Prescott Bush and the Nazis
by MICHAEL KRANISH
(Excerpt from PRESCOTT BUSH & NAZIS, BOSTON GLOBE 4/23/2001,
TRIUMPHS, TROUBLES SHAPE GENERATIONS
PRESCOTT BUSH PAVED MODERATE PATH FOR SON AND GRANDSON;
WOUNDED BY FRIEND'S BETRAYAL, HE PUT HIGH PRICE ON LOYALTY)
Author: By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff Date: 04/23/2001 Page: A1
AN AMERICAN DYNASTY
Last of two parts
"Prescott Bush was surely aghast at a sensational article the
Herald Tribune splashed on its front page in July 1942.
'Hitler's Angel Has 3 Million in US Bank,' read the headline above
a story reporting that Adolf Hitler's financier had stowed the fortune
in Union Banking Corp., possibly to be held for "Nazi bigwigs."
Bush knew all about the New York bank: He was one of its seven directors.
If the Nazi tie became known, it would be a potential embarrassment,
Bush and his partners at Brown Brothers Harriman worried, explaining
to government regulators that their position was merely an unpaid
courtesy for a client.
situation grew more serious when the government seized Union's assets
under the Trading with the Enemy Act, the sort of action that could
have ruined Bush's political dreams.
As it turned out, his involvement wasn't pursued by the press or
political opponents during his Senate campaigns a decade later.
But the episode may well have been one of the catalysts for a dramatic
change in his life.
Just as the Union Banking story broke, Bush volunteered to be chairman
of United Service Organizations, putting himself on the national
stage for the first time.
He traveled the country raising millions of dollars to help boost
the morale of US troops during World War II, enhancing his stature
in a way that helped him get elected US senator.
A son and grandson would become presidents."