80 years autobahn in Germany - the myth of Hitler's role

Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 02:57 am
ADAC (Germany's and Europe's largest automobile club) magazine title

Bundesautobahn 555 (translates from German as Federal Motorway 555, short form Autobahn 555, abbreviated as BAB 555 or A 555) is an autobahn connecting the cities of Cologne and Bonn. It was constructed between 1929 and 1932, and opened to traffic on August 6, 1932.


The first European motorway junction (1932)

View of the Bonn-Cologne motorway in 1937

Until 1929, the economic crisis and the lack of capital meant that it was impossible to build motorways in Germany. The country was struggling with mass unemployment, hyper-inflation and the payment of reparations for the First World War. It was the mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, who managed to finance and construct the first crossroads-free motorway in 1932 - now the A555 between Cologne and Bonn. The road was 20 kilometers long, and the speed limit was 120 kilometers per hour, though at the time most cars could only manage 60. The Cologne region was said to have the highest volume of traffic in the country. Shortly afterwards, however, the Nazis came to power, and the motorway had only been open a few months when it was downgraded to the status of "country road". The Nazis decided they wanted to take the credit for building the first autobahn.
Source: The myth of Hitler's role in building the German autobahn

The autobahn today ...
... very seldom with traffic jams and without (stationary) speed traps!
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Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 10:29 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Is getting "credit" for building the autobahn a real point of contention in Germany? A more meaningful discussion might be whether Germany should remain as part of the Eurozone? Considering they are not profligate with their debt, and profitable industrially, they need the Eurozone like Europe needs a meteorite to fall from the sky, in my opinion. It might be "just desserts" if Germany left the Eurozone, so France can care for all the profligate "industrial orphans" in Europe.

Why doesn't anyone let the little secret out that the German society knows how to effect prosperity? What's wrong with anyone admitting that Germany is better at "winning the peace" than the rest of Europe? It wouldn't even be shadenfreud, just the truth.

Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 10:55 am
Well, of course your suggestions would be better questions and topics when looking at the 80th birthday of the motorways in Germany.

(Not only in German but as an English loanword, too, it's Schadenfreude.)
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Mon 6 Aug, 2012 09:11 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Interesting, Walter. I have to admit I didn't know the early history of the Autobahn, i.e. the pre-Hitler era. Fine photographs, too. Than you for posting that.
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Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2012 08:47 am
Yes, thank you for posting the information. In my opinion, it certainly is no surprise the Nazis took credit for building the Autobahn and its a shame that myth has lasted so long. But it was quite an endeavour. Statistics from Germany show that the country has the third highest quality of roads behind France, Switzerland and Singapore.
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Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2012 06:20 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Nice comparison for now and our past time. But i like my historical time and our past.
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