GEORGE SELDES ON 1) FASCISM ON THE HOME FRONT & 2) PROFITS IN FASCISM: GERMANY (1943)
Chapters 1 & 2 of the book
Facts and Fascism
by George Seldes
In Fact, Inc., 1943 – 7th edition, hard cover
FASCISM ON THE HOME FRONT
THE TIME will come when people will not believe it was possible to mobilize 10,800,000 Americans to fight Fascism and not tell them the truth about the enemy. And yet, this is exactly what happened in our country in the Global War.
The Office of War Information published millions of words, thousands of pamphlets, posters and other material, most of it very valuable and all of it intended to inspire the people and raise the morale of the soldiers of production and the soldiers of the field; but it is also a fact that to the date of this writing the OWI did not publish a single pamphlet, poster, broadside or paper telling either the civilian population or the men and women in uniform what Fascism really is, what the forces are behind the political and military movements generally known as Fascism, who puts up the money, who make the tremendous profits which Fascism has paid its backers in Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and other nations. Certainly when it comes to relating foreign Fascism with native American Fascism there is a conspiracy of silence in which the OWI, the American press, and all the forces of reaction in America are united. Outside of a few books, a few pamphlets, and a few articles in the very small independent weekly press which reaches only a few thousand readers, not one word on this subject has been printed, and not one word has been heard over any of the big commercial radio stations.
Faraway Fascism has been attacked, exposed, and denounced by the same publications (the Saturday Evening Post for example) which for years ran articles lauding Mussolini and his notable backers in all lands; and the Hearst newspapers, which published from 1934 to Pearl Harbor dozens of signed propaganda articles by Dr. Goebbels, Goering and other Nazis, now call them names, but no publication which takes money from certain Big Business elements (all of which will be named here) will dare name the native or nearby Fascists. In many instances the publications themselves are part of our own Fascism.
But we must not be fooled into believing that American Fascism consists of a few persons, some crackpots, some mentally perverted, a few criminals such as George W. Christians and Pelley, who are in jail at present, or the 33 indicted for sedition. These are the lunatic fringes of Fascism, they are also the small fry, the unimportant figureheads, just as Hitler was before the Big Money in Germany decided to set him up in business.
The real Fascists of America are never named in the commercial press. It will not even hint at the fact that there are many powerful elements working against a greater democracy, against an America without discrimination based on race, color and creed, an America where never again will one third of the people be without sufficient food, clothing and shelter, where never again will there be 12,000,000 unemployed and many more millions working for semi-starvation wages while the DuPont, Ford, Hearst, Mellon and Rockefeller Empires move into the billions of dollars.
I call these elements Fascist. You may not like names and labels but technically as well as journalistically and morally they are correct. You may substitute Tories, or Economic Royalists, or Vested Interests, or whatever you like for the flag-waving anti-American Americans whose efforts and objectives parallel those of the Liga Industriale which bought out Mussolini in 1920, and the Thyssen-Krupp-Voegeler-Flick Rhineland industry and banking system which subsidized Hitler when Naziism was about to collapse. Their main object was to end the civil liberties of the nation, destroy the labor unions, end the free press, and make more money at the expense of a slave nation. Both succeeded. And in America one similar organization has already made the following historical record:
1. Organized big business in a movement against labor.
2. Founded the Liberty League to fight civil liberties.
3. Subsidized anti-labor, Fascist and anti-Semitic organizations (Senator Black’s Lobby Investigation).
4. Signed a pact with Nazi agents for political and economic (cartel) penetration of U. S. (Exposed in In Fact).
5. Founded a $1,000,000-a-year propaganda outfit to corrupt the press, radio, schools and churches.
6. Stopped the passage of food, drug and other laws aimed to safeguard the consumer, i.e., 132,000,000 Americans.
7. Conspired, with DuPont as leader, in September, 1942, to sabotage the war effort in order to maintain profits.
8. Sabotage the U. S. defense plan in 1940 by refusing to convert the auto plants and by a sit-down of capital against plant expansion; sabotage the oil, aluminum and rubber expansion programs. (If any of these facts are not known to you it is because 99% of our press, in the pay of the same elements, suppressed the Tolan, Truman, Bone Committee reports, Thurman Arnold’s reports, the TNEC Monopoly reports and other Government documents.)
9. Delayed the winning of the war through the acts of $-a-year men looking out for present profits and future monopoly rather than the quick defeat of Fascism. (Documented in the labor press for two years; and again at the 1942 C.I.O. Convention.)
Naturally enough the President of the United States and other high officials cannot name the men, organizations, pressure lobbyists, and national associations which have made this and similar records; they can only refer to “noisy traitors,” Quislings, defeatists, the “Cliveden Set” or to the Tories and Economic Royalists. And you may be certain that our press will never name the defeatists because the same elements which made the above 9-point record are the main advertisers and biggest subsidizers of the newspapers and magazines. In the many instances even the general charges by the President himself have been suppressed. In Germany, in Italy until the seizure of government by the Fascists, the majority of newspapers were brave enough to be anti-Fascist, whereas in America strangely enough a large part of the press (Hearst, Scripps-Howard, McCormick-Patterson) has for years been pro-Fascist and almost all big papers live on the money of the biggest Tory and reactionary corporations and reflect their viewpoint now.
On the anti-Fascist side, unfortunately, there is not one publication which can boast of more than one or two hundred thousand circulation, whereas the reactionary press has its New York News with 2,000,000 daily, its Saturday Evening Post with 3,000,000 weekly and its Reader’s Digest with 9,000,000 monthly, which means up to 50,000,000 readers.
It is a shameful and tragic situation that in America, with 132,000,000 persons of whom 50,000,000 read anti-labor and anti-liberal propaganda in Reader’s Digest, only a few hundred thousand buy and read intelligent, honest, unbribed, uncorrupted publications, issued in the public interest.
PROFITS IN FASCISM: GERMANY
IT SEEMS to this writer that the most important thing in the world today next to destroying Fascism on the field of battle, is to fight Fascism which has not yet taken up the gun.
This other Fascism will become more active-and drape itself in the national flag everywhere-when military Fascism has been defeated. So far as America is concerned, its first notable Fascist leader, Huey Long, a very smart demagogue, once said, “Sure we’ll have Fascism here, but it will come as an anti-Fascism movement.”
To know what Fascism really is and why we must fight it and destroy it here in America, we must first of all know what it is we are fighting, what the Fascist regimes really are and do, who puts up the money and backs Fascism in every country (including the United States at this very moment), and who owns the nations under such regimes, and why the natives of all Fascist countries must be driven into harder work, less money, reduced standard of living, poverty and desperation so that the men and corporations who found, subsidize and own Fascism can grow unbelievably rich.
This is what has happened in Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries; it is true to a great extent in Spain, Finland, Hungary, Rumania, the Polish so-called Republic, and although not one standard newspaper or magazine has ever breathed a word about it, the same Fascist movement-the march of the men of wealth and power, not the crackpot doings of the two or three dozen who have been indicted for sedition-is taking place in America.
These matters are all related, both as systems of government and as business enterprises. It is the purpose of Part I of this book to show who really owns the Fascist International, who profits from it, and just how far the United States has gone along the Fascist line.
The true story of Hitler-Germany is the real clue to the situation everywhere. In 1923, after his monkeyshines in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler received his first big money from Fritz Thyssen. January 30, 1933, Hitler came into power after a deal with Hindenburg and the big Prussian landlords (Junkers). Since then, and in all of vast occupied Europe, Hitler has been paying off the men who invested in Fascism as a purely money-making enterprise. A personal dispute put Thyssen out, but his brother and the thousand biggest industrialists and bankers of Germany have as a result of financing Hitler become millionaires; the I. G. Farbenindustrie and other cartel organizations have become billionaires.
Big money entrenched itself completely after the departure of Fritz Thyssen, with his rather quaint ideas of placing limits on corruption in business, with his repugnance to the murder of Jews as a national policy, and other rather old-fashioned ethical concepts of monopoly and exploitation which he inherited from his father and which did not encompass robbery and bloodshed as means of commercial aggression. The cartels moved forward with the troops.
There were, of course, exposés of Hitler as a tool of Germany’s Big Money, written before he became dictator, but inasmuch as publication occurred in small non-commercial weeklies which few people read, or in the radical press, which is always accused of misrepresentation (by the commercial press which is always lying) the fact remains that few people knew what really was going on. This conspiracy of silence became even more intense when the big American and other banking houses floated their great loans for Hitler-and other fascist dictators in many lands.
As early as 1931 Gerhard Hirschfeld published in a Catholic literary weekly a tiny part of the evidence that Hitler was the political arm of the biggest branch of German capitalism. Recalling that Hitler vowed that the Krupps, the Thyssens and the Kirdorffs, the Mannesmans, the Borsigs and the Siemens (who are the Garys, Schwabs and Mellons of Germany)-would be stripped of wealth and power, Hirschfeld pointed out that “it is from the ranks of heavy industry, however, that Hitler is drawing much of the money which is making German Fascism something to be reckoned with. Hitler received considerable support from the heavy industries of Bavaria where he started the Fascist movement. The Borsig works and the Eisenheuttenleute (Association of iron forgers and founders) are important pillars of the Fascist structure. . . . From the machine industry of Wuerttemberg and from many other branches of the iron and steel industries, marks flow into the bulging coffers. In addition, money comes from abroad. Swiss friends sent him 330,000 francs just before last year’s elections. Baron von Bissing, the university professor, collected many thousands of florins in the Netherlands . . . German-American friends expressed their sympathy in dollar bills . . . even directors of the French-controlled Skoda-Works (of Czechoslovakia), famous in the manufacture of armaments, may be found among Hitler’s supporters.”
It requires neither integrity nor courage today to say that Hitler was made the Fuehrer of Germany by the biggest industrialists of his country. (It does require integrity and courage even today to relate the German men and forces to those in America, to point out the equivalents, and that is why no commercial newspaper or magazine has ever done so.) But as early as Summer, 1933, in the Week-End Review, a light which shows up Fascism as nothing but a military-political-economic movement to grab all the money and resources of the world was already focused on Germany by the man who wrote under the name of “Ernst Henri.”
He denies, first of all, the myth that Naziism is a “rebellion of the middle classes.” The middle classes, it is true, were most united and outspoken for Hitler, they did in fact send in their contributions, but when “these sons of butchers and publicans, of post office officials and insurance agents, of doctors and lawyers” imagined they were fighting for their own interests, when “they swarmed out of the Storm Troops barracks and struck down defenseless workers, Jews, Socialists and Communists” they would not have been able to do it, had they not been mobilized by other sources. “Hitler, the idol of this mass, and himself only a petty bourgeois-a petty bourgeois posing as a Napolean-in reality followed the dictates of a higher power.”
The secret, continues Henri, “must be sought in the hidden history of Germany’s industrial oligarchy, in the post-war politics of coal and steel. . . . Not Hitler, but Thyssen, the great magnate of the Ruhr, is the prime mover of German Fascism.”
Thyssen’s main undertaking was the German Steel Trust, the equivalent of U. S. Steel. Vereinigte Stahlwerke Aktien Gesellschaft, incidentally, was heavily financed by American banking houses-Episcopalian, Catholic and Jewish-throughout the pre-Hitler and Hitler regimes. The Steel Trust was the basis of Germany economy, and when it found itself in a desperate situation, during the Bruening regime which preceded Hitler, the foundations of Germany were threatened. It was then that the state came to trust’s aid by buying nearly half the shares of Gelsenkirchener Bergwerke, holding company, nominally worth 125,000,000 marks, at a fantastic price, estimated at double the market. Immediately thereafter the political parties of the nation began fighting for control of this weapon.
The Bruening regime, Catholic, favored the Otto Wolff-Deutsche Bank group which was affiliated with powerful Catholic groups. The Thyssen-Flick-Voegeler group was opposed, although Thyssen himself was a Catholic. Otto Wolff is a leading Catholic, but one of his partners, Ottmar Strauss, is a Jewish liberal. Another affiliate of Wolff’s was General Schleicher. The rivalry in Germany was something like that between the Morgan and Rockefeller interests in America, except that the Wolff group was known as liberal and the Thyssen group included Flick and Voegeler, political heirs of Hugo Stinnes who had been, Henri says, “perhaps the first National Socialist in Germany.”
Stinnes, Hugenberg, Thyssen and other multi-millionaire owners of Germany had never hidden their participation in political movements nor their subsidization of all reactionary anti-labor political parties. These men put their money into the parties of the right wing and were powerful enough at all times to prevent the Social-Democratic Party, which took over the nation (with the aid of the victorious Allies) in 1918 from doing anything radical to aid the majority of the people-even if the Social-Democrats had sincerely attempted to do so. The historic facts speak for themselves. Germany under Ebert and all the liberal coalitions which preceded the reactionary regimes, which naturally culminated in the advent of big business Fascism, never did more than make gestures towards the working class and permitted joblessness and poverty to increase while the Stinneses and Hugenbergs and Thyssens grew in wealth and power.
Thyssen became interested in Hitler in the year of the Beer Hall Putsch, when Hitler was regarded as a revolver-firing clown who would end up in an insane asylum rather than the chancellor’s chair. But Thyssen saw possibilities. In 1927 Thyssen took his partner in the Steel Trust, Voegeler, to Rome, they interviewed Mussolini, and when they returned it was noticeable that the Nazi Party suddenly grew rich and began its march to power.
In 1927 Thyssen joined the Nazi Party officially and began that cooperation with Hitler which led to the latter’s overthrow of the Republic in 1933.
“Hitler,” writes Henri, “never took an important step without first consulting Thyssen and his friends. Thyssen systematically financed all the election funds of the National Socialist Party. It was he who, by a majority decision and against the most pointed opposition on the part of Otto Wolff and Kloeckner, persuaded the two political centers of German Ruhr capital, the Bergbauverein Essen and the Nordwestgruppe der Eisen-und Stahlindustrie, to agree that every coal and steel concern had, by way of a particular obligatory tax, to deliver a certain sum into the election cash of the National Socialists. In order to raise this money, the price of coal was raised in Germany.
“For the presidential elections of 1932 alone, Thyssen provided the Nazis within a few days with more than 3,000,000 marks. Without this help the fantastic measures resorted to by Hitler in the years 1930-1933 would never have been possible. Without Thyssen’s money Hitler would never have achieved such a success, and the party would probably have broken up at the time of the Papen elections at the end of 1932, when it lost 2,000,000 votes and the Strasser group announced its secession. In January, 1933, Schleicher was on the point of hitting the Hitler movement on the head and putting it under his own command. But, just as before Thyssen had raised Hitler by his financial machinery, so now he rescued him by his political machinery.
“To bring off this coup Thyssen employed two of his political friends and agents: Hugenberg (who is one of the directors of the Thyssen Steel Trust group) and Von Papen. In the middle of January a secret meeting between Hitler and Papen was held at Cologne in the house of Baron von Schroeder, partner of the banking House of J. H. Stein, which is closely related with Flick and Thyssen. Although, thanks to an indiscretion, the news of this meeting got into the papers, a few days later, the conspiracy against Schleicher was ready. The allied group, Thyssen-Hitler-Von Papen-Hugenberg, which was backed by the entire German reactionary force, succeeded in drawing to its side the son of President von Hindenburg, Major Oskar von Hindenburg, who had so far stood by his old regimental friend, Schleicher. In this way the sudden fall of Schleicher and the sensational nomination of Hitler came about. Thyssen had won, and Hitler set the scene for his St. Bartholomew’s day.
“What’s followed was a continual triumph of the capitalistic interests of the Thyssen group. The National Socialist Government of Germany today carries out Thyssen’s policy on all matters, as though the entire nation were but a part of the Steel Trust. Every step taken by the new Government corresponds exactly to the private interests of this clique; Stinne’s days have returned.
“Thyssen had six main objectives: (1) to secure the Steel Trust for his own group; (2) to save the great coal and steel syndicates, the basis of the entire capitalist system of monopolies in Germany; (3) to eliminate the Catholic and Jewish rival groups and to capture the whole industrial machine for the extreme reactionary wing of heavy industry; (4) to crush the workers and abolish the trade unions, so as to strengthen German competition in the world’s markets by means of further wage reductions, etc.; (5) to increase the chances of inflation, in order to devaluate the debts of heavy industry (a repetition of the astute transaction invented by Stinnes in 1923); and finally (6) to initiate a pronouncedly imperialist tendency in foreign politics in order to satisfy the powerful drive for expansion in Ruhr capital. All these items of his programs, without exception, have been, are, or will now be executed by the Hitler government.” (The reader must remember that this prediction was written in early 1933, within a few months of Hitler’s triumph.
How did Hitler repay Thyssen? There were general and specific ways. Thyssen was made sub-dictator of Germany (Reichs Minister of Economics), in charge of all industry. The labor problem for Thyssen and all employers of Germany was solved when Hitler abolished the unions, confiscated the union treasuries, reduced labor to a form of serfdom. Specifically, Hitler poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Thyssen’s pocketbook by the manipulation of Gelsenkirchener. The new capitalization was 660,000,000 marks instead of 125,000,000. The state, which had owned more than half of Gelsenkirchener, came out holding less than 20% of the new corporation, and Thyssen, who had feared the collapse of his empire, came out king of coal and steel again, and therefore the most powerful industrialist in the land.
Within a few weeks after taking power Hitler used his anti-Semitism for commercial purposes as an aid to his main financial backer, Thyssen. Oscar Wassermann, of the Catholic-Jewish Deutsche Bank, had been chief rival of the Thyssen bankers. Hitler retired him on “grounds of health.” Thyssen’s one opponent within the Steel Trust, Kloeckner, a Catholic like Thyssen, was forced to resign from the Hitler Reichstag. A charge of corruption was filed against Otto Wolff, who led the financial battle against Thyssen. Goering appointed Thyssen chief representative of private capital in his new Prussian State Council. And, finally, the Fighting League of the Trading Middle Class, the little business men who put up their small money and who went into the streets killing and robbing industrial working men and Jews, was ordered dissolved by Hitler early in 1933 because it might menace the upper class.
It is with especial interest that one reads Henri’s conclusion and prediction a full decade after he made it. He said in 1933: “The trade unions have been destroyed. Thyssen can dictate wages through the new ‘corporations’ and thus reduce still further the prices of export goods in the face of English and American competition. Armaments are being prepared; Thyssen provides the steel. Thyssen needs the Danube markets, where he owns the Alpine Montan-Gesellschaft, the greatest steel producers in Austria. But the primal objective of this new system in Germany has not yet been attained. Thyssen wants war, and it looks as though Hitler may yet provide him with one.”
The historic facts are that armaments were being prepared, although the British and French closed their eyes to this fact and believed the promise that they would be used only against Russia; the Nazi army did march into Austria and did unite the Alpine works with their own, and it is also true that Hitler did provide a war, although it was Thyssen’s brother, Baron von Thyssen, and Thyssen’s partner and successor as head of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke, Voegeler, who reaped the profit, and not Thyssen himself. Naziism paid all its original backers (except on man) and all its present owners colossal profits.
The relation between money and elections was more clearly illustrated in the German elections in the decade of 1923-1933 than in any American elections-although a volume could be written to prove that the Republican or Democratic Party which wins every four years is the party (with only a very few exceptions) which has the larger number of millions to spend.
“Seven months before he (Hitler) got there (the chancellor’s seat) he polled his legitimate maximum of 13,745,781 votes, just over one third of those recorded. Four months later, in the last constitutional Reichstag election, he lost over 2,000,000 votes. That was in November, 1932. The huge Nazi Party was rapidly declining; it had been overblown with millions of mere malcontents, victims of the slump, lured in by desperation rather that Hitler’s glib tongue and splendid showmanship. Yet, after the landslide of the November elections, the Party was broke to the wide and in what looked like hopeless dissolution. Hitler moodily (not for the first time nor for the last) threatened suicide. A few weeks later he was in power.”
The foregoing statement is from the Fabian Society of Great Britain. It states the situation truthfully. How then explain what followed?
“How had the miracle happened? Goebbels grandly called it ‘The National Socialist Revolution’; it was nothing of the kind. It was just a bargain with Big Business and the Junkers. Strong in money, power and influence, but with hardly any popular backing, these vested interests (with arch-intriguer Von Papen as their political representative) were worried by the Schleicher government’s threat to expose the worst of their graft; they were even more worried by the possibility of a swing to the Left through a coalition of Schleicher and the Trade Unions. That’s why the Papen group, having cold-shouldered the slipping Nazi Party for some time, were now keen on an alliance capable of adding a mass movement to their own financial and industrial power. That’s how Hitler got his much-needed cash for his Party and his own appointment as Chancellor in a new Coalition Government.”
Hitler’s entire history is one of spending big money to build up a party, bug money to get millions of votes, and when his backers’ money failed to put him in office, he made the conclusive deal with them, finally selling out the great majority who voted for him in the belief he would keep his 26 promises, most of them directed against Big Business, the Junkers and the other enemies of the people.
Hitler’s fascist party was never a majority party. In many countries where several political parties exist-and even in the United States at those times when three major parties are in the field-the chancellor or president elected to office represents only a minority or the electorate. Nevertheless, it is true that Hitler did succeed in fairly honest times before he was able to use bloodshed and terrorism for his “Ja” elections, in making his the largest of a score of parties.
Why was he able to do this?
There are of course many reasons, notably the disillusion of the nation, national egotism, the natural desire to be a great nation, the psychological moment for a dictator of any party, right or left, economic breakdown, the need of a change, and so forth. But important, if not most important, was the platform of the Nazi party which promised the people what they were hungering for.
It must not be forgotten that the word Nazi stands for national socialist German workers party, and that Hitler, while secretly in the pay of the industrialists who wanted the unions disbanded and labor turned into serfdom, was openly boasting that his was a socialist party-socialism without Karl Marx-and a nationalist-socialist party whatever that my mean. But it did mean a great deal to millions. The followers of Marxian socialism in Germany, split into several parties, would if united constitute the greatest force in the nation, and socialism and labor were almost synonymous in Germany. Hitler knew this. He capitalized on it. He stole the word.
Hitler was able to get thirteen million followers before 1933 by a pseudo-socialistic reform program and by great promises of aid to the common people. In the 26 points of the Nazi platform, adopted in 1920 and never repudiated, Hitler promised the miserable people of Germany:
1. The abolition of all unearned incomes.
2. The end of interest slavery. This was aimed against all bankers, not only Jewish bankers.
3. Nationalization of all joint-stock companies. This meant the end of all private industry, not only the monopolies but all big business.
4. Participation of the workers in the profits of all corporations-the mill, mine, factory, industrial worker was to become a part owner of industry.
5. Establishment of a sound middle class. Naziism, like Italian Fascism, made a great appeal to the big middle class, the small business man, the millions caught between the millstones of Big Business and labor. The big department stores, for example, were to be smashed. This promise delighted every small shopkeeper in Germany. Bernard Shaw once said that Britain was a nation of shopkeepers. This was just as true for Germany-and German shopkeepers were more alive politically. They were for Hitler’s Naziism to a man-and they supplied a large number of his murderous S.S. and S.A. troops.
6. Death penalty for usurers and profiteers.
7. Distinction between “raffendes” and “schaffendes” capital-between predatory and creative capital.
This was the Gregor Strasser thesis: that there were two kinds of money, usury and profiteering money on one hand, and creative money on the other, and that the former had to be eliminated. Naturally all money-owners who invested in the Nazi Party were listed as creative capitalists, whereas the Jews (some of whom incidentally invested in Hitler) and all who opposed Hitler were listed as exploiters.
The vast middle class, always caught between the aspirations of the still more vast working class and cruel greed of the small but most powerful ruling class, has throughout history made the mistake of allying itself with the latter. In America we have the same thing: all the real fascist movements are subsidized by Big Money, but powerful organizations, such as the National Small Business Men’s Association, follow the program of the NAM in the hope they will benefit financially when the Ruling Families benefit.
In all instances, however, history shows us that when the latter take over a country with a fascist army they may give the middle class privileges, benefits, a chance to earn larger profits for a while, but in the end monopoly triumphs, and the Big Money drives the Little Money into bankruptcy.
This is one of the many important facts which Albert Norden presented in his most impressive pamphlet The Thugs of Europe, a documentary exposé of the profits in Naziism taken entirely from Nazi sources. My thanks are due to Mr. Norden-a German writer who escaped to America and who went to work in a war plant recently-for permission to quote some of the evidence. Norden takes up the matter of Naziism and its promises to the middle class:
“If the Third Reich were for the common man, the middle-class would not have been sacrificed to the Moloch of Big Business. If the Third Reich were for the common man, the banks and industries and resources of the sub-soil would belong to the people and not be the private affair of a few score old and newly rich. . . . As it is now, it is the rich man’s Reich. That is why there is such a widespread underground anti-Nazi movement among the German people.
“This war is being waged by the Third Reich, the heart of the Axis, as a ‘struggle of German Socialism against the plutocracies.’ Goebbels has duped millions of young Germans with this slogan. Not only that: Nazi propaganda outside Germany and particularly in North and South America has succeeded in recruiting trusted followers with this slogan. . . .
“The Nazi theory of a struggle of the Have-nots against the so-called ‘sated’ nations is as true as the myth that Goebbels is an Aryan and Goering a Socialist! The following facts, taken from official German statistics, prove that in the Third Reich there is a boundless dictatorship of the plutocrats; that a small group of magnates in the banking, industrial and chemical world had taken hold of the entire economic apparatus at the expense of the broad sections of medium and small manufacturers, artisans, storekeepers and workers, and are making unprecedented profits.
“In his program Hitler promised the middle class preference in all government jobs, abolition of interest on loans, breaking of the power of the trusts and cartels, and dividing up the department stores. Each of these points could only have been carried out at the expense of finance-capital to which Hitler had made definite commitments which, in turn, spell ruin for the middle class and workers. . . . The Kampfbund des Gewerblichen Mittlestandes, a Nazi organization . . . had been schooled to destroy Marxism. Everywhere they had killed Socialists and Communists, demolished workers’ headquarters and trade union offices. Now that Hitler had triumphed they wanted to reap the fruits. But the Nazi leaders offered them cheap laurels instead-laurels which pleased neither their senses nor their pocketbooks. . . .
“Never yet in modern history has the middle class, relying solely on itself and without an alliance with other social strata, successfully played an independent role or triumphed in the social struggle. . . . The Nazi leaders did not hesitate one moment in their decision when the big industrialists and bankers began to complain. One after another, Hitler, Goering and Hess in May, June and July, 1933-issued sharp warnings against ‘attacks on business’; and Hess ordered all activities against department stores to cease. . . . Already by August, 1933, the high hopes which millions of little people had pinned on Hitler had been rudely shattered. . . . Leaders of the struggle of the middle class against the trusts . . . were sent to concentration camps. Before the month had ended the Fighting League of the Middle Class was no more. . . . The massacre of the entire leadership of the Storm Troopers on the pretext of homosexuality closed the short chapter of independent action by the middle class with a smashing political victory by Big Capital. . . . The department store of the Jewish owner Tietz was handed over to a consortium consisting of the three largest banks, the Deutsche Bank, the Dresdener Bank and the Commerz-und Privatbank. . . . The large department store Karstadt . . . of its eight directors four are big bankers, one a large exporter and a sixth an influential figure in the Deutsche Bank. . . .
“The more Jews were dragged off and murdered in concentration camps, the richer Germany’s magnates became. They let the S.S. and S.A. mobs riot and trample all human laws under their hobnail boots-meanwhile the Dresdener Bank acquired the Berlin bank of Bleichroeder (Jewish bank, patronized by the former Kaiser) and Arnhold Bros. (Jewish bank, one of the best banks in Germany, patronized by U. S. Embassy and newspapers); the Deutsche Bank seized the Mendelssohn Bank. In the Berliner Handelsgesellschaft, an important private bank, Herbert Goering, a relative of Marshal Hermann Goering, replaced the Jewish partner Fuerstenberg. The Warburg Bank in Hamburg was taken over by the Deutsche Bank and the Dresdener Bank in conjunction with the Montan Combine of Haniel and the Siemens Trust. The latter also took out of Jewish hands the Cassierer Cable Works. . . . The armaments kings of the Ruhr did not shrink from profiting from the pogroms. As a result of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, the Mannesmann concern received the metal company of Wolff, Netter & Jacobi, and the Hahnschen Works; while the big industrialist Friedrich Flick (one of the dozen men who put up most of the money to establish Naziism), today one of the 20 richest men in the Third Reich, seized the metal company of Rawak and Gruenfeld. This list could be expanded at will. It illustrates the prosperous business which the solidly established German trusts acquired as a result of the infamous crimes against the Jews. Together with the top Nazi leaders these German financial magnates were the main beneficiaries of the sadistic persecution of the Jews. . . .
“Moreover, the turnover tax on big business was reduced to one-half per cent on all commodities, while for little business it was raised to 2 per cent. The decree establishing price ceilings was eliminated so that Big Business under Hitler was able to raise prices on numerous occasions. Thus in two years immediately preceding the outbreak of the present war, tens of thousands of small businessmen were able to get prices which just barely covered their own costs, and sometimes were even lower. That is why small businesses were liquidated on a mass scale in Germany. . . . The government of the Third Reich, a long time before the outbreak of the war, had passed the death-sentence on over one million members of the middle class, and carried it out, thus profiting the wealthiest sections of German finance-capital. . . . The result is inevitably the same: a blood-letting without parallel and impoverishment all along the line. Hitler’s regime of a ‘people’s community’ and elimination of the class struggle has hastened, as no previous regime has done, the crystallization of classes in German society, dealing terrible blows to the middle class and favoring the upper ten thousand in striking fashion. In ten years of the Nazi regime the lower middle class in Germany has been more ruined and declassed than in the preceding 50 years.
“In 1932 a tremendous scandal exploded in Germany. It concerned the so-called Osthilfe, government subsidies destined for the needy farmers. . . . Among the beneficiaries were the House of Hohenzollern and the President of the Republic, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, whose East Prussian property of Neudeck was involved in tax frauds. Hitler promised to suppress the entire scandal if he became Chancellor of the Reich. The interests of the aristocracy and of the munitions-kings, whose war-mongering appetites were whetted by the appointment of Hitler, coincided. So Hindenburg covered over his scandal of corruption with his disgraceful appointment of Hitler as chancellor.
“Today the princes and their followers among the nobility are still the largest landowners in Germany. Three thousand aristocrats own 2,630,000 hectares (1 hectare equals 2.47 acres) of agriculturally tilled land. On the other hand 3,000,000 families of small farmers-60% of all those occupied in agriculture-own together only 1,-500,000 hectares. 0.15% of the landowners each possessing 5,000 hectares own altogether 10,100,000 hectares or almost 40% of the entire land under cultivation. . . . 412 Junkers owned as much land as 1,000,000 peasants (Darre admitted this).
“The Reichstag deputies in their S.S., S.A. and army uniforms raised their arms and shouted Heil for several minutes as Hitler told them, after the outbreak of war in September, 1939: ‘No one will make money out of this war.’ One lie more or less makes no difference to Hitler. The fact is, the profits of the upper 10,000 in Germany have reached astronomical proportions in this war. To detect these profits, however, one must know how to read between the lines of company reports. . . . German industry wrote off ‘between a half and one billion marks’ above the normal amount for reserves, etc., during the period just before the outbreak of the war. This is a clear case of concealing profits. . . .
“Exactly 24 hours before Hitler’s armies attacked the Soviet Union the Nazi newspapers published a decree that was intended to prove the Socialist character of the Third Reich and to incite German soldiers to fight the ‘bolshevik-plutocratic world conspiracy.’ This decree called for a compulsory payment to the State of dividends that exceeded 6%. As if by magic the stock companies immediately began to increase their capital. They did not have to lay claim to their bank credits, but simply converted their hidden profits, their secret and open reserves, into additional capital. Thus the dividends decreased in percentage but remained the same in actual profit. By May, 1942, 883 stock companies had already increased their capital from 4,900,000,000 to 7,800,000,000 marks by making use of their concealed profits. . . . Baron von Thyssen-Bornemisza, Fritz Thyssen’s older brother . . . increased the capital of one of his companies, the Duesseldorger Press und Walzwerk to 3 times its former amount. Thus, when he pays 5% dividends now they correspond in cold cash to 15%. . . . ”
Another pamphlet which exposes the profits in Naziism is The Economics of Barbarism by J. Kuczynski and M. Witt, who, after showing how by violence and by illegal means disguised as legal the Germans have seized the wealth of all occupied Europe, arrive at the conclusion that “The European continent in the hands of German monopoly means the end of the United States as a great economic power. It is the first step towards the enslavement of the Americas.”
The Nazi plan, after taking over all of Europe, has been to use monopoly capital to reduce imports permanently and to increase the volume of cheap exports rapidly. German monopoly would exclude American goods from all markets except within the two Americas at first, then enter the South and Central American markets as a formidable competitor and eventually, with the aid of Japan, to exclude the United States and England from both the Asiatic and British Empire markets. All this of course based on a victory of the Fascist International.
The three principles of fascist economic strategy, according to these authors, are:
1. To achieve the economic subjugation of a conquered nation it is essential to control the heavy industries. The first principle of Nazi economic strategy: keep intact, build up, and above all else, take into their own hands the heavy industries.
2. Fascist economy centers on war production. Since it has no interest in the welfare of the masses of people and prefers to depress wages of workers and farmers and lower their standard of living, goods for popular consumption are of secondary importance. Since all the big industrialists are linked with Fascism, it is a policy to give the consumer goods manufacturers a monopoly for all Europe. There is therefore a tendency towards decentralization in the heavy industries, with centralization in Germany of consumer goods industry. The Nazi principle is: kill consumption goods industries outside Germany.
3. The third principle is to increase the numbers of millions dependent upon agriculture with a corresponding increase in the holdings of the great landed proprietors. This pays back the Junkers who financed Hitler, provides materials for the chemical industry and profits the same industry in the sale of artificial fertilizers, and furthers the policy of complete self-independence or autarchy.
These principles of barbarism, conclude the authors, would, if realized, “put back the technical and economic structure of certain parts of Europe a hundred years or more, while overdeveloping economy in other parts of the continent.”
The pamphlet, written before America was attacked by Japan, warns our country that Fascism is an epidemic disease, and that we cannot escape.
So far as this writer knows, the only publication of any kind-book, pamphlet, newspaper story, radio address, etc.-which shows the relationship between Big Business in America and the international fascist system, is to be found in the works of Prof. Robert A. Brady. The serious student of Fascism must read both books listed below.
The relationship of the big money system to the Fascist Party itself is more clearly shown in what happened in Italy than anywhere else. Let us look beyond the Alps.
Fritz Thyssen, I Paid Hitler, Farrar & Rinehart, 1941.
Week-End Review, London, August 5 and 12, 1933.
Fabian Society, London, Tract Series No. 254, p. 5.
Albert Norden, The Thugs of Europe, German American League for Culture, 45 Astor Place, New York City.
J. Kuczynski and M. Witt, The Economics of Barbarism, International Publishers, New York.
Robert A. Brady, The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism, Viking Press, 1937; Business as a System of Power, Columbia University Press, 1943.
The Theory of Capitalist Development, by Paul M. Sweezey, Oxford University Press, 1943.