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Favorable or Unfavorable #119: Smedley Butler


Favorable or Unfavorable #119: Smedley Butler  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #119: Smedley Butler

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Gen. Smedley Butler of PA is a great alternate history figure. He fought in the Philippines, Central America, Mexico, China (Boxer Rebellion), and in Europe (WWI). At the time of his death he was the most decorated marine general, despite becoming a vocal pacifist and anti-imperialist the second he retired from the military. 

Some clarifications on actions: In 1931, he admitted publicly that he had seen Mussolini run over a child with a car when he was in Europe. This spread all over Italy and violated some sort of public-speaking clause that generals had to follow. Hoover really disliked Butler anyway, so he ordered a court martial, but he was never convicted, but it did lead to him retiring. 

I don't know if it will ever be proven whether or not the "Business Plot" was anything more than a casual idea by wealthy businessmen angry with FDR. It appears Butler's name was brought up but that he never backed the plot or perhaps was really in on it, that he perhaps heard a rumor. Butler would make sense in many ways. He was a general the joined the Bonus Army outside the White House. He wasn't a Democrat. He was a sucessful general. Butler is best known for this alleged "Business Plot" and for his War is a Racket book, which I first saw in a Libertarian bookstore in Austin, TX. I walked in there out of curiosity, and it was one of their prominantly-placed books. He died in 1940, so we don't know if he would have continued to vote Socialist in 1940. I'm unsure who he voted for in 1932, but it wasn't Hoover. 

His actions:

Butler, Smedley 1929 Promoted to Maj Gen, the youngest marine maj gen at that time, aged 48
Butler, Smedley 1931 Court Martialed by Hoover for revealing that Mussolini ran over a child in a car, causing diplomatic issue
Butler, Smedley 1932 Quits the military to run for US Senate for PA in GOP primary but loses
Butler, Smedley 1932 Joins the Bonus Army protest and declares self and anti-Hoover Republican
Butler, Smedley 1933 Allegedly tabbed to overthrow FDR in "Business Plot" by group of wealthy business men
Butler, Smedley 1934 Reveals "Business Plot" to Congress; investigation finds evidence lacking and no one admits plot
Butler, Smedley 1935 Authors War is a Racket, regarding imperialist motives of US foreign policy
Butler, Smedley 1936 Breaks with GOP to vote for Socialist Norman Thomas in pres election
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I used to think he was more aligned with the "Business Plot" and I used to think it was a much more developed thing. I'd have been unfavorable towards him until recently. It now seems to me that he was trying to expose it once he learned that he was going to be used for it. 

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