How Wall Street bankers got the U.S. into WWI


“The war should be a tremendous opportunity for America.”
   —J.P. Morgan, personal letter to President Woodrow Wilson, September 4, 1914

  Just days after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, nearly a month before the start of WWI, and long before all the combatants had taken sides, President Woodrow Wilson invited J.P. Morgan to a luncheon at the White House.
   This is an excerpt from Naomi Prins new book All the President's Bankers.

 Though Wilson explained this did not signify the start of a series of talks with “men high in the world of finance,” rumors of a closer alliance between the president and Wall Street financiers persisted.
   Not wanting to leave war financing to chance, Wilson and Morgan kicked their power alliance into gear. At the request of high-ranking State Department officials, Morgan immediately immersed himself in war financing issues. On August 10, 1914, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan wrote Wilson that Morgan had asked whether there would be any objection if his bank made loans to the French government and the Rothschilds’ Bank (also intended for the French government). Bryan was concerned that approving such an extension of capital might detract from the neutrality position that Wilson had adopted and, worse, invite other requests for loans from nations less allied with the United States than France, such as Germany or Austria. The Morgan Bank was only interested in assisting the Allies.
   Bryan was due to speak with Morgan senior partner Henry Davison later that day. Though Morgan had made it clear that any money his firm lent would be spent in the United States, Bryan worried that “if foreign loans absorb our loanable money it might affect our getting government loans if we need.” Thus, private banks’ lending decisions could affect not just the course of international governments’ participation in the war but also that of the US government’s financial health during the war.

 Twenty years later the Senate would conduct an investigation into the causes of WWI, and why the United States entered it. It was called the Nye Committee.

  Senator Gerald Nye (R-North Dakota), was one of the last progressive Republicans. He was also an isolationist with a deep hatred of the war profiteers. His investigation focused primarily on the munitions industry and their influence on the federal government, but he also touched on Wall Street banks.
   After nearly two years of investigation his committee found that between 1915 and January 1917, the United States lent Germany 27 million dollars. At the same time the United States lent the United Kingdom, France, and their allies $2.3 Billion, nearly 100 times as much.
   When the Russian government began to topple after the February Revolution, the Wall Street banks put pressure on the Wilson Government to come to the aid of their allies...and their outstanding loans.

  Within months the United States was at war.

  The profits that Wall Street banks made from these war loans were enormous, and they began before the war started.

Historian Alan Brugar has pointed out that for every soldier who died in battle, the international bankers made a profit of $10,000 dollars!

The French firm of Rothschild Freres had cabled Morgan and Company in New York before the war ever started, asking for $100 million. From that point going forward, J.P. Morgan became the main point of contact for allied war effort borrowing.
  Shortly afterward, Morgan began a propaganda campaign.

 “In March 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests….…got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and the sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press…….They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers.”
  The reason for buying control of US media was to mould public opinion against Germany and in favour of American entry into the war. Had Germany won, the bankers would not have been able to recover their loans.

 The story of those WWI loans don't stop with the end of that useless and terrible war. They were a leading cause of the global economic crisis in the 1930's, and thus WWII.
   Michael Hudson's book Super Imperialism details how the struggle to pay these war debts led directly to the begger-thy-neighbor policies that crushed global trade.
   In 1932 Britain defaulted on its WWI debts to Wall Street banks, followed shortly afterward by France and almost everyone other allied nation.

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Can't wait to dive into the links!


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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Explain Bldg #7. . . still waiting. . .

If you’ve ever wondered whether you would have complied in 1930’s Germany,
Now you know. . .
sign at protest march

Amanda Matthews's picture

make a dime or if they think that some big change is going to affect their bank balance (like Hussein's wanting to switch from the petrodollar or to double the oil output) then we have to go to war. Think about all those rare earths that those pesky Afghanis are parked on. Or all that oil off the Syrian coast. Or the pipelines that might get blocked unless we bomb someone back to the Stone Age.

It is what this country's done since its founding. Ask Native Americans. They are STILL having to deal with the rich man's greed.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

snoopydawg's picture

released to the public.
Most people would think that giving a speech to the bank CEOs would be about financial matters.
But two of her speeches were about the wars in the Middle East.
I wonder what Blankenfein asked her before she answered him?

Addressing a Goldman Sachs event in 2013, in one of the speeches that WikiLeaks published on Saturday, Mrs. Clinton gave a tough-minded, realpolitik answer to the question of how to handle a problem like Syria. If the best chance of success was to act secretly inside that country, she made clear, she had no problem doing that.

She went on to say — as her audience already knew because of revelations in the news media — that as secretary of state she had advocated secretly arming the Syrian opposition and moving forcefully to counter the Russians, who at that point were supporting President Bashar al-Assad but had not yet fully entered the conflict.
“My view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene,” she said in answer to a question from Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, which paid Mrs. Clinton about $225,000 a speech to give what felt like an insider’s view of the making of American foreign policy, months after she left office.
I know that the banks have always made a lot of money from wars since they fund so much of it.
And we know that it isn't just the banks that makes obscene profits from the wars. There are so many industries involved in the war business who profit from them.
The banks, the weapons manufacturers , the clothing industries and thanks for how Cheney changed the people who now feed, clothe and house the troops along with other activities that the military used to do, there are a lot more private companies and military contractors who are getting filthy rich from our never ending wars of aggression.
Plus the oil and gas industries that is the reason why we invade or overthrow countries.
Smedley Butler not only told us that he had been muscle for hire making countries safe for various industries, he also spoke of the obscene profits made from wars.
His book is available online and it's a great read.
It's too damn bad that so many innocent people get killed because some industry wants the resources of their country.
I still don't understand why people join the military still thinking that they are going to be protecting our country or our freedoms.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

I still don't understand why people join the military still thinking that they are going to be protecting our country or our freedoms.

Sorry, there's going to be no "Thank you for your service" from me because the service isn't to us, the people, nor even to some ridiculous, 19th century idea of "motherland." It's service to the 1% and their insatiable lust for profit and power.

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snoopydawg's picture

His Wall Street comment.

And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as secret as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never become public -- even before a Senate investigatory body.

The shoe company's profits. This one always stood out to me

But here's how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled their way into war profits.

Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They made huge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers and armament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs of hobnailed service shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight pairs, and more, to a soldier. My regiment during the war had only one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought -- and paid for. Profits recorded and pocketed.
There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn't any American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a profit in it -- so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we probably have those yet.

The whole book here.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

in The Gathering Storm, that WWII was not only the most catastrophic war in human history, but also the most preventable and that its cause was, simply put, U.S. loans.

To answer a question the American people never seem to ask, how, in the middle of a worldwide economic depression, was Germany able to re-arm to the point of threatening another world war, we should, I believe, begin by reading about the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, ideas foisted on the United States government by cold-blooded traitors posing themselves as private bankers.

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I'm looking for information that this same group helped topple the Tsar to remove royal opposition to foreign investment in Russia. That there was foreign investment after the war ended was revealed to me by the decision of the Third Comintern of 1923 to cease repayment of foreign debt, a decision which just happened to have occurred just before a certain failed artist attempted to overthrow the government of Germany. It's my theory that economic support shifted to this failed artist to return Russia to a condition of exploitation by Western investors, and deliver the recovery of value already expended, through force if necessary.

If this proves to be true, then Wall St bankers also got us into WWII within the same time period. War certainly IS a racket.

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Vowing To Oppose Everything Trump Attempts.