I Paid Hitler, by "Fritz Thyssen"

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

I Paid Hitler, by "Fritz Thyssen"

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 9:36 pm

I Paid Hitler
by "Fritz Thyssen"
translated from the original by Cesar Saerchinger



Table of Contents: [PDF HERE]

• Publisher's Foreword
• Author's Foreword
o 1. My Escape from Germany
o 2. Final Rupture with Hitler
o 3. The End of a Political Error
o 1. Defeat and Revolution
o 2. National Humiliation
o 3. My First Meeting with Hitler
o 4. The Fight Against the Young Plan
o 5. My Personal and Financial Relations with the Nazi Party
o 6. The Nazis' Road to Power
o 1. Attempts at Co-operation with the Nazis
o 2. Nazi Economy after the Transition Period
o 3. Nazi Quack Economy
o 4. Adolf Hitler Has Failed
o 5. Nazi Organised Graft
o 6. The Anti-Jewish Campaign and the Concentration Camps
o 7. The Catholic Question
o 1. Fraudulent Nazi Finance
o 2. Germany at War: the Chinks in Her Armour
o 3. The Place of the Two Germanies in a United Europe
• APPENDIX: Short biographical sketches of the principal persons named in this book

CHAPTER SEVEN: Who Financed Adolf Hitler?

The funding of Hitler and the Nazi movement has yet to be explored in exhaustive depth. The only published examination of Hitler's personal finances is an article by Oron James Hale, "Adolph Hitler: Taxpayer, [1] which records Adolph's brushes with the German tax authorities before he became Reichskanzler. In the 1920s Hitler presented himself to the German tax man as merely an impoverished writer living on bank loans, with an automobile bought on credit. Unfortunately, the original records used by Hale do not yield the source of Hitler's income, loans, or credit, and German law "did not require self-employed or professional persons to disclose in detail the sources of income or the nature of services rendered." [2] Obviously the funds for the automobiles, private secretary Rudolf Hess, another assistant, a chauffeur, and expenses incurred by political activity, came from somewhere. But, like Leon Trotsky's 1917 stay in New York, it is hard to reconcile Hitler's known expenditures with the precise source of his income.

Some Early Hitler Backers

We do know that prominent European and American industrialists were sponsoring all manner of totalitarian political groups at that time, including Communists and various Nazi groups. The U.S. Kilgore Committee records that:

By 1919 Krupp was already giving financial aid to one of the reactionary political groups which sowed the seed of the present Nazi ideology. Hugo Stinnes was an early contributor to the Nazi Party (National Socialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei). By 1924 other prominent industrialists and financiers, among them Fritz Thyssen, Albert Voegler, Adolph [sic] Kirdorf, and Kurt von Schroder, were secretly giving substantial sums to the Nazis. In 1931 members of the coalowners' association which Kirdorf headed pledged themselves to pay 50 pfennigs for each ton of coal sold, the money to go to the organization which Hitler was building. [3]

Hitler's 1924 Munich trial yielded evidence that the Nazi Party received $20,000 from Nuremburg industrialists. The most interesting name from this period is that of Emil Kirdorf, who had earlier acted as conduit for financing German involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution. [4] Kirdorf's role in financing Hitler was, in his own words:

In 1923 I came into contact for the first time with the National-Socialist movement .... I first heard the Fuehrer in the Essen Exhibition Hall. His clear exposition completely convinced and overwhelmed me. In 1927 I first met the Fuehrer personally. I travelled to Munich and there had a conversation with the Fuehrer in the Bruckmann home. During four and a half hours Adolf Hitler explained to me his programme in detail. I then begged the Fuehrer to put together the lecture he had given me in the form of a pamphlet. I then distributed this pamphlet in my name in business and manufacturing circles.

Since then I have placed myself completely at the disposition of his movement. Shortly after our Munich conversation, and as a result of the pamphlet which the Fuehrer composed and I distributed, a number of meetings took place between the Fuehrer and leading personalities in the field of industry. For the last time before the taking over of power, the leaders of industry met in my house together with Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goering and other leading personalities of the party. [5]

In 1925 the Hugo Stinnes family contributed funds to convert the Nazi weekly Volkischer Beobachter to a daily publication. Putzi Hanfstaengl, Franklin D. Roosevelt's friend and protegé, provided the remaining funds. [6] Table 7-1 summarizes presently known financial contributions and the business associations of contributors from the United States. Putzi is not listed in Table 7-1 as he was neither industrialist nor financier.

In the early 1930s financial assistance to Hitler began to flow more readily. There took place in Germany a series of meetings, irrefutably documented in several sources, between German industrialists, Hitler himself, and more often Hitler's representatives Hjalmar Schacht and Rudolf Hess. The critical point is that the German industrialists financing Hitler were predominantly directors of cartels with American associations, ownership, participation, or some form of subsidiary connection. The Hitler backers were not, by and large, firms of purely German origin, or representative of German family business. Except for Thyssen and Kirdoff, in most cases they were the German multi-national firms — i.e., I.G. Farben, A.E.G., DAPAG, etc. These multi-nationals had been built up by American loans in the 1920s, and in the early 1930s had American directors and heavy American financial participation.

One flow of foreign political funds not considered here is that reported from the European-based Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Oil's great competitor in the 20s and 30s, and the giant brainchild of Anglo-Dutch businessman Sir Henri Deterding. It has been widely asserted that Henri Deterding personally financed Hitler. This argument is made, for instance, by biographer Glyn Roberts in The Most Powerful Man in the World. Roberts notes that Deterding was impressed with Hitler as early as 1921:

...and the Dutch press reported that, through the agent Georg Bell, he [Deterding] had placed at Hitler's disposal, while the party was "still in long clothes," no less than four million guilders. [7]

It was reported (by Roberts) that in 1931 Georg Bell, Deterding's agent, attended meetings of Ukrainian Patriots in Paris "as joint delegate of Hitler and Deterding." [8] Roberts also reports:

Deterding was accused, as Edgar Ansell Mowrer testifies in his Germany Puts the Clock Back, of putting up a large sum of money for the Nazis on the understanding that success would give him a more favored position in the German oil market. On other occasions, figures as high as £55,000,000 were mentioned. [9]

Biographer Roberts really found Deterding's strong anti-Bolshevism distasteful, and rather than present hard evidence of funding he is inclined to assume rather than prove that Deterding was pro-Hitler. But pro-Hitlerism is not a necessary consequence of anti-Bolshevism; in any event Roberts offers no proof of finance, and hard evidence of Deterding's involvement was not found by this author.

Mowrer's book contains neither index nor footnotes as to the source of his information and Roberts has no specific evidence for his accusations. There is circumstantial evidence that Deterding was pro-Nazi. He later went to live in Hitler's Germany and increased his share of the German petroleum market. So there may have been some contributions, but these have not been proven.

Similarly, in France (on January 11, 1932), Paul Faure, a member of the Chambre des Députés, accused the French industrial firm of Schneider-Creuzot of financing Hitler — and incidentally implicated Wall Street in other financing channels. [10]

The Schneider group is a famous firm of French armaments manufacturers. After recalling the Schneider influence in establishment of Fascism in Hungary and its extensive international armaments operations, Paul Fauré turns to Hitler, and quotes from the French paper LeJournal, "that Hitler had received 300,000 Swiss gold francs" from subscriptions opened in Holland under the case of a university professor named von Bissing. The Skoda plant at Pilsen, stated Paul Fauré, was controlled by the French Schneider family, and it was the Skoda directors von Duschnitz and von Arthaber who made the subscriptions to Hitler. Fauré concluded:

. . . I am disturbed to see the directors of Skoda, controlled by Schneider, subsidizing the electoral campaign of M. Hitler; I am disturbed to see your firms, your financiers, your industrial cartels unite themselves with the most nationalistic of Germans ....

Again, no hard evidence was found for this alleged flow of Hitler funds.

Fritz Thyssen and W.A. Harriman Company of New York

Another elusive case of reported financing of Hitler is that of Fritz Thyssen, the German steel magnate who associated himself with the Nazi movement in the early 20s. When interrogated in 1945 under Project Dustbin, [11] Thyssen recalled that he was approached in 1923 by General Ludendorf at the time of French evacuation of the Ruhr. Shortly after this meeting Thyssen was introduced to Hitler and provided funds for the Nazis through General Ludendorf. In 1930-1931 Emil Kirdorf approached Thyssen and subsequently sent Rudolf Hess to negotiate further funding for the Nazi Party. This time Thyssen arranged a credit of 250,000 marks at the Bank Voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V. at 18 Zuidblaak in Rotterdam, Holland, founded in 1918 with H.J. Kouwenhoven and D.C. Schutte as managing partners. [12] This bank was a subsidiary of the August Thyssen Bank of Germany (formerly von der Heydt's Bank A.G.). It was Thyssen's personal banking operation, and it was affiliated with the W. A. Harriman financial interests in New York. Thyssen reported to his Project Dustbin interrogators that:

I chose a Dutch bank because I did not want to be mixed up with German banks in my position, and because I thought it was better to do business with a Dutch bank, and I thought I would have the Nazis a little more in my hands. [13]

Thyssen's book I Paid Hitler, published in 1941, was purported to be written by Fritz Thyssen himself, although Thyssen denies authorship. The book claims that funds for Hitler — about one million marks — came mainly from Thyssen himself. I Paid Hitler has other unsupported assertions, for example that Hitler was actually descended from an illegitimate child of the Rothschild family. Supposedly Hitler's grandmother, Frau Schickelgruber, had been a servant in the Rothschild household and while there became pregnant:

... an inquiry once ordered by the late Austrian chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, yielded some interesting results, owing to the fact that the dossiers of the police department of the Austro-Hungarian monarch were remarkably complete. [14]

This assertion concerning Hitler's illegitimacy is refuted entirely in a more solidly based book by Eugene Davidson, which implicates the Frankenberger family, not the Rothschild family.

In any event, and more relevant from our viewpoint, the August Thyssen front bank in Holland — i.e., the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V. — controlled the Union Banking Corporation in New York. The Harrimans had a financial interest in, and E. Roland Harriman (Averell's brother) was a director of, this Union Banking Corporation. The Union Banking Corporation of New York City was a joint Thyssen-Harriman operation with the following directors in 1932: [15]

E. Roland HARRIMAN / Vice president of W. A. Harriman & Co., New York

H.J. KOUWENHOVEN / Nazi banker, managing partner of August Thyssen Bank and Bank voor Handel Scheepvaart N.V. (the transfer bank for Thyssen's funds)

J. G. GROENINGEN / Vereinigte Stahlwerke (the steel cartel which also funded Hitler)

C. LIEVENSE / President, Union Banking Corp., New York City

E. S. JAMES / Partner Brown Brothers, later Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co.


Date / American Bankers and Industrialists / U.S. Affiliated Firm / -- / German Source / -- / Intermediary for Funds/Agent

1923 / Henry FORD / FORD MOTOR COMPANY / -- / -- / -- / --

1931 / E.R. HARRIMAN / UNION BANKING CORP / -- / Fritz THYSSEN / 250,000 RM / Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V. (Subsidiary of August Thyssen Bank)

1932-3 / -- / Flick (a director of AEG) / -- / Friedrich FLICK / 150,000 RM / Direct to NSDAP

February-March 1933 / -- / NONE / -- / Emil KIRDORF / 600,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand" a/c at Delbrück Schickler Bank

February-March 1933 / -- / Edsel B. FORD C.E. MITCHELL Walter TEAGLE Paul M. WARBURG / AMERICAN I.G. / -- / I.G. FARBEN / 400,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / -- / NONE / -- / Reichsverband der Automobilindustrie / 100,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / Gerard SWOPE Owen D. YOUNG C.H. MINOR E. Arthur BALDWIN / INTERNATIONAL GENERAL ELECTRIC / 25 percent / A.E.G./ 60,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

-- / -- / NONE / -- / DEMAG / 50,000 RM / --

February-March 1933 / Owen D. YOUNG / INTERNATIONAL GENERAL ELECTRIC / 16-2/3 percent / OSRAM G.m.b.H. / 40,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / Sosthenes BEHN / I.T.T. / -- / Telefunken / 35,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / -- / NONE / Karl Herrman / 300,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / -- / NONE / -- / A. Steinke (Director of BYBUAG) / 200,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / -- / NONE / -- / Karl Lange (Machine industry) / 50,000 RM / "Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / -- / NONE / -- / F. Springorum(Hoesch A.G. / 36,000 RM / Nationale Treuhand"

February-March 1933 / Edsel B. FORD / Ford Motor Co. / -- / Carl BOSCH (I.G. Farben & Ford Motor A.G.) / -- / --

1932-1944 / Walter TEAGLE J.A. MOFFETT W.S. FARISH / Standard Oil of N.J. / 94 percent / Emil HELFFRICH (German-American Petroleum Co) / -- / Heinrich Himmler S.S. via Keppler's Circle

1932-1944 / Sosthenes BEHN / I.T.T. / -- / Kurt von SCHRÖDER Mix & Genest Lorenz / -- / Heinrich Himmler S.S. via Keppler's Circle

Thyssen arranged a credit of 250,000 marks for Hitler, through this Dutch bank affiliated with the Harrimans. Thyssen's book, later repudiated, states that as much as one million marks came from Thyssen.

Thyssen's U.S. partners were, of course, prominent members of the Wall Street financial establishment. Edward Henry Harriman, the nineteenth-century railroad magnate, had two sons, W. Averell Harriman (born in 1891), and E. Roland Harriman (born in 1895). In 1917 W. Averell Harriman was a director of Guaranty Trust Company and he was involved in the Bolshevik Revolution. [16] According to his biographer, Averell started at the bottom of the career ladder as a clerk and section hand after leaving Yale in 1913, then "he moved steadily forward to positions of increasing responsibility in the fields of transportation and finance. [17] In addition to his directorship in Guaranty Trust, Harriman formed the Merchant Shipbuilding Corporation in 1917, which soon became the largest merchant fleet under American flag. This fleet was disposed of in 1925 and Harriman entered the lucrative Russian market. [18]

In winding up these Russian deals in 1929, Averell Harriman received a windfall profit of $1 million from the usually hard-headed Soviets, who have a reputation of giving nothing away without some present or later quid pro quo. Concurrently with these successful moves in international finance, Averell Harriman has always been attracted by so-called "public" service. In 1913 Harriman's "public" service began with an appointment to the Palisades Park Commission. In 1933 Harriman was appointed chairman of the New York State Committee of Employment, and in 1934 became Administrative Officer of Roosevelt's NRA — the Mussolini-like brainchild of General Electric's Gerard Swope. [19] There followed a stream of "public" offices, first the Lend Lease program, then as Ambassador to the Soviet Union, later as Secretary of Commerce.

By contrast, E. Roland Harriman confined his activities to private business in international finance without venturing, as did brother Averell, into "public" service. In 1922 Roland and Averell formed W. A. Harriman & Company. Still later Roland became chairman of the board of Union Pacific Railroad and a director of Newsweek magazine, Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, a member of the board of governors of the American Red Cross, and a member of the American Museum of Natural History.

Nazi financier Hendrik Jozef Kouwenhoven, Roland Harriman's fellow-director at Union Banking Corporation in New York, was managing director of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V. (BHS) of Rotterdam. In 1940 the BHS held approximately $2.2 million assets in the Union Banking Corporation, which in turn did most of its business with BHS. [20] In the 1930s Kouwenhoven was also a director of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke A.G., the steel cartel founded with Wall Street funds in the mid-1920s. Like Baron Schroder, he was a prominent Hitler supporter.

Another director of the New York Union Banking Corporation was Johann Groeninger, a German subject with numerous industrial and financial affiliations involving Vereinigte Stahlwerke, the August Thyssen group, and a directorship of August Thyssen Hutte A.G. [21]

This affiliation and mutual business interest between Harriman and the Thyssen interests does not suggest that the Harrimans directly financed Hitler. On the other hand, it does show that the Harrimans were intimately connected with prominent Nazis Kouwenhoven and Groeninger and a Nazi front bank, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart. There is every reason to believe that the Harrimans knew of Thyssen's support for the Nazis. In the case of the Harrimans, it is important to bear in mind their long-lasting and intimate relationship with the Soviet Union and the Harriman's position at the center of Roosevelt's New Deal and the Democratic Party. The evidence suggests that some members of the Wall Street elite are connected with, and certainly have influence with, all significant political groupings in the contemporary world socialist spectrum — Soviet socialism, Hitler's national socialism, and Roosevelt's New Deal socialism....

At this juncture we should take note of the efforts that have been made to direct our attention away from American financiers (and German financiers connected with American-affiliated companies) who were, involved with the funding of Hitler. Usually the blame for financing Hitler has been exclusively placed upon Fritz Thyssen or Emil Kirdorf. In the case of Thyssen this blame was widely circulated in a book allegedly authored by Thyssen in the middle of World War II but later repudiated by him. [27] Why Thyssen would want to admit such actions before the defeat of Naziism is unexplained.

-- Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, by Antony C. Sutton
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