Monday, January 08, 2007

What Was Good For GM Was Good For Nazi Germany


this isn't surprising at all. IBM, GM...business is business.

"James D. Mooney thrust his arm diagonally, watching its reflection in his hotel suite mirror. Not quite right. He tried once again. Still not right. Was it too stiff? Too slanted? Should his palm stretch perpendicular to the ceiling; should his arm bend at a severe angle? Or should the entire limb extend straight from shoulder to fingertips? Should his sieg heil project enthusiasm or declare obedience? Never mind, it was afternoon. Time to go see Hitler.


Just the day before, May 1, 1934, under a brilliant, cloudless sky, Mooney, president of the General Motors Overseas Corp., climbed into his automobile and drove toward Tempelhof Field at the outskirts of Berlin to attend yet another hypnotic Nazi extravaganza. This one was the annual May Day festival. "

Cut.

"General Motors World, the company house organ, covered the May Day event glowingly in a several-page cover story, stressing Hitler's boundless affinity for children. "By nine, the streets were full of people waiting to see Herr Hitler go meet the children," the publication reported.

The next day, May 2, 1934, after practicing his sieg heil in front of a mirror, Mooney and two other senior executives from General Motors and its German division, Adam Opel A.G., went to meet Hitler in his Chancellery office. Waiting with Hitler would be Nazi Party stalwart Joachim von Ribbentrop, who would later become foreign minister, and Reich economic adviser Wilhelm Keppler.

As Mooney traversed the long approach to Hitler's desk, he began to pump his arm in a stern-faced sieg heil. But the F├╝hrer surprised him by getting up from his desk and meeting Mooney halfway, not with a salute but a businesslike handshake.

This was, after all, a meeting about business -- one of many contacts between the Nazis and GM officials that are spotlighted in thousands of pages of little-known and restricted Nazi-era and New Deal-era documents."

Cut.

"A few weeks later, in May 1941, a year-and-a-half after World War II broke out, with newspapers and newsreels constantly transmitting the grim news that millions had been displaced, murdered or enslaved by Nazi aggression and that London was decimated by the blitz bombing campaign, Sloan, then in his mid-60s, told his closest executives during a Detroit briefing: "I am sure we all realize that this struggle that is going on through the world is really nothing more or less than a conflict between two opposing technocracies manifesting itself to the capitalization of economic resources and products and all that sort of thing."

Full story here.

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