The Dearborn Independent was a small-time Michigan newspaper that grew to have an insanely large circulation for its size and time - 800,000 at peak in 1924. To contrast, the largest daily newspaper in the United States had a circulation of 50,000. This was because the newspaper was the personal soapbox of one Henry Ford, owner of the Ford Motor Company, the richest man in the world for the time, and possibly the most well-known and respected American of the first half of the 20th Century.

Ford loved to use the paper to spread his views, and his pet topic was the International Jewish Peril. Inbetween the years of 1919 and 1923, Ford wrote over one hundred editorials attacking Jews.

Ford grew up in rural Michigan, where at the fin du siècle, anti-Semitism was par for the course (as it was in many places in the United States). Certain interpretations of the Bible was probably the root cause of this - the terms 'Christian' and 'Jew' became antithetical under those interpretations. Ford had this somewhat simplistic rural view ingrained in him; he saw the world in terms of good and evil, and he tended to replace 'good' and 'evil' with 'Christian' and 'Jew'. His favorite targets were 'Jewish moneylenders', of which the majority that he attacked, like J.P. Morgan, were gentiles.

It is believed that, sometime during World War I, Ford came into contact with an infamous document called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Protocols allege that a secret cabal of Jews was already running the world, and caused everything bad in the world. This document was believed to come from the Czar's secret police, to help whip up some quick nationalism, but it has had an incredible shelf life and it is still occasionally published in condensed pamphlet form today. At any rate, Ford took the ideas inside the document and ran with them.

Ford took out his own page (sometimes two, depending) from the Independent, and published his editorials there. They attacked every percieved evil in every sector of American culture, always referring to it as 'Jewish'. Some of these columns were standard Elders of Zion-style paranoia, such as Ford's allegations that the associated Jewry of the world foresaw World War I and poised themselves to profit off of it rather than try to stop the war. Others were just ramblings, such as the essay entitled 'Jewish Jazz - Moron Music - Becomes Our National Music'.

These assorted writings were published in the Independent, and were apparently well received. The Ford Archives are full with letters praising Ford for the articles, and they appear to be from all sectors of society, with the majority being from rural America. The columns were so popular, that they were collected in a volume called 'The International Jew - The World's Foremost Problem'. The volume was reprinted in more than a dozen languages, including Arabic, and Hitler used it as a reference for Mein Kampf.

There was opposition to the Independent. In 1920, there was a petition asking all involved in any attacks on Jews to cease and desist. The petition was signed by many luminaries, including Presidents Wilson and Taft, but it never attacked Ford by name and nothing came of it. After a 1924 article entitled 'Jewish Exploitation of Farmer's Organization', Aaron Sapiro, a Jew and the head of a farmer's cooperative, publicly demanded an apology. When Ford did not respond, Sapiro sued Ford and the Dearborn Independent. Ford did all that he could to skip the courtroom, even using a staged automobile accident to avoid serving a subpoena. He'd been made a fool of in court before (lack of knowledge, illegitemate kids, etc.) so Ford eventually apologized and settled out of court. The editorials stopped.

For his efforts in this arena, Henry Ford was awarded the highest honor of the Third Reich for a foreigner, the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. Ford accepted the award while claiming that he didn't support the Nazi effort.

There is a story floating around that Henry Ford's last words were concerning if the Ford Motor Company would go public. As the story goes, he passionately replied, 'I'll take my factory down, brick by brick, before I let any of those Jew speculators get any stock in my company!' to the question and then he quieted down, dying two hours later.

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