Saturday, March 28, 2009

Henry Ford

Stephen Ambrose, in his Citizen Soldiers, tells of how upset the GIs were to see the enemy coming toward them riding Ford trucks (and Opel trucks and planes, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM). Henry Ford has a number of troubling connections with the Nazis, many of which have been well publicized, from the inclusion of excerpts of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the glove compartments of new cars to his outspoken admiration for Hitler to his acceptance of the Grand Cross of the German Eagle in July 1938, four months after the Austrian Anschluss.

As the Washington Post points out in a detailed article, worth reading, on the deep connections between the two, when one thinks of Ford, the image is of baseball and apple pie and not that Hitler had a portrait of Henry Ford on his office wall in Munich, which he did. Company documents found when the German Ford slave-labor factories were liberated spoke of the "genius of the Führer." The final insult, most amazing to consider, came after the war, when both GM and Ford petitioned the US Government for reparations for their German facilities due to Allied bombing. And, although one might simply think to laugh off such a ludicrous proposal, GM was in fact paid $32 million, a cool $380 million inflation adjusted.

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