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©The Hanover Historical Review 1999.   Used by permission.
Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism:
Henry Ford and His War on Jews
by Jonathan R. Logsdon
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          Stevenson had ridiculed Ford's efforts at being a public educator. However; the rural communities still largely admired and believed in Ford. They were the true Americans in his eyes and they would understand him when he proclaimed in his pages that the world was sick and showing tokens of delirium. "We shall have to save ourselves before we can hope to save anyone else," the Independent announced. "Americanism still has a mission to the world."20 Ford was out to prove that he could and would educate these "real" Americans. The recent World War; the Bolshevik Revolution, the urbanization of America, the economic slump- these things seemed to be jeopardizing the American way of life as Ford saw it. However; he was convinced that all of this was traceable to one source, and he was going to reveal it to the nation.

          E.G. Pipp had known Ford for several years prior to his tenure at the Dearborn Independent. However; he soon began to notice a change in the man. Ford was "bringing up the Jews frequently, almost continuously in conversation, blaming them for almost everything.... At first he talked only about the 'big fellows' and said he had nothing against Jew in ordinary walks of life. Later he stated; 'They are all pretty much the same.'"21 Early in 1920, Ford made his views known to the public for the first time in an interview with J.J. O'Neil of the New York World. Ford proclaimed that "The international financiers are behind all war. They are what is called the International Jew- German Jews, French Jews, English Jews, American Jews. I believe that in all these countries except our own the Jewish financier is supreme... Here the Jew is a threat."22

          However; even with this audacious announcement, few could foresee what Ford had in mind for dealing with this "menace." They found out, however; on May 22, 1920 when the front page of Ford's newspaper carried the headline: "The International Jew: The World's Problem." It was the first in a series of articles which were to last for 91 consecutive issues. Ford gave an unenthusiastic Cameron the job of actually writing the articles. "Ford has been at me to commence writing on those cursed Jewish articles," Cameron complained to Pipp, " I don't know what to write."23 He went to the Detroit Public Library to do research and reported back to an equally unenthusiastic Pipp. "He told me what a wonderful race they were," Pipp later reflected, "and how little he had known of their history, and what a magnificent history it was."24 Pipp resigned in disgust the month before the first article on the "International Jew" appeared. Ford named Cameron as his replacement. By 1922, only two of the Independent's original eight staff members were still working for Ford.

          Cameron soon found a source for his anti-Jewish articles in the form of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The Protocols was a work that purported to be a transcription of plans concocted at an 1897 Zionist conclave. At this secret meeting, high ranking Jewish officials, the "Elders of Zion," came up with 24 Protocols which were designed to enslave the Christian world through various sinister means. The Tenth Protocol represents a typical excerpt, proclaiming that it was the duty of Jews "to wear everyone out by dissentions, animosities, feuds, famines, inoculation of diseases, want, until the Gentiles see no other way of escape except to appeal to our money and power."25

          If The Protocols appeared outlandish, it may have been because they were a Russian forgery plagiarized from a 1869 German novel which, itself, was plagiarized from a 1864 French political satire. The original French work, entitled Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavelli et Montesquieu, was intended by its author; journalist Maurice Joly, to be a savage indictment of Napoleon III. 26 The German novel, To Sedan by Herman Goedsche, replaced Joly's world domination plan of Napoleon III with one schemed by a group of Jews in Prague. Eventually, Czarist agent, Sergei Nilius incorporated this work into his 1905 effort entitled The Great in the Small. Nilius' work was designed to deflect the misery of Nicholas II's policies onto a scapegoat-the Jews of Russia. This work was, in turn, further elaborated on in 1917 by a group of Czarist officers living in Berlin and re-titled The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.27

          The Protocols made their way to Detroit in the hands of a certain Madame Pacquita de Shishmarov, who had invented a false genealogy for them in order to pass them off as genuine.28 Although some 37 editions of the work were to be found in Europe at the time, they were relatively unknown in the United States. After they had gained exposure through Ford's efforts, many readers were decidedly unimpressed. "The Protocols are about the strangest jumble of crazy ideas that ever found its way in print," was the verdict of The New York Times.29 Former president William H. Taft stated that the tales of Baron Munchausen were the only things in literature that should be classified with The Protocols, "for they are nor much more preposterous." 30 However; Ford himself was convinced of their accuracy: "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."31 Novelist Upton Sinclair would later bitingly remark, "Henry said that 'history is bunk,' but of course he hadn't meant such history as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion."32

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End Notes

20. John Higham, Strangers in the Land, (West Port, Conn: Greenwood Press, 196), 284.

21. James Pool and Suzanne Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler's Rise to Power, (New York: Dial Press, 1978), 86.

22. Howard M. Sachar, A History of Jews in America, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), 311.

23. Sward, 148.

24. Allan Nevins and Frank Ernest Hill, Ford: Expansion and Challenge, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957), 314.

25. Henry Ford (Introduction by Gerald L.K. Smith), The International Jew: The World's  Foremost Prohiem (Los Angeles: Christian Nationalist Crusade, 1964), 144.

26. Sachar, 312.

27. Ibid.

28. Collier and Horowitz, 103.

*29. New York Times, 1 December 1920, 4.

30. New York Times 24 December 1920, 4.

31. Ford, The International Jew, 9.

32. Upton Sinclair, Flivver King: A Story of Ford-America (Pasadena, CA: Station A, 1937), 123.


*End Notes #29. New York Times, 1 December 1920, 14.      Return To End Notes #29.

Corrections by Yosef Cohen with the invaluable assistance, courtesy, and research provided by Bruce Brigell from the Skokie Public Library.
Special thanks to Albert S. Cohen, my father, and Janet Holmes for various footnote verifications made at the Gary Public Library.

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