Does this rich European family pull the world's puppet strings?
When people talk about an "international Jewish banking conspiracy," they are more or less talking about the Rothschilds. It's difficult enough under ordinary circumstances to separate legitimate conspiracy fears from plain old anti-Semitism. In the case of the Rothschilds, one must begrudgingly admit that this is a Jewish family which made a lot of money as bankers, and who have at times exercised their power in an unsavory fashion.
During the Napoleonic Wars, for example, the Rothschilds used secret military information for their own monetary gain. The Rothschilds bankrolled the English, "almost single-handedly financing the British war effort." At the same time, they created a network across Europe for ferrying gold and information. This network was remarkably powerful and efficient, and the Rothschilds frequently received information well ahead of the British government or their peers. They capitalized on this information to make an astounding amount of money.
It's likely that the industrialization of Europe in the late 1800s would not have happened without the Rothschilds. They financed railway systems, the Suez Canal, the creation of Rhodesia, DeBeers, the Rio Tinto mining company, and dozens of other hugely successful (and historically important) efforts. The Rothschilds became wealthy beyond most people's dreams, and amassed one of the world's largest private collections of artwork, plus 41 palaces across the world.
In the last century or two, the Rothschilds have become increasingly more secretive, keeping a low profile, making donations anonymously, and so forth. This only raises the suspicions of some; combine such an astounding wealth with a wall of secrecy, and you're just asking for trouble.
The Rothschilds certainly have enough money to buy and sell political favors, change the course of history, and own entire countries. Does that mean that they do? Some contend that the Rothschilds control the whole of Europe from behind the scenes. There have been allegations that the Rothschilds are behind the two World Wars, as well as the introduction of the Euro.
The Rothschilds, for their part, remain silent on the matter.