Thursday 26th May 1938
Adolf Hitler laid the cornerstone for the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben, Germany. He gave a speech, in which he named the car Kraft durch Freude-Wagen (“Strength Through Joy Car”, usually abbreviated to KdF-Wagen). The name refers to Kraft durch Freude (‘Strength Through Joy’), the official leisure organization of the Third Reich. The model village of Stadt des KdF-Wagens was created near Fallersleben in Lower Saxony in 1938 for the benefit of the workers at the newly built factory. The factory had only produced a handful of cars by the start of the war in 1939; the first volume-produced versions of the car’s chassis were military vehicles, the Type 82 Kübelwagen (approximately 52,000 built) and the amphibious Type 166 Schwimmwagen (about 14,000 built). The first Beetles were produced on a small scale in 1941.