Henry Ford is famous for having taken the concept of an assembly line and expanded it to something as large as automobiles and trucks. Through mass production, he made the automotive industry far more efficient, and lowered the price of a car to something that most families could afford.
Meanwhile, he shortened the work week to 40 hours, and paid his factory workers well above average wages. He knew that contented workers with extra time and money would spend more, thereby creating more manufacturing jobs and strengthening the entire economy. Unlike his competitors, Ford's factories hired blacks, Jews, women, and the handicapped.
Ford recognized the dangers of tobacco and opposed its use, publishing a 1914 booklet intended for youth,
The Case Against the Little White Slaver.
He was also an advocate of pacifism, regarding war as a terrible waste of people and resources.
All of the above is true, but Ford also had a darker place in history that is conveniently not mentioned.
His pacifism didn't prevent war, it simply delayed the American entry into both world wars. In each case, these delays allowed the war to continue for a much longer time, causing millions of deaths.
Even worse, during the first two years of the second world war, Ford's factories continued to supply war materiel to the Nazis. Meanwhile his factories in Germany used slave labour from concentration camps, because it was cheap and readily available, not because they were forced to do so.
Ford had been a long-time anti-semite.
While he was willing to hire Jews to work for him, he strongly believed in an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world.
Jews were to blame for everything, from starting both world wars to ruining America's favourite sport.
If fans wish to know the trouble with American baseball they have it in three words -- too much Jew.
Ford published a weekly anti-semitic newspaper, The Dearborn Independent.
Some of Ford's articles from this paper were collected and published as a book,
The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem, which was widely circulated in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.
During the 1920s, Ford also published half a million copies of
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and required that all his car dealerships make the booklet available to their customers.
This booklet, purporting to be a Jewish plan to take over the world, had already been proven to be a hoax, but he didn't let a small thing like truth stand in his way.
Adolph Hitler mentioned Henry Ford, favourably, in his infamous book
Mein Kampf, and kept Ford's portrait by his desk.
For his 75th birthday, Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest Nazi medal that could be given to a non-German.
Ford is a massive corporation, the only one of the big-three automotive corporations not to declare bankruptcy during the 2009
Its development of the assembly line and its rise from a small factory to such success serves as a symbol of American free enterprise.
Henry Ford himself is a symbol of what an individual can accomplish under this system.
America needs its heroes, and ignoring a few minor imperfections is the cost.