Out of gas - out of ammo - out of time
One of Rommel's tankers surrenders at El Alamein
Project 60: A Day-by-Day Diary of WWII
Remembering the First Fight Against Fascism
Prescott Bush - Hitler's Angel
The Nazi's banker in America
The U.S. government, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, ordered the seizure of Nazi German
banking operations in New York City that were being conducted by Prescott Bush.
The U.S. Alien Property Custodian seized Union Banking Corp.'s stock shares, all
of which were owned by Prescott Bush, Avrell Harriman, three Nazi executives,
and two other associates of Bush (see sidebar for details).
October 21, 1942
At Stalingrad, German forces launch a massive attack against the Soviet positions in the Barricades and the Red October Factory. Little gains are achieved for very heavy losses.
The Germans reinforce the attacks on
the Barricades Factory with the 79th Infantry division, supported by
armor. Heavy fighting broke the Soviet lines routing the Russians from the
complex. The Germans were not stopped before they secured a foothold in the
northwest corner of the Red October Factory.
Australian forces landed on Goodenough
Island off New Guinea
The Battle of El Alamein
opens as Montgomery unleashes the British 8th Army. The attack begins
with a 1000-gun barrage. After 20 minutes, 30 Corps sends four of its infantry
divisions forward into the German minefields on a six mile front. The 8th
Australian and 51st Highland Divisions attack toward "Kidney
Ridge" while slightly to the south, the New Zealand Division supported by 1st
South African Division strike toward the Miteirya Ridge.
At Stalingrad, German attacks in the
factory district result in heavy fighting. Soviet forces are pushed out of 2/3
of the Red October Factory.
Japanese forces attempt to cross the
Mataniko River on Guadalcanal but are thrown back with heavy loses (estimated at
US forces under the command of General
George S. Patton, sail from Hampton Roads Virginia destined to land on the North
African coast in Morocco.
October 24, 1942
The Battle at El Alamein continues as 1st
(north) and 10th (south) Armored Divisions are committed to the 30
Corp breaches in the German minefield. Faint attacks to the south by 13 Corp
keep the 21st Panzer Division in place but by dawn, 15th
Panzer Division is launching counterattacks against the 30 Corp breaches.
Fighting is intense throughout the day. By nightfall, lead elements of the 1st
Armored Divisions began to immerge from the minefield, but 10th
Armored to the south was still mired in the mines. Congestion was severe and
German artillery was taking a heavy toll.
October 25, 1942
During the night, mounting casualties
and delays in clearing the minefields in the southern corridor leads to a crisis
in the British command. Montgomery, orders the bloody attack to continue. By
morning, the lead brigade of 10th Armored immerges into the clear. 15
Panzer Division redoubles it's efforts against the breakthroughs and the day
is once again dominated by heavy fighting around the ridges. Montgomery made one
change in plan and sent the 9th Australian Division north to cut off
the Italian and German formations still manning the lines between the northern
breakthrough and the coast. Rommel, on sick leave in Germany, returns to the
command of Panzer Armee Afrika.
October 26, 1942
The Battle of Santa Cruz was
fought as the Japanese fleet of 45
capital ships including two fleet carriers and four battleships met a US fleet
of 23 ships (2 carriers and one battleship). The attack began in the morning
hours as Enterprise planes bombed carrier Zuiho while planes from Hornet
severely damaged carrier Shokaku, and cruiser Chikuma. Meanwhile,
the American carriers came under attack. Hornet was attacked and damaged
so badly that she had to be abandoned. Enterprise was hit twice by bombs
that killed 44 killed and wounded 75, but she stayed in action taking many of Hornet's
orphaned planes on board. The US destroyer Porter while running
air-sea rescue operations was sunk by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-21.
Although the American's lost a carrier and a destroyer to the Japanese loss of
a single light cruiser, the battle was a strategic victory for the Americans.
With the loss of over a hundred planes and heavy damage to her carriers, the
Japanese were compelled to remove their carriers from the area leaving the
airspace over Guadalcanal in American hands.
fighting is once again reported in Stalingrad, as the German 79th
Infantry Division drives against the newly arrived 39th Guard Rifle
Division. The 62nd Army HQ once again comes under fire and its Guard
company is dispatched to shore up the lines.
Both sides continued to attack at El
Alamein but the only advances made were by the 9th Australian
Division toward the coast. Allied air superiority began to show its effects as
German armored formation are ravaged. Fuel shortages are becoming critical for
the Axis armored formations and they only get worse when two tankers - Proserpina
and Tergesta - are sunk.
Transport ships left British ports for
their invasion in North Africa. Operation Torch, the first Anglo-American
amphibious assault in Europe had begun.
German forces drive hard for the last
ferry crossing not under direct German fire. Elements of the 45th
Rifle Division are rushed across to the landing site and as the soldiers leave
the boats are rushed forward to the lines only a few hundred meters ahead. Half
of the men landed, did not survive to see the sun set that day. By nightfall,
the Germans are only 400 yards from the landing. There is now no place in
Stalingrad that the Germans cannot direct fire.
RAF air raids on staging areas on the
south end of the El Alamein line succeeded in wrecking German armor
concentrations. A counter-attack by the 21st Panzer-Division to push the
attacking British forces back into the German minefields fails, costing them 50
tanks leaving Rommel with 81 operational panzers.
Japanese forces began desperate
attempts to land troops on Guadalcanal.
The US government issued orders seizing two Nazi front organizations run by the Bush-Harriman bank - the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation.
Montgomery redirects his attacks toward
the center of the El Alamein line as the Germans reinforce the north end along
the coastal road. German counter attacks in that area are stopped by tenacious
The Japanese reoccupied Attu Island.
The Germans capture Nalchik in the
Caucasus, only 50 miles from the Grozny oil fields.
British naval forces in the
Mediterranean Sea near Port Said, track, attack and force the German submarine U-559
to the surface. The German crew abandons the doomed vessel, but three men from
the HMS Petard jump overboard and enter the sinking sub. The three daring
swimmers rescue countless secret documents, among them the Short Weather Cipher
and Short Signal Book which would allow the wizards at Bletchley Park to crack
the German signals system. Two of the brave sailors, Anthoney Fasson and Colin
Grazier died when the submarine sunk suddenly, but their efforts would save
thousands of lives. The third sailor, Tommy Brown, was found to have lied about
his age and was discharged from service. He was killed two years later
attempting to rescue his two sisters from a burning slum tenement.
The Australian 9th Division
breaks the German lines at El Alamein and moves to blocking positions along the
coastal highway, cutting off several Axis formations.
Luftwaffe bombers hit Canterbury.
Marines open a new set of attacks along the Poha River on Guadalcanal.
Operation Supercharge, the breakout and pursuit from El Alamein, commences as Montgomery launches the fresh 151 and 152 Infantry Brigades supported by the 9th Armored Brigade forward. This draws the last of the German armor into a counterattack, which is then countered, by attacks by 1st Armored Division. During the night, Rommel decides to begin his retreat from El Alamein. The beginning of the end of Axis hopes in North Africa had come.
Editor's Corner Archive:
The Past Through Tomorrow "It is quite frightening to realize just how similar our nation's actions have been and appear to be heading when compared this way..."
Afghanistan and Vietnam: When the "war against terrorism" began, many knowledgeable people warned that our operations in Afghanistan would turn into another Vietnam.
Want to Win - Think Before You Lash Out - "If we are serious about taking the war to the enemy, it is time to look ..."
The First Fight Against Fascism - We must remember the Spanish Civil War also.
Arguing Victory - "... Each nation who fought against fascist tyranny in WWII brought with it part of whole needed to defeat that evil..."
War, Glory, Honor and Remembrance - "War is a brutal and savage insult on human society..."
First Casualty... in time of war, those in power are even more inclined to hide the truth,
since that truth is often manifest in the most gruesome and terrible
Those wishing to contribute items. stories or comments should contact D.A. Friedrichs
The items found in this section are comments from the editors of Project 60 and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of bartcop.
of the great houses of American industry and finance had very dirty hands when
it came to dealing with the Nazis. General Motors, IBM, Standard Oil and many
others have had their sorted dealings with the enemies of the United States
aired in public forums. However, one criminal has had little exposure -
Prescott Bush, father and grandfather to two occupants of the Whitehouse.
story of Prescott Bush and his association with the Nazis begins just before the
end of World War I with the dealings of the German industrialist family of
Thyssen. As German hopes for victory sank into the mud filled trenches of the
western front, August Thyssen, known as the "Rockefeller of the Rhur" opened
the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, placing his son Fritz at its
head. The bank, being in neutral Holland, was an excellent place to hide his
vast wealth as the Imperial Germany disintegrated. Meanwhile, his other son,
Heinrich, married into Hungarian nobility and changed his name to Barron Thyssen
Bornemisza de Kaszon.
the war, Avrell Harriman, son of the rail baron E. H. Harriman, and his partner
George Herbert Walker, was busy setting up their own international banking
network. In 1922, Harriman met with Fritz Thyssen and agreed to set up banking
interests for him in the states. By 1924, the Union Banking Corporation was
back in Germany, the crippling effects of the war and the harsh conditions
inflicted on the German economy due to the Versailles Treaty were causing
widespread unrest. One of the players in this unrest was, of course, Adolph
Hitler. Fritz Thyssen became an ardent follower of Hitler, embarrassing the
ideas of the Nazis, especially his anti-union, anti-labor views. He provided
Hitler with his first infusion of cash. Several German industrialists followed
Thyssen's lead and also donated to the Nazis. After the failed "Beer Hall
Putsch" in 1923, many gave up on Hitler, but not Thyssen.
late 1920's saw a boom in the German economy. August Thyssen died, leaving his
son Fritz in control of their vast holdings. Thyssen merged his steel operations
with Flick who owned many coal and steel interests throughout Germany and
Poland, forming United Steel Works (USW). Walker and Harriman meanwhile sold
$50,000,000 in German bonds to bankroll the Thyssen/Flick Empire.
was at this time that the young Prescott Bush entered the picture. Walker hired
his new son-in-law to run the American side USW. Prescott was a hard worker and
helped everyone involved make a great deal of money.
1929 came. World financial markets crumbled to dust. However, the plutocrats
-, Thyssen, Harriman and Flick maintained their empires. With the
ever-deepening desperation setting into the mindset of the German public,
Hitler's maniacal rants became more popular. Thyssen joined the Nazis and
bankrolled their rise to power.
By 1932, despite loosing 35 seats in parliament in the national election,
the Nazis were able to broker a power sharing deal. By 1934 Hitler was the
dictator of Germany.
wanted to see the rebirth of Germany. He began a massive campaign to build the
autobahn and rebuild his military. All of this needed steel, steel which Thyssen
and Flick controlled. Profits for the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart and the
Union Banking Corporation soared. Prescott Bush became managing director of
Union Banking Corporation and personally ran the German end of the business.
all was not rosy for the gang. The Polish government was growing weary of
Flick's operations in Poland and threatening to take over the businesses
claiming fraudulent bookkeeping, securities fraud, tax evasion and excessive
borrowing. The conflict with the Polish government ended when Hitler invaded,
destroying that nation and, starting World War II in Europe.
and Flick's Polish steel interests were centered at Oswiecim in the heart of a
vast coal and steel-producing region. After Hitler's takeover, he decided to
place a forced labor camp in the area in order to exploit the resource rich
state. That camp became Auschwitz.
and Flick, fearing a repeat of the collapse of Germany after WWI, bailed out,
selling their Polish interests to Union Banking Corporation and fleeing Germany.
As it turned out, Fritz and his brother Heinrich had made similar slights of
hand between these banks and a third bank - The August Thyssen Bank of Berlin
- many times, perpetrating a series of tax and securities frauds. Whenever
there was a threat to the Thyssen Empire, the brothers would collude to hide
their assets. In this case, Harriman became the controlling interest and Bush
managed the former Polish enterprises, all of which were supplied labor from the
camps at Auschwitz.
December 13, 1941, six days after the attack at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt signed
the "Trading With the Enemy Act". This act banned business dealings the
enemies of the United States. Prescott Bush ignored this and continued to do
business with the Nazis.
dreams of riches began to crumble in the summer of 1942. The New York Tribune
had discovered and written on the Bush-Thyssen connection. The Tribune hung the
moniker of "Hitler's Angel" on Bush. On October 20, 1942, after
investigation by the US government, Vesting Order 248 was executed. The order
the authority of the Trading with the enemy Act, as amended, and pursuant to
law, the undersigned, after investigation, finding:
That the property described as follows:
of the capital stock of Union Banking Corporation, a New York corporation, New
York, New York, [identifying E. Roland Harriman, Cornelius Lievense, Harold
D. Pennington, Ray Morris, Prescott S. Bush, H.J. Kouwenhoven and Johann G.
Groeninger as shareholders]
all of which shares are held the benefit of Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V.,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which bank is owned or controlled by members of the
Thyssen family, nationals of German and/or Hungary
That the property described as follows is an interest in the aforesaid
business enterprise held by nationals of an enemy country or countries, and also
is property within the United States owned or controlled by nationals of a
designated enemy country deemed it necessary in the national interest, hereby
vests such property in the Alien Property Custodian, to be held, used,
administered, liquidated, sold or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and
for the benefit of the United States .
that, Prescott Bush lost his power in the Union Banking Corporation. Bush
resigned as managing director in 1943, but still retained his stock interests.
For the remainder of the war, he engaged in fund raising activities and became
the founder of the United Services Organizations (USO).
the story, and the audacity, of Prescott Bush do not end here. For that, we must
return to Fritz Thyssen.
Holland was overrun in 1940, Hitler's auditors investigated the Bank voor
Handel en Scheepvaart. Hitler was after Fritz Thyssen's fortune, which had
been transferred to the Netherlands after he fled Germany in 1939. Transfer of
funds outside the Reich was illegal. However, no evidence was found in Rotterdam
and Hitler imprisoned his one-time benefactor for the duration of the war.
Unknown to Hitler, Thyssen had transferred his family's assets to his brother
Heinrich in Hungary.
the war ground on and German hopes faded, Thyssen planned to transfer his empire
back to "neutral" Rotterdam as in German and the Soviet bloc would not be
recoverable. The only hitch in the plan was that the August Thyssen Bank of
Berlin was destroyed in the war and the vault with all the Thyssen family papers
were buried under a mountain of rubble. But the enterprising Thyssen brothers
got Dutch authorities to dig up the vault and bring it back to The Netherlands.
being held and interrogated by the Allies, Fritz Thyssen never told the
authorities where his fortune was hidden and ultimately he was released from
prison. He died in Argentina in 1951. Upon his death, the Alien Property
Custodian released the assets of the Union Banking Corporation. The principles
cashed out and the UBC was no more.
Bush received $750,000 for his share of Union Banking Corporation, a princely
sum in 1951, but nothing compared to the millions the Thyssen family got back.
Prescott used some of this Nazi cash to bankroll his son George Herbert Walker
Bush's first business enterprise and to support his successful bid for Senate
in 1952. The Thyssen's rebuilt their empire, and today, the Thyssen Group (TBG)
is the largest industrial conglomerate in Germany.
column relied heavily on the writings of John Loftus, President of the Florida
Holocaust Museum and Tony Rogers of Clamor Magazine. I am greatly indebted to
them for their work.