Autobahn is Germany’s answer to the “motorway” road ☺mechanism that the world drives on. It flaunts a total stretch of 12,996 kilometers or roughly around 8,075 miles. It could have mushroomed even further as this data was recorded in the year 2017. It comes as an astonishing fact that the idea and concept of Autobahn date back to the early twentieth century. In that era, it was just a budding thought, but it’s important to note that this concept firmly stood the trials of changing times and leaderships and managed to evolve from an idea to a whole system.
It’s unfortunate that a motorway marvel i.e. Autobahn is largely noted for its unrestricted speed aspect. Autobahns or Bundesautobahnen, as the locals call it, is primarily focused on regulating high-speed vehicular traffic. So, omitting the speed restriction becomes necessary to ensure the smooth flow of the juggernaut traffic it hosts every minute. On the flip side, it would be utterly misleading to say that the German authorities are oblivious to the dangers pertaining to the raging speed that dwells on Autobahns. In some urban parts or suburbs that lie close to the Autobahns, there is a mandatory speed limit that drivers must abide by. Now, for the unrestricted sections of Autobahns, an advisory speed limit of 130 km/hr or 80 mph has been set by the authorities. For such a fast and complex road system, these measures aptly suffice. However, our beloved Bundesautobahn is host to a lot more than advisory speed limit boards. For travelers looking for some brief respite from the endless speeding roads, Autobahns serve useful amenities such as parking areas, truck stops, rest areas, and emergency telephones at fair intervals. Speaking of emergency telephones, around 16000 of them are justly distributed all across the Autobahn network.
Still, to call it a thrilling beauty won’t be too far away from the truth. Most foreign nationals seek Autobahns for the pure thrill of it, but to say, Bundesautobahn is not a mere structure of thrill and speed would also fall in the line of truth. Autobahn has a whole history behind it and an intriguing one at that. As stated earlier, the idea of Autobahns was conceived somewhere around 1920s. During this time, it couldn’t flourish much due to economic constraints and lack of political support. However, in the 1930s, the stagnant notion of Autobahn picked up the rapid pace and it was instigated by someone most unexpected. It was the leader of the Nazi political party – Adolf Hitler. The whole idea of Bundesautobahn somehow piqued the interest of the dictator. It was him, who initiated the construction and development of Autobahns in full force. The initial Employment of more than 100,000 workers for this task was just a start as a bit later, more than 200,000 pairs of hands were dedicated to this idea. The Nazis were quick to propagandize this and as expected, it attracted the attention of many international actors.
Even after world war 2, when the rule of Adolf Hitler was completely overthrown, the idea of Autobahn stayed alive and astonishingly enough, saw even further growth in the new era. However, the development of autobahns was not quite uniform in all of Germany after the second great war.
The problem being the segregation of Germany into Western and Eastern halves. After world war 2, the land of Germans was partitioned into West Germany and East Germany. While the Western part invested quite a bit of enthusiasm into the Autobahn idea, the East Germany showed a significant lack of interest as compared to ist Western counterpart. In West Germany, the reparation of the damaged Autobahns began at a swift pace after the closure of the second world war. Soon after, new projects in the realm of Autobahns were undertaken. In the coming years, this Notion of Motorway saw further developments. Soon a considerable portion of the existing Autobahn network was repaired to a fully functional degree. From this point on, the minds of bureaucrats and politicians started to lay stress on expanding the network of the Autobahns. This encouraged the construction of new sections in the Autobahn domain which continued till the 1980s.
In the East Germany, the air wasn’t quite favorable to the notion of Autobahns. The developmental initiatives were almost non-existent when it came to Autobahn. The progress in this area was just about stagnant with the required repairs being the only attention that Autobahns received. This concept couldn’t gain much prominence or importance in the eyes of East Germany. Here, the Autobahns were mainly reserved for military traffic or for any other governmental purpose. The outrageous speed limitations and an overall poor condition of the Autobahns itself took the credit of turning Autobahns into a cold-shouldered concept amongst the general civilians. It was after the reunification of Germany in the year 1990 that the notion of Autobahns received their share of development in the Eastern part of the country.
After Germany became whole again, the idea of Autobahn began to taste the true flavors of development. All-in-all, the Autobahns carry quite a fascinating history with them that captivates attention. The Autobahn has clearly come a long way from where it started. From a vague road idea to the globally-known motorway network. Be it the stimulating unrestricted access to speed, an enchanting history, or its innovative design, you will find nearly endless reasons to be drawn towards the Autobahns. No doubt, many in the entertainment industry, draw inspiration from the Bundesautobahnen. Video games, songs, and even a television series to its name, it really has become a celebrity motorway.
Autobahn is something that started off as a budding idea that magnificently blossomed into a wide motorway network that attracts the global eye. Many throughout the world wish to try their wheels on the Autobahn stretch at least once in their lifetime. So, next time you are out on a trip to Germany, be sure to witness this roadway treasure with your own eyes.