On the U.S. government and business community's support for Hitler and Mussolini before World War II, see for example, Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, Monroe, ME: Common Courage, 1995, especially pp. 46-64; David F. Schmitz, Thank God They're On Our Side: The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999, chs. 1 and 3; David F. Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988; John P. Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism: the View from America, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.
The reasons for the warm American response to Fascism and Nazism that are detailed in these books are explained quite openly in the internal U.S. government planning record. For instance, a 1937 Report of the State Department's European Division states:
Furthermore, although Hitler's rhetorical commitments and actions were completely public, internal U.S. government documents from the 1930s refer to Hitler as a "moderate." For example, the American chargé d'affaires in Berlin wrote to Washington in 1933 that:When there is suffering, the dissatisfied masses, with the example of the Russian revolution before them, swing to the Left. The rich and middle classes, in self-defense turn to Fascism. Fascism must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle classes, will again turn to the Left.
Germany is at the center of the problem of peace and war. If there is to be war, it will probobly take the form of a drive by Germany for sources of raw materials. Far seeing statesmen [accepted] that Germany should have access to raw materials. The immediate objective, then, of an intervention on the part of the United States would be to precipitate the movement for a general political and economic settlement which would obviate the necessity for Germany to strike out to obtain the resources of raw materials in markets deemed by the German leaders necessary to maintain the standard of living of the German people. Economic appeasement should prove the surest route to world peace.
If Fascism cannot succeed by persuasion [in Germany], it must succeed by force.
On the views of U.S. corporations towards Fascism, including details of participation in the plunder of Jewish assets under Hitler's Aryanization programs -- notably, the Ford Motor Company -- see for example, Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, Monroe, ME: Common Courage, 1995, especially ch. 5 (on Ford's role in Aryanization of Jewish property, see pp. 62-63). An excerpt (p. 64):There is no doubt that a very definite struggle is going on beween the violent radical wing of the Nazi Party and what might be termed the more moderate section of the party, headed by Hitler himself which appeals to all civilized and reasonable people.
From the standpoint of stable political conditions, it is perhaps well that Hitler is now in a position to wield unprecedented power.
Many U.S. companies bought substantial interests in established German companies, which in turn plowed that new money into Aryanizations or into arms production banned under the Versailles Treaty. According to a 1936 report from Ambassador William Dodd to President Roosevelt, a half-dozen key U.S. companies -- International Harvester, Ford, General Motors, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and du Pont -- had become deeply involved in German weapons production. . . .
U.S. investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power, despite the Depression and Germany's default on virtually all of its government and commercial loans. Commerce Department reports show that U.S. investment in Germany increased some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in continental Europe. U.S. investment in Great Britain . . . barely held steady over the decade, increasing only 2.6 percent.