Henry Ford was awarded Nazi Germany’s Grand Cross of the German Eagle on July 30, 1938, his 75th birthday. He was the first American to receive the medal, the highest decoration Germany bestowed on foreigners.
Fritz Hailer, the German vice consul in Detroit, presented it to him at Ford Motor’s Dearborn offices, explaining that Adolf Hitler wanted to recognize how the automobile tycoon made cars available to the masses. The previous year, the same medal was given to Benito Mussolini, the founder of Fascism and leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943.
July 30, 2012, 6:35pm / 67