Cover of Smedley Butler


Lifetime: 1881 - 1940 Passed: ≈ 83 years ago


Marine Corps officer


United States

Smedley Butler

Smedley Butler, an illustrious figure in American history, was a distinguished Marine Corps officer and renowned peace advocate. Throughout his remarkable life, Butler demonstrated unwavering principles, remarkable courage, and an unwavering commitment to justice. This essay aims to delve into his life, explore his core principles, highlight his notable works, examine his philosophy, discuss his legacy, and shed light on interesting aspects of his persona.

Smedley Darlington Butler was born on July 30, 1881, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He hailed from a distinguished military family, and at the age of 16, he followed in his father's footsteps and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Butler's military career spanned over three decades, during which he earned numerous accolades, including two Medals of Honor, making him one of the most decorated Marines in history.

Butler was known for his strong principles and unyielding commitment to the truth. He firmly believed that war was often driven by economic interests rather than noble causes. In his famous book, "War is a Racket," published in 1935, Butler exposed the corrupt nature of warfare and highlighted how powerful entities manipulated conflicts for financial gain. He advocated for the demilitarization of American society and cautioned against the influence of the military-industrial complex.

During his military career, Butler served in numerous conflicts, including the Boxer Rebellion, the Mexican Revolution, and World War I. He earned his first Medal of Honor for his valiant leadership during the United States' intervention in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1914. His second Medal of Honor was awarded for his exceptional bravery and command during the Haitian campaign in 1915.

One of Butler's most notable works was his expose, "War is a Racket." In this influential book, he decried the profiteering that occurred during wartime and shed light on the corporate interests behind military interventions. Butler's book became a significant critique of American foreign policy and remains highly relevant to this day.

Smedley Butler's philosophy was rooted in a strong belief in justice and a commitment to exposing corruption. He believed that the military should be used solely for the defense of the nation rather than as a tool for furthering personal or corporate interests. His outspoken criticism of war profiteering and his call for disarmament made him a polarizing figure, facing opposition from those who benefited from the military-industrial complex.

Smedley Butler passed away on June 21, 1940, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of 58. He is remembered as a courageous whistleblower and a staunch advocate for peace. His legacy as a Marine Corps officer who questioned the motives behind American military actions has endured and continues to inspire activists and scholars to question the hidden agendas behind warfare.

Apart from his military and activist career, there are interesting facets to Smedley Butler's life. He was a supporter of veterans' rights and an advocate for their welfare, often speaking out against the mistreatment of veterans. Butler also had a fascination with horticulture and was an avid gardener. His love for nature and gardening provided him solace and balance in his eventful life.

Smedley Butler, a highly decorated Marine Corps officer and vocal critic of war profiteering, dedicated his life to upholding principles of justice and exposing corruption. Through his influential writings, especially "War is a Racket," he shed light on the hidden interests behind warfare. Butler's legacy lives on, serving as a reminder to critically examine the motives behind military actions and advocate for peace. His courageous stance and commitment to truth continue to inspire generations to challenge the status quo and strive for a more just and peaceful world.

Books by Smedley Butler

War Is a Racket Cover image

War Is a Racket

Non-Fiction War
Military Warfare Propaganda Justice Diplomacy political Conflict Economics Ethics Anti-War Manipulation Social Dynamics

A highly decorated United States Marine Corps major general. In this captivating and eye-opening work, Butler presents a compelling argument about the true nature of war and its often overlooked consequences. The book serves as a powerful critique o...