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Old March 25, 2011, 03:13 PM   #9
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,139
The real irony of the Kraft durch Freude (KdF) Wagen (the Germans rarely used the term "Volkswagen" before WWII) was that the buyer paid on the installment plan. Not after he got the car, but in advance. He could have money taken out of his pay, along with his regular dues for the KdF, toward purchase of a car. Of course, due to the evil actions of Poland, Britain, France, etc., the noble Führer was forced into war, so delivery of the cars was delayed (and the noble Führer kept the money). The money was lost, of course, and the KdF ceased to exist. Any German who wanted a Volkswagen had to buy one, but at least in post-war Germany the installment plan meant payment after the buyer took possession.

Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Class. The First Class was an award for bravery and was earned. The Second Class may have been earned, but it was very common, some 5 million being awarded in WWI.

In fact, the Iron Cross Second Class amounted to a combination of service medal and, since it was given to wounded personnel, the Purple Heart. The award was so common that some German soldiers said that the only way to avoid it was desertion.

So far as is known, it is the only German medal to have been "bestowed" on an Englishman during WWI. A British flying officer (I don't recall his name) had been shot down and wounded and was in a German military hospital. An officer came through with a basket full of Iron Cross Second Class medals and simply tossed one on each bed. So an Englishman received a German award. There is no record of whether he ever wore it.

Jim K

Last edited by James K; March 25, 2011 at 03:26 PM.
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