Volkswagen and Adolf Hitler

Discussion in 'The Third Reich' started by Lindele, May 26, 2018.

  1. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Today in 1938 in inWolfsburg, The Fuehrer was at the corner-stone ceremony and "started" the very long story of Volkswagen. I wonder, what he really had in mind.

  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    More useful propaganda shots?
    A handy vision of how futuristic the Reich would be if its citizens would just tighten their belts and stay loyal for a few more years.
    Look at the weird car. How modern! How Nazi!


    There is a site that purports to have his 26/05 speech at Wolfsburg in its entirety.
    It's a rather grotty site, though. which, as ever, casts doubt on everything else contained therein, so I won't link, though people can naturally Google it themselves if they wish.
    Not sure any particularly alternative motive can be sought. They appear to have believed in the project, Dr Porsche was always held in high regard & the funding intentions seemed serious before the war kicked off. The assertion that Hitler himself initially designed the car implies a pretty straightforward intent.
    Cars a big 1930s deal. The whiff of owning one so tempting at that point. Adolf made every effort to be seen at motor shows, associated with Grand Prix etc.
    Modernismus! Technische!

    Major Hirst 'book' produced by the VW history people (direct link to 8mb .pdf) :
    Historic Steve likes this.
  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In ref. to the wiki page etc ;-) at least on the current English language pages, I'm not sure how well those written in German correspond? : Volkswagen - Wikipedia

    And i.e. re. just after WW2 - Volkswagen - Wikipedia

    Hitler gets about 8 mentions and the "British", Brits - around 13.

    I don't know though, it's such a subject, so involved etc. with what people think and want to believe etc. i.e. just whether the autobahn's were meant for the German people or intended as highways intended to get the German armies most quickly from A-to-B and how many of the Volkswagens were ever intended to be built for the German people.

    When you look at the history of, for instance, a company like: Morris Motors - Wikipedia

    And Ford etc. in the US, by 1938, it seems like a phrase like a "people's car" wasn't really such a novel prospect. I am puzzled though by the extent to which one associates such things.

    Volkswagen and the beetle could, quite simply, not have gone on after ww2.
  6. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As I see it,the concept of the Peoples Car was the way that the Hitler's Third Reich persuaded,some might state seduced,the working population that the NSDAP was fundamentally a workers' party.The KdF Wagen was the car intended for the masses from the concept of Robert Ley's Kraft durch Freude,the Strength through Joy organisation. Overall It was Hitler's wish to make the auto a symbol of the working class as apposed to the auto being established as a symbol of the bourgeois class.The man who would deliver it would be Ferdinand Porsche a favourite of Hitler.(Porsche,a Czech whose German nationality was fast tracked at Hitler's insistence in 1934.Although born in Austria,it would appear he became a citizen of Czechoslovak when the Austro Hungarian Empire was broken up at the end of the Great War.)

    Low weekly contributions for a car which cost about 1000 reichmarks and not available until the full sum had been paid.However the scheme presented an advantage to the regime for the monies contributed to the regime's financial liquidity, the main thrust of this liquidity being rearmament/extension of territory.

    Hitler's concern for his war planning led him to think that the end of the war, with Germany victorious may not be achieved until and poor quality decisions dictated a different outcome.If 1950 would see peace delivered through a German victory,the promise would have taken an extended time to deliver.

    When war came,the scheme was abandoned as resources were turned to the war economy, the Peoples Car project became the Kubelwagen and Volkswagen went on to manufacture its entire output for the Wehrmacht. In the end the peoples auto project failed to deliver not a single vehicle, as I see it.

    I would say that some older Germans may state,Hitler the man who made the Volkswagen and created the autobahns.
    Lindele likes this.
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    I would say that I would not have been caught doing a 130 Mph on the autobahn instead of the M1
    Lindele likes this.
  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Found this one on Pinterest

  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    My experience of the autobahns was that the boy racers tended to be powering white cars.

    But have to say that the lane discipline was first class when at times the autobahn ran from three lanes to two and the practice was taken to access two lanes was on an "in turn" basis.
    Lindele likes this.
  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I did glance, at particlarly, one of the wiki sections on the Reichsautobahn:
    Reichsautobahn - Wikipedia

    e.g. in the section re. "Motorization and military applications", which at the mo. rather stresses some negative military issues with them, and that "they were used much more extensively at war's end by the advancing Allies" albeit indeed damaging "them in the process".

    There's also the aspect where people talk about Hitler's initiatives giving work etc. that they also involved significant slave labour and spending in what would have inevitably have led to an economic collapse eventually as well as just more staggering inflation, that someone, probably other than Hitler would have had to deal with in some way eventually.

    With every bit of observed "discipline" on the roads, or whatever, there's also the stories etc. of the high speed crash(es) etc.

    Ultimately from that point in "in 1938, in Wolfsburg" when "The Fuehrer was at the corner-stone ceremony and "started" the very long story of Volkswagen" - that has to have died with him, in May 1945. Volkswagen owes more now, perhaps, to post that point, and also a bit of a fluke as to which companies survive, and whether ultimately a brandname has "staying power" e.g. from... Morris Motors - Wikipedia

    "Though from 1952 merged[note 1] into larger organisations, the Morris name remained in use until 1984 when British Leyland's Austin Rover Group decided to concentrate on the more popular Austin brand.

    Until 2014 Morris Oxford vehicles (based on the 1954-59 Oxford) were manufactured with periodic enhancements in India by Hindustan Motors.

    Part of Morris's manufacturing complex at Cowley, Oxford is now BMW Group's Plant Oxford, headquarters of the MINImarque.

    The Morris trademark is currently owned by the China-based automotive company SAIC after being transferred from bankrupt subsidiary Nanjing Automotive.

    The term "People's Car" / Volkswagen has lingered, but if the company had been called "Hitler's motors" it might have seen some more significant rebranding post WW2 ;-)
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Harry Ree and Lindele like this.
  12. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    There is a very good issue of 'After The Battle' on the VW story, worth checking (must have been mid 70's). Includes some interesting photos, on one is a Czech Tatra parked at the Wolfsburg plant. That's the car they nicked the Beetle design from!
    Harry Ree and Lindele like this.
  13. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    The 6 volt battery is under the seat. If the cover is not in place there is a chance the seat springs could short it out. Pity the bastard did not get his ass burnt.
    Lindele likes this.
  14. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Never thought, this would turn out to be such a long thread.:cheers:
    Cheers Stefan.
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Don't forget that Ford of Germany,a subsidiary of US Ford and Adam Opel which was owned by General Motors were requisitioned by the Third Reich for the German war economy.I think the Reich went to war with the Opel as their main general transport vehicle.

    Henry Ford was an admirer of Hitler and the regime when the Nazi Party came to power....perhaps Ford redeemed himself with the company's involvement in the US war economy although to be fair his resources would have been requisitioned by the US Government.Robert Ley who considered himself as an industrial relations expert and under arrest as a war criminal wrote to Henry Ford offering his service to the Ford company.It's understood that his letter went unanswered by Ford.

    Regarding the autobahn system it did initially configure on an east/west axis which historians have pointed out that it was in accordance with Hitlers Greater Reich vision.Apparently Hitler envisaged that the autobahn would extend into the Ukraine,the planned bread basket of the Greater Reich.
    Lindele likes this.
  16. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Posted this a while ago that I thought you might like.
    8RB and Lindele like this.
  17. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Wow, I am impressed. In my language, you are called a "Schrauber"
    These are guys who can take apart a complete car and put all bits and pieces back in the same place and tune the engine to gain extra speed.

  18. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Just wanted to be clear that I only posted the video. I wish I had the skill and machine shop to make the engine. :)
    Lindele likes this.
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Reading Jochen Vollert's excellent book on the Kubelwagen, some details of 'Beetle'/Kdf-Wagen production plan, & purchasing for the German in the street:

    Production was envisaged at 150-200k a year, with an absolute maximum price of 1000RM.
    The political nature of the project is underlined by founding a 'Society for preparation of the German People's car' (Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens) in 1937, under the auspices of the strength through joy organisation.
    You paid in at least 5RM per month, and on reaching 500RM your car would be supplied, with a monthly scheme continuing until it was fully paid for.
    All of the above began before the factory had even been built (foundations laid in May '38).
    Some rather optimistic intention to have production up to 450k vehicles/year by '44.
    First official display of the car was at the Berlin Motor Show 0n 17/02/39 (I think the picture in post #4 may well be then). The programme to sign people up to the 5RM deal was ramped up until 272,397 people were subscribed.

    None of the 5RM cars were delivered.

    Development focused on a rather different use for production facilities.
    Harry Ree, Chris C, Lindele and 3 others like this.
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Hard to link to, but a very nice Beetle model a few items down here.
    Presented to the REME museum by Hirst himself:
    Objects - REME Museum
    Lindele likes this.

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