The Oddity of KRIT Motors

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Futwick, Jul 7, 2013.

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  1. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

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    One of the little known car manufacturers out of Detroit was KRIT or K-R-I-T motors. The main reason was that the company was only in existence for seven years—1909-1916. The company was never able to build up momentum because of the outbreak of World War I which interrupted the company’s export business to Europe and Australia upon which the company was dependent and drove it out of business. The name of KRIT is believed to come from the company’s chief financier, Kenneth Crittenden of Ford and Regal. The company was originally located at the old C. H. Blomstrom Manufacturing Co. works at the corner of Wright and Lieb until 1911 when the company was purchased by Walter S. Russel of Russel Wheel and Foundry who moved the operation to the old R. M. Owen & Co. works who had relocated after becoming Owen Magnetic.

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    A KRIT bus in Belgium. You might notice the swastika and wonder what it is doing there in World War I before the Nazis even existed. That would be because KRIT’s logo was, in fact, a swastika:

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    To be sure, the swastika was very popular in the US and Europe prior to the Nazis. The writings of Helena Blavatsky were very popular at that time and she was the one who first brought the swastika out of Asia and into the Western consciousness. She called the symbol of the fifth root-race of humanity otherwise known as Aryan. The swastika is found as far back as 9000 years ago in India and is the oldest symbol known to us today. It was originally a symbol of good fortune. The very word “swastika” or “suasti-ka” simply means “talisman.” The swastika appeared everywhere in America—from greeting cards to sports team jerseys. In fact, America had its own native swastika because it was an ancient symbol among many Indian tribes. The Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Tibetans and others also used the symbol in Buddhism and it is still very common to see statues of Buddha with a swastika on his chest.

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    Clara Bow makes fashion statement. She supposedly had quite a bent for Eastern religion and philosophy.

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    It’s the real thing.

    So at the time that Krit Motors was using the swastika, there was nothing particularly odd about it. What’s interesting is, did Hitler ever see or ride in a Krit vehicle and did he ever get a good look at the logo. The answer would appear to be yes.

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    This Krit motif bears an uncomfortable resemblance to this one:
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    The standard story is that Hitler was sent into a mystical secret society called the Thule Gesellschaft as a spy for the Reichswehr. The society, which split off from the Germanenorden about 1916, was started by a man named Adam Alfred Rudolf Glaub although he habitually used a title of nobility—Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff—even though he was neither a baron nor a Sebottendorff. The society was virulently anticommunist, anti-Jewish (which they viewed as being identical) and believed in Aryan (read as white) superiority. Other members included Dietrich Eckart, Rudolph Hess and Alfred Rosenberg (himself of Jewish background).

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    The Thule Gesellschaft emblem sporting a rounded swastika.

    In 1919, Thulist named Anton Drexler started a worker’s party within the society called Deutsche Arbiterpartei or DAP. They met in beer halls instead of swanky hotels. Hitler became a DAP member and quickly rose in the ranks due to his extraordinary oratory gift. Hess became enthralled by Hitler and became his number one disciple. Eckart was delighted with Hitler and saw in him the future leader of Germany with the right grooming. Eckart and Rosenberg began giving Hitler his talking points and ideology. Eckart taught Hitler how to dress, what foods to eat and how to eat them in the company of wealthy and well-educated people, how to speak to them in cultured German. He trimmed off Hitler’s mustache to a small square and gave him a whip with the handle looped around his wrist. He was also delighted that Hitler was a bachelor which was important to win the female vote. Hitler was also no coward, when unleashing a tirade on the organization’s enemies, he stayed on the podium and continued to harangue his opponents even as the brass knuckles, truncheons and table legs began swinging. A roughneck with charisma, made to order.
     
  2. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

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    In 1920, they made their first big move which was to kick out the Thulists and völkisch adherents from DAP. These were people caught up in the mysticism of Aryanism. Although Hitler was steeped in this mumbo-jumbo called Ariosophy, he was carrying out Eckart’s plan to form an entirely new political party with no connections to Thulism which would be fodder for their critics and opponents. DAP elected Hitler as Head of Propaganda and he drew up a party program with help from Eckart and Rosenberg that declared DAP an autonomous organization that espoused National Socialism as the party line. The Thulists were outraged but most of DAP remained loyal to Hitler and left with him as his private army. The name of the party was officially changed to National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) which would eventually be abbreviated as “Nazi” (although they didn’t call themselves that).

    On May 20, 1920, the Nazi flag designed by Thulist Friedrich Krohn and featuring a black swastika in a solid white circle on a red field was flown for the first time. Krohn devised the color scheme, Hitler decided on a swastika with squared arms rotating widdershins (counter-clockwise). The Nazi Party inherited this symbol as well as the National Socialist philosophy via the Thulists and the Germanenorden who inherited it from the work of Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List in the first decade of the 20th century.

    The question is, did Hitler’s modification of the Thulist swastika come about by seeing the Krit logo? Both sport black, squared-off swastikas rimmed in red and Krit’s was by far the earlier symbol. The Nazis turned the swastika to a 45-degree angle supposedly to symbolize an “S” for socialism.

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    I don’t mean to imply that the Krit management or executives were, in any way, supportive of the Nazis. Henry Ford was and Hitler supposedly kept a photo of Ford above his desk and he does praise Ford in Mein Kampf. But Krit was long gone by the time Hitler appeared on the scene. I am only asking if Krit unknowingly supplied the swastika motif that the Nazis decided to use as their own.
     
  3. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    Henry Ford repudiated his anti Semitic views in 1927. He issued a public apology, shut down the Dearborn Independent and burned a large and costly library of anti Semitic works. Ironically he got his anti Semitism from some Jewish socialists and political radicals in 1915 or 1916. They blamed WW1 on "international bankers and big business".

    So, he was only an anti Semite for 10 or 12 years. The Nazis made a hero of him about the time he abandoned these views.

    KRIT had even less to do with Nazism. Many sports teams, and business concerns used the Swastika in the twenties. I used to have a poster issued by the Indian Motocycle Company with a swastika border. There is even a town in Northern Ontario called Swastika, founded in 1923.

    As you point out the Nazis appropriated a symbol of good luck that dates back thousands of years. There is no point in trying to make out anything more than that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  4. Futwick

    Futwick One of the Regulars

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    I'll try this again:

    Is there a possibility that when Hitler and Krohn designed the Nazi flag that one or both consciously borrowed the Krit emblem?

    They wouldn't use the Thulist swastika since they were breaking away from the Thulists. Did they decide the Krit emblem was distinctive enough not to be confused with any of the other groups that used swastikas (quite a number did)? Krits were known in Europe but they did not saturate the motor vehicle market by any means. The average German probably had no experience with Krit. But did Hitler?
     
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