Nexus Magazine Volume 10
- Number 3
20th century to the present day,
the Rockefeller family, via
philanthropy and power politics,
has been pivotal in the move to
create a so-called
New World Order.
THE ROCKEFELLERS' NEW WORLD ORDER VISIONS, 1920-2002
It has long been the conceit of the rich and super-rich that their
vast wealth, and the political power it brings, gives them license
to the change the world. The House of Rothschild, for
example, the world's richest banking dynasty in the 19th century,
used its economic leverage and political influence in numerous
(though not always successful) attempts to remold Europe's
political landscape in an effort to prevent the outbreak of war.
This gained the family a reputation in some quarters as "militant
"What Rothschild says is
decisive," opined one Austrian diplomat, "and he won't give any
money for war." The family attitude was best summed up in a
statement allegedly made by the wife of the dynasty's founder,
Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812): "It won't come to war; my
sons won't provide money for it."
Yet the Rothschilds'
motives in preventing warfare were hardly benevolent; with the
family's power and fortune resting on the stability of the
international bond market, avoiding war was a matter of economic
survival. "You can't begin to imagine what might happen should we
get war, God forbid," lamented one of Mayer Amschel's sons in
1830, " ... it would be impossible to sell anything."(1)
Such is the banality of greed: good outcomes are acceptable only
when they are profitable.
In the past century, however, the rich have become more overt in their
efforts; in fact, using their wealth to bring about global changes
has been transformed into a noble enterprise--one that usually
follows a spiritual epiphany, when the decades of ruthlessly
amassing a fortune are followed by a sudden desire to employ for the
"common good" rather than self-indulgent material luxuries. The
acknowledged pioneer of this approach is Andrew Carnegie
(1835-1919), one of the so-called "robber-barons" of the "Gilded
Age" in the late 19th century when the US economy was dominated by
the "trusts", among them Carnegie Steel. Having sold his company to
fellow magnate J. P. Morgan in 1901, Carnegie devoted
his remaining years and his fortune to a crusade for world peace.
Now celebrated as the father of philanthropy, Carnegie believed
that only the rich minority had proven themselves qualified to
change society, so the multitude must be excluded from such
decisions. "Wealth, passing through the hands of the few," he wrote,
"can be made a much more potent force for the elevation of our race
than if distributed in small sums to the people themselves."
Similar logic drives many of today's philanthropic social engineers,
including Ted Turner,
Bill Gates and George Soros, each of whom devotes their
billions to "worthy" causes in support of their own particular
visions of a "just" global society.
This naturally brings us to the Rockefeller family,
which has used its fortune, originally amassed in the 19th century,
to establish a philanthropic network that has had a significant
influence on government policy throughout the world for nearly a
century. This fact has long been recognized by researchers into the
"New World Order", who contend that Rockefeller
family members are among the key players, if not the primary
architects and paymasters, behind the alleged secret plot to
establish a dictatorial "One World Government".
Back in the 1970s, for example, Gary Allen declared in his
book, The Rockefeller File, that "the major Rockefeller goal
today is the creation of a 'New World Order'--a one world government
that would control all of mankind". Contemporary NWO
researchers have been no less certain of Rockefeller
culpability. The ever-controversial
David Icke describes the Rockefellers as a
pivotal family in the "bloodline hierarchy" that is striving to
implement the "Brotherhood Agenda" of "centralized
control of the planet". Were it not for the Rockefellers and
their "manipulation of the United States and the wider world",
writes Icke, there would be "far greater freedom" in America
and the "world in general".(3)
That the emerging New World Order is the product of
decisions made at the behest of the power-elite, among them the
Rockefellers, is not in dispute here, for the evidence is
considerable. However, some key issues remain unresolved, with
opponents of globalization divided over whether the NWO
stems from a process in which "socialist" supranational institutions
are subverting the sovereignty of all nations, including the United
States, by stealth, or is in fact a process of US-led transnational
"corporate capitalism", with global organizations relegated to a
By examining the specific proposals of the Rockefellers, we can see
that for the elite architects of the NWO it has not
been a case of either global institutions or a one-world market, but
a careful combination of both approaches, with regional blocs as
stepping-stones to the establishment of an authoritarian,
market-oriented system of "global governance".
In fact, the Rockefeller family has been at the
forefront of efforts to convince, cajole and coordinate governments
in support of this project throughout much of the 20th century
through to the present day. Indeed, the strategies commonly
associated with both the "corporate-led"
and "collectivist" models of global governance--i.e.,
American leadership, the United Nations, free trade, neo-liberalism,
international financial institutions, regional free trade blocs,
population control, global environmental regulation, Atlantic Union
and world federalism--the Rockefellers have supported
for nearly a century either directly or through the various elite
policy-planning organizations they have funded, founded or
The purpose of this article is to review the origins and evolution of
the internationalist ideology of the Rockefellers,
John D. Rockefeller, Junior, through his most influential
sons--John D. III, Nelson, Laurance and David--to
their own offspring, covering the period from the 1920s through to
the present day.
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR, AND THE LEGACY OF WOODROW WILSON
The story of the Rockefellers' embrace of internationalism begins not
with speculative tales of their "reptilian" origins or with
John D. Rockefeller, Senior (1839-1937)--the
uncompromising patriarch and founder of Standard Oil, the very basis
of the Rockefellers' power--but with John D. Rockefeller,
Junior (1874-1960), who controlled the
Rockefeller fortune during the first half of the 20th century.
This may seem at odds with prevailing orthodoxies and other more
entertaining accounts, but the Rockefellers did not subscribe to the
globalist ideology until Junior's time.
Despite his numerous trips to Europe and attempts to capture foreign
oil markets (resulting in a clash with the Rothschilds at one
Rockefeller Senior had shown little interest in international
affairs. Besides his vast fortune (the equivalent of nearly US$200
billion in today's terms), Rockefeller's only other enduring
legacy to his extended family, and by extension the New World
Order, was a philosophy of philanthropy in service of his
professed interest in improving humanity.
The basis for Rockefeller Senior's philanthropy, according to
Rockefeller biographer Ron Chernow, was his "mystic faith
that God had given him money for mankind's benefit". Rockefeller was
a devout Baptist, and his religion determined much of his early
philanthropy. He was also influenced by Carnegie's argument
that the rich should use their money to dampen social tensions
stemming from growing inequality, rather than leave it to their
heirs to waste on hedonistic lifestyles.
Carnegie wrote in the North American Review (June 1889) that
"The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced". Inspired by Carnegie's
missive, Rockefeller embarked upon a vigorous program of philanthropy,
though he avoided direct gifts to the needy. Citing the need to
"abolish evils by destroying them at the source", he poured his
money into educational institutions, hoping their graduates would
"spread their culture far and wide". Rockefeller was
unwilling to upset the social hierarchy, subscribing to the
Darwinian view that those at the bottom of the food chain were there
because of personality defects and "weakness of body, mind or
character, will or temperament"--though he believed that through his
generosity he could create the necessary "strong personality" among
the weak, leading to "the wider distribution of wealth".
Rockefeller, changing how people thought rather than their
material circumstances was the more worthy cause.
But there were also some more pragmatic calculations behind
Rockefeller's establishment of a philanthropic empire.
Ida Tarbell's scathing history of Standard Oil in
McClure's Magazine in 1902, Rockefeller was obsessed with
improving his public image. By institutionalizing his giving,
Rockefeller hoped to "prove that rich businessmen could
honorably discharge the burden of wealth" (Chernow) as well
as dampen further inquiries into the origins of his fortune. The
other reason, which emerged once Woodrow Wilson introduced
income taxes in 1913, was that gifts to philanthropic funds were tax
exempt. Hence, the incorporation of the Rockefeller Foundation
in 1913 protected much of his vast wealth from inheritance taxes.
This was a real concern to Rockefeller, who opposed even the
recently introduced six per cent income tax, declaring that "when a
man has accumulated a sum of money ... the Government has no right
to share in its earnings".
During the mid-1890s, Rockefeller gradually retired from
publicly running Standard Oil, while pouring a
sizeable portion of his fortune into the Rockefeller
Foundation and other charitable trusts. From 1915, he turned
over his remaining wealth to his only son and designated heir,
Junior. Unlike his shrewd and ruthless father, Junior was shy,
tormented by self-loathing and clearly burdened by the weight of his
father's expectations that he would now run the Rockefeller family's
business and philanthropic affairs. It was to help him manage this
awesome task that in 1920 Junior employed the lawyer Raymond B.
Fosdick (1883-1972) as one of his key strategic advisers.
The Persuader: Raymond B. Fosdick
It is remarkable that Fosdick's name is absent from most
New World Order histories, for his relationship with Junior
is crucial to any understanding of how the Rockefellers
became involved in the
NWO. As one of Junior's closest confidants as well as a
Trustee (1921-1948) and, later, President (1936-1948) of the
Fosdick had a pivotal role, as it was he who had first urged
Junior to embrace the liberal-internationalist creed of President
Wilson. This was not surprising, for Fosdick was a
lifelong supporter of Wilson, as he acknowledged in a 1956
lecture at the University of Chicago when he said, "from the first
day I had met [Wilson] until he died, he had my wholehearted
admiration and respect". Fosdick also claimed to have had a
"long and occasionally close association" with Wilson that
dated from 1903 when he had started studying at Princeton
Wilson was the president.
That first meeting at Princeton proved to be the start of a long and
productive association for Fosdick, with Wilson taking
more than a passing interest in his career in the years that
Wilson's campaign for the presidency in 1912, Fosdick
was personally appointed by Wilson to be Secretary and
Auditor of the Finance Committee of the National Democratic
Committee. He went on to hold a variety of positions in the
Wilson Administration, including Chairman of the Commission
on Training Camp Activities in both the Navy and War departments. As
a civilian aide to General Pershing, Fosdick
accompanied Wilson to Europe for the Paris Peace Conference in
1919. During this period, Fosdick also cultivated close
Wilson's enigmatic adviser, Colonel House.
Fosdick obviously made a substantial impression, for in May
1919 he was asked by Wilson to accept an offer from League of
Nations Secretary-General Sir Eric Drummond to become an
Under Secretary-General to the League. A keen supporter of the
League, Fosdick had enthusiastically accepted the offer and,
in July 1919, took up his new appointment. It was a significant
advance for Fosdick, as it made him one of only two Under
Secretaries-General in the League (the other was French technocrat
Jean Monnet, the future founder of the European Community) as
well as the highest-ranking American in the organization.
But Fosdick's dream run was to be short-lived, when opposition
in the US Senate to American membership in the League reached
breaking point later that year as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge
persisted in his attempts to "Americanise" the League of Nations
Treaty. Although convinced that Lodge's actions stemmed from a
"degree of immaturity in our ideas and thinking", Fosdick
knew the controversy had made his position untenable and so he
resigned from the League in January 1920. Declaring himself to be
finally released from a "burden of silence", a bitter and
disappointed Fosdick now resolved "to speak [his] faith
before the world". Realizing Wilson's vision of a New
World Order thus became Fosdick's obsession.
At this point, it is important to review exactly what Wilson's
original New World Order vision entailed. There were
four main components.
and most well known, was the League of Nations, conceived by Wilson
as "a community of power" and "an organized common peace", with the
League acting as a global forum to settle territorial disputes
through arbitration, but it would also have the power to enforce
those settlements. According to Henry Kissinger, Wilson's
bold vision for the League "translated into institutions tantamount
to world government".
Second, Wilson was a strong advocate of global free
trade, including in his Fourteen Points a demand for complete
"equality of trade" and the "removal ... of all economic barriers".
Wilson was attempting to realize the vision of 19th-century British
Richard Cobden and the so-called "Manchester School" of
economists, of a world in which war would be banished, once it was
linked together by free trade. But Wilson was also concerned
that American industries had "expanded to such a point that they
will burst their jackets if they cannot find a free outlet to the
markets of the world". Entrenching free trade through a binding
global treaty, he reasoned, would save US manufacturers.
Third, Wilson was a supporter of regional integration at
both political and economic levels, evident in his abortive
"Pan-American Pact" proposal of 1914-15, the purpose of which,
according to his adviser Colonel House, was to "weld North
and South America together in closer union". Wilson and
House also believed that the Pan-American Pact could serve as a
model for political organization in Europe, and thus the world.
Fourth, Wilson believed the US should assume a global
leadership role so it could "play the part which it was destined she
should play", and lend its "power to the authority and force of
other nations to guarantee peace and justice throughout the world".
of "peace and justice" should, of course, be treated with the
caution that most political rhetoric deserves, especially in view of
the myriad paradoxes in Wilson's political career. It was
Wilson, after all, who campaigned for the presidency in 1911-1912
with the claim that he would stand up to the "masters of the
government of the United States ... the combined capitalists and
manufacturers". Yet he relied heavily on the generosity of those
same "masters of the government", with just 40 individuals providing
a third of his campaign funds.
This exclusive group included Wall
Street bankers Jacob Schiff (Kuhn, Loeb & Co.) and Cleveland
Dodge, the stockbroker Bernard Baruch and numerous
industrialists, including the owners of the International
Harvester Company (also known as the "Harvester Trust"). This
was also the same Wilson who expressed his opposition to the
"credit trust" of the bankers, but went on to found the Federal
Reserve System, fulfilling Wall Street's dual aims of
internationalizing the US dollar and controlling currency and credit
creation in the United States.
Given that Wilson was captive to those same "trusts" he had so
publicly attacked, it was probably inevitable that one of his most
devoted followers would go on to serve one of the greatest trusts of
Driven by a desire to see Wilson's ambitious model of world
order become a reality, Fosdick had lobbied for US
involvement in the League of Nations, founding the League of Nations
Association in 1923. In January 1924, Fosdick had visited the
ailing Woodrow Wilson to seek some final inspiration and
guidance. He was not to be disappointed, as
Gene Smith relates in When The Cheering Stopped:
[Wilson] said to Fosdick that it was unthinkable that America
would permanently stand in the way of human progress; it was
unthinkable that America would remain aloof, for America would not
thwart the hope of the race. His voice broke and he whispered
huskily that America was going to bring her spiritual energy to
the liberation of mankind. Mankind would step forward, a mighty
step; America could not play the laggard. Fosdick was young,
and when Fosdick rose to go he pledged in the name of the
younger generation that they would carry through to finish the
Sure enough, Wilson's final testament--he died a month
Fosdick's globalist zeal. Utterly convinced that the only way
to ensure world peace was through some form of world government, and
that only US leadership could make it happen, Fosdick devoted
his energies to trying to influence elite and public opinion in that
direction. In 1928, Fosdick published The Old Savage in
the New Civilization, which endorsed "a planetary consciousness"
and "a collective intelligence".
Fosdick argued that if nations were to co-exist without
conflict, then: " ... we must have some centralized mechanism, some
established procedure, by which we can determine the understandings
and rules of common life ... The assertion of the absolute
sovereignty of the state has become in our time the supreme
The Willing Pupil
The greatest asset in Fosdick's crusade to draw the US back
Wilson's scheme for world order was to be the pious, guilty and
impressionable John D. Rockefeller, Junior. Though the
designated heir to the Standard Oil fortune, Junior lacked his
father's ruthlessness and shrewdness. Loyal to his father's
prejudices, Junior had been a staunch Republican, rejecting both
Wilson and the League of Nations, yet the slaughter of World War
I had also seen him toy with the idea of international cooperation.
He had embraced interdenominationalism, participating in the
Interchurch World Movement which had sought to combine the resources
of all Protestant Christian churches in an attempt to "Christianize
the world". In Junior, Fosdick claimed to have found a
"remarkable man" of "great sincerity ... with a lively sense of
responsibility" who "wanted to be convinced, not deferred to". Not
surprisingly, convincing Junior to embrace his globalist ideology
became one of Fosdick's goals.
Although Fosdick's memoirs do not admit it, he was very
effective in shaping Junior's worldview. Fosdick's fawning
biography of Junior suggests that his growing sense of
internationalism stemmed solely from a combination of youthful
globetrotting and a religiously instilled "awareness of human
kinship and of the bonds that unite the world". Yet, with Fosdick
working closely with Junior from the 1920s into the 1940s as one of
his senior advisers, there is also a definite and otherwise
inexplicable trend of Junior expressing increasingly sophisticated
internationalist sentiments as well as supporting the League of
Nations and funding the Eastern Establishment's premier body, the
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Inexplicable, only if we ignore Fosdick's tacit
acknowledgement that Junior was very malleable - "his opinions were
invariably marked by tolerance, and inflexibility was not part of
his character" - and therefore open to his suggestions.
Evidence of Junior's conversion to Fosdick's ideology abounds.
One of Junior's initiatives during the 1920s was the establishment
of International Houses for foreign university students. Junior
viewed the International Houses as a "laboratory of human
relationships" and a "world in miniature" through which he hoped an
"atmosphere of fellowship can be developed". In a 1924 speech to
foreign students, Junior spoke of his hope that "some day ... no one
will speak of 'my country', but all will speak of 'our world'".
Inevitably, through Fosdick's urging, Junior became more
interested in supporting the League of Nations. Fosdick
introduced Junior to
Arthur Sweetser, one of the few Americans still working at the
League, who also encouraged his interest in the world organization.
The impact was clear, with Junior directing the Rockefeller
Foundation to grant money to the Health Organization of the
League of Nations, and later giving some $2 million of his own funds
to establish the League Library. During the 1920s he also
contributed $1,500 a year to the CFR, then dominated by supporters
of Wilson, and in 1929 provided a further $50,000 towards the
Council's new headquarters in New York, Harold Pratt House.
The enduring influence of Fosdick's Wilsonian internationalism
was also evident in a 1938 address by Junior, in which he made a
number of observations about the impact of technological change and
growing interdependence. In effect, Junior predicted the end of the
nation-state, and thus charted a course that his sons would endeavor
to make into a self-fulfilling prophecy:
With each passing day,
with every new invention which increases the rapidity of travel and
the ease of communications, cooperation between men and nations
becomes constantly more important. The nations of the world have
become interdependent as never before. The hands of the clock cannot
be turned back. The old order of geographic isolation, or personal
or national self-sufficiency, can never return. The future of
civilization will be determined by the degree of success with which
men and nations learn to cooperate, to live together and let live.
The culmination of
Junior's embrace of
Fosdick's internationalism was his decision in late 1946
to donate land in New York for the headquarters of the newly created
United Nations (UN)--the site still used to this day. But arguably
Junior's greatest legacy was the impact of his newfound globalist
zeal on his children. The effect was twofold: firstly, he passed on
Senior's philanthropic philosophy of using Rockefeller wealth to
change society, embedding it in a plethora of institutions and
organizations that gave the Rockefellers "an unrivalled
influence in national affairs";
secondly, he established in them an enduring belief in Fosdick's
ideology of international cooperation and governance, itself based
on Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations vision.
Junior had six children: a daughter, Abby; and five sons, John,
Nelson, Laurence, Winthrop and David, four of whom would go on to
play leading roles in establishing the New World Order ... and it is
to those Rockefeller brothers that we now turn.
Go to Part 2
Quotes in Niall Ferguson, The House of Rothschild: Money's Prophets,
1798-1848, Penguin Books, 2000, pp. 231-232.
Peter Krass, Carnegie, John Wiley & Sons, 2002, pp. 242, 410-411.
Gary Allen, The Rockefeller File, '76 Press, 1976, p. 77; and David
Icke, The Biggest Secret, Bridge of Love, 1999, pp. 1-2, 267-268.
The literature on both these interpretations is considerable. For
recent examples of the "corporate-led globalisation" theory, see:
David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World, Kumarian Press,
1995; Naomi Klein, No Logo, Flamingo, 2000; Paul Hellyer, Stop
Think, Chimo Media, 1999; and Anita Roddick (ed.), Take It
Personally: how globalization affects you - and powerful ways to
challenge it, HarperCollins, 2001. For classic and recent examples
of the "socialist one-world government" theory, see: Gary Allen,
None Dare Call It Conspiracy, Concord Press, 1972; James Perloff,
The Shadows of Power, Western Islands, 1988; William F. Jasper,
Global Tyranny ... Step By Step, Western Islands, 1992; Gary Benoit,
"Globalism's Growing Grasp", The New American, February 28, 2000;
and William F. Jasper, "Global Tyranny ... Bloc by Bloc", The New
American, April 9, 2001.
For recent examples of this combined agenda, complete with
obligatory rhetoric on protecting democracy, see: The Commission on
Global Governance, Our Global Neighbourhood, Oxford University
Press, 1995; George Soros, Open Society: Reforming Global
Capitalism, Little, Brown & Co., 2000; and Peter Singer, One World:
The Ethics of Globalization, Text Publishing, 2002.
Rockefeller and Carnegie quoted in Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of
John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Warner Books, 1998, pp. 467, 313-314, 469.
ibid., pp. 468, 566.
ibid., p. 638.
Raymond B. Fosdick, "Personal Recollections of Woodrow Wilson", in
Earl Latham (ed.), The Philosophy and Policies of Woodrow Wilson,
University of Chicago Press, 1958, pp. 28-29. Note that Fosdick was
also a trustee of all the philanthropic boards created by John D.
Rockefeller, Jr, including The Rockefeller Institute for Medical
Research, the General Education Board, the International Education
Board, The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, the China Medical
Board and the Spelman Fund of New York.
Arthur S. Link, Wilson: The Road to the White House, Princeton
University Press, 1947, p. 479; Fosdick, "Personal Recollections",
pp. 29, 35, 39-41; and Raymond B. Fosdick, Chronicle of a
Generation: An Autobiography, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1958,
pp. 188-189, 195-196.
Fosdick, Chronicle of a Generation, pp. 204, 211.
Wilson quoted in Thomas J. Knock, To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson
and the Quest for a New World Order, Princeton University Press,
1992, pp. 98, 112; Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, Touchstone, 1994, p.
Link, Wilson: The Road to the White House, p. 24; and Wilson quoted
in Ross A. Kennedy, "Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and an American
Conception of National Security", Diplomatic History, Winter 2001,
House quoted in Charles Seymour (ed.), The Intimate Papers of
Colonel House, vol. 1, Ernest Benn Ltd, 1926, p. 215.
Wilson quoted in Knock, To End All Wars, p. 112.
Link, Wilson: The Road to the White House, pp. 524-525, 490, 403,
485; Wilson quoted in Lester V. Chandler, "Wilson's Monetary
Reform", in Latham, Woodrow Wilson, p. 126, and J. Lawrence Broz,
"Origins of the Federal Reserve System: International Incentives and
the Domestic Free-Rider Problem", Harvard University, May 1998, pp.
Gene Smith, When The Cheering Stopped: The Last Years of Woodrow
Wilson, Bantam Books, 1964, pp. 230-231 (emphasis added).
Quoted in Fosdick, Chronicle of a Generation, pp. 215-216, 224-225,
ibid., pp. 215-216; Raymond B. Fosdick, John D. Rockefeller, Jr: A
Portrait, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1956, pp. 205-207.
Fosdick, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., pp. 388-90; and John Ensor Harr
and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century, Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1988, pp. 155-156.
Rockefeller quoted in Fosdick, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., pp.
390-394; Harr & Johnson, The Rockefeller Century, p. 156; and "The
Library Benefactor: John D. Rockefeller, Jr.", at UNOG Library
Rockefeller quoted in Fosdick, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., pp. 397-398
Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American
Dynasty, Holt Reinhart & Winston, 1976, pp. 486-487.