Hitler’s ‘Brainchild’: The History of the Iconic Volkswagen Beetle

Last year, Volkswagen announced its intention to end production of the Beetle in 2019, with the last car rolling straight from the production line to the Volkswagen museum.

The iconic Volkswagen Beetle played a minor but crucial role in the German war effort in WWII, as the “People’s Car”, as it was known to millions, had its genesis in Nazi Germany, according to a story that was originally published by the Warfare History Network.

The VW Beetle first entered automotive markets as legendary automaker Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to build an affordable car for German citizens, later dubbed “Volkswagen” or “People’s Car” in German.

Although initially intended for use as a civilian recreational vehicle, it was quickly transformed into three basic military iterations: the Kommandeurswagen (commander’s car), Kubelwagen (bucket car), and Schwimmwagen (amphibious car).

Porsche had no control over the VW’s rapid transformation into a military vehicle.

The Kleinauto

When Hitler took power, Porsche announced his concept of an inexpensive car, Kleinauto (small car), at the 1933 Berlin Auto Show.

It was there that Hitler promised to transform Germany into a truly motorised nation.

Porsche and Hitler met in May 1934 to discuss plans for the “People’s Car”.

Hitler gave Porsche only 10 months to build a prototype, in a garage at the automaker’s home near Stuttgart.

Militarising the Volkswagen

Volkswagen was to be Hitler’s…

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