Thursday, July 26, 2007

The 1933 coup plot and Prescott Bush

According to Charles Higham's American Swastika (where I first read about this material) there were not one but two attempted coups against FDR in the 1930s. The best-known of the two was the 1933 "Business Plot," whose originators asked Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, a Republican, to function as their front man. Unfortunately for their plans, Butler was a genuine patriot who decided to spill the beans to the McCormack-Dickstein Committee in Congress.

I'm told that a full transcript of the hearings remains unavailable to this day.

The Committee admitted that it could verify most of what Butler had said, but took no actions against the plotters, most of whom were American industrialists who felt that Roosevelt might lead the country into outright socialism. Ever since that time, scholars have debated the seriousness of what has been called "The Business Plot." Some have derided Butler as a publicity seeker of doubtful veracity. Others have sneeringly referred to the coup attempt as a "cocktail putsch" -- a lot of hot air with no balloon to lift.

However, Butler had corroborating witnesses, and the Committee concluded its investigation with these words:
In the last few weeks of the committee's official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist government in this country.

No evidence was presented and this committee had none to show a connection between this effort and any fascist activity of any European country.

There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.
A recent BBC documentary, as yet unseen by me, looks into the Business Plot. The BBC adds a surprising new name to the list of the plotters:
The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.
[Emphasis added.] This is the first time I have seen Prescott Bush mentioned in this connection. Have any of my readers seen this documentary? Is the allegation against Prescott Bush based on solid evidence?

If it is, then we must re-examine the conclusions of the 1934 committee. They believed that the plotters had no connection to Nazi Germany. Prescott Bush, however, did.

PB was a vice-president of Harriman & Co., and later was a founding member of the Brown Brothers Harriman banking concern. This great financial house was heavily invested in Germany during Hitler's rise, especially in the steel works run by Fritz Thyssen, a major funder of -- and adviser to -- the Nazi Party. The Union Banking Corporation, directed by Prescott, was set up under the Harriman Bank to oversee Thyssen's investments in the United States and to provide "cover" for Nazi assets that might be seized in the event of a new war. Bush was also invested in a Thyssen company called the Silesian-American Corporation, which allegedly used slave labor from prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, Fritz Thyssen broke with Hitler when the war started -- before the Auschwitz camp began its grim business.

(I realize that, after a certain point, this kind of material becomes difficult to follow. Believe it or not, I'm giving you the stripped-down version! German industry is, and has always been, a dizzying maze of interlocking corporations and sub-corporations. A wag once said that Germany has only five real businesses, although many more seem to exist.)

Kitty Kelley devotes some space to all this in her biography of the Bush dynasty. She concludes that the Bushes never had any ideological affinity for Nazism, and that Prescott's motives were purely financial. Others have said that he functioned as a UBC director only on paper; the real owner was a Dutch banking concern.

We should note that, after the war, Prescott Bush became a friend to Dwight Eisenhower and an investor in the United Negro College fund.

So: How does the BBC link Bush to the 1933 coup plot?

As noted above, I have yet to see the documentary. I suspect that the BBC may make reference to a fellow named Samuel Pryor, head of the Remington firearms firm. Pryor was also a director of Bush's UBC -- and of a Thyssen concern. Some evidence connects Remington to the "Business Plot."

(Click here and here if you want to listen to a two-part radio program on the Pryor affair.)

In my view, we still do not have enough evidence to suggest that Prescott Bush favored Hitler's program on an ideological level (although PB did have a keen interest in eugenics). Still, if the BBC's information proves correct, historians may one day be able to assert that the 1933 "Business Plotters" acted hand-in-glove with the Nazis.


Anonymous said...

TNX Joe!

Anonymous said...

Well maybe he did, maybe he didn't.

But it makes me wonder about all those stories about W's 1st fiance.... is it true that Prescot's son & daughter-in-law didn't take a shine to Catheryn Lee Wolfman.. maybe it had nothing to do with being 1/2 Jewish.. or maybe it's not even true, like Shoedinger... you tell us, Joe

Anonymous said...

A certain segment of the US business community in the 30's had no affinity for ideological Naziism but was impressed by the fact that Hitler had both crushed the unions and gotten German business chugging along even at the depths of the Depression. Some of those American businessmen just wanted to take advantage of investment opportunities in the new Germany and were resentful of any limits on their economic freedom, while others saw Germany as a model for combatting the Depression in the US.

The Bush/Harriman/Dulles cluster appears to have been in the opportunist camp -- they were, after all, financial managers and not magnates of industry, so they had no personal interest in crushing the unions -- but the situation with some of their close associates is far less clear. For example, William Stamps Farish, Sr. of Standard Oil donated $200 to Clark's Crusaders, one of the fascist groups sponsored by the DuPonts around the time of the coup plot.

All in all, there's a kind of fog over the events of the early 30's, and the motivations and affinities aren't easy to untangle.

Anonymous said...

thanx Joseph for your undercover- ing of that deep political insight and thanx to the BBC also.
Certainly there were many in the government and outsside our government that were anxious and willing to help Hitler advance his schemes and strategies for g;obal domination (uncannily similar to his "god grandson GW Bush).
Our country clubs and smoke filled rooms, where many of these priveleged and dubious loyalists to our constitutional system had membership lists, that were populated by very white skinned "aryans" with serious distatse for jews, negroes, or anyone else wirhout blue eyes, paleskins and "ill gotten" fat wallets.
Some of our most celebrated heroes such as Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford, and Prescott Bush, were just the tip of the Reichberg in America in the years that led up to the war.
In the aftermath of that second war for world domination, this same coterie of Hitlerites, and their lieutenents, oraganized a cabal of nazis with much more training by now, and much more expertise in the international program, placed them "illegally" into our" body politic" as rocket scientists, economists, Pentagon consultants, and officers within the CIA, where Hitlers chief of intelligence on the easter front, Reinhard Gehlen, partnered with Allen Dulles a prestigious "paleskin", to form the all new, enriched and muscular, Central Intelligence Agency.
Then came the Korean war which necessitated the stoking up of the jeavy metal furnaces of Germany again..

gotta run for now..

Anonymous said...

"tip of the Reichberg in America"
Great line!

Anonymous said...

I would imagine Joseph has seen this already:

It is from an AJ film, which understandably makes it suspect to many. It is a little overblown and not exactly proof that PS Bush was involved (and to say he planned the coup as AJ does via the headline at his site, is completely without merit), but it does provide some, IMO accurate, background on the grandfather of our current president.

Anonymous said...

in the 1950's, a freshman senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy (with the backing of the same nazi symps ie sympathizers that had resisted our involvement in WWll so that Hitler could roll over Europe and then conquer us or U.S.), accused our own Army of torturing German prisoners of war to confess of their crimes of slaughtering unarmed American prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge. He was ultimately successful with the help of our media, to gain the release of many of the Nazis that had been found guilty of war crimes.
After achieving his seanatorial high profile (with the assistance of the media), he was able to mount an avalanche of public and political power to virtually eliminate all the the "real left" in our system. The "real left" has not yet recuperated and what we have today is a pseudo left, or a government manufactured "plastic" left for all practical purposes.
A coterie of "gate keepers" that are touted as the radical left, like Chomsky, Zin, Nation magazine and most of the rags that present intellectual essays and editorials with lots of abstractions and big words shouting slogans against the rich and powerful but usually lacking in the historical perspective, that can delineate the fascist program inside the United States, and the roots of its strength and power vested in the super rich like George Bush, his daddy and his Grandfather Prescott, the Hitler agent that escaped the charge of treason for his support of Hitler during the war.
I listened to the BBC narration and it reveals that Prescott Bush was then the American director of the Hamburg Lines, a German American steamship company that was offering free passage to any and all journalists that would visit Germany and write stories promoting Hitler, which many journalists did and reaped the rewards for it.
It was a treasonable act in the 1930's when Prescott Bush and the other industrialists plotted their coup d'etat against Roosevelt but the testimony of Smedley Butler where he was naming names is still secret to this day so the BBC program had to fall short in its revelations. It was suggested that Roosevelt cut a deal with the plotters, the Duponts, JP MOrgan, Bush, et al, to let it slide by if they would not stanf against his "New Deal" legilative proposals, which they agreed to.
In the 1960's we fainally had that coup when Kennedy was assassinated because he was about to dismantle the CIA and "scatter it to the four winds".
So now the "secret" or parallel government, that has been plotting for almost 100 years to grab the throne again, has temporarily succeeded as you all have recently noticed.
Now What?

tatonka said...

Read two books by Antony Sutton for more on the Prescott Bush and Nazi connection. The first is "Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler" & "Americas Secret Establishment: The Order of Skull and Bones" both have a plethora of page turning facts and connections.