Henry FordHenry Ford was a racist, unionbusting, Hitler-loving slavedriver who built a vast empire around the mass-production of automobiles. But since the company he founded became such a powerhouse, people rationalize his misdeeds in order to maintain the fiction that he was some manner of American hero.
Open up any schoolkid's U.S. history textbook and you will find a bowlderized biography of Henry Ford. Ironically, he felt nothing but contempt for that general subject. As he told a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1916:
"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history we make today."
Which might have come across as sounding pragmatic and visionary if he weren't just your typical fuckwitted crank. After the Tribune printed an editorial basically saying just that, Ford responded with a libel suit. When the case finally wound up in court, Ford's pathetic ignorance was exposed on the witness stand:
"Have there ever been any revolutions in this country?"
So he wasn't great with the details. But if there was one thing he knew about history, it was that the Jews were always trying to screw everybody else. Unlike most anti-semites, Henry Ford was fairly open about his beliefs, and was eager to proselytize. Also unlike most anti-semites, Ford had a gigantic personal fortune to spend on doing just that.
In 1920, Ford announced to a New York World reporter:
"The international financiers are behind all war. They are what is called the International Jew—German Jews, French Jews, English Jews, American Jews. I believe that in all these countries except our own the Jewish financier is supreme... Here, the Jew is a threat."
Shortly thereafter Ford directed his weekly house organ, The Dearborn Independent, to launch an editorial column called "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem." The series ran for 81 issues. Many of the columns had been based on the fraudulent Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. (Which is somewhat perplexing, since Ford was a Freemason and The Protocols claims that the Masons are working in league with the Jews to control the world.)
The Dearborn Independent was distributed nationwide to Ford dealer showrooms and was offered free of charge to the general public. At its peak, circulation reached 700,000 readers. Later, "The International Jew" articles were collected and bound into booklets, which were then circulated across the country to virtually every major library. A translation of The International Jew found a tremendous following in Germany. In fact, during his Nuremberg trial, Hitler Youth leader Baldur Von Shirach attributed his own anti-semitic awakening to reading the book.
In 1927, Ford finally had to cease publication and issue an apology to the American Jewish Committee. In the written statement, Ford claimed to have been unaware of the anti-semitic nature of his newspaper. The statement went on to say:
Had I appreciated even the general nature, to say nothing of the details of these utterances, I would have forbidden their circulation without a moment's hesitation . . .
What nobody knew at the time was Henry Ford never wrote that apology. He didn't even sign it. The letter had been composed by the chairman of the American Jewish Committee himself, and signed by one of Ford's aides. It was just part of a negotiated settlement for a libel lawsuit. The Dearborn Independent had accused a prominent labor organizer of being part of a conspiracy of "Jewish bankers" to seize control of national wheat production and turn it over to the Communists. The organizer filed a $1 million libel suit against Ford, who chose to settle rather than face another humiliating ordeal in the witness stand.
By this time, Ford had already racked up an abominable labor relations record. Which is a hard thing for many people to believe, since he was famous for instituting the five-dollar minimum wage. What nobody seems to remember is that the Ford company subsequently rescinded that wage. And that it was only available to married WASPs of high moral character who submitted their homes to surveillance by the Ford Motor Company. This didn't exactly endear Ford to the labor unions, and that antipathy was reciprocated. Ford believed the unions were controlled by Jewish Communists, so he did his best to break them.
In 1937, after GM and Chrysler both negotiated contracts with the unions, Ford announced: "We'll never recognize the United Automobile Workers Union or any other union." In May of that year, 60 UAW members and some local journalists were jumped by a large contingent of Ford security goons outside a plant in Dearborn, Michigan. One of the union men died four months later from his injuries. The incident was widely reported in the news media, and was known as "The Battle of the Overpass."
During the fallout, the National Labor Relations Board found Ford Motor Company in violation of the Wagner Act, which jeopardized millions of dollars in federal contracts. Still, Ford would continue to hold out for another four years, before finally giving in. Ford Motor Company became the last Detroit automaker to recognize the UAW.
In 1922, the New York Times reported that Henry Ford had made large financial donations to Adolf Hitler's political campaign in Bavaria. Upton Sinclair, in his book The Flivver King, stated that Ford's contributions had amounted to no less than $70,000. Hitler openly praised Ford and had a large portrait of him hanging in his office.
In 1938, after the Nazis rose to power, Ford received a special birthday present from Hitler. The Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle (Grosskreuz des Deutschen Adlerordens) was the highest honor the Reich could bestow on a foreigner. On Henry's 75th birthday, two representatives of the German government came to his office in Dearborn, Michigan and presented him the medal. It was accompanied by a personal greeting from Hitler himself.
Ford proudly accepted the honor, and never relinquished it. Not after Germany started World War II, not after America was attacked by Japan, not even after the depravities of the Holocaust were revealed. Throughout the war, Jewish groups had unsuccessfully urged Ford to return his medal, as the head of IBM had done. Ford had a better idea. He decided they would have to pry it from his cold, dead, Jew-hating hands.