The Nazis and the German Auto Industry: Background information when reading The Bee Sting

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The Bee Sting

A Novel

by Paul Murray

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray X
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
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    Aug 2023, 656 pages


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Norah Piehl
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The Nazis and the German Auto Industry

This article relates to The Bee Sting

Photo of a tan-colored VW utility vehicle used by German forces in WWII In Paul Murray's novel The Bee Sting, Dickie Barnes is the reluctant owner of a failing Volkswagen dealership. One character provokes Dickie's teenage daughter Cass by telling her that Volkswagen was started by the Nazis, so it's no great loss if the dealership shuts down. And it's true that even though these days Volkswagen might be best known as the developer of iconic vehicles like the Beetle, the Rabbit, and the VW Bus, or as the originator of the 1990s "Fahrvergnügen" advertising campaign, the company did indeed get its start as a project of the German government under the control of the National Socialist Party.

Volkswagen was founded in 1937 as Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH, soon renamed simply Volkswagenwerk ("The People's Car Company") and operated by the German Labor Front, the Nazis' national labor organization. Adolf Hitler had ambitious plans for developing an extensive automobile infrastructure in the country, and part of those ...

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