In the decades since the end of the Second World War, much has been written about the war and fascism, the driving force behind the aggression that precipitated that conflict. Unfortunately, much of what has been said and written has failed to identify and analyze the causes, nature and methodology of fascism—German National Socialism or “Nazism” in particular. A deeper, more accurate analysis was presented in literature published before, during and immediately after World War II.
SpitfireList.com is pleased to present a number of books published during that period. Almost all more than 50 years old, these works embody a more complete, profound analysis of the historical forces that dominated the events of that time and, more importantly, our own. Whereas much contemporary literature on the subject presents fascism (and Nazism in particular) as an aberration, the phenomenon was an outgrowth of major political forces and dynamics that dominate and control contemporary events and processes.
Some of the books presented here illustrate the extent to which fascism (Nazism in particular) was an outgrowth of globalization and the construction of international monopolies (cartels). Key to understanding this phenomenon is analysis of the Webb-Pomerene act, legislated near the end of the First World War. A loophole in the Anti-trust legislation of 1914, it effectively legalized the formation of cartels—international monopolies—for firms that were barred from domestic monopolistic practices.
Decrying what they viewed as excessive and restrictive “regulation” here in the United States, U.S.-based transnational corporations invested their profits from the industrial boom of the 1920’s abroad, primarily in Japan and Germany. This process might well be viewed as the real beginning of what is now known as “globalization.” [FTR#’s 99, 361, 426, 511 and 532 present an overview of the reinvestment of the wealth generated by the American industrial boom of the 1920’s in German and Japanese strategic heavy industry. It was this capital that drove the engines of conquest that subdued both Europe and Asia during the conflict.]
We also note that the failure of American industrial and financial firms to invest their capital in U.S. infrastructure contributed significantly to the onset of the Great Depression, depriving American industry of the monies needed to sustain the engines of industry and commerce.
In 2013, Stephen Kinzer published a book about the Dulles brothers (Allen and John Foster Dulles of the consummately powerful Sullivan and Cromwell Wall Street law firm.) Although a “mainstream” history, the volume has a useful account of John Foster Dulles’s role in the re-capitalization of Germany after World War I and the formation of I.G. Farben and other cartels central to Third Reich war making capacity. We present that account here, for purposes of deepening understanding and clarifying this important, but largely overlooked dynamic.
. . . . Foster had helped design the Dawes Plan of 1924, which restructured Germany’s reparation payments in ways that opened up huge new markets for American banks, and later that year he arranged for five of them to lend $100 million to German borrowers. In the seven years that followed, he and his partners brokered another $900 million in loans to Germany–the equivalent of more than $15 billion in early-twenty-first century dollars. This made him the preeminent salesman of German bonds in the United States, probably the world. He sharply rejected critics who argued that American banks should invest more inside the United States and protested when the State Department sought to restrict loans to Germany that were unrelated to reparation payments or that supported cartels or monopolies.
Foster made much money building and advising cartels, which are based on agreements among competing firms to control supplies, fix prices, and close their supply and distribution networks to outsiders. Reformers in many countries railed against these cartels, but Foster defended them as guarantors of stability that ensured profits while protecting economies from unpredictable swings. Two that he shaped became global forces.
Among Foster’s premier clients was the New Jersey-based International Nickel Company, for which he was not only counsel but also a director and member of the executive board. In the early 1930s, he steered it, along with its Canadian affiliate, into a cartel with France’s two major nickel producers. In 1934, he brought the biggest German nickel producer, I.G. Farben, into the cartel. This gave Nazi Germany access to the cartel’s resources.
“Without Dulles,” according to a study of Sullivan & Cromwell, “Germany would have lacked any negotiating strength with [International Nickel], which controlled the world’s supply of nickel, a crucial ingredient in stainless steel and armor plate.”
I.G. Farben was also one of the world’s largest chemical companies–it would produce the Zyklon B gas used at Nazi death camps–and as Foster was bringing it into the nickel cartel, he also helped it establish a global chemical cartel. He was a board member and legal counsel for another chemical producer, the Solvay conglomerate, based in Belgium. During the 1930s, he guided Solvay, I. G. Farben, the American firm Allied Chemical & Dye, and several other companies into a chemical cartel just as potent as the one he had organized for nickel producers.
In mid-1931, a consortium of American banks, eager to safeguard their investments in Germany, persuaded the German government to accept a loan of nearly $500 million to prevent default. Foster was their agent. His ties to the German government tightened after Hitler took power at the beginning of 1933 and appointed Foster’s old friend Hjalmar Schacht as minister of economics.
Allen [Dulles] had introduced the two men a decade earlier, when he was a diplomat in Berlin and Foster passed through regularly on Sullivan & Cromwell business. They were immediately drawn to each other, Schacht spoke fluent English and understood the United States well. Like Dulles, he projected an air of brisk authority. He was tall, gaunt, and always erect, with close-cropped hair and high, tight collars. Both men had considered entering the clergy before turning their powerful minds toward more remunerative pursuits. Each admired the culture that had produced the other. Both believed that a resurgent Germany would stand against Bolshevism. Mobilizing American capital to finance its rise was their common interest.
Working with Schacht, Foster helped the National Socialist state find rich sources of financing in the United States for its public agencies, banks, and industries. The two men shaped complex restructurings of German loan obligations at several “debt conferences” in Berlin–conferences that were officially among bankers, but were in fact closely guided by the German and American governments–and came up with new formulas that made it easier for the Germans to borrow money from American banks. Sullivan & Cromwell floated the first American bonds issued by the giant German steelmaker and arms manufacturer Krupp A.G., extended I.G. Farben’s global reach, and fought successfully to block Canada’s effort to restrict the export of steel to German arms makers. According to one history, the firm “represented several provincial governments, some large industrial combines, a number of big American companies with interests in the Reich, and some rich individuals.” By another account it “thrived on its cartels and collusion with the new Nazi regime.” The columnist Drew Pearson gleefully listed the German clients of Sullivan & Cromwell who had contributed money to the Nazis, and described Foster as chief agent for “the banking circles that rescued Adolf Hitler from the financial depths and set up his Nazi party as a going concern.”
Although the relationship between Foster and Schacht began well and thrived for years, it ended badly. Schacht contributed decisively to German rearmament and publicly urged Jews to “realize that their influence in Germany has disappeared for all time.” Although he later broke with Hitler and left the government, he would be tried at Nuremberg for “crimes against peace.” He was acquitted, but the chief American prosecutor, Robert Jackson, called him “the facade of starched responsibility, who in the early days provided the window dressing, the bait for the hesitant.” He baited no one more successfully than Foster.
During the mid-1930s, through a series of currency maneuvers, discounted buybacks, and other forms of financial warfare, Germany effectively defaulted on its debts to American investors. Foster represented the investors in unsuccessful appeals to Germany, many of them addressed to his old friend Schacht. Clients who had followed Sullivan & Cromwell’s advice to buy German bonds lost fortunes. That advice, according to one study, “cost Americans a billion dollars because Schacht seduced Dulles into supporting Germany for far too long.’ . . . .
. . . . Foster had clear financial reasons to collaborate with the Nazi regime, and his ideological reason–Hitler was fiercely anti-Bolshevik–was equally compelling. In later years, scholars would ask about his actions in the world. Did he do it out of a desire to protect economic privilege, or out of anti-Communist fervor? The best answer may be that to him there was no difference. In his mind defending multinational business and fighting Bolshevism were the same thing.
Since 1933, all letters written from the German offices of Sullivan & Cromwell had ended, as required by German regulations, with the salutation Heil Hitler! That did not disturb Foster. He churned out magazine and newspaper articles asserting that the “dynamic” countries of the world–Germany, Italy, and Japan–“feel within themselves potentialities which are suppressed,” and that Hitler’s semi-secret rearmament project simply showed that “Germany, by unilateral action, has now taken back her freedom of action.” . . . .
At the conclusion of the Second World War, industrialists, financiers and associated luminaries formed the World Commerce Corporation. Explicitly designed to replace the German-based cartels that coalesced after World War I, the WCC directed the postwar flow of wealth into channels favored by the global corporate elite, thus preserving the fundamental economic order established in previous decades via the Webb-Pomerene Act.
Germany’s Master Plan (1943) [Download Part 1 Part 2 ] by Borkin and Welsh analyzes how the Nazis took advantage of the budding globalized economy to restrict their enemies’ strategic production, as well as their access to critical raw materials. Treason’s Peace (1947) [Download Part 1 Part 2 ] by Howard Watson Ambruster highlights how the I.G. Farben chemical firm manipulated trade relationships to the advantage of the Third Reich. In addition, the book illustrates how corporations, businessmen and politicians beholden unto the firm’s non-German cartel partners assisted that manipulation, as well as the postwar rehabilitation and exoneration of both I.G. and its most important personnel. Illuminating also is Josiah Du Bois’s The Devil’s Chemists, written by a member of the Nuremberg judicial staff that prosecuted key personnel of the I.G., to little overall avail.
James Stewart Martin’s All Honorable Men (1950) [Download Part 1 Part 2] documents the manner in which powerful economic interests in the United States frustrated attempts at de-cartelization and thereby ensured the postwar perpetuation of globalized “business as usual.” As Martin points out, these commercial interests were able to successfully manipulate the networks through which government operates, and direct it to their own nefarious ends.
The lone title in the collection less than 50 years old, Paul Manning’s Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile (1981) [Download] chronicles the postwar underground perpetuation of the Nazi political and business hierarchy and its dominant role in both the international corporate economy and the contemporary political landscape.
Although the book is current and, therefore, not available on this website, interested researchers are emphatically encouraged to read Gold Warriors by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave. Covering the Japanese equivalent of the Bormann flight capital network, the volume is a heroic, masterful analysis and penetration of the Asian wing of the cartel system that spawned fascism, as well as the realities of the post-World War II economic landscape. (FTR #’s 427, 428, 446, 451, 501, 509, 688, 689 deal with the subject of the Golden Lily program successfully implemented by the Japanese to loot Asia.)
The Third Reich’s elaborate plans for postwar underground survival and continuity were predicated on the certainty that the multinational corporate community would preserve the Nazi infrastructure as a bulwark against communism during the (then) imminent Cold War. This “Underground Reich” was foreseen and analyzed in Curt Reiss’s The Nazis Go Underground [Download], published in early 1944. In the Federal Republic of Germany–the “new” Germany–key Third Reich veterans occupied the principal positions of power and influence in the country’s commercial, military, political and judicial establishments.
Not only were key Nazi functionaries installed at every significant level of the German state, but investigators discovered that a Nazi government-in-exile was continuing to call the shots in the Federal Republic through a fuehringsring–a clandestine control network emanating, in part, from Franco’s Spain. The role of this Underground Reich executing Nazi political will in the Federal Republic is chronicled in T.H. Tetens’ The New Germany and the Old Nazis.
In addition to the powerful corporate economic interests allied with Nazi business centers, the process of underground perpetuation was greatly aided by “Fifth Column” movements abroad. Composed of ideological supporters of the fascist philosophy, these Fifth Column movements were instrumental in realizing Nazi blueprints for military conquest during the war, as well as postwar continuation and enlargement of those plans. Written on the eve of World War II, Gollomb’s Armies of Spies [Download] correctly anticipated the enormous scope and effectively successful activities of the Fifth Columnists in nations slated for Nazi invasion.
Triumph of Treason (1944) by Pierre Cot is a remarkable first-hand account of the subversion of France by powerful domestic interests, who saw political control by their ideological allies (and cartel business partners) in Germany as preferable to power-sharing with their own democratically-minded citizens. (Cot had been the French Minister of Aviation in the immediate pre-war period, and witnessed the deliberate, successful attempts at weakening France’s ability to resist the Nazis militarily. The traitors who subverted French democracy then blamed the French collapse on their patriotic political opponents.) NB: Due to the wartime print and page layout, scanning this book proved overly difficult and time consuming. Fortunately, it is available on line in its entirety. The URL can be found by following the link to the book and its description.
In developing their Fifth Column movements abroad, the Nazis (and the Japanese) proceeded in a geopolitical manner. Because they saw Spain as the key to the domination of several continents (Europe, North Africa, Latin America), the Nazis and their allies in the general staff groomed the Spanish Falange as the fascist movement of choice. Writing of this in Falange (1943), [Download Part 1 Part 2] Alan Chase notes how the Reich then used political control of Spain to advance their agenda in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world. The reader is invited to address Chase’s research in light of the relatively well-documented postwar operation and perpetuation of fascist interests in Latin America.
For the Nazis, geopolitics dictated a profound interest in the Muslim peoples of what they called “The Earth Island”—a giant, contiguous land mass that encompasses all of Europe, much of the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, India (including Pakistan at the time), and China. Stretching from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Pacific coasts of China and Russia, this land mass contains most of the world’s territory, population and natural resources—oil in particular. Control that land and you control the world. Accordingly, the Nazis built alliances with the various Muslim populations (Arabs in particular) that are indigenous to many of the most important petroleum-producing regions. Writing in 1951, John Roy Carlson witnessed and chronicled the postwar Nazi recrudescence in the Middle East in Cairo to Damascus [Download Part 1 Part 2] a work that has particular importance for students of the events of 9/11/2001.
In an earlier work—Under Cover (1943) [Download Part 1 Part 2]—Carlson infiltrated and wrote about the vigorous Axis underground that existed in the United States before and during World War II. Acts of assassination and sabotage in support of the Axis powers were used to good effect. In Germany and Japan, political opponents to the rise of fascism were eliminated through a deliberate program of political murder.
It is in that context that we may view Government by Assassination (1942), Hugh Byas’s riveting account of the assassinations committed by the Japanese patriotic and ultra-nationalistic societies. [Note that this book is not yet available on this website, however key excerpts can be accessed in FTR #291.] Culminating in the “May 15th Incident”—the assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister on 5/15/1932—these murders were instrumental in the accession to power of the Japanese militarists and the corporate and imperial elements behind them.
Two other books available here provide valuable insights into the contemporary period. T.H. Tetens’ Germany Plots with the Kremlin (1953) [Download Part 1 Part 2] treats the pivotally important German “Ostpolitik,” which German power structure has traditionally exploited in order expand and develop its influence. The German threat to either remain neutral during the Cold War, or to ally with the USSR was a significant factor in persuading conservative American power brokers to go along with the return to power in Germany of the Nazi elements that prosecuted World War II. Under the circumstances, some of these conservatives felt that permitting Nazi elements to return to power behind a democratic façade was the lesser of two evils, although many would have preferred a more traditionally conservative German political establishment. This German “Ostpolitik,” in turn, is characteristic of the geopolitical foresight and cynicism with which Pan-Germanists have successfully pursued their goal of world domination through the centuries.
Paul Winkler’s The Thousand-Year Conspiracy (1943) [Download Part 1 Part 2] traces the origins of German chauvinism to the ascent of the Teutonic Knights within Germanic society. Winkler labels the enablers of the dark side of the German character “Prusso-Teutonics” and notes that, in their pursuit of Pan-German goals, they do not hesitate to deal in a cynical and ruthless manner with their own citizens. Of particular note for contemporary Americans is the deliberate, Machiavellian manipulation of the German economy by Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, the American-born financier who eventually became the finance minister of the Third Reich. Take note of Winkler’s account of how Schacht re-structured the German economy with an eye to—among other things—driving the citizenry to such a point of hysteria that they would willingly follow the likes of Hitler. Compare Winkler’s analysis with what is taking place today in the United States. Writing in 1943, Winkler foresaw that the Prusso-Teutonics would realize their goals through the creation of a German-dominated central European economic union (bearing a striking resemblance to today’s European Monetary Union.)
We note that George Seldes’ landmark 1943 text Facts and Fascism is available for download on another website. The book is strongly recommended.
“Those Who Forget the Past Are Condemned to Repeat It”
“ . . . We cannot turn over our future economic policy to private groups without public responsibility, as we have in the past. . . .”
—U.S. Attorney General Thurman W. Arnold, writing in the “Introduction” to Germany’s Master Plan