VW Beetle Part III: From Hitler to Hippies
Back to the epic conclusion of our three part series on the Volkswagen Beetle. It's been dark road the F. Are you guys a lot of really messed up stuff? But there's a lot of peace in love in the future. Yea here that this episode is about peace and love so I'm looking forward to. We're going to get there. Hey guys welcome to the. Pass Gas podcast. You like passed gas. Please help us grow by giving us a good rating and a nicer view on the podcast platform of your choice to really help us out. I really appreciate it. Thank you all right now for the show. When we last left off the Volkswagen Wolfsburg factory originally meant to Make Carson. People WAS BUILDING WEAPONS OF WAR INSTEAD. Wolfsburg was targeted by the allies and nearly destroyed but the war ended. Hitler was dead. It was time yeah. It was time for the Volkswagen to live up to. Its name is name was the people's car Ooh bye-bye now that the war was over. Germany was faced with the massive task of reconstructing a shattered country including resupplying. The transportation needs for the people after the war. Germany was divided into multiple zones. The British American Soviet and French sectors Wolfsburg was situated within the British sector and the factory was still under the British pocket book in the years after the war it was also under constant threat of being shut down but once the British and American sectors merged it became apparent that British Army Engineer Major Ivan. Hirst would be able to secure the necessary funding to keep the factory afloat. The country would once again be allowed to participate within the global free market in nineteen forty seven. Obviously these policies had a direct impact on the Volkswagen factory British officials representing the VW plant had continued to push further permission to export during all of these changes every single one of their requests export though had been denied but now the Germany was allowed to enter the market the VW plant was finally viewed as a way to ease the British expenses and in March of nineteen forty seven. The factory quotas were raised. The People's car would be allowed to be exported outside of Germany but only to the Netherlands Belgium and France. The first official export of the car occurred in August that same year? A massive total of five cars were exported and the process was a difficult. One selling quote. Hitler'S CARS TO COUNTRY. Hitler try to Concord. Seemed kind of absurd but it wasn't Hitler's car anymore. So anything can happen. I think they should should stop calling Hitler's car if they want to sell it. Probably not the best marketing hooked. This is a great car. This was Hitler's car. It was obvious that British Army Engineer Major Ivan. Hirst couldn't run the plant forever. He was a military man and while he loved his position at the plant he had a larger job that took priority but each time they tried to take her out of the factory chaos ensued. He ran a tight ship soon enough. The search for a replacement began but for the volatile plant to return to German hands. It needed someone who had expertise when it came to running a major factory. Former Opel head Heinrich Nordhoff. Remember him from the last episode mentioned him he had been barred from working in the American business sector since he had been given an award from the Nazis. A FEW YEARS PRIOR ON K. Not a good look opal was controlled by GM. And Mr Nordhoff was forced out of his job. Due to America's quote no nonsense policy on Nazi involvement after the war you know other than hiring Nazi scientists to develop bombs and stuff. Yeah and like the entire space program. Yeah let's not talk about. Yeah that's true Operation Paper Clip. Look it up. When it came to looking for a factory manager Nordhoff. He might sense. He was experienced in managing factories and since the VW plant was under British control. He was actually allowed to work there on January. First of nineteen forty eight Heinrich took up position as managing director of the Volkswagen. Plant by recommendation of major hearst upon his arrival to Wolfsburg Nordhoff noted that the factory still looked exactly like it did during the war. It was basically a pile of ruins that could somehow produce cars so he knew he had a lot of work to do. So we got the work while he was meant to report to hearst with each action the roles were kind of reversed. It was obvious that Nord off was the expert and no one complained. Once you took control. The first thing Nordhoff did was replaced all the English signs back to German ones. Oh that's the bathroom is been peeing in jars from meanwhile nineteen forty. Seven was a terrible year for Ferdinand. Porsche he had been moved from his original prison to the Dank Dungeons in dijon into John. That sounds like your APP album named Dude Dank dungeons dungeons. That's pretty good good anyway remember. He had been arrested by the French. Police For colluding with Hitler Hitler. Yeah that guy so at this prison in the in Dijon. They were not even given beds all around him other men involved in the war. We're being sentenced to death in the Nuremberg trials. So at least Porsche was better off than that. After twenty two months Porsche and his family were released from the French prisons and declared not guilty of their crimes as the French government only tried him regarding the forced labor of French prisoners The Porsche Corporation to this day still denies the use of forced labour in their factory. At the time just it's better just to come clean about it. You know. Yeah Yeah I mean there's no way right. There's no way that they didn't. I don't know the rest of his record was sort of six months after his arrival to the Volkswagen Factory Heinrich Nordhoff was still sleeping on the factory. Floor on a flimsy. Kat issues plagued the factory especially the lack of housing but most importantly there wasn't really a local market for the cars. Germany was still dirt poor. And those who have the money to buy car tended to steer clear of the word. Volkswagen makes sense also. The factory was amazingly inefficient. It took workers in a reported three hundred hours to build a single car so nordhoff had to reshuffle the factory line in order to imitate the successful style of the lines in Detroit. Normally that Nordhoff expertise allowed him to play with the budget. A little bit. Nineteen forty-nine was the first year the factory was given a firm quota of forty thousand cars and nord-ost reshuffling allowed the cars to be produced over two hundred dollars under budget nor off also rebuilt the factory. He figured out that having bombed out walls and ceilings. Kinda hurt company around. Yeah I remember when our office got blown up. That was really tough to come to work every day. Yes like where do I plug my charger in? Yeah there's no wall. Where am I snack? All my snacks. So Heinrich had the place tidied up a little bit. Most importantly he completely changed the entire decision making power structure of the factory. Using a general manager who controlled multiple departments head on and so on while that's super commonplace. Now this was revolutionary at this time in German history but ultimately the company was still controlled by the British government and while they remain about as far out of the picture as they could heinrich still had to answer to them in the end.