Monday, May 21, 2007
Who Financed Hitler - James Pool
Check out my book on Mein Kampf also. Thanks.
“Who Financed Hitler” 1919-1933
Written by James Pool
By Richard E. Noble
“Hitler was launched on his political career by a wealthy and powerful secret society ... (He) got some of his biggest contributions by first discovering the corrupt dealings between certain big industrialists and prominent ... politicians and then blackmailing the industrialists with threats of exposure ... One of the most important discoveries of this study is the importance of foreign financing in bringing Hitler to power ... most of it came from prominent foreign citizens ... Henry Ford, Mussolini, Grand Duchess Victoria of Russia, Sir Henri Deterding ... Those who financed Hitler, both Germans and the foreigners, are just as responsible for his coming to power as the active Nazis who spread anti-Semitic propaganda or fought in the streets. Yet because of their influence and the power of money, few of them were prosecuted at Nuremberg.”
The above comes from the preface of this book. This is Mr. Pool’s first book on this subject and it deals only with the period from 1919 to 1933. His second book, “Hitler and His Secret Partners” covers the period from 1933 to 1945.
After reading both of these books, I felt that these books should be required reading for every World War II veteran - possibly all veterans. And now I would expand that recommendation to all who have ever fought in any war and to those who may be forced to do so in the future.
Reading such books will help to get through a lot of the “who harr” and hoopla of what most everybody “thinks” war is all about. “Where’s the Money and Follow the Money” are always good questions - and invariably eye-opening.
The introduction gives a brief biography of Hitler’s childhood.
His authoritarian father died when he was fourteen and his much beloved mother a few years later when he was a teenager. He had been a high school dropout and pursued a career as an artist in Vienna. He joins the ranks of the homeless after his mother’s death and returns home to enlist in the German Army with the outbreak of World War I. He resents the Communists, the Jews and the Labor movement - considering them all to be unpatriotic and anti-German and Jew inspired and controlled.
He serves bravely and honorably during World War I - receiving several prestigious medals and awards.
After the loss of the War he resents greatly the Socialist Democratic and Communist takeover of the government. He joins and actively supports the Nationalist/Patriot cause against all Jews, Social Democrats, Labor Unions, and other agents of what he considers Moscow inspired Russian Communism.
Mr. Pool closes his introduction as follows: “If it had not been for the Communist uprisings in Germany, Hitler would probably never have found a receptive audience for the anti-Semitic garbage he had learned in Vienna. Moreover he would not have found so many industrialists, aristocrats, and officers willing to contribute to his cause.”
I interpret this as saying: Communism precipitated an anti-Communist movement which then became the financial support and backing for Hitler and his Nazism.
Hitler while still a full-time paid member of the German army is instructed by his superiors to join the German Workers Party which was started by Anton Drexler, a thirty-five year old railway locksmith. Karl Harrer, a journalist and Thule member is encouraged to lend his support to Drexler to tie in the secret Thule Society to a common laborer and proletarian group, says Pool. This Thule Society connection Hitler neglected to mention in his Mein Kampf, injects Pool.
“Behind the German Workers Party stood its protector and financial sponsor: The Thule society, the most powerful secret organization in Germany.” A footnote continues that the Thule Society is an offshoot of the German Orden who had branches patterned on the Masonic Lodges. “Its name was taken from the mythological land of the north, the ancient Ultima Thule, believed to be the original home of the Germanic race. The Munich branch had been founded during the war by a Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorif, a shadowy individual ... Among the groups members were lawyers, judges, university professors, police officers, aristocrats, physicians, scientists, as well as rich businessmen
Only those who could prove their racial purity for at least three generations were admitted ... the symbol of the Thule society was the swastika ... the society espoused German racial superiority, anti-Semitism, and violent anti-Communism.”
Captain Ernst Roehm leader of a roughneck group of ex-officers and soldiers called “the Iron Fist”, meets Hitler and then also joins the German Workers Party. Roehm was important in adding money arms and men to this struggling group of “patriots”.
The group’s next influential member was Dietrich Eckart - a well-to-do eccentric and writer. He took a crude Adolf under his wing and polished the “lump of coal” and introduced him to more influential people, and social elite.
Next from the old Thule Society came the Russian emigre, Alfred Rosenberg. He was a well educated anti-Communist, anti-Semite and White Russian supporter. He brought money and friends who had been ousted from Russia because of the Communist Revolution.
Next Hitler met and charmed some of the woman of the more socially acceptable. First came Frau Carola Hofman, an elderly woman with influence and money. And then Frau Helene Bechstein, the wife of a piano manufacturer. “With Frau Bechstein’s patronage Hitler would eventually be accepted socially in the highest circles. More important, Helene Bechstein was soon to give him sizable contributions and urge her friends to do likewise.”
On December 18 of 1920 the National Socialist Party acquired it own newspaper the Volkischer Boebachter. The Hitler group had received a large contribution from a General von Epp “... who had access to secret military funds.” He got the balance from several wealthy businessmen. “The major stockholders of the Volkiseher Boebachter had been members of the Thule society.”
Max Amann, a sergeant-major in Hitler’s old regiment ran the newpaper as the Hitler group’s new business manager and Deitrick Eckart took over as editor - both were members of the Thule Society.
By the summer of 1921 the membership of the National Socialist Party had reached three thousand. Hitler then met Admiral Schroeder. The Admiral was Hitler’s first supporter in top military circles. Hitler then experienced some democratic termoil in the rank and file of his party. The party was then reorganized under his leadership and control.
By 1923 Hitler has the funds to purchase a large stockpile of weapons. “In order to purchase a stockpile of weapons and to be able to negotiate a deal with the commanding General of the Army in Bavaria, Hitler must have had the backing and support of powerful wealthy men. Who were they?”
Hitler was growing and so were his storm troopers (S.A.). Who paid for the S.A.? “One of the principal sources ... was the secret paramilitary funds originally set up to finance Free Corps units ... most of the aid was given to Hitler on the initiative of one officer, Captain Ernst Roehm, without the knowledge or approval of his superiors.”
With inflation soaring Nazism was flourishing and along comes Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstaengl ... son of a wealthy cultivated, family that owned an art publishing business in Munich. Hanfstaengl was an anti-Communist. He and Adolf became buddies. “Putzi Hanfstaengl’s ... upper-class home was the first house of its kind in Munich to open its doors to Hitler.”
Then came the Ruhr Valley uprising along with escalating inflation. “In reality, however, inflation was the method chosen by the German government to push off the burden onto the middle class ... Big business found the inflation extremely profitable; mortgages were paid off, bonds retired, and debts wiped out with inflated marks worth only a fraction of their former real value. Hitler was one of the few politicians who correctly assessed inflation as a deliberate campaign to defraud the middle class of their savings.”
During this inflationary catastrophe comes Max Erwin von Scheubner Richter. “According to a note in the official file, he succeeded in raising “enormous sums of money” for the Nazi Party. By 1923 his influence over Hitler was considerable and the party was dependent on him for most of its contacts in high society.” Scheubner-Richter was a wealthy man himself and had connections with big businessmen, bankers and aristocrats. He was also a personal friend of General Ludendorif. He was influential among the White Russians and Russian industrialist in general. The White Russians (somewhat comparable to today’s right wing Cuban refugees “hoped to be able to reconquer Russia if only they could get German help.”
Another influential White Russian was General Vasili Biskupsky. Ex-Russian General Biskupsky was a supporter of Grand Duke Cyril - first cousin to Czar Nicholas II and rightful heir to the crown. Cyril’s wife was Grand Duchess Victoria, granddaughter of Queen Victoria and sister of Queen Marie of Romania. “Once Hitler’s cause was taken up by the Russian grand dukes, counts, and generals he automatically became more acceptable in the eyes of the upper class Germans.
Frau Elisa Bruckman, born princess Cantacuzene of Romania “had a great deal of money and said she made it her mission in life to introduce Hitler to leading industrialists.”
In the putsch of 1922 Hitler found himself and his Free Corps buddies sold out by the aristocrats under the leadership of Dr. Pittinger. Pool claims that this incident changed Hitler’s attitude toward the rich and the famous.
As Hitler had predicted inflation was bankrupting the German middle class - and the nation’s economic standing in the eyes of the world. But the Nazi Party grew and grew as the inflation backed bankruptcy flourished.
Hermann Goering the war hero, commander of the Richthofen Squadron, and German flying ace attended a Hitler lecture and immediately joined Hitler and the Nazi Party. Goering was influential in getting General Ludendorif to back Hitler.
In 1923 Fritz Thyssen came on board. Fritz was chairman of the board of the United Steel Works, the greatest German steel combine. Fritz had been taken prisoner by the Communists in the revolution of 1918-1919. It scared the life out of him.
Up until 1923 “Most of Hitler’s donations came from individuals who were nationalists or anti-Semites and contributed because of ideological motivation. Then came the great American industrialist Henry Ford.
“That Henry Ford, the famous automobile manufacturer, gave money to the National Socialists, directly or indirectly has never been disputed,” said Konrad Heiden, one of the first biographers of Hitler ... In the 1920s, Henry Ford financed the circulation of more anti-Semitic propaganda than Hitler.”
Ford said that he had learned of the Jewish Banking conspiracy which was behind World War I on board the Peace ship that he financed to go to Europe and end that conflict. When that failed he returned home and bought the Dearborn Independent. Ford contended that the Jews were behind a conspiracy to bring on War for profit.
Thomas Edison, also a well known anti-Semite is said to have encouraged and possibly inspired Ford’s anti-Semitism. Ford eventually published a book of his anti-Jewish notions entitled “The International Jew” which he paid to have distributed all over the world and in several different languages - including Arabic. This book has been labeled as the Bible of anti-Semitism and the Nazi philosophy.
Hitler was known to be an admirer of Henry Ford, had a large picture of Ford in his headquarters and gave out free copies of Ford’s book.
Der Hammer, the anti-Semitic publishing house, and its owner Theodore Fritsch, eventually produced 29 printings of the International Jew. “Every school child in Germany came into contact with it many times during his education ... Ford was
frightened by the Russian Revolution and the rapid spread of communism through other countries. If Marxism established itself in America he would obviously be one of the first to suffer. The Communist threat was one of the first topics he discussed in his autobiography ... the most modern weapon in the Jewish arsenal was communism. ‘In Russian bolshevism,’ said Hitler, ‘we must see Jewry’s twentieth-century effort to take world domination unto itself’ ... According to The International Jew, the Russian Revolution was financed in New York by Jewish bankers ... The Germans ... thought the real powers in America, the industrialists, like Ford, secretly approved of their policies.”
The author goes on for one complete chapter making his case that Henry Ford was a Hitler supporter and backer. A much longer and more documented case for Ford’s complicity in the rise of Nazism is found in the book “The American Axis” by Max Wallace.
In 1923 Hitler went to jail as a result of a putsch but “Hitler’s original faithful supporters remained true to him ... He received a continuous profuse supply of gifts from women admirers: flowers, chocolates, cakes and books. After visiting Hitler, Hanfstaengl said: ‘The place looks like a delicatessen ... You could have opened up a flower and fruit and wine shop with all the stuff stacked there. People were sending presents from all over Germany and Hitler had grown visibly fatter on the proceeds.”
[So much for the female insight to the “kinder, gentler” side of the human species.]The German economy was improving - 1924 to 1928 are referred to by historians as a German period of prosperity. “Despite the party’s financial difficulties, it should not be thought that Hitler was living in poverty. His personal income after 1925 was said to have come primarily form the royalties he received on his book and the fees from articles he wrote for the party press. The first volume of Mein Kampf was published in June 1925. It cost (sold for) twelve marks, double the price of the average German book, but despite the high price, Max Amann, the director of the Nazi party publishing house, claimed to have sold 23,000 copies the first year.”
Hitler was getting other moneys but much of it was hidden.
By 1929 Fritz Thyssen was into Hitler big time. Thyssen was one of Germany’s richest men. Thysen feared for his wealth, his factories and his life from the communist agitators in Germany. Thyssen his father and several other industrialists had actually been taken prisoners in 1918 and nearly executed by the Communists. Thyssen was motivated by the Red Threat and his sense of patriotism. He was also arrested by the French at one of his factories in the Rohr Valley. He was charged with inciting the workers to riot. He is quoted as saying: “I am a German and I refuse to obey French orders on German soil.” Thyssen has also written his own book on how he financed Adolf Hitler.
Hitler is most remembered today for his anti-Semitism, authoritarianism, and his militarism but what most middle-class Germans and businessmen of the time respected was his anti-Communism and his fight to overcome the perceived injustice of the Treaty of Versailles. “In retrospect it is clear that the Versailles Treaty was one of the primary causes of the failure of the German democracy.” Hitler was supported by the wealthy also because of his populist appeal and the hope that he could win the working class from the Communists.
Then came the husband of Burtha Krupp - Gustav Krupp von bohlen und Halback - the “Krupp” was added to keep the family name in the business. Krupp was an arms manufacturer - Germany’s biggest and most powerful. “The leaders of the German business community decided it was best to deal with the problem of Versailles in two ways: they would give fill support to Chancellor Stresemann’s attempts to negotiate with the allies for reasonable reform, but at the same time, in case the allies refused to see reason, they could carry out a secret program of rearmament.”
The secret rearmament program became the plan of action. Krupp and German business even cut a deal with the Russians. They helped the Russians with their industries, including arms in exchange for secret training, planning and manufacturing areas on Russian soil.
In relation to Versailles it is interesting to note Winston Churchill’s criticism that after the war the United States actually punished the allies by demanding repayments of war debts and restrictive trade practices while it rewarded Germany with exorbitant loans - loans that were great enough for the Germans to pay their war debts and fines while still having enough left over to reinvest in their industries and infrastructure. But even this stopped with the stock market crash of 1929.
Now the Germans had an “occupying” government and a failed economy. They were desperate. The Nazis fought for the little guy - the farmers, the workers and the middle class land and small business owners. Many of the population considered the Nazis as Germany’s last hope.
The Nazi party was heroic in Germany during the Depression. They fought against the banks and the rich and the powerful on behalf of the farmers and small land owners. They went to farm and land auctions bid against the profiteers and returned the deeds to the rightful owners. If they didn’t have the money they promoted discord and fighting. They were the champion of the “little guy”.
“Germany suffered far more heavily from the world economic crisis than the other advanced industrialized nations. Her industrial production dropped by approximately half ... When the crash came and the creditors began to demand repayment of their loans, Germany had nothing to fall back on and thus quickly found the situation becoming catastrophic.”
The government cut wages and prices. Mills closed and industries shut down. Tent colonies began to flourish and people lost jobs and their ability to pay rent. In Germany at this time they already had unemployment compensation - but soon the checks ran out. Hitler and his Nazi S.A. joined at Thyssen’s encouragement and influence the established Staheim - a powerful, monarchist right wing military organization. Hitler then stepped further to the right. “Democracy has laid the world to ruins,” commented Hitler in opposition to the socialist Strasser, “and nevertheless you want to extend it to the economic sphere. It would be the end of the German economy ... the capitalist have worked their way to the top through their capacity, and on the basis of this selection, which again only proves their higher race, they have the right to lead. Now you want an incapable Government Council or Workers’ Council which has no notion of anything, to have a say: no leader in economic life would tolerate it ... Socialism does not mean that factories must be socialized, only that they may be when they act contrary to the interests of the nation ... What counts is the will and if our will is strong enough we can do anything. We must renew the old German virtues of discipline and self-reliance ... It is not your fault that Germany was defeated in the war and has suffered so much since. You were betrayed in 1918 by Marxists, international Jewish bankers, and corrupt politicians, and these same forces have exploited you ever since, prospering on Germany’s misery. All we need to do is clear out the old gang in Berlin.”
But where did all the money for all this campaigning come from?
“A considerable portion of the campaign funds were produced by the party treasurer, Franz Xavier Schwarz, a skilled accountant.” Schwartz juggled the books, extended assets, mortgaged and delayed legitimate payments. He was betting on Nazi victory at the polls. The Nazi’s won seats and power and legitimacy in the 1930 election. “A strong communist party terrified the upper class, and Hitler presented himself as the only man capable of saving Germany from Bolshevism.” Schwartz’s books and records have never been found.
The first Reich was the Holy Roman Empire established in the year 962 A.D.; the second Reich was founded in 1871 by Bismarck and died with the end of World War I in 1918. Now Hitler began talking of a third Reich that would last for a thousand years.
Believe it or not Hitler seemed to present a certain fascination for the women “Many of the Nazi Party’s most important contributors were women who had been personally won over by Hitler.”
While Hitler worked the women, Roehm worked the army and Goering worked the industrialists and aristocrats and the worse the economy got for the common man the better it was for the Nazis. Thyssen brought Walther Funk on board. “Later when he was tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg by the Allies, Funk admitted that he became a contact man between Hitler and a number of important men in big business ... Funk and his industrialist sponsors wanted what they called “organized capitalism’. In fact, the German economy was ready to be taken over by a strong man. Under the Weimar Republic, prices of raw materials were controlled; government loans were made to owners of the great Prussian estates; key public utilities, the railroads, telephone, telegraph, gas and water supplies were government owned; agriculture was supported by subsides and tariffs; and government funds were made available to private banks that had no capital left after the 1923 inflation. The big banks and large corporations controlled much of the German private industry through the great vertical trusts and 2,500 cartels. Most all businessmen looked to the state to revive the economy during the depression.”
Kurt Ledecke became a sort of ambassador at large soliciting funds wherever possible. He started in Italy with Mussolini and the fascist and then went visiting Henry Ford in the U.S. The majority of American Germans were not sympathetic to the Nazi cause or Hitler, says Pool.
Montague Norman, governor of the Bank of England, was a powerful money man and intensely pro-German. “It is quit certain that Norman did all that he could to assist Hitlerism to gain and maintain political power, operating on the financial plane form his stronghold in Threadneedle Street.”
Lord Beaverbrook the owner of the Daily Express, the Sunday Express, and the Evening Standard was pro-Nazi and opposed to the Versailles Treaty.
Viscount Rothermere, wealthy English newspaper magnate; “Although he was not the only one with an obsession about the dangers of communism, he was one of the few who devoted so much money to the anti-Communist cause. In England, he was a well known backer of the British Union of Fascists, whose members wore black shirts ... Hitler was known to have many sympathizers in British high society, but there was one individual whose importance stood far above the others. This was the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII ... Legend has it that Edward was compelled to abdicate in 1936 due to his refusal to give up “the woman he loved”. However, this issue was used as a facade to conceal the more critical objection - namely his pro-Nazi attitude.”
Henri Deterding, who was he?
He was one of the wealthiest men in the world. He became the director of Royal Dutch-Shell oil company. By 1913 Deterding possessed the controlling interest in the oil fields of Romania, Russia, California, Trinidad, the Dutch Indies, and Mexico. He was pumping oil out of Mesopotamia and Persia ... Deterding aimed to destroy bolshevism ... Deterding had much to gain by financing the Nazis. They were a strong anti-Communist party that was planning to eventually attack Russia and throw out the Bolsheviks ... Italy, America, England, and France were not the only countries from which money was given to the Nazi party ... contributions also flowed from Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Finland, and Czechoslovakia.” Queen Marie of Romania, and King Ferdinand of Bulgaria were also known to be “admirers”.
Otto Dietrich was influential with money and industrial supporters, claims Pool. “At first Dietrich ... was disturbed by Nazi slogans about eliminating ‘unearned income’ and ‘smashing the bondage of interest.” Dietrich was reassured later. “Hitler accepted private property and the role of capital in modern economic life because he recognized these as the economic foundations of our culture.” He opposed only the abuse of capitalism but not capitalism in principle.
On January 27 in Dusseldorf Hitler spoke to wary German Industrialists about his position and goals. “Bolshevism today is not merely a mob storming about in some of our streets in Germany, but it is a conception of the world which is in the act of subjecting to itself the entire Asiatic continent, and which today in the form of a state (Russia) stretches almost from our eastern frontier to Vladivostok ... Bolshevism, if its advance is not interrupted, will transform the world as completely as in times past did Christianity ... Today, we stand at the turning point of Germany’s destiny. If the present course continues Germany will one day land in Bolshevist chaos.”
Communism was the Industrialists and the wealthy’s biggest fear. Much more frightening than War itself “The man must have something,” said Fritz Thyssen. “As a result of the address, which created a deep impression, a number of larger contributions from heavy-industry sources flowed into the treasury of the Nazi Party.” One third of the German population in 1932 was on public assistance. “This degree of poverty, which existed in the most highly industrialized country in Europe, was unparalleled in history.”
Hindenburg, the German general war hero, was Hitler’s opponent for the presidency in 1932. He was labeled as a “deserter” by the Nazis in a vicious political campaign.
Who paid the bills for Hitler’s presidential campaign?
Thyssen and others in the German industrialist community “supplied a significant portion of the money for the Nazi election campaigns.”
You have heard about “a chicken in every pot”, well Hitler went one better. “In the Third Reich, every German girl will find a husband.”
Hindenburg won the election and almost immediately declared that the S.A., S.S. and the Hitler Youth be banned throughout Germany. They disbanded publicly but went underground. Hitler had only begun to fight. “In the Nazi party there was a price tag on everything - admission fees to meetings, membership dues, pamphlets, books, newspapers, flags, uniforms, and insignias of rank. By the early 1930s the quartermaster department of the S. A. had become a big business, selling clothing, equipment and even insurance to thousands of men.” The economist Peter Druker observed in 1939 “The really decisive backing came from sections of the lower middle classes, the farmers, and working class, who were hardest hit ... As far as the Nazi Party is concerned there is good reason to believe that at least three quarters of its funds, even after 1930, came from the weekly dues ... and from the entrance fees to the mass meetings from which members of the upper classes were always conspicuously absent.”
Horace Greeley Hjalmar Schacht began to take an interest in Hitler after the 1932 Prussian elections. “Schacht became president of the Reichsbank in 1923 at the age of forty-six ... and was primarily responsible for devising the method of stopping the runaway inflation by a new currency backed with foreign loans.”
Papen was chancellor under president Hindenburg. Papen opposed Hitler but ... “Afraid that the Nazis might become more belligerent Papen finally lifted the ban against the S.A. on June 15 a state of virtual anarchy now prevailed in the streets of Germany Brownshirts were everywhere ... Their weapons were clubs,
brass knuckles, knives and revolvers.” Riots broke out and gun battles ensued. “At Altona ... the Nazis marched through the working-class neighborhoods of the town and were greeted by (gun) shots from rooftops and windows. They immediately returned fire. Nineteen people were killed and 285 wounded on that day alone.” Papen declared martial law in Berlin and the army moved in with a few armored cars and a handful of men to make the necessary arrests. Now with riots and armed violence and a raging depression the masses were ripe for revolution against the imposed democracy and the failing capitalism. The Nazi proceeded with a Campaign of nationalism.
In the July election the National Socialists (Nazis) took 230 seats in the Reichstag. They were now the most powerful party in the country. “Many nobles and aristocratic land owners would not have supported Hitler if he had not been favored by Kaiser Wilhelm. The Kaiser had given one of his younger sons, Prince August Wilhelm, permission to join the National Socialists party and the S.A. The son-in-law of the Kaiser, the duke of Brunswick, was also a “regular donor” to Hitler.”
Frau Viktoria von Dirksen was a supporter of Crown Prince Wilhelm who was considered an “unprincipled opportunist”. She hoped to see Wilhelm installed as Monarch by Hitler. To the many who wished to see the monarchy restored, Hitler presented himself “as merely the peacemaker of the monarchy. But now von Papen and the Nazis were in a battle for power over the people - at the expense of the “democracy”. Papen was an obvious military dictator and not popular with the Nazis or the Communists. His stern actions were not seen positively by the population. Hitler, on the other hand was very popular in the streets.
In a back room political coup Hitler was appointed chancellor by President Hindenburg and Papen was out. Hitler was now the leader of the most powerful party in Germany and the second most powerful political leader in Germany. “Nazi storm troopers in brown shirts marched past the chancellery in a massive torchlight parade to celebrate Hitler’s triumph ... tens of thousands of disciplined columns.”
My Personal Conclusions:
Fear of Communism or anti-Communism was the chief motivational concept behind the rise of Nazism and Adolf Hitler. From the man in the street to the captains of industry and the nobles and aristocrats the hatred, fear, and spirit of anti-Communism was common.
Patriotism and nationalism were the second strongest motivational characteristics of Hitler contributors inside Germany.
Industrialists, aristocrats, white Russian refugees and wealthy advocates of the capitalist system all around the world found cause in Hitler’s anti-Communism.
The secret Thule Society is for me a new discovery. I had never before read of this group.
The Aryan and the anti-Jewish attitudes seem to be a whole other study. This book would suggest to me that anti-Communism was a bigger motivation for the monetary support of Nazism or Hitlerism.