Prescott Bush

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Prescott Bush
Bush with his wife, 1952

Prescott Sheldon Bush (* 15. May 1895 in Columbus , Ohio , † 8. October 1972 in New York City ) was Senator of the United States of Connecticut and CEO of Wall Street bank Brown Brothers Harriman . He was the father of George Bush and the grandfather of George W. Bush , both of whom became President of the United States .


Childhood and youth

Bush was born in Columbus, Ohio, to Flora Sheldon and Samuel Prescott Bush , a steel manufacturer and later a member of the US government. Samuel Bush was responsible for the coordination and support of major arms suppliers in the First World War in charge.

Study time

After attending the Douglas School in Columbus and St. George's School in Newport ( Rhode Island ) from 1908 to 1913, Bush began his studies at Yale University . There he played golf, football and baseball on the university team and was chairman of the Yale Glee Club , the university choir (in 1917 he was the best in the close harmony course). His devotion to singing, which he developed at Yale, remained at a high level throughout his life, as demonstrated by the founding of Yale Glee Club Associates in 1937 , an association of former graduates. Prescott Bush also played the position of first baseman on the Yale baseball team.

On May 18, 1916, he joined the Skull and Bones Secret Society at Yale. Other new members of the society and fellow students were u. a. Morris Hadley , Wilmarth S. Lewis , Henry Knox Sherrill , A. Whitney Griswold , Dean Acheson , George Van Santvoord , Morgan Phelps Noyes .

According to a skull and bones legend, Bush excavated Geronimo's skull in 1918 and "donated" it to society. He graduated from Yale University in 1917 and received a BA

After completing his studies, he served in the First World War from 1917 to 1919 as a field artillery captain in the American Expeditionary Forces . He received intelligence training in Verdun and was assigned to a staff of French officers. Alternating between secret service and artillery, Bush came under fire in the Meuse-Argonne offensive . He wrote home about having received medals for heroic deeds. The Columbus newspaper that reported it, however, had to back down when it became known that in reality he had not received these medals.

Early career

After retiring from the military in 1919, Bush worked for the Simmons Hardware Company in St. Louis , Missouri . In 1921 he met Dorothy Walker. Since the Bush family were social climbers at the time, George Herbert Walker was initially against the connection. Prescott Bush married Dorothy Walker on August 6, 1921. They had five children: George HW Bush (named after George Herbert Walker), Prescott Bush, Jr. , Jonathan Bush , William Bush, and Nancy Bush . They bought the Bush family 's summer home, Walker's Point, from their father-in-law .

Brown Brothers Harriman

George Herbert Walker was a wealthy banker. He brought his son Prescott Bush at Brown Brothers Harriman and later Union Banking Co. under. The owner was W. Averell Harriman . With his brother, E. Roland Harriman, Bush was together in Skull and Bones .

Political career

From 1944 to 1956, Bush was a member of Yale Corporation , the governing body of Yale University. From 1947 to 1950 he was the Republican Treasurer of Connecticut and in 1950 the Republican candidate for the US Senate. However, he lost to Senator William Benton by a difference of only 1,000 votes. The following year, Bush in Connecticut became chairman of the United Negro College Fund and one of the first sponsors of the organization, which enabled African Americans to study at universities and colleges through scholarships.

In 1952 he was elected as a Republican Senator for Connecticut after he won against Abraham A. Ribicoff and replaced the recently deceased Brien McMahon . He held the office until 1963 and was a staunch supporter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower . Speaking about the Cold War in New London , Connecticut, June 6, 1955, Nathan Hale said: “We must maintain a strong defense. Both militarily and spiritually. It is our actions, our patriotism and our belief in our American way of life, our courage that will win the decisive battle. "

He had houses on Long Island and Greenwich , the family home in Kennebunkport , a 40 km² plantation in South Carolina and a vacation island off Florida . Richard Nixon saw Prescott Bush as his political mentor and sought advice before making his famous Checkers speech .

Expropriation during the Second World War

The Harriman Bank was the main Wall Street -Contact for German companies and the various financial interests of Fritz Thyssen in the US, an early financial supporter of up to 1938 NSDAP was, however, been fled Germany in 1939 and a critical attitude to Hitler occupied would have. Trading with the German Reich wasn't illegal until Hitler declared war on the United States. That changed six days after Pearl Harbor when President Roosevelt signed the Trading With the Enemy Act . On October 20, 1942, the US government ordered the cessation of banking transactions with Germany in New York.

In 1942, Bush's stake in Union Banking Corporation , a company he was in the management of that had violated the Trading with the Enemy Act, was expropriated. In compensation, he received $ 1.5 million, which he used as a financial basis for the Bush family's later involvement in the Texan oil industry.

The New York Herald Tribune called the German industrialist Fritz Thyssen "Hitler's angel" and mentioned Bush only as an employee of the Thyssen investment company in the USA. It was an ironic term because Thyssen was expatriated in 1939 and emigrated to Switzerland after falling out with Hitler because of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact .

Toby Rogers claims that Bush's links with the Silesian-American Corporation made him guilty of complicity in the Polish company's mining operations that used slave labor from Auschwitz, where the Auschwitz extermination camp was later built. However, claims that Prescott Bush benefited from slave labor or the Auschwitz concentration camp remain unproven.

On November 1, 2004, the Auschwitz International Project Group attempted class action lawsuits to sue his grandson George W. Bush for $ 400 million in damages because Prescott Bush was involved in a company that made profits from the forced labor of concentration camp inmates.

In their view, Bush's inherited fortune is based in part on profits from Nazi slave labor, which his grandfather Prescott Bush is said to have done through business with the Nazis during World War II. Wolz explained that the co-owner of a steel company also benefited from slave labor in the Auschwitz extermination camp.

The journalist Eva Schweitzer comes to the conclusion in her book America and the Holocaust : “You earned money from all the dealings with heavy industry and received compensation afterwards. A large part of their wealth comes from doing business with the Third Reich. "


  • Kevin Phillips: American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics in the House of Bush , Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN 0-14-303431-6
  • Kevin Phillips: The American Money Aristocracy, A Political History of US Wealth. Campus Verlag; Edition 1, 2003, ISBN 3-593-37312-2
  • Kevin Phillips: American Theocracy, The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century . Viking Books, 1st ed. 2006, ISBN 0-670-03486-X

Web links

Commons : Prescott Bush  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Photograph by Prescott Bush of the Yale University Library (Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University Library) [1]  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: dead link /  
  2. ^ Yale University, Tombs and Taps - An inside look at Yale's Fraternities, Sororities and Societies, Skull & Bones (1832) - 64 High Street Archived copy ( Memento of the original from February 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link became automatic used and not yet tested. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Photograph of the Yale University clubs and societies as well as description of the Yale University library (Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University Library) Archived copy ( Memento of the original from September 2, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Zach O. Greenburg, Yale Herald: Bones may have Pancho Villa skull Whose Skull and Bones? ( Memento from June 14, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  5. CBS News, Skull And Bones , June 13, 2004 [2]
  6. Kathrin Day Lassila and Mark Alden Branch, published in Yale Alumni Magazine, May / June 2006, Whose Skull and Bones? Whose Skull and Bones? ( Memento from June 14, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  7. Jeffrey J. Wilson, University of Connecticut - Prescott S. Bush Papers Archived copy ( Memento of the original from October 24, 2005 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8., Millions lawsuit against Bush: Subpoena - - Politics: Does Bush have to testify in court? dated December 23, 2004 Does Bush have to testify in court? ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), WDR from December 23, 2004
  9. Kulturzeit, broadcast on November 2, 2004, see also: Hitler's Partner - America, the Bushs and the Holocaust [3]