The Secret History of the 20th Century (Part 2)
World War 1: a Conspiracy of Interests
9. The Global Agenda of the Capitalist Oligarchy
In 1966, Georgetown University professor Carroll Quigley published an in-depth study, called “Tragedy and Hope”, on the history of the banking oligarchy behind American capitalism. As we tracked in our previous article, this oligarchy had, over the course of the previous 150+ years, strategically maneuvered itself to take control over the political and economic institutions of the American nation.
According to Quigley, the information in his book came directly from the source itself: in the early 1960s, after having already studied the workings of this capitalist oligarchy for two decades, he was given direct access by certain of its members to a selection of its secret records and documents.
In “Tragedy and Hope”, he summarizes his findings regarding the long-term plans of America’s oligarchy, stating it in simple and plain terms. He writes that: “the powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands, able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled, in a feudalist fashion, by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences.”
Quigley further explains that “the apex of the system was to be … a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks, which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank … sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”
Quigley points to the turn of the previous century - the late 1800s moving into the 1900s - as the critical juncture when this financial oligarchy was able to consolidate its control over the political and economic systems of America.
This was the era of the Robber Barons, when banking powerhouses like the Rothschilds and the Morgans formed alliances not only with each other, but also with giant cartels of industrial interests, spearheaded by figures like the Rockefellers, Du Ponts, Carnegies, and others.
As a result of the rise of this powerful new oligarchical ruling class, Quigley worries that “for the first time in its history, Western Civilization is in danger of being destroyed internally by a corrupt, criminal ruling cabal”, one “centered around the Rockefeller interests, which include elements from the Morgan, Brown, Rothschild, Du Pont, Harriman, Kuhn-Loeb, and other groupings as well. This junta took control of the political, financial, and cultural life of America in the first two decades of the twentieth century.”
According to Quigley, this power elite very much conspires together to advance common goals and interests.
He states very directly that “there does exist and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so.”
Of its many branches and front corporations, Quigley notes that the Council on Foreign Relations is one of the most important. He states that it is “the American branch of a society which originated in England ... [and] ... believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established” - this one-world government being organized not as a true democracy but rather as a feudalist oligarchy.
The Council on Foreign Relations was founded by the Morgan and Rockefeller branches of the American oligarchy. In its membership were included not only other powerful members of the oligarchy, but also influential politicians, executives, military leaders, and intellectuals.
In many ways, it was formed as a modern representation of Venice’s “Grand Council”, the seat of oligarchy within its imperial republic during the Middle Ages.
As we will be further exploring in this article and in subsequent ones to follow, over the course of the first half of the 20th century, the Rockefeller dynasty would rise to become the most influential power player within the CFR and within the American oligarchy more generally, this owing to the close ties it developed with the American national security state and the military-industrial complex that supports it.
The scion of the Rockefeller dynasty during the mid-to-late 20th century was David Rockefeller. In 2002, he published a memoir. In it, he unabashedly confirms the statements Carroll Quigley had made 35 years earlier in his book “Tragedy and Hope”.
Rockefeller wrote that, ”for more than a century. ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents … to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as `internationalists` and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
Attempting to defend his family’s position, Rockefeller builds a straw man: he believes that the primary criticism of his family’s plot to establish a world government has to do with an outdated attachment to nationalist isolationism. Actually, it is because he and his fellow oligarchs have pursued their strategy for “one world government” in a backhanded, conspiratorial fashion, not by democratic means, but by coercive and aggressive financial, economic, and military tactics.
If this situation is true - that America has fallen under the control of a capitalist oligarchy (and it has, as David Rockefeller so transparently admits) - then why is this truth not more apparent to our economists and political scientists?
Quigley provides the simple answer: he writes that, in order for the oligarchy to achieve its objectives, they believed it “necessary to conceal, or even to mislead, both governments and people about the nature of money and its methods of operation.”
To bring about this strategy of concealment, they leveraged their wealth to buy influence over the nation’s universities, economic advisers, media corporations, and government regulators.
Geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl elaborates, noting that “the financial powers, the great and powerful international bankers of the City of London and of Wall Street and their kin, have endowed the appropriate professorships to ensure that what is taught will protect their order, even going so far as to endow a Nobel Prize in Economics to serve their interests.”
One of the 20th century’s most influential and powerful central bankers, the former German finance minister Hjalmar Schacht, confirms this idea that two separate doctrines of economic theory have emerged: one taught publicly, the other concealed privately within the oligarchy.
In his autobiography, “Confessions of the Old Wizard”, Schacht writes that: “The politics of currency and money is not an exact science but an applied art. Naturally, every art has its own handicraft. So, too dealing with money and banking”.
He continues: “Money has many different kinds of attributes, some of them very intricate, so that the majority of people frequently find themselves unable to understand certain financial transactions. For this reason the monetary system is enveloped in a cloak of mystery, secrecy, and magic.”
Schacht points out that the “secret science” of money has traditionally been perpetuated, in private, among insular networks of allied oligarchs. He writes that, “from the very beginning of the modem banking system, a close network of relationships and friendships between many private firms was essential. The Rothschild family, its five brothers each resident in one of Europe's business centers, provides a good example.” Furthermore, “the leaders of large industrial undertakings and the leaders of the big banks (must also be) on intimate terms, having full confidence in each other. Their relationships extend over a wide field, and have been developed through constant contact over the years and decades.”
As a result of the oligarchy’s strategic interference in the fields of economics and finance, keeping the “true science” to themselves while offering the public a watered down pseudo-scientific “mythos” as a replacement, multiple generations of oligarchy friendly “experts” - really, “useful idiots” - have been created, trained, and brought forth as “thought leaders” and “public servants”.
Essentially, the form of economics taught in public universities has become part of the public relations apparatus of the capitalist oligarchy. The economic dogma preached in academia is not actually scientific, but more like a carefully constructed quasi-religious belief system that is convenient for the masses to believe, but not actually representative of the way economics or finance actually works.
Based on the fictitious economic dogma taught at western universities, a worldview sympathetic to oligarchy has become deeply ingrained within the public mind and its academics, policy makers, government bureaucrats, and business professionals.
Guided by the belief system they have been taught, these groups go out into the world and become the loyal servants and soldiers for the oligarchical class, enacting a suite of economic and political policies which serve to further enrich and empower the oligarchy, while disenfranchising the masses and eroding democracy.
To give an example of this corruption, economist Michael Hudson discusses how this dynamic has come to influence modern academia’s approach to economic study. In particular, he focuses in on the overly mathematized economic curriculum taught in universities today.
Hudson writes that “what has become the distinguishing feature of mathematical economics is its formulation of problems abstractly in terms of just a few selected functions, excluding all categories that cannot be expressed in its bare equations.”
This overly mathematized form of economics, detached from its political and sociological roots, has lead to the formation of an orthodoxy which seeks to exclude from its curriculum the politically sensitive study of wealth, how it is acquired, how it is distributed, and what its effects on social development are.
William Engdahl agrees with Hudson’s assessment, writing that “the contemporary study of economics as taught in all major universities in the Western world today has little or nothing to do with economic reality, nor with the political role of international finance, and its geopolitical agenda, in shaping that economic reality.”
In his writings, Hudson pinpoints the root of the problem to the fact that, in modern approaches to economics, debt and money have become entirely de-politicized and largely factored out of the equations:
“What has happened is that the classical distinction between productive and unproductive credit has been replaced by an ostensibly value-free theory claiming that money earned in one way is just as economically worthwhile as money earned in any other ways.”
As a consequence of this manipulation, “today’s monetarist models foster an illusion that economies can carry any given volume of debt without having to change their structure - e.g. their pattern of wealth ownership. … Such economic models all but ignore rent-seeking exploitation and the proverbial free lunch” that the capitalist oligarchy feeds off of.
Hudson concludes that “the failure of mathematical economics to analyze our epoch’s financial strains suggests that its aim has not really been to explain the world as much as to censor perceptions that might imply that the financial status quo is unstable and hence must be regulated.”
“By ignoring the problems caused by the growing debt overhead, monetarist orthodoxy has removed economic planning from the democratic political process and placed it in the hands of financial technocrats,” particularly those situated “in the world’s finance ministries and central banks.” In this way, “financial institutions have become the major economic planners of our epoch, usurping the former role of government.”
The form of monetarist planning carried out by the servants of oligarchy “subjects the world to austerity to pay debts to a creditor class absorbing a growing proportion of the world’s wealth, leading to economic polarization.” As a result, "entire economies are being crucified on the altar of debt and subjected to austerity and its foregone economic development. … It is a world succumbing to economic collapse, heating up financially, ecologically, geographically, and militarily to a critical mass.”
Overall, Hudson concludes that “to the extent that ‘free market’ monetarist economics has now become the world’s de facto form of global planning, it threatens to bring about a poorer and more unfree world,” one ruled in a feudal fashion by a concentrated oligarchical power structure - they being the ones responsible for formulating and enacting these antisocial and self-serving economic doctrines in the first place.
Based on this turn of events, rather than building upon the democratic vision of the Founding Fathers, “the edifice that has developed within the United States over the course of the past one hundred and fifty years is one where an inordinately powerful small circle of international bankers, the powers of Wall Street and the banks allied to it, has shaped the lives of the American public, prepared them for wars far from American shores, literally controlling what people buy and produce, and most dangerously, even what they are allowed to think.” (Engdahl)
But all hope is not lost. As we learn about the ugly realities underlying our modern economic and political systems, we become empowered to change the situation: to bring economic and social governance back under democratic control, as the Founding Fathers of this nation originally envisioned it.
Carroll Quigley, the Georgetown professor quoted earlier, affirms this view, writing that “the hope for the twentieth century rests on the recognition that war and depression are man-made, and needless. They can be avoided in the future by turning from the nineteenth-century characteristics just mentioned (materialism, selfishness, false values, hypocrisy, and secret vices) and going back to other characteristics that our Western Society has always regarded as virtues: generosity, compassion, cooperation, rationality, and foresight, and finding an increased role in human life for love, spirituality, charity, and self-discipline.”
In other words, by transmuting the negative energies within ourselves that the capitalist oligarchy preys off of and which keep their parasitic system alive and growing (greed, materialism, etc.), flipping these negative energies instead into their positive corollaries of expression (compassion, cooperation, etc.), we gain the power both individually and collectively to take back control of our country, and of our own fate in the process.
With America back in the hands of Americans, we can then work together to steer the course of world events back in the direction of that lofty ideal this nation was intended from the beginning to embody and personify: philosophic democracy, the great dream of Plato.
10. The Money Trust
As the 19th century came to a close, a productive conspiratorial relationship developed between New York-based international bankers and their London-based counterparts.
While not aligned in all their interests, both sides came together in the effort of privatizing America’s monetary system. Together, they would divide up its wealth, and rule over it as an all-powerful capitalist oligarchy - the “gods of money”, as F. William Engdahl describes it.
Engdahl states that, during this period, the most powerful European faction of the capitalist oligarchy was “the Rothschild banking dynasty …, headed by Baron Nathan in London, with brothers in Vienna, Naples, and Paris.”
Operating in America through their point man August Belmont, the Rothschild banking dynasty “was the most powerful financial group in the world at the time. Its power was based on absolute control of family dynastic ties so extreme that it was common practice for the brothers and their descendants to marry first cousins to guard the family wealth and secrets.”
On the American side, Engdahl writes that, between the creation of the First Bank of the United States by Treasury Secretary Hamilton in 1791 as a private national bank, and the creation of the Federal Reserve in December 1913 as a private central bank - “a small group of extremely wealthy families had emerged, referred to as America’s Sixty Families.”
These sixty ultra-rich families, “through dynastic intermarriage and corporate, interconnected shareholdings, had gained control of American industry and banking institutions.”
With “names like Rockefeller, Morgan, Dodge, Mellon, Pratt, Harkness, Whitney, Duke, Harriman, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, DuPont, Guggenheim, Astor, Lehman, Warburg, Taft, Huntington, Baruch and Rosenwald”, these capitalistic dynasties “together formed a close network of plutocratic wealth that manipulated, bribed, and bullied its way to control the destiny of the United States.”
These families “carefully fostered the myth of ‘rugged individualism’ and ‘free enterprise’ to justify their huge gains and cover their fraudulent origins”. They also cynically “draped themselves in the rhetoric of American ‘democracy.’” But in reality, “there was little room for the actual practice of democracy in their world. Power was the commodity of their trade.”
Endgahl informs us that “the wealth and power of these families was tied to their ability to control the money of the new nation, and to create shortages of money at will, leading to panics and even depressions, in order to expand and consolidate their power over the nation.”
He emphasizes that it was these oligarchs who steered America on the path of empire, as their predecessors in England, Venice, and Rome had done centuries and millennia prior. “It was they who financed wars and the expansion of the United States beyond its borders when, after the Spanish-American War of 1898, America became a de facto imperial power by annexing the Philippines as a gateway to the lucrative trade of China and Asia.”
To give one example of how these oligarchs rose to power, let’s consider the case of JP Morgan and his consolidation of the American railroad industry.
Engdahl explains that, during this period, “railroads were the heart of American economic growth, and they fed the expansion of a large and growing steel industry.”
But “most of the great railroad lines were built not with Morgan money but with public taxes and gifts of public lands. J.P. Morgan then captured these railways and thereby achieved vital control over the entire United States economy.”
What we find here is the classic playbook of the Venetian oligarchy, being repeated once again: move into a nation, corrupt its domestic politics, gain power over currency issuance, and coerce the government into selling off public assets and granting tollbooth privileges to private capitalist cartels.
Engdahl writes that “the list of American fortunes built on such fraud, corruption and bribery was long. It included the most famous names in America, men who donated money to the nation’s museums, endowed its finest universities like Princeton, Yale, and Harvard with professorships, and had buildings and sometimes entire universities named after them. In this way, they created the image of philanthropy and ‘good works’, while the reality was quite different.”
Of the Sixty Families that Engdahl mentioned, two of these American dynasties would, around the turn of the century, rise to separate themselves from the rest: the aforementioned Morgans and the Rockefellers.
As William Engdahl further explains, “a wave of mergers at the end of the 19th century engulfed most of US manufacturing, resulting in a few hundred huge corporations dominating the landscape. The biggest (of these) was the Northern Securities Corporation of New Jersey; it was the umbrella company enclosing 112 corporations worth $22 billion in assets and it was controlled by J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.”
In this manner, “by the 1880s two colossal groups had emerged within the United States’ wealthiest families. Initially they were bitter, hated rivals. But in the end they became allies, not out of love but out of practicality, in one of the greatest concentrations of financial and industrial power ever seen.”
“These two families, Rockefeller and Morgan, created a combination of wealth and control so powerful in its influence over the economic and financial life of the United States at the beginning of the 20th Century that Congressional critics named it the ‘Money Trust’.”
A good case study of the backhanded tactics used by this Money Trust to gain political power and economic control over America comes with the Panic of 1893, first discussed in the previous article.
This banking panic and the consequent four-year economic depression it caused were the products of a conspiracy set in motion by America’s Money Trust, particularly the Morgan wing of it, working in conjunction with the European Rothschild dynasty.
As readers of the previous article will recall, the Panic of 1893 came as a follow-up to the Panic of 1873, which took place as a result of the banking oligarchy coercing Congress into mandating that the US dollar become tethered to a gold standard, which they, as the largest holders of monetary gold, would largely control.
The Panic of 1893 emerged as a follow-up to these events: here, the bankers caused a run on gold, which they themselves engineered from behind the scenes. In the panic that resulted, the powerful winners that emerged “were Morgan, along with James Stillman, then head of National City Bank in New York—the bank of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust—and a handful of brokerage houses led by Belmont (Rothschild) and Kuhn Loeb & Co.”
Through these strategically engineered depressions, these conspirators not only consolidated their power over the US financial system, but also over its key industries and industrial sectors, including steel, railroads, and energy production.
In order to bring about these events, the oligarchs had, in the decades leading up to them, worked to “capture” America’s most prominent politicians, media outlets, and public thought leaders.
In carrying out their conspiracy, the oligarchs carefully leveraged these strategic relationships. Having first engineered the crisis into place, instigating the collapse of several New York banks, they positioned themselves to become “the lender of last resort”, stepping in at the last moment to “save” the financial system from total collapse. As a reward for their troubles, they further enhanced their financial rulership over the US economy, while at the same time consolidating their control over key sectors of US industry.
But none of this was actually necessary: as Endgahl informs us, “rarely mentioned in the debate about the recurring bank panics (of the period) was the fact that the Government of the United States of America, through its Secretary of the Treasury, already had the power to step in and lend to the credit-starved banks. The Treasury therefore could easily have played the role of lender of last resort and kept the nation’s credit process under federal guidance and public control.”
But it didn’t. And the papers didn’t write about it. And the public intellectuals didn’t mention it. Why? Because each had been captured, falling under the sway of the Collective Shadow: our modern “Tezcatlipoca”; the capitalist oligarchy.
11. The Federal Reserve: the Crown Jewel of America’s Oligarchy
As discussed above, F. William Engdahl, in his book “Gods of Money”, points out that there was a larger oligarchical conspiracy taking place behind the scenes of the banking panics of 1873 and 1893.
He writes that “Morgan, Rockefeller and the elite interests behind the Money Trust of that day had no interest in a public or government solution which they might not be able to direct to their advantage.”
Consequently, “they were determined to use the panic and (resulting) crisis atmosphere to move forward their most audacious plan yet - capturing from the Federal Government of the United States its power to coin, print and control the supply of money.”
Their plan was therefore to, like the Bank of England before it, “create a national bank that would be entirely in the private hands of bankers J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller and friends.”
Toward this effort, in 1908 “the most powerful bankers in America met in highest secrecy to draw up plans for the greatest financial and political coup d’état in the history of the United States.”
Engdahl writes that “the plan was to rob from the US Congress its constitutionally mandated powers to create and control money. The coup was to usurp those Constitutional powers in order to serve private special interests, even at the expense of the general welfare of the population of the United States.”
Engdahl further comments that “the men who drew up the plans to take control of the nation’s money were no ordinary bankers. They were a breed apart within the American banking world. … They were primarily international bankers who patterned themselves on their London cohorts.”
Included in their ranks were figures like J.P. Morgan; German émigré Paul Warburg of the New York private bank Kuhn Loeb & Co.; August Belmont & Co. (representing the Rothschilds), and others.
In every sense of the word, these conspirators formed an oligarchy, who plotted together to co-opt the democratic institutions of the United States in order to situate themselves as the “gods of money” over its domestic economic and political systems.
As Engdahl points out, these oligarchs were not loyal Americans. In fact, “by the nature of the business, (these) international bankers were not loyal to any fixed national space. Their world was not a particular nation state, but wherever their influence could alter events to their financial advantage. As a consequence, secrecy was essential to their success and paramount in gaining the advantage over rivals.”
In this way, we find rising to power a group of people who see themselves as separate from, and thus not a part of, a larger social whole. Their world is one of competitive Darwinism, where the point of life is to hoard power and wealth over others in a monopolistic fashion, just like the famous board game depicts.
Engdahl writes how these financial black magicians "operated in absolute secrecy, lest the general public understand how the banks’ money manipulated political decisions behind the scenes, including decisions to go to war or to keep the peace.”
Indeed, “the traditional preference of international bankers for utmost secrecy became a hallmark of their practice.” It is what allowed for their policies of “intrigue, political manipulations, buying of politicians and judges, and financing coups” to continue unabated.
Consequently, because they held no loyalty to anything but their own bottom line, they saw it as no problem “to eliminate an uncooperative sovereign here, a head of state there - all to make way for governments more amenable to the bankers’ dictates.”
In characteristic secrecy, this American banking aristocracy together formulated a plan to formally take control of America’s domestic economic and financial systems through the instillation of a privately-run central banking system.
As explored in the previous article of this series, this plan for a privatized American central bank had been in the works since back before the time of Hamilton.
In the first two decades of the 20th century, Americas’s oligarchy finally gained the leverage it needed to push its plan through and establish its desired central bank.
As William Engdahl explains, the establishment of a central bank in America was key to the oligarchy’s plans to eventually implement a centralized capitalist imperium all over the world.
He writes that “control of countries through control of their central or national banks was essential” to the oligarchy’s global plan, for the reason that “credit — or the cutting off of credit — could be used to control entire nations or regions.”
Ultimately, with this central banking apparatus as their launching pad, “the elite cabal of international bankers sought nothing less than control of the entire world as their goal and purpose. As Henry Kissinger was said to have put it in the 1970s, ‘Control the money and you control the entire world.’”
The plans for an American central banking system, which would come to be called the Federal Reserve, were modeled off the original archetype of the Bank of England: the financial center of the global British Empire.
Similar to its English counterpart, in the American oligarchy’s plan, “the stock of the twelve member banks of the Federal Reserve Association would be owned by private stockholders. The private stockholders in turn could use the credit of the US Government for their own private profit.”
Like the Bank of England, “the Federal Reserve Association would control the nation’s money and credit; it would be a bank of issue, meaning it could create currency or money at will, and it would finance the Government by mobilizing credit in times of war.”
Since Roman times, international bankers had discovered that financing wars was the most profitable investment activity imaginable. It was “far more profitable than lending to private borrowers, not least because the subject loan was backed by the power of the state to tax its citizens to guarantee debt repayment.”
This Roman model is what the British Empire and the Bank of England replicated. Now, with the founding of America’s central bank, “the way was now clear for the Federal Reserve and the private bankers controlling its policies to create economic boom periods, mobilize the economy for wars, and to create deflationary recessions and depressions.”
In short, the function of America’s new central bank was to provide a “perpetual money machine” to finance the formation of a new, American-based, global capitalist empire.
Put simply: the American oligarchs hoped to leverage their central bank to create a global American Empire - a Pax Americana - which would rise to replace the once dominant but now declining British Empire.
The new American empire would be based on Venice’s oligarchical republic model, with the old institution of monarchy, still present in the British system, being pushed out entirely. In place of monarchy was to be a watered-down and neutralized democracy: the hollowed out remnants of the original democratic system established by America’s Founding Fathers.
12. The House of Morgan and the Origins of the American Deep State
The Rothschild banking dynasty, which was the main financial power behind the British Empire, had strategically worked to exert its influence into the American economy and financial system since the beginning of the country’s founding. In the late 19th century, their point man in America was August Belmont, while the New York-based international banking house JP Morgan & Co. served as an on-again, off-again ally.
Describing the relationship between the Morgans and the Rothschilds, Engdahl notes that “the two were by no means always on amicable terms with one another.”
“Initially the two houses worked in close cooperation, with Morgan discreetly representing Rothschild’s interests in the United States.” For example, during the latter decades of the 19th century, they collaborated on the plan to tether the dollar to a gold standard, something they each held mutual interest in.
But in the period following this shared achievement, they began to compete over power and differences in vision. Indeed, the differences between them in terms of their long-term visions were considerable: the House of Morgan sought the formation of a new, global, American-centered economic imperium controlled by themselves, while Rothschilds sought the perpetuation of their British-centered imperium, controlled by them in London.
As a consequence of these differences in vision, Engdahl informs us that, “as the first decade of the 20th Century drew to a close and war in Europe neared, an inevitable rivalry began, as it became clear that British industry and the British Empire were in definite decline and that Morgan, who initially had cooperated closely with Rothschild, sought to build his own independent financial imperium.”
This situation informs us as to why and how JP Morgan became the central organizing force behind the formation of not only the Federal Reserve, but also the American Deep State.
By “Deep State”, I’m referencing the idea of a hidden, highly centralized “government behind the government”, whose power base is rooted in an alliance between the military-industrial complex, transnational corporations, and the capitalist oligarchy behind the central banking system.
Engdahl further elaborates on the role that JP Morgan played in setting up the American Deep State, writing that “J.P. Morgan, whose bank emerged at the beginning of the 20th Century as the most powerful financial institution in America, was behind the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, as well as the creation of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, the private think-tank that shaped American foreign policy throughout the 20th Century.”
He had to be behind both, because the global imperium he wished to establish could not be implemented or maintained without the cooperative participation of the military-industrial complex.
These two institutions, in conjunction with a captured corporate media and corrupted political agents implanted into the US government, were guided by Morgan and his peers in Wall Street in order to get America behind the idea of supporting, and later entering into, the global conflict known as World War I, which began in 1914 as a war between England, France, and Russia on one side and Germany, Austria-Hungry, and Italy on the other.
For the American oligarchs, there was an important strategic value to the war: it served as a means to “checkmate” the British imperialists, whose empire had, in the years leading up to the war begun waning, entering into a “state of terminal economic decline” by the first decade of the 20th century.
For them, the war also served to curtail the rising industrial power of Germany, which loomed as a potential threat to American hegemony over the European continent.
Because the Bank of England, the central organizing force behind the British Empire, utilized a model of financial capitalism rooted on the use of usury (compound interest) and “unproductive debt”, over time the domestic foundations of its economic empire had begun to erode away, entropy having taken root.
During this period, the Germanic states, not having the benefit of Britain’s monopoly on global bullion trade, a privilege England enjoyed as a result of the establishment of its global maritime empire, were forced to follow an alternative model of capitalism - industrial capitalism.
In industrial capitalism, the banking sector is refocused away from running a global financial empire and instead oriented back toward growing its own domestic industrial economy. Here, debt is used “productively” - i.e. toward things like supporting industrial development, building out and updating public infrastructure, and training a skilled and productive labor force.
Because the source of the power and wealth of the British oligarchy was international merchant banking, the gold trade, resource mining, war making, and other rent-extracting activities, they saw no need to make long-term investments in Britain’s domestic industrial economic base or its workforce.
Consequently, as William Engdahl informs us, by 1900 “Germany’s industrial growth, its educational system, and its science were already leaving England far behind. Little remained of England’s power except the role of the City of London as the dominant power over the terms of world trade.”
Because England’s domestic economy was not producing goods that the rest of the world wanted to buy, it was forced to pay for the many goods it imported in gold. Over time, this deficit in their balance of trade resulted in the depletion of the Empire’s domestic gold reserves.
As an attempt to forestall this circumstance from bankrupting the Empire, the British fought a brutal war campaign in South Africa “in order to wrest control of the vast gold riches of the Transvaal in South Africa away from the Boer settlers”.
Engdahl describes the British rationale for waging this war: the British oligarchs “wanted the economic power inherent in control of the gold mines in the Dutch Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. They also wanted to create a Cape-to-Cairo confederation of British colonies to dominate the mineral-rich African continent.” In short, “they saw Africa as the key to future British global hegemony.”
The “brain trust” behind the British campaign included three notable individuals: Alfred Milner, the High Commissioner of the Cape Colony in South Africa; Cecil Rhodes, a “highly eccentric British mining magnate”; and the British banking powerhouse N.M. Rothschild & Co, who secretly financed the war cause.
Engdahl explains that Rhodes and Milner “had a plan to obtain Royal backing for a British South Africa Company modeled on the British East India Company. … (based on the idea that) the gold and minerals of South Africa would be sufficient to guarantee that the City of London would be the world’s unchallenged financial center for decades to come.”
Rhodes, Milner, and “an elite circle of Empire strategists founded a secret society (“The Society of the Elect”) in 1910 whose purpose was to revitalize a flagging British imperial spirit. “
Many of the members of this imperial society were graduates of All Souls College at Oxford University. For this reason, it appears to have functioned something like a British equivalent to America’s famous “Skull and Bones” society, based out of Yale.
Engdahl writes that this British secret society “would secretly steer the strategic policies of the British Empire up until the end of the Second World War. They called their group the Round Table, a reference to King Arthur’s medieval table surrounded by his select knights.”
Leading up to the First World War, Milner’s “Round Table had come to the conclusion that the German Reich, by its dynamic growth and its very existence, posed a mortal threat to continued British domination of the seas and control of world trade and finance. The Round Table group argued that a preemptive war was called for to stop the otherwise inevitable German march to world domination on the ashes of the British Empire.” (Engdahl)
Summarizing the situation, Engdahl states that “there were two immediate causes for the war. First, and perhaps most decisive, was the decision of the German banking and political leadership to complete a rail link from Berlin to Baghdad in Mesopotamia, a part of the Ottoman Empire. This posed a threat to British oil supplies in Persia, as well as to British control of the passageway to its crown jewel colony, India.”
“This threat was aggravated in the eyes of prominent British military thinkers — including a young Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill — by the second cause, the decision of the German Reich to build a deepwater navy to defend German trade routes against the British control of the seas.”
Engdahl explains that “the heart of the British Imperial strategy since the Napoleonic Wars had been to dominate and control the strategic sea lanes and trade routes of global commerce. The decision to go to war against Germany and Austro-Hungary, and later Ottoman Turkey, was therefore not made out of the strength of the British Empire, but out of a realization of its fundamental weakness. It was based on a calculation that it would be better to get it over with sooner rather than later, when it would be far more difficult for England to challenge the rising hegemony of Germany.”
While the British oligarchy were secretly conspiring to start a war against Germany in order to preserve their global financial imperium, America’s domestic oligarchy, located across the Atlantic, was looking to steer world events in a different direction: toward the foundation of a new, globally extended American empire.
This new Pax Americana was to replace the British imperium with an updated American model. This new American Empire would be run by its own homegrown oligarchy, ruled by dynastic capitalistic giants such as the Morgans and Rockefellers, who would rise to usurp the Rothschilds and their British counterparts as the main power players in global geopolitics.
By the time of the First World War, the balance of power in world geopolitics was shifting increasingly toward America. Its domestic economy and industrial corporations were its greatest asset, favored by a business-friendly Protestant work ethic, its massive geographical landmass, rich deposits of minerals and resources, fertile soil, and a favorable climate. And it had an entire ocean separating it from European attack, giving it time and space to grow and develop its domestic economy unhindered by sabotage.
From the safety of their American domicile, the oligarchical elites behind Wall Street’s Money Trust, in association with the great industrial cartels blossoming on the continent, began to see the possibilities for replacing the fading British Empire with a new American version.
In his book “Gods of Money,” Engdahl writes how, in 1902, Brooks Adams, “grandson of President John Quincy Adams and one of the most ardent and influential advocates of American Empire,” stated these exact sentiments in explicit terms.
Adams wrote: “During the last decade the world has traversed one of those periodic crises which attend an alteration in the social equilibrium. The seat of energy has migrated from Europe to America … American supremacy has been made possible only through applied science ... Nothing has ever equaled in economy and energy the administration of the great American corporations.” Here, Engdahl pauses to comment that, by “corporations”, “Adams clearly meant the US Steel of Morgan, the Standard Oil of Rockefeller, and the railroads and other industries they controlled.”
Adams then continued: “The Union (i.e. the United States) forms a gigantic and growing empire which stretches half round the globe, an empire possessing the greatest mass of accumulated wealth, the most perfect means of transportation, and the most delicate yet powerful industrial system which has ever been developed.”
Consequently, “the United States now occupies a position of extraordinary strength. Favored alike by geographical position, by deposits of minerals, by climate and the character of her people, she has little to fear, either in peace or war, from rivals.”
In 1898-9, the US elites, guided by this emerging worldview, projected their power globally for the first time, sendings its armies abroad to fight its first foreign imperial war, which was waged against Spain in order to secure the strategically important island nations of the Philippines and Cuba for US corporate and banking interests.
After successfully waging this campaign, and others like it, the Deep State behind America’s new Empire moved its sights on fighting another foreign war to advance its interests, this conflict being World War I, “the Great War”.
But this was only the beginning. As Engdahl informs us, the underlying geopolitical contest between Britain, Germany and America would ultimately “require three decades and two world wars to be finally decisively be resolved”, with America eventually rising supreme as the new global hegemon in charge of world development.
13. World War I: Two Contrasting Models of Capitalism Compete
Earlier, I mentioned how Germany’s use of “industrial capitalism” lead to the rapid economic development of the nation. By contrast, the British Empire’s use of “financial capitalism”, while useful in expanding the wealth and power of its oligarchical financier class, did little to nothing for its domestic economic base, which eroded over time for lack of investment and nurturing.
Meanwhile, in America, the East Coast Establishment favored a similar banking approaching as the Brits. The titans of finance on Wall Street merely sought to bring the British imperial model to America, porting their brand of capitalist world empire over to the New World, where they would take over as its dominant leaders.
Zooming out, we find in the background of World War I a great contest taking place - not only between countries but, equally significantly, between two contrasting models of capitalism: on the British and American side, we have a model based around financial capitalism being supported; while on the German side, we find a competing model based on the principles of industrial capitalism prevailing.
In short, financial capitalism is best suited for running a world empire centered around an elite banking oligarchy, while industrial capitalism is best suited for developing a strong nation state with a more pluralistic approach to economic development, with finance forming partnerships with both government and industry in order to achieve long-term shared goals and objectives.
Economic historian Michael Hudson points out that “Every economy is planned by someone or other. The question is: who is to do the planning?”
Traditionally, the bankers and oligarchs preferred to play this role, steering society toward the fulfillment of its wealth addiction. But at the dawn of the industrial age, when the world economy shifted from a rural, agrarian focus to an urban, industrial one, economists and social theorists began advocating for a new, industrial-centered form of economic investment and planning.
These new thinkers “sought to bring government out of the feudal era by shifting its role from that of supporting an idle aristocracy to coordinating reforms in the ways society employed and accumulated wealth.”
Traditionally, international bankers and private wealth-holding aristocrats, having become detached from the traditional pattern where they were integrated with the institutions of state and religion, came to favor the short-termist thinking of financial capitalism.
Here, long-term investments in tangible capital formation are avoided in favor of unproductive and extractive investment streams, with war financing being perhaps the most favored type of investment for the oligarchs to pursue.
By contrast, as Michael Hudson informs us, French economist “Saint-Simon, early socialists, and the large German banks that flowered in the Bismarck era (together) held that finance was needed to play a central role by funding technological innovation.” Consequently, their industry-focused financial model favored long-term planning, the funding of scientific research and workforce development, and investment into technological innovation.
Elaborating further, Hudson writes: “It was French and German theorists who pioneered the theory of credit that was needed to finance the Industrial Revolution.” In particular, “in France, Saint-Simon described the need to create an industrial credit system aimed at funding means of production rather than military destruction.”
Meanwhile, in Germany, Bismarck’s industry-focused “state socialism” concept “found its financial expression in the Reichsbank and other great industrial banks, whose long-term financing formed part of the ‘holy trinity’ of banking, industry, and government planning.”
Former German Finance Minister Hjalmar Schact offers an example of how this worked in practice: He writes that Georg von Siemens, of the Siemens industrial group, “was a practical political economist of the first rank, who had grasped the significance of the banking system in the development of the economy. It was he more than anyone who was responsible for the close co-operation between the banks and industry. The recognition that his task lay in this field prompted-him to accept a Reichstag seat. In the Reichstag, (while also doubling as an executive board member of Deutsche Bank and at the same time maintaining his connections to the Siemens industrial group), he executed measures of an economic nature which often set the trend of German economic policy.”
Hudson indicates that it was due to Germany’s landlocked geographic position that lead it to value this type of industrial approach to economic planning rather a financialized one.
He writes that, “despite the fact that Britain was the home of the Industrial Revolution, it was the French and Germans who moved banking theory into the industrial stage in their drive to help their nations catch up. It was their countries’ relative backwardness that led their policy-makers to step back and view matters from a broad perspective rather than merely continuing with its pre-industrial practices.”
For this reason, “industrial banking policies reached their highest expression in Germany, where the Reichsbank and large private banks developed close linkages with the government and heavy industry. Developing cross-holdings in the stocks of their major customers, these banks undertook much of the planning needed to guide long-term strategic investment”
Back in Britain, meanwhile, although it had initially taken the lead in instigating the Industrial Revolution, "banking had played little role in funding it. British and Dutch merchant bankers extended short-term loans on the basis of collateral such as bills for merchandise shipped (‘receivables’) and inventories, but did not undertake much long-term lending to finance investment in factories. … (Instead), innovators were obliged to raise investment money from their families and friends rather than from banks.”
By contrast, “Germany recognized more than any other nation that industrial technology needed long-term financing and government support. … The nation’s bank staffs already included industrial experts who were forging industrial policy into a science. Bankers and government planners were becoming engineers under the new industrial philosophy of how governments should shape credit markets.”
In their view, economic trends “favored growing industrial scale, increasingly associated with government support.” Therefore, “the proper task of national banking systems was to finance this symbiosis, for the laws of economic history were leading toward political centralization, national planning, and the large-scale financing of heavy industry.”
As we’ve discovered, “the short-term outlook of the English merchant bankers ill suited them for this task. They based their investment decisions on what they could liquidate in the event of loan default, not on the new production and income their lending might create over the longer run.”
Like the capitalist oligarchs of Rome, “neither British nor American banks were technological planners for the future. Their job was to maximize their own short-run advantage, not to create a better and more productive society.”
Another primary difference British and German models of capitalism has to do with the level of interconnection that developed between the nation’s banking sector and its domestic industrial base.
Hudson explains that “Germany’s historical form of organization was the professional guild, developed at the hands of masters”. In time, this lead to the formation of industrial cartels, with a skilled labor force being trained for long-term industrial production oriented to meet the needs of the state at large, not just its centralized wealth-holding financial class.
By contrast, because of this divergence in interests between British industry, its labor force, and its banking sector, its “medieval guilds devolved into labor unions that embarked on a class war against industrial employers.”
This competitive antagonism resulted in the British banking oligarchy seeking to politically suppress and neutralize its own populace: its own people were seen as a threat, and consequently the oligarchs’ mission became to not only subjugate other foreign nations, but also its own populace back at home, who were being destroyed from within by the empire’s activities and consequently were constantly strategizing to rebel against the imperial overlords.
Because its financial sector did not support its domestic industry, British corporations were forced to become quasi-autonomous entities, pursuing their own funding and engaging in activities that were lucrative for themselves, while ignoring if there was a larger social and economic cost to them. In other words, they became detached from the domestic economic and social needs of society, instead mimicking the parasitic behavior of the banking oligarchy.
For example, by forcing its industrial innovators to raise money privately, “Britain took an early lead in stock market promotion.” This they did “by forming Crown corporations such as the East India Company, the Bank of England, and the South Sea Company.” These corporations worked by extracting wealth from society, siphoning off “rents” through the collection of monopolistic “tollbooth privileges” granted to them by the state.
Like their counterparts in high finance, “the chief executive officers of major corporations (became) concerned mainly with financial strategy, not industrial engineering, labor relations, or sales. So running a corporation (became) essentially a financial task. The objective is to raise the company’s stock price by such tactics as using earnings to buy one’s own equity, planning corporate takeovers and raids, arranging debt pyramiding with creditors, orchestrating cartel pricing on a globe scale, and hiding profits in international tax havens.”
Hudson notes that, in America, this “Anglo-American spirit found its epitome in Thomas Edison, whose method of invention was hit-and-miss, coupled with a high degree of litigiousness to obtain patent and monopoly rights.”
In this manner, Britain and “America’s merchant heroes were individualistic traders and political insiders - ‘social darwinists’ - who often operated on the edge of society’s laws to gain their fortunes by stock-market manipulation, politicking for land giveaways, and monopolizing key industries such as insurance, mining, and natural resource extraction.”
In sum, in the period running up to the onset of the First World War, we find two contrasting models of capitalism coming into conflict: “whereas British banks continued to focus on mercantile financing rather than industrial financing, German banks played a leading role in planning their economy’s industrialization.”
Each side saw its own domestic oligarchies develop: the British oligarchy centered around its banking institutions and the German oligarchy around its large industrial combines. The two could not co-exist; each saw its counterpart as an existential threat to itself.
Hudson notes that, “when war broke out in 1914, Germany’s rapid victories over France and Belgium seemed to reflect the superior efficiency of its financial system.” Therefore, to some key observers, the Great War appeared not only as a war between nations but, more significantly, “as a struggle between rival forms of financial organization,” the war being waged to decide not only who would rule Europe, but also whether the continent would have a privately controlled laissez faire capitalist system or more state-centered socialist economic system.
14. The Military-Industrial-Banking Complex: the Foundation of American Empire
At the onset of the Great War, J.P. Morgan and his fellow “gods of money” on Wall Street leveraged their long-standing relationship with the British banking oligarchy to position American industry and finance as the dominant suppliers of the Allied war effort.
Essentially, the British and French were forced to outsource their military-industrial complex to America, allowing the US to develop its own domestic military-industrial complex at their expense. This military-industrial-banking complex would later be put to good use, not only during the second half of WWI, after America joined in 1917, but also during the next great war that would take place two decades later: World War II.
William Engdahl writes that, “in 1915, at the beginning of the European war, DuPont & Co. of Delaware received $100,000,000 of British money through J.P. Morgan & Co. to expand DuPont’s explosives division. Within months DuPont rose from being a small, unknown company to a primary international industry. Hercules Powder and Monsanto Chemical Company grew accordingly.”
Meanwhile, America’s “iron and steel industry blossomed. Crude iron prices rose 300% in three years, from $13 a ton in 1914 to $42 a ton by 1917. Bethlehem Steel, US Steel, Westinghouse Electric Co., Remington Arms, Colt Firearms—all had bulging order books. Profits at US Steel alone rose from $23 million in 1914 to $224 million by 1917. Between 1914 and 1917, William Rockefeller’s Anaconda Copper Co. saw its net income rise from $9 million to $25 million. The assets of Phelps Dodge & Co. – the Dodge who had put Wilson in the White House—increased some 400% from $59 million in 1914 to $241 million in 1918.
The next year, in 1916, “American industry, despite the nation’s official neutrality, exported a staggering $1,290,000,000 worth of war munitions to England and France.” In total, “by the eve of America’s entry into the war, J.P. Morgan & Co. had organized the export of some $5 billion worth of war material to the English and French, and later Italian, governments, all bought on credit organized by J.P. Morgan & Co. Such an amount—equivalent to about $90 billion in contemporary dollar value—had never before been transacted by a private bank group.”
In his research, Engdahl discovered a speech given in April 1915, two years prior to America’s entry into the war, by Thomas W. Lamont, a partner in J.P. Morgan. In this speech, given before the American Academy of Political and Social Science in Philadelphia, Lamont laid out the American oligarchy’s perspective on the developing war situation in Europe.
Describing this speech, Engdahl writes how “Lamont told the academic audience about the enormous profits American industry was drawing from financing and supplying munitions and war material to Britain and the allied powers in Europe. Lamont noted approvingly that J.P. Morgan and its Wall Street cronies would benefit handsomely should the war continue much longer.”
He then enthusiastically described the incredible benefits American industry and banking were enjoying as a result of the conflict, stating that: “We are turning from a debtor into a creditor, … piling up a prodigious export trade balance. … Many of our manufacturers and merchants have been doing a wonderful business in articles relating to the war. So heavy have been the war orders, running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, that now their effect is beginning to spread to general business. … (And) as a climax to all this improvement, America is becoming a large factor in the international loan market” - this being the traditional prize of high finance: international government loans.
Lamont continued his speech, stating: “Now what of the future? Many people seem to believe that New York is to supersede London as the money center of the world. In order to become the money center of the world, we must of course become the trade center of the world. That is certainly a possibility.”
“This question of trade and financial supremacy must be determined by several factors, a chief one of which is the duration of the war. If the war should come to an end in the near future, … we should probably find Germany, whose export trade is now almost wholly cut off, swinging back into keen competition very promptly.”
Another factor “that too is dependent on the duration of the war, is as to whether we shall become lenders to foreign nations upon a really large scale. … Shall we become lenders upon a really stupendous scale to these foreign governments? ... If the war continues long enough to encourage us to take such a position, then inevitably we would become a creditor instead of a debtor nation, and such a development, sooner or later, would tend to bring about the dollar, instead of the pound sterling, as the international basis of exchange.”
And here we find the grand aim of the American oligarchy, stated in clear terms right at the outset of the WWI. The goal was to, as Quigley informed us, establish a global economic imperium centered in Wall Street and Washington and run by the Money Trust, with bankers like JP Morgan and industrial tycoons like John D. Rockefeller as its centerpiece.
Of course, the vast majority of peoples in the American nation were not interested in building a global economic imperium. Most still believed they were living in a democratic nation, not an oligarchical one.
Consequently, the American populace and the politicians that are intended to represent them would have to be strategically coerced into supporting this new, imperial direction for American foreign policy. Partly, this was accomplished through propaganda, and partly by making America’s financial involvement in the war so deep that it couldn’t afford to stay politically neutral.
The Money Trust, by investing heavily in the British and French war efforts, put America in a position of being bankrupted should the Allied powers lose the war. This essentially gave the American military and political leadership no choice but to mobilize the nation for war, with America joining the fighting in 1917.
Describing America’s debt situation during the war, Engdahl writes how, “from the time of its official entry into the European war in April 1917 until the signing of the armistice with Germany on November 11, 1918, the United States Government lent the European Allied Powers what Lamont had called a “really stupendous” sum: $9,386,311,178.”
In short, “the full faith and credit of the United States of America, backed by the new Federal Reserve, was being mobilized to defeat Germany. The $9 billion, however, did not go to London or Paris. Rather, it went directly to American industries, most of which were tied to either the Morgan group, Kuhn-Loeb, or the Rockefellers, to pay for war supplies to the Allies.”
As an inevitable consequence of this course of events, after the war the United States became the world’s largest creditor nation, a role that England had formerly enjoyed before the war.
The end of Britain’s days as a global empire were clearly drawing near. Increasingly, it was becoming checkmated by a rising homegrown American oligarchy.
Given that “the gold standard was still the basis of foreign exchange, the small group of international bankers — now led by New York banks — who owned the gold, controlled the monetary system of Western nations.”
In this way, through the Great War, “one major aim of the backers of the Federal Reserve—displacing London as world money market— had been achieved.”
But in order for the New York bankers to maintain the envious strategic position they had built for themselves as the “gods of money” over world trade, they had to first actually win the war.
In late 1916 and early 1917, the British War effort suffered a serious existential shock: the Russian front, which was serving to divide the Axis forces across two fronts, was collapsing, and a mutiny was beginning to take place within the country.
As a consequence of these internal revolts, the Russian Czar was forced to abdicate the throne. This was a catastrophe for the British, as it meant that the Germans could now refocus their entire war effort on the western front.
As it turns out, the domestic political crisis in Russia was fueled by outside financing. Engdahl describes what happened:
“The Russian front against the German Reich had collapsed and a Bolshevik regime headed by Vladimir Lenin threatened to take power and withdraw Russia from the war. In a daring gamble financed by the German General Staff, the Germans decided to transport Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership—then in exile in Switzerland—in a special sealed railcar from their Swiss exile by train back to Russia, together with enough gold bars to fund a revolution against the Czar.”
Engdahl writes that “the Germans hoped this would get them a regime hostile to the Anglo-French cause, one that would agree to sue for separate peace with Germany. It did, but at a heavy price:” America’s entry into the war.
Because the American financial system, centered now around the Federal Reserve, had become so heavily tied into the Allied war effort, the defeat of Britain and France in the war would have caused a major banking crisis, as these foreign loans would have defaulted.
This was the perhaps first instance of today’s financial doctrine of “Too Big to Fail”. Engdahl explains that “JP Morgan and the US banks had lent so much money to the British that when the tide shifted on Britain, with the Soviet’s exit from the war, the banks told President Wilson that he could either enter the war with America expanding and consolidating its power over Britain or its industry would be faced with financial ruin.”
In short, “the Money Trust of Wall Street saw war as the entry point to gaining financial influence in Europe, filling the vacuum left by a bankrupt Britain. It was the first step in creating what became the ‘American Century’.”
Responding to this perceived crisis, the American Deep State kicked into gear: “Through its influence on Woodrow Wilson’s administration, it was able to manipulate the media accounts of events to create a war fever in an unknowing American populace that had been deeply skeptical of the need to go to war.”
This turn of events, with America now becoming formally involved in a war its population did not want, is what lead famed military general Smedly Butler to write his famous 1935 diatribe, “War is a Racket”.
In it, he writes how, “in the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army. Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the ‘war to end wars.’ This was the ‘war to make the world safe for democracy.’”
“No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reason. No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a ‘glorious adventure.’”
Zooming out and surveying the picture as a whole, Butler states emphatically that: “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
Elaborating, he admits that his own life experiences are proof of his theory, stating: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
“I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”
“Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
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