Part Three in the Series – How Prescott Bush Went From War Criminal to Senator
Very little of the information regarding Prescott Bush’s activities as a director and shareholder of companies aiding Hitler and Germany have ever been brought to public attention. These activities continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
The debate over Prescott Bush’s behavior has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the “Bush/Nazi” connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis’ plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler’s rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty. The Guardian
As we previously covered, documents reveal that the firm Prescott Bush worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen. How does a man guilty of trading with the enemy in 1942 become a Wall Street banker and later the United States Senator from Connecticut from 1952 to 1963. You build connections and Yale’s Skull and Bones, secret society, was one of Prescott’s key links. From 1944-56, Prescott Bush was also a member of the Yale Corporation, the principal governing body of Yale University. Another area of influence was his marriage to Dorothy Walker daughter of George Herbert “Bert” Walker who managed Harrison brothers’ enterprises at 1 Wall Street and later went on to become president of W.A. Harriman & Co.
Prescott Bush tried more than once to enter politics, unsuccessfully, until the death of Senator Brien McMahon from cancer in 1952 created a vacancy and Republicans nominated Bush. He defeated the Democratic nominee, Abraham Ribicoff, and was elected to the Senate.
Prescott Bush was a committed supporter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was a key ally for the passage of Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System, and during his tenure supported the Polaris submarine project (built by Electric Boat Corporation in Groton, Connecticut), civil rights legislation, and the establishment of the Peace Corps. Prescott Bush was politically active on social issues. He was involved with the American Birth Control League as early as 1942, and served as the treasurer of the first national capital campaign of Planned Parenthood in 1947. He was also an early supporter of the United Negro College Fund, serving as chairman of the Connecticut branch in 1951.
On December 2, 1954, Prescott Bush was part of the large (67–22) majority to censure Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy after McCarthy had taken on the U.S. Army and the Eisenhower administration. During the debate leading to the censure, Bush said that McCarthy has “caused dangerous divisions among the American people because of his attitude and the attitude he has encouraged among his followers: that there can be no honest differences of opinion with him. Either you must follow Senator McCarthy blindly, not daring to express any doubts or disagreements about any of his actions, or, in his eyes, you must be a Communist, a Communist sympathizer, or a fool who has been duped by the Communist line.” Eisenhower later included Prescott Bush on an undated handwritten list of prospective candidates he favored for the 1960 Republican presidential nomination. Wikipedia
Prescott and Dorothy had five children: four boys and one girl, George H.W. Bush, Prescott S. Bush Jr., Jonathan “Jeb” Bush, William Trotter Bush and Nancy Bush. The family lead a life of privilege and the children attended private schools. Prescott served two terms as senator and elected to not run for another term due to his poor health.
He died in 1972 at age 77 and was interred at Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Here are previous articles in the series and the next will be George H.W. Bush, JFK, the CIA and LBJ.