Wait, what, I hear you say? Wasn’t Kahn Americas great industrial architect, the designer of Henry Ford’s and many other factories? Why sure he was.
But you know, the bloody 5 year civil war of the Red against the White Russians after the October revolution destroyed ALL of the Czarist infrastructure. Under Czar Nikolaus, industrialization had begun. All of that was destroyed by the Bolshevists and anyone capable of rebuilding it was murdered, sent to the Gulag, or fled the country. Communism is all about the workers taking things into their own muscular hands after all. Turns out, workers are no architects and the Bolshevists had run out of architects while exterminating the bourgeousise.
Enter Henry Ford, offering his chief architect Albert Kahn as the solution. Kahn designed 632 factories for the USSR, forming Stalin’s first 5 year plan. In exchange for commodities (in other words, mined resources and timber and grain), German and American companies built the factories planned by Kahn.
The second 5 year plan simply copied Kahn’s designs several times over, now implemented by Soviets themselves.
Obviously Henry Ford at that time still had hopes that Communism might turn out to be something worthwhile. A hope that he later buried when he financed Hitler’s election campaign, earning him a Reichsadler medal. Hitler of course made no qualms about his iron determination to wipe out communism.
On Henry Ford’s side, I see this less as a finance-both-sides-of-a-conflict but more of an attempt at fixing a mistake he had made.
Later again, Henry Ford optimized FDR’s sluggish airplane production by a factor of 100 – producing a bomber in one hour instead of one week – fixing the second mistake he made and helping to wipe out the Nazi regime he helped create. Or at least drive it into hiding in Argentina… and Paraguay. (Bormann, Kammler, Richter…) (Yes I know officially some bones found in 1972 in Berlin are claimed to be Bormann. That’s bullshit.)
Henry Ford was in every regard a remarkable man.