Hitler invented neither the highways nor the microphone.
Yet that's what rapper Kanye West said on Thursday, who has made several anti-Semitic outings in recent months.
The idea of the highway is very German, but predates the Nazi regime, recall historians specializing in the period at
More than seventy years after the end of World War II, Kanye West, also known as Ye, took up elements of Nazi propaganda on Thursday.
Guest on the show of American Alex Jones - who was recently convicted of conspiratorial remarks on the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting - the rapper claimed that Hitler "invented the highways, invented the microphone that I 'used as a musician'.
Hitler did not invent the highways.
Nor the microphone.
For the latter, a first version of the device dates back to 1876, recalls musicologist Elise Petit at
In 1928, five years before Hitler came to power, “a company, Neumann & co, developed and publicized the microphone, but that had nothing to do with Hitler,” adds the researcher.
As for the motorways, “their invention is long before the very existence of the Nazi regime, recalls Frédéric Sallée, historian at the University of Grenoble.
The confusion is frequent and lies in the fact that Germany is indeed at the origin of the idea of the motorway, but during the Second Reich of William II, during the first decade of the 20th century.
Highway projects before Hitler's accession to power
It was near the German capital that the first road project was developed, continues the specialist in Nazi Germany: "The first highway as we understand it today, namely a double track separated by a land - central, was the AVUS, on the outskirts of Berlin.
Sometimes racing circuit, sometimes transport axis, it is a first construction of eight kilometers.
Subsequently, other states (United States, France, Italy) developed highway projects even before the Nazis came to power in January 1933.”
The Weimar Republic, which preceded the Nazi regime between 1919 and 1933, also developed road projects, but could not carry them out, due to the economic or political context.
Highways celebrated by Nazi propaganda
The Nazi regime then seized on the idea and had nearly 3,000 km of motorways built.
These axes "considerably facilitated the transport of troops when the war started", notes the historian.
These constructions are the subject of propaganda from the Nazi regime.
This “exalted the will to put the German people back to work.
Motorways are celebrated as the great horizontal monument built by the Third Reich,” explains Johann Chapoutot, professor of contemporary history at the Sorbonne.
Myths “taken up in an uncritical way”
While this myth of the invention of the highways by Hitler has been dissected many times by historians, why does it persist?
"This testifies to the power of Nazi propaganda and the quantity of myths it left us and that we continue to take up in an uncritical manner," adds this specialist in Nazi Germany.
For example, the idea of an impeccable organization of the Third Reich, vertical, I am one of those who have shown in their work that this is not the case, that the Third Reich is a gigantic maelstrom which functioned very badly.
In the wake of his intervention on the set of Alex Jones, Kanye West saw his Twitter account suspended, for having relayed an anti-Semitic image.
He had already made anti-Semitic remarks in October.
Instagram and Twitter then restricted his account.
Kanye West, spokesperson for the anti-Semitic "Black Hebrews" fringe
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