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Supplementary Material  re "For United States Rulers—Not Just for the Military Industrial Complex--Being AT War is Far More Important than Winning a War"



The Spanish-American War April 21, 1898 – Dec 10, 1898 and the Philippine-American War February 1899 – 1902


“You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.” — Attributed to William Randolph Hearst [2]


“The McKinley administration wanted war to divert attention from the existing economic situation, as the promised ‘good times,’ he claimed, had failed to materialize.” [3]


When U.S. rulers whipped up war hysteria against Spain it was a time when they were frightened of U.S. working class people becoming increasingly well organized and militant in standing up to the upper class.


The Populist Response to Industrial America, by Norman Pollack (Harvard University Press, 1962) reports on the revolutionary sentiments that were being expressed by rural America in the 1890s. Here is just a small sample:


The Farmers Alliance of Lincoln, Nebraska wrote, "The plutocracy of to-day is the logical result of the individual freedom which we have always considered the pride of our system...The tendency of the competitive system is to antagonize and disassociate men... The survival of the fittest is a satanic creed... A stage must be reached in which each will be for all and all for each. The welfare of the individual must be the object and end of all effort... Competition is only another name for war...[W]ithout a complete eradication of this system the people cannot for once hope for relief of a permanent character." Three years later, under its new name, Alliance-Independent, it wrote, "A reigning plutocracy with the masses enslaved, is the natural development and end of individualism....The only possible permanent democracy is the democracy of unselfish socialism."


The Topeka Advocate wrote, "Look at the multitudes who have been but recently thrown out of employment, and whose families have been destitute in consequence...It is cruel, it is inhuman, to attribute these conditions to laziness, drunkenness and incompetence. They are the natural product of a false and vicious system by which the few grow rich beyond all human need, and the many are doomed to eternal poverty and want...Remember that tramps are men, and that they are a natural product of our social system. There must be discovered some way to deal with them consistently with these facts. Can it be done without a revolution of our system? We think not."


The nearly revolutionary Populist Party nominated William Jennings Bryan for president in the election of 1896. Bryan lost with 6.5 million votes to McKinley’s 7.1 million but his showing was impressive by any standard, as his popular vote total exceeded that of any other presidential candidate in American history to that date—winner or loser. He polled nearly one million more votes than did the previous Democratic victor, Grover Cleveland. [4]


Labor Sets an Ultimatum


Here’s an encyclopedia account of the labor militancy that U.S. rulers feared:


In October 1884 the national Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions approved a resolution calling for a workday of eight hours. Given the failure to date of legislative methods, trade unions and other worker associations set an ultimatum: Either workers would get their eight-hour workday limit by 1 May 1866 or they would defend their demands with a general strike. The epicenter of the eight-hour day movement (also known as the "May Day" movement), which claimed 250,000 laborers nationwide by 1886, was Chicago. Most involved in organizing workers was the anarchist-influenced Working People's Association. Numerous eight-hour strikes broke out prior to the 1 May deadline, and thousands of workers in numerous trades won hour limits. Striking workers nationwide united behind the words of J. G. Blanchard's "Eight-Hour Song": "We're summoning our forces from / shipyard, shop, and mill; / Eight hours for work / eight hours for rest / Eight hours for what you will." Nonetheless, a great number of American workers were still working around 100 hours a week. What started out as a peaceful protest on 1 May became a pivotal moment in labor history.


On the 1 May deadline for a national general strike, thousands of workers in Chicago struck with mostly peaceful actions. As the protest continued over several days, tension between police and strikers intensified. On 3 May, when strikers attacked men who crossed a picket line at the McCormick Reaper Works, police opened fire and killed four demonstrators. That night hundreds of enraged protesters took to the streets, demonstrating at Haymarket Square. Just as the rally was concluding, a dynamite bomb exploded and killed a police officer. The police fired on the crowd, killing one protester and wounding others. Four of the eight demonstrators arrested for the bombing were hanged despite scant evidence against them. The Haymarket affair was a rallying cry for a new generation of activists. Lucy Parsons, on the death of her husband, Albert Parsons, called for direct action against the wealthy. Emma Goldman, a young Lithuanian immigrant and anarchist, cited Haymarket Square as her political birthplace. "If it weren't for what happened here in Chicago back in 1886, you'd be working 16 hours a day," writer Studs Terkel recalled telling a young antiunion couple a century later.


As the hysteria surrounding the Haymarket affair died down, demands for an eight-hour day resumed. In the Northwest, lumber workers of the Industrial Workers of the World enforced their eight-hour demands by simply walking off the job after eight hours of work. Advances toward an eight-hour day were nonetheless the exception to a larger trend: when the U.S. government began keeping track of workers' hours in 1890, it discovered that full-time workers in manufacturing spent an average of 100 hours per week on the job. The struggle continued.

On 12 May 1902 some 150,000 anthracite coal miners in Pennsylvania went on strike to demand better wages and shorter hours. Lasting five months, the strike required government intervention due to fears of a coal shortage. [5]



And there were railroad strikes


“Several strikes also punctuated the growing depression, including a number of violent uprisings in the coal regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania. But the infamous Pullman Strike of 1894 was most notable for its nationwide impact, as it all but shut down the nation’s railroad system in the middle of the depression.” [6]


There was the Pullman strike.


It was through disruption of the United States mail that the federal government was given an opening for intervention into the boycott and strike. The government was uncomfortable with the labor actions in general, part of a growing apprehension about the laboring classes by those in the propertied class during a period of economic hardship. An injunction against the boycott was secured on the grounds of the violent nature of the strike and the threat to interstate commerce, citing the Sherman Anti-Trust Law of 1890, which ironically had been adopted to combat monopoly by big business.

Going over the head of Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld, thousands of U.S. Marshals and U.S. Army troops were deployed in what seemed an outsized response to the disturbance. In Chicago, mob activity increased with the military presence, with members from Pullman, but many more from other South Side neighborhoods. Back in Pullman, the Pullman Company strikers' plight had been overshadowed on the national stage by the boycott. Fighting between the military and workers at rail yards in the Chicago area left dozens dead and more wounded.[7]


Waging a war against a foreign enemy was exactly what the ruling class needed to control the American have-nots with appeals for them to be patriotic and support their government in its fight for something far more important (supposedly) than any grievance American have-nots may have against their rulers. This was the message that war propaganda had to convey to the have-nots.


“The official narratives have presented conflict as a mighty clash between civilization and barbarism in the Philippines…”


— Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq by Susan A. Brewer


“And of all our race He has marked the American people as his chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America, and it holds for us all the profit, all the glory, all the happiness possible to man. Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 1900”


— Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq by Susan A. Brewer

World War I


In his The Great Class War about World War I, the historian Jacques R. Pauwels makes the case that, quoting the book description at the back of the book and online, with my emphasis: 


"For European statesmen, a large-scale war could give their countries new colonial territories, important to growing capitalist economies. For the wealthy and ruling classes, war served as an antidote to social revolution, encouraging workers to exchange socialism's focus on international solidarity for nationalism's intense militarism. And for the working classes themselves, war provided an outlet for years of systemic militarization -- quite simply, they were hardwired to pick up arms, and to do so eagerly.

"To Pauwels, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 -- traditionally upheld by historians as the spark that lit the powder keg -- was not a sufficient cause for war but rather a pretext seized upon by European powers to unleash the kind of war they had desired."

In the forward to his book, Pauwels writes about the broad sweep of the book starting with the French revolution of 1789:

"We will come to the realization that the Great War was wanted and unleashed by a European elite that was essentially a 'symbiosis' of the nobility, that is, the large landowners and the haute bourgeoisie or 'upper middle class,' the latter consisting above all of industrialists and bankers. The nobility--not only in France, but everywhere in the Europe of the ancien régime--was counterrevolutionary from the very moment when, in 1789, the 'great' revolution broke out in France. The bourgeoisie had been revolutionary in 1789, but it became counterrevolutionary after its traumatic experiences during the revolutions of 1848 and 1871. These new revolutions made the bourgeoisie understand that the rights and privileges it had acquired via the French Revolution were threatened by the aspirations of the lower classes in general and the working class in particular; from the perspective of the bourgeoisie these were henceforth the 'dangerous classes' (classes dangereuses), the 'vile multitude.' The working class loomed more and more menacing because it had discovered a potent emancipatory strategy in Marxist socialism. Moreover, it had developed forms of organization, especially workers' parties and trade unions, and had thus managed to obtain more and more political and social reforms, such as a widening of the electoral franchise. The fear of revolution and even of a seemingly irresistible democratization--the 'rise of the masses'--convinced the elite that Nietzche and the apostles of Social Darwinism were right: these intellectuals propounded that only war could eliminate the grave risks associated with democratization and above all the mortal danger of revolution." [pg. 17-18] In other words, the ruling classes needed bogeyman enemies against whom to wage a war.

World War II

FDR's strange Pacific strategy


In the Pacific, FDR had to choose between a strategy of fighting the Japanese in China in order to secure China as a staging area for an attack on Japan, or one of abandoning China to the Japanese occupying army and instead fighting the Japanese in bloody battles for islands like Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal to use them as a staging area instead. FDR's choice of strategy reveals his true war objectives, but at the time it simply perplexed his military advisors who thought the object of the war was to defeat fascism.


Not only was China closer to Japan and more suited as a staging area, but it would have been infinitely easier to defeat the Japanese army in China than on the isolated Pacific Islands. In China there was a full-fledged peasant revolution in progress with Chinese Communist Party leadership. The Japanese army was made up of peasants who hated their viciously anti-peasant Samurai officers. Japanese peasant soldiers felt more sympathy for revolutionary Chinese peasants like themselves than they did for their officers or the Emperor whom they reviled. Many Japanese soldiers after being captured by the Chinese engaged in efforts to persuade their fellows to switch their loyalty. The Japanese government was well aware of this. As reported in the August 13, 2003 issue of The Japan Times, "The army's staff headquarters was considering pulling troops out [of China] around this time due to the decline in their will to fight." On the little isolated Pacific Islands occupied by the Japanese, however, there was no peasant revolution happening and the Japanese soldiers knew that they would be killed by their own officers if they didn't fight to the death against the Americans.


So what did FDR do? In China he backed Chiang Kai-shek, the chief enemy of the peasants. Chiang Kai-shek had an army of horribly mistreated conscripts which he used only to fight the Communists and never the Japanese. U.S. military leaders wanted to back the Communists, who had an army with extremely high morale and popular support that was fighting the Japanese very successfully. But FDR refused. He insisted on fighting the Japanese on islands like Iwo Jima where there would be no chance of international working class solidarity ideas infecting American troops and getting back to the home front, and where the bloodthirsty fighting would give American newspapers and Hollywood all they needed to whip up the flames of racism and nationalism, which (for those very few in the know) was a central purpose of the war. No matter that thousands of Americans would die unnecessarily in this way and that the war would be greatly extended in duration. (The excuse that FDR didn't want to help the peasants because he opposed communist dictatorships doesn't hold water, since FDR allied with and indeed publicly praised Stalin who was by this time well known to be a ruthless dictator. Stalin also backed Chiang Kai-shek and never helped the Chinese Communists for the same reasons that motivated FDR.)

FDR's strange European strategy


In Europe FDR did the same thing. An organization of 7,000 people secretly opposed to fascism and still in positions of some responsibility in Germany had made several assassination attempts on Hitler. A high-ranking German intelligence officer, Admiral Canaris, was part of this resistance. He "leaked vital intelligence to the British and Americans, including the German army's order of battle, an invaluable insight into the Wehrmacht's intentions." And he offered "the support of General Rommel for a bloodless conquest of the western front if the Anglo-Americans would give the slightest sign of a disposition for an armistice...The British reply: there was no alternative to unconditional surrender." [13]


Unconditional surrender was FDR's way of ensuring that Americans would perceive the war in Europe as a fight-to-the-death war against the entire German population, and that the war would drag out for a longer time than necessary. American military leaders were as baffled by FDR's unconditional surrender strategy as they were by his Pacific strategy. When Roosevelt made unconditional surrender Allied policy, the reaction of military leaders was universally negative because they knew it was disastrous from a military point of view. General Eisenhower thought it would do nothing but cost American lives, and said, "If you were given two choices, one to mount a scaffold, the other to charge twenty bayonets, you might as well charge twenty bayonets." Major General Ira C. Eaker, commander of the U.S. Eighth Air Force wrote: "Everybody I knew at the time when they heard this [unconditional surrender] said: 'How stupid can you be?' All the soldiers and the airmen who were fighting this war wanted the Germans to quit tomorrow. A child knew once you said this to the Germans, they were going to fight to the last man. There wasn't a man who was actually fighting in the war whom I ever met who didn't think this was about as stupid an operation as you could find." [14] (See here for more about this.)


In all of Europe the Allies' main concern was to prevent the popular Resistance movements of workers and peasants from coming to power. Americans arrested and disarmed the Italian resistance (Partisans) when they took Rome, and even made a radio broadcast for Nazi ears saying that they would not aid the resistance forces in the north of Italy, who were the only ones directly fighting the Nazis. The result, as expected, was that the Nazis used this information to attack and wipe out the Italian resistance force in the North.


In Greece the same story played out when, in 1944, the Greek Resistance organization, EAM, whose labor organization "controlled the entire [Greek] working class and helped lead strikes in the occupied territories throughout the war,"[15] announced a general strike for December 4th. On December 5, Churchill sent General Scobie these instructions:


"Do not hesitate to fire at any armed male in Athens who assails the British authority...It would be well of course if your commands were reinforced by the authority of some Greek Government...Do not however hesitate to act as if you were in a conquered city where a local rebellion is in progress." [16]


On December 13, Roosevelt wired Churchill that "I regard my role in this matter as that of a loyal friend and ally whose one desire is to be of any help possible in the circumstances." [17]


From the beginning of the war until 1944 Roosevelt officially backed the French Nazi collaborationist Vichy government led by Marshal Henri Petain, a government that worked hand-in-glove with the Nazis, enforcing the anti-Semitic laws, rounding up Jews for the Nazi death camps and executing members of the French Resistance as directed by the Nazis. Roosevelt's top advisors were far more afraid of the French people than they were of the Nazis or their puppet Vichy government. In May, 1943, Secretary of State Hull voiced the problem he had with supporting the Resistance leader, Charles De Gaulle: "The issue at stake is not only the success of our future military operations, but the very future of France itself. De Gaulle has permitted to come under his umbrella all the most radical elements in France." [15] Even as late as February 1944, [FDR's Chief of Staff Admiral] Leahy advocated leaving [Vichy's Marshall] Petain as head of France after D-Day."[18]


And in Yugoslavia the U.S. backed the Chetniks. The Chetniks were led by King Peter's strongman and Minister of War, General Draza Mihailovic. They were discredited as "Resistance" fighters for "supplying information on the Partisans [Communist Resistance fighters led by Josip Broz Tito] to the Germans" and because they "were preoccupied with fighting and containing Tito's growing power." [19] Tito's resistance fighters were the only ones who fought the Nazis, but the U.S. went out of its way to prevent them from getting arms.

13.  Thomas Fleming, The New Dealers' War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and The War Within World War II, Basic Books (Perseus Books Group), New York, 2001, pp. 373-4


14.  Ibid., pp. 175


15.  Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945, Pantheon Books, New York, 1968, 1990.., p. 173


16.  Ibid., p. 188


17.  Ibid., p. 190


18.  Ibid., p. 68-9


19.  Ibid., p. 131

The Cold War Against the Soviet Union

Why did the American ruling class arm the Soviet Union when, supposedly, it was deadly afraid of the Soviet Union? Excellent question! The most compelling answer is that the American ruling class wanted a credible foreign enemy with which to control the American people. Such an enemy enabled the rich upper class rulers to pose as the protectors of the nation from the Evil Empire, and in this way make Americans tolerate unjust domination by this upper class, including allowing it to make huge profits from the weapons industry by bilking American tax-payers. (Soviet rulers likewise needed the American bogeyman enemy to control their own people.) Waging the Cold War as an Orwellian war of social control cost many ordinary people their lives and kept most people in great fear, but it was wonderful for the ruling elites.

Here and here  are two articles about how the U.S. public during the Cold War was made to fear a "missile gap" (i.e., Soviet superiority to the U.S. in number of nuclear missiles) when in fact no such missile gap actually existed.​

Preventing "Communist expansion" abroad was also the perfect pretext for the U.S. government to invade other nations and overthrow foreign governments whenever it suited the American ruling class. But for this pretext to be credible, the Soviet Union had to be a serious military power, which U.S. rulers guaranteed by doing what is described below.



Antony Sutton, cited above regarding the U.S. arming the Soviet Union, writes:


"Each year in the spring the North Vietnamese have attempted to conquer the South. In 1972, in their latest attempt, a full-scale invasion was launched with various kinds of heavy equipment they had not previously used. The tanks, guns and trucks came from the Soviet Union--and were produced in plants erected and equipped by American and European companies.



"The more Hanoi stoked up the war, the more Soviet Russia received from the United States. American policy--wittingly or unwittingly--was guaranteed not only to maintain the Vietnamese War but to expand it, increase our losses, and compound the problem of preserving South Vietnam." [pg. 46-47, 1974 hardcover edition, as all further page numbers are from also. Note that the pagination of the above-linked PDF file of the book differs from the hardcover pagination. You can search the PDF file for my excerpted text to locate it in the PDF version, however.]


The above fact undermines the standard story we’ve been taught about the Vietnam war. The aim of the war cannot be understood as “to defeat the Communists.” The aim was not to win the war but rather to be AT war. But only very few people at the top of the American power hierarchy would know this—they simply were not told. The generals and most government officials would believe it was a real war, waged to be won. Of course, some generals knew it could not be won, but needed to be waged anyway because that’s what the President insisted upon; this is what the Pentagon Papers revealed to be the case.


It's possible that U.S. rulers expected that the Vietnam war would, just like the Korean war and WWII and WWI before it, unite Americans behind their rulers and make them accept their oppression by those same rulers. It’s possible U.S. rulers were shocked that, for some reason they never anticipated, Americans rose up against the Vietnam war. When this happened, the rulers could hardly announce, “OK, we’ll end the war, since we never aimed to win it in the first place.” So the war dragged on, leading to more anti-government rebellion in the U.S. than anybody could have predicted. But the purpose of the war was the same as the purpose of the earlier wars, to control the have-nots. It just didn’t work this time.


Excerpts from Sutton's National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union 


"American Ball Bearings for Soviet Missiles"

"Ball bearings are an integral part of many weapons systems; there is no substitute. The entire ball bearing production capability of the Soviet Union is of Western origin--utilizing equipment from the United States, Sweden, Germany, and Italy. This transfer has been fully documented elsewhere (see Bibliography)....

"Soviet dependence on the West for ball bearings technology peaked after the years 1959-61, when the Soviets required a capability for mass production, rather than laboratory or batch production, of miniature precision ball bearings for weapons systems. The only company in the world that could supply the required machine for a key operation in processing the races for precision bearings (the Centalign-B) was the Bryant Chucking Grinder Company. Its miniature ball bearings in 1951 were either imported or made in small lots on Italian and other imported equipment.

"In 1960 there were sixty-six such Centalign machines in the United States. Twenty-five of these machines were operated by the Miniature Precision Bearing Company, Inc., the largest manufacturer of precision ball bearings, and 85 percent of Miniature Precision's output went to military applications. In 1960 the USSR entered an order with Bryant Chucking for forty-five similar machines. Bryant consulted the Department of Commerce. When the department indicated its willingness to grant a license, Bryant accepted the order."...

"The Department of Defense entered a strong objection to the export of the machines**.... The Inter-Departmental Advisory Committee on Export Control, which includes members from the Commerce and State departments as well as the CIA, overruled the Department of Defense opinion, and 'a decision was made to approve the granting of the license.' The Department of Defense made further protests, demanding proof that either the USSR or Western Europe was capable of producing such machines. No such proof was forthcoming." [pg. 91-3. This material is presented in Sutton's volume 3: Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, 1945-65, with the following footnoted sources, quoted here:


31. This section is based on U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Export of Ball Bearing Machines to Russia, Hearings, 87th Congress, 1st session (Washington, 1961). There are three parts to these Hearings; they provide a fascinating story of one Soviet attempt to acquire strategic equipment. See also the Soviet "machine tools Case of 1945"; a microfilm of discussions on this case has been deposited at the Hoover Institution. 

32. U.S. Senate, op cit n. 31, pp. 267-68

33. Ibid

State Department Approval for the providing the engines that Soviet Vessels used to Carry Missiles to Cuba

"The Poltava-class of Soviet merchant vessels, which is equipped with special hatches for the purpose, was used to carry missiles to Cuba in 1962. The main engines for the first two vessels in this class were manufactured by Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen. Engines for the remaining eighteen ships in the class came from the Bryansk plant in the Soviet Union. Both the Danish and the Bryansk engines were built to the same specification: 740 millimeter cylinder diameter and 1,600 millimeter piston stroke. The Danish engines have six cylinders while the Soviet engines have seven cylinders; in all other respects they are identical Burmeister & Wain-design engines. In 1959 the Danish company made a technical-assistance agreement with the Soviets for manufacture of large marine diesels, not manufactured in the USSR at that time, and the U.S State Department, through CoCom*, approved the export of this technology as nonstrategic. As any member of CoCom has veto power, objection by the State Department representatives would have effectively blocked the agreement.

"The Poltava-class ships were used to carry Soviet missiles to Cuba in 1962. The first Poltava engines were manufactured in Denmark in 1959 and the ships entered service in 1962, only a few months before they were used for transporting missiles to Cuba. In other words, the first operational use of these diesel engines--approved by State as nonstrategic--was in a challenge to the United States which brought us to the brink of nuclear war. The Poltava-class ships have extra long hatches: eight of 13.6 meters length and 6.2 meters width: ideal for loading medium-range missiles." ...

"In 1962 the U.S. Navy photographed Russian merchant ships unloading missile supplies at the Cuban port of Mariel--then, and now, a Russian naval base in Cuba. These ships included the Dvinogorsk, and 8,000-ton freighter built in Poland on Soviet account with Dutch engines (7,800 bhp Sulzer diesels made by N.V. Werkspoor of Amsterdam). Holland is a NATO ally and again the export of such engines to the USSR is illegal and could have been halted by the State Department.

"When we look closely at the transportation technology used to bring about the most dangerous international crisis in the last decade, we find that the U.S. State Department not only had the knowledge and the capability to stop the transfer but was required by law to ensure that the technology was not passed to the Soviets. In other words, there would have been no Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 if the State Department had followed congressional instructions and carried out the job it is paid to do." [pg. 158-60]

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