Whoa, Driving Around In Nazi Germany Was Super Intense

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Archivists at the Library of Congress recently discovered a "Nazi Driver Education Film." It shows German society just a few years before the war, along with the rather bizarre — and frightening — driving culture of the times.

It might seem like a slapstick silent film, but it's a bona fide instructional video. Aside from the swastika-adorned flag waving at the front of the car, it's supposedly quite indicative of other films at the time. The stop-motion sequences are actually a nice touch.

In the film, drivers are instructed on how to pass other cars, given the do's and don't's of intersections, and shown how to pass streetcars (apparently back in the 1930s you could pass a streetcar that's boarding if you drive at a moderate speed). In one instance, a motorist tries to make a right-hand turn and hits a cyclist — and then gets out to yell at him.


Despite the shenanigans, there's a certain eeriness to the film. As noted by the archivists...

Although a commonplace training film, today's viewer simply cannot approach it devoid of any historical context. While the film portrays a society striving for civic orderliness, we now know all too well what lurked beneath the veneer of these placid scenes of mid-Thirties Germany. Given that history, these images are chilling precisely because they're so ordinary.


More at The Library of Congress.