Time for a trip in the way-back machine to recall a bit of history of which most of us have never heard.  Last year, Phillip Roth had a bestseller with his novel, The Plot Against America, a fictionalized alternative history involving a fascist plot to take over the government of the USA and turn it into a fascist state under President Charles Lindbergh.  But how many of you know of the real plot to overthrow FDR during the early years of his administration, a plot conceived by rich industrialists and bankers concerned that Roosevelt was about to conduct a massive redistribution of wealth?

It’s a sordid tale of fascist intrigue by some of America’s most famous corporate and political families (including members of FDR’s own party) which was deliberately covered up by both the only Congressional Committee to investigate the plot, and also by the leading media outlets of the day including the New York Times.  And the truly scary part is that the plot might very well have succeeded if not for the bravery of a single, progressive leader: Marine General, Smedley Butler.


Now it’s true that this story hasn’t been completely forgotten.  There are websites that discuss the conspiracy (some to which I’ve already linked, and others which I’ll list at the conclusion of this diary), and a few people wrote books which at least mention the subject.  However, the only book that focuses exclusively on the fascist plot to oust President F.D. Roosevelt is now out of print: The Plot to Seize The White House (New York: Hawthorne Books, 1973) by Julius Archer.  Soon after publishing this, Hawthorne Books went out of business. Second-hand copies are now available for as much as $250.

What’s to be learned from all this?  The simple truth that those of us who see a corporatist conspiracy to manipulate and even “steal” our state and national elections, to influence at the highest levels the policies of our government, and to suppress or distort the news that the media reports are not as crazy as our opponents make us out to be.  Because IT HAS ALL HAPPENED BEFORE, and we were JUST DAMN LUCKY THE BASTARDS DIDN’T SUCCEED!

Continue reading:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/02/27/95580/-The-Real-Plot-to-Overthrow-FDR-s-America

Further reading and related stories:

American supporters of the European Fascists

Smedley Butler – Business Plot

The Collaboration: Hollywood’s pact with Hitler

The German-American Bund and the 20,000-strong Nazi Rally in NYC in 1939

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  Just as the terms “liberal,” “labor unions,” “socialism,” “communism,” and many others, have been demonized over the years through purposeful intent, so too has “conspiracy” been marginalized as a meaningful word.  Today, the typical reaction upon hearing it is to disregard the context of its use regardless of how well substantiated that context may be.  Part of the problem is the sheer volume of unsubstantiated assertions commonly referred to as “wild conspiracies.”  When people get inundated by such nonsense, they tend to categorically reject everything which even remotely sounds conspiratorial because it requires “too much effort” to evaluate each claim individually.

This is terribly unfortunate because it blinds much of the populace from seeing true conspiracies which have and still do occur at the highest levels of our social institutions.  This is the reason why human languages have words to describe it.

On the political spectrum, the most right-wing form of governance is fascism and the most left-wing is communism.  They are ideologically opposed to each other, but typically employ the same authoritarian – and often brutal – methods of control (i.e. totalitarianism).  When FDR planned historic progressive reforms early in his presidency to end the misery of the Great Depression, a right-wing backlash was assured.  Fortunately, it failed – that is, until a half-century later when the modern conservative movement coalesced under Ronald Reagan and shifted America again sharply rightwards.

The comment section of this fine editorial by a former military officer has a great discussion on America’s endless involvement in war – a topic which shines some light on why conspiracies are so relevant to U.S. politics.  See:  Why the American Military Is Doomed

20 thoughts on “The Real Plot to Overthrow FDR’s America (yes, it was a conspiracy)

  1. A fascinating history, Robert, and crucial commentary about the ease with which conspiracy theories are dismissed. I wish there were a few more Smedley Butlers these days, and an FDR too.


  2. Robert, appreciated the article. If you are interested, I’m a retired pastor who no considers himself an atheist, a ‘new’ one only in the sense that I’m newly free to be who I really am. -Ron


  3. Given the history of human rulers, it seems likely that a long list of such plots have come and gone largely unremarked … royalty didn’t employ tasters for no reason, right? Perhaps the plots that somehow become visible are analogs of the visible tip of an iceberg?


  4. The onslaught of centralized capitalism would have been completed decades ago had it not been for World War II and its preceding turmoil, the Great Depression (FDR should truly go down in history as a conservative, not a liberal, since there’s little doubt his actions to deliver relief during the depression saved the US centralized capitalist system from collapse although, as you noted, some were still not, ahem, satisfied).

    After World War II, the US held the only large, viable economy in the world, until Europe and Asia got back on their feet, which took some 30 years. After that, the forces of centralized capitalism swung into action again and here we are, staring feudalism in the face again.


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