People are complicated
Henry Ford, The great America industrialist and working-class hero, designed the assembly line technique of mass production and consequently revolutionized the world economy. A great philanthropist and vocal advocate for peace, Henry Ford was often mentioned as a prospect for President of the United States.
Yet there was another side to Henry Ford as well. He was an avowed anti-semetic, going as far as buying a newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, to print anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. He is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf, and was a great influence of Adolph Hitler - even accepting the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Nazi officials.
There is some dispute over what Henry Ford knew about Harry Bennett’s activities leading the Ford Service Department - the world’s largest private army. However, it’s well documented that Henry planned for Bennett to succeed him, and had his wife not interfered, Harry Bennett would have prevailed in murdering his way to the Presidency of Ford Motor Company.
"Well, now Harry is back on the streets where he started." - Henry Ford
A former boxer and Navy sailor, Harry headed up the Ford Service Department, the world’s largest private army consisting of ex-police, mobsters, ex-athletes and criminals. They were tasked with thwarting union activity, communism and theft in the Ford Motor Company plants. Always sporting his trademark bowtie, one such “Bennett” tactic included walking a live lion around the Rouge Manufacturing facility to intimidate the workers.
Many in the department were ex-cons, hand-picked for the job by Michigan’s Commissioner of Prisons… Harry Bennett. Harry would have criminals released into the care of Ford Motor Company, and then promptly put to work “monitoring” the plant. Notorious employees of the FSD included: Norman Selby, an ex-boxer married ten times, paroled to Bennett after serving twenty years for murdering his sweetheart. Joseph “Legs” Laman, admitted serial kidnapper, nicknamed for his ability to evade the law on foot. Joe Adonis, a mobster called by the New York Post “a gang punk” and “dope king.” Sicilian mob boss Chester LaMare, the “Al Capone of Detroit,” who controlled Detroit’s waterfront during Prohibition. Sicilian gangster Joe Tocco, Jack Dempsey’s former manager Leonard Saks. . . the list goes on.
When Harry was two years old his father was killed in a bar brawl after a man grabbed his necktie and beat him to death. So as not to suffer a similar fate, Harry wore a bowtie for the entirety of his life.