The myth of Hitler’s role in building the autobahn


Many people still believe that the Nazis invented the famous German autobahn, and that the construction work helped eradicate mass unemployment in Germany. But this is a historical fiction.

Adolf Hitler inaugurates work on a stretch of road in a carefully staged propaganda shot

Adolf Hitler takes a spade and sticks it firmly into a heap of sand. One of the soldiers standing around him photographs the Führer, documenting the start of work on another stretch of the famous German autobahn. The image, typical of its time, was circulated nationwide, especially in the regions where little stretches of the “Reichsautobahn” were being built. The sole aim of all this carefully manufactured propaganda was to make sure that citizens throughout the Reich knew that the building work was going on. Whenever construction started on a new section the event was always meticulously documented and publicized, and big inaugural celebrations marked the opening of every stretch of road.


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