Seven Days in May is an American political thriller motion picture about a military-political cabal’s planned take-over of the United States government in reaction to the president’s negotiation of a disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Directed by John Frankenheimer, it stars Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, and Ava Gardner, and was released in February 1964. The screenplay was written by Rod Serling based on the novel of the same name by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, published in September 1962.
I saw this terrific film when it was released but I had read the novel (also terrific). In 1964 I was yet to know that in June 28, 1966, as a conscript of the Argentine Navy I would be with other members of the joint armed forces surrounding the Argentine government palace, La Casa Rosada. President Illía (an honest country doctor) left for home in a taxi when he was given a one hour ultimatum.
That coup d’état was only my first direct experience. Another army attempt a few months earlier had me watching a football game at the River Plate stadium. One of the few perks of being a conscript is that I could go to games for free if I wore my uniform. From my high place in the grandstands we could hear the rumbling of tanks. We saw them, a long line of them, coming headed to the city. We ignored them as the game was much more exciting.
So today December 10, 2016 I wonder what is in store for Americans before President- Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
Americans should be aware that when a military interferes in a civil government nothing ever good transpires.
As a joke with my tongue firmly in cheek I would advise Americans to consider that if an intervention is planned that they should not hire Argentine generals. They may be seen as experts but consider that the next rank for an Argentine multi-starred general is President.
Washington, Eisenhower and Grant were just brilliant exceptions. The jury is out on Jackson.