BE UNIQUE

Henry Ford Helped Hitler Prepare for World War II

Even after the United States entered the war, Ford was still rolling out trucks for the Nazis.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-305–0652–04 / Funke / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)

After I saw President Trump talking about Henry Ford and his “good blood,” I was triggered. Because I knew something. I knew the background of Henry Ford, and it is to our detriment if we do not remember.

When American GI’s arrived in Germany in 1942, one of their first views had to be one of the most jarring. They wouldn’t have made it to the death camps yet-it was too early. Many of them wouldn’t have even holstered their guns. The fighting had been going on for a few years, but the United States had just made it to the dance. America was still hurt and angry after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese planes sank or seriously damaged six powerful American battleships in just a few minutes. They killed more than three thousand sailors. They destroyed or damaged half the American airplanes in Hawaii.

But after the attack, President Roosevelt decided to send most soldiers to Germany. Ford trucks were there. German Ford trucks. Imagine how it felt to see these vehicles roaring throughout Germany for Hitler and his Nazis. How could this be?

“By the time of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the American stake in German Ford had declined to 52 percent, but Nazi officials argued against a complete takeover.”

If true, Ford Motor built trucks for Americans and Germans…during World War II! The “both sides” philosophy is more profitable, we get that, but what about patriotism?

“Ford argues that company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, lost control of its German plant after the United States entered the war in 1941.”

Not true.

Based on the records that came to light in 1998, the American Ford Motor in Dearborn, Michigan never had less than 52 per cent ownership. They owned the American Ford and the German Ford all during World War II.

This was not right.

Apparently the admiration between Henry Ford and Hitler took priority over American interests. They were bonded by their hatred of Jews.

There were Jewish exceptions, kind of…

It is well-known in Detroit that Henry hired Albert Kahn, the “Architect of Detroit,” to design his company headquarters at the beginning of the 20th century.

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48361137

In fact, Albert Kahn was the most famous architect of his day. He designed the Packard Motor Car factory in 1903. Fascinated with the results, Ford hired him to design the Ford Highland Park plant in 1909. He designed the Ford River Rouge Complex in 1917; it was the largest factory in the world, accommodating over 120,000 workers. Albert Kahn also designed Willow Run, the famous aircraft facility, Henry Ford’s main contribution to the second world war, and it produced 650 B-24s per month.

Albert Kahn’s firm eventually handled over a thousand projects for Ford. And yet, at the opening galas for these masterpiece level facilities, I was personally told by a tour guide that the Jewish Albert Kahn was never a guest.

Henry Ford detested Jews, so both he and Hitler had the same mindset

Hartsook, photographer. / Public domain Henry Ford
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H1216–0500–002 / CC-BY-SA / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)

It is an odd truth, but even though Henry Ford worked with Albert Kahn and admired his talent, he still hated Jews with a fervent passion. Many persons he spoke to mention how he never had a conversation without denigrating the Jewish community.

And yet, he spoke and laughed with the old Jewish man at his neighborhood store, he hired Jews in his factories (they couldn’t work in the mechanical sections because he thought they’d steal his ideas) and individually, he gave a car to a Rabbi in his neighborhood every year.

After his anti-semitism became publicized, the Rabbi refused to accept this luxurious gift. But why? Henry Ford didn’t understand…

Ford despised Jewish people so much that he purchased a small newspaper (The Dearborn Independent) in 1919 and started an anti-semitic series under the title “ The International Jew: The World’s Problem,” ultimately printing a series of ninety-one weekly papers.

All of the original staff of twelve, except for two, were alarmed by the vitriol, and eventually left the paper. He hired writers and investigators to write Anti-Jewish articles.

The Dearborn Independent / Public domain

Horrible stuff, isn’t it?

According to the Dearborn Independent, Jews were responsible for everything that was negative in society:

“It was the Jews who were bootlegging the liquor during the current prohibition.”

“The Jews ruined baseball because “The Jew saw money where the sportsman saw fun and skill.”

“According to the Independent, the Jews were responsible for everything from flashy jewelry and short skirts to rising rents and the manufacture of cigarettes.”

and finally:

“Einstein Theory Declared a Colossal Humbug”

They were talking about Einstein's general theory of relativity…

Ok.

But hatred sells. By 1924, the Dearborn Independent had 700,000 subscribers — only the New York Daily News had more.

Henry Ford was an assembly line genius

But he was not known to be very intelligent. Imagine. A rich man who’s not very smart. Who would’ve thought?

But Henry and Hitler admired each other. Great Britain was Hitler’s enemy. Ford hated President Roosevelt so much he turned him into an imaginary Jew. Henry and Hitler turned to each other in mutual outward hate towards the rest of the world. Or most of it.

Henry Ford was one of Hitler’s biggest allies in World War II. He did believe in German superiority — and his loyalty to America, where he made his fortune, appears, in retrospect, to be more than a little weak. One could even say that he was one ungrateful little wretch.

Eventually, Henry Ford stopped writing anti-semitic screeds in his newspaper. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jewish groups, and actual Christ-centered Christian communities fought against his hateful and vile words. It began to have an effect; they simply stopped buying his cars. There were lawsuits.

In 1927 he issued a recant of his anti-semitic views to the ADL president Sigmund Livingston and stopped publishing the Dearborn Independent. He started visiting Jewish events and became humble, apologizing to the community.

Some took it with a grain of cynicism. Billy Rose (née Rosenberg), a musical producer, wrote “Since Henry Ford Apologized to me” about Henry Ford’s “come to Jesus” moments:

“I was sad and I was blue
But now I’m just as good as you
Since Hen-ry Ford a-pol-ogized to me
I’ve thrown a-way my lit-tie Che-vro-let
And bought my-self a Ford Cou-pe
I told the Sup-’rin-tendent that
The Dearborn In-de-pen-dent
Does-n’t have to hang up where it used to be
I’m glad he changed his point of view
And I even like Edsel too,
Since Hen-ry Ford a-pol-o-gized to me
My mother says she’ll feed him if he calls
‘Ge-fil-re-fish’ and Mat-zah balls
And if he runs for President
I would-n’t charge a sin-gle cent
I’ll cast my bal-lot ab-so-lute-ly free
Since Hen-ry Ford a-pol-o-gized to me.”

The Happiness Boys recorded a funny, sarcastic version in 1927.

Yes. Henry bowed down to the Jewish community, but alas, they knew like no one else that this was only temporary.

Anti-semitism was not new to America

Henry Ford grew up outside of Dearborn, Michigan in a rural setting. He didn’t live in the South, which had antecedents all the way back to the Civil War. Many don’t know this, but General Grant tried to expel Jewish families from their homes and businesses once the Union Army took control, and issued General Orders 11.

“You are hereby ordered to leave the city of Paducah, Kentucky, within twenty-four hours,” — General Ulysses S. Grant 1862

Thankfully, President Lincoln overturned this order. Grant’s desire to rid himself of the Jew seemed to be temporary insanity, one which he came to regret. It’s comforting to know that Grant spent time later in life atoning for it after he became President of the United States.

But the Midwest believed that Jews were the murderers of Christ, and nothing, it seems, could shake this conviction. This is where Henry Ford was born.

Henry Ford hated “liquor, books, Jews, Catholics, fat people, and bankers.”

He also hated smokers:

“Study the history of almost any criminal,” he stated in one interview, “and you find an inveterate cigarette smoker.”

HA!

As for his dislike of Catholicism, this is extraordinary, since Ford’s father William, even though his family was originally from England, was born in Ballinascarty, Ireland. Ford’s mother, Mary Litogod, was an “acknowledged child” from Belgium, where the main religion was Catholicism. Both of Henry’s immigrant parents had strong Catholic connections…

But Jews were at hand, not Catholics, and Hitler was on his way to world domination, murdering Jewish people by the millions.

During WWI, Henry Ford was a Pacifist. But by the time WWII arrived, Henry was fine with war. Its target was Jewish people, and it made money.

Henry Ford had found his mission.

World War II with Henry and Hitler

Hitler admired Henry so much that he took inspiration from the rabid writings of the Dearborn Independent. He also mentions Ford twice favorably in his manifesto, “Mein Kampf.” And Henry returned the favor. A German branch of Ford had already been in the country since 1925, and in 1939, Ford-Werke GmbH began to spit out trucks for the Nazis.

“In 1938, Ford was awarded Nazi Germany’s Grand Cross of the German Eagle, a medal given to foreigners sympathetic to Nazism.”

He was awarded this honor along with Italy’s Mussolini. That next year, the Ford Werke branch sent Hitler 35,000 marks on his birthday as a token of its loyalty.

The irony is that American boys and men were working for a company in Detroit. That same company produced trucks in Germany that would ultimately carry Nazi boys and men…who would meet them on the other side of the war in 1942!

Ford Werke sold trucks to the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the German Police too.

It doesn’t sound right, because it wasn’t.

Ford Motor was so attuned to the German war machine

So much so there were internal struggles in Ford about who would run what specific factory after the Germans and Italians and the Japanese won World War II against the allies: the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

It's almost like Henry Ford forgot that he was an American.

That’s right. Henry Ford, American Industrialist, one of the richest and best-known people in the world, was with the enemy. His venom towards the Jewish people caused him to turn against his own kind: the United States of America.

“Ford eagerly collaborated with the Nazis, which greatly enhanced its business prospects and at the same time helped Hitler prepare for war (and after the 1939 invasion of Poland, conduct it).”

They were traitors, a real fifth column, right there in the midwest.

“While Ford Motor enthusiastically worked for the Reich, the company initially resisted calls from President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill to increase war production for the Allies.”

It was only as the Germans received sweeping losses the allies on all fronts in 1944— that Henry Ford, receiving this information from his spies, backed off, stopped contributing to the Nazis (though they tried), and began his split from the Reich.

So he was a little less connected by the time Hitler, his friend, committed suicide:

“On April 30, 1945, holed up in a bunker under his headquarters in Berlin, Adolf Hitler commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule and shooting himself in the head. Soon after, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied forces, ending Hitler’s dreams of a “1,000-year” Reich.”

One doesn’t know if Henry Ford knew about the death factories of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, Chelmno, and Treblinka. We can’t prove that he knew about the slave labor dragged into his German factories to build Nazi trucks, all the while being fed and sheltered poorly. We do know that:

American Ford received dividends from its German subsidiary worth approximately $60,000 for the years 1940–43.”

And Ford demanded compensation from the American government after the war:

“He notes that Ford was eager to demand compensation from the U.S. government after the war for “losses” due to bomb damage to its German plants and therefore should also be responsible for any benefits derived from forced labor.”

So were they responsible for the Ford Werke or not? The evidence shows that American Ford acted as a responsible owner when money was involved.

Today, the Ford Motor Company is still transforming

Henry Ford’s son Edsel died in 1943 of cancer at the age of 49. He pushed for change, inwardly and outwardly, but never really got the chance. Chevrolet was adding new features, and the old man didn’t want to alter anything. One story says that he yelled at Edsel for wanting to add hydraulic brakes

It was probably about this time Chevrolet added the countless cupholders they were (in)famous for…

That’s the tragedy of the old for every generation…their reputation, deservedly or not, is such they don’t want to change, and stories tell of the aged driving their once-thriving companies, churches, and stores into the ground. That’s where Ford Motor was going. It was failing.

After Edsel’s death, 79-year-old Henry took over. The directors did not know how to say no. Since he’d never really let go of the reins to Edsel in the first place, he actually just carried on. Bankruptcy really was around the corner as he resisted innovations. He rejected opening up the company to the market in the fear that Jews (that again!) would get their hands on his stock.

And then, in 1945, the women in the family acted. Henry’s wife and Edsel’s widow told him that if he did not hand over the company to his grandson Henry Ford II, they were going to sell their stock. By now, the company was losing $147,000,000 million (current value) a month. The ailing 81-year-old had no choice.

The 28-year-old Henry Ford II took over in September 1945. The war had ended officially on September 2nd that same year. His grandfather’s friend, Hitler, was dead. He lost the war. Was this a great disappointment to the old man?

To their surprise, the grandson fired the private little crooked army that Henry Ford employed to spy on his personal enemies, and began to divorce the Ford Motor Company from anti-semitism. This was a heavy task. Hatred from the top, like sh*t, rolls downhill. And this had been the culture of the company for many, many years.

After all, looking back, one realizes that the friendship of Henry Ford and Hitler did not start with WWII. They were kindred souls for over twenty years before the war, since the publication of the Dearborn Independent in 1919.

This relationship, with its horrific focus on the Jew, poisoned the American company’s trajectory. It also stunted Henry Ford‘s personal and professional growth.

That’s what racism, sexism, anti-LGBTism, and anti-semitism does. The afflicted person cannot move — their foot is stuck in place on the neck of their imagined enemy and their energies are misdirected. After all, while Ford was going after the Jew, convinced that Jewishness was infecting America, his company could be nothing but rudderless and visionless.

The American government, well aware of the problems, actually considered taking control. They needed the company to continue automotive and airplane production.

Henry Ford II received control just in time

His grandfather died on April 7th, 1947 at the age of 83. Over 20,000 attended his funeral; most stood outside in the streets, in the streaming rain. Flawed as he was, he made it possible for them to own homes and cars and send their children to college. They had jobs. They built things. It’s immensely satisfying to accomplish and finish beautiful, working products. I know, because I once worked there. There were so many of us in our Americanness, churning out products. Remember how that was like?

Many people in Detroit and many other locations built a life due to the opportunities afforded them by Henry Ford.

So this is what we remember. But it does not mean that we forget.

Henry Ford contributed to the antisemitism of the twentieth century. He was a part of its violence and disarray. He paid for some of it with personal and company funds. He even worked on the other side of the American effort in World War II. He let his personal demons take over. He stopped making the greatest vehicles in the world that millions could afford to buy. And as a result, his competitors began to win. My first vehicle was not a Ford.

It was a Chevrolet.

We must not ignore or cover up the dark side of Henry Ford. As adults, we know that two things can be true at the time.

Henry Ford did great things and Henry Ford did evil things.

We are still living with this legacy today.

Writer and Observer: Injustice, History, Family, Love, and Politics. Electrical Engineer. Completing First Historical Fiction Novel.

Sign up for The Weekly Newsletter

By Be Unique

Enjoying our content but running out of time? Don't worry, Be Unique has you covered! Get the best-curated stories handpicked by our editors directly in your inbox. Sign up now⬇️ Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Home to philosophical ideas & creative minds. A publication on bringing change.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store