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FTR #511 Uncle Sam & The Swastika: 25 Years Later

Record­ed May 15, 2005
Lis­ten:
MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2
RealAu­dio [2]

Intro­duc­tion: Repris­ing the first of the Archive Shows (orig­i­nal­ly record­ed on 5/23/1980), this pro­gram exam­ines the cor­po­rate rela­tion­ships between Ger­man and Amer­i­can firms that were instru­men­tal in the rise of the Third Reich. Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M11—“Uncle Sam and the Swasti­ka: U.S Indus­tri­al Sup­port for Nazi Ger­many” con­tains insights that are even more rel­e­vant and more fright­en­ing than they were in 1980. As the 25th anniver­sary of the orig­i­nal broad­cast passed, Mr. Emory re-broad­cast the show, with edi­to­r­i­al com­ment before and after its play­ing. In par­tic­u­lar, Mr. Emory not­ed the haunt­ing­ly con­tem­po­rary insights that author James Stew­art Mar­tin impart­ed at the con­clu­sion of his land­mark text All Hon­or­able Men [3]. Mr. Mar­tin warned that the Amer­i­can com­po­nent of the trans-Atlantic fra­ter­ni­ty that had fund­ed and armed Hitler might chose to bring fas­cism to Amer­i­ca “as a calm judg­ment of busi­ness neces­si­ty.”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Hen­ry Ford’s financ­ing of Hitler and Ford’s con­tri­bu­tion to Hitler’s anti-Semit­ic ide­ol­o­gy; the role of Amer­i­can invest­ment bankers in re-cap­i­tal­iz­ing Ger­many after World War I; how that re-cap­i­tal­iza­tion led to the growth of the great Ger­man car­tels that fund­ed and armed the Third Reich; the Ger­man firms’ use of car­tel agree­ments with US com­pa­nies as weapons of eco­nom­ic war­fare (gain­ing the Third Reich access to key raw mate­ri­als and tech­nol­o­gy while deny­ing the Allies access to those same mate­ri­als and tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties); analy­sis of sev­er­al sig­nif­i­cant car­tel agree­ments between Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey and I.G. Far­ben that gave the Third Reich tech­nol­o­gy essen­tial for the suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tion of mod­ern indus­tri­al war­fare; the Nazis’ skill­ful use of rein­sur­ance treaties with the US to gain crit­i­cal intel­li­gence about Allied ship­ping to Europe; the Nazi U‑boats’ use of that intel­li­gence to dead­ly effect; the appoint­ment of per­son­nel from the same US firms that had fund­ed Hitler to key posi­tions over­see­ing the eco­nom­ic recon­struc­tion of Ger­many; the sub­ver­sion of the de-naz­i­fi­ca­tion and de-carteliza­tion of Ger­many by these indi­vid­u­als.

1. The first major top­ic of dis­cus­sion con­cerns Hen­ry Ford’s financ­ing of Hitler and his ide­o­log­i­cal influ­ence on Der Fuhrer. (Note that the orig­i­nal “Uncle Sam and the Swasti­ka” broad­cast was record­ed many years before Mr. Emory began doing writ­ten descrip­tions of the pro­grams. The sources pre­sent­ed in this descrip­tion are the books from which the infor­ma­tion has been researched, but page num­bers and text will not, for the most part, be includ­ed.) Ford finan­cial­ly under­wrote Hitler’s ear­ly efforts through three major con­duits: a White Russ­ian named Boris Bra­sol, a for­mer bicy­cle rac­er named War­ren “Fuzzy” Ander­son and com­pos­er Richard Wagner’s daughter—Winifred Wag­n­er Williams. Ford’s anti-Semit­ic tract The Inter­na­tion­al Jew (com­piled from his peri­od­i­cal “The Dear­born Inde­pen­dent”) was a key influ­ence on Hitler’s devel­op­ing hatred of the Jews.
(The mate­r­i­al on Ford and Hitler is tak­en from Who Financed Hitler by James and Suzanne Poole. Both hard and soft­cov­er edi­tions were pub­lished by Dial Press.)

2. Next, the pro­gram sets forth the recap­i­tal­iza­tion of Ger­many after World War I. Uti­liz­ing cap­i­tal pro­vid­ed by Amer­i­can finan­cial insti­tu­tions under the aus­pices of the Dawes and Young plans, three Ger­man indus­tri­al giants came to dom­i­nate the Ger­man eco­nom­ic land­scape: I.G. Far­ben, AEG (Ger­man Gen­er­al Elec­tric) and Vere­inigte Stahlw­erke (Unit­ed Steel). Amer­i­can investors were deeply involved with these insti­tu­tions and their Amer­i­can sub­sidiaries. These com­pa­nies were the back­bone of Ger­man indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion dur­ing the Hitler years and also played a piv­otal role in financ­ing Hitler’s rise to pow­er. Many of these firms helped to finance the oper­a­tions of the SS.
(The infor­ma­tion in this por­tion of the pro­gram was tak­en from a num­ber of texts, chiefly All Hon­or­able Men by James Stew­art Mar­tin, pub­lished in hard­cov­er by Lit­tle Brown & Co.; Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler; Antho­ny C. Sut­ton; ’76 Press [HC]. Note that the Sut­ton text con­tains some excel­lent infor­ma­tion. It also has some seri­ous and [prob­a­bly] delib­er­ate dis­tor­tions. Caveat Emp­tor.)

3. Devis­ing agree­ments with their indus­tri­al coun­ter­parts in oth­er coun­tries, the large Ger­man firms used patent licens­ing arrange­ments and car­tel agree­ments to gain vital strate­gic raw mate­ri­als and tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties, while restrict­ing their ene­mies’ access to those mate­ri­als and tech­nolo­gies. This enabled the Ger­mans to wage very effec­tive eco­nom­ic war­fare against the allies.
(All Hon­or­able Men by James Stew­art Mar­tin, pub­lished in hard­cov­er by Lit­tle Brown & Co.)

4. Next, the pro­gram exam­ines three pri­ma­ry exam­ples of the car­tel agree­ments that the Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions uti­lized to the great advan­tage of Hitler and the Third Reich. One of the most impor­tant of these agree­ments was the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929, con­clud­ed between Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey and I.G. Far­ben. This gave I.G. Far­ben bad­ly need­ed cap­i­tal (in the form of Stan­dard stock) and per­mit­ted that com­pa­ny to devel­op the syn­thet­ic oil nec­es­sary to pros­e­cute the Sec­ond World War. (This agree­ment is cov­ered at length in FTR#506.)
(The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; Joseph Borkin; Copy­right 1978 [HC] by The Free Press [a divi­sion of MacMil­lan]; ISBN 0–02-904630–0.)

5. Two oth­er crit­i­cal arrange­ments between Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey, Gen­er­al Motors and I.G. Far­ben also gave Hitler essen­tial tech­nol­o­gy for the pros­e­cu­tion of mod­ern mech­a­nized war. Stan­dard Oil licensed I.G. Far­ben to man­u­fac­ture iso-octane and pro­vid­ed it with the licensed tech­nol­o­gy and tech­ni­cal know-how nec­es­sary to do so. This was the first time that iso-octane tech­nol­o­gy (essen­tial for the test­ing nec­es­sary to pro­duce high-qual­i­ty gaso­line) had been licensed to a for­mer pow­er. Despite a warn­ing from the War Depart­ment, the Eth­yl Gaso­line Cor­po­ra­tion (joint­ly owned by Stan­dard and Gen­er­al Motors) licensed I.G. to man­u­fac­ture tetra-eth­yl lead and showed them how to do it. Again, this was the first time that this tech­nol­o­gy (essen­tial to the man­u­fac­ture of high-qual­i­ty fuel) had been licensed abroad. Because the Ger­mans were not able to pro­duce enough tetra-eth­yl lead to meet Hitler’s timetable for invad­ing Poland, the Eth­yl Cor­po­ra­tion sold Ger­many enough tetra-eth­yl to pro­ceed with the inva­sion. The firm that bro­kered the agree­ment was Brown Broth­ers, Har­ri­man, with Prescott Bush Sr. and George Her­bert Walk­er join­ing the Har­ri­man broth­ers (Averell and E. Roland) in over­see­ing the company’s oper­a­tions.
(The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; Joseph Borkin; Copy­right 1978 [HC] by The Free Press [a divi­sion of MacMil­lan]; ISBN 0–02-904630–0.)

6. The third of the agree­ments was the Jas­co agree­ment. This agree­ment, again between I.G. Far­ben and Stan­dard Oil. This arrange­ment pro­vid­ed for the Ger­mans to obtain crit­i­cal butyl rub­ber tech­nol­o­gy, essen­tial for the pros­e­cu­tion of mod­ern indus­tri­al war­fare. The Ger­mans had promised to give the Amer­i­cans the tech­nol­o­gy for I.G’s buna rub­ber tech­nol­o­gy. I.G. Far­ben and Hitler nev­er kept their part of the bar­gain.
(The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; Joseph Borkin; Copy­right 1978 [HC] by The Free Press [a divi­sion of MacMil­lan]; ISBN 0–02-904630–0.)

5. One of

the most shock­ing of the com­mer­cial arrange­ments between the U.S. and Ger­many was a rein­sur­ance agree­ment between U.S., Ger­man and Swiss insur­ance com­pa­nies. This arrange­ment pro­vid­ed the Ger­mans with all of the infor­ma­tion about the car­goes, sail­ing times, cours­es and des­ti­na­tions of Allied ships leav­ing the U.S. for Europe. Equipped with intel­li­gence like this, the Nazi U‑boats were able to wreak hav­oc on Allied ship­ping leav­ing the U.S. The loss­es among Navy and Mer­chant Marine per­son­nel result­ing from this glar­ing coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence short­com­ing were enor­mous.
(All Hon­or­able Men by James Stew­art Mar­tin, pub­lished in hard­cov­er by Lit­tle Brown & Co.)

7. One of the main rea­sons that the Third Reich’s com­mer­cial rela­tion­ships with Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions remained hid­den was the fact that the per­son­nel assigned to over­see the eco­nom­ic recon­struc­tion of Ger­many were drawn large­ly from the U.S. firms that were involved with Hitler. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, these indi­vid­u­als saw to it that the sta­tus quo was main­tained, and the eco­nom­ic de-naz­i­fi­ca­tion and de-carteliza­tion of Ger­many was sub­vert­ed.
(All Hon­or­able Men by James Stew­art Mar­tin, pub­lished in hard­cov­er by Lit­tle Brown & Co.; Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler; Antho­ny C. Sut­ton; ’76 Press [HC]. Note that the Sut­ton text con­tains some excel­lent infor­ma­tion. It also has some seri­ous and [prob­a­bly] delib­er­ate dis­tor­tions. Caveat Emp­tor.)

8. Con­clud­ing the pro­gram, Mark and Dave relate the insights of James Stew­art Mar­tin, who over­saw the unsuc­cess­ful effort to inter­dict the German/American indus­tri­al and finan­cial axis. Not­ing how the Amer­i­can indus­tri­al­ists and financiers had under­mined the attempts at de-carteliza­tion in Ger­many, Mar­tin observed that they might decide to do the same thing in the U.S. that their Ger­man coun­ter­parts had done in Ger­many. “The ecopo­lit­i­cal mas­ters of Ger­many boost­ed Hitler and his pro­gram into the driver’s seat at a time when the tide in the polit­i­cal fight between the Nazis and the sup­port­ers of the Weimar Repub­lic was swing­ing against the Nazis. All of the men who mat­tered in bank­ing and indus­tri­al cir­cles could quick­ly agree on one pro­gram and throw their finan­cial weight behind it. Their sup­port won the elec­tion for the Nazis. We must assume that the same thing is not yet true in the Unit­ed States. We do have eco­nom­ic pow­er so con­cen­trat­ed that it would lie in the pow­er of not more than a hun­dred men—if they could agree among themselves—to throw the same kind of com­bined eco­nom­ic weight behind a sin­gle pro­gram. They have not agreed yet. . . .If the Unit­ed States should run into seri­ous eco­nom­ic dif­fi­cul­ties, how­ev­er, most of the con­di­tions for a re-enact­ment of the Ger­man dra­ma would already exist on the Amer­i­can stage. The slight dif­fer­ences with­in the camp of the fra­ter­ni­ty then may be the only real bar­ri­er to the kind of inte­gra­tion of the finan­cial and indus­tri­al com­mu­ni­ty behind a sin­gle repres­sive pro­gram, like that which the financiers and indus­tri­al­ists of Ger­many exe­cut­ed through Hitler. Are we safe in assum­ing that it would take a grave eco­nom­ic cri­sis to pre­cip­i­tate the dan­gers inher­ent in eco­nom­ic con­cen­tra­tion? The basic inte­gra­tion of the finan­cial and indus­tri­al groups in the Unit­ed States is evi­dent when we look at the increase of con­cen­tra­tion in the past few years. . . .”
(All Hon­or­able Men; James Stew­art Mar­tin; Copy­right 1950 [HC]; Lit­tle, Brown & Co.; p. 295.)

9. Dave and Mark echoed Martin’s warn­ing to the world, made in 1950, echoed in 1980 and all the more rel­e­vant at the dis­tance of a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry. “ . . . The moral of this is not that Ger­many is an inevitable men­ace, but that there are forces in our own coun­try which can make Ger­many a men­ace. And, more impor­tant­ly, they could cre­ate a men­ace of their own here at home, not through a delib­er­ate plot to bring about a polit­i­cal cat­a­stro­phe but as a calm judg­ment of ‘busi­ness neces­si­ty.’ The men who would do this are not Nazis, but busi­ness­men; not crim­i­nals, but hon­or­able men.”
(All Hon­or­able Men; p. 300.)

10. Note that in the more than 25 years since the broad­cast was record­ed, a num­ber of books have been pub­lished dis­cussing the US/Nazi indus­tri­al rela­tion­ships. Some of the more note­wor­thy are:
Trad­ing with the Ene­my
by Charles High­am
The Old Boys: the Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of the CIA by Bur­ton Hersh
The Splen­did Blonde Beast: Mon­ey, Law and Geno­cide in the 20th Cen­tu­ry by Christo­pher Simp­son
The Secret War Against the Jews by Mark Aarons and John Lof­tus.