The Plot To Seize The White House

By Jules Archer


I am deeply indebted first and foremost to the immediate family of the late Major General Smedley D. Butler-daughter Mrs. Ethel Peters Wehle and sons Smedley Butler, Jr. and Thomas Richard Butler-for their generous cooperation; for use of the general's private and military papers, scrapbooks, memorabilia, recordings, and photos; and for vivid personal recollections of their father.

Sincere gratitude is also expressed to the following persons and institutions for their contributions to my research:

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives John W. McCormack, who headed the McCormack-Dickstein Committee and who answered all my questions about the hearings he held during which General Butler testified about the conspiracy.

General David M. Shoup, retired commandant of the United States Marine Corps, who served under General Butler in China and who shared some of his reminiscences with me.

George Seldes, whose newsletter In Fact and books 1000 Americans and Facts and Fascism gave me my first inklings of the conspiracy many years ago and who generously helped me with my research efforts.

John L. Spivak, former foreign correspondent for International News Service, who rendered invaluable cooperation by answering all my questions and generously permitting me to quote from his own fascinating reminiscences, A Man in His Time, in which he relates how he was able to thwart efforts to suppress important names involved in the conspiracy.

Senator Job Javits and Representative Hamilton Fish, Jr., who assisted me in obtaining copies of the testimony at the conspiracy hearings of the McCormack-Dickstein Committee.

E. Z. Dimitman, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and close friend of General Butler's, who shared his reminiscences of the general.

Jerry Doyle, Philadelphia Daily News staff artist, who helped me locate old friends of the general's.

Jesse Laventhol, Philadelphia newsman, confidant, and press secretary for the general's Senate campaign, now retired, who explained some of the behind-the-scenes political factors.

Tom O'Neil, former city editor of the Philadelphia Record at the time of the conspiracy, who helped put some of the pieces of the puzzle together.

William J. Stewart, Acting Director, National Archives and Records Service, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, who guided me through the Roosevelt papers in locating material pertaining to General Butler and helped me identify sources.

Mary Schutz and Charlotte Wright, of the Mid-Hudson Library System, Poughkeepsie, New York, who obtained for me rare and hard-to-get research on the conspiracy from universities and public libraries all over the East Coast; James Brock, Ethel Tornapore, and Jane McGarvey, of Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie; the Starr Institute Library, Rhinebeck, New York; Neda M. Westlake, Curator, Rare Book Collection, Charles Patterson Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania; and Mary Lou Alm, of the Pine Plains, New York, Library.

Colonel F. C. Caldwell, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), director of Marine Corps History, Historical Division, who gave me valuable research leads and provided me with helpful articles and public records from Marine Corps sources.

Warrant Officer D. R. Aggers, U.S. Marine Corps, Head, Administrative Section, Director of Information, for providing certain Marine Corps photos of General Butler.

Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., which permitted me to study a 1962 master's thesis in library science by Eunice M. Lyon, The Unpublished Papers of Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, United States Marine Corps: a Calendar, based on files turned over by the Butler family to the Marine Corps.

Robert B. Pitkin, editor, American Legion Magazine, who gave me statistical information about past Legion commanders.

Donald R. McCoy, historian, University of Kansas, for granting permission to quote from his book, Coming of Age: The United States During the 1920's and 1930's.

Assistant Professor Dane Archer, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who originally researched the conspiracy for me eight years ago in old newspaper files at Yale University's Sterling Library.

My wife, Eleanor E. Archer, who aided me in interviews with Speaker McCormack, General Shoup, and General Butler's family as well as serving as adviser, critic, indexer, and proofreader.

Time magazine, for permission to quote from its article, "Plot Without Plotters," December 3, 1934.

Susan Berkowitz and Joan Nagy, whose brilliant editorial help aided me in sifting and organizing the elements in this book to let what remained stand out like gold dust in a prospecting pan.

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