The Fascist Fraternity
A history of the close collaboration of fascists of different nationalities when faced with the common threat of socialism.
In his book Trading With The Enemy, Charles Higham designates as The Fraternity that group of American and German capitalists who were very supportive of the Nazi ideology and developed intimate financial and patent connections between their corporations. Corporations belonging to The Fraternity were ITT, General Motors, Ford, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Texaco, SKF and German corporations like I.G. Farben, Krupp and others. These corporations were so supportive of the Nazis that they built many of their weapons and supplied them with oil, while the American people suffered from oil rationing during World War 2. Individual capitalists belonging to The Fraternity were the Rockefellers, Fords, DuPonts, Morgans and the Bush family through Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker being on the board of Brown Brothers Harriman, which invested heavily in Nazi Germany.
One of the American subsidiaries of I.G. Farben called General Aniline and Film did extensive spying operations for the Nazis in the US and was very successful at it. General Aniline itself produced the khaki and blue dyes for army, air force and navy uniforms, giving its salesmen access to many US military bases. In addition, General Aniline owned Agfa and Ansco films and Ozalid, a blueprint corporation. Its salesmen persuaded the US military to use their film and have it developed in their laboratories. Consequently, photos of secret US military installations went straight into Nazi hands, as did the blueprints of American military plans through the Ozalid company.
Rockefeller's Standard Oil of New Jersey was so flagrant in violating the Trading with the Enemy Act that it was called before two Senate committees, the Truman Committee and the Bone Committee. Standard Oil of New Jersey was in partnership with I.G. Farben, the company which used slave labor at Auschwitz, and supplied the Germans with synthetic rubber and tetraethyl lead for aviation gasoline. Standard Oil was also guilty of using German crews on its tankers and refueling Nazi submarines at Teneriffe in the Canary Islands, as well as shipping oil to Nazi Germany through Spain and Switzerland. Nothing came of these Senate hearings as Standard Oil essentially blackmailed the US government by stating that they could stop US oil shipments in a time of war.
The German and American capitalists of The Fraternity liked fascism, but they didn't like Hitler after they discovered the deranged nature of his mind. What they wanted was a united front of fascist countries aligned against the common foe, the Soviet Union. In other words, they would have liked to depose President Roosevelt and convert the US to a fascist power and likewise bring fascism to England. The DuPonts and Morgans actually approached Major General Smedley Butler through an intermediary to determine if a military coup could be organized to oust Roosevelt. Major General Butler was deeply offended and reported the plot to Roosevelt. Irenee du Pont was very fascistic and organized both the American Liberty League and the Black Legion. The American Liberty League taught hatred of blacks, Jews, Roosevelt and communism. The Black Legion was a group of antiunion thugs, who would go through DuPont's General Motors plants and terrorize workers and disrupt union organizing. The Fords and DuPonts also made use of the expertise of another member of The Fraternity, Charles Bedaux. He was a so-called efficiency expert, whose thoughts revolved around extracting the maximum amount of labor out of a worker in the minimum amount of time. This resulted in speedups on the assembly lines of Ford and General Motors and more accidents among workers.
Since the capitalists in The Fraternity considered Hitler deranged and a loose cannon, they attempted frequently to do two things. They wanted to arrange a peace agreement between Nazi Germany and the western allies, the United States and England. This would enable all German forces to be transferred to the Russian front. Failing this objective, they wanted to assassinate Hitler and immediately negotiate peace with the western allies. The most spectacular effort to negotiate peace was when Rudolph Hess flew to Scotland to pursue a peace negotiation with the Duke of Hamilton, who had Nazi sympathies, as did much of England's nobility, including the former king, the Duke of Windsor. Other peace negotiations occurred in Sweden with Jacob Wallenberg (another member of The Fraternity through Enskilda Bank and SKF, the important ball bearings firm) and near the end of the war with Allen Dulles in Switzerland. Allen Dulles was a corporate lawyer, who was deeply involved with The Fraternity, having written many of the patents and corporate agreements during his tenure at the firm Sullivan and Cromwell.
There were a group of German generals, intellectuals, politicians and former diplomats who hated Hitler and the Nazi ideology. The generals did so mostly because of military defeats and Hitler's tendency to micromanage military strategy and the others because they hated the repression and savagery of Hitler's regime. They had conspired against Hitler since before the annexation of Czechoslovakia, and these plots grew progressively more serious as the war continued.
The Fraternity was behind the scenes, backing these plots. Walter Schellenberg was the head of SD, the intelligence branch of the SS, and he was also on the board of ITT and helped protect many prominent conspirators. The banker Hjalmar Schacht, a powerful Fraternity member, wanted to depose Hitler. Admiral Canaris and other members of the Abwehr or Army Intelligence were against Hitler. However, only after the disastrous defeat of the German army at Stalingrad in 1942 did these plots start to involve bombings. A bomb was placed on Hitler's airplane by conspirators Schlabrendorff and General von Tresckow, but the detonator failed to fire on Hitler's flight from Smolensk in Russia to his bunker at Rastenburg in Prussia. Next, Colonel Gersdorff tried to assassinate Hitler by getting near to him with a bomb strapped to his chest during a celebration in Berlin. The bomb had a ten minute fuse and Hitler changed his plans and wanted to spend only eight minutes there and so the plan was scrapped. Hitler wanted a new army overcoat modeled, and there were two more attempts with bombs in the overcoat, but Hitler kept changing his schedule and both attempts failed. Finally, there was an attempt that nearly succeeded, when Count von Stauffenberg planted a bomb in a briefcase under the table at a military meeting in Rastenburg and then flew to Berlin to organize a military takeover. The bomb exploded killing and wounding several military men, but Hitler survived and took savage revenge on the conspirators by having some of the conspirators hung by piano wire from meathooks and their families sent to concentration camps. A couple of the conspirators, who were members of The Fraternity, were so directly involved that for his personal safety Schellenberg could not prevent their execution. Generals Fellgiebel and Thiele, both directors of ITT in Germany, were executed. General Fellgiebel had cut the communication lines from Rastenburg to Berlin. Hitler had a suspicion that more members of The Fraternity were involved because Karl Lindeman of Standard Oil was arrested as was Hjalmar Schacht. Some generals on the western front, who were in on the plot, like Rommel and von Kluge were given the choice to commit suicide rather than risk retribution to their families and they did so.
After the fall of the Third Reich, the capitalists of The Fraternity largely escaped any punishment or consequences for their actions in support of fascism. The American capitalists not only went unpunished, but received compensation from the taxpayers for damage to their factories in Germany and France. Most of the German capitalists were not prosecuted, or if they were, received relatively light sentences and had their capital property returned to them on their release from prison. Alfried Krupp, who was guilty of using slave labor from concentration camps and brutally treating those slaves, was sentenced to twelve years, but served only three and was pardoned in the general amnesty US High Commissioner John McCloy issued in 1951. Krupp received all his capital property back and greatly expanded the operations of his corporation into areas other than armaments and steel. I.G. Farben continued its operations and only in the Russian zone was a serious attempt made to dismantle the corporation.
Does this Fascist Fraternity still exist and try to spread fascism and corporate domination of the Earth? Judging from the actions of the IMF and World Bank in demanding privatization, deregulation and structural adjustments in Third World countries for the benefit of corporations much to the detriment of workers, peasants and small businesses and President George W. Bush's wars for control of the Earth's oil reserves, I would have to have to say definitely yes. Further evidence is that much of the Nazi intelligence organization headed by Reinhard Gehlen was incorporated into the CIA after World War 2. Allen Dulles operated a Ratline through the Vatican that helped Nazi war criminals escape to Argentina. Equally disturbing is the fact that he helped launder stolen Nazi wealth so that these war criminals could live in luxury in South America. Allen Dulles was never prosecuted, but instead was promoted to CIA director in the Eisenhower administration. His brother John Foster Dulles became Secretary of State. Apparently, their actions in support of fascism had approval at high levels of the US government.
One very important lesson in this long article is that even while capitalist powers are at war, they consider socialism to be an even greater threat than the victory of opposing ruling classes. This is logical because with the victory of the armies of an opposing ruling class, they may lose some wealth in war reparations or damage to property, but they usually don't lose everything as they do when a socialist government nationalizes their capital property. The Fraternity was very worried by the rapid advance of the Red Army across Europe, and the Vatican was very disturbed by much of Catholic Eastern Europe going to godless communism, as they perceived the situation. Hence, the frantic efforts to negotiate a peace on the western front and have forces transferred to fight the Russians.
There are other examples of this collaboration of ruling classes of different nationalities in the face of the socialist threat. The Paris Commune, where the workers of Paris took over the city in 1871 and set up their own government, occurred during the Franco-Prussian war, when the French army was quickly defeated and the Prussians surrounded Paris. The rich left Paris and established a counterrevolutionary government at Versailles. The Prussians were so worried by the example of the Paris Commune that they released French prisoners of war and allowed the French counterrevolutionary army through their lines to attack Paris. The London Times wrote editorials against the Paris Commune, the Czar of Russia asked the Prussians to overthrow it and Bismarck himself said that if the French government at Versailles didn't act quickly enough, the Prussian army itself would destroy the Paris Commune. Another example is when French armies twice defeated the populist Italian leader Garibaldi and his redshirts in their attempt to unite Rome and the Papal States with the rest of Italy. The most egregious example is when the ruling classes of all capitalist nations sent armies into Russia to destroy the Bolshevik revolution and its possible threat to their wealth and power.
This history of continuous interference by capitalist powers against revolutionary change in other nations (especially revolutions involving a radical redistribution of wealth) undoubtedly influenced Leon Trotsky to believe that socialist revolutions needed to occur nearly simultaneously in all powerful capitalist nations in order to be successful. That way capitalist armies would be preoccupied with suppressing revolutions in their own countries and would be unable to intervene elsewhere. Considering the subsequent continuous economic and military pressure put on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe by the United States and other capitalist powers and the collapse of socialism there, I think Trotsky had a valid argument. Despite internal problems in those countries with a bureaucratic, centralized state socialism, I think a conversion to democratic, worker-controlled socialism could have been accomplished, without turning the economies over to foreign exploitation and "shock therapy" as was done by Boris Yeltsin. The rollback of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe into Third World capitalist economies ripe for exploitation by foreign imperialist powers was a tremendous victory for the Fascist Fraternity.
The information in this article comes largely from three books: Trading With The Enemy by Charles Higham, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer and a a chapter called The Pirates of Wall Street in the book The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons.
add a comment on this article