After having fought a number of wars throughout the turn of the 19th century and witnessing the whole aura of battle first hand for 33 years and some months, Butler began advocating against the fascist system of government that seemed to be engulfing American ideologies. His own views regarding the concept of war began to change developing into more sound criticisms of American foreign and military policies by the late 1920s (Zabecki). His more than occasional finger pointing at the adherence to fascist culture the American leaders seem to have generated did not win him any courtesy points with President Herbert Hoover either.
However, that did not hinder Butler’s movement and in 1931, he openly criticized Mussolini (the Italian Prime Minister) and his war loving antics, thereby inviting strict repercussions and a court-martial. He voluntarily retired from the army as a result in 1931, and began a campaign in strict defiance of his soldierly loyalties to subjugate and disarm the country as much as possible (Zabecki).
According to Butler, war is a business that is only sponsored by and profited big American Corporations who lured individuals to fight for the country on the ticket of patriotism. He himself proclaimed to have fallen victim to the same lure. His anti-capitalist views led him to stipulate in his book, “I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism” (Butler). At one instance, he blamed a few Fascist business men to have conspired to overthrow President Roosevelt with his help. The matter was brought to Congress but was largely dismissed (Schmidt).
Even though the media was unfavorable to Butler, he acquired considerable support for his views amongst the American public and developed a strong feeling of dissent for war craving business-oriented fascist think tanks generating a level of awareness that reformed social order. His book War is a Racket surfaced as a result of his lectures to veterans, churches, etc where he referred to wars he had engaged in such as World War I and deemed them a creation of Pro-Fascist businesses, demanding that the benefiters should pay back the public all that they gained from wars. Major General Smedley Butler’s efforts thus instigated that stir which enables the Americans of today to question the dubious nature of capitalism.
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