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Royal Dutch Shell founders meetings with Hitler, strong antiSemitic views and financial support for the Nazis

Royal Dutch Shell founders meetings with Hitler, strong antiSemitic views and financial support for the Nazis

Featured extracts from “A History of Royal Dutch Shell Volume 1” – all printed in italics

(From page 07/478)

Confirmation of Sir Henri Deterding’s claim that he met Hitler

Nazism and the New Order in Germany were congenial to Deterding’s authoritarian being and his fervent anti-communism; he does not appear to have understood its political or indeed social ramifications. Deterding now began to take a greater interest in the Group’s German affairs, normally Kessler’s remit. This brought him into contact with the new regime’s leaders. He cautiously welcomed Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in January 1933, but two months later he sought an audience with Hitler, presumably to present a proposal for sponsoring a series of radio lectures on the evils of communism, to celebrate the coming to power of such a vociferous anti-communist. He was rebuffed, but in November Deterding claimed to have met Hitler the other day.

What we do know for certain (because of a Reuters news story published in the USA and Canada) is that Sir Henry Deterding met with Hitler again in October 1934 in a four-day summit.  See New York Times article “REICH OIL MONOPOLY SOUGHT BY DETERDING”

Deterding vented strongly anti-Semitic remarks

(From page 07/481)

His anti-Semitism was not of the racial type, seeking to discriminate against Jews on the basis of spurious shared ethnic characteristics. It was rather an extension of his anti-communism and rooted in his conviction that Jews were instrumental in building world communism. This counterfeit penny appears to have dropped in the spring of 1933, ostensibly as a result of hearing a radio lecture on the subject. The particularity of his anti-Semitism explains why Deterding could remain on friendly personal terms with Jews in his acquaintance, including various Group directors, while venting strongly anti-Semitic remarks in his correspondence, and presumably also in conversation).

Printed below is a letter to Henri Deterding from Rothchilds Bank replying to the shocking content of recent letters they had received from Royal Dutch. In particular, the “tone and content” of a letter they had received from a senior Royal Dutch director (Fritz de Kok) that had actually been a tirade personally penned by Deterding.

Translated letter dated 19 September 1933 (Image from page 07/479)

Dear Mr. Deterding,

We regret to have to inconvenience you for a rather unpleasant incident that has just occurred between us at the Royal Dutch, and whose reading of the correspondence we have exchanged with your Head Office will inform you, because we are convinced that In this case you have not been consulted.

We are here today. to speak to you with all honesty, as we have always done.

We therefore do not hesitate to tell you that the form and substance of the letters which have been addressed to us have been most shocking to us, and that especially the tone and content of the letter of the 14th instant are as inappropriate as they are improper.

You will undoubtedly share our views on this subject and believe that we are convinced that this regrettable initiative does not come from you, dear Mr Deterding, with whom we have always maintained the relations not only the best but also the most cordial.

Please accept, I beg you, the expression of our most sincere sentiments.

(Extract from page 07/480

Deterding’s conclusion was that it better ‘not to correspond with people whose only moral consists in money’.

Deterding’s financial support for the Nazis

The extract below confirms in a cack-handed fashion that Sir Henri did give what Shell’s historians describe as contributions to the Nazis when he was in “his dotage”.

What they neglected to point out is that until death, Sir Henri remained as a director/chair of multiple companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group with a controlling interest in the entire group.

From page 07/485)

Deterding’s financial support for the Nazis appears to have begun during his retirement in Mecklenburg, where he developed close ties with the local party organization and contributed to its charities. For all their praise of Deterding as a friend of the true Germany, none of the obituaries in the Nazi press mentions contributions other than those in his dotage, so the rumours about prior support were probably no more than that. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: shellnazihistory.com

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