Column: The sins of the father

By Gus Bode

“You know Arnold’s father was a Nazi, right?” a friend recently said to me.

He was aghast that I would suggest Gov. Schwarzenegger, if Article Two of the Constitution were to be changed, could win the presidency. This would be, in his opinion, exactly what the framers of the Constitution did not want to happen.

The son of a fascist regime taking control of our nation’s highest office (even if he is Conan the Barbarian) could be disastrous to America’s national security.


I assured him my argument was purely hypothetical, and that it would be difficult for me to support voting the Terminator into the White House. But then I began to change my mind.

I couldn’t justify judging the son by the sins of his father. Arnold has, after all, stepped into a bad situation and proven to be a strong and effective leader.

However, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Americans had already elected two presidents with family ties to the Third Reich: George H.W. and George W. Bush.

Controversy over this connection has floated around the Internet for years and even made a brief appearance in the mainstream media during the 2004 presidential election, but it never received the attention it deserves. Considering the microscope candidates are placed under it is surprising – not to mention suspicious – that this has slipped under the radar for so long.

The gravity of this should not be underestimated. Barack Obama was, at one time, scrutinized for attending an Islamic-affiliated school while living abroad. This turned out to be unabashed slander, but George W. Bush’s grandfather helping to fund the Nazi party has somehow been considered less newsworthy.

Prescott Sheldon Bush, a two-term congressman from Connecticut, was one of seven directors of the Union Banking Corporation. On July 31, 1941, an article in the New York Herald Tribune revealed that the UBC was a Dutch-owned bank with ties to a well-known financier of the Third Reich.

Financial transactions with German companies were not prohibited at this time, but six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed legislation called the Trading With the Enemy Act. This made transactions with the Axis powers illegal, but the UBC carried on with business as usual.


As a result, on Oct. 20, 1942, the United States seized all shares of the UBC. Prescott Bush and others avoided prosecution because, in the words of a University of Pittsburgh professor, “the federal government was too busy trying to fight the war.”

The nature of these transactions, however, was by no means benign. The UBC’s activities, along with other banking firms Prescott Bush was involved with, can be traced to the following activities: utilizing slave labor from concentration camps (including Auschwitz), shipping millions of dollars in gold to finance Hitler’s military build-up and laundering upwards of $3 million in Nazi money.

None of this, of course, directly implicates either George H.W. or George W. But, suffice it to say, such immediate connections in a president’s family to a former enemy are unnerving; not to mention the idea that the sins of a father have already been brought upon an unsuspecting nation.

Wolfe is a senior studying

English education.

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