|Making the Dream come true.|
A typical 'Nazi' orgy of deluded self-gratification
Robert Ley was born in rural Westphalia. He was the 7th child of 11 children in a family of poor peasant farmers. As a youth, he had escaped his humble origins and attended the Universities of Jena and Bonn to study chemistry. At the outbreak of WWI, Ley (aged 24) was one of the first to volunteer to go to the Western Front. After 2 years in the artillery, he then volunteered to become a pilot, but in the summer of 1917 he was shot down and taken prisoner. It is generally believed that Ley (who returned home with an incurable speech impediment) suffered brain damage when his aeroplane crashed. Despite gaining a shameful reputation as an overbearing, and vindictive, lecher, drunkard and bully, in 1920, Ley received a Doctorate in chemistry from the University of Westphalia. He went on to work as a food chemist for an arm of the I. G. Farben Chemical company in Leverkusen in the Ruhr. However, he couldn’t live with the fact that the Treaty of Versailles had awarded this region to the French. Thus, in 1924, Ley turned to extreme nationalism. When he lost his job (because of his drinking), he became a full-time, professional ‘Nazi’ proselytizer. With his respectable academic title, Ley was welcomed into the fledgling movement with open arms. He immediately found himself in an addictive position of power in a organization presented externally as a ‘political party,’ but which internally required of its core-adherents an absolute subservience to the group and its leadership above all other persons. ‘Nazi’ recruiters generally targeted alienated veterans. They could be more-easily persuaded to buy into the self-gratifying delusion that Germany and Austria hadn’t lost WWI militarily…. The ‘Noble Aryan Race’ had been betrayed and forced to surrender in 1918, by industrial strikes which crippled arms production and supply…. These strikes had been instigated by trade union leaders who were the agents of an evil international Communist/Freemasonic conspiracy controlled by sub-human Jews.
|William L Shirer|
In 1925, Hitler appointed Robert Ley ‘Gauleiter of the Southern Rhineland.’ He was subsequently appointed ‘Reichsorganizationsleiter (Party Organization Chief)' and elected to the Reichstag. The celebrated American journalist and author, William L. Shirer (1904-1993), who met Ley on numerous occasions, described him as:
‘repulsive… tough, excitable, vulgar - a brawling roughneck. He seemed to me to have the instability, the sense of insecurity, that was common to most of the men around Hitler.’
In order to distract the population from reality, the ‘Nazi’ leadership legally-registered a kitsch, parallel corporate structure, ‘Kraft durch Freude’ (‘Strength Through Joy’ ) or ‘KdF’ — a non-profit-making association, allegedly to provide a range of benefits and amenities for the German working-classes and their families. In 1937, this organization received 29 millions Reichsmarks from the ‘DAF.’ Obviously, this was mostly the workers’ own money. An avalanche of thought-stopping words and images was used to maintain the illusion that redemption was on hand. Concerts, operas, art exhibitions, etc. were organized. Some workers were given ‘free’ gymnastics and football training, whilst others received access to previously exclusive sports (golf, tennis, sailing, etc.).
A number of gigantic ‘classless holiday-camps,’ etc., were also constructed. These gained prizes in international, architectural competitions. Hundreds of beach, lake and ski resorts were requisitioned along with ten ocean liners to take German workers on Atlantic, Baltic and Mediterranean cruises.
The ‘Nazi’ Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, focused everyone’s attention on what were described as ‘the world’s first, purpose-built, classless cruise-liners,’ the ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ and the ‘Robert Ley.’ The launch of the 25 000 ton ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ in Hamburg on May 5th 1937, was an international event attended by tens of thousands of bedazzled believers along with a flock of bleating propagandists.
‘Nazi’ news-reels, newspapers, brochures, magazines, posters, etc., all reflected the same ritual images of prosperous workers and their happy families enjoying the pure air and freedom of the high seas on board their dream boats. For a short period, ‘KdF’ was the largest travel agency in the world. The holidays it supplied, although Spartan and tightly regimented, were amazingly cheap.
|Robert Ley with the foolish 'Nazi' dupes, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.|
In February 1933, whilst attending the Berlin Motor Show, Hitler had made another ambiguous promise: Only 1 in 50 men owned an automobile in Germany, compared with 1 in 5 in America.… every German would, therefore, be given the opportunity to own a car… these would be sold for less than 1000 Reichsmarks (the cost of a motorcycle at that time) and make no profits. At first, most free-thinking observers recognised this 'Nazi' version of the 'American Dream' as being impossible (the cheapest, German-produced car on the open-market was 1 500 Reichsmarks), but over the next few years ‘Nazi’ propagandists, repeated and elaborated, the ‘Volkswagen’ or ‘People’s Car’ lie until the truth became almost unthinkable. Obviously, many oppressed workers needed to believe in the ‘People’s Car,’ and the concept had existed prior to the Hitler usurping power.
As early as 1927, the renowned Austrian automotive engineer, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951), published a series of sketches of a proposed, lightweight, low-maintenance, rear-engine, family vehicle, capable of 100 kph.
|Zündapp type 12 April 1932|
|1934 Porsche NSU|
|Zündapp Type 12 designed in 1931|
By the early 1930s, some prototypes had been built to Porsche's designs; first by Zündapp (whose directors withdrew because of problems with the 3 cylinder water-cooled engine), then by NSU in partnership with FIAT (whose engineers introduced a revolutionary torsion suspension and a flat 4 cylinder, air-cooled engine, but whose directors withdrew, because of the depressed economic climate). At this time, Ferdinand Porsche seems to have been deliberately targeted by the ‘Nazi’ leadership. All alone and with his design company on the verge of liquidation, he was encouraged to request a meeting with the ‘führer’ himself. Porsche was easily seduced. In 1934, he signed a commercially-suicidal government contract containing the following terms:
1). 3 prototype cars had to be available within 10 months.
2). They had to have a carrying capacity of 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 children,
or 3 soldiers and a machine gun.
3). They had to be able to cruise at 100 kph.
4). Average fuel consumption had to be no more than 8 litres per 100 km.
5). The engine had to be air-cooled.
6). The retail price had to be less than 1000 Reichmarks.
|Sketch for the people's car claimed to have been made by Hitler in 1932|
At the same time, the ‘Nazi’ regime massively expanded the construction of the high-speed, Autobahn, road system. Again, this project (although touted as the part of the ‘führer’s great vision to free the masses and unify the Reich’), had existed (albeit in a reduced form) prior to Hitler usurping power.
Predictably, Porsche’s design company, in reluctant partnership with the ‘German Auto Manufacturers Association’ (RDA), found it impossible to remain within the 1000 Reichsmarks price limit. The 3 prototypes didn’t appear until 1936; thus, missing the 10 month deadline. The Porsche company and the RDA were in breach of contract, so the project could be conveniently restructured under the banner of a further off-shoot of the ‘DAF’, ‘Gesellschaft Zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagen’ or ‘German People’s Car Planning Group Inc.’ (‘GeZuVor. GmbH.’).
|A commemorative badge.|
At this time, there were probably no more than 50 exhibition prototypes in existence and they were constantly being shipped around to fairs and festivals all over Germany.
Convincing brochures and magazines were circulated. These featured strangely-familiar, ritual images of prosperous workers and their families enjoying the pure air and freedom of the open road in their dream cars.
Similar posters appeared in factories and public places.
Ironically, there was even a board game (made by the Hauser company), called 'Your KdF Wagen,' The object of the game was to collect toy 'sparmarken' (coupons) in order to win toy cars.
During the latter months of 1938, masses of Germans felt obliged to be seen applying for the ‘savings plan.’ No one was refused. The propaganda steadfastly pretended that just like the board game, simply through buying a 5 marks 'sparmarken' (coupon) each week and sticking these in a little book, 10 millions Germans would be driving their own car by 1948.
1. ‘Each German, no matter what their class, profession or property can become the buyer of a People’s Car’.
2. ‘The minimum weekly payment, including insurance, will be 5 marks. Regular payment of this sum will guarantee, after a period which is yet to be determined, the acquisition of a People’s Car’.
3. ‘Application for the People’s Car savings plan can be made at any DAF or KdF office, where further details can also be obtained. Factories and shops can submit collective orders’.
‘A People’s Car for every German — let that be our goal. That is what we want to achieve. Will all of you help in that; it shall be our way of saying thank-you to the Führer’;
|'KdF' Brochure from 1938|
“Our God is the wonderful Law of Creation whose amazing unity of all things shows itself in wonderful flowers, in growing trees, in new born children, in the secrets of a mother, in the growth of our people, in work and accomplishment and creation, in life itself. It is joy we have in everything. How beautiful everything is. Do you feel the same way? I am so happy to be alive. A priest recently asked me: ‘but what about eternity?’ I replied: ‘A day in National Socialist Germany is better for me than all your Heaven.”
In reality, Hitler was busy ensuring that the fulfilment of his ‘KdF’ fantasies would be postponed indefinitely, because, at precisely this moment, his long-planned invasion of Poland (conveniently facilitated by the Autobahn system) forced the leaders of Britain and France to declare war on the ‘Third Reich.’ The ‘Nazi’ leadership immediately posed as innocent victims – the Fatherland was being attacked by the agents of an ‘evil international Jewish/Freemasonic conspiracy’…. To save the ‘Aryan race,’ ‘KdF-Stadt’ would have to be turned-over to armaments manufacture…. The classless cruise ships, ‘Robert Ley’ and the ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ (which had already been requisitioned to bring ‘Nazi’ volunteers home from the Spanish Civil War), would have to turned-over to the navy. In this way, not one of Hitler’s ‘KdF’ offers was honoured and not one cent was refunded. The majority of victims couldn’t face the ego-destroying reality that their admired and respected ‘führer’ had deliberately cheated them. Those who could, were obliged to remain silent. All free-thinking individuals challenging the authenticity any closed-logic ‘Nazi’ lie risked systematic categorization, exclusion and destruction as ‘Traitors.’
During the early 1940s, some 65 000 all-terrain type 82, amphibious ‘type 128’ and type ‘166,’ military vehicles (converted from Porsche’s designs) were supplied to the German army. Prototypes of these had been first tested during the invasion of Poland.
There was also a ‘type 87’ military saloon car for high-ranking ‘Nazi’ officers. However, by 1943, ‘KdF Stadt’ was principally fulfilling the secret military objective for which it had always been intended - an aircraft repair factory (safe from attack because it did not feature on most RAF maps).
During 1945, production of the notorious ‘V1’ flying-bomb began at ‘KdF Stadt.’ More than 3500 of these hit London, and the factory became a priority target for the RAF and USAF.
|Major Ivan Hirst|
After the War, the remains of ‘KdF-Stadt’ and the ‘People’s Car’ project were discovered by a British army officer, Major Ivan Hirst. Ironically, he had been given the job of looking for ideas to rebuild the German economy which wouldn’t threaten British jobs.
Although several people, including Robert Ley and Ferdinand Porsche, were arrested as a war criminals (12 000 – 20 000 POWs had been forced to work as slaves at ‘KdF-Stadt’ and many deaths had resulted) the ‘Volkswagen Beetle’ eventually became a world-beating product. Porsche was held without indictment for 20 months in Dijon, whilst, in 1945, Ley hanged himself in Nuremberg before his trial.
‘KdF-Stadt’ was renamed Wolfsburg.
In 1961, only after a protracted lawsuit, the surviving victims of the original ‘People’s Car’ swindle (who had retained their little books of valueless coupons) were finally offered the choice of a cheque for 100 Deutche marks or a discount of 600 Deutche marks on a new ‘VW Beetle.’
Also in 1961, Volkswagen paid the Ringhoffer-Tatra group of Czechoslovakia 3 millions Deutsch marks. In the face of overwhelming evidence, members of the Porsche family accepted that a significant amount of the original ‘People’s Car’ design (particularly, the body styling, torsion suspension and rear-mounted air-cooled engine) was, in fact, copied by Ferdinand Porsche from the revolutionary designs of Professor Hans Ledwinka. These had been patented by Tatra in the early 1930s and had featured on the ‘T97 Tatra’, first produced in 1936.
Prior to WWII, although faced with a mystifying labyrinth of corporate structures which was deliberately designed to isolate the ‘Nazi’ leaders from liability, the directors of the Tatra company had filed a lawsuit in Germany against ‘KdF,’ but this automatically vanished as Hitler’s occupation forces were allowed (with the agreement of the appeasing British and the French governments) to roll down his nice new Autobahns towards Czechoslovakia in the Spring of 1939.
David Brear (copyright 2013)