Tag Archives: Nazi


Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. I’m going to pause retelling the story of Babylonian exile until tomorrow. 

“The international day remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution.

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah – which means “destruction” in Hebrew – took place between 1941 and 1945.”


I like Ike

Dwight D. Eisenhower (his pals called him ‘Ike’) never forgot that 2-month schlep getting a military convoy from one side of the country to the other. Serving in Germany in World War II, he must have been impressed with the autobahn. The autobahn was conceived as a cars-only road for long-distance traveling. When the Nazis took it over, the autobahn became a highway system that connected all of Germany—built strong enough for heavy military vehicles.*

When I say system, I’m talking about highways that allow access to all points north-south-east-west, and connect to each other strategically.

1956 Chevy Bel Air—yeah, baby.

As president, he championed the idea of an American interstate highway system and convinced Congress to enact legislation to make it happen. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act. The United States was getting an interstate highway system.

Did you know this? The interstate highways going east-west get even numbers. The interstate highways going north-south get odd numbers. Just remember east, west & even all have Es. North, south & odd all have Os.

* I’m not trying to make the Nazis look good. They were horrible monsters. Still, you can learn even from Nazis when they do something well. Ike learned from his life’s experiences, good and bad.


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The Autobahn society

In 1913, a group of wealthy German automobile enthusiasts started building something new: a motorway—a road for automobiles only. It was designed for fast driving. You wouldn’t have to slow down or stop for horse-drawn wagons or buggies. It had four lanes—2 lanes for each direction with a wide median (grassy area) between them. It was called the autobahn.

The first 19 kilometer section near Berlin was experimental. It was a success!—a dream to drive a car on—and so through the teens, 20s and 30s the autobahn got expanded. It didn’t get expanded very quickly, though. Work stopped while Germany fought World War I. After they lost the war there was economic depression. For the many Germans out of work, the autobahn must have looked like a project for rich people who could afford cars. The autobahn was built a piece at a time, financed by local government or wealthy investors.

During that time of economic crisis, the Nazi (National Socialist) Party was gaining popularity. The party leader, Chancellor Hitler, at first rejected having anything to do with the autobahn. After all, the Nazis were supposed to be about helping the little guy, the guy who couldn’t afford a car. Eventually, though, Hitler recognized the propaganda value of seeing Germans at work on the motorway, making it seem as though the German economy were booming. He had himself photographed with a shovel wherever the autobahn was being constructed. Hitler also recognized the value of having a nationwide road system for quickly transporting troops and military vehicles (cue the ominous music).


The History of Autobahn


September 4,1891 – The Autobahn designer is born


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