Hitler Was Herbie’s Dad!
February 06, 2014
When we think of the Volkswagen Bug, we often think of the Disney movie series Herbie, which is almost an American icon. But what were the origins of this famous vehicle? While researching for a patron with German ancestry, who was in the auto industry, I found out that the Volkswagen Type 1, more commonly known as the Beetle, was built for the Third Reich in Nazi Germany. In 1933, Adolf Hitler met with Ferdinand Porsche to discuss the development of a "Volks-Wagen" ("People’s Car"), a basic vehicle with the capability of transporting two adults and three children at a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and at a cost no more than a 990 reichsmark (at an average income of 32RM/week). This led directly to the car we know today.
During World War II, a military model known as the “Kubelwagen” (a Jeep like vehicle built on the same frame) was in production, leaving a handful of civilian-specific Beetles to be produced primarily for the Nazi elite such as the SS in the years 1939-1945. After the war, the civilian Beetle became the main production car again. The Bug and its successors are still on the American road today. It is a strange twist indeed that a car design which was so influential and popular in American culture was created at the direct orders of Adolf Hitler himself.
Midwest Genealogy Center