Henry Ford: Helped Lead American World War II Production Efforts

Henry Ford: Helped Lead American World War II Production Efforts

6/12/2006 • World War II

Henry Ford, the great industrialist, was busy celebrating his 81st birthday on a very warm July 30, 1944. Allied troops had landed in Normandy the previous month and, though they faced stiff German resistance, they were clearly winning.

At the celebration, Ford visualized what he called ‘great days ahead,’ but only, as he put it, ‘if we apply what we have learned and mix it with plenty of hard work.’ It was Ford’s vision of mass production and its subsequent implementation that had harnessed the industrial might of the United States and had helped make staggering wartime production goals attainable. His mastery of manufacturing techniques has made Henry Ford’s name a household word.

Ford was born on a modest farm near Dearborn, Mich., in 1863. Although his father’s farm flourished, Henry was more interested in mechanics than farming. He attended a simple, one-room school and also tended to his farm chores. ‘There was too much hard hand labor on our own and all other farms of the time,’ he wrote in his biography, My Life and Work. ‘Even when I was very young I suspected that much might somehow be done in a better way. That is what took me into mechanics.’

Two events dramatically changed Henry Ford’s life. First, he received a watch for his 12th birthday. Second, he saw a horseless farm machine for the first time–a road engine used for driving threshing machines. One year later, using crude tools, he was able to put together a watch. Shortly thereafter, he built a working model of the road engine that had occupied his dreams.

At age 17, Ford hiked the nine miles to nearby Detroit to take his first job, earning $1.10 a day for making repairs with the Michigan Car Works. He came across a copy of an English magazine, World Of Science, which described the Otto internal combustion engine. It excited his interest in engines, and he went to work at the Dry Dock Engine Company. There he mastered the machinist’s trade within two years.

Young Ford had an ambition to produce watches so cheaply that he could sell them for a dollar a piece, but before he could pursue that plan he had to go home to help his father. In 1884, he attended a business school for three months and experimented with machinery while still helping on the family farm.

He married Clara Bryant, the daughter of a neighboring farmer, when he was 25. In the home he built for his wife on a 40-acre tract his father gave him, Ford drew his first diagram of a gasoline engine, which he was convinced was destined to replace the noisy steam engine. Ford soon realized that he could not build his engine on a farm, but needed the superior mechanical equipment that could be found in a city such as Detroit. So in 1891, the young couple moved to Detroit, where Henry found employment as a machinist. He worked a 12-hour day and earned only $45 a month. In his spare time, he continued to work on the gasoline engine.

Ford tested the engine in his kitchen, with the engine clamped to the sink, the spark plug connected to the ceiling light socket, and the oil cup tended by his wife. The engine, he later explained, consisted of ‘a length of one-inch gas pipe reamed out to serve as a cylinder, and in it rested a homemade piston fitted with rings. This was attached by a rod to the crankshaft, and had a five-inch stroke. A hand-wheel off an old lathe served as the flywheel. A gear arrangement operated a cam, opening the exhaust valve and timing the spark. A piece of fiber with a wire through the center did for a spark plug. It made contact with another wire at the end of the piston, and when this was broken a spark leaped across, exploding the gasoline.’

With his gasoline engine a success, Ford’s next ambition was to make his engine drive a four-wheel carriage. Motor vehicles were being produced by hand in Europe, but there was no commercial manufacturing of any motorcar. In 1896, when he was 33, Ford drove his first automobile out of his backyard shop. Within a few days he added a seat, and then he confidently drove his wife and 3-year-old son, Edsel, the nine miles to his father’s farm.

Soon Ford became chief engineer for the Detroit Edison Company, sold his first automobile for $200 and attracted the attention of several businessmen. He gathered $10,000 to start the Detroit Automobile Company, but soon left that venture. With another group of investors, he then organized the Henry Ford Company. When that organization also broke up, due to disagreements over his insistence on offering only a low-price car and his refusal to be hurried in his experiments, Ford returned to his own shop and began working on a four-cylinder motor. Intent on having one of his automobiles achieve the speed of a mile a minute, he began building racing cars. Famed racing driver Barney Oldfield won a race with Ford’s ‘999’ at the Grosse Point, Mich., track in 1902.

Meanwhile, companies like Oldsmobile and Cadillac were selling thousands of cars, which enabled Ford to locate new investors. With $28,000, he formed the Ford Motor Company. The Model A Fordmobile, a practical, utility auto, was produced in 1905 as a tough and simple car for a price of $850 (a second, much more sophisticated, Model A came out in 1928). Soon the business was prospering. The Model B was next in the line, and the Model C followed closely. Then came the Model T, Ford’s best-known auto, which, as he later recalled, ‘contained all that I was able to put into a motorcar, plus the material which for the first time I was able to obtain.’

The Model T was a noisy, uncomfortable, unattractive but efficient automobile. Within five years, half a million Model Ts were on the road. Strictly utilitarian, the car was the butt of many jokes. Taking the frequent needling about the Model T’s appearance in stride, Ford himself joked about the car’s color, saying, ‘Any customer can have any car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.’ The Model T’s popularity resulted in the employment of 4,000 people in Ford’s factory.

Increased demand called for increased speed of production. Ford achieved faster production by introducing the moving assembly belt, which he began to experiment with in 1913. He described it as ‘the reduction of the necessity for thought on the part of the worker, and the reduction of the movement to a minimum. He does as nearly as possible only one thing with only one movement….He must have every second necessary but not a single unnecessary second.’

Ford increased the minimum wage for his employees to $5 for an eight-hour day. In 1918, the River Rouge plant was built, and he increased wages to an unheard of $6 a day. By 1924, Ford had manufactured 10 million Model Ts. In 1928, Ford brought out his second Model A, and in 1932 the sturdy V-8 engine appeared.

The Great Depression struck the Ford Motor Company hard. Wages were lowered and there were layoffs, as well. Labor unions were established within the struggling work force. Strikes were rampant, and Ford fought the unions hard, but eventually the United Auto Workers became an effective collective bargaining force.

Ford, a known pacifist, opposed America’s entry into World War II. Nevertheless, he agreed to build airplane engines for the British government. In May 1940, he stated: ‘If it became necessary, the Ford Motor Company could, with the counsel of men like [Charles] Lindbergh and [Eddie] Rickenbacker, under our own supervision and without meddling by government agencies, swing into the production of a thousand airplanes of standard design a day.’

It was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that inspired Ford to begin a tremendous, all-out manufacturing effort. To the west of Dearborn, the giant Willow Run plant was built to produce B-24 Liberator bombers on an assembly line that was a mile long. The first bomber rolled off the line in May 1942, beginning the effective production of several hundred aircraft a month. Bombers were produced at the rate of one plane per hour, thereby confounding Ford’s critics, who had called the plant undertaking ‘Willit Run.’ By the end of the war, Ford had built 86,865 complete aircraft, plus 57,851 airplane engines, thousands of engine superchargers and generators, and 4,291 military gliders.

Ford also turned out tanks, armored cars, jeeps and engines for robot bombs. In the midst of the heaviest production during the war years, Ford returned to his post as chief executive of the Ford Motor Company when Edsel, who had taken over for his father, died in 1943.

Months earlier, Ford’s plants in Great Britain and Canada had joined the production efforts of the United States and poured forth everything from mobile canteens to four-wheel-drive trucks and autos, grenades, bombs and engine-powered landing craft. The U.S. plants were the prime movers in the development of the famous Willys-originated jeep.

By the end of the war, Ford plants had built 277,896 of the versatile vehicles. In all, the Allies were supplied with more than a million fighting vehicles by Ford operations in the United States, Canada, Britain, India, South Africa and New Zealand.

At the height of World War II, Ford managed to transport vitally important, precision jig-boring machinery, obtainable only from neutral Switzerland, to Manchester, England–right through German-occupied France and Spain. The Swiss, uncompromising in their commercial neutrality, insisted upon their right to trade with all parties. Since Germany was dependent on Swiss machine tools, it was forced to allow the export of war products through its occupied territories to its own enemies. As a result, Ford’s British plant turned out more than 30,000 complex supercharged V-12 engines–more than Rolls Royce built at its own plant in Derby, England. The engines were installed in British Mosquito and Lancaster bombers.

At the outset of the war, Ford’s plant in Cologne, Germany, had been commandeered by the Nazis to turn out trucks for their war effort, and actually continued under Nazi control with the supervision of one of Ford’s trained Danish managers. The manufacturing continued until constant Allied air raids made it virtually impossible for the plant to operate. Before the war was officially over, SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) asked Ford for immediate help to start operating the newly liberated plant again. The only actual damage to the facility was done by German artillery when the German army fell back across the Rhine and Cologne was occupied by American forces. German employees had ignored instructions to destroy the plant to prevent it from falling into Allied hands. The plant’s first postwar truck, assembled from components on hand, rolled out on May 8, 1945, V-E Day.

Ford always loved visiting his factories, even when he was 81. His frequent motor outings with Harvey Firestone and his hero, Thomas Edison, were well-known around the world. In 1944, the American Legion awarded Ford its Distinguished Service Medal for his contribution to the rehabilitation of veterans of both the world wars.

Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947, at the age of 84. Most of his personal estate, valued at $205 million, was left to the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s largest public trusts. Today Ford still has his supporters and detractors, but the industrial genius’ significant contribution to the Allied effort in World War II is indisputable.

This article was written by Richard Grudens and originally appeared in the January 1997 issue of World War II.

For more great articles be sure to pick up your copy of World War II.

25 Responses to Henry Ford: Helped Lead American World War II Production Efforts

  1. aaron says:

    This is alot of information on Henry.

  2. MarkS says:

    Ford also ran a machinist/boiler tech school at the Dearborn plant during WWII. My father attended that school in late 1943 – early 1944 and even met Mr. Ford at the school canteen when he paid a visit one day with the school CO.

  3. Jim says:

    What an honor to have had such a citizen…a true American Patriot!

    Great information. Thanks

  4. dylan says:

    yhis is bad

  5. Roman says:

    Cologne was leveled by 1000 bombers.the ford factory next door was not hit mr. Ford was producing lots of war machinery and got paid by hitler who bestowed the highest civilian medal on Henry ford. For his contribution to the German war effort. . By the way Henry was a first class anti Semite who wrote the book “the eternal Jew” the worlds formost problem. When I worked at ford hospital there were no black or yellow doctors allowed. He did not invent the automobile nor did he invent the production line. He was a racist and robber capitalist like Romney today. A high ranking military men load me that Henry ford would have preferred if the Germans would have won the war it would have been better for all his European factories. Now you know the rest of the story

  6. can says:

    can anyone tell me…
    how did the general public view the changes the company brought in ?

  7. lyndon says:

    When outrageous assertions are made, why doen’t the vilifier submit “prima facie” evidence?
    I’ve had a guts-full of morons spewing out hatred just for the sake of it on educational sites.

    • Larry C says:

      Unfortunately there are trolls on every site. They live in Moma’s basement, have their own agendae and nothing better to do.
      My father used to say,”Do not argue with a fool for that would only bring you down to his or her level”.
      As you say, if there is other “Prima Facia” we will all gladly listen.
      Larry C

  8. […] World War II, many companies showed their patriotism by helping the war effort. The automotive companies changed their production lines to help build military equipment and war machines. Other companies […]

  9. Warner DeFord says:

    Watch some of the old films of Rommel driving across the desert in North Africa…. The trucks they used were provided by Henry Ford… He had been financing Hitlers rise to power for years before we entered the war.. A book Henry Ford had written denouncing Jews sat stacked on a table outside of Hitler’s office… As people that had business with him there were leaving they were instructed to pick up a copy and read it…

  10. Aron says:

    do a google search on medals awarded to mr H Ford.


    or read this link.

  11. Dr. J. says:

    The coverage of Ford, Nazi Germany, and WWII in this article is an utter load of rubbish and the idea of Ford being a patriot is the most despicable concept ever. Ford wrote the book (The International Jew) that inspired Mein Kampf and the birth of the Nazi Party. Ford personally funded the building of Hitler’s original Nazi Party headquarters in Munich in 1923. Ford Motor Company began military production for Nazi Germany in 1937 to compete against the GM troop carrier called the “Opel Blitz Truck” that was designed in 1935. Both Ford and GM sold Francisco Franco over 6000 of these trucks on credit in order to “test them” for the Third Reich in order to sell more. Since Hitler had bought all of his military supplies on credit, and manufacturers could not request payment until Jan. 1938, both Ford and GM had a vested interest in the persecution of Jews (IBM had already tracked all of their assets in 1934) to pay off Hitler’s bills so the companies did not go bankrupt. When Hitler still did not have enough money to pay off GM and Ford, they pushed him to invade Czechoslovakia in order to loot their treasury in order to pay his bills. Once WWII began in Sep 1939, both Ford & GM voluntarily transferred the productive capacity of all of their European factories to military goods for Hitler. In order to protect his company, Henry Ford had his son Edsel appointed to the Board of Directors for IG Farben (the corporation that produced Zyklon-B gas for the Death Camps) and sold off 48% of their shares in Ford Werke to IG in order to protect each other’s assets. In other words, for these two companies, it did not matter who won WWII, both corporations would win…. For the first 27 months of WWII, the USA was not involved in the war, and while Ford & GM were making weapons for the Allied Powers, they were also still making weapons for the Axis Powers until Pearl Harbor. At that point in Dec. 1941 both companies cut off their relations with the European management, but did NOT shut down the factories, which means in 1945 they just stepped back in, collected their bills from the Axis and the Allies, and started up production once again. These corporations are not Patriots or allied to the American people at all; they committed treason in the name of profits. My Grandfather fought in Italy and my Grandmother worked in a Ford plant in Michigan. My Grandfather was very proud to drive a Ford truck in Italy, but was very confused when the first Nazi soldiers he encountered were also driving a Ford truck….

  12. Philip Lyon says:


    The Willow Run operation was a disaster for about half the war.

    It was supposed to be building B-24’s before Pearl Harbor, and it appeared to be ready to VIP’s like James Van Fleet, president of Consolidated who designed and built the B-24, but it took another 6 month’s for the first to fly.

    Willow Run was one more reason Van Fleet sold his controlling shares in Consolidated, because after having the government build it, shown Ford his secret manufacturing processes not covered by patents etc, Ford expected to buy it for pennies on the dollar after the war and use it to build cheaper planes than Van Fleet.

    Being a such a patriot was why he’d had the factory plans changed to avoid any being in the neighboring democratic county’s land to avoid paying property taxes several times as high as the republican.

    Charles Sorensen, put in charge of Willow Run by Henry Ford, who may have had more to do with the engineering of the assembly line than Henry Ford, thought he knew more about building airplanes than the people who had built them for decades already.

    He bought a lot of aluminum he was warned was far too thick a gauge to be used for aircraft ‘skin’ because it was so cheap and made B-24’s out of it anyway.

    Given the thousands of square feet the ‘skin’ of a Bomber with a 110′ wingspan and over 67′ long, one with heavier gauge ‘skin’ will weigh thousands of pounds more than specified, so much so they couldn’t carry their full fuel or required bomb-loads, but Ford kept building this trash that didn’t meet contract specifications and got paid for it despite the millions and millions wasted, billions today.

    These bombers were too heavy to fly so Sorensen had the wing spars taken out, making Ford built B-24’s obvious by the way the wings drooped on the ground.

    In the air it was worse; the wings went through an 18′ arc, which for a wing 54′ long was rather noticeable.

    They were obviously too dangerous for combat besides their inability to carry bombs, not to mention training, so they wound up being used for Air Sea Rescue.

    Which is why all ASR aircraft got the nickname \Dumbo’s\, because the Ford B-24’s wings flapped just like Disney’s Dumbo the flying elephant character; although the courage of the crews flying hours out of sight of land has to be saluted,

    It should be noted that the \Dumbo\ bomber in the film is based on the Douglass B-18, the latest USAAC bomber when the film was being made, the B-24 first flew at the end of 1939 rather modestly.

    My father, trying to get home for the birth of my oldest brother, was stuck for a time at Wright-Patterson, where he overheard two USAAF captains discussing the many faults of the droopy winged Ford B-24’s lined up outside, and concluded by swearing to each other on behalf of their wives, that they would turn in their wings if ever asked to fly a Ford built B-24.

    Needless to say, neither did my father.

    By the last 12-18 month’s of the war, Sorensen had learned his lesson, but the ‘bomber an hour’ factory was supposed to have been turning them out at that rate since November 1941, and the best after about 40 month’s was only 22 per day, of a design that had already become obsolete, which should be seen as a failure not the industrial success the current politically correct histories claim.

    Given how the article above glossed over such ineptitude, it has to be added to the list.

  13. Patricia Y. Montagne says:

    Throughout the years of Henry Ford, not many people realized the importance on how he played the part of the modern changing world. With the Oldsmobile now gone from it’s General Motors History books, Ford moves forward and strong.

    In the past, Ford did face many errors, throughout those errors Ford came out strong and better than before. From the classic cars of yesterday, Model A, and Model T, the famous Ford Fairlane, the famous T Bird, the Mercury’s, The Lincolns, and not so famous Pinto. Ford went through it all, and accomplished more in the past years, current years, and to the future years.

    My hat off to Ford for not accepting Government Assistance in the bail out. Rather chose to restructure on the Operation of Ford Motor Company. It would be going against Henry Ford traditions and beliefs. \When we get into a jam, it is up to the Company to bail themselves out, not the Government.\ \The Government should help the people get back on there feet, not the company itself.\

    To move forward one must take two steps back, and move four steps forward in life. One must look back in life and correct the mistakes, and move forward in life with strength and endurance. Now that the past is in the past, one must look to the future with strength and endurance.

  14. […] In de late jaren ’20 kwamen de eerste gebreken van het systeem van Ford naar voren. Dit had niet alleen te maken met de hogere eisen die werknemers stelden, maar ook met de aanpasbaarheid van het systeem. Alle producten die van de productielijn kwamen waren identiek, een aanpassing aan het product was vrijwel onmogelijk (Lean.org). A. Sloan van General Motors ontwikkelde een meer pragmatische benadering en ontwikkelde strategieën voor het managen van grote ondernemingen en de vraag naar meer variatie in producten. Toch bleven de productieprocessen veelal gelijk aan het model van Ford. Veel historici denken zelfs dat het model van Ford met haar snelheid bij heeft gedragen aan de Amerikaanse overwinning op Nazi-Duitsland (Historynet, 2006). […]

  15. […] did the plant tour on Monday, this is the historic River Rouge plant which has been building automobiles since it was built in 1918.  The exception being during […]

  16. Steve Burstein says:

    Why haven’t enough people commented on the absurdity of blaming Henry Ford(yes, he was an Anti-Semite)for what the Nazis did with his plant during our involvement in the War? I’ve read that the Nazis seized American property in Germany in Summer, 1941. A lot of people must think that WWII was like Vietman, where Jane Fonda could just walk in and out of the North.

    • Lawrence Ross says:

      Yes, the Nazi’s took over the German plants, but how do we know that Ford didn’t profit from it, especially considering that Hitler gave him an award and announced his admiration of him several years prior?

      • Steve Burstein says:

        Ford certainly couldn’t receive any money from Germany during our involvement in the War! How do we know he DID profit from it? The records are somewhere!

      • Thomas says:

        So did the Soviet Union, China under Kai-Shek and pretty much every other country.

  17. Philip Lyon says:


    Henry Ford, as Maury Klein indicates in his book A Call to Arms, was more of an obstacle to increasing production than a leader, especially given the deliberate mistreatment of the workers at Willow Run.

    Besides the rather gross error of claiming Ford built 86,865 “complete aircraft” without including the 4291 gliders, which are also aircraft, this article ignores the vast stubborn incompetence of Henry Ford and his chosen incompetent managers.

    While Charles E Sorenson had personally measured and engineered the first production line, for which he deserves far more credit than the Henry Ford mytholigizers ever give [Ford didn’t touch it during it’s construction], he knew nothing about making airplanes and proceeded to prove it over the next two years and 4 plus month’s.

    The Willow Run factory was built, equipped with all its machine tools, and completed by the government in late October 1941 for $86 Million [1941 dollars].

    In November, Reuben Fleet toured it with Henry Ford; who explained why it differed from Fleet’s blueprints because he intended to buy it postwar -for pennies on the dollar- and build airliners to compete with Fleet’s Consolidated Aircraft after Fleet had shown Ford the their secret manufacturing processes to build the B-24; which was another reason why Fleet sold all his stock in the company he had built for 20 years a couple of weeks later.

    While Lindbergh said Willow Run was a ‘grand canyon of the mechanized world’, he also said “there were many things the Ford Company could be shown about how to operate an aircraft factory, unfortunately Sorenson is typical of many Ford officers who don’t want to be shown”.

    But it was almost a year before it completed its first plane in the first half of September 1942, and 20 month’s before it produced a combat ready bomber in August of 1943. At the contracted rate of 500 bombers per month that’s 10,000 BOMBERS IT DIDN’T BUILD that this article [along with so many others] totally ignore, when such planes were far more critically needed because by the the summer of 1944 the B-24 was increasingly obsolete, and given the many costly blunders made at Willow Run, no one considered it for making B-29’s or anything else.

    Among the many costly mistakes was using hard steel tool dies that Sorenson insisted upon because they were standard in car manufacturing [that’s what he knew], but punched right through standard aircraft gauge aluminum, turning it into scrap that had to be melted down again, to try to avoid replacing them, he bought thicker aluminum, which made the planes a couple of tons too heavy even when empty, so he took the wing spars out [among other things he thought he could get away with], so the wings flapped through an 18′ arc on a wing only 3 times longer than that, besides drooping on the ground so they were immediately recognizable as Ford-built junk.

    Obviously such junk were too dangerous for combat, and too dangerous for training, so to avoid embarrassing everyone from FDR on down, they were given to the Air Sea Rescue squadrons despite the obvious danger [no one has figured how many aircrew were killed flying such unsafe planes] but this flapping wing is where the ASR planes got their nickname of ‘Dumbo’, before they were quietly scrapped when the press wasn’t present.

    My father had an eye opening experience passing through Wright Patterson in early December 1944, when he overheard 2 air force captains discuss an obvious Ford built B-24 in front of them; they had both lost friends flying them, and swore to each other on behalf of their wives that they would turn in their wings before they’d fly a Ford built B-24.

    Granted this was after Willow run had finally begun to get it right, but the fact that so many attempt to bury the truth rather than tell all of it is a bit irritating.

    The slander of the B-26 is another example.

    It was the USAAF, ie Hap Arnold and his staff that sent excess B-26’s [Martin was ahead of USAAF production requirements of the ‘hottest medium bomber’] to the training schools in Florida etc, to pilots who’d never flown a twin engine plane before, to replace the twin engine trainers they’d taken for the 4 engine bombers, their favorites, the day after Pearl Harbor. No one admits who wrote that USAAF regulation, but given the USAAF’s silence it was probably Hap Arnold, who apparently often admitted he wasn’t the smartest man in any room.

    While a 4 engine plane still has an engine on the same wing if it loses one, a far safer condition than on a twin engine plane, the big ‘bomber mafia’ staff really didn’t care about the fate of the twin engine bombers, and the USAF has yet [it’s been almost 75 years] to fully and properly apologize to Martin Aircraft for its deliberate slander campaign [both public and within the the USAAF] to cover their error, what some have called deliberate murder since they should have known better.

    FYI, the first two bomber groups equipped with the B-26 before Pearl Harbor, had only 2 fatal accidents in almost a year of flying a brand new airplane with brand new engines [neither of them judged the fault of the B-26], and went on to have the lowest combat loss rate of any US built twin engine aircraft in the SWPTO [South West Pacific Theater of Operations] in 1942, and went on to demonstrate similar rugged performance in Europe, the Mediterranean etc. one flying 199 missions [and dozens if not hundreds of others flew over a 100], but largely ignored compared to all the coverage of the Memphis Belle for just 25.

    The claim the Marauder’s wings were too small is just another USAAF lie, since the wing loading WENT UP AFTER they added the 3′ to each wing, Glenn Martin putting up with it because he knew what a great design it was, that it could tolerate the extra drag,

    Evidently truly ignorant of the then engineering state-of-the- art, Hap Arnold actually flew out to Boeing to tell them the wing loading of the B-29 was too high, they retorted it was the only way to build what the USAAF [ie him] said it wanted, he then complained about the B-26’s high wing loading so they then explained that high wing loading wasn’t the problem of the B-26.

    When the USAAF finally relaxed its prohibition of twin engine trainers for twin engine aircraft in the summer of 1942, the ‘widow maker’ loss rate disappeared though it had averaged more like one a week that ‘one a day’ etc, but that still didn’t stop Arnold from trying to halt B-26 production three times to avoid admitting it was really all the USAAF’s fault..


  18. henry griswold says:

    spain wasn’t occupied by the nazis. franco was sympathetic to germany, but switched to the allies during the war

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