Your History Moment: War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler

I will depart from usual practice of posting my own reading on Airy Persiflage and post an excellent recording of the signature work of a hero of mine, General Smedley Butler.  General Butler was the real thing. A Major General in the United States Marine Corps, he participated in several campaigns and little “Banana Wars” around the turn of the century and was twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. By the end of his career, he hadreceived 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only man to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

In his 1935 book War is a Racket, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s.  Attached to this post is a recording of WAR IS A RACKET, read by a Librivox reader named Jules Harlock.  The recording is posted under the Creative Commons License.

War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler.

Listen live:″


One response to “Your History Moment: War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler

  1. One should also mention Smedly Butler’s participation, or rather non-participation, in the “Business Plot” of the 1930s ( Why they thought to approach him, after his actions during and after the Bonus Army incident, definitely does-not-compute. (