Monday, August 01, 2005

Corporate Deals With Nazi Germany

Henry Ford, a notorious anti-Semite, formed a kind of mutual admiration society with Adolf Hitler. The German dictator enthusiastically applauded American mass-production techniques. "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration," declared Hitler, who kept a life-size portrait of the American industrialist next to his desk. In 1938, Ford accepted the highest medal that Nazi Germany could award a foreigner, the Grand Cross of the German Eagle...

...After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan commented that the Nazis’ behavior "should not be considered the business of the management of General Motors." The GM plant in Germany was highly profitable. "We have no right to shut down that plant," Sloan declared.

"When American GIs liberated the Ford plants in Cologne and Berlin, they found destitute foreign workers confined behind barbed wire and company documents extolling the ‘genius of the Fuhrer,’" writes Michael Dobbs.

Shamelessly, after the war both GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. government for damage to their German plants caused by Allied bombing. In 1967, GM was compensated with $33 million from the U.S. government for the American bombing of its Russelsheim plant.


Post a Comment

<< Home