It has long been the conceit of the rich and super-rich that their vast wealth, and the political power it brings, gives them license to the change the world. The House of Rothschild, for example, the world's richest banking dynasty in the 19th century, used its economic leverage and political influence in numerous (though not always successful) attempts to remold Europe's political landscape in an effort to prevent the outbreak of war. This gained the family a reputation in some quarters as "militant pacifists". "[W]hat Rothschild says is decisive," opined one Austrian diplomat, "and he won't give any money for war." The family attitude was best summed up in a statement allegedly made by the wife of the dynasty's founder, Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812): "It won't come to war; my sons won't provide money for it." Yet the Rothschilds' motives in preventing warfare were hardly benevolent; with the family's power and fortune resting on the stability of the international bond market, avoiding war was a matter of economic survival. "You can't begin to imagine what might happen should we get war, God forbid," lamented one of Mayer Amschel's sons in 1830, "... it would be impossible to sell anything."1 Such is the banality of greed: good outcomes are acceptable only when they are profitable.
In the past century, however, the rich have become more overt in their efforts; in fact, using their wealth to bring about global changes has been transformed into a noble enterprise--one that usually follows a spiritual epiphany, when the decades of ruthlessly amassing a fortune are followed by a sudden desire to employ for the "common good" rather than self-indulgent material luxuries. The acknowledged pioneer of this approach is Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), one of the so-called "robber-barons" of the "Gilded Age" in the late 19th century when the US economy was dominated by the "trusts", among them Carnegie Steel. Having sold his company to fellow magnate J. P. Morgan in 1901, Carnegie devoted his remaining years and his fortune to a crusade for world peace.
Now celebrated as the father of philanthropy, Carnegie believed that only the rich minority had proven themselves qualified to change society, so the multitude must be excluded from such decisions. "[W]ealth, passing through the hands of the few," he wrote, "can be made a much more potent force for the elevation of our race than if distributed in small sums to the people themselves."2 Similar logic drives many of today's philanthropic social engineers, including Ted Turner, Bill Gates and George Soros, each of whom devotes their billions to "worthy" causes in support of their own particular visions of a "just" global society.
This naturally brings us to the Rockefeller family, which has used its fortune, originally amassed in the 19th century, to establish a philanthropic network that has had a significant influence on government policy throughout the world for nearly a century. This fact has long been recognized by researchers into the "New World Order", who contend that Rockefeller family members are among the key players, if not the primary architects and paymasters, behind the alleged secret plot to establish a dictatorial "One World Government". Back in the 1970s, for example, Gary Allen declared in his book, The Rockefeller File, that "the major Rockefeller goal today is the creation of a 'New World Order'--a one world government that would control all of mankind". Contemporary NWO researchers have been no less certain of Rockefeller culpability. The ever-controversial David Icke describes the Rockefellers as a pivotal family in the "bloodline hierarchy" that is striving to implement the "Brotherhood Agenda" of "centralized control of the planet". Were it not for the Rockefellers and their "manipulation of the United States and the wider world", writes Icke, there would be "far greater freedom" in America and the "world in general".3
That the emerging New World Order is the product of decisions made at the behest of the power-elite, among them the Rockefellers, is not in dispute here, for the evidence is considerable. However, some key issues remain unresolved, with opponents of globalization divided over whether the NWO stems from a process in which "socialist" supranational institutions are subverting the sovereignty of all nations, including the United States, by stealth, or is in fact a process of US-led transnational "corporate capitalism", with global organizations relegated to a secondary role.4
By examining the specific proposals of the Rockefellers, we can see that for the elite architects of the NWO it has not been a case of either global institutions or a one-world market, but a careful combination of both approaches, with regional blocs as stepping-stones to the establishment of an authoritarian, market-oriented system of "global governance".5
In fact, the Rockefeller family has been at the forefront of efforts to convince, cajole and coordinate governments in support of this project throughout much of the 20th century through to the present day. Indeed, the strategies commonly associated with both the "corporate-led" and "collectivist" models of global governance--i.e., American leadership, the United Nations, free trade, neo-liberalism, international financial institutions, regional free trade blocs, population control, global environmental regulation, Atlantic Union and world federalism--the Rockefellers have supported for nearly a century either directly or through the various elite policy-planning organizations they have funded, founded or controlled.
The purpose of this article is to review the origins and evolution of the internationalist ideology of the Rockefellers, from John D. Rockefeller, Junior, through his most influential sons--John D. III, Nelson, Laurance and David--to their own offspring, covering the period from the 1920s through to the present day.
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR, AND THE LEGACY OF WOODROW WILSON
The story of the Rockefellers' embrace of internationalism begins not with speculative tales of their "reptilian" origins or with John D. Rockefeller, Senior (1839-1937)--the uncompromising patriarch and founder of Standard Oil, the very basis of the Rockefellers' power--but with John D. Rockefeller, Junior (1874-1960), who controlled the Rockefeller fortune during the first half of the 20th century. This may seem at odds with prevailing orthodoxies and other more entertaining accounts, but the Rockefellers did not subscribe to the globalist ideology until Junior's time.
Despite his numerous trips to Europe and attempts to capture foreign oil markets (resulting in a clash with the Rothschilds at one point), Rockefeller Senior had shown little interest in international affairs. Besides his vast fortune (the equivalent of nearly US $200 billion in today's terms), Rockefeller's only other enduring legacy to his extended family, and by extension the New World Order, was a philosophy of philanthropy in service of his professed interest in improving humanity.
The basis for Rockefeller Senior's philanthropy, according to Rockefeller biographer Ron Chernow, was his "mystic faith that God had given him money for mankind's benefit". Rockefeller was a devout Baptist, and his religion determined much of his early philanthropy. He was also influenced by Carnegie's argument that the rich should use their money to dampen social tensions stemming from growing inequality, rather than leave it to their heirs to waste on hedonistic lifestyles. Carnegie wrote in the North American Review (June 1889) that "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced". Inspired by Carnegie's missive, Rockefeller embarked upon a vigorous program of philanthropy, though he avoided direct gifts to the needy. Citing the need to "abolish evils by destroying them at the source", he poured his money into educational institutions, hoping their graduates would "spread their culture far and wide". Rockefeller was unwilling to upset the social hierarchy, subscribing to the Darwinian view that those at the bottom of the food chain were there because of personality defects and "weakness of body, mind or character, will or temperament"--though he believed that through his generosity he could create the necessary "strong personality" among the weak, leading to "the wider distribution of wealth".6 For Rockefeller, changing how people thought rather than their material circumstances was the more worthy cause.
But there were also some more pragmatic calculations behind Rockefeller's establishment of a philanthropic empire. Following Ida Tarbell's scathing history of Standard Oil in McClure's Magazine in 1902, Rockefeller was obsessed with improving his public image. By institutionalizing his giving, Rockefeller hoped to "prove that rich businessmen could honorably discharge the burden of wealth" (Chernow) as well as dampen further inquiries into the origins of his fortune. The other reason, which emerged once Woodrow Wilson introduced income taxes in 1913, was that gifts to philanthropic funds were tax exempt. Hence, the incorporation of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913 protected much of his vast wealth from inheritance taxes. This was a real concern to Rockefeller, who opposed even the recently introduced six per cent income tax, declaring that "when a man has accumulated a sum of money ... the Government has no right to share in its earnings".7
During the mid-1890s, Rockefeller gradually retired from publicly running Standard Oil, while pouring a sizeable portion of his fortune into the Rockefeller Foundation and other charitable trusts. From 1915, he turned over his remaining wealth to his only son and designated heir, Junior. Unlike his shrewd and ruthless father, Junior was shy, tormented by self-loathing and clearly burdened by the weight of his father's expectations that he would now run the Rockefeller family's business and philanthropic affairs. It was to help him manage this awesome task that in 1920 Junior employed the lawyer Raymond B. Fosdick (1883-1972) as one of his key strategic advisers.8
The Persuader: Raymond B. Fosdick
It is remarkable that Fosdick's name is absent from most New World Order histories, for his relationship with Junior is crucial to any understanding of how the Rockefellers became involved in the NWO. As one of Junior's closest confidants as well as a Trustee (1921-1948) and, later, President (1936-1948) of the Rockefeller Foundation, Fosdick had a pivotal role, as it was he who had first urged Junior to embrace the liberal-internationalist creed of President Wilson. This was not surprising, for Fosdick was a lifelong supporter of Wilson, as he acknowledged in a 1956 lecture at the University of Chicago when he said, "from the first day I had met [Wilson] until he died, he had my wholehearted admiration and respect". Fosdick also claimed to have had a "long and occasionally close association" with Wilson that dated from 1903 when he had started studying at Princeton University, where Wilson was the president.9
That first meeting at Princeton proved to be the start of a long and productive association for Fosdick, with Wilson taking more than a passing interest in his career in the years that followed. During Wilson's campaign for the presidency in 1912, Fosdick was personally appointed by Wilson to be Secretary and Auditor of the Finance Committee of the National Democratic Committee. He went on to hold a variety of positions in the Wilson Administration, including Chairman of the Commission on Training Camp Activities in both the Navy and War departments. As a civilian aide to General Pershing, Fosdick accompanied Wilson to Europe for the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. During this period, Fosdick also cultivated close relations with Wilson's enigmatic adviser, Colonel House.
Fosdick obviously made a substantial impression, for in May 1919 he was asked by Wilson to accept an offer from League of Nations Secretary-General Sir Eric Drummond to become an Under Secretary-General to the League. A keen supporter of the League, Fosdick had enthusiastically accepted the offer and, in July 1919, took up his new appointment. It was a significant advance for Fosdick, as it made him one of only two Under Secretaries-General in the League (the other was French technocrat Jean Monnet, the future founder of the European Community) as well as the highest-ranking American in the organization.10
But Fosdick's dream run was to be short-lived, when opposition in the US Senate to American membership in the League reached breaking point later that year as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge persisted in his attempts to "Americanize" the League of Nations Treaty. Although convinced that Lodge's actions stemmed from a "degree of immaturity in our ideas and thinking", Fosdick knew the controversy had made his position untenable and so he resigned from the League in January 1920. Declaring himself to be finally released from a "burden of silence", a bitter and disappointed Fosdick now resolved "to speak [his] faith before the world". Realizing Wilson's vision of a New World Order thus became Fosdick's obsession.11
At this point, it is important to review exactly what Wilson's original New World Order vision entailed. There were four main components.
The first, and most well known, was the League of Nations, conceived by Wilson as "a community of power" and "an organized common peace", with the League acting as a global forum to settle territorial disputes through arbitration, but it would also have the power to enforce those settlements. According to Henry Kissinger, Wilson's bold vision for the League "translated into institutions tantamount to world government".12
Second, Wilson was a strong advocate of global free trade, including in his Fourteen Points a demand for complete "equality of trade" and the "removal ... of all economic barriers". Wilson was attempting to realize the vision of 19th-century British free-trade advocates Richard Cobden and the so-called "Manchester School" of economists, of a world in which war would be banished, once it was linked together by free trade. But Wilson was also concerned that American industries had "expanded to such a point that they will burst their jackets if they cannot find a free outlet to the markets of the world". Entrenching free trade through a binding global treaty, he reasoned, would save US manufacturers.13
Third, Wilson was a supporter of regional integration at both political and economic levels, evident in his abortive "Pan-American Pact" proposal of 1914-15--the purpose of which, according to his adviser Colonel House, was to "weld North and South America together in closer union". Wilson and House also believed that the Pan-American Pact could serve as a model for political organization in Europe, and thus the world.14
Fourth, Wilson believed the US should assume a global leadership role so it could "play the part which it was destined she should play", and lend its "power to the authority and force of other nations to guarantee peace and justice throughout the world".15
Wilson's invocation of "peace and justice" should, of course, be treated with the caution that most political rhetoric deserves, especially in view of the myriad paradoxes in Wilson's political career. It was Wilson, after all, who campaigned for the presidency in 1911-1912 with the claim that he would stand up to the "masters of the government of the United States ... the combined capitalists and manufacturers". Yet he relied heavily on the generosity of those same "masters of the government", with just 40 individuals providing a third of his campaign funds. This exclusive group included Wall Street bankers Jacob Schiff (Kuhn, Loeb & Co.) and Cleveland Dodge, the stockbroker Bernard Baruch and numerous industrialists, including the owners of the International Harvester Company (also known as the "Harvester Trust"). This was also the same Wilson who expressed his opposition to the "credit trust" of the bankers, but went on to found the Federal Reserve System, fulfilling Wall Street's dual aims of internationalizing the US dollar and controlling currency and credit creation in the United States.16
Given that Wilson was captive to those same "trusts" he had so publicly attacked, it was probably inevitable that one of his most devoted followers would go on to serve one of the greatest trusts of them all.
Driven by a desire to see Wilson's ambitious model of world order become a reality, Fosdick had lobbied for US involvement in the League of Nations, founding the League of Nations Association in 1923. In January 1924, Fosdick had visited the ailing Woodrow Wilson to seek some final inspiration and guidance. He was not to be disappointed, as Gene Smith relates in When The Cheering Stopped: [Wilson] said to Fosdick that it was unthinkable that America would permanently stand in the way of human progress; it was unthinkable that America would remain aloof, for America would not thwart the hope of the race. His voice broke and he whispered huskily that America was going to bring her spiritual energy to the liberation of mankind. Mankind would step forward, a mighty step; America could not play the laggard. Fosdick was young, and when Fosdick rose to go he pledged in the name of the younger generation that they would carry through to finish the uncompleted work.17
Sure enough, Wilson's final testament--he died a month later--reinforced Fosdick's globalist zeal. Utterly convinced that the only way to ensure world peace was through some form of world government, and that only US leadership could make it happen, Fosdick devoted his energies to trying to influence elite and public opinion in that direction. In 1928, Fosdick published The Old Savage in the New Civilization, which endorsed "a planetary consciousness" and "a collective intelligence". Fosdick argued that if nations were to co-exist without conflict, then: "... we must have some centralized mechanism, some established procedure, by which we can determine the understandings and rules of common life ... The assertion of the absolute sovereignty of the state has become in our time the supreme anarchy."18
The Willing Pupil
The greatest asset in Fosdick's crusade to draw the US back into Wilson's scheme for world order was to be the pious, guilty and impressionable John D. Rockefeller, Junior. Though the designated heir to the Standard Oil fortune, Junior lacked his father's ruthlessness and shrewdness. Loyal to his father's prejudices, Junior had been a staunch Republican, rejecting both Wilson and the League of Nations, yet the slaughter of World War I had also seen him toy with the idea of international cooperation. He had embraced interdenominational, participating in the Interchurch World Movement which had sought to combine the resources of all Protestant Christian churches in an attempt to "Christianize the world". In Junior, Fosdick claimed to have found a "remarkable man" of "great sincerity ... with a lively sense of responsibility" who "wanted to be convinced, not deferred to". Not surprisingly, convincing Junior to embrace his globalist ideology became one of Fosdick's goals.19
Although Fosdick's memoirs do not admit it, he was very effective in shaping Junior's worldview. Fosdick's fawning biography of Junior suggests that his growing sense of internationalism stemmed solely from a combination of youthful globetrotting and a religiously instilled "awareness of human kinship and of the bonds that unite the world". Yet, with Fosdick working closely with Junior from the 1920s into the 1940s as one of his senior advisers, there is also a definite and otherwise inexplicable trend of Junior expressing increasingly sophisticated internationalist sentiments as well as supporting the League of Nations and funding the Eastern Establishment's premier body, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Inexplicable, only if we ignore Fosdick's tacit acknowledgement that Junior was very malleable--"his opinions were invariably marked by tolerance, and inflexibility was not part of his character"--and therefore open to his suggestions.20
Evidence of Junior's conversion to Fosdick's ideology abounds. One of Junior's initiatives during the 1920s was the establishment of International Houses for foreign university students. Junior viewed the International Houses as a "laboratory of human relationships" and a "world in miniature" through which he hoped an "atmosphere of fellowship can be developed". In a 1924 speech to foreign students, Junior spoke of his hope that "some day ... no one will speak of 'my country', but all will speak of 'our world'".
Inevitably, through Fosdick's urging, Junior became more interested in supporting the League of Nations. Fosdick introduced Junior to Arthur Sweetser, one of the few Americans still working at the League, who also encouraged his interest in the world organization. The impact was clear, with Junior directing the Rockefeller Foundation to grant money to the Health Organization of the League of Nations, and later giving some $2 million of his own funds to establish the League Library. During the 1920s he also contributed $1,500 a year to the CFR, then dominated by supporters of Wilson, and in 1929 provided a further $50,000 towards the Council's new headquarters in New York, Harold Pratt House.21
The enduring influence of Fosdick's Wilsonian
internationalism was also evident in a 1938 address by Junior, in which he
made a number of observations about the impact of technological change and
growing interdependence. In effect, Junior predicted the end of the
nation-state, and thus charted a course that his sons would endeavor to make
into a self-fulfilling prophecy:
The culmination of Junior's embrace of Fosdick's internationalism was his decision in late 1946 to donate land in New York for the headquarters of the newly created United Nations (UN)--the site still used to this day. But arguably Junior's greatest legacy was the impact of his newfound globalist zeal on his children. The effect was twofold: firstly, he passed on Senior's philanthropic philosophy of using Rockefeller wealth to change society, embedding it in a plethora of institutions and organizations that gave the Rockefellers "an unrivalled influence in national affairs";23 secondly, he established in them an enduring belief in Fosdick's ideology of international cooperation and governance, itself based on Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations vision.
Junior had six children: a daughter, Abby; and five sons, John, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David, four of whom would go on to play leading roles in establishing the New World Order ... and it is to those Rockefeller brothers that we now turn.
About the Author:
Will Banyan, BA (Hons), Grad. Dip. (Information Science) is a writer specializing in the political economy of globalization. He has worked for both local and national governments as well as some international organizations, and was recently consulting on global issues for a private corporation...