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The Nazis Go Underground

by Curt Riess
1944, Doubleday, Doran and Co., Inc.
LCCN: 44007162
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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, published in early 1944. 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—those in Argentina and the United States in particular. 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.

Of particular significance in Reiss’s projection of postwar Nazi continuity is the Thyssen family of German industrialists. Headed by Fritz Thyssen (Hitler’s first prominent financial backer in Germany), the Thyssen firm was a lynchpin of German and Nazi heavy industrial production and was deeply connected to powerful corporate interests abroad. Paramount among the foreign corporate allies of the Thyssens were the Harriman interests, including George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush Sr., the great grandfather and grandfather (respectively) of the current seated president. FTR#’s 273 [2], 361 [3], 370 [4], 435 [5] highlight the genesis of the Thyssen/Harriman/Bush axis, as well as its successful postwar continuation as part of the Underground Reich.

Curt Reiss believed that the Nazis would seek to exploit the large Fifth Column movement in the United States in order to expand their influence in America in the postwar period. In addition to powerful American industrial and political figures sympathetic to the Nazi persuasion, Reiss foresaw an alliance between reactionary fundamentalist American Christians and Nazis as a likely development. It is interesting to reflect on his projections against the background of the growth of the Christian Right in recent years. (For more about this subject, see FTR#497 [6].)

In order to assure placement of important Nazis in postwar Germany in secure positions, Reiss projects that the Third Reich would implant trusted operatives in municipal organizations essential to maintain infrastructure, such as the police, fire departments and public utilities. By placing SS and Gestapo veterans in positions deemed essential to maintain postwar society, the Nazis would be able to guarantee the survival of a viable political underground distributed throughout the country. (In FTR#421 [7], we examined the curious circumstances of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father Gustav. There is evidence to suggest that the elder Schwarzenegger—a small town police chief–may have been one of these underground operatives. Supplemental information about Schwarzenegger Sr. is contained in FTR#529 [8].)