According to Nancy Russell
Ford’s impact on Hitler was evidenced by a framed photograph of the industrialist that hung on Hitler’s office wall.
Ford was delighted, on his seventy-fifth birthday, to receive a special honor from Hitler, the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. The honor was bestowed on Ford on July 30, 1938—four months after the Anschluss and the mass terror against Viennese Jews—at a birthday dinner attended by more than 1,500 prominent Detroiters. This was the highest honor of the Reich that could be bestowed on a foreign national, and the German consul traveled to Detroit to personally drape the golden cross with swastikas over Ford’s chest.
This man who looms so large in American history, an engineer who developed the assembly line and ushered in the industrial age, with genius (and luck) sufficient to amass one of the greatest fortunes of his age, was hostile to the study of history, suspicious of intellectual activity and contemptuous of higher education. (He forbade his son from attending college.) [,,,] His book learning appears to have started and ended with the McGuffey reader, the dominant textbook in American schools for nearly a century. These volumes sought to inject Biblical study into all subjects, unabashedly stating that Protestant Christianity was the only true religion in America.
One factor in Ford’s development that made him receptive to […]simplistic and reactionary views was his extreme pragmatism. He was a man who rarely read ( Bambi was his all time favorite book […]) […]
He was a hyperkinetic manager, constantly in motion in his facility—in the machine shop, in the power plant, in the drafting room. Baldwin observes, “Colleagues quickly learned that the last place to look for him was in his office, because to Ford, thought equaled action.” Ford’s deep, ingrained prejudice against thought, history and philosophy fed into and complemented his hatred of the Jews.
Baldwin quotes editorial board member Fred Black, “One morning, Ford might shake hands all around, sit down, and blurt out in a general way, ‘I have an idea!’ Then the men would discuss it and ‘flesh it out’ while he leaned back and listened. But Ford would not tolerate lengthy discourse about any matter, large or small. He would attend to a presentation or a plan for an article for a few minutes—fifteen minutes was considered the outside limit—and then ‘on the basis of a hunch,’ come to a decision.”