Sometimes in studying a disgusting subject one unearths a rare gem of positive good. As maligned as the Nazi regime is (and deservedly so), hidden buried beneath its gruesome history one finds something that redounded positively for later generations: the lowly Volkswagen Beetle.
He was an inventor and a developer who was interested solely in his designs. In the end, who he worked for was as unimportant to him as the question of whether the projects were of a civilian or military nature. Solving the problem at hand was what mattered to him, not who was paying him.
I suspect, however, that there was more to it than his drive to design; he was a capitalist without a conscience who was driven by the almighty Reichsmark.
According to Der Spiegel, only 630 Volks were made for the civilian market during World War II, and most of those went to members of the Nazi elite. But Porsche wasn’t concerned about who used his products, whether civilians or the military, or whether they were used for peaceful ends or aggressive and destructive purposes.
The Beetle was slow to catch on in the United States. Only
None of this is to excuse or minimize anything about the Third Reich or the Nazis and the holocaust they produced. It’s just an illustration of how the backstory of history can be as exciting and interesting as (or even more than) the “big event.” Few people have any good thoughts of that regime or its demented leader, but everyone knows something interesting about the Volkswagen Beetle and its many variations and spin-offs. It’s the discovery of such backstories that adds to the joy of studying history!
Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson