The Silver Arrows under the Swastika
Publication: Out Now, RRP: £25.00, Format: Hardback, ISBN: 978 1 84425 476 7The 1930s was a fascinating decade in every conceivable way - including motor racing. This was the era of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union 'Silver Arrows', at the time the most powerful, technically sophisticated and spectacular racing cars ever seen. Over the years a good deal has been written about the cars and drivers, but almost nothing about the direct involvement of the Nazi regime in financing the teams and using them as naked propaganda. Now, at last, this vacuum has been filled by Eberhard Reuss, whose meticulous research involved numerous interviews and extensive work in federal, state and factory archives that have not been previously examined.
Hitler's Motor Racing Battles describes the involvement and support of Hitler, Göring, Himmler and other top Nazis in the evolution of the German motor industry and its racing teams, investigates in detail the financial support provided by the Nazi regime for the 'national racing cars' of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, and reveals other aspects of political activity and manipulation that occurred in the shadows.
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 motor sport as it did the rest of Germany: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.
This book reveals how German drivers and motor industry leaders, though claiming to be profoundly non-political, nevertheless allowed themselves to be harnessed to the Nazi political bandwagon, and how, despite being Nazi Party members and holding honorary ranks in the SS, most escaped punishment after the war and eventually resumed their careers. Thanks to his success as a racing driver and his contacts with SS chief Himmler and his lackeys, Hans Stuck was able to protect his half-Jewish wife from harassment and arrest. Packed with new research and insight, this book is essential reading for anyone who is captivated by this remarkable period of history or motor racing.
Eberhard Reuss worked for many years as a radio and TV journalist, he developed a speciality for motor racing as Formula 1 reporter for Germany's Radio ARD, covering many of Michael Schumacher's races, and has produced many TV documentaries on motor racing history. This book, his first in English, is the result of 20 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.