An American Coup?
In many parts of the world, coups and other non-democratic shifts in power are common. America, as a democracy, likes to pride itself that our transitions of power are done through the ballot, not the bullet.
But in 1933, America came closer to a military coup than many realize, and I wonder if it may happen again?
- The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR: Jules
"Most people will be shocked to learn that in 1933 a cabal of wealthy industrialists—in league with groups like the K.K.K. and the American Liberty League—planned to overthrow the U.S. government in a fascist coup."
- The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR by Jul
Same book on the Barnes and Nobel site
The Revolt Of, and From, The Elite
The forces behind this attempt to usurp Roosevelt were the industrialists of that day; folks like the DuPonts, etc were concerned that Roosevelt's reforms posed a threat to their interests.
One of the main reforms that seemed to have the "%1" of their time scared was getting America off the gold standard.
What they saw as an option was what they had seen happen in Italy at that time, where disillusioned veterans became stormtroopers. The admiration of fasicists, and the corporate state they espouse, is a common theme among the right. It seems to me little different from the admiration many on the American Right have for Putin.
These conspirators thought they had the perfect man to act as their strongman. What they didn't know would hurt them.
The Wrong Man for The Job
The corporate cabal decided that Major General Smedly Butler, war hero and Medal of Honor recipient, would be the perfect person to rally soliders to fight against what they saw as the communist menace that FDR and his policies represented to them.
But Butler saw war as little more than a racket. He had seen that many of the military actions he had been involved in were for little more than corporate interests. The same interests that were plotting against the United States.
He would "name names" and actually testify about the meeting he had with the plotters to a pre-McCarthy House Anti-American Affairs Committee. The testimony was redacted and the press tried to whitewash much of it.
Butler would go on to be an advocate for neutrality in World War II, before dying of stomach cancer.
Could it Happen Again?
As I read this book, I saw parallels between 1932 and today. A President showing some willingness to take on the elite of his day, large corporate cabals; the Kochs, etc, and even a ready supply of veterans. In Donald Trump, there may even be the "strongman" that Maj. Gen. Butler was supposed to represent. The KKK and American Liberty League have been replaced by the National Rifle Association and ALEC.
Since the GOP 2016 field does not seem to realize America is bigger than the rural areas that make up so much of the GOP base. The possibility of a Democratic Presidential win in 2016 likely. Who's to say that the Kochs, ALEC, etc couldn' use their media mouthpieces like Limbaugh, etc, and their armed wing, the NRA, to stage some sort of insurrection?