Uncle Sam and Nazism: The role played by Henry Ford and other industrialists in the rise of the Third Reich

Dave Emory’s For The Record show #511 revisits the broadcast of May 23rd 1980 in which connections between American industrialists and financiers and their German counterparts during WWII were explored. Among many others, the role played by Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford is discussed at considerable length. First, Henry Ford published a very important book that would prove to be instrumental in the rise of both fascism and anti-semitism in Europe, titled The International Jew. Hitler praised Henry Ford for the book, which became the basis of his ideological views on the economy, the nation and on the Jews. It is said that Hitler literally copied several portions of The International Jew and incorporated them into his own book, Mein Kampf, besides being influenced as well by another very important publication of this era, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fake manifesto describing a worldwide plot by the Jews to take over the world, was written by the Tsarist police to discredit the Bolshevik revolution. Ford financed Hitler considerably and his stature as an industrialist greatly contributed to give Hitler and the Nazis credibility. Hitler eventually awarded him with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle on July 1938. Also, Ford’s son was named on the board of directors of American I.G., the American counterpart of I.G. Farben of Germany, a company that would play a key role for the Reich before and during WWII. Among other things, they are the ones who manufactured the Zyklon-B gas that was used to kill the Jews in concentration camps.

Emory explores the role played by I.G. Farben, German General Electric, United Steel, ITT, the Rockefeller family, the Bush family, Brown Brothers Harriman, Sullivan and Cromwell, and other interests who were ready to work in favor of Germany. A lot of « arrangements » made during WWII between American and German companies and/or subsidiaries. After all, business had to continue despite of the war. For example, the reinsurance sector led to a lot of leakage in intelligence as American insurance companies were reinsuring assets, such as boats about to depart for Europe, in Munich. As the Germans knew in advance what ship would leave on a particular date with a specific cargo, all they had to do was to send submarines along the shores of America and wait for the targetted boats and sink them. Another element that was instrumental in the success of the Third Reich, at least at the beginning of the war, was the technology transfer and licensing being done under the Rockefeller company Standard Oil of New Jersey and General Motors to I.G. Farben, for the fabrication of synthetic oil: the hydrogenation process, iso-octane and tetra-ethyl lead technologies and butyl rubber. It allowed Hitler and the Nazis to go forward with their war plans and proceed with the invasion of Poland and other countries. If that transfer of technology had not happened, WWII would not have occured in the first place.

Uncle Sam and the swastika: 25 years later