Edwin Black: American Corporate Complicity Created Undeniable Nazi Nexus
Adolf Hitler was completely responsible for the Holocaust. But Hitler had help.
When zealous Nazis were motivated to wage war against an imaginary generation-to-generation Jewish conspiracy… when Nazis created ghastly extermination plans to help ensure their master race would rule the world… when the German military was enabled to smash across Europe with lightning speed in heavy Blitz trucks, bomb mercilessly from the air in advanced JU-88s, and create carnage across the seas with deadly torpedoes… when Josef Mengele saw the scientific need to undertake heinous medical experiments on twins in Auschwitz… when the Reich was enabled to identify the Jews everywhere in Europe and then systematically pauperize and destroy them… when all these terrible things were done, the shape and scope of the horror was pivotally determined by major American industrial giants.
Now the dots can be connected. They create an undeniably Nazi nexus between iconic American corporations and the greatest crime of the twentieth century: the Holocaust.
Who gave Hitler the initial basis for transmogrifying centuries of outgroup religious hatred into a new twentieth century political anti-Semitism? It was Henry Ford, acting directly through the Ford Motor Company. In 1920, the gullible but mercurial Ford acquired a forged typescript convincing him of an evil international Jewish cabal determined to subjugate the world through devious manipulation of the world’s governments, newspapers, and economic systems. The revelations were contained in the notorious and fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
To purvey this new brand of Jew hatred to the world, Ford purchased a failed newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, which serialized The Protocols for 91 weeks. His company then published the series as a book, The International Jew. Using the techniques of mass production, Ford was able to escalate the Protocols from a negligible, randomly circulated irritant to a national sensation of 500,000 copies. Devoting the national sales force and the assets of the Ford Motor Company to the task hatred made Henry Ford the first to organize political anti-Semitism in America. Indeed, he was the hero of anti-Semites the world over.
In Germany, where Ford was venerated, The International Jew was translated and published in February, 1921. It enjoyed six editions in two years with thousands of copies in print. Ford’s book quickly became the bible of German anti-Semites and early incarnations of the Nazi party. Nazis shipped the work throughout the country “by the carload.”
Among the many Germans massively influenced by the book was Adolf Hitler. Der Führer read the work at least two years before Mein Kampf was written. It shows. In Mein Kampf, chapter 11, Hitler wrote, “The whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie [as] shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… With positively terrifying certainty, they reveal the nature and activity of the Jewish people and … their ultimate final aims.” Hitler described Ford as his hero. No wonder Ford received Hitler’s German Eagle medal in a lavish Berlin ceremony. The medal was reserved for foreigners who rendered special service to the Reich.
Who gave Hitler the pseudo-scientific medical rationales to justify a war to achieve a blond, blue-eyed master race with the duty to obliterate all other races deemed inferior? It was the Carnegie Institution, the philanthropic incarnation of America’s greatest steel fortune that propagated the deadly American race science of eugenics. Beginning in 1911, Carnegie Institution scientists argued successfully that millions worldwide who did not conform to a blond, blue-eyed Nordic stereotype were unworthy of existence on earth.
American eugenics believed such social traits as poverty, prostitution, and laziness were genetic. The continuation of racially inferior bloodlines— a broad swath encompassing some 90 percent of humanity—was to be combated by various methods. These methods included organized identification, seizure of assets, marriage prohibition or nullification, forced surgical sterilization, segregation into camps, and publicly operated gas chambers. Various eugenic notions were enacted into law in 27 states. Ultimately, some 60,000 persons were forcibly sterilized, thousands more incarcerated in state camps, and untold numbers unmarried and in some cases subjected to organized lethal medical neglect. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes enshrined these policies as the law of the land when he ruled such acts justified. “It is better for all the world,” Holmes wrote, “if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”
The Carnegie Institution and its sponsored movement spent millions to propagate American eugenic theories in post-WWI Germany, financing race science programs in universities and official institutions. These included the idea that Jews must be eliminated.
While in prison, Hitler closely studied American eugenics. In Mein Kampf, Hitler insisted, “There is today one state, in which at least weak beginnings toward better conception… are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.” Hitler proudly told his comrades, “I have studied with great interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.” Hitler merely exchanged the American term “Nordic” for the Nazi term “Aryan" and then medicalized his pre-existing virulent anti-Semitism and fascist nationalism, to formulate the concept of the blond, blue-eyed Master Race he deified in Mein Kampf.
Hitler was so steeped in American race science that he even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant, called his writing “my bible.”
The Third Reich implemented all American eugenic principles with great ferocity and velocity backed up by a conquering army. “While we were pussy-footing around,” fawned Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, “the Germans were calling a spade a spade." As Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess insisted, “National Socialism is nothing but applied biology.”
Who gave Hitler’s odious medical eugenic experimentation the wherewithal to commit unspeakable crimes against innocent twins? It was the Rockefeller Foundation, the philanthropic incarnation of Standard Oil. The foundation acted as a full partner with Carnegie in establishing eugenics across America and in Germany. In the quest to perfect the master race, millions of Depression-era dollars were transmitted by Rockefeller to Hitler’s most anti-Jewish doctors. In this quest, one specimen was desired above all: twins.
Rockefeller funded Hitler’s chief raceologist Otmar Verschuer and his insatiable twin experimentation programs. Twins, it was thought, held the secret to industrially multiplying the Aryan racial type, and quickly subtracting biological undesirables. Verschuer had an assistant, Josef Mengele. Rockefeller funding stopped during WWII. But by that time, Mengele had transferred into Auschwitz to continue twin research in a monstrous fashion. Ever the eugenicist, he sent precise clinical reports weekly to Verschuer.
Who took Hitler off the horse and put his killing armies into trucks to wage Blitzkrieg or lightning war against Europe? It was General Motors which built the Blitz truck for the Blitzkrieg. As the Reich’s largest car and truck maker, GM became an indispensible partner in Hitler’s war. From the first weeks of the Third Reich, GM president Alfred Sloan committed the company and its German division, Opel, to motorizing a substantially horse-drawn Germany, preparing it for war. Prior to this, Germany had been a nation devoted to legendary automotive engineering but only one vehicle at a time built by craftsman. GM brought mass production to the Reich, converting it from a horse-drawn threat to a motorized powerhouse.
Sloan and GM knowingly prepared the Wehrmacht to wage war in Europe. Detroit even secretly moved massive stores of spare Blitz parts to the Polish border in the days just before the September 1, 1939 invasion to facilitate the Blitzkrieg.
Using a charade of interlocking boards and special executive committees, Sloan kept GM’s role secret as long as possible. Where Opel lacked parts or foreign currency, Detroit ordered other international subsidiaries to stealthily assist.
In addition to motorizing the military, Sloan launched massive re-employment programs to help revive the Nazi economy—this at a time when the company declined to put Depression-wracked Americans back to work. GM’s success led to the need for the Autobahn. GM’s chief executive in Germany James Mooney received the same medal Ford was awarded, for special service rendered to the Reich.
Who custom-designed and co-planned the Nazi solutions to Jewish existence? It was International Business Machines, inventor of the Hollerith punch card, precursor to the modern computer. IBM enjoyed a monopoly on information technology. Under the micromanagement of its president, Thomas Watson, and advertising itself as “a solutions company,” IBM in 1933 reached out to the new Hitler regime. It offered to organize and systemize any solution the Reich desired, including solutions to the Jewish problem.
With IBM as a partner, the Hitler regime was able to substantially automate and accelerate all six phases of the twelve-year Holocaust: identification, exclusion, confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and even extermination.
As it did with any other customer, IBM simply asked the Hitler regime what result was desired. Then company engineers devised custom-tailored punch card systems to deliver the results. First, who was Jewish and where did the Jews live--exactly. IBM solution: a customized racial and religious census designed and tabulated by the company. Second, once identified, systematically expel Jews from all segments of society. IBM solution: create databases cross-tabulating ordinary organizational and community directories from association membership rosters to lists of marriages, deaths and births.
Third, confiscate Jewish assets. IBM solution: all banks and financial institutions were run by IBM cards which could be programmed to seek out the Jewish names and their accounts for seizure. Fourth: ghettoize the Jews. IBM Solution: cross-match families from their existing residences into crowded dilapidated slums so that in a single day, thousands of people could be efficiently transferred from point A to point B. Fifth, deport the Jews to camps. IBM solution: most of the railroads in Europe were routed by IBM punch cards. Create special depots to ensure that trains with cattle cars were made available to transport Jews to camps. Inbound, these trains were crowded with helpless humans. Returning, they were empty.
Sixth: the Jews were to be systematically and industrially murdered. IBM Solution 1: establish different codes for each classification of concentration camp prisoners. Prisoner Code 8 designated a Jew. Status Code 6 designated killed by gas chamber. In this way, the Reich always knew how many Jews it was killing. In extermination camps, almost all Jews were murdered upon arrival in an IBM-aided system that metered victims from ghettos to train to death camp in murderous synchrony. IBM Solution 2: create the “Extermination by Labor” program using custom IBM punch card programs that matched the skills of Jewish prisoners wherever they were to Reich labor needs wherever they were. Once moved to the labor site, Jews were worked to death. There was an IBM customer site in every concentration camp.
Had it not been for the continued conscious involvement of iconic American corporations in Hitler’s war against the Jews, the speed, shape and statistics of the Holocaust as we know it would have been dramatically different. No one knows how different, but the astronomical dimensions could have never been achieved. For their part, American corporate collaborators have long tried to obscure or hide the details of their collusion using the well-known tools of corporate misinformation, financial contributions, and bought and paid for historian reviews. But in era when people no longer believe big corporations, the dots can be fully connected to unveil the outlines of an indispensible Nazi nexus.
comments powered by Disqus
Randll Reese Besch - 3/26/2009
Akin to dirty laundry it must be found and exposed if it ever was going to be cleaned properly. Read Black's other books on the subject including one just on IBM's contributions alone to the Nazi effort deep into the war too. So were the banks and Ford too as Mr.Wolberg will find when he reads the kind of history left out the politically correct text books you will find in school. Also read Charles Higham on the subject of the close ties of the business elites to the fascist movement and how we just barely missed being part of the Axis powers in 1934 on. FDR made a supreme mistake in not prosecuting the cabal of the most wealthy of this country and sentencing them to death if they had been found guilty of treason. That and striping them of all of their wealth would have rendered them harmless and they wouldn't threaten us now. He thought it a bad idea. Many of those same Nazi sympathizers still plague us and the world today for their point of view has not changed much. Their ethos is of the same type but fully USA. They are more powerful than ever. They in fact traded with the enemy then. To many of the world they and we are the enemy now only replacing Communism with Islam to make it a true Holy Crusade. it will make World War 2 small by comparison. It needs to be stopped. To do that we must know and understand our past to not continue the same or similar ideas into the future.
R.R. Hamilton - 3/19/2009
Good points, Mr. Wolberg. One has to wonder why this book is published now when all the information is more than 70 years old. What are is Mr. Black's next project -- a expose of American business dealings with to Napolean? ("Slaveowner Thomas Jefferson gave millions to French war machine!")
A more timely book could have exposed how some American corporations and banks propped up the Marxist empire up to 1991. It could include the fact that the Marxists gave more than 100-times more aid to Hitler than did the western capitalists.
And contrary to the Marxist fantasy, outlined in a comment above, that the western democracies drove the USSR into Hitler's embrace, history proves that the USSR was thrilled to help Hitler against the "capitalist democracies" and was well-paid for it in terms of enslaved lands and people from the Black Sea to the Arctic. If Stalin was so "afraid" of Hitler, as is claimed by the Marxist historical revisionists, why did he feel secure enough to go beyond the agreements with Hitler by seizing Lithuania and northern Bukovina? If Stalin was so afraid that the USSR was next in Hitler's sights, why at that very moment did he divert the Red Army from the borders of the Reich to a war of choice against Finland? Since the fall of Marxism in the old USSR, we have seen the records which prove that Stalin was always more afraid of the Western democracies than he was of his socialist cousin in Berlin.
Donald Wolberg - 3/18/2009
This is an unusual series of postings; is there anything new in the knowledge that the large, international Nazis economy of Germany had dealings before the war with major corporations around the world that included American, British, French, Polish, Dutch, Belgian, etc., etc, and anywhere else international trade occurred. Of course all this changed after the war began. Much can be said of German allies, Japan and Italy. Are we to blame the U.S. for selling the scrap iron of the 3rd Avenue El in New York in the early 1930's for the bombs some of this iron became after the war began? Of course most everyone realizes that Henry Ford was a very strange and not particularly nice man, and a rather stupid racist. Thee worldwide eugenics movement was very bad genetics, and preached by Americans, British, French, Germans, Soviets, Polish, Italian and almost everyone, just as Lysenko's nuttiness in the Soviet Union was political genetics run wild and destroyed Soviet biological research for 50 years. Stupid and bad people do stupid and bad things, but it seems a stretch that Stalin, just as depressingly evil an SOB as Hitler, is somehow given a pass for signing the treaty with Hitler.
Opel was (and I think still is) a GM-owned company, but most German trucks and war machines were not Opel (and GM lost control once war was declared) and although some older commercial vehicles were converted at the start of the war, one should not forget companies such as Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen and others. In Italy, Fiat and Lancia worked, and in France, the French manufacturers produced vehicles for Germany after the French capitulation; and of course the Japanese names from Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, and others seem friendly to us today, but did make the Zero or the tanks that destroyed Nanjing.
It seems not particulary new research to repeat what has been know for 70 years and wht has been much published and discussed.
Arnold Shcherban - 3/17/2009
To compare Nazi-Soviet pact (the pact between two sworn ideological, economical and political enemies) in which Soviet Union got involved out of desperation, as the last resort and time-winning strategy, and almost natural reaction to Munich's pact between Nazi and the Western Europe (that obviously and undeniably guided Hitler's aggression in the Eastern direction) with the heavy ideological, economical, and political support given to Nazi (and fascism around the world) by the
American Big Business and some renowned American foundations and politicians is a criminal distortion of historical reality, as well as the intentions of the players involved.
Not only the Soviet Union saved millions of Jews through transporting
the Jewish refugees (and not only the Soviet ones, but the Polish and others whoever ran to the Soviets from Nazi persecution) to the safe Eastern regions and republics of the country, but no Nazi war criminal partipated exclusively or non-exclusively in the extermination of Jews escaped the prosecution (mostly eventually sentenced to death penalty) living on the territory of the Soviet Union. On the other hand
many Nazi well-known war criminals the evidence against which had been overwhelming, contunied to live in the such capitalist countries (many being alies and dear friends of the USA) as the US, UK, Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chili, Spain, Portugal, France (if one counts Croatian Nazis) for decades without being prosecuted or denied to be handed over to the "non-friendly" to those countries sovereign states that would demand their extradition (since the crimes against humanity were committed on the territory of the latter countries and against their citizens.)
If the Western political and ideological clout could do it with clear conscience after the horrors of the Holocaust and the WWII, in general, it is no surprise
they were heavily complicit beforehand...
As far as it concerns Soviets, I would be the last one attempting to apologize the large-scale crimes, especially of Stalin's regime, but Nazi-Soviet pact was not one of them, not already mentioning the well-proven (by statistical economical and social data) fact that none of those crimes were based on racial or national motives or ideology.
Moreover, I would bet my best that any Western country, including the USA, faced with the respective imminent threat and considering respective economic and military strength ratio and world situation would do the same as the Soviet Russia did at the time, if not worse.
Past and recent History is the best indicator of the complete validity of my last assumption (and above assertions.)
Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2009
Mr Beatty, two people read the same article. These two people get an entirely different interpretation from what it has to say.
Where you aware that further to this article the ruling elite, in particular the steel barons, of Germany threw their support behind Hitler and were instrumental in getting him elected? In fact, their famous quote is 'We have bought him'!
These same steel barons would have been the ones doing business with Ford. Ford would not have been unaware of their dealings with Hitler.
Certainly, there could be a case made, and one day it will be, that capitalism, at that time, needed a Hitler! Of course like all mongrel curs he then turned around and bit the hand that fed him.
Perhaps there is something to be said for post-modernism.
Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2009
The bureaucratic extermination of 'undesirables' did not just impact on the Jewish peoples. It encompassed trades unionists, socialists, communists, gypsys, the intellectually and physically disabled, 'undesirables' of every stripe were murdered (if not experimented upon beforehand) under the Nazi regime.
Whether the USA was anti-Semitic or not is irrelevant to the fact that these companies, as Mr Shcherban points out, were prepared to maximise their profits by dealing with the murderous and racist clique which ruled Nazi Germany!
Not only that, but as noted in the article, the Ford company ASSISTED in the economic recovery of Nazi Germany at the expense of the American worker!!!
Does that not raise a few eyebrows around here?
Elliott Aron Green - 3/16/2009
I thank Edwin Black for his important research and for his previous research, such as on the Ford Foundation and Durban I.
What I find curious is that, whereas some of this I knew before, other details that Black presents were not known to me, which leads me to ask Where were the other researchers? It is curious that the many researchers usually labelled "leftists" [whatever that means today] did not search for this info nor did their various and sundry political sects look for it or emphasize it, although they were supposedly "anti-capitalist." So Western capitalists took part in the Holocaust. So did the Soviet Communists by making the Nazi-Soviet Pact, inter alia.
I'm sure that there are a lot more details that Edwin Black did not publish in this necessarily size-limited article. This reminds me that detractors of ancient Greek historical accounts, as well of the historical books in the Bible, forget that to this day the modern writing of modern history is an often tendentious activity in which unpleasant facts or unsuitable facts are omitted so as not to incriminate the guilty. So that may be one reason that the facts that Black presents are so often overlooked.
Arnold Shcherban - 3/16/2009
No - undeniable historical facts.
See my previous comments.
Arnold Shcherban - 3/16/2009
The point of the author, Mr. Bernstein, is that profit-making (what you call "business") often (factually - too often) being a demoralizing, desenticizing factor. Yet, in the eyes of many gesheft-makers it does not matter whom one deals with, as long as it brings good profits.
The second point is that it is a high time for ideologues and politicians of America-above-all type to come to grips with the shameful (perhaps, even criminal) role that some
"great" Americans and widely-praised in this country American ideological and political foundations/ organizations played in the ideological, political, and economical establishment and strenghtening of German Nazism.
John D. Beatty - 3/16/2009
This work appears to claim that German anti-Semitism and the mechanisms of the Holocaust were American inventions. The entire idea is an America-bashing fraud.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain, author of "Foundations of the 19th Century," Wagnerian publicist and confused Englishman, was proclaimed by Hitler himself to be the spiritual anchor of Nazi racial theory.
Blaming IBM for making good machines that enabled the death camps is the same as blaming Herrington and Richardson for making good Army rifles that slaughtered Indians at Sand Creek.
In other words, what a load....
Lewis Bernstein - 3/16/2009
And how anti-Semitic was the USA in this time period? What is your point--American companies did business with the Nazis--surprise, surprise!
Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2009
Already Karl Marx remarked that there was no crime a capitalist would not have done for 300% of a profit.
It brings some good though: those men enrich themselves and some around them.
The real tragedy of a mankind, however, is that many folks do a crime just for their moral, ideological, or political satisfaction.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing
- Russian historian slams Putin
- WaPo chastised for ignoring Venona Papers in obit for Allen Weinstein