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How Hitler's Germany Changed the World Today

Updated on April 3, 2009

Enough time has passed since the end of WW2 to forget the origin of many taken for granted items in the world today.

While Hitler had many more bad moments than good ones, he gave final approval to many items that are in use today. Granted, their original use was military, but without them, things would be different to some degree. The items below are those items that originated with Hitler's Germany:

  1. Autobahn's or Highway's. The road everyone takes today did not exist before 1930 or so. This expressway or autobahn was conceived by those in the Third Reich as a means to rapidly transport troops across Germany with as few stops and intersections. Most roads until the advent of this type of road were mostly two lane and interrupted by stops, intersections, roundabouts and stop lights. The autobahn was a railroad for the cars and trucks and many were built during WW2 across Germany. The first such highway was completed in Germany in 1931. Hitler camer to power in 1933 and he was a heavy advocate of this. The highways then look exactly as modern ones do now: two lanes in both directions for a total of 4 lanes. Autobahn's also were used as airfields.
  2. Jet Aircraft. While many nations thought of and tinkered with Jet engines for aircraft, until Hitler approved of numerous projects involving them, none were operational. So, it was Hitler that in essence gave the world first operational jet bombers and fighters starting in 1943. These aircraft were light years ahead of their time in design and when allied fighters encountered them, there was little doubt who would win the fight. The most famous was the ME 262 Swallow, a jet fighter flying at 540 mph, hundreds were produced and well armed. The ME 163 Komet was another flying at almost 600 Mph, almost 200 mph faster than any propeller aircraft. The first jet bomber, the Arado 234, flew at 450 Mph with up to 8000 tons of bombs. Suffice to say, the allies raced to capture examples of these aircraft, copied them and created their own jets.
  3. Rockets. The infamous V-1 and V-2 rockets were the first ones to be used to send armed missiles across the Channel into London, this was 1944 and onwards. These were unmanned but guided missiles fired from portable launch stations in France. Over 24,000 rockets would be made that year. Over 4000 would be fired towards that city, of which, 3000 impacted. The V2 rocket is the father of all Shoot and Scoot missiles (like the Russian Scud). Mounted on trucks, they fired and left the location making it impossible for allied air units to destroy. The rocket was supersonic with a large warhead, the allies had no defense to it. By the time you heard it, it was too late. The V-2 flew starting in 1944. The first air to air missile was HS 298 a missiles fired from an aircraft and radio controlled to its target. It had a range of 9 km. The HS 293D had a small television camera in the nose so the aircraft could steer it to the target. Exactly how it is done today.
  4. Volkswagen. Hitler loved cars and the VW was a creation that Porsche had created in 1933 and Hitler promoted as the "peoples car". After the war ended in 1945, it was the British who ordered the first 20,000 VWs, all painted green. By 1948, VW was Germany's greatest export. But it was not until the late 60s or early 70s that VW produced, "the Thing", which was a modernized Kubelwagen used during WW2. The Porsche engine and the VW engine, both air cooled, was ahead of its time, both engines influenced the design of the Chevrolet Corvair, an American air cooled engine car made from 1960-69.

German autobahn 1936
German autobahn 1936
V1 rocket
V1 rocket
V2 mobile missile
V2 mobile missile

German Jets in WW2

Me 163 jet


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