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This Week in History
March 1-7, 1933

Roosevelt Inaugurated

He Attacks “Unscrupulous Money Changers,”
Pledges Peaceful “Good Neighbor” Policy to Replace Imperialism

by Anton Chaitkin
March 2014

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The week President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, starvation and fear were spreading in America. At that time, Wall Street and the British Empire backed fascism, Hitler had just taken over Germany, and Roosevelt had survived an attempted assassination 17 days before the inauguration.

The battle was engaged. Immediate action was required to remove the British grip over the nation and reverse the disastrous conditions.

After taking the oath to defend the Constitution, Roosevelt vowed action to rescue the people from economic depression, and nailed the perpetrators of the collapse:  “the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence …. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion…. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers…. The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths….  There must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing….”

The new President announced a reversal of the previous decades’ Wall Street parasitical bullying of Latin America: “In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others…” 

Anti-Imperial Policies Foreshadowed

Franklin Roosevelt had declared war on Wall Street four years earlier, when he was Governor of New York. Speaking July 4, 1929 at Tammany Hall, FDR directly attacked a recent consolidation of control over many electric utilities by the Morgan financial interests -- the London-sponsored overlord of Wall Street and of previous U.S. Administrations. Governor Roosevelt had then asked,

“Are we in danger of a new caveman’s club of a new feudal system, of the creation in these United States of such a highly centralized industrial control that we may have to bring forth a new Declaration of Independence?

“….[The] danger emanates from the development of a partnership between business and government…”

“It is pretty serious for any individual to go out against these big combinations. People hesitate to do so…. they are becoming increasingly more powerful in the influence they are building in State and nation, an influence that will some day will have to be met. This will have to be combated just as was the power of the old barons and the earlier kings…. “

In that 1929 address, he pledged himself to continue the “fight against business controlled government.”

The anti-imperial (“Good Neighbor”) policy had come to light in a July, 1928 article FDR wrote in {Foreign Affairs} magazine, calling for a return to America’s earlier “leadership [which] has influenced the thought and action of the civilized world towards international good will and peace.” He criticized his distant cousin Teddy Roosevelt’s creation of a phony revolution in Colombia to steal out the state of Panama; TR had “violated the rights which are a weaker nation's safeguard against imperialistic encroachment.”

President Franklin Roosevelt acted quickly to prohibit bankers from betting with government-insured deposits, to regulate Wall Street and to put millions of people to work.

In his first Presidential year, FDR announced the end of the occupation of Haiti, to which President Woodrow Wilson had sent Marines on the demand of Wall Street 17 years earlier. Roosevelt arranged that the first Inter-American Conference in 1933 in MontevideoUruguay (Convention on Rights and Duties of States), concluded with the declaration that “No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.”

Roosevelt later traveled to Argentina and Brazil, and worked jointly with those nations to spur industrial progress. In 1938, when Mexico nationalized the oil holdings of Britain’s Shell and Wall Street’s Standard Oil, Roosevelt sustained the action of our sister republic, not the demands of the imperial system.

And in that inaugural year of 1933, the President brought about official U.S. diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union. American relations with Russia, our greatest historical ally, had been frozen after the 1917 Communist Revolution. FDR’s action opened the way to a restoration of partnership of two great nations, and an increase of American influence inRussia.   

Anglo-Wall Street Media Ugly Greeting to FDR

Adolph Hitler became German Chancellor January 30, 1933.

The British royal/aristocratic/financial set which organized the strategy for Hitler’s takeover, known as the “Round Table” grouping, led by Lord Lothian, controlled an American newspaper called the Christian Science Monitor. On February 15, the day of the attempted murder of President-elect Roosevelt in Florida, the Christian Science Monitor editorial was entitled, “Hitler Hails Culture.”

 Pro-Nazi articles in the British-affiliated New York Times and Christian Science Monitor, 1933

The Monitor editors, perhaps Lord Lothian himself, wrote that day,

“Chancellor Hitler’s appeal to the German people for an opportunity to recreate true German culture – including art, architecture and music – rang far beyond the boundaries of the Fatherland…. The world has nothing to fear and everything to gain from  a renaissance of true cultural effort in Germany or any other country….

“If Chancellor Hitler succeeds in stimulating the interest of his countrymen in constructive achievement, he will have earned gratitude on more than one continent.

“An interesting sidelight on Chancellor Hitler’s attitude toward culture glows in the record of his own development from a student of the arts into a political leader. It is recorded of Herr Hitler that he once earned a living by sketching and work in water colors, that he gave architecture serious study some years ago, that he plays the piano well and has a better than average acquaintance with opera. It is evident Herr Hitler knows something of the value of culture to the individual as well as to the nation….”

Two weeks later, on February 28, a few days before Roosevelt’s inauguration, Hitler took dictatorial powers following the terror-burning of the German parliament building.

Some months into both the new American administration and the Nazi regime, the New York Times – owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger family which had been given control of the paper by the Morgan financial interests -- reported on the alleged great success and promise of the Hitler government.

Under the September 24, 1933 headline, “Reichsbank Plans Praised as Sound; Dr. Schacht Says Stability of Currency is the Basis of the New Program,” the Times Berlin correspondent wrote,

“Critical reflection on the German Government’s economic program, announced [February 22], finds one surprise in it – its conservatism.

“American banking representatives resident in Berlin view the announcement essentially as a pledge of economic orthodoxy …. with the exponents of `socialism’ relegated to the background.”

Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler's Finance Minister, at far right.

The Times went on at length explaining the actions of Hitler’s financial czar Hjalmar Schacht. He told the Morgans and other Anglo-American bankers, who had long before placed him in power in the central bank, that his measures would prevent what the Times called “unjustified declines in the bond market.” The Times quoted Schacht, “You may be assured that the Reichsbank adheres … to the principle that there is only one sound currency policy – that which maintains stability of currency.”

These are the same New York Times and Christian Science Monitor which today promote the Obama-backed adventure in the Ukraine, praising mobs of fascists and anti-Semites for goading and provoking war with Russia.