Magazine August 10, 2020, Issue

What’s in a Nickname?

Redskins branded merchandise in a sports store, Sterling, Va., July 13, 2020 (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Oftentimes, walking my beloved wheaten terrier around my quiet suburban neighborhood, I’m confronted with the steely gaze of a silk-blue Volkswagen Beetle. I hadn’t put much thought into the car’s obnoxious past until I began trying to figure out ways to be offended by history.

It turns out I was in luck. In 1937, Adolf Hitler, an admirer of American mass-production methods, decided that German citizens needed access to affordable cars to make use of the nation’s new highway system. A state-owned company was formed, and by the next year, Hitler was visiting the Fallersleben Volkswagen factory, declaring the new car

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