Perhaps, the congressional politics behind the Simpson and Peck commission is best illustrated by the example of Republican Senator William Langer from North Dakota. Langer’s election to the Senate in 1940 reflects the beginning of a shift to conservatism and the end of the New Deal liberalism. However, Langer’s seating in the Senate was not smooth.
Before running for the Senate, Langer was twice elected to the governor’s office in North Dakota. In his first campaign, Langer had ran as the candidate for the Nonpartisan League. He had been a member of the Progressive Republicans. He had made enemies within the Republican Party particularly from Gerald Nye and William Lemke. Nonetheless, Langer received the nomination and was swept into the governor’s mansion in the 1932 election. His opponent's defense of the policies of the failed Hoover administration contributed to Langer’s easy victory. Langer then cleaned out most executive departments and appointed persons loyal to him.
He also openly solicited the newspaper, the Leader. A subscription to the Leader cost the subscriber five percent of his state pay. Langer viewed this as a legitimate way to raise campaign funds. In 1934, Langer was indicted for soliciting and collecting money for political purposes from federal employees and of conspiring to obstruct the orderly operation of an act of Congress. On June 17, 1934 Langer was found guilty and sentenced to eighteen months in prison and subject to a $10,000 fine. One month later on July 17, the North Dakota Supreme Court removed Langer from office for his felony. On May 7, 1935, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the original conviction, and ordered a new trial. The first conspiracy trial resulted in a hung jury. A perjury trial in December, found Langer not guilty. A second conspiracy trial, also held in December, settled the issue by finding Langer not guilty. In 1936, failing to win the Nonpartisan League endorsement, Langer ran as an independent and regained the governor’s office.
More conspiracies and corruption marked Langer's second term. As an example, Langer directed the State Mill and Elevator to pay 35 cents per bushel over the market price, while also appropriating nearly six million dollars for general relief. On the other hand, three of Langer's close friends were found to be profiting by purchasing county bonds at a discounted price and selling them back to the Bank of North Dakota at full value. In 1938, the State Board of Equalization reduced the assessment on property owned by the Great Northern Railroad by three million dollars. It was then revealed that an attorney of the railroad had purchased $25,000 of worthless stocks from Langer, and then never asked for the delivery of the stocks. The constant run of conspiracies and corruption stories during Langer’s second term contributed largely to his defeat in the Republican primary against Gerald Nye.
However, Langer was successful in his bid for the senate in 1940. Although Langer had won the election, his enemies were determined to not allow him to take his seat. When Langer appeared to take the oath of office on January 3, 1941, a petition was presented to the secretary of the Senate arguing that he not be seated. The matter was turned over to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. The committee listened to much testimony, some of it very damaging, regarding Langer’s conduct. During the hearings, Langer was forced to admit he had paid the son of the judge who presided at his second and third trials in 1935. The committee recommended, by a vote of 13-3, that Langer not be seated.68
However, reflecting the shift towards conservatism the full senate voted to seat Langer by a vote of 52 to 30. While the Democrats controlled the 77th Congress by a margin of 66 to 28, the vote seating Langer reflects how the control of the Senate was largely in the hands of an alliance of Republicans and conservative Dixiecrats.
Embarking on his career in the Senate, Langer adopted a strict isolationist policy. He opposed Lend Lease, the extension of the draft, the NATO alliance and the formation of the United Nations. Langer did, however, vote for the declaration of war following Pearl Harbor.
Winston Churchill was a frequent object of Langer’s scorn. In March 1949, while Churchill was touring the United States Langer charged that Churchill had fought against the United States in the Spanish-American War. He was rebuked by his colleagues in the Senate when Tom Connally of Texas stated that the historical record showed Churchill was never in Cuba. In 1951, Langer telegraphed the pastor of Boston's Old North Church requesting two lanterns be placed in the belfry to warn Americans that the British were coming prior to a visit by Churchill.
While serving in the Senate Langer served on the Judiciary committee in one of America’s darkest hours 1953-1955 at the height of McCarthyism. Langer was one of only 22 Senators that voted against censoring McCarthy.
On December 18, 1950, Langer delivered a speech a speech before the Senate blasting the Nuremberg Trials. He proclaimed:
"These war-trials were decided on in Moscow and they are carried on under Moscow principles. These trials were essentially the same as the mass trials held in the 1930s by Stalin when Vyshinsky used treason trials to liquidate his internal enemies. At Nuremberg the Communist used war crimes trials to liquidate their external enemies. It is the Communist avowed purpose to destroy the Western World which is based on property rights."111
Langer’s speech opened a new dimension in the opposition to the war crimes by claiming the trials were a communist plot against property rights. Whether Langer was sympathetic to the Nazi movement or just a useful stooge duped by the Nazis, his actions certainly were in line with those outlined in the captured documents on how to promote strive between the US and the USSR.
Following the war one of the most influential Nazi agitators in the United States was Dr. Walter Becher, an anti-Communist "refugee leader" from the Hitler regime. Becher joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and became an editor of Die Zeit, a Nazi propaganda sheet in 1937. During the war, Becher worked for Goebbels propaganda ministry as a war corespondent.
Shortly after the war, Becher founded a pro-Nazi newspaper in Germany and sought out influence in Washington. Two of Becher’s early contacts in the Senate were McCarty and William Jenner. Other early supporters of Becher were Francis Walter, B. Carroll Reece, Albert Bosch and Walter Judd.
His scheme was simple; as a staunch leader in the anticommunist movement in Germany, he could gain the support of leading politicians in the United States, and his prestige and stature would grow enormously at home. Among those that sent letter of support to Becher were William Langer, Prescott Bush, Strom Thurmond, Thomas Dodd, Robert Byrd, and Stuart Symington. Other notables who sent letters of support to Becher are Herbert Hoover, and retired U.S. generals del Valle, Willoughby and Wedemeyer. Note all three generals involved themselves with many hard right groups, including the lunatic fringe for the remainder of their lives. In all Becher claimed support from more than 150 congressmen.
The list of Becher’s supporters is a virtual roster of the hard right of the 1950s. Republican Senator William Jenner from Indiana chaired the Senate’s Internal Security Committee, the Senate’s counterpart to the House Un-American Activities Committee. In the 1952 presidential campaign, he led the attack on the Truman administration charging George Marshall as soft on communism. Francis Walter, Democrat representative from Pennsylvania was a member of the House Un-American Activities. Walter accepted money from Draper the founder of the Pioneer Fund and not to be confused with General Draper. Republican B. Carroll Reece from Tennessee headed a committee investigating the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as agents spreading communism. Walter Judd Republican representative from Minnesota was a principal in the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. Judd was also a member of the Committee for One Million and a member of the first U. S. branch of World Anti-Communist League, a group that was and remains infested with former Nazis and maintains a close relationship with the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
In 1955, Becher decided to install a permanent aid in Washington. His choice was Dr. Richard Sallet a former Nazi diplomat. Sallet was the Nazi’s expert on America. Captured Nazi documents reveal his expertise. Several hundred pages attest to his success in launching an anti-Semitic campaign in the 1930s. Sallet had help from the Republican Party, which paid for broadcasts by known Nazis in New York State. Another program in which Sallet had a more limited success was in undermining the confidence of the American people in Roosevelt. 104
John Grombach headed another Nazi infested organization with close ties to this group. Grombach a former G2 officer recruited former Nazi SS officers, Hungarian Axis Quislings, and Russian nationalists. His network of former Nazis produced intelligence offerings for the State Department, the CIA and corporations. Grombach’s operation originally began as a G2 operation to rival the CIA but soon evolved beyond that. Although much of Grombach’s funding did come from the United States government, he received a large amount of funding from N. V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken corporation of the Netherlands and its American affiliate, Philips North America. One of Grombach’s prized assets was Karl Wolff, a major war criminal.
Grombach had visions of grandeur with his eye on holding the position of Director of the CIA. High on his list of political targets were those that implemented President Truman’s containment policy. Grombach viewed people such as George Kennan and Charles Bohlen as too soft on communism. He found ready allies in McCarthy and Jenner. By the 1950s, Grombach and his network of Nazis specialized in gathering dirt. He would then leak the smears to his political allies. The chief beneficiary being Joe McCarthy.
This very brief look at the congressional politics of the conservatives and Republicans behind the Simpson and Peck committees leads to three significant conclusions.
The first being the release of the Nazi war criminals was politically motivated by those that held sympathetic views towards the Nazis previously. Secondly, and more importantly it confirms the Nazi plan to carry on the war after the hostilities had ceased on the battlefield. Those captured documents revealed that the Nazis were planning to use their sympathizers after the war to protect them and to reestablish fascism. The Nazis must have been very pleased by the actions of the Republican conservatives in Congress.
Finally, it fully establishes that the emergence of the Cold War was largely due to Nazi intrigue. Similarly, it confirms the Nazi plans in the captured documents were well thought out in using communism as a ploy to ease peace terms and other burdens on Germany. That same faction of conservatives that were the most vocal Nazi sympathizers in Congress was also the most vocal cold warriors. The intertwining of the Cold War with Nazi intrigue extended well into the 1960s.
Originally, there were two trials planned for Nuremberg. Both were considered of equal importance and stature at the time. The first trial was of the top Nazi officials. The second trial was to be the trial of the industrialists. The industrialists' trial at Nuremberg was canceled and instead of being held by the military tribunal at Nuremberg was held separately in the American zone. By the end of the first trial, chief American Prosecutor Robert Jackson had succumbed to the American disease of an irrational fear of communism and became an outspoken critic of holding the second trial. There is no better summary of the half-hearted effort put forth to try the Nazi industrialists and the effectiveness of the Nazi plan to provoke a war between the Soviets and the United States than the words of Jackson in May near the close of the first trial.
"A trial in which industrialists are singled out may give the impression that they are being prosecuted merely because they are industrialists. This is more likely since we would be associated in prosecuting them with the Soviet communist and the French leftists…I have some misgivings as to whether a long public attack concentrated on private industry would not tend to discourage industrial cooperation with our government in maintaining its defense in the future while not at all weakening the Soviet position, since they do not rely on private enterprise.81
Jackson’s words were the final nail in the coffin of Roosevelt’s pledge to bring the Nazis and those that aided them to justice. American corporations could now breathe easily. There would be no extended trial of Nazi industrialists to expose their treasonous trade with the Nazis.
Returning to the war crimes trials and clemency, General Clay had been forced to stop the executions of all those given death sentences due to Senator Langer’s committee. While the conservatives within the United States had succeeded in swaying American opinion that the war criminals were victims of Roosevelt, it was clear by 1950 that the West Germans rejected the validity of the trials. Leading the cause of war criminals in Germany was the leadership of the German Catholic and Protestant churches. Bishop Fargo Muench had gone as far as to call for a general amnesty. 69
Langer had compared the Nuremberg Trials to the purges by Stalin. In
the speech, Langer claimed that the industrialists' trial was part of a
communist plot aimed directly at property rights. The industrialists
were some of the first beneficiaries of McCloy’s action. McCloy arrived
in Germany in 1949, and by mid 1950 the Peck commission had completed
its review. On January 31, 1951, Landsberg: A Documentary Report
was made public, and contained statements by McCloy and the Peck and
Simpson commissions. Following the commission’s recommendation McCloy
freed one third of the inmates at Landsberg. In one stroke of the pen,
McCloy had freed all of the lawyers, executives and industrialist
convicted in the Farben, Flick and Krupp trials. Those that had been
the most responsible for building the Third Reich on the backs of slave
labor were now free.
McCloy was hardly in a position to grant a general amnesty after President Truman spoke in January 1951. The State Department’s legal advisor John Raymond drafted a memo on war crimes for Truman that was a wholesale reaffirmation of the original Nuremberg and Dachau trials and an unequivocal argument against amnesty.
The release of Krupp proved to be the most controversial. Once again, background events are of importance in understanding the event. The United States was already embroiled in the Korean War. A new war scare was spreading like wildfire across the American homeland. Fears of a Soviet invasion of Europe were extensive. A debate as to the vulnerability of Europe had opened in Congress. Senator Taft charged that President Truman had already usurped his authority by defending Korea and had no right to increase American troop strength in Europe. Former President Herbert Hoover argued it would be pointless to try and defend Europe. News from the war was dark. UN forces were taking a terrible beating at the hands of the Red Chinese. MacArthur asked whether Washington had considered the possibility of being driven out of Korea. On the day, McCloy signed the release of the industrialists; Frankfurt radio was reporting the plight of an Untied States-France combat regiment trapped twelve miles behind enemy north of Yoju.71
In the trial of Krupp, a decision was made to try Alfried and not his father Gustav. The later was deemed too sick to suffer the rigors of a trial. After the trial and his conviction, Alfried retained the services of an American attorney, Earl Carroll. Carroll’s terms of employment was simple to free Krupp and get his property restored to him. Rumors reported Carroll was to get five percent of everything he could recover or roughly $25 million. Some dispute that Carroll's fee was that high but needless to say, it was very handsome. Indeed so much so that once Krupp was freed, Carroll reportedly retired.
Carroll’s argument for Krupp’s released was based falsely on three main false premises. First, Carroll argued that Alfred held a rather junior position at the Krupp firm. Secondly, Carroll argued that under American law assets could only be forfeited if they had been acquired illegally and this wasn’t the case with Krupp’s prewar assets. Finally, Carroll argued that Krupp was a victim of discrimination because he was the only war criminal whose assets were confiscated.
The answering brief responded to all three claims. The first claim was proven false by an inter-firm circular of 1943, which declared Alfried had the full responsibility and directed the entire enterprise. The second pointed out that the Nuremberg trials operated under the law of the four-power coalition and not American law. Under the four-power agreement, the forfeiture of assets was specified. Finally, Krupp was not the only industrialist whose assets were confiscated. The brief made note of the fact that Farben was a corporation and not solely owned like the Krupp firm and in that in such a case forfeiture would penalize the stockholders for the crimes of the management.72
Nevertheless, by freeing Krupp and returning to him the seized assets, McCloy justified his position by first claiming that Alfried was a playboy with no real authority in the firm. Secondly, McCloy portrayed Alfried’s Nazi connections as indiscriminate youthful distractions. However, the record is quite clear that Alfried was more than a youthful playboy that hung around with a bad crowd.
However, Krupp's record is clear. Krupp was the largest employer of slave labor in Nazi Germany. By 1941, Germany was facing a severe shortage of labor. The shortage was compounded by Hitler’s dictate against employing women. Both Britain and the United States filled many of the jobs in their defense factories with women. American housewives turned out in droves to work in West Coast aircraft plants in response to the famed Rosie the Riveter posters. Over three million American women--- many in their teens--- were filling jobs in war related jobs. In England, over two million women were hired to work in munition factories. In Germany, however, less than two hundred thousand women were employed, as cooks and maids primarily. It wasn’t until July 1944 before Hitler reversed his ban on the employment of women. By then, it was too late and allied bombing disrupted the registration.
It wasn’t until Albert Speer turned over his labor responsibilities to Fritz Sauckel that manhunts became coordinated and routine in the occupied territories. Men and women would be rounded up and transported back to the fatherland as slave laborers. Krupp was one of the most persistent customers of the new labor czar. At Nuremberg Brigadier General Walter Schieber conceded that Krupp negotiated directly with the SS for concentration camp inmates.73
Krupp’s attorneys argued Alfried had no role in the impressment of foreign civilians. While in theory the round ups were official acts of the Nazi government, once concluded the industrialists were invited to take their share. Some refused, but there is no record of Krupp ever refusing to take his share. Alfried’s files were full of incriminating evidence. In the third year of the war, his files revealed that the slave labor was reaching Essen two and sometimes three months after they had been requisitioned. Krupp immediately dispatched three executives to formally lodge protests with the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo and the SS. Alfried appointed Heinrich Lehmann as his liaison man with the German Labor Front and as director of labor procurement and recruiting. With the cooperation of authorities, Lehmann drafted entire factories in France. In Holland Lehmann drafted 30,000 ironworkers and shipwrights, many of whom were sent to Germany in chains when they showed signs of reluctance.
Often, Alfried would complain as to the quality of workers he received. In a file note from 1942 he noted:
"I am under the impression that the better Russian workers are at this time being chosen for works in central and eastern Germany. We really get the rejects only. Just now 600 Russians consisting of 450 women and 150 juveniles arrived."74
Any complaint from Krupp drew an instant attention in Berlin. On July 8, a frantic subordinate submitted a report to Speer denying that Krupp was getting poor grade Slavs.
"The requirements of the firm Fried. Krupp A.G. for replacement for German workers drafted into the armed forces have been met currently and in time. The complaints of the Krupp firm about allegedly insufficient labor allocations are unfounded. I have once again asked Saukel to send Krupp 3000 to 4000 more workers in entire convoys from the Russian civilian workers presently arriving in Service Command VI."74
The above quotes clearly prove the guilt of Krupp in employing slave labor from the occupied lands. Note that the program was driven from the side of the industrialists. In fact, the quotes show that Krupp was somewhat of an antagonist of the Nazis in demanding more and better quality slaves. This once again destroying the myth that the Nazi Party was all-powerful, it wasn’t the party that held the power--- it was the moneyed industrialists behind the party that were all-powerful.
Perhaps the best example of the industrialists being the real power in Nazi Germany comes with the "Jewish problem." The Nazi Party and top Nazi officials were committed to the Endlosung or Final Solution and vehemently opposed to the enslavement of Jews.
It wasn’t until 1942 that the SS began questioning the policy. Endlsoung was working but the cost of the ammunition was shocking and hurting the war effort. It was then that Himmler began experimenting with gas vans. An April 25, 1942 memorandum from the Krupp headquarters noted that to produce 80 new SIGs (heavy infantry guns) a new expansion was needed. Alfried recommended manufacturing in the concentration camp in Sudetenland.
Four weeks later Alfried put the question to Hitler. In his appeal to Hitler, Krupp affirmed his belief that every party member was in favor of the liquidation of Jews, Gypsies, anti-Nazi, criminals and anti-socials. However, Krupp believed they should contribute something to the fatherland before being exterminated. Properly driven each could contribute a lifetime of work in months. Hitler hesitated. Krupp persisted. Soon Krupp had the trick at hand. The answer was merely economics or bribery. Krupp proposed paying the SS; four marks per diem per inmate, from which seven-tenths of a mark would be deducted for feeding. Opposition to his new proposal vanished overnight. In September, Hitler signed the order authorizing the use of Jewish slave labor.
Krupp had anticipated Hitler’s order of September 18 and teletyped a message to Saukel’s Berlin office notifying the labor director that Krupp was ready to employ between 1050-1100 Jewish workers. In his teletype, Krupp requested workers with specific skills in metalworking. Krupp had an immediate objective the production of fuses. The Sudetenland camp was too small for mass production so Krupp was proposing to start production at Auschwitz. Assured that Auschwitz would have ample labor supplies the Krupp executives approved two million marks for the project.
While Krupp’s project was delayed largely due to the commandant’s view that the work should be done by Germans. Krupp contacted Oberstrumfuhrer Sommer, a junior SS officer stationed in Speer’s office. Krupp had met the officer before and requested from him a record of all skilled Jews picked up in the capital and shipped to the east. With this list, Krupp submitted a request for 500 prized Jews and demanded immediate action.75
With the extension of the war and Alfried’s rise in power, the use of slave labor at Krupp increased. By the end of the war, Krupp had employed nearly a hundred thousand slaves in over one hundred factories. Slaves were beaten and tortured regularly in Krupp’s factories. The slightest infraction by a slave could bring on a life threatening beating. Shelter and food for the inmates employed by Krupp was inadequate at best. Many inmates were forced to sleep on the ground unprotected from the elements. While the cruelty and barbaric treatment of the slave laborers in Krupp’s camps was unsurpassed anywhere in Germany, space simply doesn’t permit and adequate description. However, to give some insight into the conditions at Krupp, General Adolf Westhoff of the OKW stated that Krupp’s treatment of Russian prisoners did not meet with the Wehrmacht’s approval.
While there is no evidence of Krupp ordering his slaves beaten or tortured, there is also no evidence of Krupp ever discouraging such punishments. There is evidence that Krupp withheld the prisoners' food allotment. Additionally there is evidence that Krupp was aware of the beatings and torture of slaves making him a full accomplice.
Drexel Sprecher a prominent Washington attorney observed the Nuremberg Trials and concluded that Krupp’s treatment of slave labor was far worst than any other firm including I.G. Farben. Sprecher reasoned the cause lay in Krupp’s one-man rule. His power was absolute.
The charge of slavery was the most serious charge lodged against Krupp. However, Krupp was equally guilty of plunder. Before the allied invasion of North Africa, Krupp ruled a vast empire stretching from the Ukraine to the Atlantic and from the Mediterranean to the North Sea. The bulk of this empire had been procured from their original owners in the occupied lands. Krupp toured Europe in a Luftwaffe fighter looking for plants to add to his empire. Using subterfuge the plants had been technically purchased, the reality was the plants had been signed over to Krupp under duress and threats of death from the Nazis.
One such plant actually three separate plants was the Elmag factories in Alsace. The plants had been seized and transferred to Krupp under the regulations covering enemy property. What sets the Elmag factories apart from the hundreds of other plants Krupp looted was the actions taken by the workers following the allied invasion of Normandy. Once the allies had established beachheads at Normandy workers started to disappear at an alarming rate, disappearing into the hills to await liberation. Krupp dispatched roughly 60 slave laborers to construct a camp for 1250 more. The workers at Elmag were so alarmed over the treatment of the slaves; they openly protested and threatened to strike. At Nuremberg, Ernst Wirtz the head of the concentration camp, was sentenced to eight years. As the allies closed in on the Alsace, Krupp removed the slave laborers and simply removed the factories to Bavaria.76
The reader should note the actions of those workmen at Elmag. Even under the barbaric rule of the Nazis some men stood up and refused to be crushed by the yoke of fascist despots. Their defiance should be remembered and praised. Their actions points to the guilt of those that simply turned their backs to Nazi atrocities. Cowards should have no peace.
While Alfried’s father, Gustav initially opposed Hitler; Alfried was an early supporter of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Alfried joined the party and the SS in 1931. Throughout the 1930s, Alfried remained a loyal contributor to Himmler and the party. In the SS, Alfried rose to the rank of colonel. McCloy’s portrayal of Alfried as a young indiscriminate youth was nothing more than a smoke screen. Alfried was born a year after Adolf Eichmann. Alfried in fact was part of the generation that included Martin Bormann, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich.
This brief look at Krupp totally destroys McCloy’s argument that Krupp was just an irresponsible youth with no real authority. In fact, Krupp wielded an extremely large amount of power within the Third Reich. He was instrumental in starting the Nazi program of extermination through work. This brief look at the crimes of Krupp only scratches the surface; space simply does not permit a more detailed look. However, there is an abundance of literature to explore.
Thus, it should be no surprise McCloy’s pardons were met with considerable controversy in the United States and Great Britain. McCloy’s view of Krupp was a total fabrication. Nevertheless, this Nazi war criminal would receive an even greater reward in the span of ten short years after walking out of the doors of Landsberg Prison. At the end of those ten years, Krupp’s industrial empire was the twelfth largest firm in the world and the only one solely owned.
"Good" Nazis like Krupp could count on being rewarded. However, the Jewish victims of Nazi war criminals could count on receiving nothing or at best a meager settlement for their slave labor. In 1959, under the threat of a lawsuit by an American lawyer representing Jewish survivors of the Krupp camps Krupp announced a voluntary settlement. A fund setting aside four million marks would pay each survivor $750 for their ordeal in Krupp’s camps. The payment figure was soon cut to $500 when more survivors were found than Krupp had anticipated.77The fund ran out of money before all survivors had received their meager payment.