History's Stage,

The Lonely Eagle,

An Arsenal of Nazism

excerpted from the book

The American Axis

Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich

by Max Wallace

St. Martin's Griffin, 2003, paper

... Lindbergh had been invited to spend the weekend at the Cliveden estate of Lord and Lady Astor. It was on this visit that Charles Lindbergh became an unofficial member of the "Cliveden Set," a term that journalist Claud Cockburn had coined the year before in the British periodical the Week. The "Set" referred to a gathering of powerful politicians, bankers, writers, journalists and aristocrats who regularly assembled at the Astors' Cliveden country estate and at their London mansion in St. James Square. Cockburn frequently portrayed the Astors' circle as a pro-German nest of traitors, a Nazi Fifth Column. Today, they are more likely to be referred to as the "Cliveden Myth" because of Cockburn's pro-Communist bias and frequently exaggerated claims.

An old friend of Anne's mother Nancy Astor was Britain's first female Member of Parliament and the archenemy of her fellow Conservative politician, Winston Churchill. She also had a long-standing reputation as an anti-Semite. Once, after a 1938 Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, Conservative MP Alan Graham chided Astor for bad behavior. Her retort was, "Only a jew like you would dare to be rude to me.

The Astors were spectacularly well connected. Nancy's brother-in-law John Jacob Astor was the owner of the powerful London Times; their friends included King Edward VIII, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and the foreign secretary Lord Halifax. And for a time, it appeared that an inordinate number of visitors to Cliveden shared a common belief: that Germany was Europe's best hope to contain the threat of Communist expansion. That is not to say they were necessarily Nazis, as Claud Cockburn charged, so much as to assign them the label that later became synonymous with the Cliveden Set: "Appeasers."

Nancy's preference for visitors who agreed with her political views was undeniable. According to her biographer Christopher Sykes, "These friends were not traitors; they were not Nazis; but until mid-March 1939, they were believers in, and ardent publicists for, Chamberlain's Appeasement policy." Many were also undeniably sympathetic to Adolf Hitler and his policies.

During the weekend in May 1938 that Charles and Anne spent at Cliveden, much of the conversation centered on Germany. At tea that Sunday, Lindbergh sat next to Lady Astor who, he later wrote, wanted "a better understanding of Germany. I was encouraged about the feeling of most of the people there in regard to Germany. They understood the situation better than most Englishmen do these days."

Four days later, he and Anne were invited to lunch at the Astors' London home. Lindbergh's acceptance into the Cliveden circle was confirmed. His luncheon companions that afternoon were the American ambassador to France William Bullitt; Nancy's friend George Bernard Shaw, who had recently expressed publicly a great admiration for Adolf Hitler; Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the London Times; and the man who was to become an important political player in the events to come, American ambassador to Britain Joseph Kennedy. The colorful American had been appointed by President Roosevelt to the Court of St. James two months earlier, where he and his young family had already made quite an impression on the British.

Unbeknownst to Roosevelt, who was himself becoming increasingly alarmed at the Nazi threat, Kennedy had already formed strong views on the European situation that were not necessarily in accord with those of the Administration. Only six days earlier, Kennedy had written a private note to the isolationist U.S. senator William Borah expressing his position on Hitler's expansionism: "The more I see of things here," he wrote, "the more convinced I am that we must exert all our intelligence and effort toward keeping clear of any kind of involvement. As long as I hold my present job, I shall never lose sight of this guiding principle."

Kennedy's views on Germany and Jews appeared to mesh closely with those of Lady Astor, who had adopted the ambassador as another member of her Set. Their correspondence during this period offers a revealing insight into their mutual attitudes toward the plight of European Jews. In 1938, Nancy wrote Kennedy that Hitler would have to do more than just "give a rough time" to "the killers of Christ" before she'd be in favor of "launching Armageddon to save them. The wheel of history swings around as the Lord would have it. Who are we to stand in the way of the future?" Kennedy replied that he expected the American "Jew media" to become a problem in the near future and that "Jewish pundits in New York and Los Angeles" were already making noises designed to "set a match to the fuse of the world."

Documents that have surfaced in recent years reveal that [Joseph] Kennedy's views deviated significantly from U.S. foreign policy. During a visit with German ambassador Herbert von Dirksen three months earlier, Kennedy had assured the ambassador that Roosevelt was unflinchingly opposed to the Nazi regime only because his informants were ill-advised and afraid of the Jews. He promised von Dirksen-who subsequently called Kennedy "Germany best friend in London"-that he would enlighten the President himself, a task that would be made easier if only the Nazis would conduct their anti-Jewish measures a little less publicly. When German documents were seized by the Allies after the war, the gist of the two diplomats' conversation became clear from a cable von Dirksen had sent to his superiors after meeting Kennedy. On the Jewish Question, von Dirksen reported, Kennedy believed that:

It was not so much the fact that we wanted to get rid of the Jews that was harmful to us, but rather the loud clamor with which we accompanied this purpose. He himself understood our Jewish policy completely; he was from Boston and there, in one golf club and in other clubs, no Jews had been admitted for the past 50 years... such pronounced attitudes were quite common, but people avoided making so much outward fuss about it.

Now, Kennedy believed a stark warning by Lindbergh might tip the scales against military action by Britain and France. Lindbergh was eager to comply and spent all night drafting his report, which he delivered to Kennedy the following day. Fully aware of his potential influence over world events, his warnings were even more ominous than before, and hit closer to home:

I feel certain that German air strength is greater than that of all other European countries combined.. . and that she is constantly increasing her margin of leadership .... If she wishes to do so, Germany now has the means of destroying London, Paris and Prague. There are not enough modern war planes for effective defense or counter-attack in England and France combined. In the air, France's condition is pitiful. Although better off, the British air fleet cannot be compared to their German counterparts ... I believe that German factories are capable of producing 20,000 aircraft per year. Her actual production is difficult to estimate. The most reliable reports I have obtained vary from 500 to 800 planes per month... Judging by the general conditions in Russia, I would not place great confidence in the Russian air fleet... Germany, on account of her military strength, is now inseparable from the welfare of every civilization, for either to preserve or to destroy it is in her power... To protect themselves in the air England and France are far too weak .... I am convinced that it is wiser to permit Germanys eastward expansion than to throw England and France, unprepared, into a war at this time.

In effect, he was saying that it would be military folly for France and England to stand up to Germany, as they appeared now on the verge of doing. With little effort, Germany would wipe London and Paris off the face of the map and then conquer Czechoslovakia and probably the rest of Europe anyway. Unless the two countries backed off and met Hitler's demands, it would be suicide.

On September 29, Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini, and Daladier convened in Munich to resolve the crisis. It was the city in whose beer halls and smoky cafés Hitler had clawed his way to power, never daring to dream that he would one day hold the fate of nations in his hand and have the great European heads of state contorting to his will. Just after noon, the four leaders gathered at the Führerhaus to determine whether the immediate future held war or peace. At Hitler's insistence, the Czech prime minister was not invited to participate. Earlier in the day, the Führer had held a private strategy session with Mussolini during which he had explained to his Italian ally his plan to "liquidate Czechoslovakia." If the talks failed, Hitler declared, he would resort to arms. At any rate, he added, "the time will come when we shall have to fight against England and France." Ii Duce heartily agreed .

The results of Munich were pre-ordained. Neither Chamberlain nor Daladier was in any mood to risk a war and Hitler, recognizing this, bullied his guests throughout the day, winning concessions on one point after another. Shortly after 1:00 A.M., the four leaders affixed their signatures to an accord that gave Hitler virtually everything he had asked for.

On October 1, Chamberlain returned to England triumphant. The country was deeply relieved. Peering out a second story window of his Downing Street residence, he was greeted as a hero by Londoners convinced that he had single-handedly averted war by his last-minute diplomatic coup. After acknowledging the cheers of his countrymen and a rousing rendition of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," the Prime Minister waved a copy of the Munich agreement-its ink barely dry-and declared, "Peace for our time." The Times echoed the sentiments of the nation when it wrote, "No conqueror returning from a victory on the battlefield has come adorned with nobler laurels."

Only a lone, heretical voice could be heard resisting the consensus. Four days after Chamberlain's return, Winston Churchill-at the time languishing in the political wilderness-rose in the House of Commons and declared:

We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat, and France has suffered even more than we have .... We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude which has befallen Great Britain and France. Do not let us blind ourselves to that. It must now be accepted that all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe upon which France has relied for her safety has been swept away... they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history... and that terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting." And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning.

To reporters, Churchill announced, "We had to make a decision between the shame and the war. We have chosen the shame and as a reward we will receive a war."

Hitler responded insolently: "Once and for all we request to be spared from being spanked like a pupil by a governess." But Churchill's words were quickly proved prophetic. Within five months, Germany had broken all its promises. Most of Czechoslovakia lay in Nazi hands, demonstrating the hollowness of Appeasement policy. More important, the Munich Pact bought Hitler precious time to strengthen his military machine and prepare for the war that Chamberlain naively believed he had averted.

If Lindbergh's assessment of Germanys overwhelming military superiority had been accurate, then Munich would indeed have represented the diplomatic triumph that Chamberlain heralded on that fall day in 1938 when he announced to the world that he had achieved "peace with honor." Indeed, had Lindbergh been correct, Britain and France would have surely suffered a quick defeat on the battlefield if war had been waged during the fall of 1938.

Within months after the end of the Second World War, however, Lindbergh's 1938 warnings were found to be completely and spectacularly wrong. Goring and his Nazi hosts had so thoroughly deceived their American visitor that he had swallowed and propagated one of history's most damaging lies, a deception destined to have disastrous and tragic consequences in the years ahead.

When German military records were seized by the Allies in 1945, they revealed a grim set of statistics. In his 1938 report prepared for Joseph Kennedy, Lindbergh had estimated German air strength at 8,000 to 10,000 planes. He believed Germany was producing between 500 and 800 planes per month and was capable of producing 20,000 planes per year. However, German Quartermaster records captured after the war reveal that in fact Germany possessed only a fraction of this number slightly over 3,307 planes, and many of these were not operational. While Germany still boasted the largest individual air arsenal, the combined British and French air forces possessed more than 4,000 planes. Lindbergh had reported it would take England, France, and Czechoslovakia many years to catch up to Germany, which he was certain had more planes than all the European countries combined. In reality, they were never behind.

Of course, numbers alone don't tell the whole story. Lindbergh had trumpeted the quality of the Luftwaffe as far superior to the obsolete French, British and Czech arsenals. Indeed, officials at the French and British air ministries knew that their fleets were woefully unprepared to wage a war in the fall of 1938. Years of neglect and failure to modernize had reduced their respective air capabilities to disastrous levels. Against the state-of-the-art arsenal described by Lindbergh, they were convinced that it would be impossible to defend against Luftwaffe bombers. "Germany now has the means of destroying London, Paris and Prague," Lindbergh wrote Joseph Kennedy in his September memorandum. Again, he turned out to be completely wrong in his assessment. In fact, captured records later revealed, the German air force was as unprepared in 1938 as its French and British counterparts.

In August 1938, the Luftwaffe officer responsible for operations against the British Isles told his superiors that Germany's capability to attack Britain would amount to "pin pricks." At the time of the Munich Crisis, General Helmuth Felmy, commander of the German Second Air Force, told the High Command that, given the means at his disposal, "a war of destruction against England seemed to be excluded."" Moreover, the state-of-the-art German air force described by Lindbergh after his inspection tours also turned out to be a myth. Like the RA} much of the Luftwaffe fleet was obsolete and was undergoing a major overhaul in 1938. Rearmament was not going smoothly by the time of the Czech crisis. German testing of the new fighters and bombers heralded by Lindbergh revealed severe weaknesses, including design problems, a shortage of spare parts, inadequate range, poor pilot training and high accident rates. A German "after-action" report on the Czech crisis acknowledged a severe "lack of readiness in maintenance of flying equipment as well as in technical personnel . As late as May 1939, the Luftwaffe chief of staff, Hans Jeschonnek, warned the German High Command, "Do not let us deceive ourselves, gentlemen. Each country wants to outstrip the other in air armament. But we are all roughly at the same stage."

The inflated numbers and exaggerated readiness reports were key elements in a charade masterfully orchestrated by Hermann Goring and his air ministry, using Truman Smith, Lindbergh, and others as pawns. The two Americans had been completely taken in by their amiable Nazi hosts; as intended, they had passed on the false intelligence to Allied military and political leaders who used the bogus data to formulate their response to Hitler's aggression. The German ploy stands as one of the greatest disinformation feats in history...

That evening, millions of Americans gathered around their radios to hear the first shots in an epic battle that would become known as the Great Debate. At 9:45 P.M. a thin, nasal voice announced, "I speak tonight to those people in the United States of America who feel that the destiny of this country does not call for our involvement in European wars. "

For half an hour, in a compelling speech that appealed as much to emotion as reason, Lindbergh raised the specter of unprecedented bloodshed: "We are likely to lose a million men, possibly several million-the best of American youth. We will be staggering under the burden of recovery during the rest of our lives." After warning that involvement in a European war "may lead to the end of Western civilization"-the recurring theme of his correspondence for months-he uttered the speech's most memorable line, cautioning his listeners against heeding emotional appeals about the plight of the Europeans: "We must be as impersonal as a surgeon with his knife." It is this cold phrase that was singled out in most of the press coverage the next day. Little attention was given to a cryptic passage buried near the end of the address. In it, he advised his listeners to be wary of the propaganda they were bound to encounter in the months ahead: "We must ask who owns and who influences the newspaper, the news picture, and the radio station. If our people know the truth.. . this country is not likely to enter the war. We must learn to look behind every article we read and every speech we hear."

cent of Americans favored repealing the arms embargo. The isolationists were determined to reverse this trend. J On October 14, Lindbergh returned to the airwaves to deliver his second address, entitled "Neutrality and 'War." Sounding more confident than in his first radio address a month earlier, he announced, "Tonight, I speak again to the people of this country who are opposed to the United States entering the war which is now going on in Europe." He proceeded to outline a four-point proposal that would continue the arms embargo on "offensive" weapons but offer the European allies all the "defensive" weapons America could spare. As many later noted, this policy was next to useless against a German army well stocked with its own extraordinary offensive arsenal. 'Without an offensive military capability to strike back at its aggressors, it would only be a matter of time before the Axis smashed through any defense England and France could muster.

Moreover, Lindbergh's proposal would prohibit the United States from extending credit to the cash-starved European nations, making even the purchase of defensive weapons next to impossible. Nevertheless, the most striking chord of this speech, one that would not escape notice, was a passage that appeared to crystallize his increasing obsession with race, nurtured in the laboratory of Alexis Carrel. Since returning to America, Lindbergh had again reunited with Carrel, spending considerable time with his mentor. The two were making plans to establish an "Institute for the Betterment of Man" at the Lindberghs' old Hopewell estate, where their common ideas about eugenics and spiritual development could be advanced, harnessing what Carrel called the "weapons of knowledge and thought which are so abundantly available." Now, Lindbergh was sharing those ideas with the American people for the first time:

Our bond with Europe is a bond of race and not of political ideology. We had to fight a European army to establish democracy in this country. It is the European race we must preserve; political progress will follow. Racial strength is vital-politics a luxury. If the white race is ever seriously threatened, it may then be time for us to take our part in its protection, to fight side by side with the English, French, and Germans, but not with one against the other for our mutual destruction.

It was as if Lindbergh perceived the European conflict merely as a misguided internecine battle between racial brothers.

In stark contrast to the reaction from his first radio address a month earlier, the attacks commenced almost immediately. On the floor of the Senate the following day, where a debate over amending the Neutrality Act was well under way, one Senator after another lined up to denounce Lindbergh's speech. Senator Key Pittman, the powerful chairman of the foreign relations committee, told his colleagues, "The most unfortunate part of Colonel Lindbergh's statement is that it encourages the ideology of the totalitarian governments and is subject to the construction that he approves of their brutal conquest of democratic countries through war."

A number of senators pointed out the remarkable similarity in wording between Lindbergh's radio address and a recent talk by Herbert Hoover. But the harshest words were reserved for his distinction between defensive and offensive weapons. That morning, Major General John F. Ryan, commander of the U.S. Army 27th Division, had labeled this distinction as "nonsense." The military aim of the Allies, he declared, was to smash aggression at its source, not to limit its action to defensive measures.

Attacks began to pour in from the liberal press. The popular and tenacious syndicated columnist Dorothy Thompson-one of the few pundits to have criticized his first speech-called Lindbergh "a somber cretin," a man "without human feeling," a "pro-Nazi recipient of a German medal." Lindbergh, she wrote, dreamt of being "an American Führer."

Even more damaging was an article by the popular First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt signaling her approval of some of the recent media assaults on Lindbergh's speech. In her widely read nationally syndicated column, "My Day," Mrs. Roosevelt wrote, "We were all interested in Mr. 'Walter Lippmann's column of a few days ago and in Dorothy Thompson's column yesterday. She sensed in Colonel Lindbergh's speech a sympathy with Nazi ideals which I thought existed but could not bring myself to believe was really there."

Lindbergh's much-criticized remarks on America's racial bond with Europe were merely a preview of an article he had been working on for the conservative magazine Reader's Digest, whose isolationist founder DeWitt 'Wallace had told him recently, "No one in the country is able to exert a deeper influence on public opinion than yourself."" The article was published in the November issue under the title "Aviation, Geography and Race," written ostensibly to illustrate the senselessness of a war with Hitler. The disturbing racial ideas that had been germinating in Carrel's laboratory and nurtured during Lindbergh's growing fascination with the Third Reich appeared to coalesce in this one essay.

In it, Lindbergh posits aviation as a precious tool to be shared exclusively by the western nations as a "barrier between the teeming millions of Asia and the Grecian inheritance of Europe-one of those priceless possessions which permit the White race to live at all in a pressing sea of Yellow, Black and Brown."

To Lindbergh, the war that mattered is a war that "the 'White race is bound to lose, and the others bound to gain, a war which may easily lead our civilization through more Dark Ages if it survives at all."

Continuing on this undisguised racist theme for three and a half pages, he argues that aviation can be the savior of European culture if only the great white nations come together instead of tearing each other apart: "We, the heirs of European culture, are on the verge of a disastrous war, a war within our own family of nations, a war which will reduce the strength and destroy the treasures of the White race."

But this tragedy is preventable, he argues, if only we can build a "Western Wall of race and arms" to hold back "the infiltration of inferior blood." The answer rests on an "English Fleet, a German Air Force, a French army, an American nation, standing together as guardians of our common heritage." Finally, he concludes with a plea not to "commit racial suicide by internal conflict. We must learn from Athens and Sparta before all Greece is lost.""

All white people, then, appeared to have common cause with the Germans in the world that Lindbergh envisioned. This didn't sound like the everyday socialized racism of so many ordinary Americans, but rather the intellectualized racism of the Nazis, as his growing legions of media critics were quick to point out. Nonetheless, most Americans continued to pose intervention, and Lindbergh was still a hero to millions.

On May 20 [1939], the day after Lindbergh's air defense speech, the President was having lunch with his treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau. After a brief discussion of this latest radio address, the President put down his fork, turned to his most trusted Cabinet official and declared, "If I should die tomorrow, I want you to know this. I am absolutely convinced that Lindbergh is a Nazi."

A year earlier [1938] former U. S. Ambassador to Germany William Dodd, Truman Smith's old nemesis, told a reporter aboard a U.S.-bound ship that "Fascism is on the march today in America. Millionaires are marching to the tune. It will come in this country unless a strong defense is set up by all liberal and progressive forces... A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government, and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. Aboard ship a prominent executive of one of America's largest financial corporations told me point blank that if the progressive trend of the Roosevelt administration continued, he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism to America."

In 1925, shortly after Ford Germany incorporated its first operation in Berlin, the company hired Albert to handle its relations with the German government. He had represented the company's interests ever since.' Joining him on the new Ford Germany board was Sorensen, Edsel Ford, and Albert's fellow German, Carl Bosch, who also happened to be the genera manager of a company called Farben, the gigantic chemical and pharmaceutical colossus that would soon emerge as the backbone of Hitler's economic base.

As part of the new restructuring, IG Farben was awarded 15 percent ownership in Ford Germany and Bosch was appointed to the board of directors. In exchange, Edsel was appointed to the board of Farben's U.S. subsidiary, American IG Chemical Corporation (later renamed General Aniline & Film), where he sat until 1941. The arrangement officially married the world's largest auto company with the world's largest chemical manufacturer. It was a relationship the Ford Motor Company was anxious to downplay in later years, especially when the full extent of Farben's activities emerged after the Second World War.

Before the National Socialists took power, many ,Farben executives, including Bosch, had fiercely opposed the Nazi program. But only three weeks after Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, a number of Germany's leading industrialists met with Hermann Goring and SS Chief Heinrich Himmler to discuss how business could find common cause with the new regime. The Nazis promised to eliminate trade unions and any other obstacles that interfered with unfettered corporate profits in the Third Reich. Soon afterwards, IG Farben contributed 400,000 reichsmarks to the National Socialist Party's political "slush fund," the largest contribution to the Nazis by any German company. Thereafter, it remained Hitler's single most important corporate ally. According to the report of a wartime U.S. government investigation:

Without I.G.'s immense productive facilities, its intense research, and vast international affiliations, Germany's prosecution of the war would have been unthinkable and impossible; Farben not only directed its energies toward arming Germany, but concentrated on weakening her intended victims, and this doublebarreled attempt to expand the German industrial potential for war and to restrict that of the rest of the world was not conceived and executed "in the normal course of business." The proof is overwhelming that I.G. Farben officials had full prior knowledge of Germany's plan for world conquest and of each specific aggressive act later undertaken.

... in June 1936, Ford Germany-with the full knowledge and approval of Dearborn-entered into an extraordinary barter agreement with the German Ministry of Economics, whereby it agreed to divert a good deal of its American imports to other German companies in return for greater access to foreign exchange funds. This way, according to a subsequent U.S. government investigation, Ford Germany was instrumental in the Reich's war Preparations.

Until 1937, virtually all of the German company's manufacturing operations were devoted to civilian passenger vehicles, trucks and tractors. However, one of Heinrich Albert's first priorities upon being appointed chairman of the board in June 1937 was to secure for Ford a portion of the Nazi regime's lucrative rearmament effort.

At Albert's behest, the company dispatched a well-connected employee named Ernst Posekel to Berlin with a mandate to establish favorable relations with "the authorities competent for the placing of official orders."° His efforts proved successful. During the spring of 1937, the German War Ministry approached Albert with a proposal to begin manufacturing vehicles for the army. The first government order was to be a special military truck built exclusively for the Wehrmacht (German army). However, negotiations bogged down when Ford officials, who had voiced no objections to the idea of manufacturing vehicles for the German military, refused to honor the regime request that the trucks be built according to German design standards. This was not the way the company did business. Ford vehicles had always been built according to a Ford design. The government also required that the vehicles be manufactured in a designated "safe zone" in the middle of the country, near Berlin. If war broke out, this would help safeguard the plant.

After weeks of negotiation with the government, the issue became moot when the Nazi High Command instead asked the company to manufacture a troop carrier rather than a truck. Ford would be permitted to design the military vehicle to its own standards. In mid-April 1938, Sorensen attended a Ford Germany board of directors meeting in Cologne and cabled Dearborn with the message that the "German plans are turning out very satisfactory." Four days later, with Sorensen in attendance, the board finally approved the scheme to manufacture German military vehicles. The agreement was finalized with the High Command a few weeks later, paving the way for a long-lasting business relationship.

Premises were leased in Berlin and, beginning in 1939, the plant began turning out thousands of military troop carriers. Soon, additional orders from the Luftwaffe as well as contracts for other army vehicles and spare parts began to pour in. Eager to keep on the good side of Hitler, the board of directors voted to send the Führer a birthday gift of 35,000 reichsmarks in April 1939. There is no record that Dearborn registered any objection to this gift. In fact, although not present at the meeting, Edsel Ford and Charles Sorensen were still members of the board when Ford Germany made the decision.

Meanwhile, the Cologne plant was also in full production. After Ford committed to manufacturing for the military, the company had as many government orders as it could handle. According to an internal company report, Ford Germany's business with the Nazi authorities "developed extraordinarily" during the third quarter of 193 8.47 Dearborn was delighted by the company's success. Business was so good that in September 1938, the American plant shipped one thousand trucks, cabs and platforms to be assembled by Ford in Cologne for the use of the German government and military. In a 1941 letter to the Reich Commissioner for Enemy Property, Albert boasted that these trucks were used in the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Thus, by the time Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Ford had become a vital cog in Hitler's military machine. After the war ended and American authorities scoured the records of Ford Germany, a U.S. army investigator would conclude that "even before the war a portion of German Ford had, with Dearborn c consent, become an arsenal of Nazism...

The American Axis

Index of Website

Home Page