On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Ford Cologne, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger denies producing tens of thousands of trucks for the Wehrmacht. The ruling circles in the Federal Republic of Germany boast of being particularly exemplary in the reappraisal of Nazi rule. But since the founding of the Federal Republic, repression and lies have prevailed in the perpetrators of corporations, and especially of US corporations, with consequences to this day.
Ford Cologne 90 Years: The Idyll Production
On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Ford plants in Cologne, the newspapers of the Cologne media monopoly DuMont Schauberg – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Kölnische Rundschau, Express – on October 2, 2020 full-page jubilation article “90 – Happy Birthday, Ford!": From the repeatedly reproduced photo of the laying of the foundation stone on October 2, 1930 with the satisfied smiling Henry Ford and the bevoverd Cologne mayor Konrad Adenauer about the pre-war PkW models and then the millions of successful post-war models such as Capri, Taunus and Fiesta (Europe’s best-selling small car). Ford Cologne - a brilliant model of success.
“As one of the largest employers, Ford has given generations and thousands of Cologneresidents a professional home and belongs to Cologne like the green belt,” the current boss of Ford Köln is quoted as saying.
The fact that the high profits of the past, which were transferred to the USA, have left the necessary innovation asleep, and that thousands of jobs are now being cut “because of Corona” and that they are being relocated to Eastern European oligarch states because of low wages there – this is not even mentioned in the subclause.
The fact that Ford Köln now wants a 500 million loan guarantee from the state of NRW in order to maintain at least symbolically and for a transitional period a few jobs for e-mobility in Cologne, and that the still praised “free market economy” and even “successful” US corporations, contrary to their legend, are no longer viable without excessive German state aid – none of this is addressed. This would disturb the idyll that has been blindly maintained since Adenauer’s time.
The first lie: “Factory destroyed in war”
The idyll is maintained also by lies. “In 1944/45 the car factory was destroyed in the course of the war,” writes the Express (Philipp Meckert: “Nine milestones from nine decades in Cologne”). That is the first lie. She has it in her – although she sounds so plausible, doesn’t she? “All of Cologne has been destroyed,” is the cliché that is often cultivated in the city’s history.
But the Ford plants were not destroyed, on the contrary. Only the barracks of the thousands of forced laborers employed by Ford were destroyed by the US bombers. The factory had only minor collateral damage. The assembly lines and other equipment remained intact. Immediately after the armistice, production continued as early as May 1945 – trucks and truck repairs for the Us Army – which was easy, because the us Army trucks came from the same company.
The world-renowned US economist John Kenneth Galbraith gave me the first explanation. In 1986 he gave a speech in Cologne at the Peace Congress of the “Doctors Against Nuclear War” (IPPNW). I met him for a long conversation. Galbraith recalled his visit to Cologne forty years earlier. He reported that immediately after the war he headed the US Commission for the Investigation of The Damage to war in Germany, and jürgen Kuczynski, the later well-known GDR economist, was also present. They looked around Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt. Result: “It was unbelievable. But the Allied bombings had a clear class perspective. The working-class districts had been destroyed, but the districts of the bourgeois classes and also many industrial enterprises remained undamaged.” Galbraith summed up: “The officially announced goals of affecting the German economy have not been achieved in any way.”
The Commission’s findings are contained in the report The effects of strategic bombing on the German war economy. The client, the U.S. government under President Harry Truman, did not comment on the distribution of the report. Most arms companies were not bombed either, let alone US and US-involved. In the interests of the USA and Great Britain, the Wehrmacht should remain as highly armed as possible until the very end, and should cause the advancing Red Army to suffer as high losses as possible before the US could emerge as a shining winner.
The second lie: “Interruption of production by the Second World War”
The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (Corinna Schulz: “From the Blechliesel to E-Mobility”) continues to knit in its jubilant article on the same lying building, which he himself maintained for decades: “Interruption of production by the Second World War”. Interruption by the war? The Stadt-Anzeiger lies: the exact opposite was the case.
The Ford-Werke Köln produced PkW with imported Ford technology from 1931. At first there were few, the purchasing power in Germany was low after the Great Depression. This recovered, in 1938 the peak was reached with 23,039 pw. But then production quickly declined, in 1942 only 41 cars were produced, then none more.
But production took a unique turn. How so? Quite simply: Ford Köln produced for the Hitler Wehrmacht, namely war-ready trucks and other military vehicles. In 1938 there were already 12,074, then the demand for the Polish campaign increased, for the Western campaign against France, then for the war of extermination against the Soviet Union. By the way: The Ford fan Hitler, since 1924 regularly donated annually by the anti-Semite Henry Ford for his birthday, most recently for the Führer’s 50th birthday in 1939, awarded his greatest US patron in 1938 with the Grand Cross of the German Eagle Order.
Thus, the production of trucks was constantly expanded with mutual agreement and with increasing profits: in 1943 was the peak with 17,472 military vehicles. In 1944 there were still 13,015. Production did not end until February 1945. Balance sheet: Ford supplied 60% of all 3-ton tracked vehicles and, together with the Opel plant belonging to General Motors, 70% of all 3- and 4.5-tonne trucks of the Wehrmacht. The German police and the SS were also delivered.
U.S. corporations produce for both sides in war
What not only the media of the DuMont-Schauberg Group conceal, but all the leading German media, both private and state: Leading US corporations helped to upgrade the German Wehrmacht into the most modern military power of the continent, before the war and during the war – and they produced simultaneously for the US and british military.
In 1938, James Mooney of General Motors, on the orders of Adolf Hitler, was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle Order, as did Henry Ford. Both did not refuse, but held great celebrations. General Motors produced not only the “Opel Blitz” for the Wehrmacht through its Opel plants, but also the Ju 88 bomber, landmines and torpedo ammunition. GM, like Ford, also produced for the U.S. military.
Ibm, General Electric, Standard Oil, Dow Chemical, Eastman Kodak, US Steel, ITT and also Coca Cola also acted, often in cooperation with German corporations such as BMW, Junkers, Siemens and especially IG Farben: arms production for both warring parties.
Us actors on both sides of wars, including in so-called “citizens” – a historical banality that is still withheld not only from the Rhenish provincial audience from the Cologne provincial media, but also from the all-German audience, both in their gossen- and academically formed variants.
Also displaced: forced laborers
Another displacement at the 90th anniversary of Ford Cologne: Because of the truck production for the Wehrmacht, the workforce reached an absolute high in 1943 with 5,711 employees, and the 5,134 employees in 1944 were also more than in the weddings of the pre-war car production.
The lie-jubilators do not mention by any word that production in the war was only possible with the help of forced laborers: in 1943, about half of the workforce consisted of Russian prisoners of war of male and female sex, Italian military internees and prisoners of various Eastern European nationalities from the Buchenwald concentration camp: the concentration camp in Cologne had its own outpost for Ford, sick prisoners were sent back to Buchenwald, conspicuously delivered to the Ford factory. Ford maintained its own barracks for the forced laborers. Better-treated forced laborers from Belgium and France were also employed.
Also displaced: Ford Cologne as Ford headquarters in occupied Europe
In the media, the real history of Ford cologne is also supplanted in other respects. The often academically educated and interested readers of the Stadt-Anzeiger were able to read in your favorite newspaper: Ford Köln had in the war under “forced administration” stood.
But never before could you read: Henry Ford remained chairman of the supervisory board until his death in 1943. And throughout the war, the Ford Company in Dearborn/USA remained the main shareholder with 52 percent – the second largest shareholder with 42 percent, already founding shareholder, was the German chemical cartel IG Farben, which had already formed cartels with US corporations such as Standard Oil and Dupont (chemicals, pharmaceuticals) during the Weimar Republic.
Ford Cologne was also the headquarters for the other Ford branches in the occupied States during the war, for example in Poissy/France, in Amsterdam/Netherlands, Antwerp/Belgium and Copenhagen/Denmark. In consultation with the local occupation authorities, Ford Cologne, with well-funded Nazi functionaries on the management board and supervisory board, managed the supply of the Wehrmacht on site.
The profits of Ford Cologne and Ford Europa have not been transferred to the USA since the declaration of war in 1941 – but after the war they were paid back; that is what the US military administration was for.
Also suppressed: the “Turkish strike” 1973
A Europe-wide beam event was the “Turks” strike at Ford in Cologne in 1973. It was the wedding in the economic miracle of the country, whose wealth was created by millions of poor migrant workers. Of the 35,000 employees, 12,000 came from Turkey. They did the hardest physical work in the hetzigen final assembly-and at the lowest wages.
In August 1973, the management dismissed 300 Turkish employees because they had returned too late from their holiday in Turkey. On 24 August, therefore, the entire Late Shift with 8,000 workers went on strike, and the German Workers joined in. On August 25, the entire early shift with 12,000 workers went on strike, and all German Workers joined in. They marched over the factory grounds. The demands were: one DM more wage per hour for the lower wage groups, reduction of the belt speed, withdrawal of dismissals.
But the 47-member works council, in which only one Turkish worker was a member, rejected the demands with the IG Metall, calling for the resumption of work. The management brought strikebreakers from the Belgian plant. German Masters, foremen, executives and civil police took action against the strikers. The Express wrote of radical left students who were behind the strike. NRW Interior Minister Weyer (FDP) instructed the constitutional protection to monitor the strikers. Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt urged the strikers to"return to the arms of the Union”. The “ringleaders” investigated by the constitutional protection and the criminal police were arrested, over a hundred strikers were dismissed without notice. The works council could have objected under the works Constitution Act-it did not. The strike ended in defeat.
At the 90th anniversary, this humiliation of the migrant workers would have disrupted the production of idylls. The strike was not mentioned at all.
The decades-long displacement of real history was also achieved by Ford Cologne at its location through extensive populist-corrupt gifts: as a Sponsor of the football club FC Köln, the Cologne Carnival (since 1951 free annual exclusive provision of a fleet of Ford cars for the trio and its extensive troupe), the Cologne City Museum, the annual gay party Christopher Street Day (CSD) and much more.
And the media of the DuMont-Schauberg publishing house liked to play along, because they themselves were accomplices and profiteers of the Nazi regime: even before Hitler came to power, the flagship of the publishing house, the Kölnische Zeitung, in agreement with its beloved Adenauer, campaigned for the inclusion of the NSDAP in the government. With Hitler’s seizure of power, the newspaper – forerunner of the Stadt-Anzeiger – recruited employees of its competitor, the Nazi newspaper “Westdeutscher Beobachter”. The Kölnische Zeitung, already Bismarck’s favorite newspaper, was one of the nationwide system newspapers in the NS, increased its circulation enormously, expanded its editorial and Printing Office, also as a profiteer of Aryanizations. The high command of the Wehrmacht (OKW) held a permanent mass subscription, the German occupying powers distributed the DuMont media as Nazi Propaganda in the occupied States of Western Europe, the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg.
The consequences until today
The Kölnische Zeitung did not receive a license from the US military government as a Nazi perpetrator, even in contrast to other newspapers and publishing houses also charged with Nazi crimes. Only with the founding of the Federal Republic, when the licenses were no longer issued by the Western allies, the DuMont Clan raised the previous subsidiary newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger as the successor medium. The name of the “Kölnische Zeitung” was so burdened that it had to disappear, at least for now. After a few years, however, “Kölnische Zeitung” was printed somewhat small but then under the main title Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, and still stands there today.
By the way: the Ford admirer Konrad Adenauer, also during the war from the nearby Rhöndorf, well supplied by a high Pension of the Nazi state, closely followed the development of his favorite company Ford in Cologne. After the war, he too never came back to the true story of the company he co-founded. As chancellor under the supervision of US High Commissioner John McCloy-who was a trustee of Ford shares in the Ford Foundation – he had to (or was allowed to) spread lies about US anti-fascism and the “Russian danger”.
And the Cologne-based DuMont-Schauberg media – in a voluntarily accustomed step with the other leading media-today bravely and liberally grumble a bit about Tramp Trump, but otherwise spread the unrestricted praise of US investors such as Ford and take over the incitement against Russia and China prescribed by Trump.