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The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR
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The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  236 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Most people will be shocked to learn that in 1933 a cabal of wealthy industrialists—in league with groups like the K.K.K. and the American Liberty League—planned to overthrow the U.S. government in a fascist coup. Their plan was to turn discontented veterans into American "brown shirts," depose F.D.R., and stop the New Deal. They clandestinely asked Medal of Honor recipien ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing (first published 1973)
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Lawrence A
Sep 12, 2009 Lawrence A rated it liked it
In 1860, leaders in many of the southern United States were faced with the election of President whom they feared would limit the geographic extension of slavery, as a precursor to the ultimate abolition of the "peculiar institution." Despite the fact that, for 56 of the 60 years prior to the momentous election of Abraham Lincoln, the presidency had been occupied either by southern slaveholders or their northern sympathizers, many southern grandees, led by South Carolina "fire eaters," pushed th ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Marna rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful tribute to General Smedley D. Butler, who was a career Marine. An extremely patriotic man, loved and respected by his men.
During his service he concluded that the wars engaged in by the United States, benefitted Wall Street, Bankers, Munitions factories, and other wealthy powerful people who had interests/investments internationally. His men were killed, wounded severely, jobs lost, families destroyed, and the disabled weren't cared for adequately. All his attempts at obtain
Feb 17, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Pretty amazing to me. I had never heard of this, and no one wanted to dig too far into it, but it obviously happened
A Fuller explanation of the infamous Business Plot

In America's 200+ history, there have been only two known attempts to have a coup against the government of the U.S. Luckily both tried to recruit well known military leaders that put their love of country and democracy above personal ambition and ended the coup attempts in its infancy. While this book is more of a biography of General Smedley Butler. It does go into amazing detail about the Business Plot and the people behind and supportive of i
Andrew Long
Nov 13, 2011 Andrew Long rated it it was amazing
A brilliant biography and coverage of a historical event that ought to be required reading in our schools. Our proud nation was mere months away from a Fascist takeover. This book is still a clarion call to stand up and resist the forces of fascism that even today threaten to completely subsume our freedoms.
Feb 22, 2015 Johnny rated it really liked it
In America's 200+ history, there have been only two known attempts to have a coup against the government of the U.S. Luckily both tried to recruit well known military leaders that put their love of country and democracy above personal ambition and ended the coup attempts in its infancy. While this book is more of a biography of General Smedley Butler. It does go into amazing detail about the Business Plot and the people behind and supportive of it. To me, personally, the extent of the leadership ...more
Kevin Colby
May 03, 2012 Kevin Colby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An event and a man that more Americans should know about.
Ian Hamilton
Nov 02, 2015 Ian Hamilton rated it liked it
While poorly written, this is still in an interesting read. I'm not sure how much of this is embellishment, hearsay, etc., but clearly some powerful business elites of the 30s, in their disdain for Roosevelt's New Deal policies, were engaged in some level of conspiratorial tomfoolery. I just plowed through this; thoroughly fascinated by this era of American history, and this book just reaffirms the notion that the U.S. was not immune to the far right/left uprisings that rocked Europe during the ...more
Monica Perez
Aug 05, 2013 Monica Perez rated it liked it
You gotta love Smedley Butler, even though he campaigned for FDR! He seems to have had integrity. His essay transcribed as War is a Racket was courageous and honest - too bad we didn't take it to heart as a nation. Butler was the most decorated Marine in history if I'm not mistaken, though this book hints at a disproportionate amount of administrative accomplishment over battlefield successes, but I'm sure there was plenty of both. The Plot refers to big money guys trying to get Butler to aid th ...more
Scoop Erickson
A fascinating expose of a conspiracy to overthrow the FDR White House and install a Fascist government with duped veterans as its foot soldiers. According to highly decorated General Smedley Butler, Fascist businessmen and bankers decided to they had to take over the government when FDR took the country off the gold standard and initiated the New Deal initiatives.

The conspirators had turned to retired Gen. Butler to be their figurehead and spokesperson as he was a highly respected national figu
Sep 15, 2012 C.J. rated it it was amazing
When Americans claim that "it can't happen here," they tend to overlook the little known but well-documented 1933 conspiracy to overthrow the presidency of President Franklin Roosevelt. The so-called "Business Plot" was well organized with backing from a circle of influential American business, finance and industrial figures. Though the plot was later investigated by Congress, it appears to have been too embarrassing for both the Roosevelt admninistration and the plotters to keep in front of the ...more
Robert Kirkconnell
May 08, 2015 Robert Kirkconnell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 14916219
Throughout U.S. history the power elite have been trying to take control of the country, and at present they may have succeeded. Archer has taken a snapshot of this struggle during the run up to WW-II when Wall Street bankers and industrialists tried to get America's most decorated hero involved in a plot to take control of the government. The problem for the power elite is that every once in a while a U.S. President gets into office who feels obligated to run the government for the American peo ...more
Oct 26, 2008 James rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who believes in the Bill of Rights
Excellent. I had known quite a bit about the military career of General Smedley Butler - the Marine Corps cherishes its history, and General Butler stands second only to Chesty Puller as a role model and folk hero to Marines. This is a chapter in his life they never taught us about when I was in uniform, though, and it makes my admiration for him even greater.
To sum it up, if he had not done what he did, our country could easily have become a fascist state democratic in name only. A group of the
"Greg Adkins"
Dec 21, 2007 "Greg Adkins" rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
At times histrionic and occasionally verging on hysterical, The Plot to Seize the White House is indispensable if for no other reason than being (apparently) the only book ever published devoted to this little-known facet of United States history: a planned fascist coup of FDR's white house -- backed by industrialists with more than 500,000 troops at their disposal -- which was narrowly averted when retired General Smedley Butler came forward and exposed the plot to congress. Though the Congress ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Ja rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. The writing style generally promoted the continuous reading of it. The one exception were some word choices and phrasing that gave one pause and snapped one out of the trance--stilted words, subjective and at times dated and hard boiled. The book title, however, is most dishonest. Far too little of this book has to do with the alleged plot, to much of it on the life of one Major General Smedley D. Butler. It would have been far more appropriate to have labeled it the biograp ...more
Steven Wilson
Aug 06, 2014 Steven Wilson rated it it was amazing
An incredible read. The story of a true American hero. Retired Marine General Smedley Darlington Butler was approached by a group of wealthy U.S. businessmen with the idea of fascist takeover of the the American government. A story that only took place in the 30's during the FDR presidency - most people have no idea that this attempted putsch occurred - or if they do have some knowledge of it believe it to be a a "conspiracy theory". It wasn't. The most amazing thing about this book is just how ...more
Chaplain Stanleigh Chapin
A mandatory read!

A example of a true officer and gentlemen. As a Korean war veteran, who as a lifetime member of both the Veterans Foreign Wars and American Legion and spent time in VA hospitals, I truly believe that his beliefs and stance would have saved hundreds of thousands of American deaths and permanent injuries other than our being attacked at the start of WW 2.
Brian Morris
Jan 09, 2014 Brian Morris rated it liked it
Although it's not a particularly well written book and can be repetitive at times, it is one of the few accounts out there about an interesting plot and a really interesting character in Smedley Butler. But after reading the book, it's not at all clear how serious the plot to overthrow FDR really was. Despite that, it's still worth reading to learn more about Smedley Butler who should be more well known than he is today. His biting commentary on the motives behind American military intervention ...more
Bill hart
Mar 08, 2015 Bill hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A history lesson worth your time

This book was an eye opener as it shows little has changed when it comes to government and Wall Street over the last century. Only the names are changed, but the shame remains the same.
Nick Woodall
Wow! I didn't know anything about this small, yet significant, part of history. After reading it, I want to know more about General Smedley Darlington Butler. I agree with the author that he should be remembered as a hero for America. You will read this book like a novel, and when you finish, you will shake your head, and say, "This was really true?"
Peter Disilvio
Mar 15, 2014 Peter Disilvio rated it it was amazing
A fantastic story that should be read by every Political Science major and aficionado. The terrifying tale of how our country was almost overthrown by Fascists
Apr 13, 2015 Luke rated it liked it
Well researched, insightful, but got somewhat tedious half-way through.
MaryAnne Pennington
Interesting true story but not well written.
Pat Fitzgerald
Sep 06, 2012 Pat Fitzgerald rated it liked it
Unbelievable story that should be better known. If nothing else, Smedley Butler and the Bonus Army deserve more than a footnote in U.S. history books, to say nothing of the proposed coup.
Docked a point because of Archer's bad writing, speculative leaps and uncritical hagiography of Butler. I don't mean to be too hard on Archer, he did a hell of a lot of research, and this is the most accessible source out there.
Feb 18, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
Not particularly well-written, but a profoundly important historical incident that not many Americans are aware of. Particularly significant if you remember that Prescott Bush was involved with the American Liberty League. Plus, it's a biography of Smedley Butler, which, if even half the stories in here are true, he was about as impressive as they get.
David Todd
Mar 27, 2012 David Todd rated it liked it
I think all of the high school American history books should be reviewed and when this story is found to be overlooked, they should be scraped and revised. We should know as much about Smedley Darlington Butler as we do Aaron Burr or Benedict Arnold.
History told as a story. This was an easy read, well-researched. Unfortunately, it could not answer the ultimate questions of why the perpetrators were never prosecuted or sanctioned.
May 17, 2008 Robert rated it really liked it
First read about this conspiracy in "The 70 Greatest Conspiracies Of All Time: History's Biggest Mysteries, Coverups, and Cabals"
Jun 01, 2008 Ray rated it it was amazing
A piece of lost American history preserved through Archer's book. A truly incredible story that has striking relevance today.
Dec 19, 2011 Bryan rated it really liked it
Amazing story and the economic and social conditions are eerily like our current situation.
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“On August 21, 1931, invited to address an American Legion convention in Connecticut, he made the first no-holds-barred antiwar speech of his career. It stunned all who heard it or read it in the few papers that dared report it in part: 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 half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. . . . In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. . . . I had . . . a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions. . . . I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents. . . . We don’t want any more wars, but a man is a damn fool to think there won’t be any more of them. I am a peace-loving Quaker, but when war breaks out every damn man in my family goes. If we’re ready, nobody will tackle us. Give us a club and we will face them all. . . . There is no use talking about abolishing war; that’s damn foolishness. Take the guns away from men and they will fight just the same. . . . In the Spanish-American War we didn’t have any bullets to shoot, and if we had not had a war with a nation that was already licked and looking for an excuse to quit, we would have had hell licked out of us. . . . No pacifists or Communists are going to govern this country. If they try it there will be seven million men like you rise up and strangle them. Pacifists? Hell, I’m a pacifist, but I always have a club behind my back!” 0 likes
“Navy Secretary Adams, a wealthy, polo-playing yachtsman, sent for Butler and delivered a blistering reprimand, declaring that he was doing so at the direct personal order of the President of the United States. Butler saw red. “This is the first time in my service of thirty-two years,” he snapped back, “that I’ve ever been hauled on the carpet and treated like an unruly schoolboy. I haven’t always approved of the actions of the administration, but I’ve always faithfully carried out my instructions. If I’m not behaving well it is because I’m not accustomed to reprimands, and you can’t expect me to turn my cheek meekly for official slaps!” “I think this will be all,” Adams said icily. “I don’t ever want to see you here again!” “You never will if I can help it!” Butler rasped, storming out of his office livid with anger. Just two days after his attack on the government’s gunboat diplomacy, which provoked a great public commotion, Undersecretary of State J. Reuben Clark privately submitted to Secretary of State Stimson the draft of a pledge that the United States would never again claim the right to intervene in the affairs of any Latin American country as an “international policeman.” The Clark Memorandum, which later became official policy—for a while at least—repudiated the (Theodore) Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that Smedley Butler had unmasked as raw gunboat diplomacy.” 0 likes
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