Origins of the Bilderberg Group
Where did the Bilderberg Group come from?
The first Bilderberg conference was held at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, from 29 to 31 May 1954. The origins of the Bilderberg Group largely stem from Józef Retinger, a Polish politician-in-exile , who was concerned about the growth of anti-Americanism in post-war Western Europe.
Retinger approached Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands ( a former Nazi, later scandalized for accepting a million dollar bribe from arms manufacturers Lockheed) who agreed to promote the idea, and began machinations with former Belgian prime minister Paul Van Zeeland and Paul Rijkens, the head of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever.
Prince Bernhard also contacted the head of the CIA, Walter Bedell Smith, who passed the responsibility for US representation onto Eisenhower adviser Charles Douglas Jackson (an expert on psychological warfare who would later be responsible for suppressing the infamous Zapruder footage of the Kennedy assassination).
Fifty delegates from 11 countries in Western Europe attended the first Bilderberg meeting, along with 11 Americans. Their aim was to hold informal discussions to help create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations in the difficult post-war period and to foster cooperation between between the United States and Western Europe on political, economic, and defense issues.
The success of the meeting led the organizers to arrange an annual conference. A permanent steering committee was established with Retinger appointed as permanent secretary. As well as organizing the conference the steering committee also maintained a register of attendee names and contact details with the aim of creating an informal network of individuals who could call upon one another in a private capacity. Conferences were held in France, Germany, and Denmark over the following three years. In 1957 the first U.S. conference was held on St. Simons Island, Georgia, with $30,000 from the Ford Foundation, who also supplied funding for the 1959 and 1963 conferences.