The Volkswagen Beetle was not designed by Hitler, but it was financed by his government.
Hitler was a car buff and he wanted industrious German workers riding around in automobiles, like the Americans.
German automakers were not interested, so when Ferdinand Porsche approached him with his idea of a small “people’s car,” Hitler agreed to finance the project.
Thus began Gezuvor-Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung de Deutschen Volkswagen BmbH, Society for the Development of the German People’s Car.
In 1938, Hitler presided at laying the cornerstone of the new Volskwagenwerk factory and announced that the car would henceforth be known as the Kraft-durch-Freude Wagen, or the Strength-Through-Joy Car.
Luckily, the name didn’t stick. The plant built only 210 Beetles before converting to a slave-labor camp that produced Jeep-like Kiibelwagens and amphibious Schwimmkubels.
It wasn’t until several years after World War II that VWs started rolling off the line again.