Research ~ Resource Material|
Biography ~ ONLINE!
by Webster G.
Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin
Chapter 5 ~ Poppy and Mommy
``Oh Mother, Mother! What have you done? Behold! the heavens do ope.
The gods look down, and this unnatural scene they laugh at. ''
The Silver Spoon
George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June
12, 1924. During the next year the family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut,
and established their permanent residency.
Prescott and Dorothy Walker Bush had had a son, Prescott, Jr., before
George. Later there was a little sister, Nancy, and another brother, Jonathan;
a fourth son, William (`` Bucky ''), was born 14 years after George, in
George was named after his grandfather, George Herbert Walker. Since
George's mother called Grandfather Walker `` Pop, '' she began calling
her son, his namesake, `` little Pop, '' or `` Poppy. '' Hence, Poppy Bush
is the name the President's family friends have called him since his youth.
Prescott, Sr. joined W.A. Harriman & Co. May 1, 1926. With his family's
lucrative totalitarian projects, George Bush's childhood began in comfort
and advanced dramatically to luxury and elegance.
The Bushes had a large, dark-shingled house with `` broad verandas and
a portecochere '' (originally a roofed structure extending out to the driveway
to protect the gentry who arrived in coaches) on Grove Lane in the Deer
Park section of Greenwich.
Here they were attended by four servants--three maids (one of whom cooked)
and a chauffeur.
The U.S.A. was plunged into the Great Depression beginning with the
1929-31 financial collapse. But George Bush and his family were totally
insulated from this crisis. Before and after the crash, their lives were
a frolic, sealed off from the concerns of the population at large.
During the summers, the Bushes stayed in a second home on the family's
ten-acre spread at Walker's Point at Kennebunkport, Maine. Flush from the
Soviet oil deals and the Thyssen-Nazi Party arrangements, Grandfather Walker
had built a house there for Prescott and Dorothy. They and other well-to-do
summer colonists used Kennebunkport's River Club for tennis and yachting.
In the winter season, they took the train to Grandfather Walker's plantation,
called `` Duncannon, '' near Barnwell, South Carolina. The novices were
instructed in skeet shooting, then went out on horseback, following the
hounds in pursuit of quail and dove. George's sister Nancy recalled ``
the care taken '' by the servants `` over the slightest things, like the
trimmed edges of the grapefruit. We were waited on by the most wonderful
black servants who would come into the bedrooms early in the morning and
light those crackling pine-wood fires.... ''
The money poured in from the Hamburg-Amerika steamship line, its workforce
crisply regulated by the Nazi Labor Front. The family took yet another
house at Aiken, South Carolina. There the Bush children had socially acceptable
`` tennis and riding partners. Aiken was a Southern capital of polo in
those days, a winter resort of considerable distinction and serenity that
attracted many Northerners, especially the equestrian oriented. The Bush
children naturally rode there, too.... '' Averell Harriman, a world-class
polo player, also frequented Aiken.
Poppy Bush's father and mother anxiously promoted the family's distinguished
lineage, and its growing importance in the world. Prescott Bush claimed
that he `` could trace his family's roots back to England's King Henry
III, making George a thirteenth cousin, twice removed of Queen Elizabeth.
This particular conceit may be a bad omen for President Bush. The cowardly,
acid-tongued Henry III was defeated by France's Louis IX (Saint Louis)
in Henry's grab for power over France and much of Europe. Henry's own barons
at length revolted against his blundering arrogance, and his power was
As the 1930s economic crisis deepened, Americans experienced unprecedented
hardship and fear. The Bush children were taught that those who suffered
these problems had no one to blame but themselves.
A hack writer, hired to puff President Bush's `` heroic military background,
'' wrote these lines from material supplied by the White House:
`` Prescott Bush was a thrifty man.... He had no sympathy for
the nouveau riches who flaunted their wealth--they were without class,
he said. As a sage and strictly honest businessman, he had often turned
failing companies around, making them profitable again, and he had scorn
for people who went bankrupt because they mismanaged their money. Prescott's
lessons were absorbed by young George.... ''
When he reached the age of five, George Bush joined his older brother
Pres in attending the Greenwich Country Day School. The brothers' `` lives
were charted from birth. Their father had determined that his sons would
be ... educated and trained to be members of America's elite.... Greenwich
Country Day School [was] an exclusive all-male academy for youngsters slated
for private secondary schools....
``Alec, the family chauffeur, drove the two boys to school every morning
after dropping Prescott, Sr. at the railroad station for the morning commute
to Manhattan. The Depression was nowhere in evidence as the boys glided
in the family's black Oldsmobile past the stone fences, stables, and swimming
pools of one of the wealthiest communities in America. ''
But though the young George Bush had no concerns about his material
existence, one must not overlook the important, private anxiety gnawing
at him from the direction of his mother.
The President's wife, Barbara, has put most succinctly the question
of Dorothy Bush and her effect on George: `` His mother was the most
competitive living human. ''
If we look here in his mother's shadow, we may find something beyond
the routine medical explanations for President Bush's `` driven '' states
of rage, or hyperactivity.
Mother Bush was the best athlete in the family, the fastest runner.
She was hard. She expected others to be hard. They must win, but they must
always appear not to care about winning.
This is put politely, delicately, in a `` biography '' written by an
admiring friend of the President: `` She was with them day after day, ...
often curbing their egos as only a marine drill instructor can. Once when
... George lost a tennis match, he explained to her that he had been off
his game that morning. She retorted, `You don't have a game.' ''
According to this account, Barbara was fascinated by her mother-in-law's
George, playing mixed doubles with Barbara on the Kennebunkport court,
ran into a porch and injured his right shoulder blade. `` His mother said
it was my ball to hit, and it happened because I didn't run for it. She
was probably right, '' Barbara told [an interviewer].... When a discussion
of someone's game came up, as Barbara described it, `` if Mrs. Bush would
say, `She had some good shots,' it meant she stank. That's just the way
she got the message across. When one of the grandchildren brought this
girl home, everybody said, `We think he's going to marry her,' and she
said, `Oh, no, she won't play net.' ''
A goad to rapid motion became embedded in his personality. It
is observable throughout George Bush's life.
A companion trait was Poppy's uncanny urge, his master obsession with
the need to `` kiss up, '' to propitiate those who might in any way advance
his interests. A life of such efforts could at some point reach a climax
of released rage, where the triumphant one may finally say, `` Now it is
only I who must be feared. ''
This dangerous cycle began very early, a response to his mother's prodding
and intimidation; it intensified as George became more able to calculate
His mother says:
`` George was a most unselfish child. When he was only a little more
than two years old ... we bought him one of those pedal cars you climb
into and work with your feet.
``[His brother] Pres knew just how to work it, and George came running
over and grabbed the wheel and told Pres he should `have half,' meaning
half of his new possession. `Have half, have half,' he kept repeating,
and for a while around the house we called him `Have half.' ''
George `` learned to ask for no more than what was due him. Although
not the school's leading student, his report card was always good, and
his mother was particularly pleased that he was always graded `excellent'
in one category she thought of great importance: `Claims no more than his
fair share of time and attention.' This consistent ranking led to a little
family joke--George always did best in `Claims no more.'
``He was not a selfish child, did not even display the innocent possessiveness
common to most children.... ''@s1
George Bush left Greenwich Country Day School in 1936. He joined his
older brother at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, 20 miles north
of Boston. `` Poppy '' was 12 years old, handsome and rich. Though the
U.S. economy took a savage turn for the worse the following year, George's
father was piling up a fortune, arranging bond swindles for the Nazis with
John Foster Dulles.
Only about one in 14 U.S. secondary school students could afford to
be in private schools during George Bush's stay at Andover (1936-42). The
New England preparatory or `` prep '' schools were the most exclusive.
Their students were almost all rich white boys, many of them Episcopalians.
And Andover was, in certain strange ways, the most exclusive of them all.
A 1980 campaign biography prepared by Bush's own staff concedes that
`` it was to New England that they returned to be educated at select schools
that produce leaders with a patrician or aristocratic stamp--adjectives,
incidentally, which cause a collective wince among the Bushes.... At the
close of the 1930s ... these schools ... brought the famous `old-boy networks'
to the peak of their power. ''
These American institutions have been consciously modeled on England's
elite private schools (confusingly called `` public '' schools because
they were open to all English boys with sufficient money). The philosophy
inculcated into the son of a British Lord Admiral or South African police
chief, was to be imbibed by sons of the American republic.
George made some decisive moral choices about himself in these first
years away from home. The institution which guided these choices, and helped
shape the peculiar obsessions of the 41st President, was a pit of Anglophile
aristocratic racialism when George Bush came on the scene.
`` Andover was ... less dedicated to `elitism' than some [schools]....
There were even a couple of blacks in the classes, tokens of course, but
this at a time when a black student at almost any other Northeastern prep
school would have been unthinkable. ''
Andover had a vaunted `` tradition, '' intermingled with the proud bloodlines
of its students and alumni, that was supposed to reach back to the school's
founding in 1778. But a closer examination reveals this `` tradition ''
to be a fraud. It is part of a larger, highly significant historical fallacy
perpetrated by the Anglo-Americans--and curiously stressed by Bush's agents
in foreign countries.
Thomas Cochran, a partner of the J.P. Morgan banking firm, donated considerable
sums to construct swanky new Andover buildings in the 1920s. Among these
were George Washington Hall and Paul Revere Hall, named for leaders of
the American Revolution against the British Empire. These and similar ``
patriotic '' trappings, with the alumni's old school-affiliated genealogies,
might seem to indicate an unbroken line of racial imperialists like Cochran
and his circle, reaching back to the heroes of the Revolution!
Let us briefly tour Andover's history, and then ponder whether General
Washington would want to be identified with Poppy Bush's school.
Thirty years after Samuel Phillips founded the Academy at Andover, Massachusetts,
the quiet little school became embroiled in a violent controversy. On one
side were certain diehard pro-British families, known as Boston Brahmins,
who had prospered in the ship transportation of rum and black slaves. They
had regained power in Boston since their allies had lost the 1775-83 American
In 1805 these cynical, neo-pagan, `` Tory '' families succeeded in placing
their representative in the Hollis chair of Philosophy at Harvard College.
The Tories, parading publicly as liberal religionists called Unitarians,
were opposed by American nationalists led by the geographer-historian Rev.
Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826). The nationalists rallied the Christian churches
of the northeastern states behind a plan to establish, at Andover, a new
religious institution which would counter the British spies, atheists and
criminals who had taken over Harvard.
British Empire political operatives Stephen Higginson, Jr. and John
Lowell, Jr. published counterattacks against Rev. Morse, claiming he was
trying to rouse the lower classes of citizens to hatred against the wealthy
merchant families. Then the Tories played the `` conservative '' card.
Ultra-orthodox Calvinists, actually business partners to the Harvard liberals,
threatened to set up their own religious institution in Tory-dominated
Newburyport. Their assertion, that Morse was not conservative enough, split
the resources of the region's Christians, until the Morse group reluctantly
brought the Newburyport ultras as partners into the management of the Andover
Theological Seminary in 1808.
The new theological seminary and the adjacent boys' academy were now
governed together under a common board of trustees (balanced between the
Morse nationalists and the Newburyport anti-nationalists, the opposing
wings of the old Federalist Party).
Jedidiah Morse made Andover the headquarters of a rather heroic, anti-racist,
Christian missionary movement, bringing literacy, printing presses, medicine
and technological education to Southeast Asia and American Indians, notably
the Georgia Cherokees. This activist Andover doctrine of racial equality
and American Revolutionary spirit was despised and feared by British opium
pushers in East Asia and by Boston's blue-blooded Anglophiles. Andover
missionaries were eventually jailed in Georgia; their too-modern Cherokee
allies were murdered and driven into exile by pro-slavery mobs.
When Jedidiah Morse's generation died out, the Andover missionary movement
was crushed by New England's elite families--who were then Britain's partners
in the booming opium traffic. Andover was still formally Christian after
1840; Boston's cynical Brahmins used Andover's orthodox Protestant board
to prosecute various of their opponents as `` heretics. ''
Neo-paganism and occult movements bloomed after the Civil War with Darwin's
new materialist doctrines. In the 1870s the death-worshipping Skull and
Bones Society sent its alumni members back from Yale University, to organize
aristocratic secret satanic societies for the teenagers at the Andover
prep school. But these cults did not yet quite flourish. National power
was still precariously balanced between the imperial Anglo-American financiers,
and the old-line nationalists who built America's railroads, steel and
The New Age aristocrats proclaimed their victory under Theodore Roosevelt's
presidency (1901-09). The Andover Theological Seminary wound up its affairs
and moved out of town, to be merged with the Harvard Divinity School! Andover
prep school was now largely free of the annoyance of religion, or any connection
whatsoever with the American spirit. Secret societies for the school's
children, modeled on the barbarian orders at Yale, were now established
in permanent, incorporated headquarters buildings just off campus at Andover.
Official school advisers were assigned to each secret society, who participated
in their cruel and literally insane rituals.
When J.P. Morgan partner Thomas Cochran built Andover's luxurious modern
campus for boys like Poppy Bush, the usurpers of America's name had cause
to celebrate. Under their supervision, fascism was rising in Europe. The
new campus library was named for Oliver Wendell Holmes, Andover class of
1825. This dreadful poet of the `` leisure class, '' a tower of Boston
blue-blooded conceit, was famous as the father of the twentieth century
U.S. Supreme Court justice. His son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., symbolized
the arbitrary rule of the racial purity advocates, the usurpers, over American
Andover installed a new headmaster in 1933. Claude Moore Fuess (rhymes
with fleece) replaced veteran headmaster Alfred E. Stearns, whom the Brahmins
saw as a dyed-in-the-wool reactionary. Stearns was forced out over a ``
scandal '': a widower, he had married his housekeeper, who was beneath
his social class.
The new headmaster was considered forward-looking and flexible, ready
to meet the challenges of the world political crisis: for example, Fuess
favored psychiatry for the boys, something Stearns wouldn't tolerate.
Claude Fuess had been an Andover history teacher since 1908, and gained
fame as an historian. He was one of the most skillful liars of the modern
Fuess had married into the Boston Cushing family. He had written the
family-authorized whitewash biography of his wife's relative, Caleb Cushing,
a pro-slavery politician of the middle nineteenth century. The outlandish,
widely known corruption of Cushing's career was matched by Fuess's bold,
During George Bush's years at Andover, Feuss, his headmaster, wrote
an authorized biography of Calvin Coolidge, the late U.S. President. This
work was celebrated in jest as a champion specimen of unwholesome flattery.
In other books, also about the blue bloods, Fuess was simply given the
family papers and designated the chief liar for the `` Bostonian Race.
Both the Cushing and Coolidge families had made their fortunes in opium
trafficking. Bush's headmaster named his son John Cushing Fuess, perhaps
after the fabled nineteenth-century dope kingpin who had made the Cushings
Headmaster Fuess used to say to his staff, `` I came to power with Hitler
and Mussolini. '' This was not merely a pleasantry, referring to
his appointment the year Hitler took over Germany.
In his 1939 memoirs, Headmaster Fuess expressed the philosophy which
must guide the education of the well-born young gentlemen under his care:
Our declining birth rate ... may perhaps indicate a step towards national
deterioration. Among the so-called upper and leisure classes, noticeably
among the university group, the present birth rate is strikingly low. Among
the Slavonic and Latin immigrants, on the other hand, it is relatively
high. We seem thus to be letting the best blood thin out and disappear;
while at the same time our humanitarian efforts for the preservation of
the less fit, those who for some reason are crippled and incapacitated,
are being greatly stimulated. The effect on the race will not become apparent
for some generations and certainly cannot now be accurately predicted;
but the phenomenon must be mentioned if you are to have a true picture
of what is going on in the United States.
Would George Bush adopt this anti-Christian outlook as his own? One
can never know for sure how a young person will respond to the doctrines
of his elders, no matter how cleverly presented. There is a much higher
degree of certainty that he will conform to criminal expectations, however,
if the student is brought to practice cruelty against other youngsters,
and to degrade himself in order to get ahead. At Andover, this was where
the Secret Societies came in.
The Secret Societies
Nothing like Andover's secret societies existed at any other American
school. What were they all about?
Bush's friend Fitzhugh Greene wrote in 1989:
Robert L. `` Tim '' Ireland, Bush's longtime supporter [and Brown Brothers
Harriman partner], who later served on the Andover board of trustees with
him, said he believed [Bush] had been in AUV. `` What's that? I asked.
``Can't tell you, '' laughed Ireland. `` It's secret! '' Both at Andover
and Yale, such groups only bring in a small percentage of the total enrollment
in any class. `` That's a bit cruel to those who don't make AU[V] or `Bones,'
'' conceded Ireland.
A retired teacher, who was an adviser to one of the groups, cautiously
disclosed in his bicentennial history of Andover, some aspects of the secret
societies. The reader should keep in mind that this account was published
by the school, to celebrate itself:
A charming account of the early days of K.O.A, the oldest of the Societies,
was prepared by Jack [i.e. Claude Moore] Fuess, a member of the organization,
on the occasion of their Fiftieth Anniversary. The Society was founded
in ... 1874....
[A] major concern of the membership was the initiation ceremony. In
K.O.A. the ceremony involved visiting one of the local cemeteries at midnight,
various kinds of tortures, running the gauntlet--though the novice was
apparently punched rather than paddled, being baptized in a water tank,
being hoisted in the air by a pulley, and finally being placed in a coffin,
where he was cross-examined by the members.... K.O.A. was able to hold
the loyalty of its members over the years to become a powerful institution
at Phillips Academy and to erect a handsome pillared Society house on School
The second Society of the seven that would survive until 1950 was A.U.V.
[George Bush's group]. The letters stood for Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas.
[Authority, Unity, Truth.] This organization resulted from a merger of
two ... earlier Societies ... in 1877. A new constitution was drawn up
... providing for four chief officers--Imperator [commander], Vice Imperator
[vice-commander], Scriptor [secretary], and Quaestor [magistrate or inquisitor]....
Like K.O.A, A.U.V. had an elaborate initiation ceremony. Once a pledge
had been approved by the Faculty, he was given a letter with a list of
rules he was to follow. He was to be in the cemetery every night from 12:30
to 5:00, deliver a morning paper to each member of the Society each morning,
must not comb or brush his hair nor wash his face or hands, smoke nothing
but a clay pipe with Lucky Strike tobacco, and not speak to any student
except members of A.U.V.
After the pledge had memorized these rules, his letter of instruction
was burned. The pledge had now become a `` scut '' and was compelled to
learn many mottoes and incantations. On Friday night of initiation week
the scut was taken to Hartigan's drugstore downtown and given a `` scut
sundae, '' which consisted of pepper, ice cream, oysters, and raw liver.
Later that night he reported to the South Church cemetery, where he had
to wait for two hours for the members to arrive. There followed the usual
horseplay--the scut was used as a tackling dummy, threats were made to
lock him in a tomb, and various other ceremonies observed. On Saturday
afternoon the scut was taken on a long walk around town, being forced to
stop at some houses and ask for food, to urinate on a few porches, and
generally to make a fool of himself. On Saturday night came the initiation
proper. The scut was prepared by reporting to the cellar in his underwear
and having dirt and flour smeared all over his body. He was finally cleaned
up and brought to the initiation room, where a solemn ceremony followed,
ending with the longed-for words `` Let him have light, '' at which point
his blindfold was removed, some oaths were administered, and the boy was
finally a member....
Shortly after 1915 the present [A.U.V.] house was constructed. From
then until the Society crisis of the 1940s, A.U.V. continued strong and
successful. There were, to be sure, some problems. In the mid-1920s, the
scholarship average of the Society dropped abysmally. The members had also
been pledging students illegally--without the approval of the Faculty guardian.
In one initiation a boy had been so battered that he was unable to run
in the Andover-Exeter track meet.... Yet the Society managed to overcome
these problems and well deserved its position as one of the big three among
the school's Societies....
From all available evidence, at Andover prep George Bush was completely
obsessed with status, with seeming to be important. His 1980 campaign biography
boasts that he achieved this goal:
`` There was, as there always is at any institution, an elitism in
terms of the group that ran things, the power group among the boys who
recognized each other as peers. George was among this group, but for him
it was natural.... ''
The A.U.V. roster, 32 members including George Bush, is given in the
Andover Class of 1942 yearbook. Why was it `` natural '' for George to
be `` among this group ''?
The hierarchical top banana of the A.U.V. in George's class was Godfrey
Anderson (`` Rocky '') Rockefeller. In the yearbook just above the A.U.V.
roster is a photograph of `` Rocky Rockefeller '' and `` Lem [Lehman F.]
Beardsley ''; Rockefeller stands imperiously without a shirt, Beardsley
scowls from behind sunglasses. Certainly the real monarch of George Bush's
Andover secret society, and George's sponsor, was this Rocky's father,
Godfrey S. Rockefeller.
The latter gentleman had been on the staff of the Yale University establishment
in China in 1921-22. Yale and the Rockefellers were breeding a grotesque
communist insurgency with British Empire ideology; another Yale staffer
there was Mao Zedong, later the communist dictator and mass murderer. While
he was over in China, Papa Godfrey's cousin Isabel had been the bridesmaid
at the wedding of George Bush's parents. His Uncle Percy had co-founded
the Harriman bank with George Walker, and backed George Bush's father in
several Nazi German enterprises. His grandfather had been the founding
treasurer of the Standard Oil Company, and had made the Harrimans (and
thus, ultimately, George Bush) rich.
Faculty adviser to A.U.V. in those days was Norwood Penrose Hallowell;
his father by the same name was chairman of Lee, Higginson & Co. private
bankers, the chief financiers of Boston's extreme racialist political movements.
The elder Hallowell was based in London throughout the 1930s, on intimate
terms with Montagu Norman and his pro-Hitler American banking friends.
But this kind of backing, by itself, cannot ensure that a person will
rise to the top, to authentic `` big-shot '' status. You have to want it
very, very badly.
One of Poppy Bush's teachers at Andover, now in retirement, offered
to an interviewer for this book, a striking picture of his former pupil.
How was the President as a student?
`` He never said a word in class. He was bored to death. And other teachers
told me Bush was the worst English student ever in the school. ''
But was this teenager simply slow, or dull? On the contrary.
`` He was the classic `BMOC' (Big Man On Campus). A great glad-hander.
Always smiling. ''
Leaving academic studies aside, George Bush was the most insistent self-promoter
on the campus. He was able to pursue this career, being fortunately spared
from the more mundane chores some other students had to do. For example,
he mailed his dirty laundry home each week, to be done by the servants.
It was mailed back to him clean and folded.@s2
Student records show a massive list of offices and titles for Poppy,
perhaps more than for any other student:
President of Senior Class (1 term)
Secretary of Student Council (1 term)
Student Council (1941-42) (surveillance of students during tests, keeping
order in the movies, investigating student thieves)
President of Society of Inquiry (1941-42)
Senior Prom Committee
Chairman of Student Deacons (1941-42)
Advisory Board (management of sports, choosing of P.A. Police to control
student body, choosing of cheerleaders)
President of Greeks (1940-42)
Captain of Baseball (1942)
Captain of Soccer (1941)
Manager of Basketball (1941)
Society of Inquiry (1940-42) (formerly a Christian mission group, now
management of extra-curricular activities)
Student Deacon (1940-42)
Editorial Board of the Phillipian (1938-39)
All-club Soccer (1938)
Business Board of the Pot Pourri (1940-42)
Varsity Soccer Squad (1939-41)
Varsity Basketball Team (1941-42)
Junior Varsity Baseball Team (1939)
Varsity Baseball Squad (1940)
Varsity Baseball Team (1941-42)
Johns Hopkins Prize (1938)
Treasurer of Student Council (1 term)
To be sure, some of these distinctions were, well, a bit less than he
had hoped for.
The Class of 1942 was officially polled, to see who had the most status
among the students themselves.
For `` Best All-Around Fellow, '' Poppy Bush was third. Bush did not
show up in the `` Most Intelligent '' category.
Interestingly, Bush came in second on `` Most Faculty Drag ''--the teachers'
pets--even though Bush did not appear at all on the school's Scholastic
Honors list. In fact, no member of the Rockefeller-Bush A.U.V. was on the
Honors list--despite chanting incantations, being smeared with filth and
urinating on porches.
Barbara Pierce's Tradition
The Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on
Dec. 7, 1941, bringing America into World War II. Because of his family's
involvement with the Nazis, this would later pose a very different problem
for Andover senior Poppy Bush than for the ordinary young man his age.
Meanwhile, the social whirl went on. A couple of weeks after Pearl Harbor,
during Christmas vacation, George went to a `` cotillion at the Round Hill
Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was a social affair attended
by upcoming debutantes and acceptable young men. ''
Here George Bush met his future wife, Barbara Pierce, whose family was
in the High Society set in nearby Rye, New York. Barbara was an attractive
16-year-old girl, athletic like George's mother. She was home for the holidays
from her exclusive boarding school, Ashley Hall, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Her breeding was acceptable:
`` Barbara's background, though not quite so aristocratic as George's,
was also socially impressive in a day when Society was defined by breeding
rather than wealth. Her father, Marvin Pierce, was a distant nephew of
President Franklin Pierce (1853-57).... Barbara's mother, Pauline Robinson
... was [the daughter of] an Ohio Supreme Court justice. ''
Barbara's father, Marvin Pierce, was then vice president of McCall Corporation,
publisher of Redbook and McCall's magazines. After his daughter joined
the banking oligarchy by marrying into the Bush family (1945), Pierce became
McCall's chief executive. Pierce and his magazine's theme of `` Togetherness
''--stressing family social existence divorced from political, scientific,
artistic or creative activities--played a role in the cult of conformity
and mediocrity which crushed U.S. mental life in the 1950s.
A great deal is made about Barbara Pierce Bush's family connection to
U.S. President Franklin Pierce. It is inserted in books written by Bush
friends and staff members. Barbara Bush's gossip-column biographer says:
`` Her own great-great-great uncle President Franklin Pierce had his [White
House] office in the Treaty Room.... '' In fact, President Pierce was a
distant cousin of Barbara Pierce's great-great grandfather, not his brother,
as this claim would imply. **
** [Established through consultation with the New Hampshire Historical
Society and Pierce family experts in Pennsylvania, this fact is acknowledged
by Mrs. Bush's White House staff.]
/Like the Henry III ancestral claim, Franklin Pierce may be a bad omen
for George Bush. The catastrophic Pierce was refused renomination by his
own political party. Pierce backed schemes to spread slavery by having
mercenaries, called `` filibusters, '' invade Mexico, Central America and
the Caribben islands. During the Civil War, he attacked the Emancipation
Proclamation that outlawed black slavery in the rebel states. His former
backers among the wealthy New England families abandoned him and treated
him like dirt. He died unmourned in 1869.
One may ask, in what way are President Bush and his backers conscious
of an oligarchical tradition? For a clue, let us look at the case of Arthur
Burr Darling, George Bush's prep school history teacher.
Just after Claude Fuess `` came into power with Hitler and Mussolini
'' in 1933, Fuess brought Darling in to teach. Dr. Darling was head of
the Andover history department from 1937 to 1956, and Faculty Guardian
of one of the secret societies. His Political Changes in Massachusetts,
1824 to 1848 covered the period of Andover's eclipse by Boston's aristocratic
opium lords. Darling's book attacks Andover's greatest humanitarian, Jedidiah
Morse, as a dangerous lunatic, because Morse warned about international
criminal conspiracies involving these respectable Bostonians. The same
book attacks President John Quincy Adams as a misguided troublemaker, responsible
with Morse for the anti-freemasonic movement in the 1820s-30s.
Arthur Burr Darling, while still head of Andover's history department,
was chosen by the Harrimanites to organize the historical files of the
new Central Intelligence Agency, and to write the CIA's own official account
of its creation and first years. Since this cynical project was secret,
Darling's 1971 obituary did not reflect his CIA employment. Darling's
The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government, to 1950
was classified Secret on its completion in December 1953. For 36 years
it was only to be consulted for self-justification by the Harrimanites.
This mercenary work was finally declassified in 1989 and was published
by Pennsylvania State University in 1990. Subsequent editions of Who
Was Who in America were changed, in the fashion of Joe Stalin's ``
history revisers, '' to tell the latest, official version of what George
Bush's history teacher had done with his life.
Having met his future wife Barbara, Poppy Bush returned from the Christmas
holidays after New Year's Day, 1942, for his final months at Andover. The
U.S. entry into World War II made things rather awkward for Bush and some
of his schoolmates, and cast a dark shadow on his future.
Since early 1941, the Justice Department had been investigating the
Nazi support apparatus among U.S. firms. This probe centered on the Harriman,
Rockefeller, Du Pont and related enterprises, implicating George's father
Prescott, his partners and the Bushes' close family friends.
On March 5, 1942--at about the time Poppy Bush and Rocky Rockefeller
were contemplating the tortures they would inflict on the Class of 1943
A.U.V. recruits--the Special Committee of the U.S. Senate Investigating
the National Defense Program began explosive public hearings in Washington,
D.C. The subject: cartel agreements between U.S. and Nazi firms that should
be hit with anti-trust actions. Pearl Harbor, the draft of American boys,
and these sensational hearings were causing a popular attitude quite dangerous
for the higher-level Nazi collaborators (see Chapter 2).
But on March 20, 1942, Henry L. Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War and president
of Andover prep's Board of Trustees, sent a memorandum to President
Franklin Roosevelt recommending stopping the investigations of the
U.S.-Nazi trusts: the resulting lawsuits would `` unavoidably consume the
time of executives and employees of those corporations which are engaged
in war work. '' Stimson got Navy Secretary Frank Knox and Assistant Attorney
General Thurman Arnold to co-sign the memo. President Roosevelt agreed
to Stimson's request, but conceded to Arnold and his antitrust staff that
he would press for extended statutes of limitation to make postwar prosecutions
Stimson's intervention for his friends could not, however, entirely
cancel the already ongoing exposure and prosecution of Rockefeller's Standard
Oil of New Jersey, as we saw in Chapter 4. After Farish's death, the prosecutions
were suspended, but the seizures of Nazi corporate assets continued, and
this would soon lead to Prescott Bush and to Grandfather Walker. Could
aristocratic friends be relied upon to prevent scandal or legal trouble
from smashing up Poppy's world, and wrecking his carefully prepackaged
As George wound up his Andover career, and paid court to Barbara, U.S.
government investigators sifted through the affairs of the Hitler-Harriman-Bush
steamship lines, Hamburg-Amerika and North German Lloyd. Their final report,
issued under confidential seal on July 18, 1942, would show that long-time
Harriman-Bush executive Christian J. Beck was still the New York attorney
for the merged Nazi firms. (See Chapter 3 for details and description of
Seizure orders on the shipping lines would be issued in August. The
government would seize other Nazi assets, still managed by the Bush family,
in the autumn. Prescott Bush, legally responsible for Nazi German banking
operations in New York, would have to be named in a seizure order. Could
friends in high places keep all this out of the public eye?
Along about this time, something was going very wrong with the
secret societies at Andover prep school.
Andover's historian, as quoted above, affirmed that `` until the Society
crisis of the 1940s, A.U.V. continued strong and successful. '' But a few
months after Poppy Bush and Rocky Rockefeller left the school, Headmaster
Fuess and his trustees announced they were closing and banning the secret
societies forever. This set off a storm of controversy.
Bush's A.U.V. had been humiliating students and teaching anti-Christian
rituals since 1877. Fuess was himself a member of one of the Societies.
What had happened, to precipitate this drastic decision?
The great Society crisis at Andover was highly charged, because so many
of the alumni and parents of current students were leaders of government
and finance. An ugly scandal there would reverberate around the world.
Whatever really prompted the close-down decision was kept a tight secret,
and remains wrapped in mystery today, a half-century later.
Headmaster Fuess claimed that an event which happened nine years earlier
had moved him to the decision. This event was duly recorded in the Andover
`` In 1934 one undergraduate had been killed during the course
of a Society initiation. A group of alumni had joined the undergraduates
for part of the ceremonies that were held in a barn on the outskirts of
Andover. On the way back the initiate rode on the running board of a car
driven by one of the alumni. The roads were slippery, and the car crashed
into a telegraph pole, crushing the boy, who died in Dr. Fuess's presence
in the hospital a few hours later. ''
But this tragedy had been brushed off by the school administration,
with no suggestion of interfering with the satanic Societies. Was there
another, significantly worse disaster, that happened to Class of 1943 secret
When the alumni heard about the decision, they exploded into action.
They accused Fuess of `` fascism '' and attacked his `` star-chamber proceedings.
'' A Boston newspaper headline proclaimed, `` 10,000 Andover Alumni Battle
Trustees on Abolishing Secret Societies. '' The headmaster, releasing no
specifics to back up his proposal, said, `` the purpose for which the secret
societies were founded no longer seems apparent. '' His allies said, quite
vaguely, that the Societies `` promoted exclusiveness, '' operated `` on
a special privilege basis, '' and created `` social cleavage. ''
The stealthy shut-down decision, having now become loudly public, had
to be squelched. Andover's Board of Trustees president, Secretary of War
Stimson, settled the matter and kept a lid on things with his familiar
refrain that the war effort should not be disturbed. Whatever had pushed
Fuess and the trustees to act, was never disclosed. The Societies were
quietly closed down in 1950.
Secretary of War Stimson made a famous speech in June 1942, to Poppy
Bush and the other graduating Andover boys. Stimson told them the war would
be long, and they, the elite, should go on to college.
But George Bush had some very complicated problems. The decision had
already been made that he would join the service and get quite far away
from where he had been. For reasons of family (which will be discussed
in Chapter 7), there was a very special niche waiting for him in naval
There was one serious hitch in this plan. It was illegal. Though he
would be 18 years old on June 12, he would not have the two years of college
the Navy required for its aviators.
Well, if you had an urgent problem, perhaps the law could be
simply set aside, for you and you alone, ahead of all the five million
poor slobs who had to go in the mud with the infantry or swab some stinking
deck--especially if your private school's president was currently Secretary
of War (Henry Stimson), if your father's banking partner was currently
Assistant Secretary of War for Air (Robert Lovett), and if your father
had launched the career of the current Assistant Navy Secretary for Air
And it was done.
As a Bush-authorized version puts it, `` One wonders why the Navy relaxed
its two years of college requirement for flight training in George Bush's
case. He had built an outstanding record at school as a scholar [sic],
athlete and campus leader, but so had countless thousands of other youths.
``Yet it was George Bush who appeared to be the only beneficiary of
this rule-waiving, and thus he eventually emerged as the youngest pilot
in the Navy--a fact that he can still boast about and because of which
he enjoyed a certain celebrity during the war. ''
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1. Nicholas King, George Bush: A Biography (New York: Dodd, Mead
& Company, 1980), pp. 13-14.
2. Ibid., p. 19.
4. Joe Hyams, Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War (New
York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovitch, 1991), p. 14.
5. Ibid., p. 17.
6. Ibid., pp. 16-17.
7. Donnie Radcliffe, Simply Barbara Bush (New York: Warner Books,
1989), p. 132.
8. Fitzhugh Green, George Bush: An Intimate Portrait (New York:
Hippocrene Books, 1989), p. 16.
9. Radcliffe, op. cit., p. 133.
10. King, op. cit, p. 14.
11. Hyams, op. cit., pp. 17-19.
12. King, op. cit., pp. 10, 20.
13. Ibid., p. 21.
14. Claude M. Fuess, The Life of Caleb Cushing, 2 vols. (New
York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1923).
15. John Perkins Cushing was a multi-millionaire opium smuggler who
retired to Watertown, Massachusetts with servants dressed as in a Canton
gangster carnival. See Vernon L. Briggs, History and Genealogy of the
Cabot Family, 1475-1927 (Boston: privately printed, 1927), vol. II,
p. 558-559. John Murray Forbes, Letters and Recollections (reprinted
New York: Arno Press, 1981), Vol I, p. 62-63. Mary Caroline Crawford, Famous
Families of Massachusetts (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1930),
16. Interview with a retired Andover teacher.
17. Claude M. Fuess, Creed of a Schoolmaster (reprinted Freeport,
New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1970), pp. 192-93.
18. Green, op. cit., p. 49.
19. Frederick S. Allis, Youth from Every Quarter: A Bicentennial
History of Phillips Academy, Andover (Andover, Mass.: Phillips Academy,
1979), distributed by the University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H.),
20. King, op. cit., p. 21.
21. Spoke on condition of non-attribution.
22. Hyams, op. cit., pp. 23-24.
23. Ibid., p. 24.
24. Ibid., p. 27.
25. See New York Times, Nov. 29, 1971.
26. Joseph Borkin, The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben (New
York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1978), p. 89.
27. Allis, op. cit., p. 512.
28. Newsweek, August 9, 1943; Boston Globe, July 22, 1943.
29. Green, op. cit., page 28.
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