Henry Ford’s Anti-Semitism

Rob Norton writing about Douglas Brinkley’s Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress (2003) in the Winter 2003 issue of strategy+business magazine:

Brinkley deals squarely with Ford’s most unattractive trait of all: his vicious anti-Semitism. After running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1918, Ford bought a local newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, and used it to reprint, over 93 weeks, an edited-for-Americans version of the notorious anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (composed, Brinkley notes, between 1894 and 1905 by Imperial Russia’s secret police), which he forced Ford dealers to distribute, and later published and circulated widely in book form under the title The International Jew. Among its admirers was Adolf Hitler, who told an American journalist in 1923 that “We look to Heinrich Ford as the leader of the growing fascist movement in America.” Brinkley notes that Ford repudiated his anti-Semitism late in life, and that his son and grandchildren later did much to atone for it.

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