The Arteries of the Reich


The Arteries of the Reich


Planned at a construction pace of a thousand kilometers per year, the Reichsautobahn—or Straßen Adolf Hitlers—was to crisscross all of the Reich’s territory. Combined with intense motorization—exemplified in the concept of the Volkswagen, the national car—the new arteries of the Nazi state would transform the German society into a “Motorized Volksgemeinschaft.” The character of the new Reichsautobahn was seemingly distinct from that of the regular road. Regular roads were laid as reinforced lines of the landscape that would favor not only the circulation of several different kind of human or animal powered devices—as such forming a democratic realm of circulation—but also performed as sites of social, cultural, economic, and even recreational activities. Autobahn, on the other hand was seemingly only an conduit of high-speed locomotion. However, the Reichsautobahn was, quite conversely, a space that married all the modern attributes of speed an connectivity with the features of traditional roads: it was by itself a space of social, cultural, economic and recreational activities.


Wucher, Waldemar, ed. Fünf Jahre Arbeit an den Strassen Adolf Hitlers. Berlin: Volk und Reich Verlag, 1938






“The Arteries of the Reich,” Mapping Cultural Space Across Eurasia, accessed June 23, 2024,



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