War is a Racket
by Major General Smedley Butler (1933)
Published in 1933 by Retired Marine Major General Smedley Butler, War is a Racket is a historic expose of the role of Wall Street profiteering in instigating war.
The book begins with the startling statistic that World War I created 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires. President Woodrow Wilson borrowed (from Wall Street banks) the $50+ billion to pay for World War I, increasing the national debt from $1 billion to $52 billion. Of this amount, $16 billion was pure profit. Butler lists specific companies, starting with Du Pont and US Steel, and the obscene profits they made from World War I.
He also deplores the systematic inefficiency and fraud that caused the War Department paying two to three times the retail charge for equipment such as saddles and mosquito nets that had no possible use in a modern…
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