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PHOTO CAPTION: Adolph Hitler inspects model of Volkwagen 'people's car' in 1939.

Paying For Rich People's Play Things

Jonah Goldberg joins Chevy Volt critics, comparing it to Hitler's "People's Car" scam.

Published: 12-Aug-2010

Let us compare the Volkswagen and the "Voltswagen."

The original Volkswagen was intended as the "people's car" (that's what Volkswagen means). The idea of a cheap, safe, reliable car for the working man was popular before Adolf Hitler embraced it, but as a self-proclaimed man of the people, he made the idea his own. Whereas industrialists and aristocrats didn't think the common man needed a car ("the people's car is a bus" was their refrain), Hitler sided with one of his heroes, Henry Ford, arguing that everyone deserved his own ride. He ordered the German Labor Front, the union arm of the Nazi Party, to start building a people's car. When it looked like the car might be too expensive, the Labor Front created a savings program that promised a car for even the poorest workers.

At the 1934 Berlin Motor Show, Hitler proclaimed: "It is a bitter thought that millions of good and industrious people are excluded from the use of a means of transport that, especially on Sundays and holidays, could become for them a source of unknown joy."

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