It CAN Happen Here !

Donald Trump Caricature. By DonkeyHotey. Flckr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

So, I recently told you all about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s positive assessment of Mussolini and how FDR was the architect of U.S. prison camps. There’s much more but even with such stellar authoritarian credentials, there’s also strong evidence that home-grown fascists may have openly explored the option of anti-FDR coup in 1934.

That year, the DuPonts and the Morgans tried to hire former Marine Gen. Smedley Butler (Ret.) to overthrow the supposedly liberal Roosevelt administration. Later in 1934, Butler testified before a congressional committee convened to investigate this possible sedition.

After claiming that Wall Street brokers had offered him millions of dollars to set up a fascist army of half a million, Butler explained that Gerald MacGuire of Grayson Murphy and Company had told him that FDR would remain as a figurehead president. Businessmen and generals would run the country and everything would be “legal.”

Before passing judgment on the veracity of Butler’s claims, consider how the general himself summarized his career before a legionnaires convention in 1931:

I spent 33 years…being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism…I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of a half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

The alleged coup plan fizzled when Butler told FDR about it, thus presenting the president with a new problem. Fearful of the financial fallout of arresting anyone named Morgan or DuPont, FDR chose instead to leak the news to the press. “Not for the first time or last time in his career, [Roosevelt] was aware that there were powers greater than he in the United States,” explains historian Charles Higham.

Press reports led to the congressional investigation, which delved into the role played in the proposed takeover by General Douglas MacArthur. Thanks to the influence of big business, however, Congress found the task of rooting out fascism among U.S. financiers and corporate heads unnecessary.

“Butler begged the committee to summon the Du Ponts,” says Higham, “but the committee declined. Nor would it consent to call anyone from the house of Morgan.”

It can happen here

Today, in our history-ignorant nation, we face a new but related threat. The media-fueled rise of Trumpism has re-emboldened racists and white supremacists all across God’s Country™. This, combined with documented white supremacist infiltration into U.S. law enforcement creates fertile ground for yet another a “fascist army of half a million” but “everything would be legal” coup attempt.

Take-home message: Downplay Trumpism at your own peril. #NeverTrump

Mickey Z. is currently writing his 14th book, How to Lose Friends & Influence Nobody: My Life as an “Activist.” In the meantime, he can be found here.
It CAN happen here by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at



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