Arming the enemy: US industry, Hitler and the Holocaust

“Nazi armaments chief Albert Speer told [a reporter] in 1977 that Hitler ‘would never have considered invading Poland’ without synthetic fuel technology provided by General Motors.”
Introduction: American support for Hitler and Nazism was not limited to eugenics and Nazi racism justified by that pseudoscience. The cream of American industry, also under the sway of eugenics, generously provided the financial and technical knowhow that enabled Hitler to raise Germany from deep economic depression into a full employment, modern industrial economy able to create a military that nearly defeated Europe and the combined forces of the western allies and the Soviet Union. According to his armaments chief Albert Speer, Hitler “‘would never have considered invading Poland’ without synthetic fuel technology provided by [DuPont-Standard Oil-] General Motors.” Without the assistance of American industry had the “Holocaust” been attempted it would likely have been limited to one-on-one murders by einsatsgruppen, limited by a far shorter war.
Henry Ford at Oberammergau in 1930 for the Passion play of which Hitler exuded,
never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened at the time of the Romans [sic].”(Wikipedia)
Henry Ford is perhaps the icon of antisemitism in the United States. The head of Ford Motor Company, he published The Protocols of Zion, which was distributed without cost at all Ford dealerships throughout the country. In 1919 he purchased a newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, for the sole purpose of distributing his hate literature to a nationwide readership. “Starting on 22 May 1922, the first of 91 successive articles on “The International Jew: The World’s Problem” was published.” Clearly Henry Ford’s motivation in assisting Adolf Hitler went beyond corporate profits. And the admiration was reciprocated: “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” Hitler told a Detroit News reporter two years before becoming the Germany’s chancellor in 1933.”
General Motors’ German Opel division may not have had the ideological inspiration of Ford, but GM’s participation in Nazi armaments was even more extensive than Ford. Both automotive giants not only supplied war materiel to the Wehrmacht before, but even following America’s entry into the war.
“When American GIs invaded Europe in June 1944, they did so in jeeps, trucks and tanks manufactured by [Ford and GM]. It came as an unpleasant surprise to discover that the enemy was also driving trucks manufactured by Ford and Opel [GM]… and flying Opel [GM]-built warplanes.”
Whether the word “blitzkrieg” originated with GM-Opel’s truck, beginning in 1938 “Opel built the three-ton truck named “Blitz” — to support the German military. The Blitz truck became the mainstay of the Blitzkrieg.”
GM’s Opel Blitz truck, Italy, 1944 (Wikipedia)
Around 1935 GM provided Hitler the “technology to produce… leaded gasoline. This allowed the Reich to boost octane… just what the Reich would ultimately need for its swift and mobile Blitzkrieg… Years after the war, Nazi armaments chief Albert Speer told a congressional investigator that Germany could not have attempted its September 1939 Blitzkrieg of Poland without the performance-boosting additive.”
Ford, GM and slave labor: It’s not unreasonable that without the assistance of such American corporate giants GM, Ford, ITT, DuPont, Standard Oil, IBM and many others US corporate giants Germany might not have been able to mobilize for war, and the Second World War as we know it might never have happened. Albert Speer’s comment (above) regarding leaded gasoline crucial to the invasion of Poland supports this. But at the least the war would not have dragged on as long, have nearly ended in victory for Germany. Would there have been a Holocaust without American industrial assistance? Certainly Hitler would have acted against Jews in the homeland, as The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor of 1933 indicates. But even that collection of restrictive legislation was aimed at isolation, not yet annihilation. By providing the means to lengthen the war American industry also provided more time for the systematic slaughter of European Jewry.
But strictly speaking that was not the same thing as active participation in the Holocaust, although the collaboration between DuPont and I.G. Farben, the German manufacturer of the poison gas, Zyklon-B deserves more study. Where American industry did participate actively in the murder of Jews was in their use of slave labor. Several representing a much longer list are: Kodak; GM, GE, Standard Oil and Ford.
IBM may or not have profited directly by use of slave labor but that company’s assistance to the SS in locating and placing appropriate slave talent where needed may well constitute active collaboration. And of course it was IBM that made it possible for the Third Reich to identify “Jews” back to a single grandparent; then locate, schedule transport, etc., Jews to their fate. How many Jews would have died if their murderers would have had to rely on word of mouth to identify them?
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4. Before Hitler the Aryan Master Race was America’s ideal