GOLD & THE NAZIS: A article on the history of gold in WW2. (28 DEC 2016)
Every so often I enjoy writing an article on history…for those who love history…and for those whom I can excite about history! Gold has fascinated mankind & has been a sure medium of exchange for as long as there has been history, & the Nazis fascinate people also. People rarely realize that one driving force behind what Hitler did–is he needed desperately to steal if he was to keep going. The more he stole, the more enemies he had, and therefore the more he needed to keep stealing to keep going. (A vicious circle.) What is not realized is how little gold globally really exists; if all the world’s gold that man has mined were collected it would be approx. 5,000 cubic meters (which is what 165K tons of gold takes up). Considering that the Roman Coliseum at Rome is 24,000 sq. meters (6 acres) & 50′ high…all the world’s gold would make a thin “floor” of gold covering the Coliseum only some fractional part of an inch, or if used to fill swimming pools–would fill 2 Olympic size pools. That’s it. (This is why it alone would make a poor medium of exchange–there is not enough…some other metals would have to be used like silver…and how would you break down values below the value of a small silver coin?) But gold does have its uses for purchasing–on a national level. It’s rare when a nation refuses it.
BANK OF ENGLAND. The Rothschild’s Bank of England was the primary storage facility for gold for several hundred years prior to WW 2 (& the Rothschilds still set the price of gold daily)…however, during WW 2, many nations moved their gold to the USA to protect it from being stolen by the Nazis & Japanese, esp. European nations, incl. the Vatican’s small gold holding of 9 tons. Russia sent thousands of tons to the U.S. for supplies to keep their war going. Gold from Europe would arrive through NYC’s harbor, stop at the NY Fed Reserve bank, and be sent by train to Ft. Knox…in a 5 month period in 1940, 10,000 tons of gold came into Ft. Knox this route. Russian gold began to flow into the U.S. after FDR & Stalin made diplomatic relations & trade agreements in 1933. At the start of WW2, FDR wanted to supply weapons to the Allies, but the Neutrality Act of ’35 forbid selling weapons. So FDR asked Congress to pass the Cash & Carry Act in Sept. ’39, which said that if a nation paid gold, we would sell them weapons. (Of course, this meant to the Allies…not Germany or Japan.) This was a blatant disregard of neutrality & brought large shipments of gold into the USA until the act was no longer in force in Sept ’41, when the Lend Lease Law came into effect. The Lend Lease came in because we’d cleaned the U.K. out of their gold, & Russia was running low compared to the length of war they faced.
NAZI NEED FOR GOLD. The primary reason the Nazis needed gold was to build up their military, but there were other related reasons which I give below. When Hitler came to power, Germany’s economy was nearly dead, and its military had 6 weak divisions, no air force, and 7 warships. From then (’33) to ’39 before the war, Hitler created 51 divisions, 7,000 front line warplanes, and over 30 warships. And this required money, much of it gold…here were the tasks Hitler had to achieve:
• Purchase strategic metals and strategic goods: weapons grade iron (from Sweden), Tungsten (Portugal & Spain), chromium (from Turkey), diamonds (via Belgium)…aluminum, tin, copper, manganese, nickel, rubber, cotton, & manila fiber. All necessary for a modern military.
• Create industries to produce key synthetics: oil, gas, rubber, sugar, etc. for which no expense was spared, so that Germany would have some degree of self-sufficiency.
• Create a world class military from nothing…and create & use it quickly enough before his enemies reacted & rearmed.
• Provide food & clothes for Germany while millions were working on military projects.
The Nazi hierarchy realized they would have to attack & loot a series of nations, to keep from falling apart economically. They had to loot or they were lost. To get the ball rolling, when Hitler took power, he had Schacht, head of the Reichsbank create Mefo promissory notes (most of which were bought by foreign financiers) which created 12 Billion marks out of thin air. This money was used along with the small amount of gold Nazi Germany started with. When they had used up their gold, & needed to repay their Mefo bills…they had no choice but to pick a target to loot…their first victim was Austria in Mar. 38 which yielded 91 tons of gold. Most of the gold the Nazi’s looted was from the central banks of the nations they captured. Besides central banks, their next source was to make it a law that all the people in a captured nation had to turn in their gold to their govt., which they then took. Their last source was from the bodies of people they killed in the camps.
One yr. after seizing Austria, they seized Prague, the capital of Czechoslavakia, which yielded: 45 tons of gold from their central bank, major military (Skoda) factories, & 1,630 tanks…whose chassis under German supervision were later reconfigured to create 4,500 tank hunters. They soon had spent all this gold and needed to pillage Poland & the free city of Danzig. (Poland was looted for its horses for the German army & their ag products.) Everyone knew by this time that the Nazis came to loot, so Poland during the fighting shipped its gold out of the country, & the Nazis only got 87 tons, plus 4.1 from the city of Danzig. For those who think the Vatican is all powerful…they only had 9 tons compared to Danzig’s 4.1 tons. And it took a lot of hassle by the Vatican to get the U.S. to accept safekeeping their gold, at first the U.S. govt. balked at the idea of helping them. After Austria & Czechoslovakia…it was really hard for the Germans to capture gold, because everyone shipped it to safer places–mostly North America, although France sent theirs to Africa & Martinique Is. in the Caribbean…which the U.S. & the U.K. surrounded w/ warships to prevent it being shipped back to Vichy France (& on to Germany). Germany forced at gunpt. Luxemburg’s & Belgium’s gold to be returned to those nations…after they had sent their gold away to Africa. Some of the 198.4 tons of Belgium gold, on the return trip from where it had been hidden in Africa, had to come by truck through Timbuktu, and by camel over the Sahara. And Germany spent it about as fast as they looted the gold from other nations for strategic supplies. Most of what the Germans looted in WW2, they had gotten by 1940. The gold they got from concentration camp victims was small in comparison. People wonder why Hitler invaded Russia. He had many reasons–but one critical reason…he needed its resources…or he would be out of business.
BIS. The Bank of International Settlement (in Basel, Switz. on the German border) had been used by brainchild of Schacht–Hitler’s finance minister in charge of the Reichsbank in the ’20’s. BIS was used by many nations as a place to store their gold. The General Director of BIS during the war was the German Nazi Paul Hechler. So it is no surprise since the Germans knew how BIS worked, & had people in it to help the Nazi govt. launder their looted gold, as well as help to get access to the gold of the nations they captured. This eventually has caused a scandal & demands by Jewish elite for payments from the Swiss banks, who themselves were not the victims…but were able to threaten the Swiss to pay them. (First thief doesn’t stand a chance.) Another example of this is how the Italians took Yugoslavia’s gold, only to lose it to the Germans when they switched sides. On the other hand, the Swiss were also smart enough to placate the Nazis, preferring to stay on their good side over being attacked & looted. When the war quit going the way of the Axis, the more power the Allies had, the more the Swiss leaned towards the Allies’ way in what they did. The Clinton Admin.’s Gold Team also went after Portugal & Spain in ’97 for all the looted gold Germany paid them to purchase strategic material.
FINAL THOUGHTS. Today, about 20% of the world’s gold is held by central banks, and like Nazi Germany, Communist China is keeping it secret just how much gold they have and where it is hidden. By the way, at the end of the war, the Germans tried to hide their gold in salt mines…the gold was by and large found…although some claim they got gold shipped out to Antarctica & So. America to finance a 4th Reich. But what was found & how, or what wasn’t, is grist for some other article. Have a good day my friend. I enjoyed sharing some history.
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