FEMAIL delves into the real 1930s conspiracy theory that inspired the new film Amsterdam

As the star-studded Hollywood film Amsterdam opened in the US this weekend to mixed reviews, many were left baffled by the film’s plot.

Although complex, the story behind the film is a gripping political tale in which wealthy Wall Street hounds attempted to overthrow 1930s US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The film, which stars Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, John David Washington, Chris Rock and Rami Malek, follows three friends involved in the murder of a US senator.

The dramatic – and comedic – plot is said to be loosely inspired by a real and bizarre plot in which the mega-rich amassed a private army of 500,000 for $300 million in a coup to overthrow the Democratic president.

The 1930s saw heightened tensions between rich and poor in the United States as the country reeled from the economic consequences of World War I and the Wall Street crash.

The film, which has just been released in the US and features an all-star cast including Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, John David Washington, Chris Rock and Rami Malek follows three friends who get caught up in the murder of a US senator (Picture : The Amsterdam poster)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured) was in power in 1933. His first 100 days have historically been hailed for their productivity and initiative, including his praised New Deal.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured) was in power in 1933. His first 100 days have historically been hailed for their productivity and initiative, including his praised New Deal.

By 1933, several events had slowly coalesced into what would have been a plot to get rid of the now famous wartime president.

First, in the midst of the Great Depression, army veterans who returned from grueling conflict in Europe and received little or no state support were furious.

As described by Archivesin 1932, thousands of veterans and their families flooded Washington D.C. and set up camp outside the White House to claim the bonuses promised to them under the 1924 World War Adjusted Compensation Act.

After 11 days and fervent media attention, then-Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered them off the property – inciting even more revolt and spotlighting a popular major general called Smedley Butler.

Having become a figure closely associated with what became known as the Bonus Army protesters, he backed Roosevelt – a candidate promising to ease the country’s economic problems with regulations and social programs – over Republican Herbert Hoover.

Gerald P. MacGuire

Butler Smedley

Smedley Butler (right) was reportedly addressed by bond salesman Gerald P. MacGuire (left) – who was also part of a veterans service organization, the Connecticut American Legion

However, the Wall Street heist was not to take place - Butler went to (what would become) the FBI, informing its chief J. Edgar Hoover of the alleged nefarious events in 1934.

However, the Wall Street heist was not to take place – Butler went to (what would become) the FBI, informing its chief J. Edgar Hoover of the alleged nefarious events in 1934.

While later analyzes by some suggested that Hoover interfered in cases more often than expected, Econlib reports, he was a prominent supporter of laissez-faire economics and believed in capitalism.

According to the financial blog The balancea perceived lack of intervention on his part worsened the effects of the Depression.

Roosevelt was in power in 1933.

His first 100 days have always been praised for his productivity and initiatives, including his New Deal, History.com reports.

In 1934 he signed the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. According to the Federal Reserve History Sitethe controversial decision “transferred ownership of all monetary gold in the United States to the United States Treasury and prohibited the Treasury and financial institutions from exchanging dollars for gold”.

Increasingly, the Democrat (pictured in 1932) – who had grown up privileged, in a wealthy family – was increasingly seen by many as a traitor to his own people and class.

Increasingly, the Democrat (pictured in 1932) – who had grown up privileged, in a wealthy family – was increasingly seen by many as a traitor to his own people and class.

This disturbed Wall Street and many companies; FDR’s reputation for social reform was beginning to attract hostility from the wealthy.

Archives said, “The end of the gold standard would have shocked Wall Street because they saw a currency that was not solidly backed by gold as inflationary, undermining both private and commercial fortunes.”

Increasingly, the Democrat – who had grown up privileged, in a wealthy family – was increasingly seen by many as a traitor to his own people and class.

Therefore, the alleged plot to get rid of him was underfoot.

According Archives it was Butler – a highly decorated and respected Marine – who discovered the scheme, testifying under oath that he had been approached about a private army of thousands of former soldiers.

As described by The Archive, in 1932 thousands of veterans and their families flooded into Washington D.C. and set up camp outside the White House to claim the bounties promised to them under the 1924 World War Adjusted Compensation.

As described by The Archive, in 1932 thousands of veterans and their families flooded into Washington D.C. and set up camp outside the White House to claim the bounties promised to them under the 1924 World War Adjusted Compensation.

He was reportedly addressed by bond salesman Gerald P. MacGuire – who was also part of a veterans service organization, the Connecticut American Legion.

Choosing a Roosevelt supporter for the plot may seem odd, but as the Washington Post: ‘Given his opposition to fascism, Butler might not have seemed like a good candidate for the post of coup leader, but his veteran support was more important to the plotters on Wall Street.

“At the time, there were far more veterans than active duty military; if someone could summon them as a force of 500,000 men to march on Washington, the government could fall without a shot being fired.

He had apparently approached with a coup attempt against FDR and replacing him with General Hugh S. Johnson – who not only helped develop the New Deal, but was appointed head of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) by the holder himself.

JP Morgan allegedly financed the shooting, according to Butler.

The 1930s were a time of tension between rich and poor in the United States, with a new century on the heels of World War I, and later the crash of Wall Street (pictured)

The 1930s were a time of tension between rich and poor in the United States, with a new century on the heels of World War I, and later the crash of Wall Street (pictured)

Butler also claimed that MacGuire’s initial approaches seemed innocuous, if not a little suspicious, seemingly bringing up veteran issues in conversation, before the full scale of the plot was revealed to him.

MacGuire reportedly offered to pay for Butler’s children’s education and mortgage in exchange for his influence.

The operation was also apparently backed by a super-rich lobbying body of big business elites like JP Morgan Jr. and the CEOs of General Motors and Birds Eye – called the American Liberty League.

However, the Wall Street heist was not to take place – Butler went to (what would become) the FBI, informing its chief J. Edgar Hoover of the alleged nefarious events in 1934.

Soon the Washington Post reports, congressional hearings have begun to investigate the matter.

Butler (pictured standing behind General John A. Lejeune in 1928) also claimed that MacGuire's initial approaches appeared innocuous, if not a little suspicious.

Butler (pictured standing behind General John A. Lejeune in 1928) also claimed that MacGuire’s initial approaches appeared innocuous, if not a little suspicious.

Bonus Army veterans pictured fighting with Washington police officers at one of their camps in 1932

Bonus Army veterans pictured fighting with Washington police officers at one of their camps in 1932

It didn’t take long for the news to reach the press – who called the idea a “hoax”, with the New York Times in 1934 describing the reports as being composed of a “bald and unconvincing narrative”.

According Archiveseveryone claimed to be in the conspiracy, denied wrongdoing, and dismissed Butler’s allegations.

While a committee report was never released, Congress was informed that it “had received evidence that certain persons had attempted to establish a Fascist organization in this country”, the Job wrote.

He continued: “There is no doubt that these attempts were discussed, planned and could have been executed when and if the backers saw fit.”

Butler later criticized the result and, in a radio interview, is quoted as saying, “Like most committees, he slaughtered the little ones and allowed the big ones to escape”. The bigwigs weren’t even called to testify.

Sharon D. Cole