WWII & Holocaust Could Never Have Happened Without American Corporations Investing & Joint Venturing with Hitler’s Poor Nazi Germany – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – Profiting Well with Hitler – Hitler’s Rule Was Especially Profitable For American Corporatocracy’s Enterprises and Joint Ventures with Nazi Germany     


On March 4th of 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. The following reports about Hitler’s draconic economic policies benefiting US corporations are excerpted from Profits “Über Alles!” by Jacques R. Pauls, GlobalResearch, 6/8/2004. [35]

Hitler’s first major initiative was to dissolve the labour unions and to throw Communists, and many militant Socialists, into prisons and the first concentration camps, which were specifically set up to accommodate the overabundance of left-wing political prisoners.

This ruthless measure not only removed the threat of revolutionary change — embodied by Germany’s Communists — but also emasculated the German working class and transformed it into a powerless “mass of followers” Gefolgschaft, to use Nazi terminology, which was unconditionally put at the disposal of their employers, the Thyssens and Krupps and most if not all firms in Germany, including American branch plants.

In Nazi Germany, real wages indeed declined rapidly, while profits increased correspondingly, but there were no labour problems worth mentioning, for any attempt to organize a strike immediately triggered an armed response by the Gestapo, resulting in arrests and dismissals. This was the case in GM’s Opel factory in Rüsselsheim in June 1936. As the Thuringian teacher and anti-fascist resistance member Otto Jenssen wrote after the war, Germany’s corporate leaders were happy “that fear for the concentration camp made the German workers as meek as lapdogs.” [36The owners and managers of American corporations with investments in Germany were no less enchanted, and they openly expressed their admiration or Hitler — as did the chairman of General Motors, William Knudsen, and ITT-boss Sosthenes Behn. Knudsen described Nazi Germany after a visit there in 1933 as “the miracle of the twentieth century.” [37] 

With lucrative government contracts thanks to Hitler’s rearmament drive, the Ford-Werke’s annual profits rose spectacularly from 63,000 Reichsmarks in 1935 to 1,287,800 RM in 1939. GM’s Opel factory in Rüsselsheim near Mainz fared even better. Thanks to the economic boom caused by Hitler’s rearmament program, Earnings of 35 million RM — almost 14 million dollars (US) — were recorded in 1938. [38] In 1939, on the eve of the war, the next chairman of GM, Alfred P. Sloan, publicly justified doing business in Hitler’s Germany by pointing to the highly profitable nature of GM’s operations under the Third Reich. [16] (Jacques R. Pauls, “Profits Über Alles!”)

In 1933, the year Hitler came to power, IBM Dehomag made a profit of one million dollars, and during the early Hitler years the German branch plant paid IBM in the US some 4.5 million dollars in dividends. [39]

(On a personal experience note, your author, born in Detroit in 1931, remembers his childhood home as a basement one room apartment without windows, his dad, laid off from work at General Motors, selling apples on a street corner all the while huge investments by American corporations were putting people back to work in Hitler’s Nazi Germany.)

American firms with branch plants in Germany were not the only ones to profit well from Hitler’s rearmament drive. Germany was stockpiling oil in preparation for war, and much of this oil was supplied by American corporations. Texaco profited greatly from its sales to Nazi Germany, and not surprisingly its chairman, Torkild Rieber, became yet another powerful American entrepreneur who admired Hitler. Rieber also became a personal friend of Göring, Hitler’s economic czar. [40]

The Ford corporation not only produced for the Nazis in Germany itself, but also exported partially assembled trucks directly from the US to Germany. These vehicles were assembled in the Ford-Werke in Cologne and were ready in time to be used in the spring of 1939, during  Hitler’s occupation of the part of Czechoslovakia that had not been ceded to him in the Munich Agreement of the previous year. The engines for the brand new ME-262, the first jet fighter, were assembled by GM’s Opel in Rüsselsheim. [41]

Throughout the 1930’s corporate profits in the US remained depressed, at home firms like GM and Ford could only dream of the kind of riches their branch plants in Germany were accumulating thanks to Hitler. In addition, at home corporate America experienced problems with labour activists, Communists, and other radicals. ITT continued to supply Germany with advanced communication systems after Pearl Harbor, to the detriment of the Americans themselves, whose diplomatic code was broken by the Nazis with the help of such equipment. [42] Until the very end of the war, ITT’s production facilities in Germany as well as in neutral countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain provided the German armed forces with state-of-the-art weapons.[43]

Many US corporations maintained offices in Switzerland that served as intermediaries between stateside headquarters and their subsidiaries in enemy or occupied countries, and that were also involved in “profit funneling,” as Edwin Black writes in connection with the Swiss branch of IBM. [44]

For the purpose of profit repatriation, corporations could also call on the experienced services of the Paris branches of some American banks, such as Chase Manhattan and J.P. Morgan, and of a number of Swiss banks. Chase Manhattan was part of the Rockefeller empire, as was Standard Oil, IG Farben’s American partner; its branch in German-occupied Paris remained open throughout the war and profited handsomely from close collaboration with the German authorities. On the Swiss side there also happened to be some financial institutions involved that — without asking difficult questions — took care of the gold robbed by the Nazis from their Jewish victims. (“IBM and the Holocaust,” Edwin Black) [44]

Some Entrepreneurs Sought Fascism in America 

In  his book The Flivver King, Upton Sinclair described the notoriously anti-Semitic Henry Ford dreaming of an American fascist movement that “pledged to put down the Reds and preserve the property interests of the country; to oust the Bolshevik [Roosevelt] from the White House and all his pink professors from the government services … [and] to make it a shooting offense to talk communism or to call a strike.” [45]

Other American tycoons also yearned for a fascist savior who might rid America of its “reds” and thus restore prosperity and profitability. Du Pont provided generous financial support to America’s own fascist organizations, such as the infamous Black Legion. [35][46] A movie titled Black Legion’ was praised by critics for its dramatization of a dark social phenomenon. It was one of several films of this period in opposition to fascist and racist organizations [47]

William E. Dodd, ambassador to Germany,  in 1936, in a letter to President Roosevelt wrote: “A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime…. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extend aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there.” [48]

Hitler’s Rule Was Profitable for American Investors

  1. Dr. Jacques R. Pauwels, ”Profits über Alles! American Corporations and Hitler,” Review Article, By ,Global Research, June 07, 2019, Global Research8 June 2004
  2. Cited by Manfred Overesch in Machtergreifung von links:Thüringen 1945/46 (German Edition) (Hildesheim Germany 1993), p. 64 ‘and As the Thuringian teacher and anti-fascist resistance member Otto Jenssen wrote after the war, “Germany’s corporate leaders were happy ‘that fear for the concentration camp made the German workers as meek as lapdogs.”
  3. Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy: The Nazi-American Money Plot(Dell Publishing   1933ý1949 Paperback – March 27, 2007) p. 163
  4. Stephan H. Lindner, “Das Reichskommissariat für die Behandlung feindliches Vermögens im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Eine Studie zur Verwaltungs-, Rechts- and Wirtschaftsgeschichte des nationalsozialistischen Deutschlands” (Stuttgart 1991), p. 121; Simon Reich, “The Fruits of Fascism: Postwar Prosperity in Historical Perspective” (Cornell Studies in Political Economy) (Ithaca, NY and London 1990), p 109, 117, 247; and Ken Silverstein, “Ford and the Führer,” The Nation, 24 January 2000


on.net – Making Sense of History

  1. Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation(London: Crown Publishers, 2001
  2. Tobias Jersak, “Öl für den Führer,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11 February 1999

41.Profits “Über Alles!” American Corporations and Hitler by JR Pauwels, 2003;

Bradford Snell, “GM and the Nazis,” Ramparts, (June 1974); Anita Kugler, “Das Opel-Management,” 53, and 67; Kugler, “Flugzeuge für den Führer. Deutsche ‘Gefolgschaftsmitglieder’ und ausländische Zwangsarbeiter im Opel-Werk in Rüsselsheim 1940 bis 1945, in Heyl and Neugebauer, “… ohne Rücksicht auf die Verhältnisse,” 69–92


Ken Silverstein, “Ford and the Führer,” Research assistance provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute, The Nation, January 6, 2000, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/ford-and-fuhrer/

  1. Higham, Trading With the Enemy, p. 112
  2. Charles Higham offers specifics in his Trading with the Enemy
  3. Black, p.73; Hans G, Helms, Ford und die Nazis. In: Zwangsarbeit bei Ford. Dokumentation, (ed. Projektgruppe „Messelager“ im Verein EL-DE-Haus e.V. Cologne) p. 115
  4. Upton Sinclair, The Flivver King: A Story of Ford-America (Pasadena, CA 1937), p.236; Ken Silverstein, “Ford and the Führer: New Documents Reveal the Close Ties Between Dearborn and the Nazis,” The Nation, Published on: 24 January 2000
  5. Black Legionis a 1937 American crime drama film, directed by Archie Mayo, with a script by Abem Finkel and William Wister Haines based on an original story by producer Robert Lord. The film stars Humphrey Bogart, Dick Foran, Erin O’Brien-Moore and Ann Sheridan. It is a fictionalized treatment of the historic Black Legion of the 1930s in Michigan, a white vigilante group. A third of its members lived in Detroit, which had also been a center of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.
  6. The Corporate State and the Broker State:The Du Ponts and American National Politics, (1925–1940. Harvard University Press) ISBN 0-674-17272-8.
  7. quoted in Facts and Fascism, by George Seldes, and Trading with the Enemy, by Charles Higham, 1937, p.167

J. Jankovsky-Novak alias Jay Janson , spent eight years as Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and also toured, including with Dan Tai-son, who practiced in a Hanoi bomb shelter. The orchestra was founded by Ho Chi Minh,and it plays most of its concerts in the Opera House, a diminutive copy of the Paris Opera. In 1945, our ally Ho, from a balcony overlooking the large square and flanked by an American Major and a British Colonel, declared Vietnam independent. Everyone in the orchestra lost family, “killed by the Americans” they would mention simply, with Buddhist un-accusing acceptance. Jay can be reached at: [email protected].

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