Before conspiracy theories were plentiful, easy to access, or even a term, we had the tale of the Rothschild family. Patriarch Mayer Rothschild was born to German paupers but became a shrewd moneymaker who started his own banking company in the mid-18th Century. At the time, many Jews were forbidden to own property, so they became adept at commerce and finance since liquid assets could be easily transferred or hidden. With substantial imagination, this constant movement and concealment of money became the cause of wars and a means of worldwide financial control. The family being Jewish made it easy to win over many believers.
Mayer Rothschild expanded his business to an empire by installing his five sons in the European banking centers of Frankfurt, London, Naples, Paris, and Vienna. While there are many flavors to the Rothschild conspiracy, the main theme is that the family keeps its fortune rising in perpetuity by instigating and funding an unending series of wars. Despite their incredible fortune, they are still so greedy that they are willing to put themselves at risk by starting wars that rage in their country of residence.
Depending on the conspiracy subset one prefers, the family also sank the Titanic, ordered 9/11, and broke up the Beatles. I think I’m joking about that last one, although it may be out there somewhere. They also tried to either wipe out their fellow Jews or greatly empower them, as they have been said to be responsible for both the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel. They have so much power that every head of state, CEO, and Mafia Don will kowtow to them, and the only ability they lack is being able to shut down WakeUpSheeple’s YouTube account.
The first widespread Rothschild conspiracy began with the English banking crisis of 1825, which had been brought on by the mismanaging of interest rates. Nathan Rothschild had previously bought massive amounts of gold from the Bank of England when metal prices were plummeting. When the Bank’s depositors started withdrawing most of their funds, the Bank suffered a liquidity crisis, so it borrowed money from Nathan. This was simply the buying of precious metals and an unrelated loan, yet it is passed off in conspiracy theories as the Rothschilds taking over the Bank of England.
Theorists lay out reasons the Rothschilds would allegedly benefit from wars, but even if true, it would require post hoc reasoning to use this as proof that they started them. The Rothschilds did make some of their money as arms dealers, but saying this funded wars would be like saying the Louisville Slugger Company is funding Major League Baseball.
Besides, historian Niall Ferguson has noted that by the mid-1800s, much of the Rothschild fortune was in government bonds, which would make instigating war fiscally illogical. Ferguson said wars tend to drop bond prices because they increase the chance a debtor state will fail to meet its interest payments since they might lose the war and some territory.
Consistent with this, the Rothschilds were partly responsible for helping maintain peace following the Franco-Prussian War. After Prussia won, it demanded harsh reparations that likely would have led to another war, much as like what happened after the Treaty of Versailles. This would not have been in the interest to those with money in French bonds, so the Rothschild Bank put together a syndicate that raised the money the armistice obligated France to pay.
The idea that the Rothschilds pull the puppet strings of countries at war is further countered by the family having their palaces and art seized by the Nazis, whom they were supposedly funding and controlling. The Third Reich also made a film that portrayed the family as manipulating the Napoleonic Wars for financial gain, and this is the genesis of the modern Rothschild conspiracy.
While the family amassed enough money that its members could have lived luxuriously from the interest on the interest on the interest, even they didn’t have enough to fund every combatant of both World Wars and virtually every other skirmish of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
By the end of World War II, family members had branched into separate ventures with differing goals and incentives, and there was no longer a unified Rothschild establishment. Not that this has slowed down the theorists. One Internet meme claims the family is worth the preposterous amount of $500 trillion, more than twice the world’s financial assets. The richest Rothschild, Benjamin, is worth $2 billion, and only two family members are on the Forbes list, and no Rothschild companies are in the Forbes 200. This has spawned a sub-conspiracy that the Forbes family is helping keep the Rothschilds’ true wealth secret.
While the family still has several highly profitable businesses, other entities are worth far more. As one example, Goldman Sachs investment firms make nearly 1,000 times as much money as their Rothschild counterparts.
However much money a Rothschild or anyone else has, any person with an interest-bearing bank account owns shares in whatever funds their bank invests in. Those funds own shares in other funds and public companies, and so on, so no single entity could control the world’s finances.
Another claim is that the Rothschilds own all or nearly all the central banks, even though these are publicly owned entities. One variation of this theme states, “There are only 9 countries in the world without a Rothschild Central Bank: Russia, China, Iceland, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Hungary. Isn’t it funny that we are always at war with these countries?”
There are several reasons the U.S. has frigid relations with most of these countries, including conflicts over human rights, economics, geography, and trade. It has nothing to do with a family that somehow both harbors dark secrets and has their innermost workings exposed. And it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s going on, so I guess I missed the our invasion of Keflavik.