Just the day before, May 1, 1934, under a brilliant, cloudless sky, James D.Mooney, president of the General Motors Overseas Corp., climbed into his automobile and drove toward Tempelhof Field at the outskirts of Berlin to attend yet another hypnotic Nazi extravaganza. This one was the annual May Day festival.
During the late 1930s, Hitler's persecution of Jews was building to a frenzy even as fears of a war escalated. Nevertheless, General Motors' German automotive subsidiary, Opel, remained a loyal corporate citizen of the Third Reich -- content to obediently do the Nazi regime's bidding, and unstintingly supporting Hitler's program on many fronts. These included economic and employment recovery, anti-Jewish persecution, war preparedness and domestic propaganda. In return, Opel prospered.