimony
of General Butler.
This book may help break some of the seals of silence that have kept
Americans from knowing the truth about that conspiracy. As the first
effort to tell the whole story of the plot in sequence and full
detail, it may serve as a fresh reminder of Wendell Phillips's
warning about the price of liberty.
No American was ever more dedicated to eternal vigilance in
preserving our freedom under the Bill of Rights that the remarkable
war hero, pacifist, and Republican democrat-Smedley Darlington