December 27, 2012

Why is the Hitlermobile still fashionable in 2013?

Volkswagen recently butched up its girly New Beetle of 1997-2011 to make it look less like Daddy's Little Princess's off-to-college present and more like a Wehrmacht steel helmet:
Today, the latest Volkswagen Beetle resembles what Hitler would have come up with if he'd had a second testicle.
In reality, Hitler didn't actually design the Volkswagen Bug. He  just gave Dr. Porsche the specifications (carry a family of five at 62 mph, and sell for under 1000 marks) and a lot of enthusiastic suggestions.

Of all production cars in the 21st Century, the Volkswagen Beetle has, by far, the oldest body style. It's recognizably the same shape that was delivered to Hitler on his 49th birthday in 1938. That's particularly interesting because -- although the original rear-engined car was manufactured in Mexico up through 2006 -- for the last decade and a half, the VW Bug sold in the U.S. has been all new under the sheet metal, with a front engine and front-wheel drive. But VW has gone to great pains to keep the silhouette recognizable as the same beetle-like one that Hitler loved three quarters of a century ago. Even as Volkswagen has flipped the current front engined Beetle back and forth from a feminine style to now a masculine style (on the sensible grounds that girls will buy guy cars, but guys won't buy girl cars), they've kept the overall look recognizably Hitlerian.

I wonder if Porsche ever asked Hitler why Germany, a densely populated country well-served by rail and lacking in petroleum resources, truly needed a mass market car seemingly best suited for a continent-sized and resource-rich country like America. Hitler might have replied, "You get me the car, I'll get you the continent." Then, again, Porsche wasn't really the question-asking type, or so he explained to the Allies in 1946.

This is not to say that the VW Beetle caused the War. Yet, in Hitler's mind, it was one of the pieces of his plan.

To der fuhrer, the Volkswagen Beetle was the physical embodiment of National Socialism. In the long run, the VW Bug was what it was all going to turn out to be about, the German masses finally on wheels, sporting about in all that lebensraum from the Rhine to the Urals. The Beetle, or as Hitler called it, the Strength-through-Joy car, was an integral part of his vision of a New Order for Europe, in which happy Germans would motor at high speed down the autobahns to vacation on their newly conquered Crimean beaches. As Hitler explained to his long-suffering tablemates:
The Germans must acquire the feeling for the great, open spaces. We must arrange things so that every German can realise for himself what they mean. We'll take them on trips to the Crimea and the Caucasus. There's a big difference between seeing these countries on the map and actually having visited them. The railways will serve for the transport of goods, but the roads are what will open the country for us. ...
The Volkswagen—and I think our war experiences justify us in saying so—is the car of the future. One had only to see the way in which these Volkswagen roaring up the Obersalzberg overtook and skipped like mountain goats round my great Mercedes, to be tremendously impressed. After the war, when all the modifications dictated by war experience have been incorporated in it, the Volkswagen will become the car par excellence for the whole of Europe, particularly in view of the fact that it is air-cooled, and so unaffected by any winter conditions.  

In theory, being closely associated with Hitler is a downer from most marketing perspectives. For example, consider the term "eugenics," which was associated for about a century with the British Darwinian tradition, and with Anglo-American progressivism. Inspired by Galton's vision of increasing eugenic awareness, scientists who were eugenics enthusiasts made major breakthroughs in fields as disparate as genetics, psychology, evolutionary theory, statistics, psychometrics, and electronics. For example, it's not a coincidence that what's today Silicon Valley was a center of IQ research and eugenics promotion (e.g., the Termans) from the early 1900s into the 1970s. And, yet, somehow, Stanford didn't invade Poland.

But, since the 1970s or 1980s, eugenics has been as closely associated in the popular mind with Hitler as the Charlie Chaplin mustache, even though the connection between eugenics and World War II is certainly no more direct than between the VW Bug and WWII.

But, the past is mutable. To propound the central role of eugenics had to wait for a generation to pass so that those who actually remembered the era were in decline in numbers and energy. 

In contrast, in the late 1950s, the Volkswagen company hired Bill Bernbach's advertising firm to write a long series of brilliant ads to make the Beetle seem cute rather than sinister, to wash away the memories of all those pictures of Hitler with his Beetle. In 1999, Advertising Age named Doyle Dane Bernbach's  "Think Small" ads the greatest ad campaign of the 20th Century.

Marketing matters.

155 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't know 5 people could fit in a VW Bug. I thought it was basically a two-seater. Is it because people were slimmer back then? Or only kids in the back?

Anonymous said...

Funny that Hitler's car looked like a bug. Looks more like a Kafkar to me.

Anonymous said...

The Hitler car in TRIUMPH OF THE WILL is the Mercedes.

Anonymous said...

What other Nazi stuff is still popular?

Oh yeah, cult of personality. Who's practicing it now in America?

Anonymous said...

Hugo Boss designed the SS uniforms. Didn't hurt him or his company. The founder of Deconstructionism was a raving Hitler fanatic, did not hurt him or his movement. Heidigger, the founder of postmodernism, was a major Hitler fan. Never hurt him. Lots of companies, people of note, and so on loved Hitler. And it hurt them not a bit.

What made the Beetle I think was its roundness, and inevitably girly-ness. Compared to the angular, rocket-finned fifties cars that screamed testosterone, or the angular, hot-rod muscle cars of the 1970s, the Beetle stood alone as small, curvy, and "cute" -- the ideal chick car. Which no self-respecting guy would be caught dead in. Women love stuff that say, fails the Steve McQueen Test.

Said test being, "Would Steve McQueen ever wear it, drive it, or endorse it?"

Go ahead. Try and imagine Bullitt with Steve McQueen racing up and down Frisco streets and hills in a bug.

Anonymous said...

The modern Beetle is a Beetle in name only. It doesn't have the air-cooled engine in the rear of a true Beetle.

Great cars. They are still very popular in Third World countries where simplicity and reliability are important.

The real Beetle had the longest production run of any car ever - from 1938 to 2006. It's also the most manufactured car of all time, with over twenty million built.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know 5 people could fit in a VW Bug. I thought it was basically a two-seater. Is it because people were slimmer back then? Or only kids in the back?

We got 6 in ours: 2 adults in the front, 3 older children in the back, and a 4 year old scrunched into the storage space behind the back seat. We had 8 in our family, so this meant 2 trips to and from church.

You could get two adults in the back, not comfortably, and even 3 with considerable discomfort.

Kylie said...

"As Hitler explained to his long-suffering tablemates:"

Albert Speer left no doubt in Inside the Third Reich that meal times with Hitler were dreary affairs during which the abstemious Führer indulged in monologues as notable for their tedium as for their length.

Anonymous said...

Hitler was a vegetarian and an anti-smoking campaigner. An environmentalist too, I think. The list of things that he supported and that are positively viewed now goes far beyond the Beetle. Perhaps that means that modernity's negative view of eugenics doesn't really have much to do with him or with the war.

I'm surprised that Philip Morris, etc. didn't use Hitler's anti-smoking record against the modern anti-smoking movement. They could have framed it in freedom vs. dictatorship terms. Freedom to do what you want against the government telling you what to do.

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to say I got laid back in 1966 in my Beetle.

Mario Kopechne said...

This was a funny VW connection to politics too.

bbartlog said...

Germany itself also still going strong. I wonder whether any of the Nazi eugenic policies (you know, murdering retarded people and so on) actually left a detectable impact on the genetic profile of the German population. That, of course, is research you sure as hell couldn't get funding for...

Anonymous said...

Horst Vessel.

Anonymous said...

Blitzkruiser

ironrailsironweights said...

Hitler may have been a car guy, but he never learned how to drive.

Neither did Lee Harvey Oswald, which is rather more surprising.

Peter

Steve Sailer said...

"I wonder whether any of the Nazi eugenic policies (you know, murdering retarded people and so on) actually left a detectable impact on the genetic profile of the German population"

Getting most of your pilots and other junior officers killed and half your women raped by Russians probably was a net loser.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...


Hitler may have been a car guy, but he never learned how to drive.

Neither did Lee Harvey Oswald, which is rather more surprising.


Maybe the courses they played weren't designed to reward drivers. Were they able to compensate with their short game and/or putting?



TontoBubbaGoldstein said...


Hitler may have been a car guy, but he never learned how to drive.

Neither did Lee Harvey Oswald, which is rather more surprising.


Maybe the courses they played weren't designed to reward drivers. Were they able to compensate with their short game and/or putting?



agnostic said...

The Nazis also killed off the old Gothic blackletter typefaces. And probably because it clashed so much with Hitler's mid-century streamline aesthetics:

"Your alleged gothic internalisation does not fit well in this age of steel and iron, glass and concrete, of womanly beauty and manly strength, of head raised high and intention defiant..."

Sounds like the New Typography types attacking the decadent fonts of Art Nouveau and the ornamental ones of Art Deco.

So a hysterical propagandist could connect a few dots linking Hitler to Helvetica, but it'd never catch on, at least not recently. Over the past 20 years, sans serif fonts and typographical minimalism in general has witnessed a renaissance.

Not everything associated with Nazis is hopelessly tainted -- only those things that right-thinking people today deplore, like eugenics. But if the line of descent would implicate the aesthetics of their beloved Apple, Target, etc., then the line must not exist at all.

Luke Lea said...

You're better in writing.

x said...

I think Nazi aesthetics were fabulous. Much better than secular humanism and decadent postmodernism.

Anonymous said...

Albert Speer left no doubt in Inside the Third Reich that meal times with Hitler were dreary affairs during which the abstemious Führer indulged in monologues as notable for their tedium as for their length.

How convenient that those surviving the war were so eager to paint their former leader in bad light.

This is sort of thing that makes Hitler sound like the archetypal movie bad guy. Somewhere off camera he does all sorts of cunning evil genius stuff. But whenever we get a look at him he is apparently tedious, boring and not respected by his subordinates.

Im guessing something doesnt quite ring true.

Steve Sailer said...

x said...
"I think Nazi aesthetics were fabulous"

Fabulously butch.

Anonymous said...

Charts depict the descendants of two different couples over a period of 60 years, and how by the year 2000 there would be relatively few workers supporting many retired people unless the birthrate was vastly increased.

http://www.usmbooks.com/ss_children_booklet.html

Derek Brown said...

Didn't someone post a clip of Hitler speaking with Finland's first black Marshall a few months back? He seemed a lot like Nixon: knowledgable, solicitous of the other's opinion but mostly as a springboard to his own musings. I'm sure towards the end he got pretty boring but Napoleon was boring in exile too. Well at least the second time he was. One of the strange quirks of history was that Heidegger and Carl Schmitt joined the party the same month of the same year. It set up as close as you are going to get to a historical experimental control. The world was a little quicker to forgive Heidegger. Of course he did even better than VW he got Arendt to market him to the world. Probally the one example of a professor seducing a student that worked out.

Victor said...

"I'm proud to say I got laid back in 1966 in my Beetle."

Making it with another guy doesn't count.

S. Jay Ambrose said...

Speaking of hard-left historical prevaricators who went by "Steve": you do realize you're quoting Stalinist anatomical propaganda there, right? Insofar as Hitler's physical characteristics were accurately recorded during WW I there's nothing about cryptorchidism or even the alternative Soviet favorite, that 1 of his Nuessen got "shot off" by the frogs

Prof. Woland said...

Today in Germany, when they refer to a "Hitler Wagon" they usually mean beetles that are the original bluish grey color. The kafers (KdFs) are kaka brownish, sort of like the shirts.

Anonymous said...

"Not everything associated with Nazis is hopelessly tainted -- only those things that right-thinking people today deplore, like eugenics."

Yes, and I think that trendy opinion was already turning against eugenics in the 1920s. So this doesn't have as much to do with Hitler as many today believe.

"The world was horrified by Nazi efforts in eugenics, so it turned against eugenics" - I don't think that's supported by the chronology. And generally speaking, human beings are at least as likely to be entertained by violence as to be horrified by it. And trendy opinion is completely against non-violent eugenics too.

"The Nazis lost the war, so the ideas they supported, including eugenics, became unpopular" - that sort of a formulation isn't convincing to me either. The anti-eugenics trend started before the Nazis even came to power and some of the things they supported (environmentalism, animal rights, anti-smoking propaganda) have become more popular since they lost.

anony-mouse said...

Somewhat surprised that a group with such an extreme cleanliness fetish would be so enamored about a 'bug' or 'beetle'

Fisk Ellington Rutledge III said...

Hitler saw himself as essentially a sensitive, victimized, misunderstood, brilliant, alienated, too-good-for-this-world, creative artist; just like a stinking, left-wing Hippy. Both are natural would-be, and actual, tyrants and spoiled brats. They also share a taste in slow, ugly cars. They think a boring automobile has some kind of deeper moral importance; much like a chip on the shoulder.

Whiskey said...

Weird, my google username sometimes shows up and sometimes does not with the Stopscript plugin -- I'm the guy with the Hugo Boss comment. That is Whiskey. Sigh.

I think the alternative explanation for anti-Eugenics and HBD stuff post-war was the growth of post-Christianity. Replacing the old faith. After all, the forms are the same: universal truth, original (racial) sin, equality of all men, a future utopia (city of God).

Lars Von Trier went on a Hitler rant, about how he liked him. No real impact on his career. Same with the guy who did "Black Book" and "Soldier of Orange," Paul Verhoeven, who loved the Nazi aesthetic and the dominance of the German Wehrmacht in his homeland during occupation (the Dutch fought, and lost, but they did in fact fight and hard).

The real offense is to blaspheme or commit heresy wrt Post-Christianity, the Colors of Benetton religion.

Anonymous said...

"come up with if he'd had a second testicle."

You're getting into some weird areas here isteve.

Kylie said...

"'Albert Speer left no doubt in Inside the Third Reich that meal times with Hitler were dreary affairs during which the abstemious Führer indulged in monologues as notable for their tedium as for their length.'

How convenient that those surviving the war were so eager to paint their former leader in bad light.

This is sort of thing that makes Hitler sound like the archetypal movie bad guy. Somewhere off camera he does all sorts of cunning evil genius stuff. But whenever we get a look at him he is apparently tedious, boring and not respected by his subordinates.

Im guessing something doesnt quite ring true."


I don't think so. Everything I've read says that Hitler (minus his rages) was fairly unremarkable in person in small groups. He was soft-spoken and courtly toward women. His tastes in most things were fairly simple. It was when he was speaking before an audience that he became the fiery, charismatic orator the world knows. In other words, he had an unassuming private character and a volcanic public persona.

I find it easy to believe that when among his closest followers, he would drone on and on about past victories and future plans and of course, toward the end, unforgivable treacheries.

Something tells me things were a lot livelier in the Göring household.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a good case to be made that up until the advent of the new lightweight high-rpm engines, the original Beetle, with it's small air-cooled engine, was simply easier to work on yourself in "shade-tree mechanic" fashion than it's competitors. If you were too poor to pay for auto repairs, were just the "do it yourself" kind, or liked or needed the independence, this ease of maintenance mattered. The small size and weight also helped with maintenance. Cars today just aren't designed to be casually maintained by their owners the way a Beetle was.

Not that I ever worked on them, though I had a few friends who did and may have helped them a time or two.

Now, you want real ease of maintenance and a lesson in how simple a motor vehicle can be, let me introduce you to the Farmall M, the Farmall MD, and the Farmall H!

Kylie said...

"Didn't someone post a clip of Hitler speaking with Finland's first black Marshall a few months back?"
Hitler-Mannerheim conversation

"He seemed a lot like Nixon: knowledgable, solicitous of the other's opinion but mostly as a springboard to his own musings."

That was my impression, too.

"I'm sure towards the end he got pretty boring but Napoleon was boring in exile too."

Yes.

Anonymous said...

"But, since the 1970s or 1980s, eugenics has been as closely associated in the popular mind"

So true. You cant even mention Margaret Sanger these days.

Anonymous said...

Definitely true regarding the Beetle and women. I read that they changed the design because the sales were split 60-40 in favor of women and they wanted more sales to men. Volkswagen said that women don't mind buying male focused designs, but that men did mind buying female focused designs. I understand the need for more sales to men, but the numbers were not believable and seemed pretty dubious to me, no way 40 percent of the drivers were male. The last 4-5 years of the design I don't recall seeing a man ever driving one, any man, even old fart lefties who work in academia. The young artsy, leftie counterparts to the old hippies preferred Mini Coopers, which look suitably masculine with racing stripes and a hunkered down appearance.

In fact, every person I saw drive one was a woman under 30, usually 18-24 in age. Dad was probably the technical "owner" in that he co-signed for it, but he wasn't driving it, the sales skew had to be at least 95-5 in favor of the fairer sex in terms of the actual drivers ( Volkswagen had flower holders built into the dashboard!!! ). Since the new model and marketing campaign, I have already seen two college aged dudes driving the Wehrmacht helmet version, the kind of guys that like to drive their cars fast all the time, so clearly the marketing campaign has succeeded in changing the image.

Anonymous said...

"You get me the car, I'll get you the continent." - Well he did have this one plan for lebensraum...

Luke Lea said...

I'm surprised they haven't done a hybrid version of the Beetle. It would be a Two'fer

rob said...

This is sort of thing that makes Hitler sound like the archetypal movie bad guy. Somewhere off camera he does all sorts of cunning evil genius stuff. But whenever we get a look at him he is apparently tedious, boring and not respected by his subordinates.

He drove the two women he was romantically involved with to suicide: that boy ain't right.

Sailer, do we have estimates of the Russian contribution to the current German gene pool?

Anonymous said...

The cost (how cheap was a used Beetle?) and all those sappy Herbie movies like The Love Bug didn't hurt. I had forgotten those were Disney movies. Marketing masterstroke.

Kylie said...

I see similarities between the AK-47 and the VW Beetle in terms of durability, utility, reliability, popularity, etc.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you're commending Hitler.

Anonymous said...

Why 62 mph? Why not a nice round number like 60 or 65?

Anonymous said...

"Think Small! Think Small Arms!"

Hmmm, I think the NRA needs to adopt a new slogan.

Anonymous said...

Compared to the angular, rocket-finned fifties cars that screamed testosterone, or the angular, hot-rod muscle cars of the 1970s

The 70s muscle cars are masculine, but the cars from the 50s don't really scream testosterone. The 50s car style seems goofy, even campy and fairy like.

Anonymous said...

They also share a taste in slow, ugly cars. They think a boring automobile has some kind of deeper moral importance

The car was supposed to be an affordable, reliable, mass market car, not a fast, flashy car.

An affordable, reliable, mass market car for the middle class arguably does have deeper moral importance.

Anonymous said...

In theory, being closely associated with Hitler is a downer from most marketing perspectives. For example, consider the term "eugenics,"

But communism was more destructive, and yet it doesn't have as negative connotations and associations. So I don't think the magnitude of the negative connotation of things associated with Hitler is commensurate.

Anonymous said...

Why 62 mph? Why not a nice round number like 60 or 65?

Because that corresponds to approximately 100 kilometers per hour which is a nice round number.

Anonymous said...

But communism was more destructive, and yet it doesn't have as negative connotations and associations. So I don't think the magnitude of the negative connotation of things associated with Hitler is commensurate.

I think that one gets chalked up under Steve's 'who, whom' categories.

Dennis Dale said...

I wonder if Porsche ever asked Hitler why Germany, a densely populated country well-served by rail and lacking in petroleum resources, truly needed a mass market car seemingly best suited for a continent-sized and resource-rich country like America. Hitler might have replied, "You get me the car, I'll get you the continent."

Sounds like Hitler was trying to fashion an America for Germans out of the Continent. Did Hitler understand Sailer's Dirt Gap concept? We see here the first rightist reaction to the left's ongoing program of herding people into cities.

Why 62 mph? Why not a nice round number like 60 or 65?

Because he probably asked for 100 kilometers per hour.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Hitler was trying to fashion an America for Germans out of the Continent. Did Hitler understand Sailer's Dirt Gap concept?

They say he looked to America's expansion westward as a model, with the Slavs and others as the Indians being cleared out. I think he mentions this in the Table Talk.

Kylie said...

"'Think Small! Think Small Arms!'

Hmmm, I think the NRA needs to adopt a new slogan."


Maybe so but that's not the one the NRA needs.

The left would instantly respond with their own slogan, "Small arms kill small children!"

JR said...

I have owned 3 of the original beetles plus 2 Kombis so I must be a terrible wimp. But I still think they're great!

Anonymous said...

Hitler was a vegetarian

This vegetable caviar where does it come from?

Anonymous said...

The Mini is interesting in that the manufacturer wanted it to be priced under £500 that it was launched at £497 and Ford reckoned that there was no way the company was making a profit on it.

Austin and its successor companies never raised the price to pay for the costs so on the 18 000 000 odd sold the manufacturer lost money on it.

Anonymous said...

Its true the top speed was just over 100ks per hr. Living in South Africa I bought a second hand 1953 Beetle in 1957 and was very upset because I couldn't get more than 60 m.p.h. Later in 1958 I bought a new one and it was very much faster doing 90mph downhill.

BrokenSymmetry said...

Steve, you do know what smutty schoolboys refer to as a german helmet right?

Mopar Mike said...

The aircooled VW Bug (known to cognescenti as a Type 1) really wasn't all that easy to maintain, nor was it particularly cheap new or used, at least in the US. One could always buy a stripped two door compact with a six cylinder engine and three speed manual cheaper than a Volkswagen, and if both were maintained properly, the American compact would outlast the Bug IF one used the same criteria. The Bug was more likely to be given a new or rebuilt engine or transaxle or otherwise receive serious repair work where as the cheaper American compacts were usually junked or turned into hot rods, drag cars or otherwise butchered, the first time a really big bill came up for repair.

A stock VW engine would last between sixty to eighty thousand miles, usually dying by eating the #3 exhaust valve or cracking a head. A Chrysler Slant Six would by contrast usually go twice that as long as something resembling oil was kept in the crankcase and the radiator coolant didn't freeze up or leak out.

I have a 1964 Plymouth Savoy with the slant six and automatic. It has almost 188,000 miles on the original engine block and transmission. I bought it on its way to the crusher three years ago and replaced the head, piston rings and bearings but did not turn the crank or bore the cylinders. I demated the transmissions and replaced the clutch packs and valve body and did some cleanup, added a later twin master cylinder, had the brake cylinders relined, and replaced the ball joints and idler arm. I also put in a bigger radiator. I had some rust holes welded up and patch painted but 80% of the paint and all the glass and chrome are original.

With the original points ignition and carb I get 20 mpg on the highway. I'm 42 and expect the car to last the rest of my life unless it gets hit. A Volkswagen in that same state would have had three engines and two transaxles, minimum.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Sailer, do we have estimates of the Russian contribution to the current German gene pool?"

Maybe not so much. According to Beevor's book about the fall of Berlin, abortions were frequently performed for rape victims after the war. Also, a lot of the young women made a point of losing their virginity to German boys before the Russians got there, so some may have gotten pregnant from that.

Sailer is right about the dysgenic effects of losing all of those junior officers, though this of course applied to the Russians as well. And millions of children were raised without fathers after the war on both sides.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Fabulously butch."

The Nazis did have sort of a gay fashion sense. They may have been the last non-equestrian men to get away with wearing knee-high, black leather boots.

Auntie Analogue said...

In 1974 I bought a '62 Beetle that had 31,000 miles on it. Drove it hard for 2 years while working various jobs (including my last years of weekends in the Naval Reserve) while finishing my baccalaureate in night classes, putting 93,000 miles on that doughty little car - the penultimate 3,000 miles on just three good cylinders, and the last 7 miles on its last two good cylinders. I uaed to work on it myself too (my Dad was insistent about learning how to fix everything and anything I owned). It proved quite comfortable to drive, even on long road trips - and back in the day I didn't mind that it lacked air conditioning.

The Beetle wasn't a "girly" car, it was a utilitarian puddle-jumper that was affordable, cheap to fuel & maintain (it didn't even have an oil filter). And I knew lots of guys, from college students to working stiffs, who drove them and swore by them. Because it was cheap and economical the VW Bug appealed to college students who chose to drive them because they got you from A to B without costing a fortune in gas or routine maintenance - which is why few muscle cars were seen on 1960's campuses. The Bug also had the virtue of affordable (five or ten bucks at the junkyard), easily replaceable fenders and bumpers. The Beetle's only two poor features: its feeble 6-volt electrical system (which went the way of the dinosaur with the debut of 1967's 12-volt model); and its lack (again until the 1967 model) of a heater fan (in earlier models the car had to be in forward motion to force cylinder-cooling-fin-heated air through its heater ducts).

Today's Beetle bears only a passing resemblance to the orginal and is far more complex and costly to own and maintain: it's a cutesy status totem, quite the opposite of the bare-bones orginal.

Guys also loved the Beetle because it was endlessly customizable into anything from a poor man's Rolls-Royce to a stripped-down dune buggy. Surfers loved the semi-ragtop model (which had a canvas roof panel that accordioned back) and the convertible model because they let surfers stand two surfboards in the rear seat footwell to advertise how cool their drivers were supposed to be.

The Karman Ghia 2-seat version of the Beetle - essentially a Beetle undecarriage and pancake motor with an Italian-designed body glommed on - now THAT was a girly car because it said "carefree" without being one of those hard-sprung British four-banger 2-seaters (MG, Austin Healey, Triumph) that quickly shook and rattled themselves into buckets-O-bolts that demanded constant maintenance and mending (ask any owner about the Lucas "Prince of Darkness" electrics in those old Britsh sports cars). The K-Ghia also had an interior far roomier than those of the Brit spine-bruisers - just the thing for the more affluent college girl or young career woman who liked to shop.

Hitler did not lack a testicle - this is an old wives' tale born, most likely, of the good, old fashioned demonize-your-enemy kind that is nowadays regrettably lacking in our Government's and Media-Pravda's islamophilic fantasy of all the world's people being somehow "really all alike."

The VW Beetle is far from the most important, or visible, or ubiquitous holdover from the salad days of the Third Reich. That (dis?)honor is held by the U.S. Government's OPERATION PAPERCLIP which spirited its beneficiaries - Nazi rocket scientists, almost all of whose wartime work used slave laborers who were kept deliberately on starvation rations - across the Atlantic where they contributed massively to the postwar NASA space programs. Then there was the work of German aeronautics designers whose development of the swept wing gave U.S. jet fighter deaign a huge boost - the Korean War era Saber jet, whose performance allowed U.S. pilots to rack up a massive kill ratio against Soviet MiG-15's (whose swept wing also came from captured German designers), owed a great deal to the German work on swept wings.

Anonymous said...

"I think Nazi aesthetics were fabulous. Much better than secular humanism and decadent postmodernism."

Nazi clothes look good on the right people. And Nazi architecture was good too. Nazi sculpture wasn't so hot and Nazi paintings were awful.

Nazi clothes do NOT look good on some people:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMQrARaTKDc

Anonymous said...

"Sailer is right about the dysgenic effects of losing all of those junior officers, though this of course applied to the Russians as well. And millions of children were raised without fathers after the war on both sides."

But... American whites didn't lose a lot people in WWII(relatively speaking), so why did wasps become so stupid?
And Jews lost plenty in WWII but how did they rebound so fast and take control of the world?

Auntie Analogue said...

Two more selling points of the original Beetle: its being an underpowered 4-banger kept its insurance premiums low, especially for parents who sent their kid off to college at the wheel of a Bug; and even mechanical parts were replaced cheap from the junkyard - transaxles, motors, steering gear, glazing, &c. Six-cylinder American cars entailed considerably higher insurance premiums, and there were no U.S.-made four-bangers out there at the time (the Falcon, Corvair, Valiant/Lancer, and all the Rambler base models had sixes).

One thing to bear in mind is that from its 1949 U.S. introduction the Beetle sold poorly until baby boomers got their drivers' licenses and began to attend college. Boomers - and their economy-minded parents who bought cars for them and shelled out the dollars to insure them - were the ones who propelled Beetle sales to the stratosphere. None of this had anything to do with Hitler (and plenty of Jewish college kids drove Bugs, Karman Ghias, and VW microbuses too).

Also, the tail end of the boomer generation began to abandon VW's for the more comfortable, higher performance Japanese compacts that began to enjoy increased sales toward the end of the 1960's. By the mid-1970's, in part due to the 1973 Arab oil embargo, Japanese compacts were far outselling the by-then thoroughly outmoded Beetle (no matter how much VW goosed more horsepower out of the Beetle's opposed motor, the 1971 EPA emissions additons to it spelled out the swan song of that engine - and once customers began to insisted on having an air conditioner bolted onto it, the tired old VW motor design proved unequal to the load).

Americans who bought Detroit's first wave of four-bangers found themselves disappointed in and dismayed by the unreliability, lack of economy, and poor durability of the Vega and Pinto (and the Pinto's cringeworthy propensity when struck in its rear to burst into flame didn't endear that design lemon to Americans either). And none of that had anything to do with Hitler or Tojo.

Anonymous said...

How safe were the old Beetles? Were they death traps?

Dennis Dale said...

Hitler did not lack a testicle - this is an old wives' tale

It's true. This is actually the
case:

Göring has only got one ball
Hitler's are so very small
Himmler's so very similar
And poor old Goebbels has none at all

Auntie Analogue said...


The old Beetles were safe in the same way that any device is safe when operated within its limits.

That said, actuarial tables have always shown a direct relation between horsepower and mishaps - more horsepower means more wrecks, injuries, and lethality. Combine horsepower with youth, and younger drivers have more mishaps. Now combine horsepower with youth and with a six-pack or a doobie, and the insurance wreck-injury-fatality stats steepen further.

They weren't "death traps" because the old Beetle's low power essentially reduced the frequency of accidents, injuries, and fatalities - if it hadn't, then insurance companies would have wasted no time in steepening the premiums to insure them. By comparison, muscle cars have always had the highest premiums, and to this day more than anything else, as horsepower increases, so do premiums rise with it. In a nutshell: speed kills.

Anonymous said...

"The founder of Deconstructionism was a raving Hitler fanatic"
Fact check:
now that we know that this was said by whiskey, can anyone confirm that Derrida was a Hitler fan?

All i ever read of deconstructionism were things like "in this happening we tried to remove the stigma from the menstrual blood" type of leftie po-mo art drivel. (always in a more obscurantist style than i could ever replicate here)

ParanoidSperg said...

'How safe were the old Beetles? Were they death traps?'

Pretty much everything of that generation was a death trap, except for maybe Volvos, Saabs and Mercedes Benz.

VWs did have some unusual safety concerns. The VW Microbus used the driver's legs as a crumple zone. Early Bugs(IIRC) used magnesium for certain engine parts, which could cause spectacular engine fires. They also had gasoline heaters, which were basically bombs waiting to go off.

Auntie Analogue said...


Dennis Dale: You. Are. A. Pistol!

Anonymous said...

Does anybody else remember the 1970's VW ad where the Beetle was an amphibious vehicle?

As a kid, I thought Bugs could actually float!

Oh yeah, clicking around your steel helmet links got me to a particularly disturbing Wikipedia photo of a WWII US propaganda poster.

The USSR fights for freedom! Communism is your friend!

Anonymous said...

How can you discuss the VW Bug without mentioning Kawaii? The phenomenon is more cross-cultural and older than we thought.

Anonymous said...

Hitler did not lack a testicle - this is an old wives' tale

It's true. The average German has only one testicle (.98 to be exact).

Anonymous said...

"The founder of Deconstructionism was a raving Hitler fanatic"
Fact check:
now that we know that this was said by whiskey, can anyone confirm that Derrida was a Hitler fan?



He's thinking of a lesser though still important figure:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_de_Man

Anonymous said...

The in the first black & white photo the man on Hitler's right in the black uniform looks remarkably similar to my father. The hairline is different but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

That new VW rear has a bit of Porsche 911 (minus the plastic luggage rack aka spoiler) awbout it.

Lucius said...

I want to ride around in a Panther. Hitler provided the specs for that too.

My little bedside book claims 4,500 Panthers were produced by the end of the war. Considering it basically debuted at Kursk (with considerable teething agonies) that's quite staggering.

Of course there were problems with below-par steel, lack of fuel, and less seasoned crews. Still, I can't help but wonder often, even with the extraordinary odds against them, what unloading a fresh Panzergruppe with pristine Panthers on this or that front might've done.

The Guderian in me always has to zap Zhukov before breakfast.

beowulf said...

That Hitler was quite the marketing maven.
"The term assault rifle is a translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally "storm rifle", as in "to storm a position"). The name was coined by Adolf Hitler as a new name for the Maschinenpistole 43, subsequently known as the Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first assault rifle..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_rifle


Anonymous said...

This type of post is why I love iSteve. Tying together seemingly unrelated items in an illuminating way.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Whiskey, but to say that "Paul Verhoeven, who loved the Nazi aesthetic and the dominance of the German Wehrmacht in his homeland during occupation" is about the biggest falsehood I can imagine and only someone with absolutely no idea what he is talking about could say that. Verhoeven hated the nazis. Listen to the great commentary track to Starship Troopers.

beowulf said...

Didn't someone post a clip of Hitler speaking with Finland's first black Marshall a few months back?

Hilarious! Marshal Mannerheim wasn't actually black, his recent biopic notwithstanding.
http://akenyangirl.com/2012/08/finnish-film-with-kenyans-depicting-europeans-causing-controversy-before-release/

ironrailsironweights said...

One thing to bear in mind is that from its 1949 U.S. introduction the Beetle sold poorly until baby boomers got their drivers' licenses and began to attend college. Boomers - and their economy-minded parents who bought cars for them and shelled out the dollars to insure them - were the ones who propelled Beetle sales to the stratosphere.

Imports of VW's and other cars were somewhat limited during the 1950's due to the difficulty of transporting them. Cars were transported in the holds of ordinary cargo ships and hoisted onto the docks by derricks,a slow, labor-intensive process. Dedicated roll-on, roll-off car carriers started entering service in the 1960's and made the process much faster and cheaper.

Peter

PA said...

"The founder of Deconstructionism was a raving Hitler fanatic, did not hurt him or his movement"

Whiskey is referring to Paul de Man.

Mr. Anon said...

DaveinHackensack said...

"Fabulously butch."

The Nazis did have sort of a gay fashion sense."

Or perhaps gays have sort of a Nazi fashion sense.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

How convenient that those surviving the war were so eager to paint their former leader in bad light.

This is sort of thing that makes Hitler sound like the archetypal movie bad guy. Somewhere off camera he does all sorts of cunning evil genius stuff. But whenever we get a look at him he is apparently tedious, boring and not respected by his subordinates.

Im guessing something doesnt quite ring true."

I have no problem believing that Hitler was a bore. It would seem to be an occupational hazard for dictators, as they are above criticism. Nobody is ever willing to stand up in the middle of lunch and say "Dolph, baby, it's been fun, but I gotta go. Ciao, bubbela." Hence, the famous four-hour long tirades by Fidel Castro, and the ridiculous reality-defying speeches of Saddam Hussein.

You tend to let a guy get away with quite abit, when you know that he can have you dragged away to a dungeon and shot.

Ian said...

This article's not really about VW Beetles. It's about normalising the idea of eugenics.

To claim that eugenics has as much to do with WW2 as the VW Beetle is disingenuous. It had quite a lot to do with Nazi ideology and social policy.

Are all eugenicists therefore Nazis? Of course not.

Anonymous said...

can anyone confirm that Derrida was a Hitler fan?

Paul de Man. And Derrida made excuses for Heidegger and de Man's fascism (not 'fascist' in the Leftist insult sense: like Waldheim, de Man and Heidegger were authentic).

peterike said...

Fact check:
now that we know that this was said by whiskey, can anyone confirm that Derrida was a Hitler fan?


Whiskey is thinking of Paul de Man, a structuralist, early proponent of Deconstruction and a major figure in the field, though not really the "founder."

Anonymous said...

"As a kid, I thought Bugs could actually float!"

They were very airtight - sometimes when shutting the door it wouldn't shut or you got painful ear pressure effects unless you opened a window slightly first.

I remember a 60s/early 70s gag to the effect that "If Teddy Kennedy had driven a VW, he might be President now"

(as in

"but Teddy, what if I get pregnant?"

"we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, my dear"
)

Svigor said...

Somewhat surprised that a group with such an extreme cleanliness fetish would be so enamored about a 'bug' or 'beetle'

Hard, armored bugs like beetles have always struck me as the cleanest-seeming sort of insects.

Weird, my google username sometimes shows up and sometimes does not with the Stopscript plugin -- I'm the guy with the Hugo Boss comment. That is Whiskey. Sigh.

I've been wondering about that. You seemed to have turned over a new leaf with the pseudonym over the years, and I thought it odd you'd suddenly started posting Anonymously.

Why 62 mph? Why not a nice round number like 60 or 65?

The metric system?

Maybe not so much.

Probably correct. I'd chalk way more to the dysgenic effect of losing such a large portion of their good fighting men.

Sailer is right about the dysgenic effects of losing all of those junior officers, though this of course applied to the Russians as well. And millions of children were raised without fathers after the war on both sides.

It's odd how often I find myself thinking about something one day, then discussing it at Sailer's the next through pure coincidence. Though given the number and breadth of the subjects discussed, maybe it's not so odd. I was wondering if the Soviets might've come through better in these terms because the Russians might not've been as earnestly nationalist as the Germans. I.e., a genetically good German might've had a greater chance of being a politically good German and get himself killed. I never got beyond wondering, though.

The Nazis did have sort of a gay fashion sense. They may have been the last non-equestrian men to get away with wearing knee-high, black leather boots.

Overall, the difference between the German aesthetics in uniform and the non-German was quite striking, and I don't see the difference as "gay," overall. In other words, the other advantages more than made up for any "gayness" in the boots, and I think most people, if they had to wear something based just on the aesthetics, would wind up in Nazi duds. The Brits and Americans were just passable, the French and especially the Poles were just bad, the Russians were depressing, etc. And don't even get Larry Auster started on a rant on the current Private Fatbody look to the current American uniforms, or God forbid, point out the contrast with the Third Reich. It'd put the other foot in the grave.

Nazi clothes do NOT look good on some people

Fatties. Didn't even have to watch.

Anonymous said...

Remember reading that only one out of three German men born in 1918 survived the WW II.
Deaths were larger in WW1 for the UK (and Canada for that matter). 800,000 for the UK alone in WW1. Probably more than one in six of the men born between 18880 and 1900 in UK died in WW1. In Canada, one in 12 for the same period. Australia, one in 8. And not even talking the lives of those who never really recovered from their war wounds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties

Anonymous said...

http://www.cracked.com/article_15767_third-reich-to-fortune-500-five-popular-brands-nazis-gave-us.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_18378_6-enlightened-ideas-brought-to-you-by-evil-empires.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_18703_5-inventions-you-wont-believe-came-from-war.html

Paul Mendez said...

Hitler's vision for the Third Reich was strangely 19th Century. Despite embracing hi-tech weapons like ballistic missiles, he didn't seem to "get" the role capital, trade and innovation played in modern economics. I'm surprised that as much as we love to hate Hitler, few people realize what an economic disaster the Third Reich would have been had he won the war.

In Hitler's Third Reich, sturdy Aryans would be spread across the newly acquired lebensraum in wholesome small towns. They'd mainly farm or work in safe, clean enterprises, enjoying the healthy outdoors and waited upon by illiterate Slavic servants.

The VW Bug fit into this vision of a self-sufficient Aryan yeomanry. As many commenters have already noted, the VW was not "reliable" as much as it was easily maintainable by someone with basic tools. I knew someone in high school who rebuilt a VW engine in his bedroom!

At the time the VW was designed, European automobiles were mainly toys for the rich because owning one included the expense of hiring a mechanic/driver to keep it running. (We still call auto repair shops "garages" today.) Like the Model T in America, the VW democratized automobile ownership not just through a low entry price, but because Joe Average could keep it running without paying a professional mechanic.

BOTA said...

There is a weird anti-hero worship thing going on with our culture and Hitler and Nazi symbols and dress and such, like they're part of some sublime and terrible evil. They aren't and weren't. Like many other countries at the time, they wound up as dictatorships with a rigid top-down power structure, and murdered a shitload of internal enemies, real or imagined. The holocaust was godawful, but not fundamentally different from what happened in a dozen other places--the Armenian genocide, Stalin's engineered famines, the vast amounts of blood spilled under Mao. None of those were some kind of magical evil, either. Just changes in societies and technology that made it easy to organize a society on top-down lines, plus the normal kinds of evil ideas people have always had, but implemented by people with that huge concentration of power and suppression of dissent.

Paul Mendez said...

Hitler was a vegetarian and an anti-smoking campaigner. An environmentalist too, I think. The list of things that he supported and that are positively viewed now goes far beyond the Beetle.

Other things the Nazis advocated that are now mainstream:

* Workplace safety. (seen in the US as an example of a totalitarian government intruding on private enterprise.)

* Physical fitness programs for kids.

* Breast cancer awareness. (Americans shocked that a government would publicly urge women to feel themselves up.)

Anonymous said...

The metric system?

Hitler hated the metric system though.

Anonymous said...

Hard, armored bugs like beetles have always struck me as the cleanest-seeming sort of insects.

What about dung beetles?

Anonymous said...

I thought the new Bug looked like a Hetzer Jagdpanzer 38, but Steve is right it does look like a Wehrmacht .

Anonymous said...

Somewhat surprised that a group with such an extreme cleanliness fetish would be so enamored about a 'bug' or 'beetle'

I wouldn't say Germans are cleaner than Americans. Americans are pretty strict about daily showers and deodorant. If you've been in Germany in the summer, you smell a lot of B.O. Such B.O. wouldn't be socially acceptable in the US.

Anonymous said...

Any cool communist brand?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luL2JDzH_dM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgG8K86wK2o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uel5x9-VySY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJPuOJmNbEQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuPccQalcYU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqaVmOXtouE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIhBOKDK5lU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGTal9eNcMc

Anonymous said...

great soviet stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jsMyg9NwBc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTkh5d8n8zg

http://www.youtube.com/user/mosfilm

Evil Sandmich said...

All these comments on the re-done Bug, but no mention of the Thing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_181
They should bring that back (just do what they did before and throw a boxy body on top of a Bug frame) and sell a special edition 'German Army Retro Package'.

Anonymous said...

OT/ The Khazar hypothesis of Jewish Origins resurrected (and claims many of the past genetic studies of Jews were misinterpreted)

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/the-jewish-people-s-ultimate-treasure-hunt.premium-1.490539

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG3dPnD1SGo

Gone are the Mao suits. Looks like Dragon Nazi ladies.

Auntie Analogue said...


When determining which cars were, and were not, death traps, it's vital to take into account the crashworthiness of all cars in a given period. It's a nonsense to compare 1960's vehicle crashworthiness with that of today's cars, in the same way in which it makes no sense, in view of advanced medical knowledge, technology & procedures, to compare 1960's cancer or heart disease survival rates with today's rates. In the original Beetle's 1960's heyday its crashworthiness and passenger survivability were, relative to other vehicles of that time, quite favorable, as attested to by the then-low insurance premiums paid by Bug owners.

Yes, in the 60's Volvo was far ahead of the pack in built-in safety design and features. For twelve years I and my brother owned and put over 300,000 miles on a '66 Volvo 2-door sedan (a model known worldwide as the "Amazon," whose simplicity, economy, ruggedness, and durability moved me and my family to christen it "Swedish Tank") which incorporated crush zones, steel cage roof (A,B, & C) pillars, and 3-point shoulder-lap belts long before such features were required by law or included in any other passenger vehicles. My '66 Volvo also had front seats whose then-astoundingly comfortable ergonomic design, which incorporated lumbar tension adjustment, was about 10-15 years ahead of all other makes' seats. That Volvo was my Dad's choice - and he was then a stalwart "American car guy" - when he bought it for me to commute to and from college; and while I was away on active duty Swedish Tank became my kid brother's first car (I got Tank back from him in 1977 when he bought a '77 Toyota Celica). I later sold Swedish Tank to a friend who went on to put another 150,000 miles on it before body rot compelled him to junk it with well over 600,000 miles on its odometer.

One factor that contributed to the Beetle's U.S. sales success was that VW established in the U.S. a well-supplied and trained dealer parts & service organization. Failure to do this doomed other early European imports - Renault, FIAT, Peugeot, and all the British makes were starved for parts and dealer service, which prevented their U.S. owners from becoming repeat customers. (I knew lots of people who owned British cars, and I myself owned two FIATs. The FIATs were superb and economical performers, but were too often laid up, for up to a month at a time, while I awaited parts to be shipped from Turin.)

The popularity of the Beetle also prompted the growth of lucrative aftermarket parts and accessories businesses. The VW section of the legendary J.C. Whitney catalogue was by far, and for quite a spell even after the Beetle ceased production, its longest and most lavishly appointed section.

Anonymous said...

"And Nazi architecture was good too."

They did some decent stripped-down classicism-verging-on-Deco, but tended to favour an inhuman, Piranesian giganticism.

We do too, mind you, in a different idiom.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...


Göring has only got one ball
Hitler's are so very small
Himmler's so very similar
And poor old Goebbels has none at all


I prefer the version my father taught me, which I've passed on to my kids:

Hitler has only got one ball,
Goering has two but very small,
Himmler has something sim'lar,
And poor old Go-balls has no balls at all.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

LoL Whisky!

Starship Troopers is parody about facism/nazism.

Anonymous said...

A lot of those kids that went to college on a shoestring and a Beetle ended up becoming hippies. The VW (and the Van) was, of course, the true hippie-mobile. Some part of that might have been due to the book, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot, John Muir. (First published in 1969, I wonder if it was one of the first "for dummies" books?) Even hippies with little mechanical background or aptitude could deal with it.

Anonymous said...

The American modernist/post-modernist architect Philip Johnson was a fascist in the 1930s, working for Father Coughlin and writing admiringly of Hitler. In 1939 he described the sight of Warsaw burning as "a stirring spectacle".

Didn't hurt his career at all, and nicely whitewashed in Wikipedia.

That natural totalitarian Le Coubousier offered his services at various times to both Stalin and Petain. Also didn't hurt his career in the least.

But imagine if these two gentlemen had been proponents of the classical style.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

Somebody talked about floating Beetles. You may have been thinking of this: Volkswagen Schwimmwagen

Its got the basic mechanical parts of the Beetle but in a waterproof boat bodyshell.



gin blossom said...

Would Steve McQueen ever wear it, drive it, or endorse it?

Wilt Chamberlain was more macho than McQueen.

I think Sailer has missed the real question with this new version of the Beatle: will it hit with Mex-males? I wonder, because at least from that rear view, it resembles the PT cruiser, which is now played.

Anonymous said...

In Hitler's Third Reich, sturdy Aryans would be spread across the newly acquired lebensraum in wholesome small towns. They'd mainly farm or work in safe, clean enterprises, enjoying the healthy outdoors and waited upon by illiterate Slavic servants.



Substitute "Hispanic" for "Slavic" and you've just described the vision of the American ruling class.

Anonymous said...

"My little bedside book claims 4,500 Panthers were produced by the end of the war."

A random google suggests total Allied tank production 1940-45 was about 211 thousand while total Axis tank production, including Japan, was a bit over 51 thousand. Illustrates why the US has considered it important to retain manufacturing... err... wait...

Anonymous said...

"Starship Troopers is parody about facism/nazism."

I don't know...

I have a feeling SST is really a satire of how Hollywood and America has embraced a kind of pop fascism.

1. Rocky movies and the heroic white man as beater of Negroes.

2. Rock stars as demigods.

3. Oprah as Mother America. In SST, the military command is taken over by fat black lady.

4. The huge success of Robocop movies.

5. Star Wars success.

6. Americans worship god-athletes.

7. American militarism and Rambo-ism.

------

It seems to me that SST is less a satire of Nazi Germany or fascism per se than how democratic societies--especially America--has embraced elements of fascism but suppress this fact with stuff like 'diversity' and 'equality'.

We narrowly think 'nazism = racial homogeneity' and 'democracy = multicultural', but there were many kinds of fascisms, and one can employ fascist aesthetics, tropes, and values outside blond-aryanism.
Though Putin and Netanhayu denounce historical fascism, they function more or less in the fascist mode.

The military in SST is multi-cultural, very much like the US military. But the aesthetics and military-oriented philosophy are still quasi-Nazi. And even if humans of all races are united in a common struggle, the war is still a us versus them affair.(But then, recall that Nazis were allied with yellow Japanese, so I guess the Axis was also multicultural in that sense.) It's humans vs subhuman alien creatures.
And there is something like this in Hollywood's promotion of anti-Muslimism and anti-China-ism. It's we 'multicultural democratic Americans' vs those 'Muzzies' or yellow perilites. It's us vs them.
And of course, 90% of Americans wildly support Zionism, a form of democratic Jewish fascism. Even American liberals feel no sympathy for Palestinians. So, American liberalism isn't really liberal but how-one-is-manipulated-by-the-'liberal'-Jewish-elites. A liberal doesn't think freely on his/her own but awaits orders and commands from fuhrer Obama and his Jewish overlords.

So, the joke of SST is really on us. I think it's a sly satire of American culture and power. Of course, Verho didn't say so since he'll be booted out of Hollywood.

I mean just look at AVATAR and TRANSFORMERS. They're pop fascism gone wild. Or take the racialism behind TAKEN and TAKEN II.

Think of the cult of personality of Obama--even the US flag made into O symbol. But we think we can't be 'fascist' because we are multicultural. I guess most Americans don't know that Brazilian fascism under Vargas was also non-racial and multi-cultural.

Anonymous said...

"The American modernist/post-modernist architect Philip Johnson was a fascist in the 1930s, working for Father Coughlin and writing admiringly of Hitler. In 1939 he described the sight of Warsaw burning as "a stirring spectacle".
Didn't hurt his career at all, and nicely whitewashed in Wikipedia."

He was gay, rich, well-connected, and later sucked up to Jews.

tommy said...

It's worth keeping in mind that the party led by an Austrian Catholic headquartered in Bavaria never received much early support from conservative Germans in the south of the country, nor did the NSDAP appeal much more strongly to rural farmers than it did to urban workers. No, the Nazi movement drew most of its early support from suburban and small town residents in Protestant North Germany--in other words, that 1940s demographic that might be most comparable to today's progressive SWPL set.

Hitler and Obama are polar opposites in many ways, of course, but in the arena of political campaigning, Hitler was a precursor to Obama. And, while Goebbel's antisemitic messaging gets all the publicity these days, the little man was arguably a much better political consultant than a propagandist. At a time when most German parties aimed only to capture a particular slice of the electorate, the early Nazis pursued a policy of intentional ambiguity when it came to policy, campaigned largely on what they were not, aggressively attacked the failures of their opponents while conveniently having no track record themselves that could be held up to scrutiny and had a leader who tried rhetorically to be all things to all Germans.

Anonymous said...

I think Americans have an associative than a theoretical understanding of fascism.

Americans associate fascism with Hitler, aryanism, blonde and blue eyedism, antisemitism, and anti-blackism(we've been told Nazis hated 'black music').

Because of associative-ism, even something as harmless as preference for white turkey meat on Thanksgiving can be seemed 'fascist-racist-Nazi'. Ron Rosenbaum should write a book called EXPLAINING TURKEY.

And even Sarrazin's mild book about sensible immigration laws is said to be 'fascist'. Since he's German, he MUST BE fascist. And even a leftist like Gunter Grass must be a secret Nazi when he criticized Israel's middle east policies.

But when non-Aryans or non-blonde-and-blue-eyed folks use elements of fascism, it's not fascism since our understanding of fascism is narrowly associated with 'Aryans'.
So, La Raza's racial identity politics isn't fascist. Zionism isn't fascist. Cult of personality around Obama isn't fascist.
Indeed, if we were to institute National Socialism in America today that's controlled by Jews and Obama, it wouldn't be called 'fascist' but 'progressive'.

Sontag picked up on this. When Riefenstahl's reputation was being rehabilitated in the 70s with her photographic book on the African Nuba, Sontag said that while the subject was different--African than Aryan--, Riefenstahl was running the same fascist tropes.

American preference of Zionists over Palestinians has parallels to fascist imperialist policies in the 30s and 40s, but since Jews are forever associated with 'victimization under fascism', we are blind to their fascism. No matter how fascist Jews get, they are never fascist.

And liberals are blind to the quasi-fascist cult of personality around Obama--and MLK, man of charisma--because they narrowly associate fascism with blonde-and-blue-eyed Aryanism.

We've been told that Nazis hated black music. Since we love black music, we cannot be fascist. So, if the US invades a nation like Iraq and drop bombs on a nation that didn't attack us, we cannot be 'fascist' since we turned on rock music while dropping those bombs. (If Hitler had been smart, he should have bombed Warsaw to jazz music. That might have cut him some slack.)

It's like a pie is fascist if a German eats it but it's not fascist if eaten by a Jew, gay, Mexican, or black--even if it's the same pie.

PS. Given who controls the media, we never hear the term Judeo-fascism, but we all heard Islamo-fascism a million times. I guess the winners get to decide who is and isn't a fascist.
Liberals are never to be trusted. They are fascitious.

Anonymous said...

In the Brit comedy Dad's Army (about the Home Guard in WW2), those chosen to play German officers in a war game appreciate the uniforms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRBbYZJg2E

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ1pp6yJyWI

Auto factory in red state. Will red state economic policies save Obama? Ironic.

Anonymous said...

Have a Volkswagon Beetle(old version) and from the get-go it was a TERRIBLE car. So bad I ended up learning how to fix cars from it breaking down so frequently.

Paul Mendez said...

Remember reading that only one out of three German men born in 1918 survived the WW II.

I had a German neighbor born in 1921. Of the 18 boys he graduated high school with, only he and one other were not dead or maimed by the end of the war.

Veracitor said...

The rounded shape of the VW beetle is not without parallels. It was inspired partly by aerodynamic concerns and is pretty good in that regard, which saves fuel and gets you more speed from the weak engine. Look at the French 2CV for comparison. The wedge shape largely pioneered by Triumph and now standard on virtually all cars is better but that wasn't obvious when the VW bug was designed... and the VW's glass is easier to mfg.

For decades (old style) VW bugs were great for fishing trips to Baja California because they have pretty good ground clearance and smooth bottoms and fhey're small (short wheelbase)... we used to take them in convoy on trips which otherwise required 4WD pickups/light trucks. The only time we had trouble was once when we got caught in the bottom of a wash with the water rising because of rain on a Christmas-vacation trip forcing us to break camp and scamper back to the paved road. The bug engine is mounted low and it got wet and choked-- we had to tow the bug out of the wash with a Chevy Blazer.

Anonymous said...

"Remember reading that only one out of three German men born in 1918 survived the WW II."

Germans lost 1/3 of population during the 30 yrs war but rebounded.

The problem is never war dead. Besides, those sent to war are generally not the smartest. I'm sure the smartest and brightest and best were allowed to work as scientists in Nazi Germany. Generally, those who did the dying were dummies singing Horst Wessel.
Maybe Germans lost a lot of jocks in WWII but I doubt it lost a lot of brains. (Kicking all the Jews out probably hurt German intellectualism more.)

The real problem is low birthrate.
Any population can make a rebound. Japan and Germany did after WWII. But their birthrates have dipped to dangerously low levels.

Same with American whites. There was a great baby boom after WWII but white folks aint having kids.

We need a big white conservative baby boom.

Anonymous said...

What would Jesus drive?

Anonymous said...

>'the last non-equestrian men to get away with black knee-high boots'.

Germany had a LOT of horses in their army. Hitler justified invading Poland on the grounds that he could steal all their horses, and he did. They had a railways + horses + tactical aircraft army.


That long nose on the new VW sure looks like the Nazi scout car Kugelwagon. Pardon my umlaut. Longer wheelbase, less likely to flip?

Anonymous said...

Besides, those sent to war are generally not the smartest. I'm sure the smartest and brightest and best were allowed to work as scientists in Nazi Germany. Generally, those who did the dying were dummies singing Horst Wessel.

This is nonsense, too stupid even to be wrong.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

"This is nonsense, too stupid even to be wrong."

But does it matter? Suppose it was true that prior to WWII, Germany had many more smart people. But if Germans were so smart, why did they allow Hitler to grab all the power and start a crazy war? And why did so many smart Germans willingly take up arms for Hitler than against him?
If smart people do that kind of stuff, what's the use of being smart?

jody said...

whatever they're doing it's working. volkswagen made more money in 2011 than any car company has ever made in a single year in history.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of what Hitler said of the to be Russian serfs, " we'll keep them illiterate. They'll only have to be able to read our road signs so they don't get run over"

Anonymous said...

Volkswagens are nice but for commuter cars they're relatively unreliable and expensive to maintain and get fixed.

Anonymous said...

The problem is never war dead. Besides, those sent to war are generally not the smartest. I'm sure the smartest and brightest and best were allowed to work as scientists in Nazi Germany.

Not true. The Germans conscripted everyone, whether they were working on jet engines, missiles whatever. Of course generally steps were taken to retrieve them and redirect them back into R & D etc.

The British (and I think the US) had a more organized method to direct the most appropriate people into promising programs.

Its interesting how well the Germans did without any systematic use of their brightest and best.

Anonymous said...

"we'll keep them illiterate. They'll only have to be able to read our road signs so they don't get run over"

But in the end, it was the Wehrmacht that lost its way in Russia.

Anonymous said...

"If smart people do that kind of stuff [supporting Hitler etc.], what's the use of being smart?"

Indeed. Intelligence is not a moral quality in any way and is quite compatible with foolishness and vice.

But despite being vastly overrated by those who imagine themselves to be intelligent, it does have its uses.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

A friend in Puebla, where they make the New Beetle, a few years ago had to replace a part on his Dodge sedan. I can't remember if it was starter or alternator. He was shocked at the price and went to the VW dealer to ask their price for the same part for the old Beetle. Just curiosity.

He was told for that price, they would sell him the complete overhaul kit for the Old Beetle motor.

Demand for the Old Beetle never stopped. VW stopped making it because it took too much manual labor for assembly, thus driving the price too high.

A few years ago, I visited my wife's cousin in Puebla. His generator light was on. We looked at the generator. I pointed at the brushes, and told him I had read (in the Compleat Idiot book mentioned above) that was the most common cause of failure of the generator. The next day, we drove to a mechanic, who replaced the brushes, around $3 USD including labor charges. It worked, and poor Carlos actually thought I knew something about fixing cars.

Anonymous age 70

Anonymous said...

"This article's not really about VW Beetles. It's about normalising the idea of eugenics."

Or perhaps just talking about it. And is that a bad thing? Is dis-genics bad or a bad thing to talk about? Regardless of where you stand, eugenics is one of those things that you always have, just like economic policy (no policy is a policy). There are plenty of Chinese picking their child's sex and similar such things, for instance.

Kibernetika said...

Hmm, descended from the Prussian variety of Germans here. The crazy guy with the 'stache and whose last name began with H was an Austrian, we recall.

Well, just yesterday I bought a new VW -- but not a Beetle! ;)

Saw that there in the showroom they had a turbocharged Beetle, white with black racing stripes. Reminded me of the old Mustang Mach One.

And I was actually wearing clothes from Hugo Boss, so this topic struck home, lol

Is there something wrong with our aesthetic? Very few of us left these days, anyway.

And so it goes. Or as my great aunts used to say, "So ist das leben," und "Das leben ist schwer."

But no one ever heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff, nor cared, of course.



Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

The problem is never war dead. Besides, those sent to war are generally not the smartest. I'm sure the smartest and brightest and best were allowed to work as scientists in Nazi Germany. Generally, those who did the dying were dummies singing Horst Wessel."

Not true. Many Physics Nobelists served in their nations armies in both world wars I and II, and not in scientific/technical capacities. I would not be surprised if the record of Chemistry Nobelists were much different.

DaveinHackensack said...

"At the time the VW was designed, European automobiles were mainly toys for the rich because owning one included the expense of hiring a mechanic/driver to keep it running."

Also because they lacked the tools of modern finance that enable the cost of cars to be sliced up and spread over time. Financial engineering gets a bad rap due to recent abuses, but it does have some utility.

".The holocaust was godawful, but not fundamentally different from what happened in a dozen other places--the Armenian genocide, Stalin's engineered famines, the vast amounts of blood spilled under Mao"

Sure it was fundamentally different - it was instituted by an advanced, 1st world nation. That gives it a man-bites-dog uniqueness. No one is shocked by mass murder in benighted lands, but in the land of Goethe and Beethoven? The country that created the modern welfare state and had some of the most prestigious universities in the world prior to the war? The one that was a world leader in science, industry, and culture?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqSaq63f1Ps

My fav painter working today.

Ian said...

Anon 7:23pm wrote:

". . . . eugenics is one of those things that you always have, just like economic policy (no policy is a policy). There are plenty of Chinese picking their child's sex and similar such things, for instance."

Eugenics never was about the exercise of individual choice though, was it?

Anonymous said...

"It was inspired partly by aerodynamic concerns and is pretty good in that regard, which saves fuel and gets you more speed from the weak engine"

Frankly, the VW beetle's drag coefficient is poor - 0.48. There are production vehicles from that era with far better drag coefficients such as the Tatra - 0.36.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_drag_coefficient

Anonymous said...

Also because they lacked the tools of modern finance that enable the cost of cars to be sliced up and spread over time. Financial engineering gets a bad rap due to recent abuses, but it does have some utility.

They're ultimately just old fashioned loans. The only thing "modern" about it is a larger market for middle men to buy and sell the loans.

Anonymous said...

In other circumstances Hitler would have been a SWPL

http://hipsterhitler.com/

.
"Or only kids in the back?"

Yes.

Reg Cæsar said...

What more proof do you need that Hitler was gay? This, and using Napoleon's faggoty "kilometer".

Rob said...

One had only to see the way in which these Volkswagen roaring up the Obersalzberg overtook and skipped like mountain goats round my great Mercedes, to be tremendously impressed.

WTF? Were the Volkswagen crowd bribing the Führer's chauffeur to ease up on the throttle whenever he saw a Beetle in his rear-view mirror?

Anonymous said...

"Eugenics never was about the exercise of individual choice though, was it?"

Did eugenics always imply coercion? I don't know. I can easily imagine that there were plenty of folks of the mind of "information is always good", in the same manner that all the modern safety and food labeling and warnings does not imply coercion. But a link with coercion would explain some of the modern revulsion. Is that what happened?

Anonymous said...

"I later sold Swedish Tank to a friend who went on to put another 150,000 miles on it before body rot compelled him to junk it with well over 600,000 miles on its odometer"

How much money did you have to put into that car?

I have a 10yr old Focus with only 60.000 on it. Why can't I keep it for another 10 years?

Anonymous said...

There is STILL demand for the Old Beetle. Aside from the fact it is more expensive to build than a modern car, and does not meet safety or emissions laws (no air cooled engine could), there is also the issue that the aftermarket around them means that the profit margin on parts is nothing.

Also, if you have to pay someone to do the maintenance, at first world labor rates the air cooled Beetle would kill you. You have to change the oil, which means dropping the center plate and washing the screen out in a parts washer, and the valves need regular adjustment when the engine is dead cold. That's an hour and a half every three thousand miles.

DanJ said...

I spent my childhood in Finland in the back seat of a VW Beetle and remember them fondly. As others said above, the engine isn't all that durable. This was compensated for by VW:s superior network of dealers and readily available spare parts, which made the car seem more reliable than it actually was.

Later I owned a VW minibus, which was great fun. Of course, in a crash the driver is only protected by 0,5 mm of steel and a bakelite steering wheel. It was a joy to drive, though.

Rob said...

Jared Diamond says in one of his books written in the 1990s that the Beetle he was driving since his 20s was the only car he'd ever owned.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Ted Bundy drive a Beetle?

JoeJoe

Anonymous said...

Didn't Ted Bundy drive a Beetle?


I think he did, but Debbie Harry's story is still bullshit. He was never in NYC at that time.