Henry Ford and the Nazis|
History Isn’t Over
Tuesday, December 25 2012
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Initially ran in Razorcake #7, 2002.
Some of the numbers and percentages of corporate ownership have changed in the past ten plus years since this first ran, but the underlying themes and messages remain the same. As happens with the constant change of digital content, many of the links that were active when this article was published are now dead. –Todd (January, 2013)
Illustration by Laura Collins, www.lauracollinsart.com
“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.” (1)
It started out simply enough. I was zoning out with the stereo blaring, the TV on mute, waiting for the commercials to end when it hit me. Patriotism and commerce. On the surface, there’s a simple, implied link between the two. If you buy American, you’re supporting America. America is good. The more different a culture is from ours, the more suspect and potentially terrorist it becomes. It sounds warm and fuzzy and red and white and blue. It sounds clean and should work as simple as a light switch. I turned my attention away from the TV and picked up a zine. The writer asserted that people who owned foreign cars had no right to fly American flags. Baseball, apple pie, and American-made cars.
Buying something American makes you more of an American? Is the sliding scale really that simple?
Wrestling came back on. Necks bulged, fleshpots erupted, tables broke, suplexes and ankle locks were applied. Loud, funny words were exchanged. Eyebrows were raised high. Acting abilities remained low. Battles raged in the squared circle by men with steroid-developed forehead muscles. Usually, I’d be beered up by then, cheering along with the body slams. Yet, I still wondered about America. Why does buying specific shit equal patriotism for so many folks? Maybe because it’s quite possibly the easiest route—buy a little flag, strap it to the car, let it flap itself to shreds, shake your fist at Bin Laden’s grainy, turbaned head on the tube, and call it a day.
I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I unabashedly love America. It’s relatively harder to get shot by a death squad here. Usually, when I flick a switch, a light comes on. When I flush, poo is gone. Stores carry plentiful supplies of cold alcohol at two AM. The roads are more paved than dirt. Libraries are plentiful. I can listen to all the records I want. I can watch wrestling in my comfy chair once a week and let all semblance of thought leave my head. I cherish these things. Seriously. I don’t take them for granted. Since I’m such a horrible capitalist (malls give me a rash and shopping makes me irritable), what makes America so great for me is that some of the best patriots—Emma Goldman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Franklin—questioned the fuck out of what it was to be an American. They peeled back its skin and beat out its true character against the anvils of fairness, equality, and progress (one got killed and one was deported in the process, but hey). They often flat-out disagreed with popular sentiment.
Then I got to thinking. Okay, I’ll subscribe to the “logic” of buying American to instantly improve my patriotic karma and see where it takes me. Sounds simple enough. I decided to look at the American company—Ford—whose founder perfected assembly line mass production and its main offices are still located in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford is a company that many automatically link to Americanism. It has a very strong brand identity and image. It’s the company that makes the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, for crying out loud.
It gets shaky quick. Ford at one time owned 33% of Japan-based Mazda and 10% of Kia in South Korea. So, is the Mazda owner only 1/3 as patriotic as a “real” Ford owner? Patriotism-wise, will one have to buy ten Kias to equal one Ford? Under the now-defunct Premier Automotive Group, Ford at one time oversaw operations for the Volvo, Land Rover and Aston Martin among others. The luxury badges were sold off throughout the years, with Volvo the last to go in 2010 to China-based Geely. Are well-heeled folks in once-Swedish and British manufactured cars now more patriotic American by default since their fancy cars were at one time made by a company owned in the good ol’ US of A? Sounds a little tenuous to me.
Okay, and what about the fact that the majority of Fords are built in completely different countries like Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Germany, and Portugal and shipped to the United States? What’s the patriotic percentage there? Is there a chart I can reference?
It is true that the motor vehicle industry is America’s largest manufacturing industry, (2) and it does hire a lot of people—Ford alone employs around 345,000 people worldwide—so it is important to respect it’s contribution to America’s economy. Perhaps this is what makes some citizens go so far as having little Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) stickers on their Fords, peeing on a Toyota (or choose your import) logo. For a moment, let’s pretend that Ford is 100% American, supplying only American jobs, manufacturing only in the U.S. and selling only to Americans. Maybe Ford has been so good to the American populace that it’s basking in the glow of its good deeds and fair treatment of workers and that’s why Americans defend it so vehemently.
HOW’S IT FEEL TO BE REDUNDANT?
“The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.” (3)
A week later, I was sitting in a doctor’s office lobby, reading a short story about trafficking body parts in ice chests when the TV announced that Ford was in the process of eliminating 35,000 jobs worldwide in 2002 and shuttering five plants. I picked a newspaper off the floor. 21,500 American workers were referred to as “redundancies” by a Ford spokesman. In tandem, GM and Chrysler planned 26,000 cuts apiece. In other words, classic corporate bulimia (some may say corporate terrorism)—the tendency for large companies to seesaw between mass hirings and mass layoffs. (4)
A little bit of recent history. In 1999, Ford reported $7.2 billion in net income. To put this into perspective, this automobile manufacturer made more in profit than the gross domestic product of the countries Haiti and Honduras combined. (5) Between 1990 and 2000, two-thirds of the vehicles on the road were replaced with new ones. It was a ten-year span of record sales and record profits for the Big Three automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Daimler Chrysler. In 2000, Ford alone made 5.7 million vehicles. Crunching the numbers, 1 out of every 1,000 people on the face of the planet purchased a Ford vehicle that year. (6) Since Fords are sold in over two hundred nations and territories worldwide, according to the “buying from an American-owned company means you’re a good American” theory, that’s a lot of de-facto patriots all over the world.
“History is more or less bunk.” –Henry Ford
The bubble burst in 2001. Ford lost $752 million in a single financial quarter, largely due to wrongful death lawsuits and the replacement of thirteen million defective Firestone tires equipped on what was then the best selling SUV in America, the Ford Explorer. (7) More than ninety deaths linked to Firestone tread separations that resulted in roll-over accidents on the standardly equipped tires on their vehicles fucked up their profit margin. Ford, used to the occasional SNAFU, tried to sweep the lawsuits in the direction of the Pinto.
In 1973, in an intra-executive Ford memo, Ford engineers discovered in lab tests that if the Pinto was involved in a rear-end collision, the car would explode. Instead of recalling the Pinto and fixing the fuel tank, at $11 per auto, because it would be “too cost prohibitive,” Ford put a price on human life: $200,000. (8) The company then calculated that those were acceptable potential human losses and decided to not do a recall. Ford decided it would be cheaper to settle with survivors. It was. People dying was a bummer side-effect, but Ford’s profit margin in the mid-’70s remained strong. Ford was sued for murder in court, but was not found guilty.
As Ford closed plants in the United States in 2002, then-CEO William Clay Ford Jr. sympathized with cut workers: “We realize that some of the things that must be done will be painful. I can’t begin to describe how sorry I am about that.” Interestingly, he didn’t mention that on January 24, two weeks after the announced cuts, Ford inaugurated its $10 billion Design and ResearchCenter in Taiwan. (9) Nor did he mention the $1.2 billion it invested in making the 700,000-square-foot Project Amazon factory in Camacari, Brazil that it opened two months prior, in October 2001. (10)
Okay, I’m smart enough to understand how corporations work. For this column, Ford’s name came up and it fit well. Corporations are artificial and inhuman entities created with a single purpose in mind—to generate a profit. All other activities are incidental. The central enterprise is to make as much money as possible. The corporate creed is bare-knuckled capitalism; a cornerstone of what American commerce (and what many people mistake for patriotism) is wholeheartedly geared toward. Acquiring wealth is the sole reason for a corporation’s existence.
A little bit of older history: In 1903, Ford Motor Company signed its articles of incorporation. Within one year, it received its charter to do business in Canada. Within five years, it opened a sales branch in Paris. In 1913, it signed a contract to sell its Model T in China, Indonesia, Siam, and Dutch East Indies. Twelve years after its inception, it had made one million cars.
Except in commercials and press releases, words like “business ethics” and “corporate conscience” are oxymorons. Companies can feel neither pity nor remorse. Perhaps the people working for the firms can have emotion, but that almost becomes irrelevant when positioned against the bottom line. Does it make you swell with patriotic pride that Ford and GM and American corporations kicked some serious global, backward third-world ass this past decade? Do you think it deserves a Stone Cold Steve Austin-style, “Hell Yeah!” for a job well done? You think we’re gonna whip the terrorists as soundly as the Nazis, in part with Ford’s help of zero percent financing? Do you feel more proud because you’re an American and Ford is an American company and you can soak in some of that residual glory and wrap yourself up in a big-ass star spangled banner?
A more pertinent question is this: Can there be a dividing line between ally and enemy when the only language is money?
Am I picking on people who drive Fords? No. I could give a shit. Am I picking on the workers at Ford? Hell no. Am I saying that any other car manufacturer is better? Not necessarily. I didn’t research them. All I’m saying is that if you bang the gong of patriotism by buying some durable goods that isn’t a “rice burner,” it just rings very hollow.
Due to the fact that corporations rarely release their internal documentation until they’re under governmental investigation, it’s next to impossible to know what’s going on at Ford today. Since Ford of America was privately held until 1956, the company still refuses to make its balance sheets available from that period, and have declined requests for access to their wartime archives (11), most of the information about Ford is from companies and governments that it dealt directly with over the past ninety years. There’s a lot of information available. It just took some poking around. So let’s take a stroll down the cobbled streets to a man who would revolutionize the mechanized world.
Turns out, it’s a dark enterprise.
‘DOLF AND HANK’S MUTUAL APPRECIATION CLUB
“What luck for rulers that men do not think.” (12)
“Henry Ford tradition preys on idle minds.” –NOFX, “Dig”
The most benign way to look at what’s to follow is to state Henry Ford’s loyalties were first and foremost to Ford Motor Company. He was an international businessman dedicated to building a global empire. Ruthlessly efficient and unparalleled in effectiveness, he looked to reap huge financial awards in emerging foreign markets.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I think that Nazis suck. I just don’t like ‘em. They’ve done a lot of bad, bad things. If you disagree with this basic opinion, you’re probably not going to see any conflict of interest. Let’s get this out of the way: Adolf Hitler admired the hell out of Henry Ford, telling the Detroit News in 1930 that, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration.”
The Dearborn Independent, owned by Henry Ford, hit its peak of popularity with a circulation of 700,000. It first attacked Jews in its May 22, 1920 issue and continued to do so in ninety-one subsequent editions. Ford, an outspoken anti-Semite reprinted the articles in four paper-bound volumes, collectively called The International Jew, The World’s Foremost Problem (13) The book is hard to read. It includes humdingers like: “Sheer analysis in the interest of mental health would compel the Jewish people to abandon the darkness which holds them now” along with “If ‘fans’ wish to know the trouble with American baseball, they have it in three words—too much Jew.” The book was translated into twelve languages.
Henry Ford quickly became one of the largest, earliest donors to the struggling and obscure radical Nazi Party. Realize that around 1922, the Nazi party was relatively small, with a membership of approximately 6,000 people. Ford and Hitler’s knowledge and support of one another began almost a full twenty years before the outbreak of World War II. During his entire lifetime, Ford never denied that he had bankrolled the Führer and that he gave him annual birthday gifts of 50,000 deutsch marks. (14) On December 20, 1922, six days after running a story calling Hitler the “Bavarian Mussolini,” The New York Times reported, “The wall beside his desk in Hitler’s private office is decorated with a large picture of Henry Ford. In the antechamber there is a large table covered with books, nearly all of which are translations of books written and published by Henry Ford.” (15)
The next year, Henry Ford was considering a run for the American presidency. Hitler, then the leader of the fledgling Nazi Party, told the Chicago Tribune, “I wish that I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big cities to help.” (16) When Hitler’s first attempt at becoming Germany’s national leader by takeover failed and he was captured, the vice president Auer of the Bavarian Diet testified, “Herr Hitler openly boasts of Mr. Ford’s support and praises Ford as a great individualist and a great anti-Semite.”
While in jail between 1925 and 1927, Hitler, with the help of his chauffeur, penned a book that would become the template for the Third Reich: Mein Kampf. Hitler singled out only one American for praise. On Henry Ford, he wrote: “It is Jews who govern the stock exchange forces in the American Union. Every year makes them more and more the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one hundred and twenty million; only a single man, Ford, to their fury, still maintains full independence.”
In 1927, Ford Motor Co. Aktiengesellschaft (A.G.) set up shop in Germany when it opened an office in Berlin. A year later, Henry Ford merged his forty percent in Ford Motor A.G. of Germany assets with I.G. Farben, a huge chemical corporation (a company that would be responsible for producing an overwhelming percentage of explosives for the Nazi war effort along with 95 percent of German poison gas, including all the Zyklon B gas used in the concentration camps.). (17) In 1930, Henry Ford laid the foundation for the Cologne plant on a 68-acre site, which became its headquarters in Germany. (18)
To prove that he was an equal opportunity employer, in the 1930s Ford also built the Soviet Union’s first modern automobile plant in Gorki. The plant was capable of making 100,000 vehicles a year and made the Russian military bike, nicknamed the Molotov (IMZs and KMZs, technically). (19)
By 1935 German Ford had became the second-largest producer of trucks for the Wehrmacht (the German army), after GM/Opel (Opel was a 100% GM-owned subsidiary). Ford vehicles were crucial to the revolutionary Nazi military strategy of blitzkrieg—literally, “lightning war.” (20) Of the 350,000 trucks eventually used by the motorized German army, roughly one-third were made by Ford. Subsidiaries of Ford and GM built approximately 90% of all armored “maultier” three-ton tracked trucks. (21)
According to the National Archives, American Ford agreed to a complicated barter deal that gave the Reich increased access to large quantities of strategic raw materials, notably rubber, to keep its plants at full production.
In 1938, a car was built at Ford’s Cologne factory every three minutes. The plant operated at full capacity months before the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. On his 75th birthday, Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, (22) the Nazi regime’s highest honor for “foreign nationals who made themselves deserving to the Third Reich.” It was the first time the Grand Cross had been awarded to a United States citizen. Not surprisingly, this medal was also awarded to Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini and Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. Surprisingly, Charles Lindbergh (who was the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean in The Spirit of St. Louis, and who later became an advisor to Henry Ford at his B-24 plant), James Mooney (General Motor’s chief executive for overseas operations), and Thomas J. Watson (CEO of IBM) (23) were also awarded medals by the Nazis. (24) In return, the following year, in celebration of Hitler’s 50th birthday and giving future genocide a shot in the arm, Henry Ford publicly gave the gift of 35,000 Reichmarks to Adolf.
At the outbreak of World War II, Ford and General Motors controlled 70 percent of the German car market. (25) According to the U.S. Army report of 1945, prepared by Henry Schneider, German Ford began producing vehicles of a strictly military nature for the Reich even before the war began. Following Hitler’s invasion of Poland (which set off World War II), German Ford remained one of the largest suppliers of vehicles to the Wehrmacht. (26) The company was selling to the SS and the police as well. Even though I scoured and scoured, I could not find any direct evidence that Ford itself made tanks for the Reich. (27) GM, verifiably, made tanks through Opel.
Still, in April 1940 Ford maintained complete control of the German company. Two of its top executives sat on the subsidiary’s board. (28) That June, following the German occupation of France, according to a document analyzed by the Foreign Funds Control section of the U.S. Treasury, Ford’s local managers cut a deal with the occupation authorities that allowed the company to resume production, “solely for the benefit of Germany and countries under its rule.” This was at a time when Germany had taken two million French prisoners. In a letter penned shortly after France’s surrender, Maurice Dollfus, a Ford director in France since 1929, assured the Ford headquarters in Dearborn that “we will benefit from the main fact of being a member of the Ford family, which entitles us to better treatment from our German colleagues who have shown clearly their wish to protect the Ford interest as much as they can.” He was right. Dollfus disclosed that profits from this German business were at 1.6 million francs by 1941.
While Ford Motor enthusiastically worked for the Reich, the company initially resisted calls from President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill to increase war production for the Allies. Henry Ford refused a government contract in June of 1940 to build Rolls Royce aircraft engines for England. (29)
By 1941, Ford of Germany had stopped manufacturing passenger vehicles and was devoting its entire production capacity to military trucks. Today, Ford’s U.S. headquarters maintain it was not responsible for German operations after its assets were seized in 1941. Present-day Ford points to the fact that in that year, its main Cologne plant appointed a majority-German board of directors (neglecting to mention that Americans were still on the board), upon which it took on the more Aryan-appropriate moniker, Ford Werke, and that it operated autonomously.
In March of 1941, Ford issued new stock in the plant and sold it exclusively to Germans, reducing American Ford’s share to fifty-two percent (fifty-two percent is still a controlling American percentage, mind you). There were competitors to Ford who wanted its business. Yet, when the Nazi’s Ministry of Economy debated whether to seize the opportunity to demand German majority of Ford Werke, they gave up the idea. Why? Because Ford’s factory was so tightly run and great at making the Axis arsenal—better, the mucky mucks of the Nazis supposed—than even they could do themselves. Plus, in a letter to the Reich Commission for Enemy Property, the relinquishment of the American majority would compromise “the importance of the company for obtaining raw materials,” the “excellent sales organization in Europe,” as well as “insight into American production methods.” They went as far as stating, “There could be no doubt about the complete incorporation as regards to personnel and organization.” (30) In the direct words of my Grandpa, “If it ain’t broke, don’t break it.”
FORD GETS ITS WAR ON
“Money is the root of all evil, unless used for good purpose.” –Henry Ford
At this point, although retroactively deplorable, it’s possible to understand but not agree with the fact that Henry Ford was playing both sides—the Allies (Britain, France, USSR) and the Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan)—against the middle. He wanted to make vehicles. He wanted to make money anywhere he possibly could. Ford himself had more in common and certainly liked Hitler more than he did President Franklin Roosevelt, whom he saw as one step away from being a socialist and openly abhorred in The Dearborn Independent. In the late ’30s, Ford consistently resisted pressure from Roosevelt to convert some of his U.S. factories to weapons production. Up until that time, no official war had been declared between Germany and America. America was still officially isolationist. That would soon change.
In late January 1942, Ford America was informed that Ford’s operations had the highest vehicle production level of all French manufacturers. For the Nazi war machine. Ford of France had had a very slim profit margin in peacetime and paid out only one dividend in its history. Yet, its diligent service to the Third Reich quickly changed that. Subsequently, these Ford-produced vehicles were used against American soldiers as they landed in France, during D-Day and the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
Before its supposed lack of contact six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in May 1942, the Superior Court of Cologne put Ford Werke in what’s called a “trusteeship”—the legal title to Ford Werke’s property was entrusted to use for the Nazi’s benefit—ruling that Ford was “under authoritative enemy influence.” However, the Nazis never nationalized Ford’s German property. Unlike most American facilities in Germany, Ford was not taken over by the German government during the war. Robert Schmidt, a lifelong Ford employee was so successful in converting the Cologne plant to war production that the Nazi regime gave him the title of Military Economic Leader. (31) Hitler’s Chancellery in Berlin put in a good word for the man. The official wrote that there was “no reason to appoint a special custodian for the enterprise.” Ford’s own man was a Nazi’s Nazi. He was so good that he was eventually appointed to oversee Ford plants in Axis-occupied Belgium, Holland, and VichyFrance. (32) Apparently, when Henry Ford stated, “We hire a man, not his history,” he still didn’t speak ill of those with large capacities for Nazi sympathy. After the war, Schmidt was re-hired by Ford America in 1950 along with six key Ford Werke executives of the Nazi era. (33)
During WWII, the Vichy plant—in what became German-occupied France—had been bombed several times. First, it was damaged by the Germans during their invasion of France. The Nazis, before the fall of their regime, had given Ford Werke about $104,000 in compensation for damage they had accidentally done. Ford also received 38 million francs from the Vichy government for bombing damages done to the Poissy plant. (34)
In 1965, Ford, unhappy with the money bestowed upon it from two governments—twenty years after the end of the war—went before the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States to ask for an additional seven million dollars from bombing raids by Allied aircraft. Let’s make this clear—Ford was asking for money because their factory, which was busy making vehicles for the Nazi armed forces, was bombed by the Allies. Commission attorney Zvonko Rode pointed this fact out. Ford’s attorney did not dispute it. Regardless, the commission awarded Ford $1.1 million dollars. (35)
If Ford had really already lost its factory to the Germans, how could it claim damages on a plant that it did not own? It just doesn’t make sense. What furthers the conundrum is that it is true that Hitler prohibited the export of capital from Germany. Foreign money and foreign materials were welcome during the war and many foreign companies were encouraged to re-invest in their German operations. However, Ford Werke set aside payments due to Ford America in Dearborn, Michigan that were paid after the war. (36)
Although Ford Werke’s plant in Cologne claims its U.S. head office lost contact with its German operations before the U.S. entered the war in December 1941 and regained control only seven years later, Ford Motor Company (USA) owned 55% to 90% of the shares of its subsidiary Ford Werke A.G. Edsel Ford (Henry Ford’s son) and Robert Soreneson, a high-ranking Ford official, served as directors of Ford Werke A.G. throughout the Nazi Third Reich. (37) Sales increased by more than half between 1938 and 1943, and, according to a report found at the National Archives, the value of the German subsidiary more than doubled during the course of the war. (38)
To further sully the enterprise, in the late 1990s, Ford acknowledged that Ford-Werke AG used Buchenwald concentration camp labor to build trucks and light armored vehicles in Cologne. (39) 50% of Ford Werke’s workers were slave laborers, mostly non-German, comprised of foreign captives including French, Russians, Ukrainians, and Belgians. (40) This was at exactly the same time that Ford operated the Willow Run Plant in Michigan, which was to build 8,600 bombers, 278,000 jeeps, and 57,000 aircraft engines for the American military.
Apparently, patriotism’s a nice tool that bankers and businessmen use to help control the poor. Let’s put this into perspective. On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forcible internment inAmerica of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. More than two-thirds of those interned under the Executive Order were citizens of the United States, and none had ever shown any disloyalty. Yet, titans of industry with known, provable ties to America’s enemy were never incarcerated for their involvement with the Third Reich. It almost gets to the point that through a provable pattern of subsidy and political manipulation, American armed forces were told not to attack viable military targets because they were owned and operated by Ford. Ludicrous?
At the Nuremberg War Crime Trials, no American board members of Ford Werke were placed on trial. (41) According to the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (42), in the last half of 1944, German truck production was attacked. Three plants produced most of Germany’s truck supply. The Opel plant was knocked out completely, never to recover. Daimler Benz was similarly eliminated. Ford at Cologne was not attacked. According to B-24 logs, the plant was slated for bombing on October 15 but cloud cover impeded good bombing. Yet, it was suspiciously never rescheduled for attack. One would think that a factory responsible for one-third of all enemy trucks would be a high-priority target. It received solely incidental bombing damage and resumed peacetime production immediately following the war. In 1948, Henry Ford visited Cologne to celebrate the 10,000th truck to roll off its postwar assembly line.
IS PATRIOTISM MERELY A CHEERING SECTION? OR, IS IT ALL RIGGED, MAN?
“Your enemies are nothing like you and peace has a price for those who lose.”
–Dillinger Four, “Thanks for Nothing, Part II: The Revenge”
Let’s go back to wrestling. What I thoroughly enjoy about professional wrestling is the fact that it openly calls itself fake and “sports entertainment.” Those labels make it a lot easier to see how it internally works—why bad guys do what they do, how the commentators situate their praise or condemnation, and to know that even though the wrestlers aren’t ultimately fighting to hurt one another or get a belt with a honkin’ piece of metal in it to wrap around their waists, there’s an incredible amount of athleticism involved. It’s a fantasy.
Yet, while “serious” folks are willing to condemn such base activities as below them, saying that the outcomes are predetermined, I posit this: if one is so eager to dismiss professional wrestling, why not see that essentially the same rhetorical and physical forces are at work in our national political parties and in the relations between nations? It’s all rigged. All sides are controlled by a very select cadre of owners, which in turn are controlled by the hopes of making the largest wad of cash imaginable. This is what I find disconcerting.
Henry Ford, a mechanically brilliant, bigoted man beat the American government at its own economic game. He made capitalism eat patriotism whole and enabled a war that resulted in the death of millions of people pitted against one another in World War II. Then he told the American government that even though he was responsible for making its sworn enemy’s arsenal that they better not fucking bomb his plants. Not only did America comply, it never brought the subject up again, pretended that Ford’s involvement never existed, and retroactively paid him for damages.
Don’t think that ever since the fall of the Nazis that corporations have suddenly started saying, “Oh, dude, we should be moral.” Right now, hundreds, if not thousands, of companies are benefiting from both sides of wars (there’s one in Afghanistan, one brewing between Pakistan and India, and American troop movements into Somalia). It’s happening right now. It’s happening all over the world. It’s just not getting any coverage. It’s a heist. It’s a ruse. If you think that big business has changed or suffered one bit, think again. It’s just gotten more powerful.
So, harping on someone for not being patriotic while driving a foreign car with an American flag flapping out of it, is a real ignorant thing to do. There is no such thing as a purely American car, or a purely foreign car, for that matter. Furthermore, the whole concept of a strictly American company, excluding mom and pop operations, is pretty much bunk.
Additional stuff to look at and read so you can verify I’m not making this up:
Michael Moore, Roger and Me.
Facts and Fascism, by George Seldes
Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, by Antony C. Sutton
Hitler’s Willing Executives, by John Friedman
Endnotes – as of 09/17/2012, many links were broken—“not found,” “moved,” or “no longer exist.” Those are marked with an * below.
1: Adolf Hitler
3: Adolf Hitler
4: * autonews.com/news.cms?newsId=1329 5: 1999, World Gross Domestic Product at Market Exchange Rates. Haiti: $2.6 billion. Honduras: $4.0 billion.
6: 2000 US Census Bureau estimates the world population at 6,080, 141, 683 for 2000.
8: * corpwatch.org/news/PRT.jsp?articleid=568
9: * sg.news.yahoo.com/020123/36/2cms6.html
10: * bizsites.com/2002/jan/transportation.html
11: * washingtonpost.com/wp-stv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30.htm
12: Adolf Hitler
13: * zog.to/3/antisemi/ij_ch1/html
15: New York Times, Page 2, Column 8. I forgot to put the date. Pardon.
16: Trading with the Enemy: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot 1933-1949, by Charles Higham
20: GM even made a truck called “Blitz.”
21: * past.thenation.com/issue/000124/0124silverstein.shtml
22: * washingtonpost.com/wp-stv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30.htm
23: IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation, by Edwin Black.
24: * skalman.nu/third-reich/awards-german-eagle.htm
25: * washingtonpost.com/wp-stv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30.htm
26: * thirdworldtraveler.com/Corporations/Ford_fuhrer.html
27: I only found circumstantial evidence, through a man named William Mooren, who stated that his father and grandfather fabricated parts for “Ford’s panzer tank and 8.8 cm flack anti-aircraft guns.” * But could find no other evidence. bulldognews.net/issues_ford_suit.html
28: * past.thenation.com/issue/000124/0124silverstein.shtml
29: * washingtonpost.com/wp-stv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30.htm; theage.com.au/daily/981205/news/news25.html
30: * theage.com.au/daily/981205/news/news25.html
31: * thirdworldtraveler.com/Corporations/Ford_fuhrer.html
32: * thirdworldtraveler.com/Corporations/Ford_fuhrer.html
33: * past.thenation.com/issue/000124/0124silverstein.shtml
34: * reformed-theology.org/html/books/wall_street/chapter_06.htm
35: * past.thenation.com/issue/000124/0124silverstein.shtml
36: * theage.com.au/daily/981205/news/news25.html
37: * csufresno.com/issues_ford_slave_labor.html
38: * thirdworldtraveler.com/Corporations/Ford_fuhrer.html
39: * corpwatch.org/news/PND.jsp?articleid=594
40: * peg.apc.org/~greenleft
41: * reformed-theology.org/html/books/wall_street/chapter_07.htm
42: * anesi.com/ussbs02.htm
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