Charles Lindbergh attending Nazi party in Berlin - 1935
A number of prominent and wealthy American businessmen helped to support fascist regimes in Europe from the 1920s through the 1940s. These people helped to support Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War of 1936, as well as Benito Mussolini, and Adolph Hitler.
Some of the primary and more famous Americans and companies that were involved with the fascist regimes of Europe are: William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy (JFK's father), Charles Lindbergh, John Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon (head of Alcoa, banker, and Secretary of Treasury), DuPont, General Motors, Standard Oil (now Exxon), Ford, ITT, Allen Dulles (later head of the CIA), Prescott Bush, National City Bank, and General Electric.
It should be noted that businessmen from many countries, including England and Australia, also worked with the fascist regimes of Europe prior to WWII. The fascist governments were involved in a high level of construction, production, and international business.
I.G. Farben, a German company, was the largest chemical manufacturing enterprise in the world during the early part of the 20th century. As such the company had many holdings in a variety of countries, including America. The American holdings of I.G. Farben included Bayer Co., General Aniline Works, Agfa Ansco, and Winthrop Chemical Company.
I.G. Farben was critical in the development of the German economy and war machine leading up to WWII. During this time I.G. Farben's international holdings along with its international business contracts with companies like Standard Oil, DuPont, Alcoa, and Dow Chemical were crucial in supplying the Nazi regime with the materials needed for war as well as financial support.
The Spanish Civil War was the precursor to World War II. Fascist Francisco Franco was aided by Hitler and Mussolini during the Spanish Civil War. At this time GM, Ford, DuPont, and Standard Oil were working with Franco and supplying the fascist powers of Europe. At this same time many Americans were protesting the goings on in Europe as well as the involvement of American companies in helping the fascist powers. A group of American volunteer soldiers known as the Abe Lincoln Brigade went to Spain during this time to fight against Franco in defense of the Spanish Republic. This group was made up primarily of leftist American groups, such as members of American socialist parties and communist parties.
This Spanish Poster reads:
"Greed, Militarism, War - this is fascism. Unite to destroy it."
The success of the fascists in Spain was an important first step in the building of fascist power in Europe and the stepping-stone for the Italian and German powers.
The support of American corporations, and lack of American intervention by the government, was crucial in the success of this first step.
American banks and businesses continued to support the fascist regimes of Europe legally up until the day Germany declared war on America and the activities were stopped under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Despite this, some companies and individuals still maintained a business relationship with the Third Reich. Ford and GM supplied European fascists with trucks and equipment as well as investing money in I.G. Farben plants. Standard Oil supplied the fascists with fuel. US Steel and Alcoa supplied them with critically needed metals. American banks gave them billion's of dollars worth of loans.
The following is excerpted from a report printed by the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1974:
The activities of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler prior to and during World War II...are instructive. At that time, these three firms dominated motor vehicle production in both the United States and Germany. Due to its mass production capabilities, automobile manufacturing is one of the most crucial industries with respect to national defense. As a result, these firms retained the economic and political power to affect the shape of governmental relations both within and between these nations in a manner which maximized corporate global profits. In short, they were private governments unaccountable to the citizens of any country yet possessing tremendous influence over the course of war and peace in the world. The substantial contribution of these firms to the American war effort in terms of tanks, aircraft components, and other military equipment is widely acknowledged. Less well known are the simultaneous contributions of their foreign subsidiaries to the Axis Powers. In sum, they maximized profits by supplying both sides with the materiel needed to conduct the war.
During the 1920's and 1930's, the Big Three automakers undertook an extensive program of multinational expansion...By the mid-1930's, these three American companies owned automotive subsidiaries throughout Europe and the Far East; many of their largest facilities were located in the politically sensitive nations of Germany, Poland, Rumania, Austria, Hungary, Latvia, and Japan...Due to their concentrated economic power over motor vehicle production in both Allied and Axis territories, the Big Three inevitably became major factors in the preparations and progress of the war. In Germany, for example, General Motors and Ford became an integral part of the Nazi war efforts. GM's plants in Germany built thousands of bomber and jet fighter propulsion systems for the Luftwaffe at the same time that its American plants produced aircraft engines for the U.S. Army Air Corps....
Ford was also active in Nazi Germany's prewar preparations. In 1938, for instance, it opened a truck assembly plant in Berlin whose "real purpose," according to U.S. Army Intelligence, was producing "troop transport-type" vehicles for the Wehrmacht. That year Ford's chief executive received the Nazi German Eagle (first class)....
The outbreak of war in September 1939 resulted inevitably in the full conversion by GM and Ford of their Axis plants to the production of military aircraft and trucks.... On the ground, GM and Ford subsidiaries built nearly 90 percent of the armored "mule" 3-ton half-trucks and more than 70 percent of the Reich's medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American intelligence reports, served as "the backbone of the German Army transportation system."....
After the cessation of hostilities, GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. Government for wartime damages sustained by their Axis facilities as a result of Allied bombing... Ford received a little less than $1 million, primarily as a result of damages sustained by its military truck complex at Cologne...
Due to their multinational dominance of motor vehicle production, GM and Ford became principal suppliers for the forces of fascism as well as for the forces of democracy. It may, of course, be argued that participating in both sides of an international conflict, like the common corporate practice of investing in both political parties before an election, is an appropriate corporate activity. Had the Nazis won, General Motors and Ford would have appeared impeccably Nazi; as Hitler lost, these companies were able to re-emerge impeccably American. In either case, the viability of these corporations and the interests of their respective stockholders would have been preserved.
In 1940 Graeme K. Howard, Vice President of General Motors, published America and a New World Order, in which he advised that America give full cooperation to the Nazi regime. In his book he blames FDR for causing the war in Europe and goes on to say that the fascists should be supported as the better alternative to the spread of Communism.
The du Ponts helped to finance the Black Legion. The Black Legion was a Nazi style group supported by the du Ponts who were supporters of the Nazi movement in Germany and fanatical followers of the Third Reich. The organization was an American anti-socialist group that used violence against union leaders and union members. They have been implicated in the murder of several members of workers groups who were working in support of workers rights and benefits. The Black Legion was reported to have over 1.5 million members in the United States and was a group that was opposed to the FDR administration and was supposedly working to overthrow the administration. The Black Legion also had ties with the Ku Klux Klan, which was also a pro-Nazi group. The American Liberty League was another such organization.
For more on the Black Legion you can refer to the Federal Freedom of Information archives at:
"This cult-type organization operated in the midwest in the 1930's supposedly to protect the country from various forms of "isms". Members wore black costumes with skull and crossbones insignia and were allegedly responsible for numerous murders."
William Randolph Hearst is known as one of the largest media moguls of all time. During the 1930s he worked with the Nazi party to help promote a positive image of the Nazi party in American media. He also received loans from Italian fascists bankers during this time. The actions of Hearst were an important element in shaping American sentiment about not getting involved in the political situation in Europe as many Americans were led to believe that there was nothing terribly wrong going on in Europe, and even after the war started some Americans continued to support the Nazi regime based on the propaganda that they had been exposed to through Hearst media sources.
Below is an example of what was said about the Nazis in Hearst publications, in this case the Reader's Digest, 1933:
"That Hitler's conquest of the hearts and minds of all classes of Germans is now so complete that even if all his Brown Shirts and Steel Helmets were to be disbanded, tomorrow he would still be easily the strongest man in Germany, and on any appeal to the electorate would be confirmed in power by a quite overwhelming majority of votes.
Hitler is recognized by the whole of the political and official intelligentsia as an exceedingly able man. As of the militarist question: One may say with complete certainty that what Hitler said in his Reichstag speech on May 17 was exactly what he meant and accurately represents the policy that he will pursue.
I found no German who dreamed of the possibility of war, few who did not hope that it might be prevented in the future altogether. The truth is that the Nazi mind is concentrated on the internal problems of Germany and does not want to be bothered by foreign affairs for a long time to come.
Hitler has passed from the stage of party leader to being the national prophet of an exceedingly serious people, and it would need another prophet to replace him."
- Clifford Sharp, former editor of the New Statesman writing in The New Statesman and Nation. Reprinted in Readers Digest, September, 1933
Below is a copy of a 1938 article published in Better Homes and Gardens, a Hearst publication:
In 1935 American Ambassador to Germany wrote to President Roosevelt about the extent of Hearst's dealings with the Nazis.
In this letter it was stated:
"For this service Hearst was to receive $200,000 a year, and he at once began to bring pressure to bear on his correspondents to give only friendly accounts of what happened in Germany."
"…I [reporter Karl von Wiegand] learned a little later that all my reports from Germany went directly to Hearst and were re-edited so as to fit the new program."
"…he [Hearst] at the same time sent Dosch-Fleurot here from Paris to administer the service in such a way that it would always be friendly to the Hitler regime."
Hearst publications continued to present the fascist regimes in Europe in a positive light until America finally entered the war.
Perhaps one of the most egregious contributors to the Nazi cause was IBM under the direction of Thomas J. Watson.
IBM knowing helped to setup Nazi census databases through the use of data sorting machines that enabled the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust in a way that they would not have otherwise been able to. Point blank, IBM increased the size and scope of the Holocaust, and did it for profit. Not only this, but IBM leased the machines, which they had developed especially for the Nazis, to the regime with the intention of taking them back, "once they were finished with them". Thomas Watson was awarded a medal by Adolph Hitler for his role in assisting in the Nazi regime, .and Watson expressed, "the necessity of extending a sympathetic understanding to the German people, and their leader Adolph Hitler." He also expressed "the highest esteem for Hitler, his country, and his people."
More on IBM and Thomas J. Watson can be found here:
Charles Lindbergh was perhaps the most vocal and public supporter of the fascists, especially the Germans. Lindbergh was not so much a financial supporter of the Nazis, as he was a public advocate for allying with Germany to fight against Communism and promote White racial superiority. Lindbergh attended the Olympics as a guest of the Nazis and in 1938 he was given the Service Cross of the German Eagle while attending a dinner party in Berlin. He founded the America First Committee in 1940 to build opposition to FDR and FDR's support for American entry into the war in Europe.
After American entry into World War II Lindbergh went to work for Henry Ford as an aircraft design consultant, and then went on to Japan to support American efforts in the Pacific. This was actually against the approval of the Roosevelt administration.
Henry Ford was an avowed anti-Semite, and significant contributor to the Nazi movement in Germany.
In 1920 Ford stated: "The international financiers are behind all war. They are what is called the International Jew -- German Jews, French Jews, English Jews, American Jews. I believe that in all these countries except our own the Jewish financier is supreme... Here, the Jew is a threat."
In the 1920s he published The International Jew. Hitler himself ordered many copies of this book and was said to keep a copy on his desk. It is easy to see why when reading the book, because the attack on the Jews is vehement. The book states:
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
Simply identify the source and nature of the influence which has overrun our schools and universities. Let the students know that their choice is between the Anglo-Saxons and the Tribe of Judah. Let the students decide, in making up their allegiance, whether they will follow the Builders or those who seek to tear down. It is not a case for argument. The only absolute antidote to the Jewish influence is to call college students back to a pride of race.
We often speak of the Fathers as if they were the few who happened to affix their signatures to a great document which marked a new era of liberty. The Fathers of our nation were the men of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic race. The men who came from Europe with civilization in their blood and in their destiny. The men who crossed the Atlantic and set up civilization on a bleak and rock-bound coast; the men who drove north to Alaska and west to California; the men who opened up the tropics and subdued the arctics; the men who mastered the African veldt; the men who peopled Australia and seized the gates of the world at Suez, Gibraltar and Panama; men who have given form to every government and a livelihood to every people and an ideal to every century. They got neither their God nor their religion from Judah, nor yet their speech nor their creative genius- they are the Ruling People. Chosen throughout the centuries to Master the world, by building it ever better and better, and not by breaking it down.
Into the camp of this race, among the sons of the rulers, comes a people that has no civilization to point to, no aspiring religion, no universal speech, no great achievement in any realm but the realm of "get," cast out of every land that gave them hospitality, and these people endeavor to tell the Sons of the Saxons what is needed to make the world what it ought to be!
If our sons follow this counsel of dark rebellion and destruction, it is because they do not know whose sons they are, of what race they are the scions. Let there be free speech to the limit in our universities and free intercourse of ideas, but let Jewish thoughts be labeled Jewish, and let our sons know the racial secret...
NAME THE ENEMY!
Judah has begun the struggle. Judah has made the invasion. Let it come. Let no man fear it. But let every a man insist that the fight be fair. Let college students and leaders of thought know that the objective is the regnancy of the ideas and the race that have built all the civilization we see and that promises all the civilization of the future; let them also know that the attacking force is Jewish.
That is all that will be necessary. It is against this that the Jews protest. "You must not identify us," they say, "You must not use the term 'Jew'." Why? Because unless the Jewish idea can creep in under the assumption of other than Jewish origin, it is doomed. Anglo-Saxon ideas dare proclaim themselves and their origin. A proper proclamation is all that is necessary today. Compel every invading idea to run up its flag!
People today try to put all of this blame on Hitler, but it was not just Hitler, in fact the ideas of the Nazis were far more pervasive and were publicized by Henry Ford.
Why? Because he believed in an international Jewish conspiracy. Ford was more then just anti-Semitic, you can see by reading his publications that it went well beyond a matter of racism and not liking people. He viewed this, and many others did as well, as a war between the Anglo way of life and that of the Jews.
The hate that so many talk about in America today, it runs much deeper then many would imagine, and it is founded in much more substantial ideas then most would think as well.
Ford helped shape Hitler's views on the Jews, and those of many people around he world.
At the Nuremberg Trials Baldur Von Shirach claimed that Henry Ford was the primary inspiration for his anti-Semitism.
Shirach, a former Nazi youth leader, stated: "You have no idea what a great influence this book had on the thinking of the German youth…I read Henry Ford's book 'The International Jewry'…and became anti-Semitic."
Ford also made large personal contributions to Hitler's political campaigns. Hitler spoke of Ford in his speeches and had a portrait of Ford in his office.
In 1938 Henry Ford received the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle as a birthday present from Adolph Hitler. He was given the medal in his office in Michigan by two officials from the Third Reich, as seen below:
Ford never returned this medal, even after WWII. The head of IBM, who had also been given a medal from Hitler because he was a supporter of the Third-Reich, returned his medal after WWII, but Henry did not despite public outcry.
Overall, what is critical to recognize is that American corporations and wealthy individuals played an important part in the construction of the Nazi Empire and the various fascist groups of Europe leading up to World War II. Without American support it is doubtful that the fascist powers of Europe would have ever achieved their positions of power and been able to develop the military institutions necessary to wage the Second World War. Indeed Ford himself contributed not only monetarily but ideologically as well. It is important to note that America was still the wealthiest country in the world at that time even though America was also in a state of economic depression. Many of America's wealthy were only mildly affected by the depression, if at all, and many of them were opposed to the FDR administration.
Important information about the ties between American businessmen and the fascist powers of Europe was communicated to FDR by the American Ambassador to Germany during the 1930s, William E. Dodd. His writings on the matter are of critical importance. He wrote about connections between Hearst and the Nazis as well as Hearst and the Italians, in addition to Nazi connections with other wealthy Americans.
"A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime. . . . "
"Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there."
- William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937
This is the only internet library of the writings of William E. Dodd:
The Diary of William E. Dodd:
Ambassador Dodd's Diary
What is also critical to observe is that this information is not a part of standard American history. The fact that this information is not openly disclosed is very important from many perspectives. For one, how can we as a people truly learn from history if we don't know real history? We have to know what really happened if we are to learn to really prevent it from happening again. For another, why is it that so many of America's largest corporations and most influential political officials have direct ties to the Nazi empire?
For more information on fascism see:
Understanding Fascism and anti-Semitism
For more information on fascist - American connections go to:
The Rise of American Fascism