Internal Military Intervention in the United States
3. The Era of Industrial Warfare Page 7

Title/Summary page

1. Defining the Problem
Pages 1-2

2. Internal Military Interventions before 1877
Pages 3-4-5

3. The Era of Industrial Warfare
Pages 6-7-8-9

4. Internal Military Interventions since World War II
Pages 10-11

5.Internal Military Surveillance
Pages 12-13

6. Internal War and the External Enemy
Pages 14-15-16

7. Relevance for Peace Researchers and Activists
Pages 17-18-19

Table I

Page 20

Table II

Page 21

Table III

Page 22

Page 23

Copyright Agreement
Page 24


In this period, about 80% of the military troops used for internal interventions were engaged in what the government called 'labor disputes'. This may be seen from Table I, at least for the period of 1886 to 1895, which is the period for which we have an accurate count of the number of troops involved. However, this is an underestimate, because several of the other categories could also be considered labor disputes. The interventions against Coxey's Armies of 1892, called 'lawlessness by Industrial Army' in the table, were conducted against unemployed workers who were converging from the Western states to the nation's capitol in order to protest. And the use of troops to attack workers who protested the use of Chinese strike-breakers in the West is also categorized separately.

Although complete records are not available from 1896 to 1920, there was frequent use of the National Guard and Army for strike-breaking during those years. Clendenon (1969) describes the Guard as a strike-breaking force in the Colorado mines in 1904, the textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912, and the West Virginia and Colorado mines in 1913. The 1912 intervention in Colorado culminated in the 'Ludlow Massacre' in which state Guardsmen, many of whom were drawing pay as plant guards from Rockefeller's Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, fired with machine guns into a tent city of strikers' families, and when the tents were set on fire, 21 were killed, mostly women and children.

During World War I, there were so many federal interventions against labor meetings and strikes that Jensen (1991, p. 143) comments that 'never had so many federal bayonets been in the streets of so many towns'. According to government reports, the Army intervened in 29 domestic disorders during this period without following Constitutional procedures (Preston, 1963, p. 116).

During those years between 1921 and 1935, for which records were relatively complete, 75% of the 82,000 troops engaged in internal interventions were used in what were termed 'labor disputes'. The data for this period are shown in Table II.

(continued on next page)

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