Merchants of death

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Merchants of death was an epithet used in the U.S. in the 1930s to attack industries and banks that supplied and funded World War I (then called the Great War).


The term originated as the title of a book by H. C. Engelbrecht and F. C. Hanighen, Merchants of Death (1934), an exposé.[1]


The term was popular in antiwar circles of both the left and the right, and was used extensively regarding the Senate hearings in 1936 by the Nye Committee. The Senate hearing examined how much influence the manufacturers of armaments had in the American decision to enter World War I. 93 hearings were held, over 200 witnesses were called, and little hard evidence was found. The Nye Committee came to an end when Chairman Nye accused President Woodrow Wilson of withholding information from Congress when he chose to enter World War I. The failure of the committee to find a conspiracy did not change public prejudice against the manufactures of armaments, thus the popular name "Merchants of death". See the United States Senate, Senate History page.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engelbrecht, H. C.; Hanighen, F. C. (15 June 1934). Merchants of Death (PDF). Dodd, Mead & Co. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Safire, William (2008). Safire's Political Dictionary. Oxford University Press. pp. 424–425. ISBN 9780195343342. 

Further reading[edit]