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Henry Ford (1863–1947) was an American engineer and businessman whose impact on 20th century transportation and industry was profound. In 1903, he founded the Ford Motor Company, ownership of which would eventually result in Ford becoming one of the richest and most well-known people in the world. In 1908, he introduced the Ford Model T, the first motor car which many middle-class Americans could afford. Consequently, the car changed from being a plaything for the very wealthy to a practical mode of transport. Although he did not invent it, Ford popularized assembly line manufacturing. He introduced a franchise system which allowed Ford dealerships to open around the world.
Ford was also a virulent antisemite, as evidenced by his publication of The International Jew, a series of four pamphlets which reprinted stories that had previously appeared in Ford's newspaper The Dearborn Independent in the early 1920s.
Ford and the Nazis
Although Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf was not inclined to share the spotlight with other people, especially living, non-German ones, he did at one point single out Henry Ford as a person who "still holds out independently" against the International Jewish conspiracy. The use of the word "independent" was no doubt a reference to the Dearborn Independent, Ford's racist rag from which some of Hitler's "reflections" were copied. Hitler also utilised sections of Ford's book, The International Jew (earlier circulated by the Nazis, and translated by them into a dozen languages), verbatim in writing Mein Kampf. A portrait of Ford was displayed prominently in Hitler's private office.  Ford's funds were used to finance the Beer Hall Putsch, and at the subsequent trial in February 1923 vice president Auer of the Bavarian Diet testified:
“” The Bavarian Diet has long had the information that the Hitler movement was partly financed by an American anti-Semitic chief, who is Henry Ford. 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.
In August 1938, Ford received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest Nazi decoration for distinguished foreigners.
The following is excerpted from a report printed by the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1974:
“”Ford was also active in Nazi Germany's prewar preparations. In 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. That year Ford's chief executive received the Nazi German Eagle (first class)....
The outbreak of war in September 1939 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 90 percent of the armored "mule" 3-ton half-trucks and more than 70 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."....
(this next part is especially chilling)After the cessation of hostilities, GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. government for wartime damages sustained by their Axis facilities as a result of Allied bombing... Ford received a little less than $1 million, primarily as a result of damages sustained by its military truck complex at Cologne... 
And now for something completely different
Perhaps the most vile act of Henry Ford's career was his promotion of square dancing. Ever been forced to do a stupid dance to awful country music while in high school? Henry Ford.
Just praise the FSM that the Macarena hadn't been invented yet...
- See the Wikipedia article on Henry Ford.
- Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, Reynal & Hitchcock, New York, 1940, pp. 929 - 930
- Sward, Keith. The Legend of Henry Ford (New York: Russell & Russell, 1968) ISBN 0-8462-1084-3
- Sutton, Antony C. Wall Street and The Rise of Hitler. (Pasadena: G S G & Associates, 1976) ISBN 0-9450-0153-3
- Berlin Hears Ford Is Backing Hitler, The New York Times, 20 December 1922.
- Leonard, Jonathan. The Tragedy of Henry Ford (New York: Putnam, 1932). Also see U.S. State Department Decimal File, National Archives Microcopy M 336, Roll 80, Document 862.00S/6, "Money sources of Hitler," a report from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.
- Logsdon, Jonathan R. Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism: Henry Ford and His War on Jews. The Hanover Historical Review (1999). Hosted at Stock Maven.
- Henry Ford and square dancing