Hitler’s Motor Racing Battles reviewed

F1 reviewsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

I’ve had this book in my ‘to review’ pile for several months and by pure chance I finally got around to writing it up on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

After the Nazis took power in Germany following Adolf Hitler’s election as Reich Chancellor in 1933, they poured money into motor racing teams. The intention was to rally public support at home and demonstrate Germany’s technical and – the Nazis believed – racial superiority.

The recipients of this investment were Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union – the latter an alliance of Horch, DKW, Wandered and Audi, which used the four rings logo still sported by Audis today. These state funded racing teams spurred Grand Prix racing technology at a fearsome pace.

Their drivers – especially the German ones – were heroes in the Third Reich. But did they actually espouse Nazi values, or merely pay lip service to them in order to drive the fastest cars in motor racing? This controversial area of pre-war motor racing history is addressed by Eberhard Reuss in this book.

Reuss asks difficult questions and provides challenging answers. Many F1 racing books are – to put it mildly – rather lightweight. “Hitler’s Motor Racing Battles” is a proper historical text with an onus on information rather than entertainment which, given the subject matter, is entirely appropriate. Definitely the best book I’ve read on the subject, and an essential purchase for readers of motor racing history.

F1 Fanatic rating

five out of five

Eberhard Reuss

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