War Is a Racket

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War Is a Racket
War Is a Racket (cover).jpg
Author Major General Smedley D Butler
Subject War
Publisher Round Table Press
Publication date
Pages 51
OCLC 3015073

War Is a Racket is a speech and a 1935 short book, by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Based on his career military experience, Butler frankly discusses how business interests commercially benefit (including war profiteering) from warfare. He had been appointed commanding officer of the Gendarmerie during the United States occupation of Haiti, which lasted from 1915 to 1934.

After Butler retired from the Marine Corps, he made a nationwide tour in the early 1930s giving his speech "War is a Racket". The speech was so well received that he wrote a longer version as a short book published in 1935. His work was condensed in Reader's Digest as a book supplement, which helped popularize his message. In an introduction to the Reader's Digest version, Lowell Thomas praised Butler's "moral as well as physical courage".[1] Thomas had written Butler's oral autobiography.


In War Is A Racket (1935), Butler points to a variety of examples, mostly from World War I, where industrialists, whose operations were subsidised by public funding, were able to generate substantial profits, making money from mass human suffering.

The work is divided into five chapters:

  1. War is a racket
  2. Who makes the profits?
  3. Who pays the bills?
  4. How to smash this racket!
  5. To hell with war!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Lowell (1933). Old Gimlet Eye: Adventures of Smedley D. Butler. Farrar & Rinehart. 

External links[edit]