Henry Ford

Eumenis Megalopoulos | Jul 1, 2022

Table of Content

Summary

Henry Ford, born July 30, 1863 in Dearborn (Michigan, USA) and died April 7, 1947 in the same city, is an American industrialist of the first half of the twentieth century and the founder of the car manufacturer Ford. His name is attached to Fordism, an industrial method combining a mode of mass production based on the principle of assembly line and an economic model using high wages. The implementation of this method in the early 1910s revolutionized American industry by promoting mass consumption and allowed him to produce more than 16 million copies of the Ford T. He then became one of the richest and most famous people in the world.

Ford had a global vision of his action: he saw consumption as the key to peace. His commitment to reducing costs led to numerous technical and commercial innovations, and he set up a system of franchises to establish Ford dealerships in as many cities as possible in North America and in major cities on six continents. The Ford Foundation inherited most of Ford's fortune, but the industrialist nevertheless ensured that his family retained permanent control. Moreover, he will assume for a long time the position of president of the Ford Motor Company. In the 1930s, Ford built up what the New York Times called "the largest private military force in the world. He joined forces with the Detroit underworld, in particular to recruit mercenaries capable of intimidating trade unionists and carrying out punitive actions against striking workers.

The degree of Doctor of Engineering is awarded to him by the University of Michigan and Michigan State College. He also received an honorary LL.D. from Colgate University. In collaboration with Samuel Crowther, he wrote My Life, and Work (1922), Today and Tomorrow (1926), and Moving Forward (1930), which describe the development of his business and outline his social and industrial theories. His name is also associated with the book The International Jew and the newspaper The Dearborn Independent, which will lead to many controversies concerning his anti-Semitism and his links with the Nazi regime, some seeing him as one of Hitler's teachers.

Irish origins and childhood in Dearborn

Henry Ford's father, William Ford (1826-1905), was born in the parish of Kilmalooda in County Cork, Ireland. In 1847, at the age of 21, he immigrated with his family to the United States where, the following year, his father John Ford bought a farm in Wayne County near Detroit from an old man also from Cork. It was on this farm where he worked with his father that William met and fell in love with Mary Litogot (1839-1876). Born in Michigan to Belgian immigrant parents, she was the adopted daughter of one of the farm's employees, Patrick Ahern. William and Mary made their marriage official on April 21, 1861; after their marriage, they decided to move together to Fair Lane (en), the residence where Mary's parents lived, in Dearborn. On July 30, 1863, Mary gave birth to Henry Ford, the oldest of six children.

Henry attended school until the age of 15. He showed little interest in his studies and was a poor student; moreover, he never learned to spell or read properly, and always expressed himself in the simplest of ways. Although he did not like farming much, Henry Ford had an early passion for mechanics. At the age of 12, he received a pocket watch from his father which he managed to disassemble and reassemble many times, earning a reputation as a watch repairman among his neighbors and friends. According to Henry Ford, "An immense amount of knowledge can be gained simply by tinkering with things. The way everything is made cannot be learned from books alone. Ford subsequently spent most of his time in a workshop which he equipped himself and where, at the age of 15, he built his first steam engine.

Youth

Despite the needs of the family farm, Henry Ford, at the age of 16, is allowed by his parents to go to work in Detroit, where he is employed as an apprentice in an ironworking shop. His weekly salary of $2.50 was not enough to pay for his room and board, so he also worked nights in a watch and clock repair shop. After three years in Detroit, Ford returned to work on the farm. It was during this time that he built a small steam-powered farm machine for Westinghouse - an engine rental and repair company - with a frame and part of the engine derived from an old lawn mower. Several years after his mother's death in 1876, Henry met Clara Bryant, the daughter of Melvin Bryant, a Wayne County farmer. They married on April 13, 1888 and gave birth to a son named Edsel Ford on November 6, 1893.

In 1891, Ford returned to Detroit with his family as a mechanical engineer with Edison Illuminating Company. He became chief engineer in 1893 and had enough time and money to devote to some personal experiments with gasoline engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of his own motor vehicle called the "Ford Quadricycle", a water-cooled, 4-wheeled, 4-horsepower vehicle. That same year, at a convention held in Manhattan Beach, New York, to find investors, Ford was introduced to Thomas Edison, explaining that "this young man had just developed a small gasoline automobile. After asking him a few questions, Edison finally said, "Young man, that's the thing! You have it! Your car is self contained and carries its own power plant." (You have it! Your car is self contained and carries its own power plant.")

Encouraged by this approval, Ford resigned from the Edison company and founded on August 5, 1899, with the support of the industrialist William H. Murphy, the Detroit Automobile Company with the aim of producing automobiles. Without success, the company is dissolved in January 1901. However, Ford and Murphy were not discouraged and created a new company: the Henry Ford Company. To make a name for himself, Ford used his imagination. In October 1901, with the help of his partner Childe Harold Wills, he participated in a 10-mile race on the Grosse-Pointe racetrack in a competition car he had designed, the 999. Ford won the race ahead of Alexander Winton. Thanks to this victory, which was widely reported in the press, Ford became known throughout the United States.

However, in 1902, Ford is in deep disagreement with several shareholders of the company; they want to put on the market a passenger car now while Ford insists again and again to continue the improvement of the car on which he works. Ford decides to leave the Henry Ford Company. The company was taken over by Henry M. Leland who renamed it the Cadillac Automobile Company.

From difficult beginnings to the success of the first models

Shortly after his departure, Henry Ford approached Alexander Malcomson, an acquaintance he had met while working for Edison, about helping to create a new automobile manufacturing company. Malcomson accepts and together they found a partnership called Ford & Malcomson, Ltd. Their first model was the Ford A (T33), a small, inexpensive sedan designed to sell for about $750. In 1903, Ford and Malcomson agreed to sell a portion of their shares in the company, including to brothers John and Horace Dodge.

In the meantime, in January 1904, he broke the world land speed record in an Arrow model at Lake St. Clair (a then frozen lake in Anchor Bay (en), near New Baltimore, MI), a time when Barney Oldfield and Tom Cooper regularly drove the 999 in oval races, with Ford himself competing in a few in 1905, including a victory in Ventnor Beach (NJ) in September in the mile, in a challenge against a Darracq. In total, Ford personally broke three world automobile records with his 999, in the middle of winter on his favorite lake: two in the mile run (1903 and 1904), and one in the kilometer run (1904), for several other unsuccessful attempts on dirt ovals at that time of his life. In 1906, he took to the sea with Vincenzo Lancia and Victor Demogeot (the future winner) to attend the second Cuban Race in Havana on February 12.

The new venture was a success this time: $100,000 in profit in the first six months and $250,000 for the year. To increase their profits, Malcomson wanted to enter the luxury car market, the most promising segment of the automobile market according to him; Ford was reluctant but finally had to accept. The Ford Model B and Model K were born; the customers were so satisfied that in 1907, the profits exceeded one million dollars.

Ford T or a revolutionary production method

"I will build an automobile for as many people as possible."

- Henry Ford, in October 1908

This is what Henry Ford proclaimed shortly before the birth of the Ford T or Tin Lizzie ("the tin maid"). Introduced on October 1, 1908, it was very easy to drive and inexpensive to repair. The Ford T was so cheap in 1908 that, in the 1920s, a majority of American drivers learned to drive it. The Ford T was to be an unprecedented success in the history of the automobile; in the aftermath of the First World War, the Ford T was used by nearly one out of every two American households that owned a car.

Henry Ford owes this success in particular to Fordism, a mode of development inspired by Taylorism based on rationalization and standardization. Rationalization, or more simply the breakdown of the worker's activity into elementary tasks allowing him to work on specialized machine tools, leads to a simplification and standardization of gestures as well as a consequent increase in productivity. As for standardization, a method already used in the arms industry, from which some of the Ford Motor Company's engineers came, it allows "the use of perfectly interchangeable standard parts in the construction and maintenance of the vehicle". Standardization in the Ford factories was taken to such an extreme that only the Ford T was produced, and only in black because, it was said, of its rapid drying time, and more likely because of its lower cost. This method favors not only the increase in production, but also the geographical expansion of the Ford T since standard parts can easily be sent for repair.

When in 1913, Ford introduced the movement of parts on conveyors, the assembly time of the Ford T chassis dropped from 728 min to 93 min; "The man who places a part does not fix it, the man who places a bolt does not put the nut on, and the man who places the nut does not lift. The idea for this assembly line came to him, according to his memoirs, during a visit as a teenager to a Chicago slaughterhouse. But although he is often credited with the idea, sources indicate that the concept and its development were actually due to four of his employees: Clarence Avery, Peter E. Martin, Charles E. Sorensen, and C. Harold Wills. These changes in production methods, which were to have a lasting effect on most industries at the beginning of the 20th century, led to a significant reduction in production costs. A Ford T was worth $825 when the model was launched; this corresponded to more than a year's salary for a teacher, but was still much lower than the average price of an automobile, which was close to $2,000 at the time. And the price kept falling as production increased: from $690 in 1911, it was $490 in 1914, then $360 in 1916, and finally $290 in 1927. Ford T sales also increased tenfold, from 250,000 vehicles in 1914 to 472,000 in 1916, and then one million in the early 1920s.

The final aspect of this success is marketing; Ford creates a massive advertising machine in Detroit to ensure that all newspapers carry ads for its products, as well as a large network of distributors introducing the car to virtually every city in North America. Sales soared. Finally, when production of the Ford T ceased on May 27, 1927, 15,007,034 units had been sold in 19 years; this record stood for the next 45 years.

Decline of the Model T and birth of the Model A

Henry Ford handed over the presidency of the Ford Motor Company to his son Edsel Ford in December 1918; at the age of 55, however, he retained discretionary power. When asked about the future of the Ford Motor Company, Ford replied that if he was not the master of his own company, he would build another. So in July 1919, he bought back all the shares for nearly $106 million, which he shared with members of his family.

By the mid-1920s, sales of the Model T began to decline due to increased competition. Other car brands offered their customers the option of purchasing a car on credit, which Ford always refused, with better features and more modern styling than the Model T. Despite Edsel's urging, Henry still refused to incorporate new features into the Model T or any form of customer credit plan. There were also social and commercial reasons for this decline: on the one hand, workers were getting tired of a job that was considered unrewarding, and on the other hand, the general rise in living standards allowed other manufacturers to focus on market segmentation. Customers were more and more concerned about distinguishing themselves socially through their cars and about having a comfortable car. Owning a Ford T is no longer as rewarding and leads customers to renew their cars by turning to more prestigious brands.

In 1926, Henry was finally convinced that a new model should be developed. He followed the project with great interest in the design of the engine, chassis, mechanics and other aspects, while leaving the bulk of the design to his son. The Ford Model A (in 1931 it will have a total production of over four million units.

Ford in the world

Ford's leitmotiv is the economic independence, even autarky, of the United States. His industrial complex in Red River was one of the most important industrial sites of the time, capable of producing the steel necessary for its production. His primary goal was to produce a vehicle from scratch without having to rely on foreign trade. He believed in the global expansion of his company and that trade and international cooperation would lead to peace; he used the Model T processing and production assembly line to demonstrate this.

Ford opened assembly plants in the United Kingdom and Canada in 1911, and soon became the largest automobile producer in those countries. In 1912, Ford cooperated with Giovanni Agnelli, head of Fiat, to launch the first Italian automobile assembly line. The first of the factories in Germany was built in the 1920s with the support of Herbert Hoover and the Department of Commerce, which shared Ford's theory that international trade was essential for world peace. In the 1920s, Ford also opened factories in Australia, India, and France. By 1929, Ford had dealerships on five continents. Ford also experiments with a rubber plantation in the Amazon jungle called Fordlândia: its surface area represents 10,000 km2 of the Brazilian state of Pará. But this one is one of his rare failures. Fordlândia was intended to end Ford's dependence on rubber from British Malaysia.

In 1932, Ford produced a third of the automobiles built in the world. The image of the company aroused different reactions among Europeans, especially Germans: "fear for some, infatuation for others, and fascination for all. Both supporters and critics insisted that American Fordism embodied capitalist development, and that the automobile industry was the key to understanding economic and social relations in the United States. As one German man said at the time, "The automobile has so revolutionized the American way of life that it is scarcely believable that anyone could live without a car. It's hard to remember what it was like before Mr. Ford came along and preached his new gospel. For many Germans, the success of Americanism is essentially attributed to Henry Ford.

Henry Ford was one of the pioneers of welfare capitalism, a paternalistic industrial practice designed to improve workers' living standards. On January 5, 1914, Ford announced an increase in minimum daily wages from $2.34 to $5.00 for apprentices ("The Five Dollar Day") and a further reduction in daily working hours from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Described as a "great humanist" or "mad socialist," Ford did not set up this initiative to establish a strong middle class capable of buying his products, as has sometimes been suggested, or even as an act of charity. As he himself explains in his memoirs, it was "one of the best cost-cutting measures ever introduced.

Indeed, Henry Ford acts solely in the interest of his company. His factories are plagued by high turnover, which leads many departments to have to hire 300 people a year to fill 100 jobs, and excessive absenteeism. In addition, almost all jobs are monotonous, and assembly line work is extremely tedious because of the need to perform the same procedure all day. Hiring and training "replacement" workers is also very expensive. Increasing wages is therefore a solution to these difficulties. This work philosophy allows for a rapid increase in productivity, but wages remain virtually unchanged for 30 years.

The "Ford Social Department" nevertheless uses investigators to ensure that those who receive profit sharing are above reproach. In fact, workers are strongly advised not to smoke, not only in the factory, but also at home. "If you study the history of most of the criminals, you will find that they were habitual smokers," said Henry Ford. Alcohol, gambling and billiards were also strictly forbidden. Ford's excessive intrusion into the private lives of his employees would long be a source of controversy. In his memoirs of 1922, Ford nevertheless stated that "paternalism had no place in industry".

In the 1930s, Ford built up, in the words of the New York Times, "the largest private military force in the world. The company joined forces with the Detroit underworld to recruit mercenaries capable of intimidating unionists and carrying out punitive actions against striking workers.

As early as 1927, Ford's management made a deal with the "Al Capone of Detroit", Chester LaMare, and then joined forces with Joe Adonis, one of the leaders of the New York mafia. After a traffic accident that befell Henry Ford in 1927, Harry Bennett, the "personnel director" and the company's second-in-command, reassured the public that his boss had been the victim of an assassination attempt: "Our ties with the Detroit mob are such that within twenty-four hours of such a plan being hatched, we would be informed.

The most violent confrontation between employer militia recruits and unionists occurred on May 26, 1937, outside the River Rouge plant, when dozens of United Auto Workers union members were attacked as they were about to distribute leaflets. According to testimony gathered by the National Industrial Relations Commission in July 1937, five militiamen were assigned for each unionist. Because of its violent anti-union practices, the New York Times described Ford as "an industrial fascist - the Mussolini of Detroit.

Better known for his automobiles, Ford nevertheless invested relatively early in aeronautics. In 1923, Edsel Ford acquired the Stout Metal Airplane Company and developed the Stout 2-AT Pullman. In 1925, he founded the Stout Metal Airplane Division, which marked the launch of the study of the first Ford experimental airplane; called the Ford Trimotor, it was put on the market in 1926. This first plane was a major technological advance and allowed Ford to become the world's leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft. The airlines gradually abandoned their planes and replaced them with Ford planes, whose passenger-carrying capacity was far superior to the competition. They were soon used to create the first transcontinental air service.

Ford's involvement in aviation also played an important role in the Allied victory in World War I and World War II. During World War I, the Ford Motor Company mass-produced Liberty V8 engines for the U.S. Air Force and developed the Kettering Bug, the first American guided missile. During World War II, Henry Ford supported the construction of thousands of Pratt & Whitney "Double Wasp" and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber engines. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to Detroit as part of the "arsenal of the democracies".

Ford has always fiercely refused the presence of unions in its companies. He believed that they were strongly influenced by certain managers, and that despite their apparent goodwill, their actions were counterproductive for the well-being of workers. If restricting productivity is for most a way to promote employment, Ford considers on the contrary that it is necessary to increase economic prosperity and thus stimulate the economy, which consequently allows the creation of new jobs. Ford was also suspicious of union leaders - particularly the Leninists - whom he accused of fomenting perpetual socio-economic crises in order to maintain their own power. As a good manager, he nevertheless saw himself as capable of fending off the attacks of misguided politicians and creating a socio-economic system in which neither mismanagement nor unions could find the support to sustain themselves.

In the early 1930s, despite the Great Depression, Henry Ford accelerated production at an unbearable pace. He ruled his factories through fear; as their living conditions deteriorated, workers and managers were wary of snitches. Ford used nearly 3,500 henchmen to prevent the unions from entering the plant. The mayor of Detroit observed that "Henry Ford employed some of the worst thugs in our city. Harry Bennett, a former Marine appointed to head the internal security department, used a variety of intimidation tactics to crush unionization, the most famous of which, in 1937, resulted in a bloody brawl that became known as the Battle of the Overpass. That same year, Walter Reuther, future president of the United Auto Workers, was beaten in Red River for distributing union leaflets.

After the United States entered World War II, full employment put an end to the use of terror. However, wages had been stagnant for years and eventually fell far below those of competing plants. Unions still had no rights at Ford plants, unlike at General Motors and Chrysler. In April 1941, eight workers decided to start a protest march through the Red River plant singing Solidarity Forever (Ford had no other way out than to negotiate with the union. Edsel, who was then president of the company, felt that it was necessary for the company to reach some sort of collective agreement with the unions, so that the violence, work stoppages and stalemates could not continue. But Henry refused to cooperate for several years, and it is known that he entrusted Bennett with the task of ensuring that the dialogue with the unions did not lead to any agreement.

The last few years were particularly frustrating for Henry Ford. He did not accept the changes brought about by the Great Depression and opposed the New Deal, the plan implemented by President Roosevelt to improve the economic and social situation in the United States. He still refused to recognize the auto workers' union and used armed police to deal with union mobilizations. For various reasons, Ford, alone in his industry, refused to cooperate with the National Recovery Administration, a government agency in the 1930s that prepared and oversaw fair competition codes for businesses and industries.

When his son Edsel, then president of Ford Motor Company, died of cancer in May 1943, Henry Ford decided to assume the presidency. At this point in his life, he had already suffered several strokes (heart attack and stroke) and was no longer mentally fit to hold such a position. Most directors do not want to see him as president. Over the past 20 years, although he is not a full director, the board and management never openly challenge him. During this period, the company began to falter, losing more than $10 million a month. President Franklin Roosevelt's administration considered a takeover of the company to ensure continuity of production during the war, but the plan did not materialize.

In May 1946, Henry was awarded the Golden Jubilee of the American Automobile Industry for his decisive contributions to the development of the industry. The first Gold Medal of the American Petroleum Institute was awarded to him in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the welfare of mankind. Ford also maintains a vacation home, known as Ford Plantation, in Richmond Hill, Georgia, with an estate of 1,800 acres. He made significant contributions to the local community, including the construction of a chapel and a school, and employed many local residents.

His wife Clara wanted Henry to leave the presidency of Ford, especially since the government was very reluctant to have an 80-year-old man running the company. On September 21, 1945, Henry Ford, in poor health, left full powers to his grandson, Henry Ford II, and retired in September 1945 from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 83 at Fair Lane, his home on his estate in Dearborn. The funeral service is held in St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Detroit, and Henry Ford is buried in the Ford family cemetery at St. Martha's Anglican Church.

Controversies around his business with the Nazi regime

In 1938, Henry Ford was awarded the "Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle," the highest Nazi decoration for foreigners. This favor granted by the Nazis generated a major controversy in the United States and ended in an exchange of diplomatic notes between the German government and the State Department. Ford speaks about this controversy by claiming that "acceptance of a medal from the German people does not, as some seem to think, entail any sympathy from . This award would not have caused controversy, as for Thomas J. Watson, president of IBM, decorated the previous year, if Ford had not also been the author of anti-Semitic writings and a financial supporter for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. Ford had economic relations with the Soviet Union, until his friend Sergei Dyakanov, accused of right-wing drift, was "purged", tried and executed in January 1938. In April 1943, the American Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, was quoted as saying that the production of Ford's French subsidiary was "for the sole benefit of Germany". According to the series Apocalypse, Hitler, whose sources are to be confirmed, Henry Ford financed the Nazi party from the beginning of the 1930s by leaving profits from Germany to this party and by paying 50,000 dollars each year on Hitler's birthday.

While Ford publicly proclaims that it does not like militaristic governments, it benefits from the Second World War by supplying the war industry of both sides: on the one hand, it produces, via its German subsidiaries, vehicles for the Wehrmacht, but also on the other hand, vehicles for the American army. It participated in the German war effort in the same way as Opel, a subsidiary of General Motors. In 1942, the British air force bombed the Ford factory in Poissy. Ford then asked the French government to protest to the American embassy in Vichy.

Anti-Semitism

Henry Ford is fundamentally anti-Semitic. He used The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to assert that the Jews had long foreseen that the war that was coming would be a "world war" and he added: "How did they know it was to be a world war? Henry Ford used his wealth and influence to distribute millions of copies of this false document. Many American movements took up his anti-Semitic theories to rekindle latent hatred. His anti-Semitism is also expressed in his memoirs: "Our work does not pretend to have the last word on the Jews in America. If Jews are as wise as they say they are, they had better work at becoming American Jews, rather than working at building a Jewish America." The theme of Jewish conspiracy also blends with anti-communism in his writings: for Henry Ford, the Soviet revolution would have been "the outer cover of a long-planned coup to establish the domination of a race.

In his book The International Jew, he explains that anti-Semitism is, in his opinion, only the counterpart of the anti-goyism of the Jewish community. The International Jew is a four-volume work published under the name of Henry Ford and is a collection of articles that appeared in the Dearborn Independent newspaper. One sentence in a text devoted to the salutary "reaction of Germany against the Jew" illustrates the supposedly scientific spirit of the work, whose language is laden with medical metaphors: it is a question of "political hygiene", because "the main source of the disease of the German national body .

In several other passages, the Jews are presented as a "germ" that must be "cleansed. Adolf Hitler and his collaborators used this terminology to justify their crimes. The Jew was no longer defined by his religion but by his "race", "a race whose persistence has overcome all efforts to exterminate it". It was therefore necessary to awaken "pride in race" in young people. Ford was inspired by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a work that was "too terribly true to be fiction, too profound in its knowledge of the secret workings of life to be a forgery", quoted and commented on extensively as the ultimate and irrefutable proof of the Jewish conspiracy to seize power on a world scale. This work is also strongly criticized by the Times. It often refers to Germany, which is described as dominated by Jews, despite the fact that "there is no stronger contrast in the world than that between the pure Germanic race and the pure Semitic race.

The theme of the complicity between Judeo-Bolshevism and Jewish capitalist finance in a conspiracy to impose a Jewish world government on the planet was taken up extensively by Nazism. Three volumes deal with the place of the Jews in the United States. According to Ford, their massive emigration from Eastern Europe to North America had nothing to do with alleged persecutions: the pogroms were only propaganda; it was a real invasion: the "international Jew" could move a million people from Poland to America "like a general moves his army. The Jews are responsible for introducing a dirty and indecent "oriental sensuality" into the performing arts in the United States, "instilling an insidious moral poison."

Ford's contribution to the spread of anti-Semitism goes beyond print. He actively worked to form a community. Initially gathered around the Dearborn Independent, these men were an important force in the American evolution of anti-Semitism, and included many pro-fascists.

In 1918, Ford's private secretary and close friend, Ernest G. Liebold, bought an obscure weekly newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, for Ford. The newspaper was edited by Liebold for eight years, from 1920 to 1927, and reached a peak readership of about 700,000. Vincent Curcio, an English author, writes of these publications that "they were widely distributed and had great influence, especially in Germany, where no less a figure than Adolf Hitler became widely read and admired. Hitler, fascinated by automobiles, even hung a picture of a Ford on his wall. Steven Watts mentions that Hitler "worshipped" Ford, proclaiming that: "the better to put his theories into practice in Germany, by modeling the Volkswagen, the people's car, on the Model T".

Denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, the Dearborn Independent's articles are explicitly condemned for their violence against Jews. However, according to the trial testimony report, Ford wrote almost nothing in these articles. Friends and business associates state that they warned Ford about the newspaper's contents but that Ford probably never read the articles; Ford only paid attention to the newspaper's headlines. A libel suit brought by a San Francisco lawyer and a Jewish farm cooperative in response to anti-Semitic articles led Ford to close the paper in December 1927. News reports shot at the time show him to be shocked by the content and unaware of its nature. During the trial, Ford's editor, William Cameron, testified on Ford's behalf, stating that he had nothing to do with the editorials, even though they were published under his name. Cameron testified at the libel trial that he never discussed the content of the pages with Ford and never sent them to Ford for approval.

In 1927, Ford's apology, following combined pressure from American Jewish consumers and even from Hollywood, which threatened to use Ford cars for crash scenes, was well received: four-fifths of the hundreds of letters addressed to Ford in July 1927 were from Jews and praised the industrialist. In January 1937, a statement by Ford in the Detroit Jewish Chronicle disavowed "any connection with the publication in Germany of a book known as The International Jew.

However, during the Nuremberg trial, Baldur von Schirach, the leader of the Hitler Youth, declared that he had been influenced by Ford's reading. After his apology in 1927, Ford refused to make any further public statements about the Jews. However, he continued to support anti-Semitic publications under the radar. On this point, the historian Pierre Abramovici, in the article "Comment les firmes US ont travaillé pour le Reich" (How US firms worked for the Reich), makes a severe judgment on Henry Ford's positions.

"Henry Ford blames the Jews for starting the Great War. In 1920, he bought a weekly newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, which gave him a platform. He maintained privileged relations with Nazi Germany. Henry Ford was awarded the German Order of the Eagle in Detroit on July 30, 1938. This distinction, reserved for foreigners, was presented to him by the German consul in Detroit, Karl Capp, and by his counterpart in Cleveland, Fritz Heiler. On June 26, 1940, he participated in a gala dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York to celebrate the German victory over France, after the latter had declared war on him."

- Pierre Abramovici, September 2002

Henry Ford's personal fortune was colossal. According to the financial blog Celebrity Networth, he was the ninth richest man of all time.

In Giovanni Papinni's novel, Gog, published in 1931, the main character pays a visit to Henry Ford in his car factory, where the latter reveals to him the secret of his success in business as well as his vision of the place of the powers in the World.

In Aldous Huxley's famous dystopian novel, The Brave New World, published in 1932, where biological engineering and mental conditioning processes allow for the production of identical human beings on an assembly line to make docile workers, Henry Ford (Sanctified as Our Ford) is the object of an obligatory religious cult, imposed by a totalitarian world state. This cult with a rather hollow and consensual content has replaced all pre-existing religions, which are now forbidden. The author specifies that the Gregorian calendar has been replaced by a calendar whose year zero is the year of the mass production of the Ford T. Huxley also specifies that the Latin crosses of the churches have been cut off to transform them into capital T's. The characters in the novel use the interjection: "Ford's in his Flivver!" instead of "God in heaven!

In Philip Roth's uchronistic novel The Plot Against America (2004), he is President Charles Lindbergh's U.S. Secretary of the Interior. In the miniseries adaptation The Plot Against America (2020), his role is played by Ed Moran.

In the Assassin's Creed video game series, Henry Ford was a member of the American branch of the Order of the Temple. He was one of the main founders of Abstergo Industries with Ransom Eli Olds.

Sources

  1. Henry Ford
  2. Henry Ford
  3. ^ "The history of Ford in Ireland". Archived from the original on November 19, 2017.
  4. Henry Ford avait en effet déclaré qu'« un ouvrier bien payé est un excellent client »[21].
  5. Ford: My Life and Work, 22; Nevins and Hill: Ford: The Times, the Man, the Company (TMC), 54-55.
  6. Ford: My Life and Work, 22-24; Nevins and Hill: Ford TMC, 58.
  7. Ford: My Life and Work, 24; Edward A. Guest: «Henry Ford Talks About His Mother», en American Magazine, julio de 1923, 11-15, 116-120.
  8. Ford: My Life and Work, 36.
  9. Lewis 1976, pp. 41-59.
  10. Sinclayr, Luiz, Organização e Técnica Comercial. Introdução à Administração, O&M na Empresa, 13a edição, 1991, Editora Saraiva, ISBN 85-02-00068-3
  11. Baldwin, N. (2001). Henry Ford and the Jews. New York: Public Affairs.
  12. a b Ford,Henry Ford por ele mesmo, 1995; Ford Os princípios da prosperidade, 1964.
  13. Ford, My Life and Work, 24; Edward A. Guest "Henry Ford Talks About His Mother," American Magazine, July, 1923, 11-15, 116-120.
  14. Ford, My Life and Work, 22-24; Nevins and Hill, Ford TMC, 58.