One of the USA's greatest historical achievements was sending Captain America to punch Adolf Hitler square in the jaw. But what you may not know is that, prior to the U.S. tossing its military might in against the Axis powers, Hitler had a well-known obsession with all things American, from Coca-Cola to Mickey Mouse.
And although we tend to think of Nazi Germany as the very antithesis of truth, justice, and the American way, it turns out that some of the shittiest ideas lurking within the darkest corners of Hitler's shitty evil brain were directly inspired by things he learned from relentlessly studying American culture. Basically, if Hitler is the Joker, America is the Batman who dropped him in a vat of ooze.
We're not saying America was just as bad as the Nazis, or that Americans secretly caused the Holocaust. What we are saying is ...
5The Nazi Propaganda Machine Was Borrowed From Various American Sources
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During the very earliest days of his rise to power, one of Hitler's closest pals was Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl. And we don't mean "close" like "Hitler used to borrow Putzi's lawnmower" close. We mean "close" like "Putzi once made fun of Hitler's mustache" close, or "Putzi helped him edit Mein Kampf" close. Hell, they were "Putzi didn't complain when Hitler wanted to bang his wife" close. That's a better relationship than most of us have with anyone.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R41953 / CC-BY-SA 3.0
"Take mein wife ... please!"
Putzi was a Harvard grad who spent his college years pounding out fight songs on an upright piano at football pep rallies. Indeed, it was this ability to rile up a crowd via music that first ingratiated him with the future Fuehrer in 1923, when Putzi banged out some of his old football marches and sent Hitler prancing about his rundown Munich apartment in an awkward goosestep-dance . Once he calmed down, Hitler demanded that Putzi duplicate the style in penning the Third Reich's official march tunes.
Compare the intros of these two songs. The first is the Harvard fight song; the second is a Nazi youth march written by Putzi:
Suddenly, the Harvard-Yale rivalry doesn't seem so significant.
Not only that, but a document declassified by the CIA in 2001 revealed that the Indy-chilling "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" chant was a direct bastardization of cheerleaders chanting "Harvard! Harvard! Harvard! Rah! Rah! Rah!" Unfortunately for Putzi, however, Hitler's need to convince the masses that genocide was the wave of the future soon outgrew peppy cheers and marching songs. Hitler needed an upgrade, and he found it in the form of Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Nazis' Don Draper.
Goebbels is best known as the guy who gets shot entirely too many times at the end of Inglourious Basterds, but he was also the Nazis' master of propaganda, which was legendarily effective. Where did he get the ideas that put the swastika on the map, and encouraged millions of people to be complicit and/or actively participate in mass murder? American advertising..
Slap some jackboots on Santa and swap out the Coca-Cola logo for a swastika, and you get the idea.
Goebbels learned everything he knew from Edward Bernays, an American public relations consultant known as "the father of public relations" (ironically, Bernays was also Jewish). Goebbels directly cited Bernays' book Crystallizing Public Opinion as his textbook for convincing the German people that the Jews were the source of all their misery and misfortune. Surely, American advertisers were so ashamed by what they'd wrought that they abandoned their Madison Avenue suites and burned their fancy neckties in disgrace, right?
Haha, not at all! In the early days of the Third Reich, American advertisers totally bragged about the effectiveness of the American-inspired German propaganda, because of course they did.
4Hitler's Anti-Semitic Views Were Inspired By Henry Ford
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We've previously discussed how Henry Ford thought Nazis were the bee's knees in the cat's pajamas, but what we didn't point out was just how much Ford's own fucked-up worldview may have influenced the tenets of Nazism in the first place.
See, Henry Ford owned the Dearborn Independent, an anti-Semitic and conspiracy theory-laden newspaper distributed throughout his vast network (by which we mean he forced his car dealerships to hand out his frothingly racist "newspaper" to anyone they could). Nowhere is Ford's outlook on Jews clearer than in the essay "The Jewish Question -- Fact or Fancy?," which posited that, "The Jew has been too long accustomed to think of himself as exclusively the claimant on the humanitarianism of society." Ford also once famously claimed that "The Jews are the scavengers of the world. Wherever there's anything wrong with a country, you'll find the Jews on the job there."
via Detroit Jewish News
"... and don't even get me started on the havoc they've wreaked on my fantasy baseball league."
In the early 1920s, Ford collected four entire volumes of his batshittiest rantings and published them under the vague title The International Jew. Presumably mistaking this for a spy thriller, Hitler picked up a German translation of the book well before he ever began his own masterwork, Mein Kampf. As expected, Hitler fucking loved The International Jew, so much so that he straight-up plagiarized it. James Pool, author of Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power, 1919-1933, pointed out that, "There is a great similarity between The International Jew and Hitler's Mein Kampf, and some passages are so identical that it has been said Hitler copies directly from Ford's publication."
Of particular interest to Hitler were Ford's ideas that the Jews were morally and mentally "defective," along with his observation that Germany was the number two nation (the USA being number one) at risk of succumbing to Jewish domination. Hitler even kept a life-sized portrait of Henry Ford next to his desk like a fucking John Elway FatHead decal a full two years before his rise to chancellor. When a Detroit News reporter asked him why it was there, Hitler explained, "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration."