You know the old slogan? “Ah wants a car that Ah can afford. And when Ah says afford, Ah means a Ford.” The first car I could afford was a 1967 Acapulco blue Ford Mustang — $2,411, brand new, including tax. Loved that car.
Anyway, in a comment last month about Schindler’s List, sponsored by Ford — and the fact that the original Henry Ford was, ironically, a raging anti-Semite — I mentioned that Hitler actually had a picture of Ford hanging on his wall.
Writes my trusty unpaid researcher, the estimable Dave Davis of Dallas and the Adolphus: “It turns out that that picture of Ford on Hitler’s wall wasn’t exactly an 8 X 10 glossy.” According to Henry Ford And The Jews by Albert Lee:
<blockquote>Next to Adolph Hitler’s desk at Nazi Party Headquarters in Munich hung a life-sized likeness of Henry Ford. On the table in the antechamber, visitors were often shocked to find anti-Semitic booklets and books with Henry Ford’s name and portrait on the covers . . .
Hitler often spoke of Ford to his followers, frequently bragging about financial support he had received from the American industrialist. With the press, Hitler was more guarded, yet at times he did express his adulation. When Ford was said to be running for president of the United States, for example, Hitler told Chicago Tribune reporter Raymond Fendrick that Ford had 100 percent of his support. “I wish,” Hitler said, “that I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big American cities to help in the elections.” . . . In 1931 Hitler summarized his feelings when a Detroit News reporter asked what the portrait of Ford on Hitler’s wall meant to him. “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” Hitler said.</blockquote>
Gee. Without Henry Ford, we might not have had the Mustang — or World War II.
Speaking of which, my friend Jim Halperin, whose amazing success as a first and second novelist I’ve chronicled here is now writing his third novel, which imagines that Hitler was assassinated in 1934 — and what the world would have been like today had that happened. It’s too early to show you any of that, but you can still visit his Truth Machine page (and yes, the movie rights have now been sold).
But back to Henry Ford:
On the occasion of Ford’s seventy-fifth birthday, Hitler sent personal congratulations, along with the highest honor which could be awarded by the Nazi government: the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. Ford shared this honor with only four other men, one of them Mussolini.