A Misheard Sentence Shapes the Shoe Market
Adolf and Rudolf Dassler were German brothers who shared a passion for shoemaking, and eventually they shared ownership of the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. Like most German citizens at the time, they were card-carrying members of the Nazi Party, but they sort of sucked at it. For instance, during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, they outfitted Jesse Owens with the shoes he would wear while proving that Hitler was wrong about the inferiority of black athletes.
Also unlike Hitler, the brothers' shoe-selling prowess survived World War II, and today they sell more athletic shoes and apparel than anyone other than Nike and Reebok. If you're reading this in a Western society, you've almost definitely worn their shoes or clothing. You just knew them as Puma or Adidas. While the brothers continued making shoes, they did it as separate companies.
Adolf, creator of Adidas. Full-on Nazi.
One night during an Allied bombing raid, Rudolf was sitting in his bomb shelter with his family when Adolf and his wife joined them. Maybe it was the bombs being dropped above, or perhaps a premonition of how hard his name was about to go out of fashion, but Adolf was pissed about this particular bombing raid, and greeted his brother's family with a remark about what a bunch of bastards the Allies were. Specifically, he said, "Here are the bloody bastards again."
The apparently insecure Rudolf thought Adolf was referring to him and his family. Instead of clarifying and bro-hugging it out, what followed was the sort of inexplicably persistent misunderstanding that only happens in sitcoms, bad comedies and apparently German families. Thanks to that one sentence, their relationship grew rockier over the course of the war. When American soldiers accused Rudolf of being a member of the Waffen SS (the war-crimesiest sector of the Nazi military), he assumed that his brother had put them up to it. By the time the war was over, the brothers hated each other so much that they decided they couldn't work together. And so they divided their shoe manufacturing business, with Adolf Dassler naming his company Adidas, after a wisely shortened version of his first and last name (Adolfdas probably wouldn't have sold quite as well). Rudolf chose to name his after a jungle cat, and the two companies have been trying to put each other out of business ever since.
Rudolf, creator of Puma. We really can't stress enough how Nazi these guys were.