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The Rothschild family is a family of German Jewish bankers who have accumulated vast sums of wealth over the past two centuries. Jewish banker conspiracy theories often trace the entire international conspiracy back to the Rothschilds. The name Rothschild is derived from the German "Rotschild," or "red shield." Heavy use of the term "red shields" is a good sign you're in the more conspiratorial and anti-Semitic neighborhood of the Internet.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a court Jew to the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel in the Free City of Frankfurt was the first in the family to gain prominence as a banker, and soon his brothers had opened their own bank branches as well. By the end of the 18th century, they had already started to amass a huge fortune. In the early 1800s, Jews were granted equal rights as citizens in German provinces. This caused an uprising known as the Hep-Hep riots, an outburst of Anti-Semitism in which two Rothschild houses were targeted. The Rothschilds just kept on making money, though. Their name became associated with excessive interest, at a time when making money on loans was considered uncouth or blasphemous.
Because the family had branches in multiple European countries by the 19th century, there were suspicions that they traded on inside information which would have allowed them to pull off a number of financial dick moves. These suspicions, coupled with the rampant Antisemitism of the day, led to falsehoods which continue to this day, including the myth that Nathan Rothschild witnessed the battle of Waterloo and was able to make a killing on the stock market by getting to London before everyone else.
 Conspiracy theories
Mind-bogglingly rich Jewish bankers who funded wars and had a multinational network all the way back in the 18th century? Ripe for conspiracy theorizing!
Conspiracy theories about the family have been around for over 150 years. Usually, the main accusation made by theorists is that they're playing both sides of every conflict, ever. The Napoleonic Wars, the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, World War II, etc. In these theories, all sides of each war were merely puppets of the Rothschilds, who would make exorbitant amounts of cash from repeatedly prodding nations into a cycle of endless warfare. These conspiracies originated with Georges Dairnvaell, a propagandist in the mid-1800's who hoped to advance his own antisemitic agenda. However, they continue to this day.
The Rothschild conspiracy theory received a state endorsement by the Nazis. Erich Waschneck made the film Die Rothschilds (international title The Rothschilds' Shares in Waterloo) which portrays the Rothschild family as profiting hugely from the Napoleonic wars.The film ends with a burning Star of David over a map of Europe, because the Nazis were all about the subtle allusion.
Alex Jones, Lyndon LaRouche, and many other conspiracy theorists view the Rothschilds as helping to create the framework for the New World Order. Their name often gets attached to any old NWO, Illuminati, or one world government theory. They're so sneaky they got Trump to nominate one of their ex-top employees as secretary of Commerce. Don't expect any outcry from Infowars. (His name is Trump, not Trumpstein. Clearly he can't be a (((globalist))).)
This, of course, is nonsense. While the Rothschilds did make money by financing arms deals, they also had tons of money in bond markets. Political instability was bad for business because it would destabilize the bond markets. After the Franco-Prussian war, Prussia imposed demands for extremely harsh reparations on France. The Rothschilds, not wanting France to go bankrupt and declare war on Prussia, swooped in and bailed out the entire country with the help of other investors. During World War II, Adolf Hitler seized the Rothschilds' property and drove them from Germany — pretty sneaky, considering Hitler was supposed to be their puppet. In reality, the power of the family went into decline by World War I as American Wall Street based financiers began to overtake them.
Of course, in conspiracy-land, the ascendancy of the Wall Street firms was all part of the plan. The first step was in creating the Federal Reserve to concentrate power in their hands even further, so they would own the US as well as Europe. Then they took over the UN, they own the World Bank and IMF, all of it. They are the puppetmasters, and we are their puppets.
Back in reality, the Rothschilds aren't guilty of anything besides some dirty financial games and being obscenely rich, assuming you think being obscenely rich is something to be guilty about. They also do great wine.
 See also
- Fractional-reserve banking
- International Jewish Conspiracy
- Lynn Forester de Rothschild
- Political Vel Craft
- Goldman Sachs
- Rockefeller conspiracy theories
- snopes on the Rothschild's net worth
- Rothschild archive
- Debunking claims about Rothschild ownership of the Federal Reserve and various other bank branches
- The family that bankrolled Europe, BBC
- An American Nightmare by Steve Hochstadt
- The Rothschilds' Shares in Waterloo (Die Rothschilds Aktien auf Waterloo) Viciously anti-Semitic propaganda film by the Nazis depicting a highly fictionalized history of the Rothchild family.
- The American Dream, more conspiracy, but now in cartoon form.
- House of Rothschild by Niall Ferguson. Review and excerpt in the NY Times Book Review.
- Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, ed. Peter Knight