Henry Ford: A Portrait in Anti-Semitism
Henry Ford is regarded by many to be one of the greatest businessmen of our time. In fact, Fortune Magazine recently named him the Century's Greatest Businessman. An impressive feat in of itself, what is not listed with his many great achievements, and what many would like to sweep under the rug, is the fact that Henry Ford was also a radical anti-Semite. Through propaganda that was widely published, friendship with Hitler and support of the Nazis Henry Ford firmly established himself as one of the century's "greatest" anti-Semites. Ford later tried to rescind his past statements, albeit half-heartedly, but his words and actions greatly outweighed his feeble apology.
The origins of Henry Ford's views are up to debate. Most believe that his opinions of Jews began with his reading of "McGuffeyland". "'McGuffeyland' was the ordered, rigid and straightforward world conjured up for millions of nineteenth century American schoolchildren by the famed Readers compiled by William Holmes McGuffey.'"(Baldwin) Jews were regarded as "shylocks" and aliens in McGuffey's eyes. Portrayed as greedy and immoral, McGuffey's opinions fed easily into a time in America where anti-Semitic views were on the rise with the influx of Jewish immigrants.
A young Ford latched onto these ideals and even later published them in his Dearborn Independent. He even went so far as to have McGruffey's birthplace reassembled at Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village was Ford's fledgling "Americana museum". Nineteen-nineteen was when Ford purchased the Dearborn Independent, a local newspaper/pamphlet that was published weekly. By nineteen twenty the Dearborn was almost three hundred thousand dollars in the red. To regain interest in the newspaper, Ford decided to publish "educational" pieces. The newspaper started to carry excerpts from "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a document of dubious origins....