Koch Brothers have finally been Godwinned

“Worked on a project for Nazi Germany” probably isn’t what you want to highlight on your resume, but honestly, if you look at the number of US companies that did business with Germany under the Nazis, it’s not really a short list. Even today, companies do business with unsavory governments, and that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily sympathetic to them.

  1. Everybody who could was doing business with Germany. The country was littered with Nazis. Go ahead and smear the Kocks if you want, but I’m not impressed.

They’re in good company. From an interesting Salon article today…

Prescott Bush was a partner in the bank Brown Brothers-Harriman (as were Averell Harriman, who was ambassador to the Soviet Union, and then Truman’s Secretary of Commerce and Governor of New York, and Robert Lovett, Truman’s Secretary of Defense). One of its clients was Fritz Thyssen, the German steel magnate, who had been an early supporter of Nazism and a Nazi member of the Reichstag and the Prussian Council of State, but who had fallen out with the Nazis because of his opposition to Krystalnacht. (Thyssen had supported the Nazis because he was violently anti-Communist, but he was opposed to antisemitism.) After he had sent a telegram to Hermann Goering condemning the German invasion of Poland, he had to flee Germany, hoping to go to South America, but he had gotten stuck in France and Belgium when the Germans invaded, and wound up put in a concentration camp.

Anyway, in 1924, Harriman and Co set up a bank for Thyssen, called the Union Banking Company, largely as a way for Thyssen to get his money out of Germany. Bush was one of the Harriman officers who was listed as one of the bank’s directors, and was given a single share in the company in order to qualify as a director.

In 1942, the government took control of UBC under the Trading with the Enemy Act because its majority owners (Thyssen and his brother) were German nationals.

Shit, the Volkswagen car company was founded by the Nazis, quite literally. Nobody seems to hold that against them. Why should the Koch Brothers be singled out because of a much lesser connection their father had?

ETA: And if we’re going to go down that road, then it’s only fair that we blame Barak Obama for the actions of his Kenyan daddy. So really, these sorts of connections are a can of worms that sensible people leave firrmly closed.

Maybe because some have tried to do the same with the Kennedys?

Thomas J. Watson, the chairman of IBM was one of four Americans “honored” with the Order of the German Eagle by the Nazis in the late 1930s (others were Charles Lindbergh and James Mooney, General Motors’ exec for overseas operations).

But they were distinctly second class compared to Henry Ford, who the Nazis singled out for the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. And he deserved it.

Not exactly. A Volkswagen car company (Volkswagenwerk GmbH) was founded by the Nazis, the factory was built by the Nazi government, of course, development of the Beetle (then Kdf-Wagen) was funded by the Nazi government, and the company was then wholly state-owned.

However, that company ceased to exist (along with the Nazi government). The modern-day company was founded when the factory was seized by British occupation forces as war reparations. They started production again in order to employ some locals and provide cheap transportation for the Allied occupation forces, and came under the control of the state government after the occupation ended.