3 Henry Ford's Nazi Connections Were Way Deeper Than Anyone Thought
AP Photo via Washington Post
It's no secret that Henry Ford had a certain amount of Nazi sympathy, mainly due to Ford's belief that anyone who hated the Jews that much must have been an awesome guy. And those views are kind of hard to hide when you openly praise Hitler's ideas and receive Nazi medals for your dealings with them.
Seen here, covered in swastikas, just in case you were confused about where it came from.
Still, it's not like Ford was alone among prominent Americans who praised Hitler before the war. And although he was privately an anti-Semitic cocksheath for life, Ford had the sense to end his Reich romance by the time he realized what murderous dicks the Nazis actually were.
A little known 1998 lawsuit by a Russian slave laborer (more on that later) delved a little deeper into the whole Ford/Hitler thing, and what it uncovered was fucking terrifying. According to its papers, Ford and the Nazis were extremely tight, to the point that Ford started throwing money at the ascending Reich. Ford didn't agree to stop dealing with Hitler until late 1942 ... eight months after the U.S. had entered the war.
Henry Guttmann/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
"Hey, Henry? Bud? Would you mind not selling stuff to our sworn-"
"IN A MINUTE!"
And whether he really severed ties with Germany at that point is open to speculation. Ford-Werke -- the German subsidiary of Ford's empire -- remained operational throughout the war, happily manufacturing gear for the German military machine and using POWs as forced labor. The company insists that Ford-Werke was confiscated by Nazis in 1941 and they lost all contact, and that whatever happened in their plant after that wasn't Ford's fault ... despite the fact that the company had used POWs as slave labor before that.
Oh, and here's a pretty poem from Ford-Werke's internal magazine that came out in 1940 -- when Henry Ford still unquestionably held the reins:
We have sworn to you once,
But now we make our allegiance permanent.
Like currents in a torrent lost,
We all flow into you.
Even when we cannot understand you,
We will go with you.
One day we may comprehend,
How you can see our future.
Hearts like bronze shields,
We have placed around you,
And it seems to us, that only
You can reveal God's world to us.
That piece is called Fuhrer, because of course it is.
All of this would probably have stayed under wraps indeterminately, if one brave ex-slave laborer hadn't sued the company for obvious reasons. Ford managed to get the charges dropped, not because the judge found them to be innocent, but because "redressing the tragedies of that period has been -- and should continue to be -- a nation-to-nation, government-to-government concern." After all, once you start holding corporations responsible for funding Hitler, where does it end?
Hey, speaking of Hitler ...
2 Gertrude Stein Supported the Nazi Movement
Carl Van Vechten/William Thomas Cain/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Gertrude Stein, the famous Paris-based American novelist, was a hallmark of open-mindedness and experimentation. A key figure in modernist literature and an openly gay woman in a time when that sort of thing was generally frowned upon, she wrestled the world into accepting her open ideals about freedom, beauty, love, and all that other bohemian jazz. Also, she was a great big fan of fascism.
Almost as much as she liked taking portraits of herself with portraits of herself.
Archives reveal that Stein was a big fan of both Hitler's Germany and the Vichy government (the French extension of the Reich), to the point where she actively worked for them. After fascism rolled over France, Stein gleefully signed to the goose-stepping team as a propagandist, translating pro-Nazi speeches from French to English and even attempting to get them published in America. (The publisher's comment: "Over my dead body.") The hate-dripping content apparently didn't bother her at all, despite the fact that much of it revealed the Nazi persecution of the Jewish population, which she was a part of.
If that was the only thing she did, an argument could be made that Stein mainly took the gig to save her own butt -- the Vichy government wasn't exactly averse to sending its Jewish population to concentration camps. However, she had an enduring love affair with the entire concept of fascism: Stein greatly admired the cruel Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and once went on record suggesting that Hitler should totally be given a Nobel Peace Prize.
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
"I mean, World War II led to peace, right? And Hitler started World War II? Just sayin'..."
OK, that seems kind of bad, but it could still theoretically be just a wacky series of misunderstandings. It wasn't like she was throwing Nazi salutes at Hitler's bunker in 1945 or anything.
Wait, she did that exact thing? Never mind.