Insights

Vehicles for the people

Room 3 takes as its theme motorisation in the Third Reich. In Adolf Hitler’s political programme, great emphasis was placed on the automotive industry and on road construction. The many variations on the basic motorcycle concept and a host of brand names such as DKW, NSU, BMW, Zündapp and Victoria are testimony to the high level of technical development achieved by the German motorcycle industry in this period. It is at this time that one particular innovation catches on, namely the highly affordable motorised bicycle or ‘mofa’ (short for Motorfahrrad). The automotive industry is also obliged to subordinate production to the arms race instigated by the Nazi dictatorship. The much-heralded and eagerly anticipated KdF car (Kraft durch Freude = Strength through Joy) for which many ordinary families have been saving up is a victim of the war effort and never makes it to series production.