Hitler and Autobahn are two things commonly put together. You might hear many times that people describe how he created the German Highway. However, what’s the story behind this?
Hitler and Autobahn – Just Fake News
It’s not clear where it started but the story about Hitler making the Highway has travelled around the world. However, he didn’t invent the Autobahn and had no real connection to it.
Hitler wasn’t an engineer but that’s not the fact that tells this story is fake. It’s the time. Autobahn was already in existence in 1931, two years before he even became chancellor. His rise to power and Autobahn did happen almost at the same time but they also occurred in the wrong order.
So why do people still think Hitler and Autobahn are connected? At the time Hitler was in power, there were many roads built for quicker passage of the army. During that time, planners completed 3,800 kilometres of Autobahn, which was the most extensive highway system of that time.
Who created Autobahn?
You’d be surprised, but Germany wasn’t the first who thought of the idea for a limited-access road. The first road solely made for cars was in Long Island, New York in the USA. The Long Island Motor Parkway (or Vanderbilt Parkway) was privately built by William Kissam Vanderbilt.
It opened in 1908 and it served as a race track. Before this road, he ran races on local roads, which caused the deaths of two spectators and injury to many others. After the incident, he decided to make a limited-access road. It closed down in 1938 due to lieu of back taxes but the parts of it still exist today and serve as a bike trail.
Italy followed with this idea, opening the first dual highway in 1924, which connects Milano to Varese. Their Autostrada A8 still exists today. Autobahn followed pretty soon in 1929. In 1933, the Nazi regime continued the work.