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FTR #279 Tabulate This! IBM and the Third Reich

Listen: One Segment [1]

1. This broadcast details collaboration between Nazi Germany and IBM. In the context of this program, it should be noted that many of this country’s prominent industrialists and financiers, as well as many of its most influential companies, were openly supportive of the fascist powers of Europe.

2. IBM and its German subsidiary were instrumental in processing data about Jews and other “racial” and political enemies of the Third Reich. (“IBM Technology Helped Facilitate the Holocaust” by Michael D. Hausfeld; Los Angeles Times; 2/19/2001; p. A15.)

3. This insidious form of data processing was absolutely essential to the realization, not only of the Holocaust, but of the systematic identification and oppression of individuals opposed to Hitler throughout Europe. (Idem.)

4. IBM knew precisely which of its Hollerith data-processing machines were located in concentration and extermination camps. (Idem.)

5. IBM knew of, and controlled, all of the operations of its German subsidiary throughout the war. (Idem.)

6. Beyond its role in categorizing the victims of Nazi persecution, IBM’s data processing technology was essential to the centralization and coordination of German industrial and civic operations. (IBM and the Holocaust; Edwin Black; Crown Publishers; Copyright 2001 [HC]; ISBN 0-609-60799-5; pp. 86-89.) [2]

7. This centralization and coordination, as well as the efficiency made possible only by the IBM Hollerith technology, was essential to the operation of the Third Reich’s war-making economy. (Idem.)

8. For the services his company provided to the German economy, and for his enthusiasm for the Third Reich, IBM chief Thomas J. Watson received the “Merit Cross of the German Eagle with Star.” (Ibid.; p. 131.)

9. This medal was the highest award that the Third Reich could confer on any non-German. (Idem.)

10. Watson’s services on behalf of Nazi Germany went far beyond the contributions his company’s machines made to the German war effort and suppression and liquidation of its victims. Watson argued for an arrangement between business representatives from the Axis nations and like-minded colleagues from the U.S., U.K. and France. (Ibid.; pp. 176-177.)

11. This trade agreement was designed to facilitate the movement of key strategic materials between the non-Axis and Axis nations “. . .[to] render unnecessary the movements of armies across frontiers.” (Ibid.; p. 176.)

12. As Edwin Black notes that “. . . the raw materials were needed by Axis powers solely for the sake of waging war.” (Idem.)

13. It should be noted that this arrangement was to be made exclusively between businessmen of the respective nations. (Ibid.; pp. 176-177.) This type of arrangement, as well as the professed rational for it (“averting war”), might be seen as anticipating some of the international “free trade agreements” that have characterized world commerce in the last decade or so.

14. The broadcast details the efforts of the Economic Warfare Section of the Department of Justice at frustrating the cooperation of American industry with Nazi Germany. (Ibid.; pp. 348-350.)

15. In attempting to interdict the relationship between IBM and the Third Reich, the DOJ found that IBM was so central to the economic operations of Germany and occupied Europe, that the preservation of IBM’s role in both economies was seen as essential to the successful occupation of these areas after the war. (Idem.)

16. The broadcast notes concludes with speculation about the possible role of the publication of IBM and the Holocaust and an attendant lawsuit in the ongoing political and commercial maneuvering over Third Reich-related litigation. The possibility that the IBM suit may constitute (intentionally, or otherwise) a “pressure point” that may hold the key to business operations in both Europe and the U.S. is not one to be too readily cast aside. Mr. Emory notes that IBM and the Holocaust has received an inordinate amount of publicity, in relation to that received by most books about the subject of collaboration between corporate America and international fascism.

17. The program concludes with discussion of the alleged Nazi sympathies of an American icon, filmmaker Walt Disney. (Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince; Marc Eliot; Birch Lane Press [Carol Publishing Group]; Copyright 1993 [HC]; ISBN 1-55972-174-X; pp. 120-121.)

18. Disney allegedly attended numerous meetings of the American Nazi party in the years before the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Idem.) Note that this book received very little publicity.