A Histoty of Violence
The new Volkswagen commercial featuring Darth Vader (see below) has reached 24 million views on YouTube. It was hands down the most loved commercial that premiered during the Super Bowl. The child actor was featured on the Today Show, affirming everyone’s suspicions that the kid was cute. All around, it was a success. However, Volkswagen may have made a mistake.
Volkswagen’s history begins in 1934, when Ferdinand Porcshe submitted the Beetle’s design to Adolf Hitler. Hitler praised Porsche’s design and selected it as Germany’s Volkswagen, or People’s Car.
When discussing Star Wars, George Lucas has been forthcoming about the story’s allusions to Nazi Germany. Firstly, Stormtroopers are simply named after Stormtroopers. That was pretty obvious. Overall, the story mimics Nazi Germany: an oppressive force rises to power, exterminates the Jedis, and Emperor Palpatine rose to power during a period of distress (like Hitler). And here’s the kicker: the Darth Vader helmet is modeled after the German Army helmets of World War II.
With that one successful commercial, 24 million people have watched and enjoyed subtle Nazi imagery. Now that’s some successful propaganda.