1920 a unit of W.A. Harriman & Co. took effective
control of a German shipping line, the Hamburg-Amerika
shipping company. The Harriman unit was named
American Ship and Commerce Corp., and run by George
W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, and Prescott
Bush's father-in-law, George Herbert Walker. During
Hitler's rise to power the U.S. embassy in Berlin
expressed concern to Washington at the cost of
Hitler's political campaign, and of maintaining
the Nazi army of more than 300,000 men, and raised
questions about the source of funding. In George
Bush, the Unauthorized Biography, authors
Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, write that
the embassy reported the Hamburg-Amerika shipping
company was funding propaganda attacks against
the seated German government, for its attempts
to prevent Hitler's takeover.
line officials working through Harriman U.S. businesses
attempted to use their influence to prevent anti-Nazi
propaganda in the U.S, as well. In 1934 Congress
heard testimony that employees of the New York
office were actually part of the Nazi Labor Front
organization, that the line provided free travel
to people on Nazi propaganda business, and that
they subsidized pro-Nazi publications in the U.S.
United States entered World War II early in 1942.
In August of that year the U.S. government's Office
of Alien Property Custodian, operating under the
Trading with the Enemy Act, seized all property
of the Hamburg-Amerika line. Two months later
the same agency seized the Union Banking Corporation,
of which Prescott Bush was a director. At the
time, shareholders included Prescott Bush, E.
Roland Harriman, and several Nazi agents. The
following week the government also took action
against two other organizations run by Bush and
Harriman - the Holland-American Trading Corporation,
and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation.
The following month assets of the Silesian-American
Corporation were also seized under the same law.
A government report characterized the Silesian-American
Corporation as a holding company for German and
Polish subsidiaries, that had been operated by
the German government since 1939. The seizure
order stated that the shares were held for the
benefit of the Thyssen family, who were designated
nationals of an enemy country.
Thyssen, of the same Thyssen family is acknowledged
to have been a major financier for the Nazi movement.
In his book I Paid Hitler, Thyssen admitted financing
Hitler since 1923. A government memorandum recently
declassified reports that the Union Banking Corporation
had been established by W. Averell Harriman in
1924 as a joint operation of W.A. Harriman &
Co. in New York, and the Bank voor Handel end
Scheepvaart (BHS) in the Netherlands, primarily
to handle Thyssen family funds. The report states
that the Union Banking Corporation was connected
to the Vereinigte Stahlwerke, which produced between
20 and 50% of Germany's steel products. The Bush-Harriman
bank handled Thyssen family funds, while the New
York firm of Dillon Read handled the VS funds.
(Clarence Dillon had been a colleague of Prescott
Bush's father, Sam Bush, during World War I.)
to Tarpley and Chaitkin, Fritz Thyssen told Allied
investigators that he had arranged credit for
the Nazi party with BHS prior to Hitler's rise
to power in 1933. He reportedly stated that he
preferred to use a Dutch bank because it gave
him more control than if he had used a German
bank. He also apparently wanted to hide the activities
from German banks (with which, as an industrialist,
he presumably had other dealings).
partner in the Vereinigte Stahlwerke was Friedrich
Flick. During the Nuremberg trial preparations
U.S. investigators identified Flick as a major
contributor to the Nazi party. He was awarded
the title of Wehrwirtschaftsfuehrer for his work
as head of an industrial conglomerate that included
coal mines and steel plants. Flick was sentenced
to seven years in prison, but only served three
and died a wealthy man.
1933 shortly after Hitler took power, an agreement
reached in Berlin designated Harriman International
Co., headed by Averell Harriman's cousin Oliver,
the sole agent for exports from Germany to the
U.S. A key participant in the negotiations was
John Foster Dulles, who with his brother was a
lawyer for the Bush and Harriman families. John
Foster Dulles later became Secretary of State,
and a leader in the Republican Party. His brother
Allan became head of the CIA, helped Prescott
Bush in his campaign for Senate from Connecticut,
and presumably assisted George H.W. Bush when
he headed the CIA himself.
Bush: The Unauthorized Biography
By Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin
Note: Chaitkin's father, Jacob Chaitkin, was hired
by the American Jewish Congress as legal director
of the boycott against Nazi Germany.
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