By on March 9, 2014

Siegfried Marcus’ first motorcar circa 1870

Note: Our colleagues at Jalopnik published a post about Canadian inventor Henry Seth Taylor’s 1867 Steam Buggy and whether he should be credited with inventing the automobile. Taylor and his invention certainly deserve mention in the history of the automobile, but there is a historical record that three years before Taylor’s steam powered Buggy hit the road another inventor, Siegfried Marcus, had already powered a vehicle with gasoline. This post about Marcus was originally published in a slightly different version at Cars In Depth.

With something as evolutionary as the automobile, it might be a fool’s errand to try and determine just who “invented” the car as we know it. Should we date and credit the automobile to Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot’s fardier à vapeur steam wagon of 1770, or should the timeline start with something more practical, more similar to the modern automobile?

You have to start somewhere and most modern histories of the car credit Gotlieb Daimler and Carl Benz as being the auto’s inventors, with Benz’s Patent Motor Wagen usually cited as the first automobile, though as we shall see, that wasn’t always the case. Benz’s three-wheeler is considered to be so historically significant that even the replica Patent Wagens made by John Bentley Engineering in the UK from 1986-97 now fetch high five-figure prices at auction and many are in the collections of some of the finest automotive museums in the world including Mercedes-Benz’s own museum. It’s true that the Benz trike was the first practical automobile, and certainly was the first motorcar that went into production and was sold, but while Benz and Daimler’s achievements were indisputable, it’s likely that the honor of being considered the automobile’s inventor was given to those German engineers after being stolen by the Nazis from Siegfried Marcus. Marcus was an engineer and prolific inventor who lived and worked in Vienna and made a four wheel vehicle with a gasoline powered engine decades before Benz and Daimler made their motorcars.

Siegfried Samuel Marcus 1831 – 1898

It’s not surprising that neo-Nazis like to call themselves “historical revisionists”. The original Nazis were already rewriting history before the start of hostilities in World War II. Marcus, as mentioned, was a fecund inventor, with 131 patents granted to him in a number of countries. Most of his research was in the area of scientific instruments, electricity, lighting, telegraphs and ignition. An early technical and commercial success of Marcus’ was inventing a magneto powered igniter for explosives, a t-handled plunger device familiar from western and mining movies. Sales of his inventions funded further research. In the 1860s, Marcus became interested in fuel engines and realized that if liquid fuel was going to be used, it would have to be aerosolized, atomized and mixed with air. Based on one of his earlier fuel fired inventions, Marcus developed what was quite possibly the first carburetor. First working on atmospheric engines and later on combustion engines, no later than in 1870 Marcus mounted a benzene fueled two-stroke combustion engine on a four wheeled cart. Some sources say Marcus’ first motorcar was assembled as early as 1864, three years before Canadian inventor Henry Seth Taylor’s Steam Buggy and more than 20 years before the Benz Patent Wagen.

Early Marcus combustion engine. Dated 1870, it appears to be the same engine he used in his first motorcar.

There is a photograph of the first Marcus motorcar dated 1870 and signed by Siegfried Marcus. A number of reliable contemporary accounts describe Marcus “driving” his vehicle on and around Mariahilfer Strasse, the street in Vienna where he had his workshop. I said “driving” because the first Marcus motorcar had no clutch, used the rear wheels as flywheels for the vertically mounted engine, and could not be controlled very well due to the absence of any brakes or steering. Oh, and no seats either.

No, it was not as practical as the Benz Patent Wagen, but as a proof of concept today it’s considered to be the first gasoline powered combustion engine driven vehicle. Based on the 1864 date inscribed into the Vienna memorial to Marcus, his motorcar ran 22 years before Benz’s Patent Wagen and Daimler’s Reitwagen rolled out of their workshops, and more than 30 years before Henry Ford first drove his own Quadricycle down Bagley Ave. in Detroit.

Replica of the first Marcus motorcar in the museum of Malchin, Germany, Marcus’ hometown

Benz and Daimler, like Henry Ford and other automotive pioneers, saw a business opportunity. Marcus already had a thriving business so to him the motorcar was more of an intellectual pursuit and he never tried to manufacture or sell his motorcars, though he did, like David Buick, Henry Leland and the Dodge Brothers, sell engines for stationary and marine applications.

In the late 1880s, about the same time that Benz was developing the Patent Wagen, Marcus built a second motorcar, this one much more sophisticated than the first Marcus motorcar and in a number of ways closer to a modern car than Benz’s three wheeler. To begin with, it had four wheels, but it also had magneto powered electric ignition. Spark ignition would not become standard in automotive engines for at least 15 more years.

Siegfried Marcus’ second motorcar ~1888

If the second Marcus car ever ran, it didn’t run particularly well. An exact replica was made not long ago and it was found to just barely have enough horsepower to move under it’s own motive force.

Patent drawings for Marcus’ carburetor

Still, before WWII, Marcus was known, certainly in the Austrian and German technical and automotive communities, as the father of the automobile. There was a statue of Marcus erected in Vienna’s Karlsplatz, and a memorial plaque to him stood at the entrance of the Technical University there. Further evidence of his role in automotive history can be seen from the famous Selden patent case. A number of automakers challenged George Selden’s 1877 U.S. patent on a horseless carriage, after Selden tried to use that patent to monopolize the auto industry, or at least extract royalties from other manufacturers. Daimler’s American branch hired Ludwig Czischek, the secretary of the Austrian Automobile Club, to document the history of the Marcus motorcars, in the hope that the second Marcus car predated Selden’s patent. That turned out not to be the case, but it does show that Marcus and his motorcars were known in the automotive industries in both Europe and the United States. Czischek’s research, which has resurfaced in modern times, has cleared up some uncertainties about the Marcus car’s, particularly just when the second car was made. For a while, because of some inaccurate dating, some thought that the second Marcus car was made in the late 1870s, about a decade earlier than when it was actually fabricated. Now we know that the second Marcus car was indeed made after Daimler and Benz made their first motor vehicles. While that may earn Benz and Daimler honors for the first practical cars, it takes nothing away from the significant achievement Marcus made with his primitive first motorcar in 1870. That achievement was acknowledged. For forty years after his death in 1898, Austrian schoolchildren were taught that Marcus was the inventor of the motorcar.

Four stroke Marcus engine c. 1875

Then came the Auschluss, the unification of Austria and Germany under Nazi rule in 1938. The statue of Marcus was torn down, the memorial plaque ripped off the engineering college’s wall. The automobile, the autobahns and the Volkswagen, were important aspects of the Third Reich’s policies. In that light it would not do to have a Jew as the inventor of the automobile. So history was rewritten.

Restored memorial to Siegfried Marcus, Karlsplatz, Vienna. The inscription reads “Inventor of the Gasoline Automobile 1864″

In July of 1940, the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, sent a letter to the directors of 1Daimler-Benz-A.G. in Stuttgart. The propaganda ministry told Daimler-Benz management that the publishers of Germany’s two most important encyclopedias, the Meyers Lexikon and the Grosse Brockhaus, had been directed to remove the name of Siegfried Marcus and replace it with that of Gottlieb Damiler and Carl Benz as the inventors of the automobile. The use of the phrase “German engineers” made it clear to the publishers why Marcus’ name was to be excised.

[Google translation]

2Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Business signs. S 1 8100/4.7.4.0/7

Berlin W8, 4 July 1940
Wilhelmsplatz 8-9

To the management of Daimler-Benz A.G. Stuttgart-Untertürkheim

Subject: true inventor of the automobile
In your letter dated 30 May 1940 Dr.Wo / Fa.

The Bibliographic Institute and the publisher F.A. Brockhaus have been advised that in future Meyers Lexikon, and the Great Brockhaus are not called to Siegfried Marcus, but the two German engineers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz as the creator of the modern automobile.

In order signed by Dr. Eckmann

Siegfried Marcus was literally written out of history. Nazi propagandists and German publishers were not the only ones to do so. Early instruction manuals published by Germany’s Bosch electrical component company credited Marcus with inventing the magneto, not Robert Bosch, but at some point prior to World War Two, that credit was removed from Bosch company literature.

Thanks to the efforts of good people, though, efforts have been made to successfully restore Siegfried Marcus’ rightful role in automotive history. His statue and memorial plaque in Vienna have been restored. The museum in his hometown of Malchin, Germany has extensive displays about Marcus, with a replica of the first Marcus motorcar. Students at Vienna’s Technical School for Automotive Technology also built a replica of the two stroke engine used on that first motorcar. Vienna’s Technical Museum houses a replica of the second Marcus motorcar.

Unlike the replicas of his first motorcar and its engine, which were based on photographs and Marcus’ own sketches, a replica of the second Marcus motorcar was based on the original, in the collection of the Austrian Automobile Club. The 2nd Marcus car was built, to Marcus’ specifications, by the Märky, Bromovsky & Schulz Company of Vienna, which apparently retained rights to the car. In 1898 it was part of a public exhibition about early motorcars and then sold to the automobile club. By 1938 ownership changed hand to Vienna’s Technical Museum. Fortunately for automotive history, the museum relegated the Marcus car to a storage room where it was safe from the Nazis, who surely would have destroyed it when they destroyed the memorials to Marcus. After the war, the car was returned to the Austrian Automobile Club and the memorials were rebuilt.

Restoring Marcus’ role in history won’t be quite so easy as restoring a statue or conserving an antique motorcar. The notion of Benz and Daimler as inventors of the automobile has become entrenched as common knowledge. Still, Marcus has slowly been getting his due. In 1948, his remains were re-interred in an honorary tomb in Simmering’s central cemetary. His bust, removed by the Nazis, was restored to its original stand in the Resselpark, in front of the Technical University, and another memorial bust was erected at the mechanic’s institute. A street in Vienna’s 14th district was also named for Marcus. In all there are now a half dozen memorials to Siegfried Marcus in and around Vienna.

It’s important to point out that much of the work done to restore the legacy of Siegfried Marcus was done by Austrians and Germans, eager to right the crimes against history by the Third Reich. There are German language web sites devoted to Marcus, his life and his inventions. As mentioned, his German hometown honors him with a display in the local historical museum and his second motorcar is a treasured part of the Austrian Automobile Club’s collection of historical cars.

The historical record and Marcus’ role in it is also slowly being restored. Most modern comprehensive histories of the automobile that go back to Cugnot’s steam wagons now indeed give a nod to Marcus. Those that don’t call him the father of the motorcar do say he had an important role in its development. It’s now generally accepted, with reliable certainty, that Siegfried Marcus was the first person in history to drive a four wheeled vehicle with a gasoline engine.

Otto and Diesel might have invented engines. Benz and Daimler might have sold the first (sort of) practical motor vehicles. Frederick Lanchester, Harry Ricardo, Henry Royce, David Buick and Henry Leland might have made them powerful and reliable machines (well, by the standards of the day). None of their inventiveness and industriousness would have meant much, though, without Marcus’ first motorcar. To be sure, if Marcus hadn’t done it first, someone else would have, and going back to Cugnot and earlier, the basic concept of powered motion is ancient, but as far as we can determine from the historical record, Marcus was indeed the first person to put a gasoline motor on a four wheeled vehicle.

Almost all early combustion engine development and sales was targeted at existing steam engine applications. Before Buick, Ricardo, Leland and the Dodge brothers sold motors for cars, they sold marine engines for boats and stationary engines to run pumps, farm equipment and machine shops. So did Marcus. Perhaps putting that primitive two stroke engine on a cart wasn’t quite as obvious an idea as it seems a century and a half later. Someone had to be the first to do it, and that person was Siegfried Marcus. You can call him the inventor of the car if you want, or save that honor for Carl and Gotlieb. Honoring Benz and Daimler, though, carries with it the undeniable fact that you’d be helping some very, very bad people rewrite history. On the other hand, if you remember the name Siegfried Marcus and what he accomplished you’ll be helping to keep the historical record as history actually happened.

———-

1. It’s not clear from the propaganda ministry’s letter just what was in Daimler-Benz’s original letter of 30 May, 1940. One can assume that Daimler-Benz was eager to call their founders the inventors of the automobile. I don’t know if the automaker was also bringing Marcus’  Jewish ancestry to the knowledge of the Nazis or not, but that referenced letter does raise some questions. When the bulk of this material was first published in 2011, I sent a request to the Daimler historical archives to see if they have a copy or even a record of the May 1940 letter that Daimler-Benz initially sent to the German government. that resulted in Siegfried Marcus getting almost erased from automotive history.

2.Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda
Geschäftszeichen. S 8100/4.7.4.0/7 1

Berlin W8, den 4. Juli 1940
Wilhelmplatz 8-9

An die Direktion der Daimler-Benz-A.G. Stuttgart-Untertürkheim

Betrifft: Eigentlichen Erfinder des Automobils
Auf Ihr Schreiben vom 30. Mai 1940 Dr.Wo/Fa.

Das Bibliographische Institut und der Verlag F.A. Brockhaus sind darauf hingewiesen worden, dass in Meyers Konversations Lexikon und im Großen Brockhaus künftig nicht Siegfried Marcus, sondern die beiden deutschen Ingenieure Gottlieb Daimler und Carl Benz als Schöpfer des modernen Kraftwagens zu bezeichnen sind.

Im Auftrag gez. Dr. Eckmann

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152 Comments on “How the Nazis Made Daimler & Benz the Inventors of the Automobile and Wrote Siegfried Marcus Out of History...”


  • avatar
    roadscholar

    Interesting article, thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      “History is bunk”. – Henry Ford.

      German immigrant is first in flight:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Whitehead

      It may come as a shock to you but the politicians in CT have made it official:

      Connecticut lawmakers write Wright Brothers out of history as ‘first in flight’
      Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill into law that names Gustave Whitehead as the first person to fly a powered airplane. The historic change is the result of newly discovered photos by aviation historian John Brown.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/connecticut-lawmakers-wright-brothers-flight-wrong-article-1.1384079#ixzz2vX6RRZhl

      History is written by the victorious and that would be Daimler and Benz.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        “History is written by the victorious and that would be Daimler and Benz.”

        The same is true for the Wright Bros. While many achived at least a short uncontrolled hop prior to their first flight, the Wright Bros. moved beyond Kitty Hawk to form an airplane factory and barnstorm the U.S. and Europe selling airplanes. They contributed more to early aviation than Whitehead, Langley (which the Smithsonian for many years tried to claim was the first to fly), Kress, Jatho and others; many of whose designs were evolutionary dead ends. Later on, they hindered aviation progress in their attempts to defend their patents; but their firm was later merged with bitter rival Curtiss to form the Curtiss-Wright company; which remained in business until 1948.

        For that, they like Daimler and Benz, will always get credit.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_aviation_%E2%80%93_20th_century

  • avatar
    adam_b

    Interesting, but shouldn’t that be “Anschluss” rather than “Auschluss”?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Good article. One thing, if Marcus was accustom to applying for patents for his many inventions, why did he not get a patent for his first or even his second automobile? That oversight cost him his place in history

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      Maybe he didn’t think of first car as finalized so didn’t see the need to patent anything and second car was too late?
      All this leads anyway to discussion what is “motorcar”. Is vehicle without ability to steer and brake a “car”?

  • avatar

    Bertha Benz (Karl Benz’s) wife was the first person to drive a motorized automobile. Fortunately, she wasn’t doing makeup so she didn’t have a chance to WRECK IT and then call me up and say:

    “I had an accident”…

    …. And then as the man you’re supposed to act like you care more about her than all the damage she did to your car.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Ronnie,
    Great article.

    They stole the lives of millions, their homes, their artwork, all their possessions, even dental fillings and skin. Until now, I hadn’t realized the extent to which they had stolen even our heritage. You are doing God’s work restoring accuracy to the historical record, Ronnie.

    Thank you.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Automobiles and comments remain basically unchanged.

  • avatar

    Note: The first footnote has an incomplete edit. I said that after I first looked into the story of Siegfried Marcus in 2011 I contacted Daimler’s archive department to see if they had a copy or record of the May 30, 1940 letter that Daimler-Benz sent the German government that appears to have provoked the Nazis into writing Marcus out of the history books. What I left out was that while Mercedes-Benz is known to usually be helpful and thorough in responding to archive requests, I never received any response.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    An Authoritative Socialist government rewriting history for it’s own interest. No way!

    Thank you for this wonderful article and a reminder of exactly how dangerous the socialist movement was.

    • 0 avatar

      They may have called them selves Socialist but in reality it was a Fascist state.

      • 0 avatar
        Crosley

        They go hand in hand.

        The Nazi regime was all about the state controlling industry and commerce, that’s why they took over the car companies. That’s a major feature of socialism in my book.

        It’s certainly not extreme free-market capitalism.

      • 0 avatar
        Good ole dayz

        Your response implies that there are substantive differences between Socialism and Fascism. There aren’t. Socialism, Fascism, Communism and Progressivism are each merely variations of Collectivism. Only their areas of emphasis differ.

        Communism (and to a lesser extent Socialism, which under Marxist theory is considered a transitory phase toward full-blown Communism) emphasize global economic class and centralization of power into global governance (i.e., under “the Party”).

        Fascism is the fundamentally similar, albeit with nationalistic aspirations serving as the springboard for the global governance (i.e., under “the State”).

        Progressivism is essentially the American iteration of Fascism, albeit it’s focus is centralization of power with a utopian bent, through social engineering (backed by force) seeking to create a national, and eventual global utopia in which the lesser masses are governed by an all-wise and pure elite of “the best and brightest.”

        In all such systems individual liberty is eventually quashed in the name of the collective, and tyranny results, as it’s the only way to enforce the quashing of individual liberty.

        • 0 avatar

          I do believe there are substantive differences between Socialism and Fascism, but I don’t want to waste a perfectly fine Sunday debating the differences between the two. I’d rather go for a drive.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          Sorry, Facism is what you’d get if you took the libertarians out of the Republican Party and cranked the remainder up to 11. You’d be left with the: law and order, socially conservative, “the business of America is business,” foreign policy hawks.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @jmo, +1

          • 0 avatar
            Good ole dayz

            Actually you have it backwards. The rise of Progressivism in the early 20th century United States was notable for its parallels to Fascism: belief in eugenics and superior human beings (e.g., Planned Parenthood’s “Negro Project”; Woodrow Wilson’s suppression of dissident groups — eerily parallel to Obama’s NSA and IRS activities). In fact, during the 1920′s – 1930′s there was a mutual admiration society between American Progressives and European Fascists (see, e.g., the NYT bestseller “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg).

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            Right, because Republicans are always pushing government takeovers of private businesses and always calling for nationalizing industries.

            The Nazi regime was socialist, it was even in the title of the party, National Socialist Workers Party. They supported wage controls, price controls and all major industries being centrally controlled by the government. Hitler’s goal was a classless society made up of one race.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Those who ran the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were obviously Republicans — they even included it in the name!!!

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            I have this backwards?

            “They supported wage controls, price controls ”

            Was Nixon not a republican?

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_Shock

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I don’t know why we bother to drive on freeways, when the Nazis liked them so much. Eisenhower must have been a fascist.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Thanks for reminding me that TTAC and good political discourse don’t mix.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          The left hates you because you are exactly correct, good ole dayz.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          I’ve never really understood the difference. You have explained it very well.

          Excellent comment.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            His comment is a bunch of tripe. It should provoke laughter, but not much more than that.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Agreed Mikey. Notice the indignant objections, with not one coherent rebuttal.

          • 0 avatar

            > Agreed Mikey. Notice the indignant objections, with not one coherent rebuttal.

            For example teamwork is also a literal form of collectivism. So when the boss tells everyone to work together he’s literally advocating communism or fascism or progressivism.

            Words fail to describe how dumb these people’s ideas are, so I guess thelaine is technically correct a rebuttal could never be coherent.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Do crazy people deserve earnest rebuttals, or is it preferable to just assume that they won’t understand the explanations and top up their medications?

            Anyone who believes that fascists and communists are in agreement about matters such as private property is a buffoon. I could go on, but it would involve using big words and conceptual points that surely wouldn’t be comprehended.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Face it, you got nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I tried to use small words, but even that didn’t help.

            Time for a pop quiz. Who made the following statement:

            “The government will not protect the economic interests of the people by the circuitous method of an economic bureaucracy to be organized by the state, but by the utmost furtherance of private initiative and by the recognition of the rights of property.”

            a. Ron Paul
            b. Ronald Reagan
            c. Milton Friedman
            d. Adolf Hitler

            (Hint: it wasn’t the first three.)

            Doesn’t really sound like the sort of thing that Marx, Engels, Castro or Lenin would have said, now does it?

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Nasty little snark and condescension does not a rebuttal make. You haven’t laid a glove on him.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It must really bum you out to discover that Hitler could have been a Republican speechwriter.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            http://zombietime.com/john_holdren/

            This link is worth a look. Be prepared to fire up your dissembling engine though.

          • 0 avatar

            > Nasty little snark and condescension does not a rebuttal make. You haven’t laid a glove on him.

            This one has bright potential as a Vegas boxing judge.

            Cluelessness really adds to the plausible deniability.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            It must really haunt you to be so insecure that you must get the last word, even when you have nothing of substance to say.

          • 0 avatar

            > http://scienceprogress.org/2009/07/hold-of-holdren-again/

            Not sure why people who apparently can barely read think so much of the little bit they manage to make out.

            http://scienceprogress.org/2009/07/hold-of-holdren-again/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, now I’m convinced. Hitler liked private property, therefore private property is bad.

          • 0 avatar

            > It must really haunt you to be so insecure that you must get the last word, even when you have nothing of substance to say.

            I’ll take the last word: perhaps you can get with CJinSD and the two together can figure out something, anything of depth (or critical thinking) to say:

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/new-gm-only-responsible-for-post-bankruptcy-ignition-related-accidents/#comment-2929802

            Let’s be clear how low of a bar this is so we can note take how long it takes to step over.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You farmed out your dissembling to a Soros front, which is a nice microcosm of how much original thought you have to offer on anything. Funny that the guy you let do your thinking for you in this case claimed to have read the book but couldn’t find a quote to support his assertion that Holdren and his fellow travelers actually refuted the ‘solutions’ they described.

          • 0 avatar

            > You farmed out your dissembling to a Soros front

            I guess literacy in general must be some kind of Soros/AlGore trick. The article explicitly references the book, and as an *empirical* matter you can check it yourself instead of being spoon-fed for once.

          • 0 avatar

            The funniest part is that there were scientific issues with the book, but the dummy-brigade don’t know any science so they missed it. Herp derp.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Furious little monkeys: there is no limit to your arrogance or, ultimately, your cruelty. Governments are full of people just like you. That is why so many of us like to keep government as small as reasonably possible.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @thelaine:
            “The left hates you…”

            Well, ridicule often feels like hate when you’re on the receiving end of it. I get it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This seems like a good time for another pop quiz question.

            Who said the following:

            “Through the preaching of the Marxist economic theory the national economy must go to ruin. We see the results in Russia: the end of the whole economic life of the State: the handing over of the community to the international world of finance. And the process is furthered through the organization of the ‘political strike.’ Often there are no adequate economic grounds for a strike, but there are always
            political grounds and plenty of them.”

            a. Ron Paul
            b. Ronald Reagan
            c. Milton Friedman
            d. Adolf Hitler

            (Hint: it wasn’t the first three.)

            Even the most diehard wingnut should realize that a far leftist would not be inclined to trash talk Marxism or the labor movement.

            On the other hand, if someone made that same statement above at a CPAC convention, then it would undoubtedly be applauded.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @thelaine:
            “Agreed Mikey. Notice the indignant objections, with not one coherent rebuttal.”

            OK, let’s try an experiment. I’ll make an argument, and you rebut it. Ready?

            You are secretly an alien from planet Vulcan.

            Rebut that argument. Or this one:

            Dogs are secretly conspiring to kill us all.

            Good luck rebutting either one. Why? Both are pure bulls**t, and bulls**t can’t be proven or disproven. It can’t be rebutted. That’s why bulls**t is the preferred argument method of people who have no idea what they are talking about – they know they can spout whatever bunk they want, and when no one is able to “rebut” it, they declare victory.

            So, these cementheads spout nonsense like “liberalism equals Nazism,” and when no one can “disprove” the ridiculous assertion, they declare victory. Needless to say, this speaks volumes about the people who use this particular technique. That’s why the only way to respond to them is with ridicule. And that’s exactly what is happening here.

            So, no, you won’t see any “coherent rebuttals,” because the original argument wasn’t coherent enough to rebut in the first place – it was never more than trolling.

          • 0 avatar

            > “liberalism equals Nazism,”

            > You are secretly an alien from planet Vulcan.

            > Dogs are secretly conspiring to kill us all.

            Technically one of these is not like the others. Whereas the latter two require empirical verification (which may be hard), the first is trivially false by definition.

            > because the original argument wasn’t coherent enough to rebut in the first place

            The more basic issue isn’t argument/evident which is rather straightforward, but rather one of the parties can’t understand any possible solution anyway. It’s akin to proving chemical reactions to a child too undeveloped to grasp science (eg causality, etc); it appears some kind of innate deficiency so can’t be resolved.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Some people don’t care who is running their death camp. It can be Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Il, Castro or what have you. There is no shortage. What they have in common is state power, enabling them. Label it what you wish. You are for it. You think you can distinguish it, tame it, harness it for good. Many others are opposed and believe government is necessary, but grows like a cancer and destroys its host, so it should be maintained, but kept in check. They learn from history. Many do not share the stereotyped views you attribute to them and use to vilify and dehumanize them – though this is a common tactic of fascists and other leftists.

            Governments are filled with angry, ferociously intolerant, astonishingly arrogant, power-seeking, emotionally crippled, cruel and petty little leftist keyboard weasels such as yourselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Some folks just can’t stomach the fact that Hitler was an authoritarian on the right.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            And some people can never accept that power warps the minds and morals even of the intelligent and well-intentioned.

            There is no functional distinction between a Nazi and a Maoist.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Yes, this definitely reminds me of why it isn’t possible to have a decent political discussion in the comments section of this website.

            Hitler was a bad guy on the right. Mao was a bad guy on the left. Both bad, but both definitely not on the same side of the political fence.

            Only a political illiterate would believe that Hitler was an egalitarian Marxist or communist, and communicating in writing to illiterates is an obvious waste of time.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            And you stubbornly and blindly refuse to acknowledge the point about the dangers of state power. Whether defined by you as right or left, it is an irrelevancy to people who feel that centralized, unchecked state power is the danger. The debate must strictly be on terms defined by the left, or no debate can be had. State death camps are state death camps whether they have swastikas, hammer and sickle, or a portrait of the Dear Leader at the entrance.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This is like trying to teach a pig to sing.

            Anyone who believes that I have offered any sort of defense of authoritarianism is an idiot.

            No, I take that back — even an idiot would be smart enough to know better than that.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Emotionalism, defensiveness, arrogance and insults. Par for the course. It is your bread and butter, your go-to weapons system, the warm and cozy home to which you always return. You and your leftist brothers would be the masters of others, because you are the smartest and know what is best and all who disagree are insane or stupid as farm animals. This is the nightmare of people who value freedom.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There’s nothing particularly emotional about calling out dumb people for being dumb. (Hell, we should be doing it more often; perhaps they would learn to think before they speak.)

            This is closer to being a clinical assessment, and you aren’t exactly taking pains to hide your ignorance of political theory or lack of intellectual heft. Since cogent discussion isn’t possible, mockery will have to do.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            It is nothing more than sticking your tongue out in a 4th grade schoolyard, no matter how much of an intellectual gloss you try to put on it. You met your match in “good ole dayz,” had no rebuttal of substance, and have done nothing but are call names and pout ever since.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ve provided two rather conservative-sounding quotes from the Fuhrer dude, as well as some references to some rather noteworthy distinctions between the far left and the far right.

            In exchange, all I’m getting back for my trouble is a lot of whining and spurious claims about my alleged affections for state power.

            Yep, mockery is all that you deserve. You should feel lucky to get even that much.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            A couple of quotes from a facist dictator is not an argument.

            Telling someone they are lucky to get a response is certainly consistent with the pathological arrogance that is an enduring hallmark of the leftist tribe that would govern us all if given the opportunity.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you want me to spoonfeed you your information, then you need to actually chew on it once it has been fed to you.

            Hitler was an avowed anti-Marxist who believed in private property rights. He was also a social Darwinist, and overtly anti-egalitarian. (I know that “egalitarian” is a big word, so you probably will need to look that up.)

            All hallmarks of the right, not the left. All very much the opposite of the egalitarian movements of the far left, which opposed the notion of private property. Anyone who would confuse these with each other is obviously not very smart, and should avoid political discussions altogether.

            (And you wonder why I can’t take you seriously.)

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            As I have tried to make clear, it matters not to the dead whether they were killed in a pogrom or an extermination camp or whether their masters professed egalitarian utopianism or Darwinist utopianism or Juche or the Way of the Green Book or the Red Book. In every case, it was unchecked state power which enabled the repression and slaughter.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I get it — the right-left thing really matters when the bad guys are on the left.

            But when it becomes blindingly obvious that the bad guy is on the right, then the right-left issue is abandoned in favor of a new variant of (**cough cough**) historical revisionism, which attempts to distract from the fact that authoritarians can be right-wing.

            Nope, definitely can’t take you seriously.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            It is the apparatus of the state that enables the massive evil to occur. You are focused on personalities and the ideologies they spout. It is irrelevant. In fact, all they want is power. The building of massive centralized state power is the problem, and that is your goal and the goal of your compatriots.

          • 0 avatar

            > It is nothing more than sticking your tongue out in a 4th grade schoolyard, no matter how much of an intellectual gloss you try to put on it. You met your match in “good ole dayz,” had no rebuttal of substance, and have done nothing but are call names and pout ever since.

            Parroting “liberals = nazies” repeatedly is not even an argument or else crazy sign guy on the corner would be the debate champion.

            I blame big state education for ever letting these people past the fourth grade with such a plausity of thinking skills.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            @agenthex “I blame big state education for ever letting these people past the fourth grade with such a plausity of thinking skills.”

            Paucity.

            HTH!

          • 0 avatar

            > It is the apparatus of the state that enables the massive evil to occur. You are focused on personalities and the ideologies they spout. It is irrelevant. In fact, all they want is power. The building of massive centralized state power is the problem, and that is your goal and the goal of your compatriots.

            For all this talk of authority can you get together with your compatriot JD321 to figure if spreading that centralized power out by giving everyone a vote is a good thing or not? It’s really confusing when one guy is all about the democracy and the other’s just dogging on it. Thanks.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/tesla-says-battery-gigafactory-will-not-be-built-in-california/#comment-2924666

          • 0 avatar

            > Paucity.

            No spell check, living dangerously.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “It is the apparatus of the state that enables the massive evil to occur.”

            Well, that would certainly explain stateless actors like al Qaeda. (Oh, wait a minute — it doesn’t.)

            Do me a favor: Reserve your “bad things are bad” arguments for those who support bad things.

            And stop changing the subject. Did you finally Google “egalitarian,” compare that to fascism, and come to the realization of how ignorant you are?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            >“It is the apparatus of the state that enables the massive evil to occur.”

            Well, that would certainly explain stateless actors like al Qaeda. (Oh, wait a minute — it doesn’t.)<

            We're building a state capable of totalitarian action in response to a few thousand deaths. Even for you, this is a stupid argument you're making. al Qaeda wants to kill all the jews. Socialists just about pulled it off.

          • 0 avatar

            > “bad things are bad” arguments

            They’re really not “arguments” but rather word association. Just as sign guy associates “end times” with “nigh”, or pet bird associates “polly” with “wanna cracker”.

            It’s evident this requires much less brain power and therefore wins over begging the question on account of Hanlon’s razor.

          • 0 avatar

            > al Qaeda wants to kill all the jews.

            You know who else is fattening up the jews so they can either perish or walk the earth in eternal damnation or some shiit so the “good” christians can ascend the rapture?

            Not like this stuff is a secret when it’s on the NYT bestseller list.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It seems to be time for yet another quiz question.

            Who invented the modern welfare state?

            a. The left-of-center US president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
            b. Noted Soviet bad guy, Vladimir Lenin
            c. The (obviously) Marxist philosopher, Karl Marx
            d. A conservative German monarchist, Otto von Bismarck

            (Hint: it wasn’t the first three.)

            You might want to consider the implications of that, if you can.

            Funny how the facts never seem to correspond with how the American far right views the world.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Gee, another non-argument, from the man who cannot construct one.

          • 0 avatar

            > Gee, another non-argument, from the man who cannot construct one.

            As further evidence this is mere simpleton word association, notice how the subject categorically rejects “nazi(bad) = capitalist(good)” or “conservative(good) = welfare state(bad)” because it doesn’t fit into a limited number of known patterns (and by limited I mean 2: bad=bad, good=good).

            Also note in this language, “argument” implies fitment. Thus “nazi(bad) = liberal(bad)” is an argument, whereas a “X(bad) = Y(good)” association is not.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            By now, you should have figured out that:

            1.Hitler was on the right

            2.The social welfare concept was created by a conservative

            3.Germany had a right-wing tradition of social welfare programs that predated Hitler’s birth, let alone his rise to power.

            If you can’t connect those dots, then you are even more hopeless than I had thought.

            (It didn’t seem possible, but I’m taking you even less seriously now than I was before.)

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Again, deal with this:

            Your response implies that there are substantive differences between Socialism and Fascism. There aren’t. Socialism, Fascism, Communism and Progressivism are each merely variations of Collectivism. Only their areas of emphasis differ.

            Communism (and to a lesser extent Socialism, which under Marxist theory is considered a transitory phase toward full-blown Communism) emphasize global economic class and centralization of power into global governance (i.e., under “the Party”).

            Fascism is the fundamentally similar, albeit with nationalistic aspirations serving as the springboard for the global governance (i.e., under “the State”).

            Progressivism is essentially the American iteration of Fascism, albeit it’s focus is centralization of power with a utopian bent, through social engineering (backed by force) seeking to create a national, and eventual global utopia in which the lesser masses are governed by an all-wise and pure elite of “the best and brightest.”

            In all such systems individual liberty is eventually quashed in the name of the collective, and tyranny results, as it’s the only way to enforce the quashing of individual liberty.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Your response implies that there are substantive differences between Socialism and Fascism”

            I didn’t imply it. I specifically stated it, and provided examples of a couple of key areas in which they differ.

            The problem with the wingnut brigade (yes, you are a VIP member) is that you believe that left=bad and right=good.

            Unfortunately, that’s not a definition used by those who actually understand politics. Your position is based upon ignorance and a preference for self-delusion, not based upon little things called “facts.”

            Authoritarian and civil libertarian elements can be found on both the right and the left. Only a buffoon doesn’t know this. And since you don’t know this, well…

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Who said “the right” was good, freedom-crushing leftist?

          • 0 avatar

            > Who said “the right” was good, freedom-crushing leftist?

            It’s uncertain if subject has figured out negatives: “freedom(good)-crushing(not) = leftist(bad)” or this is more repetition a la “polly wanna cracker”.

            Awaiting signs of more complex linguistic capacity to verify.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        There could be no other means to a Socialist state then that of fascism. The destruction of individual liberties, freedoms, choices, and central authoritative control, are the means of a socialist system, period. There has never been a “free” socialist state, nor has there ever been a free-market libertarian fascist state. The two go hand in hand, period.

    • 0 avatar
      JD321

      “Authoritative Socialist government”

      Is there any other kind? Government is a violent collectivist Mafia. It views those outside the government as its very own tax livestock. This is “Socialism”

      For a real kick to the public schoolers indoctrinated brain…Look up the original American Statist “Pledge of Allegiance” salute…It was the Nazi salute. Abraham Lincoln was the father of Fascism…Not Mussolini or Hitler. It should be obvious to all that the USA is a Fascist state owned and controlled by a Central Bank oligarchy. You are their human livestock.

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        “Abraham Lincoln was the father of Fascism…Not Mussolini or Hitler. It should be obvious to all that the USA is a Fascist state owned and controlled by a Central Bank oligarchy. You are their human livestock.”

        If McVeigh was still alive and writing on a car forum, he’d sound something like this.

        With all due respect,

        (Edited, because nobody ever means anything respectful after the phrase “With all due respect” — JB)

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          Great. Calling Lincoln a fascist is ok, but calling someone out for it is not.

          I’m dead sure the choice of Lincoln was not a coincidence also. Now that the “state’s rights” argument can’t be used as a dog whistle for racists anymore (it has become too obvious), it has to be some ludicrous fascism argument…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Of course Lincoln was a fascist. This explains why he pushed the Thirteenth Amendment.

        This is what happens when you drink a gallon of Red Bull and wear a tinfoil hat outside on a sunny day, folks…suddenly Lincoln is our own Mussolini, and then you start drinking only rainwater and pure grain alcohol, the better to preserve your precious bodily fluids.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      And yet once again, revisionism rears its head. These ridiculous definitions of socialism and fascism are as off base as the writing of Marcus out of the historical record.

      Does no one teach history and political science properly in the US? Or do you lot just make it up?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        They get this stuff from the internet. No reputable political science course would teach such nonsense.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Not one Ivy League school includes American history or American government as a graduating requirement for any degree. Most colleges leave that stuff to high schools, who have enough trouble trying to teach math and science and leave it to middle schools, who have their hands full with unruly kids going through puberty. One elementary school vice principal told me his district doesn’t even teach writing until the third grade.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Teach US History, properly, in a government school? Lol. Be funny what exact form of history you subscribe by.

        History is history. The Nationalist Socialist party were at first elected in, then took over. They lambasted the jews for their wealth and used the call of class warfare to wipe them out, while distributing their businesses to Socialist party activist.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_boycott_of_Jewish_businesses

        “…forced transfer of ownership to Nazi party activists (managed by the Chamber of Commerce)… there were 50,000 Jewish owned businesses. By 1945 they all had “Aryan” owners.

        (I really hate citing wikipedia, but it’s a simpel quick read that gets the point across and seems to have decent credits).

        It was a terrible time in history, but a grave warning to the rest of that most seem to ignore, and that’s just a damn shame.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          My “government school” taught me that when the Nazis took over, they immediately began destroying unions, screwing people out of their voting rights, persecuting homosexuals, and overspending on the military.

          Yep, all this sounds like the kind of stuff liberals are doing today.

          By the way, the Nazis were never “voted in.” They never received anything close to a majority of seats in the Reichstag in any free election. It was Von Hindenburg who made Hitler chancellor…at the behest of the business community. I learned that one in a “government school” too.

          And speaking of Jews, if modern liberalism is a political relative of Nazism, why do 70-80% of Jews describe themselves as liberals? Are we too stupid to see what’s really going on? Or did you just sleep through civics class?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And unsaid in all this stupid “national socialism = modern liberalism” tripe: the fact that about 70-80% of Jews define themselves as liberals, and I’m one of them.

      Clearly, we’re all too darn stupid to see how much Nazism has in common with modern liberalism.

      Or maybe we’re not the stupid ones.

      • 0 avatar

        The reason why a large percentage of American Jews are on the left side of the political spectrum is, to say the least, complicated, involving traditional messianic aspirations, state sanctioned anti-semitism under the Czar, the haskalah, the labor movement, and assimilation, among other factors.

        While many politically liberal Jews congratulate themselves on believing that Judaism is a combination of the Declaration of the Universal Rights of Man and FDR’s “second bill of rights”, most Orthodox rabbis (and quite a few Conservative and Reform rabbis if they spoke frankly) would disagree.

        As for Jews today not recognizing that historically the most dangerous and murderous episodes in the history of anti-semitism have occurred when Jew-hatred was enforced by state power, in addition to the fact that most American Jews identify politically on the left, so they’d tend to ignore hostility from their own political allies, historically the Jewish community has not recognized danger from those who mean us harm until it was often too late.

        Purim is coming up soon. There were Persian Jews who ignored the threat of Haman and German Jews who wouldn’t leave Germany until they couldn’t leave. Communist Jews in the NKVD’s Yvseksia, “Jewish section” persecuted traditional Jews.

        My experience as an interested observer, as well as opinion surveys, show that the more religiously observant and knowledgeable Jews are about Judaism, the less likely they are to embrace left wing politics and collectivism. Even the Orthodox kibbutzim were/are less left wing politically and culturally than the secular ones were/are. Judaism is pretty big on individual accountability and property rights.

        • 0 avatar
          LALoser

          Most of my friends, (Reform), are middle of the road conservative, but vote more left. They tend to recognize public education and infrastructure and are more willing to pay for it. Me, I am more conservative on fiscal matters, but reality dictates the need for credit. Socially I am liberal; marry who you want, and as long as you are not hurting others, have a nice life.

        • 0 avatar

          > most Orthodox rabbis (and quite a few Conservative and Reform rabbis if they spoke frankly) would disagree…the more religiously observant and knowledgeable Jews are about Judaism, the less likely they are to embrace left wing politics and collectivism.

          Christ, super orthodox Jews hate secular, and reform about as much as Hitler hated them. If we’re going to pick sides, better to go with the smart bunch with all the nobels.

          Funniest bit about merican religious conservatism is lovin da jews to fulfill end times prophecy. Who knows what else you can get those suckers to believe.

  • avatar
    wumpus

    Great article, but it also points out the falicy of “X invented Y”. “Inventing” a non-workable item as above hardly qualifies as a huge advance. If you want to thank the guy who brought you the car (and the airplane), thank Nikolaus Otto. While I’ll admit that the old steamer cars certainly worked as well as the competition, it was the Otto engine that made cars happen. All the auto “inventors” had to do was to find a sufficiently powerful Otto engine, then tie it to a carriage (having an engine with the proper power/weight engine was critical to early flight: there is some controversy over whether the Wright Brothers used a supercharger or not).

    I’d highly recommend James Burke’s various works (Connections, Connections 2, Day the Universe Changed (more on who discovered X than invented)) for a more complete look at our technological history.

    Also, this is why the patent system has turned into a disaster. Today, some patent troll would buy up Siegfried Marcus’s patents up after the inevitable banckruptcy due to building non-working cars, then sue Daimler Benz to the point where they can’t expand, thus delaying cars for another generation (or possibly having roads built such that cars would never be allowed near the trolley tracks and be rural toys).

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      wumpus, “it also points out the falicy of “X invented Y”, is a great observation very applicable to the real world.

      For instance, my wife’s grandfather was a rocket scientist in WWII Germany, but the father of rocketry is generally not credited to be a German scientist, even though the greatest advances were made by German rocket scientists, before and after WWII.

      And yet, after WWII the Americans brought over from Germany all the rocket scientists they could find and imported them to White Sands Missile Range in the New Mexico desert because these guys were so far ahead of American rocketry that they had left American rocketry in the dust.

      In America, we wouldn’t have been able to make it to the moon, nor enjoyed all the spin-off benefits that rocketry and the space program brought us, without those German rocket scientists.

      But maybe the Russkies got the better part of that deal since they still have their space program and America has….. nothing.

      Ditto with automobiles. The Germans and Japanese have the best-engineered automobiles on the planet while America saw its auto industry collapse, with two US automakers dead, and while America is still a distant runner-up, playing catch-up in quality, durability, reliability and market share in the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> But maybe the Russkies got the better part of that deal since they still have their space program and America has….. nothing.

        That’s not true. We’ve just progressed so far that we have private companies taking over. Look what SpaceX is doing with just 3,500 employees. They’re going after military launch contracts soon and are hiring – check out their web site.

        In addition to SpaceX, there’s Orbital Sciences Corporation, Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic, Rocket Lab, Scorpius, and a crap load of other small companies.

        So, the government pulling back is just a sign that our space programs are moving forward and no longer need to be run by the bureaucrats.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Space-X is an Elon Musk company and the heart of the Israeli Ballistic Missile program, and along with its nuclear weapons knowledge, something of great concern to Iran, as I understand it.

          The civilian space programs may be moving forward but it is leaving America behind.

          We have the Spaceport located in the NM desert nearby but there isn’t a whole lot of activity going on there.

          As it is, America is dependent on the Russkies to get our people and stuff up to the Space Station.

          If we are going to play like we are big dogs and act like we have an interest in Space, then we should not be dependent on our philosophical adversaries to get us there.

          When we pay Space-X to carry our cargo into space for us, all America is doing is furthering the development and accuracy of the Israeli Ballistic Missile system, in effect financing it.

          Then again, if we are only faux players, yes, then it is OK to depend on the kindness of our adversaries to give us a lift up and a helping hand by underwriting the missile programs of others.

          But as history has shown us time and again, there will again come a day when America has to stand alone and rely on our own technology and scientific finesse to launch our own missiles, warheads and payloads in a hot war.

          The pacifists of pre-War Pearl Harbor are alive and well again in America and are now aligned with the pre-911 naysayers and peace mongers.

          Were it not for the rocket scientists of Germany, America would not have been able to maintain peace through strength because of its missile systems.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Tsiolkovsky and Goddard have a better claim to being the father(s) of modern scientific rocketry.

        The Russians got the technicians after WWII, the Americans got the scientists and engineers. They have reliable old fashioned rocket motors, we kept trying to push the envelope with new ideas and technology. The Shuttle had advanced (for the time) main motors, Buran had … no motors at all. Too bad the Shuttle was something of a dead end.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Agreed about the Shuttle was a dead end, but it served a purpose and was the means to an end.

          As a nation we enjoyed wonderful spin-offs from the science and technology derived from our space programs and related missile systems.

          The fact that the Russkies still use those reliable old rocket motors to ferry us up into space is testimony enough about their better technologies.

          All the pushing we did to enhance our performance envelope came up with a big goose-egg. We have zero to show for it. Even the Chinese are using our old tech to go where we once went, and they plan to build on it to enable them to travel to the moon and back, in effect laying claim to whatever mineral rights they may choose.

          In America, we made a choice. Either pursue the Space program or become a welfare state.

          We chose the latter, and I’m cool with that; as long as I don’t have to pay for it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I would have chose the former, and used the subsequent technology to eventually hurl the latter into space. I keed I keed.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Honoring Benz and Daimler, though, carries with it the undeniable fact that you’d be helping some very, very bad people rewrite history.”

    The reality is that Benz and Daimler made the first purpose-built automobile, and one that was capable of traveling some distance.

    Bertha Benz took her famous drive 45 years before Hitler took the reins, and there’s no good reason to rewrite history yet again in order to diminish the contribution that they made to the development of the automobile. If you’re going to take issue with revisionism, then don’t engage in it yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Pch101 – - –

      Yup.

      Not so fast there, ole’ Ronnie boy. You may not be showing good balance, IMHO.

      Yes, it is true that the Nazi’s choose to emphasize or de-emphasize a lot of people and events in order to rewrite history into their image of if. And no doubt Siegfried Marcus ended up being part of the de-emphasis.

      But he essentially put a gasoline engine on a flat-cart for demonstration purposes, and not to build an automobile. No seats; no brakes; no steering. He never alleged it was anything but a demo cart. He did not patent it. And it is doubtful that the Benzes or the Ottos or the Diesels or Maybach’s or the Daimlers even knew anything about it, as they didn’t even know anything about their own mutual efforts initially !

      Here are some quotes:

      1) Karl Benz – - –

      “(Karl Benz)…was a German engine designer and car engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine,…”

      “Benz received a patent for his work first, and, subsequently patented all the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in an automobile. In 1879, his first engine patent was granted to him, and in 1886, Benz was granted a patent for his first automobile.”

      ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Benz

      2) Siegfried Marcus – - –

      “About 1870 he put an internal combustion engine on a simple handcart. This appliance was designed for liquid combustibles and made him the first to propel a vehicle by means of gasoline. Today, this car is well known as “The first Marcus Car”.”

      “For a long time it was a common understanding that the “Second Car” already existed in 1875 — even today a widespread falsehood.”

      “”It was uncertain for a long time whether his car was ready to drive already in 1875 or only in 1888/89. Today the later date is considered for sure.” (transl., Austria Lexicon, Vol. 2, Vienna 2004; Österreich Lexikon, Bd. 2, Wien 2004) There is no proof for an origin prior to 1889.”

      “Marcus was the holder of 131 patents in 16 countries. He never applied for a patent for the motorcar and, of course, he never held one. In addition, he never claimed having invented the motorcar. Nevertheless, he was the first to use gasoline for propelling a vehicle in the simple handcart of 1870 (First Marcus Car), but it is uncertain if the famous Second Marcus Car ever ran before 1890.”

      ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Marcus

      These determinations were made by the 19th century German patent office after their usually THOROUGH research. (Try getting a German patent sometime – I have!) So, here we have the Benz patent in 1886, and the non-patented Marcus 2nd car viably shown to exist only by 1889 or later. Hence, Karl Benz is in fact the “father” of the modern gasloine-powered automobile as we know it today.

      —————————

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        A writer doesn’t have to show balance and Ronnie is entitled to his interpretation and beliefs. I liked the rewrite. A good read. Haven’t made up my mind where I stand on the matter. Don’t really care either way to take a side.

        As far as I am concerned, success always has many fathers while failure is an orphan.

        That said, I am ecstatic that we have today’s automobiles to enhance the enjoyment of our lives while at the same time providing a means of transportation. How we got from back then to the here and now doesn’t really matter to me.

        While tastes may vary and differ widely, it is my belief that German and Japanese automobiles are the best engineered on the planet. Let the buyers decide who gets the credit by putting their money where their beliefs are.

        At the onset of WWII the Germans had the best, most advanced airplanes, tanks, machine guns, etc, and the rest of the world had to play catch up. Today’s weaponry and engineering prowess incorporates much of the German engineering development from way back then.

        They gave us the people’s car! If they want to rewrite history to highlight their accomplishments, who cares. The inventors of the Trabant probably also wanted to do the same but their product was just plain bad.

        It’s not like we Americans have not been guilty of ‘borrowing’ foreign technology and incorporating it into our own products and claiming them as our own improvements.

        Fiatsler takes great pride in its American-built Jeep Grand Cherokee but the development, heart and soul of the Grand Cherokee is pure Daimler.

        Hey, I own one! And it is German, through and through, from start to finish, and everything in between. Fine execution of a great idea.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          highdesertcat – - –

          If anyone on the TTAC staff purports to do an academic article, they bloody well better try to show fairness, balance, and impartiality to the best of their abilities. If after that, they THEN want to editorialize and will say so, then they certainly have a right to their interpretations and beliefs…

          ——————-

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NMGOM, if you have ever read OpEd articles in the NYT et al, you will find, as an example, how different authors interpret the same academic facts in a different way and portray a picture that is 180 degree out of phase from their opposition.

            If you take our current economic climate in America that should be proof enough that every different author doing an academic piece on it has a different take.

            Read John Boehner’s take vs that of Larry Summers interpretation of the academic facts of how well the US economy is doing.

            Interpretation of the historical facts and timeline of the development of the automobile on this planet is no different.

            Take the development of the jet-engine as another example. Who invented the damn thing? Well, that will set up a firestorm discussion depending on if you’re a Brit or a German.

            Or how about the HIV/AIDS vaccine? The French say they developed it. The US begs to differ.

            My point here is, different authors will present an academic piece in their own light.

            Readers will interpret the gist of the article based on their own background and beliefs.

            Maybe you remember the times when ttac was accused of being biased against GM. I never thought so. I’ve been accused of being biased against GM. I’m not. GM did very well for me when I sold my stock in 2007/2008. For that I’m eternally grateful!

            Just because I won’t buy another GM product ever again during my lifetime doesn’t mean that I didn’t own a whole slew of their products over the past 5 decades.

            I read Ronnie’s article for the third time and I take it for what it’s worth. Do I agree with everything he wrote? No.

            But that is because I may have learned history differently. Just like I learned US history differently when I was in grade school -> HS.

            What they teach today as US history is so different from what I remember learning. Did you know that Geo Washington, the US President, was Black?

            Maybe Ronnie’s article sheds light on the subject from a different perspective.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @NGOM,
        It is quite common for various people to independently come up with similar concepts, television being a very good example.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m at a loss to see how I diminished the contributions of Gotlieb Daimler and Carl Benz when I specifically said “It’s true that the Benz trike was the first practical automobile, and certainly was the first motorcar that went into production and was sold.” Considering that I mentioned just about every important contributor to the early development of the gasoline powered internal combustion engine in this post (Frederick Lanchester doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves – he also invented disc brakes), it’s funny that you think I’m slighting some of them.

      As for “revisionism”, the post is true to the historical record as best as I’ve been able to determine it. It’s a historical fact that the Nazis tried to rewrite history and place Daimler and Benz in a role that at least two reputable German publishers had previously attributed to Marcus. No doubt those publishers, the Viennese who erected the memorial to Marcus and Austrian educators who taught schoolchildren that Marcus was the inventor of the motorcar were well aware of the role of Benz and Daimler. Were they revisionists too?

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Ronnie – - –

        You said, “No doubt those publishers, the Viennese who erected the memorial to Marcus and Austrian educators who taught schoolchildren that Marcus was the inventor of the motorcar were well aware of the role of Benz and Daimler. Were they revisionists too?”

        ANS: Yes. I lived in Germany for two years in the 1960′s. As a society, Germans were feeling guilty as hell, and their children were committing generational warfare on their parents. They were very anxious to over-compensate in the other direction. Your quote above is just one example of the historical distortion that came out of that era (and still persists).

        As far as revisionism is concerned, look at part of your misleading title, “How the Nazis Made Daimler & Benz the Inventors of the Automobile….” This inherently implies to your readers that since they were Nazi’s, obviously Daimler and Benz could not possibly be inventors of the automobile. And that is the exact opposite of the documentation I quoted above.

        And take a look at the quote that “Pch101″ extracted from your article, “Honoring Benz and Daimler, though, carries with it the undeniable fact that you’d be helping some very, very bad people rewrite history.” That is present tense. It implies that honoring Benz and Daimler even NOW still helps Nazis!

        Look, that is clearly disparaging Karl Benz, unless we choose to play rhetorical games and ignore the meaning of language…

        —————–

        • 0 avatar

          “You said, “No doubt those publishers, the Viennese who erected the memorial to Marcus and Austrian educators who taught schoolchildren that Marcus was the inventor of the motorcar were well aware of the role of Benz and Daimler. Were they revisionists too?”

          ANS: Yes. I lived in Germany for two years in the 1960′s. As a society, Germans were feeling guilty as hell, and their children were committing generational warfare on their parents. They were very anxious to over-compensate in the other direction. Your quote above is just one example of the historical distortion that came out of that era (and still persists).”

          All of the examples that I cited took place BEFORE 1938 and had nothing to do with postwar German guilt. To clarify, Austrians considered Marcus to be the motorcar’s inventor before the Nazi’s came to power. To agree with them can hardly be considered revisionism or slighting the role of Benz and Daimler.

          “As far as revisionism is concerned, look at part of your misleading title, “How the Nazis Made Daimler & Benz the Inventors of the Automobile….” This inherently implies to your readers that since they were Nazi’s, obviously Daimler and Benz could not possibly be inventors of the automobile.”

          Nowhere in that headline is there any implication that Carl Benz and Gotlieb Daimler were Nazis. To read that into the headline is simply nonsensical. It’s a clear declarative statement that attributes the acts to the Nazis and nobody else. I’m completely agnostic about the political or ideological beliefs of the founders of Daimler-Benz. I do happen to think that the Nazis may have censored references to Marcus’ role in automotive history at the instigation of Daimler-Benz (the company, not Carl and Gotlieb, re: the May 30, 1940 letter mentioned), but until Daimler’s archival department produces the letter that can’t be proven one way or another.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            You said, “All of the examples that I cited took place BEFORE 1938 and had nothing to do with postwar German guilt.”

            I am having trouble finding the footnote references with complete identification for the sources you used to document the “examples” you have chosen, reportedly all before 1938.

            You also said, “To clarify, Austrians considered Marcus to be the motorcar’s inventor before the Nazi’s came to power.” There is a credible reference: an unidentified Austrian source(s) “considers” one their Austrian compatriots to be the Austrian inventor of the motorcar! How surprising. They actually thought that for 30-40 years beforehand. Mythology abounds?

            You further said, “Nowhere in that headline is there any implication that Carl Benz and Gotlieb Daimler were Nazis.”
            You have massively misunderstood. My comment does not imply that you said Daimler and Benz were Nazi’s; it does imply that your saying that the Nazi’s “made” (your word) Daimler and Benz to be the inventors of the automobile entices people to believe otherwise. It’s a prejudicial manipulation. No one like Nazi’s, right?

            The facts remain: the 19th-century German Patent office in 1886 awarded the invention of the automobile to Karl Benz and no one else. And that esteemed and impartial institution preceded any “Austrian beliefs”, Nazi history suppression, or anything else. And it confirms Marcus’ own position on the matter, as revealed in the quotes from sources above.

            —————

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I’m at a loss to see how I diminished the contributions of Gotlieb Daimler and Carl Benz…”

        You did write this statement, didn’t you?

        “Honoring Benz and Daimler, though, carries with it the undeniable fact that you’d be helping some very, very bad people rewrite history.”

        The problem with your black-and-white approach to the world is that it attempts to pigeonhole everything into two boxes, when there are more than two options.

        The Nazis attempted to rewrite history when they struck Siegfried Marcus from the record. But that offense does not, in any way, alter what Daimler and Benz did.

        The reality is that Daimler and Benz took the car places where Marcus did not. That does not diminish what Marcus did in any way, but the effort to take credit away from Daimler and Benz is simply rehashing the very tactics that you supposedly oppose, which only makes you look like a hypocrite. The only competition between these people exists in the heads of dead Nazis and, apparently, yours.

        • 0 avatar

          “You did write this statement, didn’t you?

          “Honoring Benz and Daimler, though, carries with it the undeniable fact that you’d be helping some very, very bad people rewrite history.””

          That was said in the context of honoring them as inventors of the motorcar, something that the Nazis undeniably wanted to do, instead of Marcus.

          I accorded Daimler and Benz their historical role. They did what they did. The only credit that I want to “take away” from Benz and Daimler is the credit the Nazis took away from Marcus and gave to them. If you’re comfortable with the way the Nazis wanted history to read, gezunterheit.

          On the whole, I’m confident that this is a nuanced and balanced piece. I don’t deny Benz and Daimler’s contributions to automotive history. I specifically mentioned them. I’m just putting them in the context of an earlier contributor to that same history. If you want to take a sentence out of context so you can pigeonhole me as someone who sees the world in black and white, go right ahead. Thanks for reading.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If an automobile is defined as a device that can transport goods or people over a distance, then the credit rightfully goes to Benz. If my understanding is correct, Marcus’ device traveled once, and for about 500 feet.

            I doubt that Marcus was even trying to invent a vehicle per se, but was testing the components that could eventually be included in a vehicle (which could explain why someone who held so many patents didn’t get a patent for this.) He proved that internal combustion could be used to move a wheeled object, but it’s debatable whether the cart that he assembled is a “car.”

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @PCH101
            No vast numbers were being already transported by steam trains, traction engines and narrow canal boats even before Benz was born, using your rather loose definition.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This seems more like a clarification to me than a revision, PCH.

  • avatar
    JD321

    150 years ago Germany was a mix of nasty/religious tribal apes with spotty human genius. It is good to see genius finally get recognition after the Tribal Monkey Murder Fests of Europe(TM). If Hitler won the war it would have been Churchill as the monster of Europe. The winner writes the history. The Germans today are becoming the sole milk cows for all of the EU parasites. That isn’t going to end well. A lot of German genius emigrated to the USA and helped create the massive wealth.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Thanks.

    A very interesting piece.

    History is and will never be accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Different people interpret the same things differently.

      I, for one, as an auto enthusiast, am very happy with all the advancements made over the decades leading up to the auto industry of today.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @highdesertcat
        Back before J. C. came into being the Ancient Greeks made the first turbine engine. The funny thing is Archimedes Screw was used for irrigation and no one figured how to harness the turbine engine. It was an amusement.

        The Ancient Egyptians had coin operated vending machines!

        Read up on some of the ancient Greek and Egyptian inventions, like mechanical computers.

        Facinating stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Al, been there and done that. Read up on the Rosetta Stone, Sumerians and other early civilizations way back in 1996, along with insightful books by Zecharia Sitchin and other scholars.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    We all know that Daimler-Benz was the favorite of Hitler and the national socialists ,especially their Mercedes brand of cars.
    What they obviously failed to notice was that Mercedes Adrienne Ramona Manuela ,the daughter of the first major Daimler salesman, Emille Jellinek was in fact the granddaughter of the Chief Rabbi of Vienna, Adolf Jellinek.

  • avatar

    Should you come to Vienna (Austria) visit the Technisches Museum there. Here you can have a look at the (2nd) Marcus car (dated to 1888/89 there). Interesting museum. It’s worthwhile. See http://www.technischesmuseum.at/language/en-us/home/sammlung-forschung/sammlungsbereiche/ojekt-detail/articleid/379/urlmaster/false

  • avatar
    mcs

    I was given a copy of the book that General Motors issued to commemorate it’s 75th Anniversary. Its publisher, L. Scott Bailey, gives credit to Oliver Evans in 1773. Evans demonstrated a model in 1787 and was awarded a patent. Bailey goes on to say that there were “Over 100 self-propelled vehicles powered by electricity, steam, air, and various explosive vapors were on the American roads between Oliver Evans’ patent and 1891.” Check out Bailey’s book “The American Car Since 1775.”

    http://www.amazon.com/THE-AMERICAN-CAR-SINCE-1775/dp/B001KQ7NT4

  • avatar
    thornmark

    {Meant to post at end}

    “History is bunk”. – Henry Ford.

    German immigrant is first in flight:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Whitehead

    It may come as a shock to you but the politicians in CT have made it official just last year ….:

    Connecticut lawmakers write Wright Brothers out of history as ‘first in flight’
    Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill into law that names Gustave Whitehead as the first person to fly a powered airplane. The historic change is the result of newly discovered photos by aviation historian John Brown.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/connecticut-lawmakers-wright-brothers-flight-wrong-article-1.1384079#ixzz2vX6RRZhl

    History is written by the victorious and that would be Daimler and Benz.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      You are aware that Henry Ford was a barely-literate anti-Semite, aren’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        That’s common knowledge. Your attempt at argument in that way is unintelligent and a diversion. A red herring.

        What Ford said in that simple statement is essentially what I wrote at the end – that history is suspect. (He also felt it was a waste of time teaching history because other skills were more important. I strongly disagree there, since most Americans could learn a lot about history).

        Court historians were employed through the ages by the wealthy and powerful to write history in their favor. In modern times times the Schlesingers, father and son, did that for FDR and JFK respectively. Heck, JFK installed Jr at the WH for precisely that purpose and Jr got awards for his role.

        Historian Theodore White famously lied for the widow Jackie and created the “Camelot” myth. The Left media – the first draft of history – largely changed the facts of JFK’s death at the hands of a pro-Soviet nut to something that better fit their agenda of defaming conservatives – at least long enough for the next election cycle, 1964.

        Referring to your specious reference to old Henry, yes, at times, even a peasant anti-Semite can provide insight, even if it was not intended as such.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          RCA claimed Dworkin instead of Farnsworth contributed to TV development in the US. Farnsworths contributions were constantly downplayed by RCA.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You quoted Henry Ford as if he was some sort of authority on the value of history, which only demonstrates how illogical your arguments are.

          I realize that it gives you comfort to find others who share your opinions. But it would sharpen up your thought processes to understand that finding someone else who shares your views only proves that there are two of you who believe the same (incorrect) thing.

          And given Ford’s paucity of knowledge about subjects such as history, anyone with a partially functioning brain stem would know better than to quote him when looking for backup. Ford was a savant when it came to mass production and the early car, but history was certainly not something that he knew much about, unless you’re one to believe that “The International Jew” was an authoritative read.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, if accepted history is proven wrong by new evidence – and the article you posted seems to suggest some legitimate questions about who really flew first – rewriting it isn’t a spoil for the victors at all. It’s just a more complete story.

      I mean, I don’t see anyone calling the folks who claim Leif Erickson discovered North America before Columbus fascist. Do you?

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    It depends on the definition. Marcus developed the first INTERNAL COMBUSTION Automobile.Yes the Nazi’s used “political correctness” to write him out of history.. Steam Traction Engines were well known on Farms well before Marcus or Daimler were born. The first car made in Australia was in 1896( a steamer) some developed a benzene powered contraption about the same time, but the original is not around.

    • 0 avatar

      > It depends on the definition. Marcus developed the first INTERNAL COMBUSTION Automobile.

      The definition only matters to worthless semantic arguments.

      So somebody makes a motorized spinny thing, and there already exists spinny things that go on roads, and connecting spinny things together is already common-place.

      Who cares about celebrating the first above average dumbass who managed to put 2 and 2 together?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    At least he got credit for the movie theaters.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Great read, Ronnie! Thanks.

    I was disappointed you neglected R.E. Olds, who started building stationary engines on the banks of the Grand River in Lansing, in the 1880′s. He built his first steam car in 1894, began production of automobiles there in 1897, and was the largest maker of cars in America when Ford and Buick started up. The best Cadillacs ever are being built there today. The Lansing Grand River site has been producing automobiles for over 117 years now!

  • avatar

    Most all the comments above seem oblivious that arguing who was historically “first” is pointless in the first place.

    Everything ever invented rests on the shoulders of giants, and instances of technological immaculate conception are about as common as the other sort, though that doesn’t seem to stop the stories.

    IOW, renouncing the Nazis by claiming some other guy was “first” is at best replacing one instance of idiocy with another.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Nothing as boring as watching a couple of pseudo-intellectual buffoons in a pissing match.


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