Ch. 4: THE STORY OF AMERICA -1650-1945


Richard Moore


(C) 2004 Richard K. Moore



Chapter 4:  1650-1945: THE RISE TO GLOBAL DOMINANCE

* 1650-1776: Colonial prosperity and the movement for

The British colonies in America were largely self-governing.
There were Governors appointed by the King, but the day-to-day
business of running the colonies was carried out by local
representative assemblies. Under this regime the colonies
prospered. Boston became the empire's third largest trading
port, and the colonies competed effectively with Britain in
shipbuilding, ocean transport, iron production, fishing,
distilling, woolens, and much else. Indeed it was the success
of the colonies that initially led to problems with the

British merchants demanded that Parliament protect them from
colonial competition, leading to the Woolens Act (1699), the
Hat Act (1732), Molasses Act (1733), and the Iron Act (1750).
These measures aimed to restrict production and trade by the
colonies, and they were to a large extent ignored by the
colonists. More serious conflict developed when the Crown
attempted to impose taxes to recoup Britain for its protection
of the colonies in the French and Indian War (1754-63). At the
end of this war Britain had a national debt of 75,000,000
Pounds, and the Sugar Act (1756) and the Stamp Act (1765) were
imposed on the colonies. In addition the Crown became more
insistent on enforcing the earlier trade restrictions.

A movement for independence arose which was made up primarily
of the more affluent elements of American society. The
movement was strongest around the main trading ports. For the
wealthy landowners and commercial elite in the colonies, the
advantages of independence were clear. With full freedom of
trade and development, and an end to Royal levies, there were
immense profits to be made. Dissent and rebellion were
encouraged among the populace, and British rule was becoming
increasingly oppressive. But as late as 1775 most colonists
were interested not in independence but in redress of their
grievances as loyal British subjects.

What may have turned the tide of popular opinion toward
independence was the publication by Tom Paine of "Common
Sense" in January 1776. It sold more copies than any previous
book in history and was read out loud on street corners to
attentive crowds not only in the colonies but also in Ireland
and France and wherever else republican ideas had taken root.
Paine managed to persuasively and plainly convey the
Enlightenment notion that kings were not a God-given
necessity, that people actually could rule themselves, and
that they had a natural right to do so. Today we take those as
obvious platitudes, but at the time this represented a
paradigm shift of consciousness that even oppressive Royal
troops and a Boston Massacre could not bring about by
themselves. Most people had been ruled by kings and
potentates, usually claiming divine authority, ever since
civilization began. It was not easy to embrace the notion that
a society could operate without them. A ship without a

Thus the population began to turn toward independence, but
they did so largely in the belief that they were going to find
relief from oppressive rule generally. They were empowered by
the idea of popular sovereignty and they wanted real
democracy. They meant to overthrow not only Royal rule, but
oppression by local elites as well. Those local elites were
quite pleased to see the shift in public opinion toward
independence. They fanned the flames with democratic oratory
and they assumed leadership of the growing movement. With this
mass constituency they could think seriously of ousting the
Crown from American shores. In September 1776, only nine
months after the publication of Common Sense, the Declaration
of Independence was drafted and signed by members of the elite
leadership. This document espoused radical democratic ideals,
and declared the right of "the people" to replace their
government at any time they deem it necessary.

* 1776-1789: The Revolution betrayed

The revolutionary struggle went on for eight years at great
sacrifice by the population and the soldiers. In the immediate
aftermath of the war the sense of democratic empowerment was
running high. Many from among the local conservative elite
went back to Britain or migrated to Canada. Thirteen sovereign
States were formed, under the Articles of Confederation. Many
of the legislatures were controlled by radical agrarians; the
connection between government and people was relatively
strong. The grand experiment in democracy and popular
sovereignty seemed to be off to a good start.

But there were problems. So much was new that unforeseen
difficulties arose. There was no common agreement to protect
sea lanes, for example, and piracy became rife. The States all
agreed that the Articles required amendment. A more
collaborative framework was needed. The legislatures agreed to
sponsor a Constitutional Convention, empowered to amend the
Articles and bring them back for unanimous approval of the
States. The delegates were supposed to represent their States,
and the Constitution was to be an agreement among the States,
an amended version of the Articles. Such was the charter under
which the Convention was empowered to operate.

The legislatures, unfortunately, mostly appointed their
delegates from among their local wealthy elites. The delegates
then ensconced themselves in secret session and proceeded to
betray the charter under which they had been assembled. They
discarded the Articles, and began debating and drafting a
wholly new document, one that transferred sovereignty to a
relatively strong central government. The delegates reneged on
the States that had sent them, and took it upon themselves to
speak directly for "We The People"--and thus begins the
preamble to their Constitution. In effect they accomplished a
coup d'etat. They managed to design a system that would enable
existing elites to continue to run the affairs of the new
nation, as they had before under the Crown--under a
Constitution that for all the world seems to embody sound
democratic principles.

At every level of the new Constitution there were safeguards
against uprisings from below. The life-appointed Supreme Court
Justices and the six-year Senators provided a kind of
conservative flywheel against any kind of rapid change. The
President was to be elected indirectly by State Legislatures,
which provided a buffer from "mob" sentiments in each state.
Most significantly, the strongest protections in the
Constitution were granted to private property. The
Constitutional sanctity of private property guaranteed that
existing elites would be able to hold on to and continue
developing their fortunes. Whereas in most European nations
the financial system is controlled by a central government
bank, in the new American republic the private sector was
given a more influential role. This provides American elites
with a way to influence economic affairs outside of political

This may seem like a cynical assessment of the legacy of
America's "Founding Fathers". Have they not given us all those
noble sayings?... "Give me liberty or give me death.", "The
price of liberty is eternal vigilance.", .etc. Were they not
true democrats? Some were and some weren't. Even the best of
them, like Thomas Jefferson, was a slave owner. The worst of
them, like Alexander Hamilton, would have preferred rule by an
American royalty.  In general the allegiance of colonial
elites to democracy was tempered by their concern for their
own self-interest, and their notion of how society should
operate. They didn't want Royal interference in their affairs,
but neither did they want interference by what many of them
referred to as "mob rule".

By the very way they carried out the secret Constitutional
Convention they demonstrated how the new government was going
to operate. They were delegates, chartered to represent their
constituencies, and they were mostly from wealthy elite
circles. When gathered in their own company they represented
instead their own mutual interests--yet they presented their
work as the embodiment of their charter. And they succeeded
politically in selling their product to the people and to the
States. Such has been the story of American politics ever

* 1790-1918: The rise of a great imperial power

One way to characterize the structure of the new United States
is to note that it was set up from the outset as an
efficiently run empire. Each state, particularly in the early
days, ran its own affairs--just as they had under the Crown.
But ultimate sovereignty, especially as regards foreign
affairs, the currency, the military, and war and peace, was
wrested firmly in Washington--as before it was wrested with
the Crown. From this perspective the Federal Government simply
replaced the role of the Crown in the administration of what
had been the American portion of the British Empire. I suggest
that this characterization of the U.S. system as an
empire-from-the-beginning is a useful one. From this
perspective one can see a continuous thread in the dynamics of
U.S. development, connecting what are often seen as distinct
phases of U.S. history--early nation building and later
imperial expansion.

What we've had from the beginning, from this perspective, is
an empire controlled by an elite establishment whose
operations are centered along the northeastern seaboard. There
lie the crossroads of commerce and the halls of government;
there is and always has been the nerve center of the American
Empire. There has always been a well-trodden path between
Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. From a base of thirteen
original States, the empire expanded, primarily by means of
displacing the native population and adding more States to the
empire. The empire expanded by other means as well. America
purchased the French territories from Napoleon (1803) and
picked up Texas and the southwestern States by provoking a war
with Mexico (1846). Those most able to invest in the
development of the new imperial realms were those who already
had the most money--the wealthy Yankee elite who were already
running the rest of the empire. Thus as the empire expanded,
control continued to remain concentrated largely in the same
elite community, based primarily but not exclusively along the
northeast coast.

An internal conflict in the empire developed as the interests
of the plantation-based South come increasingly into conflict
with the interests of the industry-based North. The plantation
system was basically a feudal economy, and it offered
relatively few investment opportunities for the Eastern
Establishment. The South was, relatively speaking, outside the
capitalist economy which dominated the rest of the empire.
While the North wanted protectionism to shelter its budding
industries, the South wanted free trade to maximize its cotton
exports. The Yankees put the South under increasing pressure
as it maneuvered Federal policies towards its own interests at
the expense of the South. Ultimately the Southern States
banded together (1861) and asserted their right to secede from
the Union and pursue their own destiny as a separate nation.

One might have thought, based on the principles expressed in
the Declaration of Independence, that the South had the right
to secede. The citizens of the South generally supported
secession, and they had expressed that through their chosen
representatives. Was not the new American nation founded on
the principle that people had the right to change their
government when they found it to be oppressive? Was not the
South merely expressing that right?

That's not how the Yankee elite looked at the situation--and
with the Southern representatives absent from Congress,
control of the Federal Government passed fully into Northern
hands.  The declaration of secession provided the Yankees with
an opportunity to do away with the plantation system once and
for all, and bring the South more fully into the capitalist
economy. The South would then be open for investment and
development, and the empire could focus its trade and tariff
policies on the needs of industrial development. The cession
was officially rejected by Washington and the ensuing brutal
Civil War left the South gratuitously devastated. Yankee
investors and corporations rushed in to exploit the available
opportunities to buy up resources and to develop and rebuild
the impoverished and devastated territory - for their own
economic enrichment.

In this way the American Empire grew to its full continental
size, with minimal conflict or involvement with the world's
other imperial powers. While those continued to struggle and
compete for colonial territories, the U.S. was the only shark
in its pool, and an immense and rich pool it was. Historians
say that the U.S. emerged as an imperial power in 1898, with
the Spanish American War, but I suggest that any account of
imperialism in the 1800s should feature America's westward
expansion as one of the major episodes. The size and wealth of
the continental empire was on a scale with the European
empires of the same period, and the operation of empire
enabled--as with the European powers--the development of a
comparable-scale industrial base in the imperial heartland.

During the the development of its continental empire, America
had by no means limited its imperialist activities to the
westward expansion project. By the State Department's own
figures, during the period 1798 to 1895, the U.S. intervened
no less than 103 times in the affairs of other
countries--ranging from Africa, throughout Latin America, and
beyond to Hawaii, Japan, and China. The purpose of these
interventions was always to protect local U.S. business
interests or else to open new markets or gain access to
resources. America generally followed a high-leverage
imperialist model. Selective interventions and the arrangement
of friendly coups represent a low-maintenance approach to
empire, compared with the administrative colonial models so
popular among the European powers of the era.

In 1898, with Spain in decline, the American Establishment saw
an easy opportunity to expand its imperial territory by
seizing Cuba and the Philippines. A suspicious explosion on
the Battleship Maine provided the excuse for hostilities, and
the territories were readily captured by U.S. forces. In the
same year Hawaii was forced to yield sovereignty to

By 1918 America's empire stretched across the Pacific,
included a broad swath of the North American continent, and
included in its sphere of influence most of Latin America.
America traded world wide, had a world-class navy and merchant
fleet, possessed immense wealth and natural resources, and its
industrial capacity was second to none. Although perceived by
Europeans as a new entrant--an upstart perhaps--in the
imperialist game, America was in fact by 1918 a mature and
efficiently run world-class imperial power. The only new
development was the fact that the growth of the American
Empire had in 1898 for the first time since the War of 1812
involved direct military confrontation with a European competitor.

* The growth pattern of Tyrannosaurus Capitalis Americanis

Let's review developments so far from the perspective of
America's wealthy elite establishment. Under the Crown, these
elites had accumulated wealth and property and had established
businesses, trading firms, and banks. The same elites
dominated political affairs in the colonies, and were the
first to see the economic benefits that could be derived from
Independence. Even in colonial days, these elites were heavily
involved in the business of empire. Not only were they
managing the North American affairs of the British Empire on
behalf of the Crown, but they were also competing on their
own--and quite effectively--in international trade and
commerce. If they could achieve independence, they would not
simply be in control of a collection of liberated
colonies--they would collectively become an independent
imperial and trading competitor on the world scene.

A century later the cultural heirs of that same elite
establishment had become the managers and owners of a
world-class empire. And though the membership and structure of
that establishment had shifted over time, we can trace always
a certain strategic continuity, and a regular cyclical pattern
of development.

Each cycle begins --every thirty-odd years--with the
acquisition by warfare of a significant new imperial
territory, and then continues with the digestion (economic
consolidation) of that new territory into the imperial system.
This pattern of territorial expansion is synchronized with the
economic cycles of the capitalist economic system. When a new
territory is acquired, it provides a new realm for investment
and growth. Loans and investment capital are made available,
development projects are undertaken, new markets are opened,
and new industrial infrastructure is established. Thus each
cycle begins with a boom phase, characterized by rapid
economic growth, entrepreneurial activity, the emergence of
new fortunes, and the integration of new players into elite
circles. During these boom times employment levels are
typically high, and the population generally experiences a
period of relative prosperity. These boom cycles follow in the
aftermath of a war, as occurred after the Mexican War, the
Civil War, and the Spanish American War--those wars being the
means by which new capital expansion realms were acquired.

After a while, the boom phase always begins to slow down. The
growth curves of entrepreneurial ventures begin to level out,
the new markets gradually become saturated, and the big
investors begin to shift their attention from expansion to
consolidation. Although the growth of the overall imperial
economy--the economic pie--stagnates, wealthy elites manage to
continue growing their own investments by grabbing bigger
slices of the remaining pie for themselves. Their wealth and
economic power is always concentrated in the biggest
corporations and enterprises, and during this consolidation
phase those corporations begin to pursue a strategy of
mergers, acquisitions, and monopolization of production and
markets. Smaller operators are driven out of business or
acquired, and the ownership of production facilities and
distribution channels concentrates in a handful of ultra-large
corporations. A classic example of this phase was known as the
Robber Baron era, which occurred between the Civil and Spanish
American Wars.

During the boom phase, new wealth is created and is
distributed comparatively widely in society. During the
consolidation phase little new overall wealth is created, and
the strategy of consolidation enables wealthy elites to
continue increasing their own wealth by increasing the
fraction of commerce and productive property that they own and
control. While the society generally experiences a boom and
bust phase, wealthy elites experience capital growth during
both phases, by using two different investment strategies. The
economy functions like a two-phase money pump: the piston may
go up or down, but in either case wealth is driven into elite

Eventually, the consolidation phase begins to burn itself out
in its turn--and wealthy elites finally begin to feel the
squeeze that society generally has been suffering under for
some time. Thus a full cycle comes to its end, and only a new
growth cycle can keep the American economy going. A new growth
cycle requires new investment realms, and elite political
leaders soon develop a justification to pursue another round
of imperial expansion. The new war itself provides the economy
with a jump-start, and the new territory enables the next
growth cycle to play out its course.

Each cycle begins with a new predation, and is followed by two
digestion phases. The first digestion phase incorporates the
new territory and resources into the capitalist machine, while
the second phase concentrates the resulting wealth and
property into the imperial beast's dominant organs--its elite
rulers. Only when the elite themselves feel hunger does the
beast rouse itself for another kill.

During the period 1789 to 1898, major predations were
completed at the end of the Revolutionary War, the Mexican
War, the Civil War, and the Spanish America War. That's three
complete cycles from 1789 to 1898--an average of thirty six
years per cycle.

Compared to the challenges faced by the competing European
powers, America's imperial growth during this period was
mostly a case of easy pickings. The Native Americans were
never any serious obstacle to westward expansion, the conquest
of Mexico was more a training ground for Civil War generals
that it was a war, and the Spanish colonies weren't attacked
until after Spain was in too weak a condition to mount an
effective defense. The Civil War was the only war in which
American citizens experienced the scale of devastation and
casualties that routinely characterizes Europe's inter-sibling
warfare. While European powers had to compete for territory
and growth opportunities, the U.S. in most cases simply needed
to grab free territory whenever it was needed.

You might say Tyrannosaurus Americanis had a soft
childhood--always lots of easy prey near at hand and no other
big predators in the neighborhood, not even siblings. Such a
lucky beast can grow quickly and easily, but it also falls
into lazy ways. It does not associate eating with work, but
only with hunger. I need, I take, what's the big deal?. When
such a beast begins to run into competition from other adult
predators, it's future meals can no longer be so easily
acquired. In order to continue growing, it must adopt a
strategy which takes competition into account. But being
habitually a lazy critter, and accustomed to always winning,
our particular beast adopted a strategy based on brain rather
than brawn.

By 1898, the expansion of America's sphere of influence had
gone about as far as it could go without running up against
comparable competitors. Future expansion would need to be at
the expense of other such powers. If America had grown up in a
tough neighborhood like Europe, then it might have begun plans
to initiate a war with some existing power, in an attempt to
pick off their most vulnerable properties--in the tradition of
previous rising great powers. But so much work and effort!
Uncle Sam wasn't used to that sort of thing. There had to be
easier ways to get ahead. The Yankees found a few.

* 1918-1941: Setting the Stage for Global Dominance

This is one of the most important periods in U.S. history. The
conventional historical myth is that the U.S. slept during
this period--lost in its isolationism while Europe suffered
under civil wars and fascism. In this myth, the U.S. giant is
awakened only by a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Then the
noble giant, aroused, goes forth to aid the forces of
democracy and freedom against the forces of darkness. It's all
very much the tale of Rick, in the film "Casablanca", who
finally turns from cynic to hero. It's a great story, but the
truth is something very different.

Let's begin by looking at the world situation preceding World
War I. The U.S. had just gobbled up a meal off Spain's plate
and was well into the ensuing boom phase--the Gay 90s and the
bright new century. For America, a war at this time would have
been out of phase. There was no economic necessity. The
doctrine of isolationism at that time made sense to American
elites and to the population generally. In deciding how to
respond to the emerging European conflict, American elites
would not be thinking in terms of a predation
opportunity--they'd be thinking in terms of geopolitical

Up to this point the U.S. had little need to concern itself
with geopolitics. Staying out of Old World conflicts had been
a fundamental principle of American politics and policy since
the earliest days of the republic. America's expansion had
always been into territories which were not strongly linked to
current European geopolitical arrangements. America had been a
loner as a world power, tending its own patch and keeping to

But America would be needing a meal a few more years down the
road, and it had run out of easy pickings. There was good
reason for American elites to begin paying attention to
geopolitical dynamics. The looming crisis in Europe provided
an ideal opportunity for America to begin playing a role in
the competitive global arena--without being encumbered by any
current acquisition needs of her own. America could come in on
either side, or neither. It could play the game without
risking any of its own essential chips. It could afford to
play its cards in whatever way might provide the best
long-term outcome for future American interests.

Let's turn our attention now to the situation in Europe
leading up to World War I. Geopolitical arrangements were very
unstable among European powers. The thousand-year-old Turkish
Empire was crumbling, creating an immense power vacuum and an
opportunity for territorial acquisition. In the context of
centuries old European expansionism, a feeding frenzy was sure
to follow. In the 1913 Balkan War, some preliminary
adjustments were made, involving Russia, Turkey, and the other
local players. But those were not stable arrangements. There
were bigger players who had not yet moved. Germany represented
a particularly destabilizing influence.

Germany's economic and industrial strength had outgrown its
imperial status. Its military prowess had been clearly
demonstrated in the Franco-Prussian War (1870).
Austria-Hungary nominally ran their empire, but Germany had
long eclipsed her ally as a military power. Germany felt it
was entitled to more imperial territory, and the Kaiser
asserted Germany's right to a "place in the sun" (1911). This
does not imply any unusual aggressiveness in the German
attitude.The Kaiser was simply asserting Germany's right to
play the same game that other powers had been playing since
1492. But more significant than Germany's feelings about it's
place in the sun was Germany's economic situation.

In terms of its economic cycle, Germany was reaching the
very-hungry stage. It had been recently unified, acquired a
few imperial territories, developed an imperial economy, and
had grown that economy to the point where further significant
internal growth was unachievable. And like America at the
time, it had run out of easy pickings. It was a proud country,
a strong country, and in order to thrive it needed to expand.
Why should it not have its share of the beached Turkish whale?
Britain and France, however, saw no reason to share any spoils
with anyone unless they were compelled to do so. Geopolitics
is based on realpolitik, not on self-proclaimed rights to a
fair share.

In this unstable context, all sorts of alliances and counter
alliances were formed among the various players. Everyone was
jockeying for position in anticipation of the upcoming event.
Militaries were mobilizing. Some because they had campaigns
they wanted to pursue, and some in order to be able to respond
effectively and protect their own interests. With all those
alliances, and all that military preparedness, Europe was a
powder keg waiting for a spark.

Both Britain and Germany were seeking to bring America in on
their side. Each knew that America's industrial and economic
strength would be able to decisively tip the delicate balance
of power either way, the choice was up to America. But America
had just dined at Spain's expense and had no need or desire to
get involved in a major war at that time. To be sure it could
lend assistance to one side or the other, but even there it
hesitated. There was no consensus in elite circles, or in
public opinion, as to which side best served American
interests. For the time being, America stuck to its
traditional isolationist stance.

The war broke out, the players scrambled for territories in
the Balkans and North Africa, and the European theater turned
into a horribly costly stalemate. Uncle Sam remained aloof. As
America watched, Europe was burning itself out. It was killing
off a whole generation of its youth and it was spending its
wealth in internal struggles. The main effect of the war on
America was an increase in business to provide war supplies.

America did finally choose sides, and it sent over just enough
troops and equipment to swing the balance of power to its
chosen winners--after all sides were fully exhausted. Whether
America's prolonged neutrality was a matter of laziness or
cunning is a question I'll leave for others to examine. In
either case, this first American involvement in European
geopolitical affairs established a pattern that was to play
out later on a grander scale.

As the war drew to a close, the scepter of Communism began to
hang over a devastated Europe--creating fear among European
and American elites. The Soviets had taken over in Russia, and
Marxist sentiments were running high among European
populations. The U.S. and Britain sent a joint expeditionary
force into Russia in the vain hope of destabilizing the
Revolution and encouraging an effective White Russian
uprising. But the Soviet Union remained as an inspiration to
millions of workers who felt oppressed by capitalism. The
fervor of these malcontents was fired even more by the
economic stagnation that gripped postwar Europe. While the
Soviets were allegedly creating a workers' paradise, Europe
found itself in the economic doldrums--due partly to the
one-sided Treaty of Versailles and partly to the prohibitive
trade barriers that had been established in vain attempts to
stimulate local economies.

Meanwhile America was experiencing a boom phase--the Roaring
20's. Production levels kept rising, consumption rose to match
it, and literally everyone was playing the stock market. The
whole economy was going up, up, up like a balloon that would
never stop rising. But alas the balloon turned out to be a
bubble, and it finally burst. Demand for goods started to
fall, production began to be cut back, and a rapid downward
spiral dragged the American and European economies into the 
Great Depression of the 1930's.

The 1929 crash came thirty one years after America's most
recent predation in 1898. The boom phase had lasted unusually
long on this cycle, probably due to unusually high profits
accumulated through war sales. Indeed the boom seems to have
gone on longer than was healthy. By 1929 the consolidation
phase was overdue and it was nearly time for another

Consolidation proceeded very well under depression conditions.
As small businesses and banks folded, the larger corporations
and banks were able to acquire their assets at bargain prices.
When small farms defaulted on their mortgages, the land was
taken over by the banks or bought up by large agricultural
operators. In this way Safeway and the Bank of America gained
huge tracts of valuable farmland in California. Such Depression-
era land acquisitions set the stage for the huge growth in
corporate agribusiness in the post World War II era.

As regards pursuing another predation, America just wasn't
ready. The crash of '29 had not been anticipated; the timing
was too early. The American economic machine, which had been
relentlessly growing ever since the Revolution, finally came
to a halt. Indeed, the capitalist economic engine had come to
a halt everywhere.

In Europe, these conditions led to an upsurge in communist and
anarchist movements. Increasingly, people were perceiving that
capitalism was failing them, and they were seeking to get
another economic system adopted. This aroused fears not only
in elite circles, but among reactionary elements in the
population as well. A climate of polarization developed, and
fascist movements emerged in opposition to the leftist
movements. In response to all these circumstances, European
elites began to look to fascism as a way to deal with their
problems--both political and economic. Politically, the
adoption of fascism would enable leftist movements to be
suppressed and their leaders arrested. Elites would be able to
retain control of society. Economically, fascism is based on a
centrally-planned command economy, giving elites the
flexibility to implement coherent recovery programs. And under
fascism it would be possible to undertake imperial expansion.
With dictatorial control, the pacifist sentiments of the
population--still weary from the "war to end all wars"--could
be swept aside.

Elites began to covertly encourage and support fascist groups.
With such help, Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922. During
the Weimar era in Germany, military intelligence hit squads
routinely assassinated leftist movement leaders, and indeed
any leaders who stood up for democratic principles. The
talents of Adolph Hitler were recognized by Army Intelligence,
and agent Ernst Rohm was sent in to watch over Hitler and to
help guide the development of the Nazi party. German
industrialists, Krupp and others, funneled funds to the Nazis.
As expected, when Mussolini and Hitler came to power, they
proceeded directly with the command implementation of economic
recovery programs, and they began preparations for imperial

Mussolini said that fascism should really be called
corporatism, for it represents the merger of government and
corporate power. In Germany and Italy, by 1933, European
elites had arranged such mergers. Herr Krupp became Oberfuhrer
of Reich Industry under Hitler, managing all industry that
came under Nazi control. Fascism was the European elite's
response to the Great Depression and to the collapse of the
capitalist economic engine. Mussolini could get the trains
running on time again, fascism could get the imperialist money
pump running again, and anyone who didn't like the program
could be put in a concentration camp.

In the U.S., the elite response to the Great Depression was
superficially very different than in Europe, but in substance
very much the same. Rather than fanning the flames of
polarization, FDR and the New Deal sought to guide the nation
toward a consensus solution to the economic crisis. But, as
under fascism, the U.S. was using a centrally-planned command
economy as the means of implementing a recovery program. And
whereas Germany and Italy prepared to launch aggressive
campaigns of expansion, the U.S. did not. But, as under
fascism, the U.S. was plotting to to expand its economic
sphere of influence--but by more subtle means.

While America was officially neutral towards European affairs
in a political and diplomatic sense, it was in fact heavily
involved in European developments. There was widespread
support for fascism in American elite circles, and to some
extent in the population. Hitler and his programs were openly
admired by people like Henry Ford, Joseph Kennedy, Prescott
Bush, Herbert Hoover, and Charles Lindbergh. An American
version of the Nazi party held huge rallies and cheered
impassioned speakers like Lindbergh. American media coverage
of fascism was generally favorable. I happened to come across
an old Reader's Digest issue from the 1930's. It contained a
flattering interview with two young Germans, a man and woman,
who told glowingly of the progress being made in the "New
Germany". As regards the "Jewish problem", the youths calmly
explained that if you have a cancer, you must root it out. The
Reader's Digest interviewer didn't seem to find anything
unreasonable about that.

This moral support of fascism was only the tip of the iceberg.
Much more substantial American support came in the form of
large secret donations to Hitler and  Mussolini during their
rise to power, investments in German and Italian firms after
fascism was installed, and the establishment of American owned
factories in Nazi Germany. Ford and General Motors plants, to
name only two examples, helped produce the Luftwaffe bombers
and Panzer tanks that were to overrun Europe and carry out the
blitz over Britain. One of the reasons the Auschwitz
concentration camp was built was to provide slave labor for
Prescott Bush's oil operations in Silesia. These American
plants continued operating throughout World War II and
strategic supplies were frequently shunted by American
operators to the Nazi war machine when allied forces
critically needed those same supplies. At the end of the war
Ford and General Motors sued for--and were awarded--$30
millions damages from the American government because their
plants had been damaged in allied bombing raids.

America's investments in Germany and Italy--and in Imperial
Japan as well--were an important part of America's economic
recovery program during the 1930's. World War I had helped
spark a boom in the American economy, and European and
Japanese preparations for the next war were again making a
similar contribution. American elites had learned many lessons
from their experience of World War I. One of those lessons is
that there are large profits to be made by standing on the
sidelines of conflicts while doing business with both sides.
Another lesson was that choosing sides late in a conflict
enables one to exercise leverage over the outcome while
avoiding the expense and casualties of early involvement. In
the World War I experience, however, America did not gain any
great advantage from this leverage. But as World War II
approached, America was preparing translate that leverage into
global dominance.

       "If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia,
        and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and that
        way let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want
        to see Hitler victorious in any circumstances."
        --Harry S. Truman, New York Times, 24 June 1941

Hitler's agenda was clear. He had published it in Mein Kampf
and he remained true to it always. His main mission in life
was to subjugate Russia and establish it as a great enslaved
hinterland of the Reich. Japan's agenda was also clear,
defined by its vision of a Co-Prosperity Sphere and its
intention to conquer China and the rest of Asia. The U.S.
collaborated--by its business actions--in helping these
aggressors prepare for their campaigns. It watched while they
launched their attacks and embroiled their troops in wars with
the world's two largest nations, China and Russia. It waited
until just the right moment, the moment of maximum leverage,
and then it entered the fray as an official player--just in
time to pick up the spoils from all the other exhausted

The "right moment" had been very carefully identified in
advance. The Council on Foreign Relations carried out a series
of economic studies from 1939 to 1941 and decided that
Southeast Asia was the line that Japan could not be allowed to
cross. And when that line was crossed Roosevelt promptly froze
Japanese assets in American banks and thereby cut off Japan's
oil supply. Japan considered that an act of war, which was to
be expected, and Japan's reaction was anticipated by
Roosevelt. He waited patiently for the inevitable attack,
which was soon known from decrypted messages to be Pearl
Harbor. When the intelligence reports came in identifying the
time of attack, the strategic carriers were dispatched to sea
and antiquated ships were left in harbor as sacrificial lambs.
By first pretending neutrality, and later pretending surprise
and outrage over the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was able
to enter the war as a perceived wronged party, presumably
innocent of any imperial designs of its own.

The supposedly slept-through inter-war years prepared the way
for a brief four years of high-leverage U.S. military activity
between 1942 and 1945. When the dust had settled, the U.S.
emerged with control of the seven seas, an intact economy and
military, 40% of the world's wealth and industrial capacity, a
monopoly on nuclear weapons, and had escaped the destruction
and economic hardship suffered by all the other participants
in the war. America was at its peek while everyone else was on
the floor. It had pulled off the greatest coup in world
history and no one even noticed. It had achieved overwhelming
global hegemony while being perceived as a benevolent
liberator. It had power, wealth, and psychology on its side as
it set out to shape the postwar world. The lion was preparing
to run the world, and he was being welcomed in most parts of
the world as a lamb.

In terms of its economic cycles, 1934 was about the time
Tyrannosaurs Americanis was due for its next predation. But
the cycle had been disrupted by the crash of '29 and the
ensuing depression. America engaged in a holding
action--stimulating its economy by doing business with all
parties--while it waited for its chance to expand its economic
sphere of influence. And instead of competing for its own
private sphere, as imperial powers had always done before,
America found a way to gain access to most of the globe for
its next cycle of economic growth. American elites had
developed a plan to transform the nature of imperialism and to
create a new system of world order--under its own leadership
and guidance.


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland
    "...the Patriot Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the
      suspension of the Weimar constitution followed the
      Reichstag fire."  
      - Srdja Trifkovic

    There is not a problem with the system.
    The system is the problem.

    Faith in ourselves - not gods, ideologies, leaders, or programs.
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