HENRY FORD AND GERALD L.K. SMITH:
BIG BUSINESS & THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
By S.R. Shearer
Ford's anti-Semitism was no anomaly! His views regarding the Jewish
community, rather than being an aberration, were representative of countless
others in the business community. With regard to Ford, Gerald L.K. Smith
(please see previous article) writes, "At the apex of his business career,
Henry Ford, the industrial genius, sensed that a terrific effort was
being made to take his business from him and manipulate it into the
hands of the money-changers. Mr. Ford had the impression that these
manipulators were being engineered by powerful Jewish financiers."
[Evangelicals should note here that, according to Smith's own account,
it wasn't so much Ford's "Christian beliefs" which - in the first instance
- propelled him forward in his battle against socialism and the Jews,
but the conviction that "Jewish money-changers" were trying to rob him
of his business. There is little to indicate that Ford was a particularly
religious man prior to the rise of trade unionism at Ford Motor Co.;
it was only after he began to feel threatened by "socialist" forces
that he "got religion" - leading one to suspect that Christianity's
most useful function to Ford was as a device to protect his wealth -
and that beyond that it served no useful purpose. Christians should
ask themselves whether such allies are worth having - because, in the
end, this is the kind of thinking that is characteristic of the wealthy.
To be sure, there are exceptions (and they are to be found in the
most surprising places, for example, Jeff Coors), but these exceptions
do not obviate the rule.]
Smith continues, "He (Ford) called to his office the most intelligent
research men within his acquaintance. He commissioned them to make a
thorough study of the international Jew, and publish their findings
in The Dearborn Independent, which at that time was the official
organ of the Ford Motor Company. No expense was spared, and it is estimated
that literally millions of dollars were spent by Mr. Ford on this project.
The original articles were carried first in The Dearborn Independent,
and then published in book form."
Smith goes on,
"I have in my possession every copy of The Dearborn Independent.
This complete set is beautifully bound in Morocco leather and was
given to me by an inner-circle member of Mr. Ford's personal staff.
"When the report of The International Jew was originally published
it opened each chapter with a text taken from The Protocols of
the Learned Elders of Zion, or from the published statements of
world prominent Jews. The moment the manuscripts dealing with the
Jewish problem reached the public, a terrific howl went up from official
Jewry. If I were to summarize the campaign of reprisal and abuse which
was carried on against Mr. Ford and his Company, this summary alone
would require a book. Every instrument of torture and abuse which
could be imagined was carried on against Mr. Ford - smear, character
assassination, ridicule, physical threat, boycott. The pressure was
constant, consistent and endless. The most powerful and enigmatic
pressures imaginable were brought to bear on Mr. Ford to stop the
publication of The International Jew. Finally the order came
through to cease publication and to destroy the copies which were
available. Jews and others went into the bookstores and bought and
destroyed all copies which could be found. Sneak thieves were commissioned
to visit libraries and steal the report out of the libraries. This
made the book so rare and unfindable that it became a collector's
"The day finally came when the one ambition of the Jews was fulfilled.
Mr. Ford apologized for publishing The International Jew and
blamed subordinates for the deed."
FORD'S "APOLOGY" TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
subject of Ford's apology is controversial - even today. But clearly,
it had been made under duress and for "public relations" reasons only
- and this fact is attested to by Ford's son Edsel, who early on established
and maintained close links with the Nazi government at the behest of
his father, Henry. To his dying day, the elder Ford continued to
believe in the central thrust of the Protocols and kept up his
support of right-wing causes - hardly the actions of a man who had "repented"
of his anti-Semitism.
"In 1940 I interviewed Mr. Ford on numerous occasions. In fact,
on the day before his first automobile was put under glass he and
Mrs. Ford invited Mrs. Smith and myself to be their guests at Dearborn.
On this occasion he told me the whole story of his first car and how
he happened to make it. Among the precious souvenirs which have come
to Mrs. Smith and myself is a New Testament autographed by Mr. Ford,
and handwritten letters from Mrs. Ford commenting favorably on some
of my speeches and expressing in her own handwriting Mr. Ford's appreciation
for my activities.
"It was on the occasion of one of these personal visits with Mr.
Ford that he gave me a sensational and shocking report. He said, 'Mr.
Smith, my apology for publishing The International Jew was
given great publicity, but I did not sign that apology. It was signed
by Harry Bennett'. ...
"When Mr. Ford told me that he had not signed the apology, it seemed
almost unbelievable. In fact, I could scarcely believe my own ears.
Furthermore, on the occasion of this same visit, Mr. Ford said, 'Mr.
Smith, I hope to republish The International Jew again some
time'. He showed no signs of regret for having published it in the
Smith goes on,
"... The press quoted Mr. Ford as apologizing for the publication
of The International Jew. (But) Mr. Ford told me in the presence
of Mrs. Ford, Mrs. Smith and Mr. Earnest Liebold (his secretary for
34 years) that he hoped to republish it and that he did not sign the
According to Smith, Ford said,
"There had been observed in this country certain streams of influence
which were causing a marked deterioration in our literature, amusements,
and social conduct; business was departing from its old-time substantial
soundness; a general letting-down of standards were felt everywhere.
It was not the robust coarseness of the white man, the rude indelicacy,
say, of Shakespeare's characters, but a nasty Orientalism which has
insidiously affected every channel of expression - and to such an
extent that it was time to challenge it. The fact that these influences
are all traceable to one racial source is a fact to be reckoned with
... Our work does not pretend to say the last word on the Jew in America.
It says only the word which describes his present impress on this
country. When that impress is changed, the report can be changed ...
Our opposition is only to ideas, false ideas, which are sapping the
moral stamina of the people. These ideas proceed from easily identified
sources, they are promulgated by easily discoverable methods and they
are controlled by mere exposure."
So well did the business community fan the flames of this kind of thinking
that by the early twenties it had pretty well saturated the thinking
of most blue-collar Catholics and evangelical Protestants and had seized
the imaginations of Catholics like Father Charles E. Coughlin of Royal
Oak - the most popular "radio preacher" of that era, and arguably, in
terms of percent of listener audience, the most popular "radio preacher"
of all time - Father Edward Lodge Curran, President of the International
Catholic Truth Society, Father Peter Baptiste Duffee, pastor of the
St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York, as well as many of the Paulist
Fathers of that and other cities, etc.; and Protestants like James M.
Gray of Moody Bible Institute, R.A. Torrey of the Bible Institute of
Los Angeles, Rev. Gerald B. Winrod of Defenders of the Christian
Faith, Arno Gaebelein of Our Hope in New York, etc.
- The International Jew, edited by Gerald L.K. Smith (Los Angeles:
Christian Nationalist Crusade, nd), pgs. 5-11.
- See Bellant and the Coors Connection.
- Ibid., pgs. 5-11.
- Ibid., pgs. 5-11.
- Op. Cit., Higham, pg. 158.
- Smith says of Bennett: "For the information of the reader Harry
Bennett was a very officious and aggressive employee of the Ford Motor
Company. He presumed his way into the confidence of Mr. Ford and later
became known as an enigmatic and obnoxious personality. Space will
not permit a thorough discussion of the activities of harry Bennett.
Mr. Ford's personal secretary for 34 years, Mr. Earnest Liebold, told
me that one of the worst things that ever happened to the Ford Motor
Company was the employment of Harry Bennett. For a certain period
of time Bennett exerted virtually a dictatorial control over the affairs
of the Company. His alleged deeds, if summarized, might make rather
a scandalous book."
After Mr. Ford died, the man Harry Bennett evidently was very much
disillusioned and embittered by the fact that he did not share generously
in the inheritance. He collaborated with a Jew by the name of Paul
Marcus in the writing of a book entitled We Never Called Him Henry.
Here is Mr. Bennett's own story concerning the much publicized 'apology'
Mr. Ford is supposed to have made for exposing the machinations of
the International Jew. Here are Mr. Bennett's own words: 'I got in
touch with Arthur Brisbane, and through him learned that the American
Jewish Committee could settle the matter. I entered into negotiations
with Samuel Untermeyer and Louis Marshall of that organization, and
with Brisbane. They drew up the now-famous 'apology', which was to
be the basis for a settlement. In this formal statement, it was said
that Mr. Ford would see to it that no more anti-Semitic material circulated
in his name and that he would call in all undistributed copies of
The International Jew', which were booklet reprints of the
(Dearborn Independent's articles. For the rest, the 'apology'
said that Mr. Ford had no knowledge of what had been published in
the Dearborn Independent, and was 'shocked' and 'mortified'
to learn about it.
"'Arthur Brisbane brought this statement to me at 1710
Broadway. I phoned Mr. Ford. I told him an 'apology' had been drawn
up, and added: 'It's pretty bad, Mr. Ford'. I tried to read it to
him over the phone, but he stopped me. So I signed Mr. Ford's signature
to the document. I had always been able to sign his name as realistically
as he could himself. I sent the statement to Untermeyer and Marshall.
The signature was verified, and the case was closed. All this was
done without Mr. Ford's taking anyone else into his confidence.
Edsel knew nothing about it, and Cameron and Senator Reed heard
about it by reading the papers. Cameron's reaction was quoted by
the newspapers: 'It's all news to me and I cannot believe it is
"Later, Mr. Bennett's story appeared in abbreviated form in True
Confession Magazine. The above quotation appeared on page 125
of that magazine for October, 1951. I give the reader this information
in order that he may read what follows without the risk of any deception
concerning the Ford apology." "... I did not report this conversation
even to my most faithful followers because the original 'apology'
had been so thoroughly publicized that I knew it would be difficult
to make people believe what I had heard from Mr. Ford's own lips
"Whatever the case may be, the report in its original form as well
as the abridged edition herewith, speaks for itself and is supported
by the logic of its contents.
"... Concerning The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Mr. Ford said on February 17, 1921: "The only statement I care to
make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is
going on ... They have fitted the world situation up to this time.
They fit it now.
"It must be observed that when Mr. Ford made this statement concerning
the Protocols in relationship to his publication The International
Jew, this document, which is allegedly the secret minutes of
the Elders of Zion, was only 16 years old. The Jews had advertised
to the world that The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
were forgeries. Mr. Ford wasted no time arguing this question. He
merely said to his friends: 'No matter what they are, they fit what
is going on'.
"Some students of the situation have pointed out that even the word
'forgery' implies that the object referred to is an accurate reproduction
of the original. For that reason every student of the Jewish problem
should have a copy of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of
Zion. Copies may be obtained by addressing orders to the Christian
Nationalist Crusade, P.O. Box 27895, Los Angeles 27, California.
Price fifty cents. [The International Jew, edited by Gerald
L.K. Smith (Los Angeles: Christian Nationalist Crusade, nd), pgs.
- Op. Cit, Smith, pgs. 5-11.
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