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Merchants of Death, The

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Here is the archetype of all post-World War I revisionism of a particular variety: the hunt for the people who made the big bucks off the killing machine. 
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Here is the archetype of all post–World War I revisionism of a particular variety: the hunt for the people who made the big bucks off the killing machine. The Merchants of Death was, in many ways, the manifesto of a generation of people who swore there would not be and could not be another such war.

But here is the kicker: it was coauthored by the founder of Human Events, the conservative weekly. So this is no left-wing screed against profiteering. It is a careful and subtle, but still passionate, attack on those who would use government to profit themselves at the expense of other people's lives and property.

Here is a sample of the ideological orientation: "The arms industry did not create the war system. On the contrary, the war system created the arms industry.… All constitutions in the world vest the war-making power in the government or in the representatives of the people. The root of the trouble, therefore, goes far deeper than the arms industry. It lies in the prevailing temper of peoples toward nationalism, militarism, and war, in the civilization which forms this temper and prevents any drastic and radical change. Only when this underlying basis of the war system is altered, will war and its concomitant, the arms industry, pass out of existence."

This book is a wonderful example of what Rothbard called the "Old Right" in its best form. The book not only makes the case against the war machine; it provides a scintillating history of war profiteering, one authoritative enough for citation and academic study. One can see how this book had such a powerful effect.

Why rerelease this book now? The war profiteers are making money as never before. They are benefiting from conflict as never before. Everything in this book has not only come to pass but as been made worse by a million times. So this treatise is more necessary than ever.

This is the real heritage of the American Right.


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by ish
on 7/18/2008
from here
some financiers of Hitler
A quote from the book as to how armaments makers make market for their products:

"Hitler has now become the symbol of the return of German militarism.  Even before he managed to obtain supreme power there was speculation as to his financial backers.  Obviously they included German industrialists fearful of socialism, communism, and the labor unions, nationalists smarting under the 'insults' of the Versailles treaty, and a host of other discontented folk.  But on the list of these contributors supplying funds to the Hitler movement were the names of two capitalists--Von Arthaber and Von Duschnitz--directors of Skoda, the great armament firm of Germany’s neighbor and enemy, Czechoslovakia.

"Interlocking directorates are a familiar phenomenon in the United States.  The real controller of industries is frequently found in the most unexpected places.  In Europe the same system prevails.  And so it appears that Messrs. Von Arthaber and Von Duschnitz represent a firm which is controlled by still another firm.  The head of this holding company is neither German nor Czech.  He is a French citizen, M. Eugene Schneider, president of the Schneider-Creusot Company which for a century has dominated the French arms industry and which through its subsidiaries now controls most of the important arms factories in Central Europe.  Some of Hitler’s financial support, then, was derived from a company owned by a leading French industrialist and arms maker.

"Arms merchants also own newspapers and mold public opinion.  M. Schneider is more than just president of Creusot.  He is the moving spirit of another great combine, the Comité des Forges.  This French steel trust through one of its officers has controlling shares in the Paris newspaper Le Temps, the counterpart of The New York Times, and the Journal des Débats, which corresponds to the New York Herald Tribune.  These two powerful papers constantly warn their readers of the 'danger of disarmament' and of the menace of Germany.  Thus M. Schneider is in a position to pull two strings, one linked to Hitler and German militarism, the other tied to the French press and French militarism."
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ISBN 9781610167505
eISBN 9781610163903
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 2007
Binding PB
Page Length 338

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