EVIDENCE OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL/DETERDING FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE NAZIS
By John Donovan
There are many published reports from reputable independent sources confirming the financial support Royal Dutch Shell/Deterding provided to the Nazis. The support was given in a variety of forms: money, oil on long term credit, food donations on a massive scale and revenues from Shell advertising in a Nazi newspaper.
Extracts from relevant articles and books, some authored before WW2, are assembled here as a central reference source and provide compelling evidence of what transpired all those years ago.
On 25 October 1942, The Los Angeles Times published a review of a book authored by reporter Marquis Child’s, entitled: “I WRITE FROM WASHINGTON”. Child’s is described in the review as “trying to be eminently fair” in his appraisal of public figures. During his research, he had discovered “startling facts”, some relating to Shell and Sir Henri.
Child’s said in his book:
“…Sir Henri Deterding of Royal Dutch Shell was not himself innocent of working with Hitler. Sir Henri backed him with a huge sum when the Nazi party was about to fall; and it was the oil man’s objective to get Hitler to attack Russia so that Sir Henri might take over the Baku oil fields.”(1)
“ARMIES OF SPIES”: By JOSEPH GOLLOMB Published by THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NEW YORK 1939
George Bell, a Scotch engineer, was also a minor figure, but he was the agent of Sir Henri Deterding, the British oil king. Sir Henri and Adolf Hitler have had in common a plan to help themselves to Soviet Russia’s oil fields. Their alliance went back to the time when Hitler had not yet become Chancellor but was first getting there. Sir Henri, sensing an ally, contributed 4,000,000 gulden to Hitler’s growing party. The Alliance was so unsavory to a large public and the contribution so heavy that Sir Henri used an intermediary the little known George Bell.(2)
“George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography”: By Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin: published by Executive Intelligence Review 1992 ISBN: 0-943235-05-7
From page 47
Shell’s chairman, Sir Henri Deterding, helped sponsor Hitler’s rise to power, by arrangement with the royal family’s Bank of England Governor, Montagu Norman.(3)
“DOING BUSINESS WITH THE NAZIS”: Author Neil Forbes: First published in 2000 in Great Britain by Frank Cass Publishers: ISBN 978-0-7146-8168-9
Page 149 (Extract)
The American consul in Hamburg reported in 1934 that Deterding, because of his fear of the Soviet Union, was favourably inclined toward the German government as a necessary safeguard against the spread of communistic ideas in western Europe. The consul added: Sir Henri had contributed fairly large sums to the National Socialist treasury before the advent of the Party into power and since Herr Hitler’s assumption of the Chancellorship; he had offered to supply the Reich with all their oil requirements in return for payment in blocked reichsmarks …(4)
Extract from The Prize By Daniel Yergin published in 1992 by FREE PRESS ISBN 0-671-79932-0
On his own, Deterding initiated discussions in 1935 with the German government about Shell’s providing a year’s supply of oil-in effect, a military reserve-to Germany on credit.(5)
Extracts from “WHO FINANCED HITLER” (The Secret Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power) 1919-1933. By James E. Pool III and Suzanne Pool: Published in 1978 by Macdonald and Janes Publishers Limited: ISBN 0 354 04395 1
(6) Reference source for pages 319, 323 & 512 below
Who was Sir Henri Deterding and why did he invite a Nazi to his estate? Deterding was one of the wealthiest men in the world. His clandestine meetings with Hitler’s representative gave little indication of the plots, intrigues, and secret transfers of money that were taking place between Deterding and Hitler.
From page 323
Johannes Steel, a German writer and former agent of the German Economic Intelligence Service, gave evidence at the Inquiry into the Reichstag Fire that Sir Henri Deterding was giving money to the Nazis. In his book Escape to the Present, Steel wrote: “A private meeting of the Inquiry Board was called and I pointed out to the meeting that there were certain well-understood connections between Hitler and an international oil trust. I went into detail, citing the specific facts behind my allegations and telling the Inquiry Board where and how they might obtain documents to substantiate my points.”
A Daily Telegraph reporter believed that Bell and Rosenberg met an international magnate in London and “big credits for the Nazis followed.” The Dutch press stated that Deterding sent to Hitler, through Georg Bell, about four million guilders. Some said Sir Henri gave the Nazis money in exchange for their agreement to give him preferred standing in the German oil market when they came to power. In 1931, it was reported that Deterding made a loan of £30 million to Hitler in return for a promise of a petroleum monopoly. Some claimed the loan was as much as £55 million. Louis Lochner, former foreign correspondent and authority on the relation between Hitler and big business, mentioned an alleged “ten million marks” contribution by the Dutch oil lord to the Nazis. With so many sources agreeing on the matter, there can be little doubt that Deterding financed Hitler. All that remains uncertain is the exact sum of money; nevertheless, one would not be injudicious to say it was substantial. Deterding had much to gain by financing the Nazis.
Page 512 CHAPTER SEVEN FOOTNOTES
90Roberts, op. cit., p. 322. Other reputable sources have cited Deterding as a support of the Nazis. See: Walter Gorlitz and Herbert A. Quint, Adolf Hitler-eine Biographie (Stuttgart, 1952), p. 279; Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York, 1940) editors’ fn, p. 822; Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time (New York, 1966), p. 514.
Extracts from The most powerful man in the world: The Life of Sir Henri Deterding: By Glyn Roberts: Published in 1938 by Covici Friede Publishers, New York ISBN 0-88355-301-5
Extract from page 305
But Deterding was impressed, and the Dutch press reported that, through the agent Georg Bell, he had placed at Hitler’s disposal, while the party was “still in long clothes,” no less than four million guilders. This huge subsidy came at a decisive moment in the history of the growing Nazi movement. Let there be no doubt that, had it not been found, the whole racket might have collapsed and the history of Germany and of Europe might have had a different complexion.
Extracts from page 317
The Daily Telegraph quoted the Vienna Arbeiter Zeitung which said that Bell was liaison officer between the Hitlerites and a big international magnate who had contributed much money to the Nazi cause. “Last year Dr. Bell with the Hitlerite leader Rosenberg met the magnate in London, and big credits for the Nazis followed.”
The German writer Johannes Steel, who had had unique opportunities of studying from the inside the growth of the Nazi movement, its true aims and the sources of its financial and diplomatic backing, gave evidence, though his name was not used. Steel had worked as director of Germany’s Economic Intelligence Service, and knew all about the Nazis and their friends. He offered to explain to this body exactly where the Fascists who controlled Germany were getting money from in England; the man whose part he wished to reveal was Sir Henri Deterding.
Extract from page 320
Sir Henri Deterding did not layoff the Nazis; he did not cease to praise their aims and achievements in public and in private, and he did not cease to assist them financially.
Extract from page 322
The Nazi “bulwark against Bolshevism” had to be kept up; in 1931 reports were denied of a Deterding loan of £30,000,000 to be made in exchange for a petroleum monopoly. In the Presidential election of 1932, in which the two leading candidates were Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg, Deterding was accused, as Edgar Ansell Mowrer testifies in his Germany Puts the Clock Back, of putting up a large sum of money for the Nazis on the understanding that success would give him a more favored position in the German oil market. On other occasions, figures as high as £55,000,000 were mentioned.
Shell funded adverts in a Nazi Newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter.
Quote from page 478, History of Royal Dutch Shell Volume 1: 1890 -1939
Even before Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, Deterding’s fervent anti-communism and opinions about general economic policy had received favourable treatment in the Volkischer Beobachter, the Nazi newspaper which also sported conspicuous advertising for Shell products.(8)
Deterding, the financier of Hitler
Sir Henri Deterding, the tycoon of the oil industry, Anglo-Holland, had a fine funeral. All the press praised, appropriately, the great captain of industry, the tycoon and financier of an Almighty City. But there is one aspect of his life that went unspoken:
Sir Henry Deterding was one of Hitler’s financial secrets.
On many occasions, he made huge sums available to the German Führer. Only recently – in 1937 – he made a donation of 200 million francs to the Hitler’s government.
Sir Henry was a passionate admirer of Hitler, with whom he had frequent interviews.
His covert mission, in favour of the Reich, was to improve business relations with Britain, and was of great importance. It explains some of England’s complacency towards Hitler. The Fuhrer has not been ungrateful. On the death of Sir Henri Deterding he ordered expressions of sympathy.
His special envoy, Hilgenfeld, laid a beautiful wreath at the Tomb of the potentate of Royal Dutch, saying: On behalf of the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, I salute you Henrich Deterding, great friend of the Germans
A monument will be erected in Mecklenburg, to Sir Henry, and will bear the simple inscription:
A friend ( from / of / to ) Germany
Flag, no flag
Heading on first cartoon: TEGEN OORLOG EN FASCISME (AGAINST WAR AND FASCISM): A young Dutchman, Marinus van der Lubbe, was found guilty of starting the Reichstag fire which took place in 1933 and was executed in 1934. The blaze was widely believed to be a result of an international conspiracy – provocative arson – involving Deterding, Hitler and Johannes Bell.(10)
Heading on second cartoon: VAN DER LUBBE’S MEDEPLIGHTIGEN (VAN DER LUBBE’S ACCOMPLICES): All three – Deterding, Hitler and Johannes Bell – were depicted as accomplices in the Reichstag fire. Both cartoons made it plain that Deterding was Hitlers paymaster. There is no evidence that Sir Henri, the then Director General of Royal Dutch Shell, took issue with these assertions.(11)
Both Cartoons from the International Institute of Social History
FOOD DONATIONS TO THE NAZI REGIME
On his retirement as Director General of Royal Dutch Shell Group, Deterding was appointed as a non executive director of the Group. Funding for the Nazis continued in the form of huge donations of food by Sir Henri made while he was still a Shell director.
1. THE TIMES: “DUTCH HELP FOR GERMANY”: 30 December 1936
Sir Henri Deterding has drawn up a scheme by which the entire surplus of Dutch agricultural products is to be bought and transported to Germany. There it will be sold in marks and the revenue will be handed over to the German Winter Help organization.(12)
2. Time.com: “GERMANY: Petticoat Philanthropy?” Monday, Jan 11, 1937:
Sir Henri, who was knighted by King George V in 1920, has for many years had his chief residence in London’s swank Mayfair, but last week he was sitting in his new house near the German capital and showed signs of developing into a good Berliner. His big Germanic gesture as 1937 opened was to place 10,000,000 Dutch guilders ($5.475,000) at the disposal of Dutch farmers so that they might export their superfluous green stuffs, fruit and cattle to Germany without loss to themselves and with cost to food-starved Nazis much reduced.(13)
3. Another extract from “WHO FINANCED HITLER” (The Secret Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power) 1919-1933. By James E. Pool III and Suzanne Pool: Published in 1978 by Macdonald and Janes Publishers Limited: ISBN 0 354 04395 1
Extract from page 324
Deterding’s biographer, Glyn Roberts, said that after Sir Henri’s new marriage he “thought like a true Nazi. ” His new scheme to help the Nazis was to send all of Holland’s agricultural surplus to Germany, which was in need of more food for her people. The Nazis, of course, were always pleased with a helping hand even after they were in power.(14)
4. Extract from “PATENTS FOR HITLER” by Günter Reimann Copyright 1942 PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY RICHARD CLAY AND COMPANY, LTD., BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.
Extract from page 22
Sir Henri Deterding had built up Royal Dutch Shell as his private world empire. He was respected and protected by foreign governments as the sovereign manager of that gigantic enterprise. He was interested in discovering and fostering those forces which would eliminate once and for all the danger of social or colonial revolutions. Therefore he was one of the earliest financial backers of the Fuehrer – long before Hitler came to power. In later years, when Nazi Germany rearmed, he was an ultra-appeaser. He made great donations (at the expense of Shell) to the Nazis, and he personally offered to supply the Third Reich with foodstuffs and vital raw materials, the acquisition of which was to be financed by foreign credits which he would undertake to arrange.(15)
5. More extracts from “The most powerful man in the world: The Life of Sir Henri Deterding”: By Glyn Roberts: Published in 1938 by Covici Friede Publishers, New York ISBN 0-88355-301-5
Extract from page 322 running on to page 323
Sir Henri knew that Germany was on the brink of starvation, that wages were low and nutrition lower; he knew that unless every good friend of the Nazi regime was prepared to help to prop it up, it would very soon collapse in the face the wrath of the working people of Germany and the administrative incompetence of its heads. Food was the crux of the problem. Germany had little, and much of what she had was of poor quality and frequently made of chemicals or substitutes. Holland, on the other hand, had a large surplus.
Extract from page 323
Sir Henri had a grand idea. All Holland’s agricultural surplus, itself at times an economic problem, should go to Germany, into the hands of the German Government, which would be that much further away from bankruptcy and the sack. Who would pay for it? Why, he would. It was worth it. Sir Henri had always been prepared to payout real money to prevent Bolshevism from making another conquest in Europe. His initial contribution to this scheme was quoted as being $5,500,000.
Extract from page 324
The Nazis were doubtless delighted to receive an initial delivery of the bacon of thirty thousand pigs; and soon much more followed. One report spoke of “millions of tons” of bacon. Seven thousand railway wagons were used in the first immense delivery.
6. The Times: “Sir Henri Deterding Obituary”: 6 February 1939
In the last few years he had spent much of his time in Germany, where he showed himself to be in sympathy with the German government’s attitude towards the Communists, whose main object, he wrote, was to permit as little cooperation between the nations as possible “because only then will their destructive principles succeed.” Three years ago he attracted some attention with a scheme for marketing the entire surplus of Dutch agricultural production in Germany and giving the proceeds to the Winter Help Organization. Although his first donation to the latter is believed to have amounted to more than £1,000,000, the scheme seems to have met with a rather mixed reception from the German authorities and little has since been heard of it.(17)
7. “A History of Royal Dutch Shell”: Volume 1: 1890 -1939
Extract from page 483
The grand gesture Deterding made after his retirement illustrates how he liked to use his money. In December 1936 he donated,with much fanfare, 10 million guilders from his personal fortune to set up a fund for buying up surplus foodstuffs in the Netherlands and selling them in Germany, purportedly to ease the plight of Dutch farmers and German consumers, equally hit by the trade barriers and exchange restrictions between the two countries. The proceeds of this deal would be donated to the Nazi charity Winterhilfswerk.
Extracts from page 485
Moreover, Deterding was widely reported as making rash promises to German officials.
In June 1934, during the negotiations between the oil companies and the government over bulk installations, the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Eric Phipps, heard information that Deterding had promised Hitler to have the Group supply one year’s worth of products on credit to Germany should its economic situation become desperate.
No records corroborating Sir Eric’s information have been found in the company archives. However, Rosenberg noted in his diary that he had made a deal with Deterding in May 1934 that the Group would stock one million tons of oil products in underground tank farms built by the Group, only to see the transaction founder on red tape in German departments.
Whether true or not, the story reached Deterding’s board colleagues, feeding a nagging suspicion about the soundness of his judgement.
It is acknowledged in “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” (authored by historians paid by Shell) that “a great deal of public speculation went on about Deterding giving loans or donations, for amounts ranging from four million guilders to a fantastical £55 million, to the Nazi movement”. Spin is evident from the inclusion of the description “fantastical” in this statement.
In attempting to discredit what is written off as mere “speculation”, great significance is attached to repeated claims on pages 481 to 485 that Deterding’s attempts to meet with Hitler were rebuffed. We can only surmise that research did not find a New York Times article published on 26 October 1934, which reported that Deterding was the guest of Hitler during a four day meeting at Berchtesgaden. Sir Henri and Hitler both had ambitions on Russian oil fields which no doubt would have been discussed during their summit meeting.
Only an honored personal guest would be rewarded with a private four day meeting at Hitler’s mountain top retreat. In contrast, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s face-to-face meeting in September 1938 with Hitler at Berchtesgaden in an attempt to avoid war, lasted for just three hours.(19)
The Deterding/Hitler summit meeting, in combination with the personal message sent by Hitler to the funeral of Sir Henri, provides an indication of the great importance that Hitler attached to Deterding and Royal Dutch Shell.
These events were entirely at variance with the picture painted in “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” of the Nazis repeatedly rebuffing overtures from Deterding for an audience with Hitler, with the Nazis determined to keep him firmly at arms length.
Information from the relevant New York Times article, published on 26 October 1934 under the headline:
“REICH OIL MONOPOLY SOUGHT BY DETERDING”.(20)
The article with the sub-headline: “Hitler’s Terms for Control of Distribution Unsatisfactory to Royal Dutch and Shell” reported the content and outcome of the four day meeting between Hitler and his guest, Sir “Henry” Deterding, held atBerchtesgaden(21) – Hitler’s mountain top retreat known as the The Berghof.(22)(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun(23) with their dogs at the Berghof.)
LONDON, Oct. 25.-It is reported confidentially from Berlin that the object of Sir Henry Deterding’s recent visit to Chancellor Hitler at Berchtesgaden, where he stayed for four days,(24) was to discuss the conditions for granting a monopoly to the Royal Dutch and Shell Companies of petrol distribution in Germany for a long period of years. Chancellor Hitler’s terms were unsatisfactory and the negotiations have broken down temporarily. Three conditions advanced by the Germans were
First-The companies were to supply oil on credit for the first year.
Second-The companies were to build a network of distributing stations along strategic motor roads, these buildings to be protected against air attacks.
Third-The companies were to invest their money, frozen in Germany, locally.
Shell did subsequently offer to supply oil to Germany on long term credit and did invest huge funds in its German subsidiary projects in Germany.
1. Los Angeles Times review published on 25 October 1942
2. Information from page 51 “ARMIES OF SPIES” by JOSEPH GOLLOMB published by THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NEW YORK 1939
3. Information from page 47 “George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography” By Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin: published by Executive Intelligence Review 1992 ISBN: 0-943235-05-7
4. Information (extracts) from page 149 “DOING BUSINESS WITH THE NAZIS” Author Neil Forbes: First published in 2000 in Great Britain by Frank Cass Publishers: ISBN 978-0-7146-8168-9
5. Extract from page 369 “The Prize” By Daniel Yergin published in 1992 by FREE PRESS ISBN 0-671-79932-0
6. Extracts from pages 319, 323 and 512 (CHAPTER SEVEN FOOTNOTES) “WHO FINANCED HITLER” By James E. Pool III and Suzanne Pool: Macdonald and Janes Publishers Limited: ISBN 0 354 04395 1
7. Extracts from pages 305, 317, 320 and 322 “The most powerful man in the world: The Life of Sir Henri Deterding”: By Glyn Roberts: Published in 1938 by Covici Friede Publishers, New York ISBN 0-88355-301-5
8. Extract from Page 478 A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Volume 1: From Challenger to Joint Industry Leader 1890 -1939 by Joost Jonker & Luiten van Zanden published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.
9. Undated article from a French publication “Cyrano” reporting on the Funeral of Sir Henri Deterding (translated from French to English). Headline: “Deterding, the financier of Hitler”
10. Cartoon from the archive of the International Institute of Social History – headline: “TEGEN OORLOG EN FASCISME”
11. Cartoon from the archive of the International Institute of Social History – headline: “VAN DER LUBBES MEDEPLIGHTIGEN”
12. Article from The Times published on 30 December 1936 under the headline: “DUTCH HELP FOR GERMANY: SURPLUS FARM PRODUCE: SIR HENRI DETERDING’S SCHEME“
13. Time Magazine article published on 11 January 1937 under the headline: “GERMANY: Petticoat Philanthropy?“
14. Extract from page 324 “WHO FINANCED HITLER” By James E. Pool III and Suzanne Pool: Macdonald and Janes Publishers Limited: ISBN 0 354 04395 1
16. Extract from page 322 running on to page 323 plus separate extracts from pages 323 and 324“The most powerful man in the world: The Life of Sir Henri Deterding” By Glyn Roberts: Published in 1938 by Covici Friede Publishers, New York ISBN 0-88355-301-5
17. Extract from obituary published by The Times on 6 February 1939 under the headline: “Sir Henri Deterding Obituary“
18. Extracts from pages 483 and 485 A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Volume 1: From Challenger to Joint Industry Leader 1890 -1939 by Joost Jonker & Luiten van Zanden published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.
20. New York Times article headlined “REICH OIL MONOPOLY SOUGHT BY DETERDING” published 26 October 1934
21. Wikipedia article “Berchtesgaden“
22. Wikipedia article “Berghof (residence)”
23. Wikipedia article “Eva Braun”
24. New York Times article headlined “REICH OIL MONOPOLY SOUGHT BY DETERDING” published 26 October 1934
LINKS TO OTHER PARTS OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL NAZI SECRETS
Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Authors relationship with Shell (Alfred Donovan and John Donovan)
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