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Hitler and Bike Lanes

by Ted Johnson
Hitle and Bike Lanes

Photo: Der Untergang (Downfall)

I’ve probably seen 20 different YouTube versions of this scene from Der Untergang (Downfall), but I think I finally have a favorite.

This treatment apparently is inspired by bike lanes in Vancouver, BC. But it’s applicable just about anywhere there are contested bike lanes.

With the heated debate over bike lanes in so many cities, I’m a little surprised that Reducto ad Hitlerum took so long to surface. Whenever you have two groups of hotheads shouting at each other for long enough, some fool usually plays the Nazi card.


(Via Tubulocity)

There’s ammo for both sides.

Hitler was a bike messenger:

Hitler’s [WWI] record describes him as a ‘Catholic’, an ‘Artist’ and a ‘Messenger (bike rider) for the Regiment’, whose role was to carry messages back and forth from the command staff to the units near the battlefield.

Hitler hated bikes:

But he saw the car as a prestige symbol and sign of German superiority over other nations. Even though he believed in physical fitness, he banned bikes from highways and banned the main cycling clubs so that the “poor man’s” transport wasn’t seen.

Okay, that second quote is just from a YouTube commenter, who does not attribute the source of his/her information. But someone definitely said it, and it’s on the Web now. But as Wikipedia would say: [Citation Needed]

Well then, Hitler loved cars:

[T]he Fuhrer was fascinated with every aspect of the automobile, its history, its inherent liberating appeal and, of course, its application as a weapon of war… In 1928, just before the Depression hit, one in five Americans owned a car, while in Germany, ownership was one in 134.
[...]
[Hitler] commented at the Berlin International Automobile and Motor Cycle Show: “It can only be said with profound sadness that, in the present age of civilization, the ordinary hard-working citizen is still unable to afford a car, a means of up-to-date transport and a source of enjoyment in the leisure hours.”

But before you compare that driver who just gave you the right hook to Hitler, remember that when you play the Nazi card, you’ve already lost the argument.


Update: This post was published on Adolf HItler’s birthday. That was just a really creepy coincidence. I had no idea.

 
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2 Responses to “Hitler and Bike Lanes”

  1. Rich Ireland says:

    When a title like that comes across the RSS Feed, one is compelled to read it!

  2. Rich Ireland says:

    BTW- It appears the Germans have rejected Hitler’s notion of bike lanes with prejudice… Germany’s Radler culture is quite vibrant, with plenty of bike lanes and great places to ride. I am taking a cycling vacation in Bavaria this August in fact…

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