Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940), nicknamed "Old Gimlet Eye", was a senior United States Marine Corps officer who fought in both the Mexican Revolution and World War I. Butler was, at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler later became an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. Butler also exposed an alleged plan to overthrow the United States government.
In 1935, Butler wrote a book titled War Is a Racket, where he described and criticized the workings of the United States in its foreign actions and wars, such as those in which he had been involved, including the American corporations and other imperialist motivations behind them. After retiring from service, he became a popular advocate, speaking at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists, and church groups in the 1930s.
Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize system, and soldiers and sailors fought for money.
During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as $1,200 for an enlistment. In theSpanish-American War they gave prize money. When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all gottheir share -- at least, they were supposed to.
Then it was found that we could reduce the cost ofwars by taking all the prize money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway.Then soldiers couldn't bargain for their labor, Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier couldn't.
Napoleon once said,"All men are enamored of decorations . . . they positively hunger for them."So by developing the Napoleonic system -- the medal business -- the government learned it couldget soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil War there wereno medals.
Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed out. It made enlistments easier.After the Civil War no new medals were issued until the Spanish-American War.In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made tofeel ashamed if they didn't join the army.
So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side . . . it is His will that the Germans be killed.
$1,200 in 1861 → $35,073.82 in 2019 https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.pdf
During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as $1,200 for an enlistment. In theSpanish-American War they gave prize money.
When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got their share -- at least, they were supposed to.