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Words of a Champion - H.P. Müller


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#1 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 09:06

For those of you who don’t know about H.P. Müller, let me bring you up to speed. All others, familiar with the subject, can skip the following three paragraphs. It is about H.P. Müller’s European Championship, not about his Motorcycle World Championship.

In 1939, the AIACR (International Association of Recognized Automobile Clubs) held their annual European Championship for drivers. After completion of the Swiss Grand Prix, which was the last championship event, the European Champion for 1939 was still unknown. Why this, an unprecedented, unbelievable situation? Because the different countries, represented in the CSI (International Sporting Commission), which was part of the AIACR, had been unable to come to an agreement about the possible introduction of new rules for the year 1939.

Therefore we had this ridiculous, if not to say scandalous, situation in the history of world sports, that only after the completion of events the champion was to be determined at the “green table” (meaning by argument!). So, this was then not going to be an argument between the two drivers, H.P. Müller on Auto Union and Hermann Lang on Mercedes-Benz, all four parties were of German nationality. This was much more so an argument between the two German manufacturers, Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz, who both proudly advertised their success in grand prix racing under the motto: “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”.

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H.P. Müller - was cheated about the
1939 European Championship

Adolf Hühnlein, spokes person and leader of motor sport in NAZI-Germany , made the decision about the 1939 European Champion public, first as an announcement in the Nazi party daily, Völkischer Beobachter, on November 30, 1939 and also in the Motorpost No. 49, pg. 4 on December 9, 1939. Hühnlein declared Hermann Lang on Mercedes-Benz the 1939 European Champion. However, according to the existing AIACR rules -never changed since 1935- H.P. Müller on Auto Union would have been the rightful 1939 champion. So, all this excitement now is about the audacity of a national German motor sports body, either the ONS (Leading National Sporting Body) or the NSKK (Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahr-Korps), the Nazi government automobile controlling body. These national bodies decided on an international matter - the 1939 European Champion - with the knowledge of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz. Worst of all, they unscrupulously manipulated the international rules to their own illegal advantage and declared Hermann Lang on Mercedes-Benz the Champion instead of H.P. Müller on Auto Union. Questions still remain unanswered, who could have had an interest to make these changes, authorized by Hühnlein and why?

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H.P. – racer by heart – humble personality. Sold a carpet, saved on the run from East Germany, to buy a Mondial for racing. Determination and persistence displayed for what? Modesty did not pay off.

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Tazio Nuvolari – the world’s best ever? – was number “1” at Auto Union in 1939. At the last championship race, the Swiss Grand Prix in August 39, Nuvolari moved over to let HP Müller through into fourth place and enable him a better position for the championship fight. All in vain.




Words of a Champion - H.P. Müller

“Jetzt bin ich aber schön beschissen worden,” in English: “Now I have really been ripped off,” shouted H.P. Müller, back then in the fall of 1939, when he learned about the decision that Lang had been declared the 1939 European Champion.

From where do we know this, all of a sudden, after 63 years? Well, persistence pays, as the saying goes and due to the unflagging collaboration of Holger Merten who was able to get hold of and speak with Frau Mariele Müller, the wife of the Grand Prix ace H.P. Müller, we know at least how HP had felt about this raw deal. Holger confronted Mariele with ten questions, prepared by Hans Etzrodt and Leif Snellman and with the help of her younger son Gerd Müller, who had been first contacted by me in February of 2001.

Mariele met HP (Hermann Paul) at AU (Auto Union), the company they both worked for in 1939. She was the charming secretary, employed at Auto Union's legal office in Zschopau, later in Chemnitz, where she also met HP, the 30-year old racing driver who on weekends was doing battle with Nuvolari, the Number One at AU, Caracciola, Lang and Brauchitsch from Mercedes. Her supervisor was Dr. Zimmermann, who very often saw her brother-in-law, Dr. Müller (husband of her sister), the assistant of Dr. Bruhn, the AU chairman of the management board. Because Mariele was not yet married to HP in 1939 (they wed in 1942) she was not allowed to the races. Everything Mariele knows, she remembers from HP's account.

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Post-war at a race track in 1948, H.P. Müller talking with
Georg Meier on the left, Mariele and one of their boys.

1. Question to Mariele: Was HP Müller at any time aware of the fact that he possibly had won the 1939 European Championship? Was this matter discussed within the Auto Union team or possibly later after the war?
MM: Yes, he knew about it. When the rule changes were announced, HP said to me:"Jetzt bin ich aber schön beschissen worden!" [“Now I have really been ripped off!”] Dr. Feuereisen [AU team manager] had taken no action to hinder it. – [Ed.: So, Auto Union at that time did not challenge this decision but merely took notice of it.]

2. Question to Mariele: Was there some known reason of why the ONS might have preferred Lang instead of Müller?
MM: No, it had nothing to do with the drivers, the relation besides a few personal rivalries were unmistakably friendly and it has remained so to this day.

3. Question to Mariele: Why was so little written about HP during the postwar years?
MM: He never cared about publicity. After the war, he immediately thought about the races, sold a carpet he had saved on the run [from East Germany] and with the money bought a Mondial to drive in races again.

4. Question to Mariele: Was there ever an interest by motor sport journalists or writers to visit HP to investigate the injustice from 1939?
MM: No, never, although he knew many journalists and team managers (Huschke von Hanstein). I think, in the fifties nobody really wanted to think about it.

5. Question to Mariele: Was HP Müller possibly such a modest man that he did not like to have publicity about his person?
MM: Yes.

Mariele was asked five more questions: about her knowledge of the ONS point scoring system (23 points); if it was a plus or minus system; which races counted in the revised ONS European Championship; if she was aware of the neutral reporting in the Swiss AUTOMOBIL-REVUE; if she had heard of Chris Nixon and his book about the Silver Arrows?
To none of these last questions Mariele Müller had any comments or knowledge.

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#2 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 09:41

Hans, thank you very much for this fulfilled case. You have been working on it all over the years and it's good to know to have such an interesting question answered here on TNF. :clap: :clap: :clap:

As you know there are some more open questions, may we’ll get an answer. I know some sources from the Auto Union in their internal race reports in the "Sächsische Staatsarchiv", where that case is written down by an internal Auto Union view. A month ago I believed to go to Chemnitz on a business trip and use one day for searching that documents. But everything was cancelled. So I' have to try later. May Brun, can help out.

Once again thank you Hans.

#3 dmj

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 10:50

AMAZING!!!

Thank you, Hans.

#4 ensign14

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 12:04

This goes beyond magnificent. A genuine piece of history recreated. Thank you very much (and to everyone else who has worked on it). :clap: :clap: :clap:

#5 David J Jones

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 13:01

Hans

Congratulations on a marvellous item of work.

Having read it carefully I feel I can almost know H P Muller - which is tribute to your research. What you have obtained is, I believe, is an indictment on the post war racing authorities - and in way - on today's journalists journalists and scribes who blindly follow the party line.

The only way I am afraid that Lang can be regarded as Champion is if it is acknowledged that Germany ruled Europe in 1939. I, for one dispute this, emphatically

I feel it is time for HP to be declared Champion for 1939 thus overturning a Nazi injustice. It is not too late for this to happen - action was eventually taken over the Swiss bank accounts recently.

Maybr the NSKK papers will throw the final light on what to me is an unsavoury matter and a blight on motor sport

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 13:17

Another Gold Star for Hans. Well done!

#7 Brun

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 15:06

As you know there are some more open questions, may we’ll get an answer. I know some sources from the Auto Union in their internal race reports in the "Sächsische Staatsarchiv", where that case is written down by an internal Auto Union view. A month ago I believed to go to Chemnitz on a business trip and use one day for searching that documents. But everything was cancelled. So I' have to try later. May Brun, can help out.



Afraid not... during my visit in Chemnitz, I devoted almost an entire afternoon to the 1939 Championship (as Racer.demon and Vitesse2 had suggested). I copied and scanned all archive material on the subject, posted it here on TNF, as most of you remember. There really was nothing more to be found. Believe me, I went through the index and the appropriate files three times...

#8 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 15:13

Brun, I have just heard it as a tip that there are internal documents. So this is what I heard. And I believed this could be a chance, to find out, why Auto Union never said anything against that decision of Hühnlein, or why they accepted it officially. I have to look at home, which numbers they had. I asked the “Sächsische Staatsarchiv” to copy them for me, but without the standard numbers (Kukowskis Findbuch), it’s impossible or too expensive.

#9 Rob G

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 16:14

Wow, this HUGE!!! Congratulations on an outstanding job! :clap: :clap: :clap:

#10 petefenelon

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 16:36

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
For those of you who don’t know about H.P. Müller, let me bring you up to speed. All others, familiar with the subject, can skip the following three paragraphs. It is about H.P. Müller’s European Championship, not about his Motorcycle World Championship.


Superb article - many thanks for the work that's gone into this.

pete

#11 Racer.Demon

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 18:29

Amazing (but not very surprising given some of the contemporary press reactions to the points debate) to find out after all these years that HP felt robbed.

Now we really need someone to dig into the NSKK files in Berlin!

Hans - full marks for your tenacity. Holger - thanks for being there on the spot to help us out.

#12 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 20:07

Yes racer.demon, the NSKK files and those Auto Union files in the "Sächsische Staatsarchiv", I've heard about. Cause for me it's interesting to know, why Auto Union accepted that offically? They are called:"Auto Union Haus Presse Dienst", Nr. 60, 62, 97. May we'll know more later....

#13 Option1

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 20:48

Superb work Hans, Holger et al!

Thank you.

Neil

#14 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 21:23

Hans - Holger - congratulations indeed on yet another simply wonderful piece of original work.

I would only mention one contrarion point in that my reaction to the basic thrust of this whole topic is that H.P.'s reaction - at least after the event - is pretty much in line with what mine has been all along.

He was robbed of a Championship title which should, perhaps, have been his. So what?

The Championship in question was there - absolutely - but it did not in any way attract the levels of public and media and in many ways even team attention - as you have all found - that the World Championship does today.

It must have been a frustrating denial for H.P. - but it was not the end of the world. For so many of them, that was about to burst about their heads 1940-45...

DCN

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 21:47

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#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 22:06

:cool: Something wrong with the quadruplets, Richard?

#17 jarama

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 22:10

Hans, Holger & co

I'm without words... :clap: :clap: :clap:

Carles.

#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 22:25

Originally posted by Doug Nye
:cool: Something wrong with the quadruplets, Richard?


Nope! I dunno, I go out for the day and this turns up while I'm not looking ....... :D

I can quite see your point Doug, but as Hans has frequently pointed out, this was an unparallelled decision, taken without authority and accepted purely through the apathy and inertia of the authorities (who admittedly had other things to worry about in 1945-6). Nevertheless, this should have been settled by the FIA by July 1946, not allowed to fester for sixty years.

It's my personal opinion that Lang was actually the class act of the 1939 season, but I can quite understand Hans and David's feelings with regard to this - according to the never officially rescinded established scoring system Müller should have been champion, but wasn't declared as such. The NSKK appropriated the AIACR/RACB's draft proposals for their own ends, for reasons which still aren't clear.

The nearest parallel I can think of would be the RAC declaring Graham Hill 1964 World Champion because he'd scored more points than John Surtees....

#19 David J Jones

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 08:22

DCN

I find your viewpoint astounding. The facts of the matter I believe speak for themselves -

- There was no points change outside Germany

- The points change made by the German 'authorities' was announced when the rest of France, Britain and other countries WERE AT WAR with Nazi Germany. The edict therefore has no validity whatsoever in the free world and right minded individuals should see it is erased.

The fact that the press cannot formally acknowledge the misjustice is an indictment of the first degree.

To suggest HP was a nice guy who accepted it graciously must be challenged. No one in Germany during or after the war would openly contest Nazi decisions. It could become a matter of life or death for them and their families.
Auo-Union was in the Soviet Zone and as we have seen in other threads was being dismantled so who was around to get access to the documents we are now finding.
Mercedes-Benz were in the West and wrote history for themselves.
Writers nowadays do not acknowledge this and still accept what they have been told.

Perhaps there is a clue to all this in the findings at the Nuremburg trials in that the NSKK and the FliegerKorps were found 'not to be political' in their activities. I cannot understand this but maybe they were excluded because of their 'masonic or clublike' status.

Maybe this is why we can get no modern day authorities or journalists or historians to give H P Muller the justice he deserves?

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#20 ensign14

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 08:51

I think Doug's point is that the European Championship was so little known that no-one was causing that much of a fuss about it. When Farina won the WDC in 1950 there was a small paragraph mention in Autosport. When you think of Caracciola, you don't think 'wow, he was the Eurpoean Champion', you think 'wow, Rainmaster, GP winner'. It's like the Jim Clark Trophy, it never got much attention, which was focussed more on the races.

I mean, when did you first hear of the European Championship? I think it was in Chris Nixon's book. And I never heard about the early 30s one until Sheldon's books. Never in the mainstream histories which may reflect its importance. Are we in danger of transposing championship mentality to a time when it was not important?

#21 David J Jones

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 09:16

Ensign

I heard about the European Championship way back in the 50's through reading the biographies of the pre - war drivers. I must admit that I did not comprehend what had happened until I came to Atlas F1 and read Don Capp's aricle then came Hans's thread.............
Once that had happened it became a worthy cause.

I do not care how well known it was I just want the Nazi judgement overruled and justice done.

Don't get too carried away with the 3-0 !

#22 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 09:29

Fair point, Ensign14, and your comments about 1950 are relevant. After all, Ferrari missed the first race because they thought they had much better prospects in a Belgian F2 race the same day.

Yes, championships today are over-hyped, but even the most obscure, like 1925, were reported in both the specialist and general motoring press (but not necessarily very well!). In the 30s, Britain was learning about road racing while still clinging to the Brooklands mentality, yet Speed, Motor Sport, Autocar, Motor and Light Car all sent correspondents to continental races: the interest was obviously there. If motor racing in the 30s had had the publicity machine of Hollywood behind it, who knows? The Germans went a long way towards this, effectively creating a star system focussed on the aces - Caracciola, von Brauchitsch, Rosemeyer, Lang .... all apparently "good Nazis" although we now know that Rudi, at least, had no time for Hitler. So why was Müller not a "good Nazi"? Why was he passed over in favour of Lang?

Are we in danger of transposing championship mentality to a time when it was not important?



From the quotes above from Müller's widow, Nuvolari's action in letting Müller through to ensure he finished in the best possible position and Lang's rather disingenuous comments to Nixon I think it was important to them! And to Mercedes Benz and Auto Union!

I mean, when did you first hear of the European Championship?



Some time in the early 70s, when I read Georgano from cover to cover! :) I wish now I'd followed it up, since in those days I lived only a few miles from the Beaulieu library!

#23 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 09:30

Originally posted by ensign14
I think Doug's point is that the European Championship was so little known that no-one was causing that much of a fuss about it......

I mean, when did you first hear of the European Championship? I think it was in Chris Nixon's book. And I never heard about the early 30s one until Sheldon's books. Never in the mainstream histories which may reflect its importance. Are we in danger of transposing championship mentality to a time when it was not important?

The presently known contemporary sources, which reported about the 1939 European Championship:

MOTOR und SPORT, No 30, p 31, July 23, 1939
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, August 4, 1939, No. 63, pg. 3
Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung No.33. page 1080, by Hans Bretz, Berlin, August 12, 1939]
O Volante, the Portuguese journal, August 15, 1939, issue no.483, pg. 13
Automobil-Revue, August 18, 1939, No. 67, pg.3
Automobil-Revue, August 22, 1939, No. 68, pg.10
Les Sports (Belgian Newspaper), Tuesday, August 22, 1939
Les Sports (Belgian Newspaper), Thursday, August 24, 1939
Motorpost No 34, page 8, Germany, August 26, 1939
The Motor, August 29, 1939 p169, by "Grande Vitesse"
The Motor, August 29, 1939, p178, by "Grande Vitesse"
The Motor, September 12, 1939, p239
Völkischer Beobachter Germany, 30 November, 1939
Motorpost No 49, page 4, Germany, 9 December, 1939

#24 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 10:20

Hans - another TNFer sent me a PM some time ago asking why I had not waded into this Muller/Lang 1939 Championship debate. It was purely because of the gut-reaction I expressed above.

Please appreciate that the most important feature prefacing my contrarian post was indeed my sincere admiration for the work that you and Holger and everybody else has done in sorting out the truth of this situation. Wonderful job. Loud applause. Take a major prize.

The actual contrarian point which I made is simply a matter of "OK, very interesting indeed, but we should keep this in proportion".

I knew of the existence of a pre-war European Championship from virtually the first motor sporting books and magazines I ever read. I think well before the age of ten, but having spent a LOT of time around people who were avid enthusiasts and in many cases participants during that period the destination of 'The European Championship' IN PERIOD was regarded as not a particularly big deal - more the stature of a nice sporting honour than of a world-shattering Nobel Prize...

I never met Muller, but I did meet Lang and I recall talking to him about 'his' Championship and he was infinitely more proud of individual race wins - perhaps, we now know thanks to your forensic researches - with good reason. The sad thing - really sad thing - about Lang was the very apparent effect of having had potentially his best six years destroyed by WW2, the effects of too much alcohol and a background bitterness that while he had achieved so much, he was left very largely unfulfilled...

The fact that Muller in 1939 was diddled out of what should - as you have highlighted - have been his rightful title - and that Auto Union did NOT defend his claim and that Lang was regarded postwar as having been 'The Champion' is indeed of great interest - but regardless of the outbreak of war it was NOT in period of the immense significance - even amongst enthusiasts and participants - that such a fraudulent outcome WOULD have been had it involved the postwar World Championship...once it had been fully developed, had focused public interest, and had got into its stride.

Interest and significance are two different things.

I am merely counselling retention of a proper sense of proportion...

DCN

#25 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 11:04

Doug: I bow to your "Elder statesman" status :), not to mention your personal contacts regarding this. However, can I make the point that perhaps part of the reason it was seen as no big deal was because it was, by today's standards, seriously under-reported? The pre-Sheldon, pre-Nixon histories which do mention it only do so in passing, probably because the authors had discovered that documentary evidence was sparse and they hadn't the time (or interest?) to sort it out. Pritchard and Nixon both obviously tried and gave up on 1935 - look at Pritchard's comments in his Maserati book! And until Nixon found the 1937 scoring system some writers assumed that the European Champion was simply chosen by the CSI or AIACR, based on a committee decision examining the season's results. Even Neubauer's autobiography spreads falsehoods about this, including Tripoli and (IIRC) the Coppa Acerbo!

So - perhaps "no big deal" because no-one understood what was going on: the scoring systems were obscure and complicated and the magazines, pushed for space, contented themselves with publishing only a digest of the scores. Another of those self-fulfilling prophecies?

Sure, perhaps it didn't matter to the vast majority of racing fans, but putting the boot on the other foot: how much did people here care who'd won a BRDC Gold Star? The piece from Walkerley which I quoted in the 1939 thread is just as dismissive of that as it is of the European Championship.

#26 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 11:16

And specifically on 1939 - which individual researcher would have had the time, energy or indeed luck to come up with corroborative sources from (so far) Britain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal? We've spent a lot of time on this (for Hans it's been half a lifetime!) and would still like to see French and/or Italian sources which might provide more clues - might any one person have thought "Sod it, I'll get back to that" and then glossed over it? The power of TNF, you see ... :)

#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 11:48

Richard - I couldn't agree with you more. Please forget any 'elder statesman' nonsense, too...

This has been a stupendous, wonderful, totally praiseworthy piece of research work.

My contrarian streak has to point out, however, that this affair - while being MORE significant than the BRDC Gold Star award has been at any time - was much LESS significant than it would be if one dreams that the public and media impression of European Championship status THEN would in any way be equal to World Championship status TODAY.

Because this simply is not/was not the case....not only here in the UK but also, I have been assured, in the new Germany, Italy, France...

My original post was very simple - and very specific - and absolutely in praise of this body of work; it merely seeks to add proper perspective. I absolutely stand by every word.

DCN

#28 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 12:19

Interesting that the old discussion from the old thread starts here once again. About speculations, what......would be.....when.....and.....why,..... but ....after, ....if...? :down:

What Hans did, was searching for the facts. Sometimes there are thread filled with speculation and they end in speculations. Please don’t misunderstand, often it's the right way to come closer to the point or the solution and therefore I like TNF. :up:

But here Hans brought real facts about a thing nobody on TNF could explain on the old thread. When I spoke with Mariele Müller and her son Gerd some weeks ago, they were very proud about the fact, that there are people (maniacs :wave: ) all over the world, interested in the 1939 GP Championship. And on the other hand, what Hans did is the intellectual way to show how history works and would be made, also if you know the “thruth”. Well done
:up:

#29 tifoso

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 12:44

I'll admit right off the bat, that I don't know much about pre-war racing and learning about this controversy through this thread and Don Capps' previous thread has me very intrigued. It's simply fascinating and I thank everyone involved for bringing this to light.

I did recall reading in a general history of the Nazi party that the Nazi regime subsized both Mercedes and Auto Union to the tune of 450,000 Reichsmarks. However, the Nazi's original intention was only to subsidize Mercedes. Ferdinand Porsche persuaded the government to split the subsidy evenly. Perhaps their original intention to fund only Mercedes foreshadows Muller's fate?

#30 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:05

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Richard - I couldn't agree with you more. Please forget any 'elder statesman' nonsense, too...


I couldn't decide whether to put in a :) or a :p ....

Originally posted by Doug Nye
This has been a stupendous, wonderful, totally praiseworthy piece of research work.

My contrarian streak has to point out, however, that this affair - while being MORE significant than the BRDC Gold Star award has been at any time - was much LESS significant than it would be if one dreams that the public and media impression of European Championship status THEN would in any way be equal to World Championship status TODAY.

Because this simply is not/was not the case....not only here in the UK but also, I have been assured, in the new Germany, Italy, France...

My original post was very simple - and very specific - and absolutely in praise of this body of work; it merely seeks to add proper perspective. I absolutely stand by every word.

DCN


FWIW, I agree with you. In the great scheme of things, a Championship means f*** all - indeed it, or its absence, can rewrite history to the detriment of some: Wimille, Sommer, Moss etc etc. And I always bear Jenks' "What is he going to do with it?" comment in mind too. However, there are of course "lies, damned lies and statistics", the last of which tend to be used by the more simple-minded to justify an argument :rolleyes:

Yes, the European Championship was minor. Yes, very few people knew about it. Even fewer cared. But an injustice was done ....

Tifoso: according to Chris Nixon, Auto Union got the money partly because Hitler had met Hans Stuck some years before coming to power - Stuck and Porsche were summoned to Berlin a few days after Hitler was elected Chancellor. Sounds like a matter of interpretation, or maybe Stuck inflating his own role?

#31 tifoso

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:19

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Tifoso: according to Chris Nixon, Auto Union got the money partly because Hitler had met Hans Stuck some years before coming to power - Stuck and Porsche were summoned to Berlin a few days after Hitler was elected Chancellor. Sounds like a matter of interpretation, or maybe Stuck inflating his own role?

I can't say for sure, the general history I read about the Nazi party was several years ago. A book I picked up before a long transatlantic flight and passed on to my brother. Who knows where it is now? But this forum has become quite addicting and I "hit the books." Unfortunately, I don't have many for the pre-war era, but I did find this in the Autocourse 50 Years of Grand Prix Motor Racing by Alan Henry:

Unfortunately the prospects for the P3 Alfa Romeo and the corresponding 2.9-litre Maserati took a dive when Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz -- backed strongly by Hitler's Nazi regime -- joined the fray. It had originally been Hitler's intention to pay the massive state subsidy of around 450,000 Reichsmarks exclusively to the long-estabished Mercedes-Benz company, but Auto Union's Chief Designer, Professor Ferdinand Prosche, persuaded the government to split the contibution equally. The subsidy was in many ways symbolic as the overall operating costs of these teams were several times the total of the individual government backing.

Almost totally off topic, I found another interesting bit about Lang in the same book a few pages later:

There is an anecdote which amusingly puts a social perspective on this era of German motor racing domination: it recalls an occasion when the aristocratic Manfred von Brauchitsch led Caracciola and their team mate Hermann Lang, into Berlin's swanky Roxy bar in the late 1930s. Lang was regarded as somewhat working class -- having been unemployed during the early '30s, he originally joined the Daimler Benz company as a mechanic -- and had previously raced motor cycles. Von Brauchitsch settled down into a chair and hailed a waiter. "A bottle of champagne for Herr Caracciola and myself," he said. "And a beer for Lang."



#32 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:29

Sorry, no more speculations in this thread, please. Also not about the money from the nazi-party. There is so much written about it that there is no space for any interpretations. AU and MB got the money also in the year 1940 and 1941. What we know from Brun:

Since the Nazi government granted Auto Union 300,000 Reichsmarks each year, also in 1940 and 1941 (the last payment took place on February 15th 1941) ample financial room should have existed for at least one completed car.

in his Typ E article.

(I will write about the money spending for the Auto Union Rennabteilung compared with what they got from the party in article later on 8W.)

#33 tifoso

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:40

Originally posted by Holger Merten
(I will write about the money spending for the Auto Union Rennabteilung compared with what they got from the party in article later on 8W.)

I'll await the article. Please let us know when it's available. I apologize for bringing the money issue up at all. My only point in doing so was to suggest that it perhaps showed the Nazi's had some sort of favoritism toward Mercedes. Obviously, I don't know that for sure.

#34 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:49

Originally posted by tifoso

My only point in doing so was to suggest that it perhaps showed the Nazi's had some sort of favoritism toward Mercedes. Obviously, I don't know that for sure.


They did.

#35 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:54

Originally posted by tifoso
My only point in doing so was to suggest that it perhaps showed the Nazi's had some sort of favoritism toward Mercedes. Obviously, I don't know that for sure.


You're in a fairly large group around here in believing that. The impression is, translating it to the beer/champagne story, that M-B were Caracciola and von Brauchitsch while Auto Union were like Lang.

And Hitler usually travelled round in a Mercedes .....

#36 dmj

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 15:13

I wouldn't say that Horch cars were unpopular even among highest level Nazi staff... Although you're right about Hitler and Mercedes.

#37 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 15:23

And the story is.....

In 1924 Hitler asked for a Horch after he was in jail. But they didn't like to sent one. Mercedes did, and he never forgot, but that doesn't have anything to do with that thread. But it's a fact. And important, you can proove it, no speculation! :cool:

Thats why I couldn't drive a mercedes. They never had the right spirit. Believe me and:

#38 Wolf

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 17:48

I don't know whether I have proposed this in '39 thread or not, but seeing I'm curious about motives behind the decision to award the C'ship to Lang, I think it might be worthwile to explore what 'authorities' had on Müller. I don't know whether (in)famous Heydrich* files belonged to SD (Sicherheits Dienst der NSDAP) or RSHA (Reichs Sicherheits Amt, an SS branch), or whether they still exist (let alone have a clue on their location) but I feel if there was something that could make him unfit for being a laureate of '39 C'ship, it's bound to be in there.

* Richard Heydrich was one of the most feared men in Nazi Regime, even by high ranking Nazi officials (e.g. even Göring)- all of it because he had 'secret' files on every prominent German and NSDAP member. I don't think it would be far fetched to assume he, as head of SS and Nazi secret services, could excercise his influence over NSKK (an SS branch as well) if he deemed Müller inappropriate to be Champion. Most of you unfamilliar with Heydrich, might know him as latter head of Czech Protectorate assasinated by British Paratroopers in Prague ('43 IIRC), resulting in complete annihilation of two Czech villages (one of them was Lidice), whose inhabbitants supposedly collaborated with them.

Anyways, great work Hans, Holger et all. Thanks for sharing it. :)

#39 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 17:57

It's all coming back now!?

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#40 ensign14

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 19:18

The other thing is, whose idea was the title? According to Nixon it was the AC v Deutschland in 1935...probably right at the time Hitler was pushing sport as a demonstration of German superiority (the Olympics were in berlin in 1936) - my guess is that someone thought a European championship with a German winning team would be proof of Aryan dominance. Perhaps that coloured attitudes - after all, the French GP was not in the 1935 title and was run to sportscar formulae often during this period.

So maybe subliminally it was always thought of as a German title and people did not pay much attention to it.

(Incidentally, one would have thought Muller win would be better for Nazi propaganda purposes - he had a highly rated Italian team-mate whom he beat!)

#41 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 19:27

Getting back on track, I want to briefly comment on statements made by DCN about the importance or the lack of it regarding the European Championship then in 1939. I have not misunderstood any of Doug's comments. I knew all along and even wrote about this particular fact here at TNF. Compared to present day World Championship media coverage, the 1939 issue was practically unknown and few in the media showed interest. The championship was not popular in France, Italy or Great Britain because none of their drivers (Nuvolari or Seaman) had a chance to shine. It is my impression that the world in 1939 was a more nationalistic world then.

I have also gained the impression, that the European Championship attracted greater interest in 1939 than during the preceding years (1935-1938), a view gained by the frequency of contemporary reporting.

My intent in this whole matter is merely to find the truth of activities and detail information. That Lang was not the rightful champion should be clear to everybody by now, unless they bow to the NAZI decree. I would also like to see the present FIA to officially condemn the 1939 ONS/NSKK European Champion on grounds that a national Association had no right to determine an international matter. By doing so, they would declare HP as the rightful 1939 European Champion on grounds that the rules had not changed. All this is called wishful thinking.

#42 ensign14

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 19:41

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
I would also like to see the present FIA to officially condemn the 1939 ONS/NSKK European Champion on grounds that a national Association had no right to determine an international matter.

Except by the time it was declared, most of the relevant national associations had ceased to exist...

And maybe everything is just a bit too close to home to the current head of the FIA.

#43 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 19:47

Originally posted by ensign14
.....maybe everything is just a bit too close to home to the current head of the FIA.

You mean a FIA - Mercedes connection?

#44 Racer.Demon

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 20:16

No Hans, I think ensign14 had a father-son connection in mind.

#45 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 20:21

:rotfl:

Originally posted by Racer.Demon
No Hans, I think ensign14 had a father-son connection in mind.

:rotfl:

Hard, but it comes to the point. :cool:

#46 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 20:44

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Getting back on track, I want to briefly comment on statements made by DCN about the importance or the lack of it regarding the European Championship then in 1939. I have not misunderstood any of Doug's comments....My intent in this whole matter is merely to find the truth of activities and detail information. That Lang was not the rightful champion should be clear to everybody by now, unless they bow to the NAZI decree. I would also like to see the present FIA to officially condemn the 1939 ONS/NSKK European Champion on grounds that a national Association had no right to determine an international matter. By doing so, they would declare HP as the rightful 1939 European Champion on grounds that the rules had not changed. All this is called wishful thinking.


Hans - precisely.

And in the circumstances of 1939-1940 - had we been sitting on the relevant committee - I for one would have felt uncomfortable to see the most successful race-winning driver of the season (Lang)denied the title of Champion by the mere points accumulation of a one-race only winner (Muller).

In the contemporary atmosphere the man their public most frequently saw winning almost HAD to be made Champion...

I'm fairly comfortable with the notion that had it been Muller who had won five times in Auto Union - or twice at supreme level if you prefer - and Lang who had won just once in Mercedes-Benz there would have been no manipulation whatsoever.

Into 1940 the notion of finishing second, yet still emerging victorious after the long haul, was understandably unacceptable and we who have lived our lives in relative peace and security postwar should never ignore the intense power of such a contemporary motive...

DCN

#47 Wolf

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 21:13

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
My intent in this whole matter is merely to find the truth of activities and detail information. That Lang was not the rightful champion should be clear to everybody by now, unless they bow to the NAZI decree. I would also like to see the present FIA to officially condemn the 1939 ONS/NSKK European Champion on grounds that a national Association had no right to determine an international matter. By doing so, they would declare HP as the rightful 1939 European Champion on grounds that the rules had not changed. All this is called wishful thinking.


I hope Hans will not find me out of line with my following comment (or anyone else for that matter), and despite being reluctant to voice my disagreement with opinions of my betters, I'm somewhat repelled by the hint of 'revisionism' in this part of Hans' post...

Please do not get me wrong, pursuit of truth is what everybody should be after, and so is righting the wrongs. But trophies changing hands seems somewhat radical a thing- maybe, declaring '39 Championship 'taunted' or null-and-void. But surely, FIA should recognize the fact of HP Müller being most likely swindled out of his rightful title, and no evidence supporting Lang's claim (press release would probably suffice, methinks). This way Müller would be recognised as the man who was swindled out of his title (and not only by ONS/NSKK, but by everybody who didn't contest that tyranic decision) and not the one who was 'handed' his title post festum (that couldn't go without some sense of inpropriety)...

And to show I can disagree with my betters twice in one post ( :eek: ), Doug- as much as one can understand the concept of victor carrying away the spoils, that was never part of the rules, like in '58. One can admire winners or underdogs, but trophy should land in the hands of the one who fullfilled the criteria, even if it doesn't seem 'right', even if the driver in question is not the best.

#48 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 21:28

Wolf - absolutely correct of course - but I would still have felt uncomfortable, regardless of 'the rules'.

Just as I felt uncomfortable when Andretti won most races but still lost the World title, or when Rosberg won just one race, but still won the World title.

Rules is rules - but winning more races than any rival is evidence of a car/driver combination which has been THE BEST. All reason why I have so little regard for Championships as such...

DCN

#49 David J Jones

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 21:46

Wolf

We have the truth - which is what all historians should recognise. Once the truth has been determined then a change to history is inevitable.

Those who believe that Huhnlein's decision should not be overruled are living in a false world, one that acknowledges Nazi decisions as not being bad. Huhnlein was no nice pussy cat - he was a long time Nazi and was imprisoned along with Hitler and Hess for his part in the Munich Beer Hall putsch. He also survived the 'night of the long knives' when a lot of old colleagues were murdered to cement Hitlers rule.

Motor Sport would not publish Don's article (as I correctly forecast) so I for one cancelled my order and I have not read it since. The same will go for other books on the period - by historians who should know better - that are quoting Lang as the title holder for 1939.

Why Muller was denied will eventually turn up - but I do not need to wait for that - he was and is the rightful champion for 1939. Lang was appointed by a Fascist Government body and that alone should be enough for it to be overturned.

Those who would claim otherwise would seem to be speaking with the same voice as those who in the period between 3/9/39 and 30/8/42 were attempting to engineer a peace between Britain and Germany.

Thank god for Churchill.........

#50 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 21:54

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Just as I felt uncomfortable when Andretti won most races but still lost the World title, or when Rosberg won just one race, but still won the World title.

Rules is rules - but winning more races than any rival is evidence of a car/driver combination which has been THE BEST. All reason why I have so little regard for Championships as such...

DCN



Originally posted by David J Jones
Wolf

We have the truth - which is what all historians should recognise. Once the truth has been determined then a change to history is inevitable.

(....)

Those who would claim otherwise would seem to be speaking with the same voice as those who in the period between 3/9/39 and 30/8/42 were attempting to engineer a peace between Britain and Germany.

Thank god for Churchill.........


Yes, it's a question of the system: rules are rules, which you have to accept- or - rules are rules by a Fascist Government, which you have to accept. But do you know where the truth is. I know. :