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Hitler’s Motor Racing Battles: The Silver Arrows under the Swastika

Hitler's Motor Racing Battles“Under the Third Reich, world
  domination was the goal — whatever
  the cost. Germany had to be the
  best at everything and Motorsport was
  no exception
as Eberhard Reuss
  explains in his book Hitler
s Motor
  Racing Battles: The Silver Arrows under
  the Swastika
...”

A FANTASTIC PIECE OF HISTORY, Hitler's Motor Racing Battles: The Silver Arrows under the Swastika by Eberhard Reuss delves into the world of motor racing under the Führer and, at the same time, reveals what it was like to live under the regime.

Divided into eight chapters, the book starts with an introduction by Nazi Brown entitled Beneath The Silver and takes the reader through Motorsport in Pre-Nazi Germany through to the Idols of the Era and an Epilogue with a Bibliography, List of Abbreviations and a thorough Index. Each section is accompanied by useful and interesting reference notes.

The fascinating decade of the 1930s is explored around the social event of motor racing and the sport's importance in Hitler's Germany, where world domination was the secret agenda underlying every aspect of German life. This is the era of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union (Porsche's predecessor) 'Silver Arrows' — at that time the most powerful, technically-sophisticated and spectacular racing cars ever seen. And during the 20s and 30s, the AVUS circuit was the place to be seen — a society day out.

A vital addition to the collection of anybody interested in German and/or Motorsport history, Hitler's Motor Racing Battles is a terrific book; well written, fascinating and informative. Although much has been documented before about the cars and the drivers, this book covers new ground in exploring the Nazi involvement in financing the teams and using them as blatant propaganda.

Eberhard Reuss fills in the missing historical data with meticulously researched information from numerous interviews and extensive work in federal, state and factory archives never before so closely examined.

In the days before Enzo Ferrari had come up with his magic formula, German racing cars were way ahead of the others in respect of performance, chassis and aerodynamics. Hitler placed a great deal of value on appearances — borne out by the large motor cars that symbolised force, strength, power and superiority.

The heroes of Motorsport come to life in the pages — people like Rudolf Caracciola (affectionately known as 'Caratsch'), the son of an hotelier from Remagen, who went from being a car salesman and weekend racer to signing a works contract with Mercedes-Benz and winning the first German Grand Prix in 1926 at the age of 25; and Adolf Rosenberger, a Jewish racing driver and businessman from Pforzheim who financed the origins of the Porsche factory. Unfortunately Rosenberger was involved in an accident during practice for the Grand Prix. He and his mechanic, Curt Coquelline, suffered severe injuries and, tragically, three stewards were killed.

There was also Manfred von Brauchitsch, who shot to victory at the Nürburgring with the very first entry for a silver Mercedes-Benz racing car — thus laying the foundations of the legend. And Hans Stuck von Villiez, who found success racing under the Nazi regime despite the fact that his wife was half Jewish. Thanks to his success as a racing driver and his contacts with SS chief Himmler and his lackeys, Stuck was able to protect her from harassment and arrest.

Hitler's Motor Racing Battles
details the involvement and support of Hitler, Goring, Himmler and other top Nazis in the evolution of the German motor industry and its racing teams and investigates in detail the financial support provided by the Nazi regime for the 'national racing cars' of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union.

Eberhard Reuss also looks at aspects of political activity and manipulation that occurred in the shadows. During the Third Reich, Hitler's face was seen on the front of every programme for the Grand Prix and Nazi involvement was also overt throughout this six-year period of motor racing.

Most races were attended by a senior Nazi, Adolf Hühnlein, who reported directly to Hitler. The Nazi presence pervaded motorsport as it did the rest of Germany with race grids heavy with soldiers wearing swastikas, strong uniformed presence on victory podiums and stiff arm salutes at the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union factories when winning cars returned.

Hitler's Motor Racing Battles reveals how German drivers and motor industry leaders, despite claiming to be strictly non-political, allowed themselves to be harnessed to the Nazi political bandwagon. Interestingly, although they were Nazi Party members and held honorary ranks in the SS, most escaped punishment after the war and eventually resumed their careers.

Hitler's Motor Racing Battles: The Silver Arrows under the Swastika by Eberhard Reuss is packed with new research and insight. This book is essential reading for anyone who is fascinated by this remarkable period of history or the history of motor racing itself. Out now in hardback, from Haynes Publishing (ISBN: 978 1 84425 476 7), Hitler's Motor Racing Battles is available from all good bookshops at an RRP of £25.

"A vital addition to the collection of anybody interested in German and/or Motorsport history, Hitler's Motor Racing Battles is a terrific book; well written, fascinating and informative" — MotorBar


Eberhard Reuss worked for many years as a radio and TV journalist, where he developed a speciality for motor racing as a Formula 1 reporter for Germany's Radio ARD, covering many of Michael Schumacher's races. He has also produced many TV documentaries on motor racing history.

Hitler's Motor Racing Battles: The Silver Arrows under the Swastika
, Eberhard's first book published in English, is the result of twenty years of research and was first published in his native Germany in 2006. It was named 'Motorsport Book of the Year' by the Motor Presse Club, a group of distinguished German motoring journalists. The author lives near Mannheim, Germany.