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.
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.