“Without the capital supplied by Wall Street, there would have been no I. G. Farben in the first place and almost certainly no Adolf Hitler and World War II.”
“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.” (William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, in a 1936 letter to President Roosevelt)
Introduction: Corporate America support for Adolph Hitler did not end with funds to train a generation of physicians in Eugenics to create his Master Race, to rid Germany of its “unfit.” Corporate America also invested directly to fund the political ambitions of the future fuehrer decades before Germany voted National Socialism into power. And when Hitler became chancellor, Corporate America was there to produce the machinery of war. It was there to arm the Wehrmacht before and throughout the war even as they only reluctantly armed America.
Such charges (note, I did not use the word “assertions”) will sound strange to today’s ear since the Roosevelt Administration declined to charge them under applicable statutes of Trading with the Enemy: Corporate America were seen as necessary to America’s war effort. In recent idiom, they were just “too big to fail.” Nor was treason their outer limit to identification with fascism, with National Socialism. With Hitler. Corporate America even attempted a fascist coup.
Who was “Corporate America”? Hardly a major American industrial giant was not on the list: Ford, GM, Standard Oil, DuPont, IBM, ITT, Chase, J.P. Morgan, and on. Most were major contributors to the Eugenics movement, as described previously; all were fervent supporters Nazism’s ruthless application of eugenics to building the National Socialist state. Before the war Ford and GM in particular were key players in arming the Wehrmacht, Hitler’s massive rearmaments program being the heart of the “economic miracle.” They were enthusiastic supporters of his war aims as appeared in Mein Kampf, the destruction of “Judeo-Bolshevism” in the Soviet Union and Poland seemed the start:
“cognoscenti of international diplomacy and business in the 1930s widely expected that Hitler would spare western countries, instead attacking and destroying the Soviet Union as promised in Mein Kampf. To encourage and assist… was the hidden objective of the infamous appeasement policy pursued by London and Paris, and tacitly approved by Washington.”
Background to American Fascism: In 1918, following the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the United States and its allies dispatched an expeditionary force to assist the czarist Whites against the communist Reds. Having failed, American forces withdrew two years later. The 1920’s witnessed sporadic labor unrest in the United States which intensified throughout the 1930’s, a response to the Great Depression. In the Spring of 1932 thousands of hungry war veterans and their families marched to Washington and set up camp to protest non-payment of their promised “service certificates.” The Bonus March ended violently when the US Attorney General ordered them to leave. When they refused the Army was instructed to charge the camp of some 40,000 protesters, men women and children. General MacArthur, Colonel Eisenhower, and Major Patton led the assault on the peaceful petitioners with bayonets attached and cavalry sabers drawn. “General MacArthur considered the protest “a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.”
In an atmosphere of Communism in Russia and labor unrest at home the use of police and military to put down strikes spread. Ford and GM, for example, both experienced strikes in the early ‘30’s: the Ford strike resulted in the deaths of five workers at the hands of company “guards” and police. Lethal force against strikers resulted in deaths elsewhere around the country. In the imagination of Corporate America Communism was everywhere threatening their wealth and this, plus their native social conservatism, goes a ways in explaining their support for eugenics at home; their admiration for Hitler, and enthusiasm for National Socialism’s well-ordered police state society.
Crimes Against America: Until Hitler declared war on the US on 11 December, 1941 Corporate America was at least within the letter of the law in supporting the Third Reich. IBM, Standard Oil, ITT and Coca Cola may or not have just been in it because Germany was a lucrative market, and all will be revisited when the discussion turns to Crimes Against Humanity. But IBM stands out, was a major player in all aspects of the unfolding Holocaust, from identifying Jews to recording their murder. This role will be discussed in a later article. But the company tabulating machines also played an important part in Hitler’s war effort:
“According to Edwin Black, IBM’s know-how enabled the Nazi war machine to “achieve scale, velocity, efficiency”; IBM, he concludes, “put the ‘blitz’ in the krieg for Nazi Germany.”
Once America entered the war GM, et al, were guilty under America’s 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, and they could have been prosecuted had the government the desire to do so. An individual engaged in such activity during wartime would have been charged with treason, and possibly been executed. Not only were none of these “American as apple pie” companies ever charged but some, including Ford and GM, were even compensated by American taxpayers for damages sustained during the war:
“General Motors… was paid $32 million by the U.S. government for damages sustained to its German plants.”
GM’s 100% owned German subsidiary, Opel, produced trucks and aircraft and even, towards the end of the war, produced the world’s first jet fighter for Hitler. Between GM and Ford,
“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]… [that they were under attack by] Opel [GM]-built warplanes.”
Beginning in 1938 “Opel [GM] 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)
“As for Ford, that corporation not only produced for the Nazis in Germany itself, but also exported partially assembled trucks directly from the US to Germany… in the late 1930s, Ford shipped strategic raw materials to Germany.”
ITT had acquired a quarter of the shares of airplane manufacturer Focke-Wulf so was also in the business of building fighter planes that cost the lives of so many US servicemen.
Texaco and Standard Oil provided Germany the diesel fuel, lubricating oil, and other petroleum products needed to fight the war. After the US entered the war they used third countries to bypass American export restrictions.
GM joined with Standard Oil and her sister company IG Farben (builder of the slave labor industrial complex Auschwitz III), to provide Hitler the fuel additive Tetra-ethyl lead which, according to Albert Speer, provided the high octane which made Germany’s blitzkrieg warfare possible.
Corporate America Plans a Coup: In 1936 William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, wrote in a letter to Roosevelt,
“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. On [the ship] a fellow passenger, who is a prominent executive of one of the largest financial corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies.” (Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy, p.167)
The plot was apparently the inspiration of JP Morgan banking. In early 1933, just after Roosevelt in the US, and Hitler in Germany, entered office Corporate America decided that they preferred Hitler:
“as the plans for a fascist plot developed, its organizers hoped to draw upon both the [American] Legion and the VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars (an organization created by Corporate America apparently to serve the function)] to a form of people''s militia, modeled on Mussolini''s fascisti, using the veterans'' anger over Roosevelt''s reduction and cancellation of bonus payments.”
Corporate America was represented by: DuPont, Goodyear, Bethlehem steel, JP Morgan banking; and various high ranking members of both political parties.
The coup would be funded through an organization created to oppose Roosevelt’s election, the American Liberty League. Among its contributors: DuPont, US Steel, General Motors, Chase Manhattan Bank, Standard Oil and Goodyear.
Had the plotters chosen General MacArthur, hero of the assault on the Bonus Marchers, it might have succeeded. Instead the cabal chose another right-wing general, Smedley Butler. Butler instead listened the plotters out, then reported it to Congress.
The coup was investigated by a Congressional committee and the facts were confirmed.
From government to university to the US Supreme Court, America enthusiastically embraced eugenics goal of a racially pure United States based on the blond-hair, blue-eye Aryan ideal. While Corporate America was funding American and German eugenics, it also funded Hitler’s rise to Germany’s chancellery. They supported his war to rid the world of “Judeo-Bolshevism”, his lebensraum policies before and throughout the Second World War. Corporate America even attempted a fascist coup against the Government of the United States.
I suppose a hard-nosed person might dismiss this narrative as just so much conspiracy theory, isolated events which, if true, are unrepresentative and so not worthy of note. They are, in fact, datum points in a historical process and will, as this narrative unfolds, fall into a more compelling pattern. Even, perhaps, to today’s skeptic.
Recent writings in this Series: