PDA

View Full Version : Occupation of Haiti (1915-1934)



thedrifter
08-20-04, 11:07 AM
Occupation of Haiti (1915-1934) <br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
Due to civil disturbances and lack of a stable friendly government, the United States occupied and ruled Haiti by means of a military government between 1915...

thedrifter
08-20-04, 11:10 AM
Then in 1915 a new Haitian president, pursued by an angry mob, was forced to seek sanctuary in the French legation. The mob dragged him out and killed him. Now the angry French Government threatened intervention. Squirming in an agony of indecision, the anti-imperialist Wilson finally decided to put Haiti under American control to prevent any of the warring European powers from seizing it.


Besides, he told Secretary of State Robert Lansing, an American occupation would give him a chance to bring law, order, democracy, and prosperity to the wretched people of the misruled little country. Wilson's missionary impulse dovetailed neatly with less exalted plans by big-business interests. The National City Bank controlled the National Bank of Haiti and the Haitian railroad system. Dollar diplomacy also Involved the sugar barons who saw Haiti's rich plantations as an inviting target for investment and takeover.

Rioting in the capital of Haiti in August, 1915, gave Wilson the excuse he needed to intervene with warships and Marines under Colonel Littleton Waller, Butler's commanding officer. Haiti was placed under an American commissioner who controlled the republic's affairs through the Haitian President. Cabinet ministers were puppets with only advisory powers. The government was not allowed to incur any "foreign obligations" without American consent, and an American customs official collected all money due Haiti. The Marines "pacified" the population and maintained the President's authority.


When the Haitian National Assembly met in Port-au-Prince, Marines stood in the aisles with bayonets drawn until Philippe Dartiguenave, the Haitian selected by the American minister, was "elected" President by the Assembly. He was the first Haitian President to serve out his full seven-year term, only because of the occupation of the Marines.

Under Dartiguenave American control of the island was assured by a treaty signed on September 16, 1915, which entitled the United States to administer Haitian customs and finance for twenty years, or longer if Washington saw fit. The Haitian constitution was revised to remove a prohibition against alien ownership of land, enabling Americans to purchase the most fertile areas in the country, including valuable sugar cane, cacao, banana, cotton, tobacco, and sisal plantations.


Northern Haiti, however, remained in the grip of rebels known as Cacos, whose chiefs Dartiguenave labeled bandits. Posing as nationalists, they were actually precursors of the brutal Tonton Macoutes of the later Duvalier regime, just as cruel to the peasants as the government's soldiers were.

Butler led a reconnaissance force of twenty-six volunteers in pursuit of a Caco force that had killed ten Marines. Like the Cacos in the mountains, he and his men lived for days off the orange groves. For over a hundred miles they followed a trail of peels, estimating how long before the Cacos had passed by the dryness of the peels. A native guide they picked up helped them locate the Cacos' headquarters, a secret fort called Capois, deep in the mountain range.


Studying the mountaintop fort through field glasses, Butler made out thick stone walls, with enough activity to suggest they were defended by at least a regiment. He decided to return to Cape Haitien for reinforcements and capture it. On the way back they were ambushed by a force of Cacos that outnumbered them twenty to one. Fortunately it was a pitch-black night, and Butler was able to save his men by splitting them up to crawl past the Cacos' lines through high grass.

http://images6.fotki.com/v92/photos/1/133612/1141746/Butler-vi.jpg

Capture of Fort Riviere, Haiti, 1915
painted by Colonel D.J. Neary, USMCR
Marines Major Smedley Butler, Sergeant Iams, and Private Gross received The Medal of Honor for this action.

Just before dawn he reorganized them into three squads of nine men each. Charging from three directions as they yelled wildly and fired from the hip, they created such a fearful din that the Cacos panicked and fled, leaving seventy-five killed. The only Marine casualty was one man wounded.


When he was able to return with reinforcements, spies had alerted the Cacos, and Butler took a deserted Fort Capois without firing a shot. Only one last stronghold remained to be cleared -the mountain fortress at Fort Riviere, which the French, who had built it during their occupation of Haiti, considered impregnable. Butler was told it would be difficult to capture, even with a strong artillery battery.



"Give me a hundred picked volunteers," he said, "and I'll have the colors flying over it tomorrow." Butler earnestly assured his volunteers that they could do the job. His pep talks were enormously persuasive because they were sincere-so sincere that after he gave one, he would often feel emotionally spent and limp. He refused to believe that any job was impossible for Marines and frequently hypnotized himself into believing it. His fervor made believers out of his men, who never hesitated to follow him against overwhelming odds

His officers gave him unreasoning loyalty, even though he was a tough taskmaster and never played favorites. One captain, asked to explain his devotion to Butler, said, "Well, damn him, I don't know. I'd give him my shirt, and he would not only not thank me, but he'd probably demand that I give him my other one. I stick because-bell, I don't know why!"


What happened when Butler led his tiny force against Fort Riviere was subsequently described in a memo by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who visited Haiti in January, 1917, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The Congressional Medal of Honor could not be awarded to an officer unless a high official of the military branch concerned first made a personal investigation and authenticated the citation. When Butler was recommended for the award, Roosevelt went to Haiti to investigate.



He was taken by Butler on an inspection tour of Haiti and the ruins of Fort Riviere, which Butler had demolished with explosives after its capture to deny its reuse to the Cacos. In his memorandum Roosevelt wrote what he had learned from others about Smedley Butler's attack on the four-thousand-foot-high mountain fortress in November, 1915:

http://images6.fotki.com/v92/photos/1/133612/1141746/patrol-vi.jpg

Marines on patrol in Haiti, 1919 ~~ Marine Corps University Archives

His officers gave him unreasoning loyalty, even though he was a tough taskmaster and never played favorites. One captain, asked to explain his devotion to Butler, said, "Well, damn him, I don't know. I'd give him my shirt, and he would not only not thank me, but he'd probably demand that I give him my other one. I stick because-bell, I don't know why!"


What happened when Butler led his tiny force against Fort Riviere was subsequently described in a memo by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who visited Haiti in January, 1917, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The Congressional Medal of Honor could not be awarded to an officer unless a high official of the military branch concerned first made a personal investigation and authenticated the citation. When Butler was recommended for the award, Roosevelt went to Haiti to investigate.



He was taken by Butler on an inspection tour of Haiti and the ruins of Fort Riviere, which Butler had demolished with explosives after its capture to deny its reuse to the Cacos. In his memorandum Roosevelt wrote what he had learned from others about Smedley Butler's attack on the four-thousand-foot-high mountain fortress in November, 1915:

This was the famous fortification captured by Butler and his 24 Marines in the Caco rebellion of a few months before. The top is a hog's back ridge a quarter of a mile long. Butler and his Marines left a machine gun at one end of the ridge while he and about 18 Marines crawled through the grass into the fort itself. Crawling down into a comer, they found a tunnel into the courtyard, serving as a drain when it rained.


Butler started to crawl through it (about 2-1/4' high x 2' wide) and the old sergeant [Ross Iams] said, "Sir, I was in the Marines before you and it is my privilege." Butler recognized his right, and the sergeant crawled through first. On coming to the end within the courtyard, he saw the shadows of the legs of 2 Cacos armed with machetes guarding the place. He took off his hat, put it on the end of his revolver, and pushed it through. He felt the two Cacos descend on it and he jumped forward into the daylight.



With a right and left he got both Cacos, stood up and dropped 2 or 3 others while his companions, headed by Smedley Butler, got through the drain hole and stood up. Then ensued a killing, the news of which put down all insurrections, we hope, for all time to come. There were about 300 Cacos within the wall, and Butler and his 18 companions killed [many] . . . others jumping over the wall and falling prisoner to the rest of the force of Marines which circled the mountain.

was so much impressed by personal inspection of the scene of the exploit that I awarded the Medal of Honor to the Marine Sergeant and Smedley Butler. Incidentally, Butler had received the Medal of Honor at Tientsin at the time of the Boxer Rebellion.* [* Roosevelt's error; officers at the time of the Boxer Rebellion could not win the Medal of Honor.] He had been awarded a second at the capture of Vera Cruz in 1914 but declined to accept it. The third at Fort Riviere he did accept.


Butler saw pathos as well as bravery in the episode at Riviere. "The futile efforts of the natives to oppose trained white soldiers impressed me as tragic," he declared. "As soon as they lost their heads, they picked up useless, aboriginal weapons. If they had only realized the advantage of their position, they could have shot us like rats as we crawled out one by one, out of the drain."



But the power of the Cacos was broken, and the revolution was over. Surviving Cacos sought to keep the movement alive, but their ancient horse pistols, Spanish cutlasses, Napoleonic sabers, French carbines, and even flintlocks were futile against the superior weaponry and training of the Marines.

continued.............

thedrifter
08-20-04, 11:12 AM
Haiti Campaign 1915
Medal of Honor Recipients


BUTLER, SMEDLEY DARLINGTON (Second Award)





Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps.
Born: 30 July 1881, West Chester, Pa.
Appointed from: Pennsylvania.
Other Navy awards: Second Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Medal.

Citation: As Commanding Officer of detachments from the 5th, 13th, 23d Companies and the marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. Connecticut, Maj. Butler led the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, 17 November 1915. Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco bandits. Reaching the fort on the southern side where there was a small opening in the wall, Maj. Butler gave the signal to attack and marines from the 15th Company poured through the breach, engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat, took the bastion and crushed the Caco resistance. Throughout this perilous action, Maj. Butler was conspicuous for his bravery and forceful leadership.

http://images6.fotki.com/v92/photos/1/133612/1141746/SmedleyButler-vi.jpg



DALY, DANIEL JOSEPH (Second Award)

Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Born: Glen Cove, Long Island, N.Y., 11 November 1873.
Accredited to: New York.
Other Navy awards: Second Medal of Honor, Navy Cross.

Citation: Serving with the 15th Company of Marines on 22 October 1915, G/Sgt. Daly was one of the company to leave Fort Liberte, Haiti, for a 6-day reconnaissance. After dark on the evening of 24 October, while crossing the river in a deep ravine, the detachment was suddenly fired upon from 3 sides by about 400 Cacos concealed in bushes about 100 yards from the fort. The marine detachment fought its way forward to a good position, which it maintained during the night, although subjected to a continuous fre from the Cacos. At daybreak the marines, in 3 squads, advanced in 3 different directions, surprising and scattering the Cacos in all directions. G/Sgt. Daly fought with exceptional gallantry against heavy odds throughout this action.

http://images6.fotki.com/v95/photos/1/133612/1141746/Danieldaly-vi.jpg


GROSS, SAMUEL

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps, 23d Co. (Real name is Marguiles, Samuel.)
Born: 9 May 1891, Philadelphia, Pa.
Accredited to: Pennsylvania.

Citation: In company with members of the 5th, 13th, 23d Companies and the marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. Connecticut, Gross participated in the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, 17 November 1915. Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco bandits. Approaching a breach in the wall which was the only entrance to the fort, Gross was the second man to pass through the breach in the face of constant fire from the Cacos and, thereafter, for a 10-minute period, engaged the enemy in desperate hand-to-hand combat until the bastion was captured and Caco resistance neutralized.

http://images6.fotki.com/v92/photos/1/133612/1141746/gross_samuel-vi.jpg

continued......

thedrifter
08-20-04, 11:14 AM
IAMS, ROSS LINDSEY





Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 5th Co.
Born: 5 May 1879, Graysville, Pa.
Accredited to: Pennsylvania.

Citation:In company with members of the 5th, 13th, 23d Companies and marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. Connecticut, Sgt. Iams participated in the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, 17 November 1915. Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco bandits. Approaching a breach in the wall which was the only entrance to the fort, Sgt. Iams unhesitatingly jumped through the breach despite constant fire from the Cacos and engaged the enemy in a desperate hand-to-hand combat until the bastion was captured and Caco resistance neutralized.

http://images6.fotki.com/v94/photos/1/133612/1141746/Iams_Ross-vi.jpg


OSTERMANN, EDWARD ALBERT





Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, 15th Company of Marines (mounted).
Place and date: Vicinity Fort Liberte, Haiti, 24 October 1915.
Entered service at: Ohio.
Born: 1883, Columbus, Ohio.

Citation: In company with members of the 15th Company of Marines, all mounted, 1st Lt. Ostermann left Fort Liberte, Haiti, for a 6-day reconnaissance. After dark on the evening of 24 October 1915, while crossing the river in a deep ravine, the detachment was suddenly fired upon from 3 sides by about 400 Cacos concealed in bushes about 100 yards from the fort. The marine detachment fought its way forward to a good position, which it maintained during the night, although subjected to a continuous fire from the Cacos. At daybreak, 1st Lt. Ostermann, in command of 1 of the 3 squads which advanced in 3 different directions, led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding in the capture of Fort Dipitie.

http://images6.fotki.com/v92/photos/1/133612/1141746/edwardostermann-vi.jpg


UPSHUR, WILLIAM PETERKIN





Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps.
Born: 28 October 1881, Richmond, Va.
Appointed from: Virginia.

Citation: In company with members of the 15th Company of Marines, all mounted, Capt. Upshur left Fort Liberte, Haiti, for a 6-day reconnaissance. After dark on the evening of 24 October 1915, while crossing the river in a deep ravine, the detachment was suddenly fired upon from 3 sides by about 400 Cacos concealed in bushes about 100 yards from the fort. The marine detachment fought its way forward to a good position which it maintained during the night, although subjected to a continuous fire from the Cacos. At daybreak, Capt. Upshur, in command of one of the 3 squads which advanced in 3 different directions led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding in the capture of Fort Dipitie.

http://images6.fotki.com/v94/photos/1/133612/1141746/Upshur_William-vi.jpg

continued.........

thedrifter
08-20-04, 11:15 AM
BUTTON, WILLIAM ROBERT





Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps.
Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo.
Born: 3 December 1895, St. Louis, Mo.
G.O. No.: 536, 10 June 1920.

Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in actual conflict with the enemy near Grande Riviere, Republic of Haiti, on the night of 31 October_l November 1919, resulting in the death of Charlemagne Peralte, the supreme bandit chief in the Republic of Haiti, and the killing, capture and dispersal of about 1,200 of his outlaw followers. Cpl. William R. Button not only distinguished himself by his excellent judgment and leadership but also unhesitatingly exposed himself to great personal danger when the slightest error would have forfeited not only his life but the lives of the detachments of Gendarmerie under his command. The successful termination of his mission will undoubtedly prove of untold value to the Republic of Haiti.

http://images6.fotki.com/v94/photos/1/133612/1141746/Button_William-vi.jpg

HANNEKEN, HERMAN HENRY





Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Place and date: Near Grande Riviere, Republic of Haiti, 31 October-1 November 1919.
Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo.
Born: 23 June 1893, St. Louis, Mo.
G.O. No.: 536, 10 June 1920.
Other Navy awards: Navy Cross with 1 gold star, Silver Star, Legion of Merit.

Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in actual conflict with the enemy near Grande Riviere, Republic of Haiti, on the night of 31 October-1 November 1919, resulting in the death of Charlemagne Peralte, the supreme bandit chief in the Republic of Haiti, and the killing, capture, and dispersal of about 1,200 of his outlaw followers. 2d Lt. Hanneken not only distinguished himself by his excellent judgment and leadership but also unhesitatingly exposed himself to great personal danger when the slightest error would have forfeited not only his life but the lives of the detachments of gendarmerie under his command. The successful termination of his mission will undoubtedly prove of untold value to the Republic of Haiti.


http://images6.fotki.com/v95/photos/1/133612/1141746/Hanneken_Herman-vi.jpg

Additional Sources:
www.thirdsuperpower.com
www.heritagestudio.com
www.webster.edu
www.fouye.com
www.usa-patriotism.com
www.mail-archive.com www.vho.org
www.homeofheroes.com
hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil
www.arlingtoncemetery.net
www.mcu.usmc.mil
www.awigp.com
home.att.net/~david.danner
www.webster.edu
www.numismondo.com
teachpol.tcnj.edu

'In Haiti a worse situation faced us. That Republic was in chronic trouble, and it as it is close to Cuba the bad influence was felt across the water. Presidents were murdered, governments fled, several time a year. [sic: he really said that!] We landed our marines and sailors only when the unfortunate Chief Magistrate of the moment was dragged out of the French Legation, cut into six pieces and thrown to the mob. Here again we cleaned house, restored order, built public works and put governmental operation on a sound and honest basis. We are still there. It is true, however, that in Santo Domingo and especially in Haiti we seem to have paid too little attention to making the citizens of these states more capable of reassuming the control of their own governments. But we have done a fine piece of material work, and the world ought to thank us '
Franklin Delano Roosevelt




Ellie