Renewed Attention To Ties Between Bush’s Grandfather and Nazis

There have been stories about the connections between George Bush’s grandfather, Prescot Bush, and the Nazis for quite a while. The Guardian reviews their business connections, including discussion of newly discovered files:

George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.

The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.

His business dealings, which continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.

The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator’s action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The debate over Prescott Bush’s behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the “Bush/Nazi” connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis’ plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler’s rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.

Remarkably, little of Bush’s dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush’s business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W, as he seeks re-election.

While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen’s US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.

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  1. 1
    JimC says:

    I am as frustrated as many people over what the latest Bush generation has done to my country, and any time I see him exposed, it’s just a little gratifying.

    However, I must say that historical attacks going back generations in his family only hurt our current cause.  Thankfully, the GW presidency is increasingly a matter for history to evaluate.  At this time, we need to look forward, and work to make sure the next four years begin to right recent wrongs.  Focusing on the president’s grandfather only helps paint us as out of touch rabid attack dogs.  From the less motivated mainstream, these types of attacks will raise one of two responses, either ‘Who Cares’ or sympathy, and neither one gives us credibility in the upcoming election.

    At this point, let’s leave history to the historians, and focus on the next generations, not previous ones.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It is an interesting historical fact. Having an isolated post after new documents are released is not “focusing” on his grandfather and does not indicate being out of touch.  This doesn’t have anything to do with either the upcoming election or the views of the “mainstream.”

  3. 3
    JimC says:

    You may be right, and I was worried my comments would taken unduly as a criticism.

    I guess I sometimes see historical facts like this as ‘red-meat’ that gets me angry and energized.  For example, I believe the ‘Impeach Bush’ talk was a harmful waste of ‘political capital’ on the past, not the future, and that was my only concern with this post.  Within that context, it IS an interesting fact.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. 4
    MsJoanne says:

    I read a brilliant Open Letter to Bush today that detailed his family’s relationship to the Nazi’s.
    Since I always seem to mess up embedded links, here it is.  I highly recommend this.  It’s a very interesting read.


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