Hitler’s Motor Racing Battles reviewed

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I’ve had this book in my ‘to review’ pile for several months and by pure chance I finally got around to writing it up on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

After the Nazis took power in Germany following Adolf Hitler’s election as Reich Chancellor in 1933, they poured money into motor racing teams. The intention was to rally public support at home and demonstrate Germany’s technical and – the Nazis believed – racial superiority.

The recipients of this investment were Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union – the latter an alliance of Horch, DKW, Wandered and Audi, which used the four rings logo still sported by Audis today. These state funded racing teams spurred Grand Prix racing technology at a fearsome pace.

Their drivers – especially the German ones – were heroes in the Third Reich. But did they actually espouse Nazi values, or merely pay lip service to them in order to drive the fastest cars in motor racing? This controversial area of pre-war motor racing history is addressed by Eberhard Reuss in this book.

Reuss asks difficult questions and provides challenging answers. Many F1 racing books are – to put it mildly – rather lightweight. “Hitler’s Motor Racing Battles” is a proper historical text with an onus on information rather than entertainment which, given the subject matter, is entirely appropriate. Definitely the best book I’ve read on the subject, and an essential purchase for readers of motor racing history.

RaceFans rating

Rating five out of five

Eberhard Reuss

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “Hitler’s Motor Racing Battles reviewed”

    1. Sounds like quite an interesting read. Not just entertaining, but informative as well. Maybe I’ll ask my mother-in-law to give it to me for Sinterklaas. :)

    2. Just shows the public support and interest you can rack up through motorsport.

    3. you know this book is on Max’s book shelf! only jokin, not sure if its worth £15

    4. Yep, this one will be also on my Sinterklaas whish-list ;)

    5. Lol, bet old Adolf is turning in his grave (or where ever he ended up) with a, how shall we say, non-Arian chap winning a motor racing world championship in a car powered by Mercedes!!!

    6. I knew a guy who knew a guy who said Hilter didn’t tip well…. What a jerk.

    7. AmericanTifosi
      12th November 2008, 4:35

      Thanks for the review, Keith. I’m an avid reader and always looking for great F1 books.

    8. I heard Max Mosley has heavily endorsed it.

    9. also Ferdinand Porsche was a good mate of Hitlers, he designed the VolksWagon (peoples car), which everyone would have owned had they had been blonde.

      Which is why we now have the VW car company, and the Polish built the Beetle, so big round of applause for the Poles… they built a lovely little car.

    10. I thought the kaefer-beetle was built in Wolfsburg (hitlers named place)

    11. Mussolini's pet cat
      13th November 2008, 10:32

      Don’t forget, after the war the British Army essentially kicked-started manufacturing again at VW…

    12. Motion, by Polish slaves (essentially, I ain’t gonna sugar coat history, humans are awful beings… luckily i’m a meerkat)

      Correct Pet Cat, the name for The Company was taken from the name of the Porsche designed people car.

    Comments are closed.