Henry Ford was born in 5623/1863, grew up on farm in Michigan and learnt in a one-room schoolhouse. His lack of schooling was sometimes evident in his later life, despite the fact that he had tremendous mechanical and organizational genius. In 5651/1891, he became chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. There, he finally found enough time and money to devote to his passion – tinkering with machinery. Motors fascinated Ford from the start. His experiments culminated in the building of his first car, the “quadricycle,” that looked like a baby stroller on bicycle wheels and was steered with a tiller, like a boat.
But most Jews only know Ford as an anti-Semite. As a contemporary report put it, “His criticism of Jews and a certain tolerance of German nationalism during World War II have left him with the reputation of an anti-Semite.”
AN IGNORANT GENIUS
Ford’s chief contribution to the car industry was standardization. His cars were identical to one another. His next grand innovation was the concept of a production line. Inaugurated in 5673/1913, a complete car could roll off the line every ten seconds.
Part of Ford’s ambition was not only to pay his workers enough money to afford his cars, but to reeducate them as well. To further this end, he created his own newspaper, the “Dearborn Independent.” One of the paper’s main themes was the notion that the Jews were part of a conspiracy to seize world power. This idea was first publicized by the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” produced by Russia’s secret police at the turn of the century and soon proved to be a forgery.
The paper’s editor, Cameron, printed article after article, falsifying history, to prove that white Anglo-Saxons were elite members of the human race. A typical paragraph ran as follows:
“The Fathers of our nation were the men of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic race. The men who came from Europe with civilization in their blood and in their destiny; the men who crossed the Atlantic and set up civilization on a bleak and rock-bound coast; the men who drove north to Alaska and west to California; the men who opened up the tropics and subdued the Arctic; the men who mastered the African veldt; the men who peopled Australia and seized the gates of the world at Suez, Gibraltar and Panama – they are the Ruling People, chosen throughout the centuries to Master the world, by building it ever better and better, and not by breaking it down.”
Cameron also claimed the existence of a mythical Jewish state that he named All-Judaan.
“It can make war,” he wrote, “it can make peace. It can command anarchy in stubborn cases, it can restore order. It holds the sinews of world power in its hand and it apportions them among the nations in such ways as will best support All-Judaan’s plan.”
SUPPORTING THE NAZIS
The eighty-one editions of Cameron’s papers were printed as a book and parts of it, in German translation, are even quoted by Hitler in his “Mein Kampf.”
“Every year makes [the Jews] more and more the controlling masters of the producers in a nation (America) of one hundred and twenty millions,” Hitler declared. “Only a single great man, Ford, to their fury, still maintains full independence.”
A New York Times report, from December 20, 5682/1922, added further evidence of the mutual admiration between the two men:
“The wall behind his desk in Hitler’s private office is decorated with a large picture of Henry Ford. In the antechamber, there is a large table covered with books, nearly all of which are translations of a book written and published by Henry Ford.”
After Hitler tried to take seize power in Bavaria, in his “Beer Hall Putsch,” a subsequent trial revealed that Ford was an ardent admirer of Hitler.
“The Bavarian Diet has long had the information that the Hitler movement was partly financed by an American anti- Semitic chief, Henry Ford,” the VicePresident of the Bavarian governing body testified. “Mr. Ford’s interest in the Bavarian anti-Semitic movement began a year ago when one of Mr. Ford’s agents, seeking to sell tractors, came in contact with Diedrich Eichart, the notorious Pan- German. Shortly after, Herr Eichart asked Mr. Ford’s agent for financial aid. The agent returned to America and immediately Mr. Ford’s money began coming to Munich. Herr Hitler openly boasts of Mr. Ford’s support and praises Mr. Ford as a great individualist and a great anti-Semite”
Then, suddenly, after years of defaming the Jews, in 5687/1927, Ford purportedly issued a written apology for his paper’s activities. Had Ford changed his mind?
Ford felt that farms should be owned by a large number of small farmers. His paper once accused a Jew, Aaron Sapiro, who was establishing vast farming cooperatives, of being part of a conspiracy to grab everything from the gentiles. Sapiro sued Ford for a million dollars.
Although Ford hired the best legal defense money could buy and harassed Sapiro in numerous ways, including accusing him of trying to bribe jurors, Sapiro refused to budge. Finally, the trial reached the stage where Ford himself was summoned to the witness stand. Ford was not enthusiastic about being questioned in public because, on a previous court appearance, he had displayed an abysmal ignorance of history.
To escape humiliation, Ford and a Jewish leader, Louis Marshall, arranged that the trial would be called off – if Ford signed the following apology:
“To my great regret, I have learned that Jews generally, and particularly those of this country, not only resent these publications as promoting anti-Semitism, but regard me as their enemy. 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.”
The signed apology was published and the case was closed. What no one knew was that Ford never actually signed it.
“In (5700) 1940, I interviewed Mr. Ford on numerous occasions,” Ford’s friend, Gerald L.K. Smith, revealed years later. “It was on the occasion of one of these personal visits with Mr. Ford that he gave me a sensational and shocking report. He said, “Mr. Smith, my apology for publishing ‘The International Jew’ was given great publicity but I did not sign that apology. It was signed by Harry Bennett (a manager).”
Harry Bennett admitted this in his book about Ford, “We Never Called Him Henry.”
“I entered into negotiations with Samuel Untermeyer and Louis Marshall of that organization, and with Brisbane. They drew up the now-famous ‘apology,’ which was to be the basis for a settlement. In this formal statement, it was said that Mr. Ford would see to it that no more anti-Semitic material circulated in his name and that he would call in all undistributed copies of ‘The International Jew,’ which were booklet reprints of the
[Dearborn] Independent’s articles. For the rest, the ‘apology’ said that Mr. Ford had had no knowledge of what had been published in the Dearborn Independent, and was ‘shocked’ and ‘mortified’ to learn about it.
“Arthur Brisbane brought this statement to me at 1710 Broadway. I phoned Mr. Ford. I told him an ‘apology’ had been drawn up, and added ‘It’s pretty bad, Mr. Ford.’ I tried to read it to him over the phone but he stopped me.
“So I signed Mr. Ford’s signature to the document. I had always been able to sign his name as realistically as he could himself. I sent the statement to Untermeyer and Marshall. The signature was verified, and the case was closed.”
In light of this it is not strange that, eleven years later, Ford accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, First Class, on his seventy-fifth birthday, in 5698/1938.
After a public furor, Ford apologized again.
“My acceptance of a medal from the German people,” he explained, “does not, as some people seem to think, involve any sympathy on my part with Nazism. Those who have known me for many years realize that anything that breeds hate is repulsive to me.”
Ford made money by supplying vehicles, both to the Nazis and the Allies.
“The activities of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, prior to and during World War II, are instructive,” a U.S. government report revealed. “At that time, these three firms dominated motor vehicle production in both the United States and Germany. In short, they were private governments unaccountable to the citizens of any country yet possessing tremendous influence over the course of war and peace in the world.
“The substantial contribution of these firms to the American war effort in terms of tanks, aircraft components, and other military equipment is widely acknowledged. Less well known are the simultaneous contributions of their foreign subsidiaries to the Axis Powers. In summary, they maximized profits by supplying both sides with the materiel needed to conduct the war…
“Ford was also active in Nazi Germany’s prewar preparations. In (5698)1938, for instance, it opened a truck assembly plant in Berlin whose ‘real purpose,’ according to U.S. Army Intelligence, was producing ‘troop transport-type’ vehicles for the Wehrmacht.
“The outbreak of war in September (5699)1939,” continued the report, “resulted inevitably in the full conversion by GM and Ford of their Axis plants to the production of military aircraft and trucks. On the ground, GM and Ford subsidiaries built nearly ninety percent of the armored ‘mule’ 3- ton half-trucks and more than seventy percent of the Reich’s medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American intelligence reports, served as ‘the backbone of the German Army transportation system.’”
By the time of his death, in 5707/1947, Ford had changed the traveling habits of the American people. But he simultaneously left a bad taste in the mouths of those who remember this lesser-known history.