WW2 American war profiteering businesses unpunished?

I just love the new era in television in that history is being examined closely on several channels and ‘new’ observations are being brought out for the general public. Things like some of our national heroes actually having been personal bastards in real life or some heroic businessman, long portrayed as a national benefactor, actually having pushed through some shady deals with the only goal being lining his own pockets.

I happened to be watching one such film on the tube one night when it was mentioned that several major American companies had, during WW2 engaged in illegal war profiteering. Their names were not mentioned, which indicated to me that they are still in business. Now, I had understood that during the time our men and women were over seas and being shot into little pieces, some of our companies were STILL selling materials to the enemy.

Some were doing business with Japan and Germany through round about means, like selling metals to a business in Sweden, which then sold the metals to a business in Brussels which then sold them to the Germans, who then sent them back to our people in the shape of bombs and bullets.

After this was all found out, why were these businesses not punished and why are their names still being withheld? Now, foreign businesses, those surviving from WW2, who assisted the Germans and Japanese, have been disclosed to the general public, like Siemens and a couple of others, which surprised me. No, American businesses have been named.


“Think of it as Evolution in action.”

While there were probably companies engaged in both activities there is a big difference between selling materials to an enemy and simple wartime profiteering.

This strikes me as more a great debates question because it gets down to two issues:

  1. Can you definitively prove the company selling to an intermediary (Sweden in your example) really knew it was ultimately being resold to the enemy?

  2. If so, how far in the past can this be before you just ‘let it slide’?

For example: I’m Jewish, but I don’t blame random Germans I meet on the street for what happened to my great grandparents during the Holocaust. In fact, my wife (who’s even more religious than I am) has a best friend that’s German, and she’s quite a babe!