UNITED STATES OCCUPATION OF HAITI, 1915-1934 by Hans Schmidt

UNITED STATES OCCUPATION OF HAITI, 1915-1934

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Professor Schmidt sees American racism, bondholders' cultures, the technocratic side of Progressivism, and the National City Bank looting of Haiti as the factors motivating Wilson's 1915 invasion, brushing aside the flimsy pretext of alleged anarchy and German subversion. Once the occupation was established, no large American plantations developed, despite new corvee-built roads and bridges, partly because dispossession of the peasantry was dangerous politically. The occupation ended in 1934 but control of Haitian finances was maintained until the 1922 National City bonds matured in 1947. Much of Schmidt's material, taken from official U.S. diplomatic sources, tends to simply reflect economic and political conditions, with insufficient analysis on Schmidt's part. The attitude of military officers and colonial administrators toward the impoverished black natives, for example, yields strong clues to the latter's status and condition, but the book fails to explicate this, while offering only commonplaces about the peasants' anti-technological backwardness (disputed in Rotberg's excellent study, Haiti: The Politics of Squalor, p. 94). Nevertheless, as a detailed case study in an exceptional manifestation of North American imperial control, the book will attract a readership beyond students of Caribbean history.

Pub Date: July 30th, 1971
Publisher: Rutgers Univ. Press