These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil

Khalid Elhassan - June 7, 2021

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
Hitler had kind things to say about Henry Ford in Mein Kampf. Times of Israel

3. Hitler’s Favorite American

Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) was a complex man. Not always the good kind of complex, though: downright evil, as a matter of fact, when it came to Jews. On the one hand, for his era, he was relatively progressive in some racial aspects. Ford was one of the few major corporations that actively hired black workers, and did not discriminate against Jewish workers or suppliers. On the other hand, Henry Ford had strong anti-Semitic views. So anti-Semitic that Hitler praised him in Mein Kampf, and awarded him one of Nazi Germany’s highest decorations. It is thus perhaps unsurprising that his company collaborated with the Third Reich during WWII.

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
Henry Ford on the cover of the January 14th, 1935, issue of Time Magazine. Worth Point

Ford probably had no problem with Jews as individuals, or at least no problem with some Jews as individuals. However, he had serious issues when it came to Jews collectively: he believed that Jews were in a conspiracy to take over the world. To warn against that perceived menace, he purchased and published a weekly newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, that had a decidedly anti-Jewish bent. Ford required all of his car dealers to stock his newspaper, and through that and other measures, got its circulation up to 900,000 by 1925, second only to The New York Times.

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
Henry Ford, left, and his son Edsel. Ford Corporate

2. Only His Death Saved Ford’s Son Edsel from Criminal Prosecution for Trading With the Nazis

Given Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic track record, it is unsurprising that Adolf Hitler admired him greatly. The evil Nazi leader lauded the American industrialist in Mein Kampf, referred to him as “my inspiration”, and kept a photo of him in on his desk. In 1938, on Ford’s 75th birthday, he was awarded The Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest medal that Nazi Germany bestowed upon foreigners. Ford reciprocated the admiration, and had no problem doing business with Nazi Germany. When WWII began in 1939, he professed himself neutral, but his and his company’s actions belied that claim.

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
Henry Ford receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle in 1938. History Channel

For example, before America joined the war, Ford had no problem supplying then-neutral Germany with war materials, but declined to supply the equally neutral Britain with aircraft engines. In the early 2000s, evidence was unearthed from newly declassified government documents that demonstrated the Nazi links with Ford Motor Company went well beyond its founder. Among other things, the documents indicate that Henry Ford’s secretary, Ernest Liebold, might have been a Nazi agent who helped fuel his boss’ paranoia about Jews. Indeed, the documents indicate that Ford’s own son and the company’s then-president, Edsel, could have been prosecuted for trading with the Nazi enemy had he not died in 1943.

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
Ford factory in Cologne, Germany. Panzerserra

1. Plumbing the Depths of Evil, Ford’s German Branch Used Slave Labor to Manufacture War Materiel For the Nazis

Declassified letters between Edsel Ford and the head of Ford’s French subsidiary in 1942 indicate that Ford knew and approved of the subsidiary’s manufacturing efforts on behalf of the German military. That took place after America had joined the war, and Germany had become an enemy. Declassified documents reveal that the US Department of Justice concluded that there was a basis for a criminal case against Edsel Ford. In addition, Ford’s plants in Germany used slave workers to meet the demands of the German war effort.

These Corporations Committed the Ultimate Evil
A Ford V3000 used by the evil SS Das Reich Division. Panzerserra

That occurred not only after America joined the war and the plants were seized, but also during the interval between the war’s outbreak in September of 1939, and America’s entry into the conflict in December of 1941. During that period, Ford still controlled its German subsidiary, and knew what was going on in its factories. When the US Army liberated Ford’s plants in Nazi Germany, they found emaciated slave laborers behind barbed wires. A US Army investigator’s report, dated September 5th, 1945, accused Ford’s German subsidiary of serving as “an arsenal of Nazism“, with the parent company’s knowledge and consent.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Associated Press – Covering Tyranny, the Associated Press and Nazi Germany: 1933 – 1945

Atlantic, The, December 2nd, 2014 – Bhopal: the World’s Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later

BBC – Hugo Boss Apology For Nazi Past as Book is Published

BBC – Siemens Retreats Over Nazi Name

Encyclopedia Britannica – Volkswagen Group

History Collection – Manmade Disasters

History Extra, November 1st, 2013 – Where the Pulverized Bones of Soldiers and Horses Who Died at the Battle of Waterloo Sold as Soil Fertilizer?

Holocaust Online – Siemens

Jalopnik – The Real Story Behind the Nazis and Volkswagen

Nation, The, March 8th, 2001 – Kodak’s Nazi Connections

New York Times, December 11th, 1984 – Indian Journalist Offered Warning

PBS, American Experience – Ford’s Anti-Semitism

Snopes – Did a 1960s Oil Company Ad Boast How Much Glacier It Could Melt?

Snopes – Fanta and the Nazis

Telegraph, The, November 3rd, 2003 – Ford ‘Used Slave Labour’ in Nazi German Plants

Washington Post, November 30th, 1998 – Ford and GM Scrutinized For Alleged Nazi Collaboration

Wikipedia – Bhopal Disaster

Wikipedia – Mark 14 Torpedo

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