Donald Trump with senators Jim Watson/Getty Images

Trump’s Willing Accomplices

Many leading Republican politicians who stand by Donald Trump, and even the multi-billionaires who fund their campaigns, may have private misgivings about the US president, just as the industrialists of Germany's Herrenklub probably once despised Hitler. But with only a few exceptions, they continue to support him – and for similar reasons.

NEW YORK – On February 20, 1933, a secret meeting took place in Hermann Göring’s palatial residence in Berlin. More than 20 of Germany’s top industrialists, including Gustav Krupp, Friedrich Flick, and Fritz von Opel, listened to a speech by Hitler, who promised them that their assets would be safe under his rule. So they agreed to support the Nazi Party with over two million Reichsmark, an enormous sum that was almost enough to pay for the upcoming election campaign.

Few of these men, if any, were convinced Nazis. They were members of the German Herrenklub (Gentlemen’s Club), which was very conservative but not National Socialist. But, acting from narrow self-interest, they became Hitler’s enablers.

By doing so, they were accomplices in a criminal regime that was guilty of mass murder, and in the end the destruction of their country. Their own companies benefited greatly from slave labor. Thomas Mann called the Herrenklub the “trendsetter of misery.” This didn’t prevent Flick and others from enjoying flourishing careers after the war, following light prison sentences.

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