A Clash of Styles – German Aesthetics – 1933-1945

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Emblem of the NSDAP



During the period of the Third Reich there was a tension between three conflicting elements in National Socialist aesthetics and ideology – these three elements being Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism.
Towards the end of the period Classicism and Modernism rose to prominence, both fulfilling their appropriate functions, while a Gothic Romanticism gradually faded in significance.
To understand theses developments, however, we need to consider the origins of German National Socialism.




National Socialism comes from a different tradition than that of either liberal capitalism or communism.
Partito Nazionale Fascista
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Falange Española de las
Juntas de

Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista
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Many historiographers say that the anti-Semitic element, which does not exist to any great extent in the sister fascist movements in Italy and Spain, was adopted by Hitler to gain popularity for the movement.


Partito Nazionale Fascista – PNF – (the National Fascist Party) was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism  The party ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943.
Falange was a Spanish political organization founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1933, during the Second Spanish Republic. Primo de Rivera was the son of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, who governed Spain as Prime Minister in the 1920s. The Falange was republican, avant-gardist and modernist, in a manner similar to the original spirit of Italian Fascism. Its uniform and aesthetic was similar to contemporary European fascist and national socialist movements.

Futurism and Fascism: We usually associate modern art, and modernism in general, with left wing politics. Futurism, however, had right wing political sympathies from the beginning, and its creators developed ties with Italian Fascism in the years following the First World War. Mussolini, unlike almost all the other right-wing leaders of the 20th century, took an active interest in modernism and, for a while, cultivated it. Futurism, like Italian Fascism itself, was ideologically a mess. It was a hodge-podge of anarchism, the aesthetics of violence, and nationalism. Italian Fascism was likewise a stew of nationalism, anarchism, syndicalism, opportunism and machismo. Mussolini loved the Futurists precisely because they were so modern, so aggressive, and so daring. He had his own origins in anarchism, and that anarchist aesthetic probably genuinely appealed to him, even as his politics became more nationalist and reactionary. Futurism, of course, is a form of ‘degenerate art‘.

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Der Große Krieg
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Anti-Semitic prejudice was very common among the masses in German Empire, and it has been claimed that mass acceptance for the NSDAP required the party to be anti-Semitic.
This would also flatter the wounded pride of German people after the defeat of Der Große Krieg (the Great War – World War One).

Others, however, see anti-Semitism as central to Hitler’s Weltanschauung (World view).
The latter is of course the correct interpretation.
Many see strong connections between the values of National Socialism and the irrationalist tradition of the romantic movement of the early 19th century.
Strength, passion, lack of hypocrisy, utilitarianism, traditional family values, and devotion to community were valued by the National Socialists, and first expressed by many Romantic artists, musicians, and writers.
German romanticism in particular expressed these values.

Richard Wagner

For instance, the National Socialists identified closely with the music of Richard Wagner (a noted anti-Semite, author of ‘Das Judenthum in der Musik’, and idol to the young Hitler).

Many of his operas express the ideals of the strong dominating the weak, and a celebration of traditional Norse Aryan folklore and values.
The style of his music is often heroic and grandiose.

Heiliges Römisches Reich
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The idealisation of tradition, folklore, classical thought, the leadership of Frederick the Great, the rejection of the liberalism of the Weimar Republic and the decision to call the German state the ‘Third Reich’ (which hearkens back to the medieval ‘First Reich’ – Heiliges Römisches Reich – and the pre-Weimar ‘Second Reich’ or Kaiserreich) has led many to regard the National Socialists as essentially traditionalist and reactionary.

Kaiserreich
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The NSDAP that came to power in January 1933 desired more than simply political authority, the ability to revise the Versailles Treaty, and regain and expand upon those lands lost after a humiliating defeat in World War I.
They also wanted to change the cultural landscape: to return the country to traditional “German” and “Nordic” values, to excise or circumscribe Jewish, “foreign,” and “degenerate” influences, and to shape a racial community (“Volksgemeinschaft”) which aligned with Völkisch ideals.
These ideals, however were, at times, contradictory.
National Socialism, however, represented much more than a just a political movement
National Socialism was at once ‘modern’ and ‘anti-modern’; (often referred to as ‘reactionary modernism‘) – Classical and Romantic.

‘Im walde’
Des-Knaben Wunderhorn
Schwind von Moritz (1804-1871)

It was dynamic and utopian, and yet often hearkened back to an idyllic and romanticized German past.

Blut,Boden und Heimat

In certain elements, Völkisch cultural principles were consistent: they stressed family, race, and Volk as the highest representations of German values.

They rejected materialism, cosmopolitanism, and “bourgeois intellectualism,” and instead promoted the German virtues of loyalty, struggle, self-sacrifice, and discipline.
Völkisch cultural values also placed great importance on Germans’ harmony with their native soil (Heimat) and with nature, (the Green Reich), and emphasized the elevation of the Volk and nation above its individual members.

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In the Third Reich,  one of the main roles of culture was to disseminate the Völkisch world view.
One of the first tasks the NSDAP undertook upon their ascension to power in early 1933 was a synchronization (Gleichschaltung) of all professional and social organizations with National Socialist ideology and policy.
The arts and cultural organizations were not exempt from this effort.

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels

Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, the Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, immediately strove to bring the artistic and cultural communities in line with Völkisch goals.

The government therefore purged cultural organizations of Jews, and others alleged to be politically or artistically suspect.
Reichskulturkammer – RKK
(Reich Culture Chamber)
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Beginning in September 1933, a new Reichskulturkammer – (Reich Culture Chamber), an umbrella organization composed of the Reich Film, Music, Theater, Press, Literary, Fine Arts, and Radio Chambers — moved to supervise and regulate all facets of German culture.
The new Nazi aesthetic embraced the genre of objective realism.
The visual arts and other modes of high culture employed this form to depict peasant life, family and community, and heroism on the battlefield; and attempted to exemplify such Germanic virtues as industry, self-sacrifice, and Aryan racial purity.
In the Third Reich there was no such concept as “art for art’s sake”.
Instead all forms of art, in addition to its formal and aesthetic considerations, had a calculated propagandistic undercurrent: it stood in stark contrast to the trends of modern art in the 1920s and 1930s, much of which employed abstract, expressionist, or surrealist tenets.

Professor Paul Ludwig Troost
Haus der Deutschen Kunst 

In October 15, 1933, Hitler laid the cornerstone of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst designed by Professor Paul Ludwig Troost to replace the burned down (1931) glass and steel Munich Glass Palace (1854).

The new museum was a monumental, ‘severe Deco’, neo-classicist buildin,g made of huge cut stones on the exterior, and marble on the interior.

Hitler and Frau Gerdy Troost

Paul Ludwig Troost (17 August 1878 – 21 January 1934), born in Elberfeld, was a German architect. An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil, and advocated a restrained, lean architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament. Hitler frequently declared, according to Speer, that “he first learned what architecture was from Troost”‘. The architect’s death on 21 January 1934, after a severe illness, was a painful blow, but Hitler remained close to his widow Gerdy Troost, whose architectural taste frequently coincided with his own, which made her (in Speer’s words) “a kind of arbiter of art in Munich.

In many ways the Haus der Deutschen Kunst expressed an anti-industrial and anti-economic aspect of the spirit of the NSDAP.


Adolf Hitler – Tag der Deutschen Kunst

During the opening ceremony, Hitler declared his pride at being able ‘to lay the foundations for this new temple in honor of the goddess of art‘.

In July 1937 a ‘Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung’ (Great German Art Exhibition) displaying the culture  of National Socialist art premièred in the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (House of German Art) in Munich.
Entartete Kunst

A nearby exhibition hall presented, in contrast, an Entartete Kunst (Exhibition of Degenerate Art) in order to demonstrate to the German public the “demoralizing” and “corruptive” influences of modern art.
In architecture, artists like Professor Paul Ludwig Troost and Albert Speer constructed monumental edifices in a classical form, heavily influenced by Art Deco, which conveyed the “enduring grandeur” of the National Socialist movement.
In literature, the Reichskulturkammer promoted the works of writers such as Adolf Bartels and Hitler Youth poet Hans Baumann.
Literature glorifying the peasant culture as bedrock of the German community, and historical novels bolstering the centrality of the Volk figured as preferred works of fiction, as did war narratives.

Adolf Hitler at the UFA studios
Universum Film AG

The cultivation of art also extended to the modern field of cinema.

Heavily subsidized by the state, the motion picture industry in Germany proved an important propaganda tool for the NSDAP. One of the leading film companies, centred at  Babelsberg in Berlin was UFA.

Leni Riefenstahl’s
Triumph des Willens


Universum Film AG, better known as UFA or Ufa, is a film company that was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945. in the course of the National Socialist “Machtergreifung UFA was nationalised and produced a huge output of film under the supervision of Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.

Films such as Leni Riefenstahl’s pioneering “Triumph des Willens” (“Triumph of the Will”) and  Olympia ‘Fest der Völker’ and ‘Fest der Schönheit’.


Triumph des Willens – Titles
Triumph des Willens‘ is a 1935 film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, which was attended by more than 700,000 NSDAP supporters
The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various National Socialist leaders at the Congress, including portions of speeches by Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, and Julius Streicher interspersed with footage of massed Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel troops.
Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The overriding theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the leader who will bring glory to the nation.

‘Olympia’ is a 1938 film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. It was the first documentary feature film of the Olympic Games ever made. Many advanced motion picture techniques, which later became industry standards but which were ground-breaking at the time, were employed – including unusual camera angles, smash cuts, extreme close-ups, placing tracking shot rails within the bleachers, and the like. The film appears on Time magazine’s “All-Time Greatest 100 Movies.”

Other, non-documentary films were also produced such as “Der Hitlerjunge Quex” (“Hitler Youth Member Quex”), glorified the NSDAP, its auxiliary organizations, and the Volk.


“Der Hitlerjunge Quex”
“Der Hitlerjunge Quex” is a 1932 novel based on the life of Herbert “Quex” Norkus  by Karl Aloys Schenzinger. The 1933 movie ‘Hitlerjunge Quex: Ein Film vom Opfergeist der deutschen Jugend’ was based on it, and was described by Joseph Goebbels as the “first large-scale” transmission of National Socialist ideology using the medium of cinema. Both the book and the movie, like ‘S.A.-Mann Brand’ and ‘Hans Westmar’, both released the same year, fictionalized and glorified death in the service of the NSDAP and Hitler. Both novel and movie are based on the real story of Herbert Norkus’ life. Norkus, a Hitler Youth member, died from injuries suffered when chased and confronted by Communist youths in the night of 23 / 24 January 1932 in the Beusselkietz neighbourhood of Moabit, Berlin.

Another example was ‘Hans Westmar – Einer von vielen’, which was a dramatisation of the life and death of Horst Wessel, based on Hanns Heinz Ewers’s novelistic biography.


 Horst Wessel
Hanns Heinz Ewers
Hans Westmar – Einer von vielen was the last of an unofficial trilogy of films commissioned by the NSDAP shortly after coming to power in January 1933, celebrating the ‘Kampfzeit’ – ‘time of struggle’. The film is a fictionalized life of the Horst Wessel. Originally, the film, based on the novel personally commissioned by Hitler from Hanns Heinz Ewers, was named ‘Horst Wessel’. Dr Paul Josef Goebbels altered the main character’s name, changing it to the fictional “Hans Westmar”. It was among the first films to depict dying for Hitler as a glorious death for Germany, resulting in his spirit inspiring his comrades. His decision to go to the streets is presented as fighting ‘the real battle’.




Goethe and Schiller
Weimar Classicism

Theatre companies followed the example of German cinema, staging National Socialist dramas as well as traditional and classical performances of the plays of writers such as Johann 
Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Friedrich Christoph von Schiller.

Goethe and Schiller exemplified Weimar Classicism (German “Weimarer Klassik”) – which is a cultural and literary movement in Germany. Followers attempted to establish a new humanism by synthesizing Romantic, classical and Enlightenment ideas. The movement, from 1772 until 1805, involved Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller and Christoph Martin Wieland, and often concentrated on Goethe and Schiller during the period 1788–1805.

In music, the Reichskulturkammer, was led by the great composer and conductor Richard Strauss.



Richard Wagner
Hans Erich Pfitzner

The Reichskulturkammer promoted the works of such giants of the German musical pantheon as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bruckner, and Richard Wagner, Hans Erich Pfitzner, while banning classical works by “non-Aryans,” such as Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler, and performances of jazz music and Swing, associated with degenerate African-American culture.


Adolf Hitler was himself a long-time devotee of the operas of Richard Wagner – an artist long associated with anti-semitism and the völkisch tradition from which National Socialists drew much of their ideology.




Adolf Hitler and Winifred Wagner
Adolf Hitler at Bayreuth

He regularly attended the annual Bayreuth Festivals held in the Wagner’s honor.

Each summer, from 1933 to 1939, Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival, and he made the Wagner estate, Wahnfried, his second home. Because she had been one of his earliest supporters, Hitler had great affection for Winifred. Hitler repaid the Wagner family gratitude by pledging his undying friendship and his deepest devotion to Richard Wagner and Bayreuth.

Das Horst-Wessel-Lied
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But Völkisch music did not confine itself solely to “high” culture: songs like “Das Horst-Wessel-Lied” (“The Horst Wessel Song”) and “Deutschland, Erwache!” (“Germany, Awake”) numbered among many songs and marches which were circulated in order to encourage commitment to the NSDAP and its ideological tenets.





The Concept of Degeneracy

The term Entartung (or “degeneracy”) had gained currency in Germany by the late 19th century when the critic and author Max Nordau devised the theory presented in his 1892 book, Entartung.
Nordau developed a critique of modern art.
Degenerate art is the work of those so corrupted and enfeebled by modern life that they have lost the self-control needed to produce coherent works.
He attacked Aestheticism in English literature and described the mysticism of the Symbolist movement in French literature as a product of mental pathology.
Explaining the painterliness of Impressionism as the sign of a diseased visual cortex, he decried modern degeneracy while praising traditional German culture.
This theory was seized upon by German National Socialists during the Weimar Republic as a rallying point for their anti-Semitic and racist demand for Aryan purity in art.
Belief in a Germanic spirit – defined as mystical, rural, moral, bearing ancient wisdom, and noble in the face of a tragic destiny – existed long before the rise of the National Socialism; the composer Richard Wagner celebrated such ideas in his work.

Paul Schultze-Naumburg


Beginning before World War I, the well-known German architect and painter Paul Schultze-Naumburg’s influential writings, which invoked racial theories in condemning modern art and architecture, supplied much of the basis for Adolf Hitler’s belief that classical Greece and the Middle Ages were the true sources of Aryan art.
Schultze-Naumburg subsequently wrote such books as ‘Die Kunst der Deutschen. Ihr Wesen und ihre Werke’ (The art of the Germans.Its nature and its works) and ‘Kunst und Rasse’ (Art and Race), the latter published in 1928.

Paul Schultze-Naumburg (10 June 1869 – 19 May 1949) was an architect and a vocal political critic of modern architecture. Along with Alexander von Senger, Eugen Honig, Konrad Nonn, and German Bestelmeyer, Schultze-Naumburg was a member of a National Socialist para-governmental propaganda unit called the ‘Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure’ (KDAI). In September 1944, he was named as one of the first rank of artists and writers important to Nazi culture in the Gottbegnadeten list.


Thule Gesellschaft
Alfred Rosenberg

These works argued that only racially pure artists could produce a healthy art which upheld timeless ideals of classical beauty, while racially mixed modern artists produced disordered artworks and monstrous depictions of the human form.
By reproducing examples of modern art next to photographs of people with deformities and diseases, he graphically reinforced the idea of modernism as a sickness.
Alfred Rosenberg, a member of the Thule Gesellschaft, developed this theory in ‘Der Mythos des 20. Jahrhunderts‘ (Myth of the Twentieth Century), published in 1933, which became a best-seller in Germany and made Rosenberg one of the Party’s leading ideological spokesman.

Alfred Ernst Rosenberg (12 January 1893 – 16 October 1946) was an early and intellectually influential member of the NSDAP. Rosenberg was first introduced to Adolf Hitler by Dietrich Eckart; he later held several important posts in the National Socialist government. He is considered one of the main authors of key Völkisch ideological creeds, including its racial theory, Lebensraum, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, and opposition to “degenerate” modern art. He is also known for his rejection of Christianity

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National Socialist Aesthetics

From the foregoing it can be seen that the National Socialists not only possessed a highly refined aesthetic sensibility, but unlike most, enacted their aesthetic at every level of politics and policy.

Alpine Landscape – Adolf Hitler

Moreover, they not only believed themselves to be artists, but were regarded by others, at the time, as artists, whose very ideology was founded in an essentially aesthetic logic.

This is generally referred to as the  aestheticization of politics.
The artistic ambitions of Adolf Hitler, Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, Baldur von Schirach, Walther Funk and Julius Streicher were originally deeper than their political ambitions, and were essential elements of their personalities.
What was this National Socialist aesthetic; what kind of art came of it ?


 Idealizations of Purity,
Heroism and the Human Form.

The National Socialist aesthetic had several inter-penetrating parts, including idealizations of purity, heroism and the human form.

The resulting art also encompassed National Socialist pageantry and regalia, films and political choreography and architecture.
The National Socialist aesthetic was part and parcel of their ideology, and not just an ornamental by-product of it.
Essential to this discussion is understanding how two conceptual cornerstones of Nazi ideology – redemption and monumentality – found their expression in National Socialist aesthetic productions, which were not only means by which to deliver a political message, but very much part of the message itself.
One of the most brilliant documentary films ever made, of course, was no mere documentary, but was the last century’s benchmark for cinematic propaganda.
Hitler über Deutschland


In the opening moments of ‘Triumph des Willens’ (Triumph of the Will) Leni Riefenstahl’s film of the 1934 Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, we find an object lesson in what we might call the “aesthetics of redemption

A plane is carrying the Führer and his entourage over a picturesque landscape of hills, valleys and churches on its way to Nuremberg.
A voice-over narrative introduces the scene: “Twenty years after the World War, 16 years after the crucifixion of Germany, 19 months after the beginning of Germany’s Renaissance, Hitler flew to Nuremberg to greet his columns of followers.
The plane suddenly appears from the clouds and glides over the countryside, its shadow in the form of a cross.
As if in a ‘Second Coming‘, a Führer has arisen who will save and redeem Germany, and Riefenstahl frames his arrival in the explicit iconography of  redemption and messianic deliverance.

The penetration of the Jews into the German body politic,
into German society, and into the German bloodstream.

And it is the very notion of redemption that  actually played a central role in the anti-semitism of the Third Reich, which has been termed ‘redemptive anti-Semitism‘, and is born from the fear of racial degeneration.

The main cause of degeneration was the penetration of the Jews into the German body politic, into German society, and into the German bloodstream.
Germanism, and the Aryan world, were on the path to perdition if the struggle against the Jews was not joined; this was to be a struggle to the death.
Redemption would come as liberation from the Jews by their expulsion from the body politic.
Just as Germany’s disastrous defeat in World War I was to be “redeemed” by the messianic advent of the Führer, in Riefenstahl’s version so would the war effort, no matter how terrible the costs, be redeemed by Germany’s “liberation” from the Jews.

The principle of redemptory “sacrifice” also played a primary role in the ‘memorial landscape‘ Hitler introduced into the topography of the Third Reich.

From the “Eternal Guard” at the Ehrentempel (by Professor Paul Troost) in Munich, which held the sarcophagi of eight “Martyrs of the Movement” killed in the 1923 Putsch attempt, to the ‘Totenburgen‘, or citadels of the dead, to be built as mass burial grounds for thousands of prospective fallen German soldiers, Hitler made redemptory sacrifice one of the aesthetic architectural pillars of his Reich.

Hitler with the Blutfahne

Even the elaborately choreographed party rallies, during which Hitler would salute the ‘Blutfahne‘ (blood flag) included scenes of almost pagan ritual, in which animal sacrifice has been replaced by the prospective human sacrifice of wars to come.

We are reminded of Hitler’s own indifference to individual human lives as they paled in comparison to the larger cause, and idealizations of race and nation, and the way this diminution of the individual underpinned his aesthetic embrace of the monumental.
Hitler’s lack of feeling for individual humans, even for fanatical party members, was already evident at the Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, and other spectacles, when his ‘architecturalizing’ of the participants, and his deployment of them in geometrical patterns reduced them to noctambulent creatures.

Nürnberg Reichsparteitag – Monumental Aesthetic

For Hitler, individuals come and go, as well as their humanly scaled dwelling places, their sites of life.

What his monumental aesthetic would leave behind, therefore, was not the uniqueness of individual human experience, or its messy heterogeneity, but monolithic forms that imposed singular meaning on disparate deeds, experiences and lives.
The monumental in Hitler’s eyes was not only an end result, however, but also a means by which he could reduce the individual to insignificance, thereby making all appear as one.
Specifically, he did this in his elaborately choreographed spectacles and pageants, against which the individual seemed insignificant.

Deutsches Stadion – Albert Speer
North-South Axis – Germania

Witness his dozens of gargantuan productions: the Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, the colossal stadiums and political arenas designed to hold 500,000 people or even the North-South Axis he and his architect Albert Speer designed for Berlin, – Germania.

On a commemorative “Day of the Political Leaders” in 1936, more than 110,000 men marched onto the review field while another 100,000 spectators watched from the stands.
Once darkness fell, the space was suddenly encircled by a ring of light, with 30,000 flags and standards glistening in the illumination.
Spotlights would focus on the main gate, as distant cheers announced the Führer’s approach.

Lichtdom
At the instant he entered, 150 powerful searchlights would shoot into the sky to produce a gigantic, shimmering ‘lichtdom’ (cathedral of light) as it was called.
Hitler was both a product of his time’s aesthetic temper, and possibly the greatest producer of political design and choreography who ever lived.
We cannot separate his deeds, his policies and his ideology from his aesthetic temper.
Without recognizing the central role aesthetics actually played in the regime of the Third Reich, we cannot ignore the basic historical fact that Art, beauty and aesthetics were not benign by-products of the Third Reich, but part and parcel of its coherent, internal logic.
Beauty and heroism, aesthetics and power, may not only be paired after the historical fact, but might now be regarded as historical forces that also drive events as they actually unfold.
It is important to understand that one of the central ideas of Völkisch ideology is the myth of ‘rebirth’, in the sense of `Neugeburt’, or new birth.
The National Socialists wanted to build an entirely new type of modern nation-state on the basis of archetypal German values.
This involved the destruction of everything that was associated with Germany’s decadence, and the retention of every element of usable past in the redefinition of Germany as a State based on a healthy, revitalized Volksgemeinschaft or national community.
There is a dialectical relationship between destruction and creation at the centre of all ‘palingenetic myth’.

Palingenesis is a concept of rebirth or re-creation, used in various contexts in philosophy, theology, politics, and biology. Its meaning stems from Greek palin, meaning again, and genesis, meaning birth.
In biology, it is another word for recapitulation – the phase in the development of an organism in which its form and structure pass through the changes undergone in the evolution of the species. In theology, the word can be used to refer to reincarnation and Christian spiritual rebirth symbolized by baptism.

Once projected onto Germany, it took the form of what some have called `German nihilism’.
It is the logic of the principle `destroy to build’ which links the Völkisch ideologue’s destruction of liberalism, socialism, pluralism, and humanism to the creation of a `strong’ state based on a single party and a single ideology.

Cult of Athleticism
Aesthetic forms
deemed to be life-asserting

It includes cult of athleticism and physical health; the suppressing of decadent books to the publishing of `healthy‘ literature; the cleansing of art of its degenerate elements to the fostering of aesthetic forms deemed to be life-asserting.

Similarly, the rejuvenation of the Volksgemeinschaft went hand in hand with the removal of Jews and other negative elements from public life.

Reactionary Modernism

National Socialism presents itself as an alternative to liberal and socialist forms of modernity.
The importance it attributed to the organically and racially conceived nation meant that it rejected both the individualism, pluralism, cosmopolitanism, materialism, and rationalism associated with liberalism as radically as it did the internationalism and materialism it attributed to Bolshevism.
What has presumably prevented so many commentators from grasping this point has been the deep and eroneous impression that National Socialism incarnated a systematized and calculated form of barbarism reminiscent of a throw back to an earlier dark age.
Barbarism, however, has nothing to do with the development of the Third Reich.

Charles Darwin

It should also be remembered that Germany under Hitler pursued policies based on a populist nationalism conceived partially, though not exclusively in biological, eugenic, and Darwinian terms.

All these components were literally inconceivable before the 19th century.
Blut und Boden
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Certainly the ideology of National Socialism placed great emphasis on the concept of the superiority of the Aryan race and the heroic past of the Germans before their Europeanization and Judeo-Christianization, and on the values of ‘Blut und Boden‘ (Blood and Soil).
But these were not regressive, atavistic myths, but articulated in the spirit of the Conservative Revolution referred to above: the roots of the new order were to be extended as deep as possible into the past so that the tree of the organically conceived nation could grow as vigorously and high as possible.

National Socialism’s full-blooded commitment
to modern industry and science

As a result of National Socialism’s full-blooded commitment to modern industry and science, the ‘Blut und Boden’ programme had nothing to do with a radical re-ruralization programme.

Germany was to remain a highly urbanized and technologically advanced nation, however, a steady flow of festivals, rituals, and propaganda celebrating the German nation as a ‘Schicksalsgemeinschaft‘, (a community of destiny), was designed to ensure that the significance of the peasant as the back-bone of the economy, and of nature as a source of transcendent values and meaning, would be acknowledged to a point where every German recognized his or her roots, both physical and spiritual.
The countryside was a focus for palingenetic myth of renewal and sustenance, not for a retreat from the Twentieth century.

KdF Volkswagen

It is in no way a contradiction if the same regime which celebrated the peasant, also embarked on an extensive programme for modernizing and beautifying the urban housing stock and factory working conditions, glorifying the motorway network and the Volkswagen as symbols of the new Germany.

By marrying the industrial age to tribal consciousness Völkisch ideologues were certain that they were resolving the tensions and neuroses of the modern age.
The aim was to give modern life a new spiritual basis and historical purpose, not to destroy it.
It is from the union of the industrial and the pre-industrial that National Socialist art gains the relevance that is not to be found in modernistic degenerate art.
This interpretation of National Socialist art has a direct bearing on any exploration of the links between National Socialism and Romanticism.
The assumption that any such links are explicable in terms of a petty-bourgeois nostalgia for an idyllic past has to be rejected.
But before suggesting how that link might be conceived more appropriately, it is important to put the record straight about the type of art which prospered under the Third Reich.

‘Blut und Boden’

It has been suggested that the dominant form of art in the Third Reich was Blood and Soil genre paintings of landscapes and rural activities.

Ziegler – Göttin der Kunst
Certainly much art of the time fits this category, but it is important to remember that other recurrent types of art were neo-classical studies of nudes in arcadian surroundings, historical themes, figures engaged in athletic activities, military subjects whether of soldiers or battle scenes, and portraits of members of the National Socialist hierarchy.


These last three subjects are unmistakably `modern’, though the style was generally a highly romanticized form of ‘heroic realism’.

Bau der Neuen Reichskanzlei

The art of the Third Reich, in its `mature’ form of 1936 or 1937, came to employ a host of formal and aesthetic devices which Modernism itself had invented.

This `Modernist’ aspect of National Socialist art should be seen in the context not just of paintings evoking the vast building projects being undertaken by the Third Reich, such as the construction of a motorway bridge or work in a stone quarry, but of the vast outpouring of sophisticated graphic art and photographs of the Third Reich’s flourishing advertising industry, promoting such quintessentially modern products as Leica cameras and Daimler-Benz cars.


Hitler-Jugend Sport Poster
Hitlerjugend Poster

Nor were housing and factory projects, or the vast realm of product and interior design free from the influence of the ‘so-called’ Modern Movement.

There was, undoubtedly a tension between `Modernism and archaism’, a tension which is arguable resolved once the concept `Conservative Revolution’ (Reactionary Modernism) is applied.
There is a direct correlation here with the field of ideology.
Some historians have presented National Socialism as the fruit of an aberrant tradition in German thought and culture, which blended nationalism and idealism with the rejection of liberal humanistic values, and that Hitler had somehow absorbed, a weird mixture of some of the more extreme ideas that had erupted from German thinkers during the nineteenth century.
Certainly National Socialism drew on Fichte and Wagner, among others, but it also made much of the rigorously scientific basis of its Weltanschauung in a highly modern spirit far removed both from Romanticism and idealism.
Fichte

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 – January 27, 1814) was a German philosopher. He was one of the founding figures of the philosophical movement known as German idealism, which developed from the theoretical and ethical writings of Immanuel Kant. Fichte is often perceived as a figure whose philosophy forms a bridge between the ideas of Kant and those of the German Idealist Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Fichte also wrote works of political philosophy and is considered one of the fathers of German nationalism.
Fichte made important contributions to political nationalism in Germany. In his ‘Ansprache an die deutsche Nation‘ (Addresses to the German Nation) (1808), a series of speeches delivered in Berlin, he urged the German peoples to “have character and be German” -entailed in his idea of Germanness was antisemitism, since he argued that “making Jews free German citizens would hurt the German nation.” 
Historian Robert Nisbet, in a gross oversimplification, thought him to be “the true author of National Socialism”.

At the root of this is a trait of considered eclecticism.
In their attempt to revitalize the present, and wipe out decadence, National Socialists had drawn many concepts that which would help to rationalize their policies.
To focus on only those aspects of art and ideology under Hitler which fit into the restorationist, anti-modern, bourgeois thesis is thus to misrepresent National Socialism.
Firstly, it would be a fallacy to assume that Nazism was, per se, against all forms of Modernism even in theory.
Dr Paul Josef Goebbels

In his semi-autobiographical novel ‘Michael: A German Destiny’, Dr Paul Josef Goebbels’s thinly veiled alter-ego claims at one point that he himself is an Expressionist, and in another passage writes: 

Vincent van Gogh

I visit an exhibition of modern painting. We see much new nonsense. One star: Vincent van Gogh. In these surroundings he already seems tame, but yet he is the most modern of the moderns. For modernity has nothing to do with heroic gestures. All that is just learnt through practice. The modern man is necessarily a god-seeker, perhaps a Christ-like person. Van Gogh’s life tells us even more than his work. He combines in his personality the most important elements: he is teacher, preacher, fanatic, prophet – mad. In the last analysis we are all mad if we have an idea. Fanatics of love: the capacity for self-sacrifice.’

Predictably Goebbels goes on to find an outlet by joining the NSDAP, but this did not mean abandoning his commitment to healthy Modernism.

Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates he was known for his zealous orations.
Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 19th century romantic drama; he then went on to work as a journalist. He also wrote novels and plays. Goebbels came into contact with the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP) or Nazi Party in 1923. He was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. Goebbels despised capitalism, viewing it as having Jews at its core, and he stressed the need for the Nazis to emphasize both a proletarian and national character.

 Max Weber
It is important to see ‘Modernism’ as a blanket-term for a bewildering variety of initiatives undertaken since the late Nineteenth century to re-spiritualize and re-enchant, to bring magic and meaning to, a Western civilization widely experienced as `decadent’, namely hyper-rationalized and (in Max Weber’s terms) ‘entzaubert‘ (disenchanted).

Maximilian Karl Emil “Max” Weber (21 April 1864 – 14 June 1920) was a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist whose ideas influenced social theory, social research, and the entire discipline of sociology Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founding architects of sociology.

If this perspective is adopted, then National Socialism can be seen as promoting a quintessentially ‘modernist’ form of politics and aesthetics, in an attempt to purge society of its decadence, and to enable the entire German race, or rather its `healthy’ specimens, to tap into `eternal’ sources of spirit, value, and meaning.


The Omnipresent Swastika

There is a supreme importance to National Socialist art policies being essential to their self-appointed mission `to destroy a carefully selected “Modernist” past, – a mission which we have presented as integral to their crusade for Germany’s reawakening or palingenesis (the omnipresent Swastika itself was a symbol of the rising sun and of spiritual rebirth).

This impulse may be described as `Völkisch Post-Modernism’, and this can be seen to be part of a wider Modernist dynamic in which all forms are to be renovated, and life as a whole is to be transformed and improved.
For it seems likely that at a number of points within our Modernist and modernising century, the very apocalyptic (i.e. palingenetic – see above) nature of the race into the future has meant both a search for tradition as well as an obsession with the speed of time.
This is the sense in which National Socialism was an early form of Post-Modernism, albeit an authoritarian one, and hence part of that wider network of Modernisms with which we are still trying to get adequately acquainted.

Postmodernism is a term used to the era and the concepts that follows Modernism. It frequently serves as an ambiguous overarching term for skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) is an example of a significant post-modernist philosopher.

Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism

This unique form of ‘Post-Modernism’ was born of a tension that originated in the outlooks of Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and the technocrats epitomised by Fritz Todt.

Kritian Boy

Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate.

Δορυφόρος
Doryphoros of Polyclitus

The marble Kritios Boy or Kritian Boy belongs to the Early Classical period of ancient Greek sculpture.
The Kritios Boy is thus named because it is attributed to Kritios who worked together with Nesiotes (sculptors of Harmodius and Aristogeiton) or their school, from around 480 BC.

The Doryphoros (Spear-Bearer);  is one of the best known Greek sculptures of the classical era in Western Art and an early example of Greek classical contrapposto.

The Greek sculptor Polykleitos designed a work, perhaps this one, as an example of the “canon” or “rule”, showing the perfectly harmonious and balanced proportions of the human body in the sculpted form. A solid-built athlete with muscular features carries a spear balanced on his left shoulder. A characteristic of Polykleitos’ Doryphoros is the classical contrapposto in the pelvis; the figure’s stance is such that one leg seems to be in movement while he is standing on the other.

The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained. Any violent emphasis or sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement destroys those qualities of balance and completeness through which classical form retains its position of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images.
Classicism implies a canon of widely accepted ideal forms.
Classicism is a force which is often present in post-medieval European and European influenced traditions

Hitler regarded the Germanic peoples of Europe as belonging to a racially superior Nordic subset of the larger Aryan race, who were regarded as the only true culture-bearers of civilized society.


Imperial Roman Standard
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Pantheon – Rome
Ancient Classical Architecture

Adolf Hitler also believed that the Ancient Greeks and Romans were the racial ancestors of the Germans, and the first torch-bearers of “Nordic-Greek” art and culture.

He particularly expressed his admiration for Ancient Sparta, declaring it to have been the purest racial state:
Neue Wache – Berlin – Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Hitler, therefore, favoured Classicism, in the arts, and had a high regard for a classical period, and classical antiquity in the Western tradition, and saw it as setting standards for art, sculpture and painting.

The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained. 
In architecture Classicism features the golden section as a key proportion for buildings, the classical orders of columns, as well as a host of ornament and detail associated with the Greeks and Romans.
Classicism also involves the symmetry, the orderly arrangement of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicules.

Neue Reichskanzlei
Albert Speer

Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Spee (March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler’s chief architect before assuming ministerial office. Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler’s inner circle. Hitler instructed him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.

This classicism, favoured by Hitler, can be clearly see in Speer’s designs for Germania, and in Hermann Giesler’s designs for Linz.

Proposed redevelopment of Linz
Professor Hermann Giesler

Professor Hermann Giesler (April 2, 1898, Siegen – January 20, 1987, Düsseldorf) was a German architect – one of the two architects most favoured and rewarded by Adolf Hitler (the other being Albert Speer).

Hermann Giesler completed his architectural study at the Academy for Applied Arts in Munich. 
Up to 1938 he designed the “Ordensburg” in Sonthofen, planned Gau Forums in Weimar and Augsburg, and the “university” for the NSDAP at Chiemsee. In addition, he was commissioned to build Hitler’s house in Munich. In 1938 he was ordered by Hitler to the “General Building Inspector” for the reorganization of the city of Munich. Later he became also a director in the Organisation Todt, then one of the directors of the Group of Works of VI (Bavaria, Donaugaue). Starting from 1941 Giesler was entrusted by Hitler with the reorganization of the entire city of Linz. Giesler joined the NSDAP in 1941 for the Organisation Todt.

One indication of Hitler’s move to classicism may be seen in his decision regarding Fraktur and Sütterlin.
On January 3, 1941 Martin Bormann issued a circular to all public offices which declared Fraktur, and its corollary, the Sütterlin-based handwriting, to be “Judenlettern”, and prohibited their further use.


Fraktur or  Gothic is a blackletter typeface based on the calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet. The blackletter lines are broken up – that is, their forms contain many angles when compared to the smooth curves of the Antiqua (common) typefaces modeled after antique Roman square capitals and Carolingian minuscule. From this, Fraktur is sometimes contrasted with the “Latin alphabet” in northern European texts, being sometimes called the “German alphabet”.

Sütterlinschrift is the last widely used form of Kurrent, the historical form of German handwriting that evolved alongside German blackletter (most notably Fraktur) typefaces. Graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin was commissioned by the Prussian ministry for culture to create a modern handwriting script in 1911. His handwriting scheme gradually replaced the older cursive scripts that had developed in the 16th century at the same time that bookletters developed into Fraktur

The reason for this decision was Adolf Hitler’s dislike for the Fraktur typeface, seen by him as ‘Gothic’ and non-Classical
This was demonstrated by a declaration that he made in the Reichstag in 1934

“… In a hundred years, our language will be the European language. The nations of the east, the north and the west will, to communicate with us, learn our language. The prerequisite for this: The script called Gothic is replaced by the script we have called Latin so far...”

Adolf Hitler


Himmler’s approach to aesthetics was very different.

Himmler was deeply involved with the activities of the Ahnenerbe, which he directed to find evidence for early cultural developments within the borders of the Reich.
Not an artist by training or inclination, he was captivated by Germanic Medievalism, and therefore his aesthetic leaned toward the Romantic and the Gothic.

‘Ruin’
Caspar David Friedrich
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850.
Partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, it was also a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.
It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature.

Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. 

Gothic Sculpture
William Dohme – der Braunschweiger Doml  – 1937

Its effect on politics was considerable and complex; while for much of the peak Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, in the long term its effect on the growth of nationalism was probably more significant.
The Gothic style, while difficult to describe succinctly, may be summed up as the antithesis of Classicism.
Whereas classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained, Gothic style is informal exuberant, involving violent emphasis of form and movement which destroys those qualities of balance and completeness to be found in classical art.
Classicism looks to the ideal, whereas Gothic exemplifies to particular and peculiar.

Romanticism favoured the Gothic style in architecture.
Gothic architecture features asymmetrical compositions, and free-form plans, with arched fenestration and roofing.


Wewelsburg – Paderborn 
SS Julleuchter
Neo-Gothic Art

An example of the romantic architecture favoured by Himmler was the Wewelsberg.

The Wewelsburg is a castle located in the northeast of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in district of Paderborn in the Alme Valley.
The castle, while not strictly Gothic, has the outline of a triangle and has a non-symetrical romanticised plan.
Equally another example of Romanticised aesthetic is the SS Julleuchter, whch was given at Christmas to members of the SS.

Classical Art
Blut und Boden  Romantic Art

Because of Himmler’s influence over the ‘Blut und Boden’ programme, most art depicting peasants, farming and landscape tended to be executed in a Romantic style, while more formal studies and mythological subjects tended to be executed in a tight, technically refined Classical style, as favoured by Hitler.

Contemporary subjects, however, such as representations of Reichsautobahnen, building projects, combat scenes and propaganda posters were executed in a ‘realist-modernist’ style.

Arno Breker
In other words, the National Socialist use of both Classicism and Romanticism is not the archaism of a society nostalgic for the past, but the ‘Modernism‘ of a regime which was, `nostalgic for the future‘.

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Troost and Speer – Hitler’s Architects

T R O O S T  A N D  S P E E R – A R C H I T E C T S   T O  T H E  F Ü H R E R


 
 
At the 1933 Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, the new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the dawn of an era of ‘New Art’ – and instituted the Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture) to oversee the cultural life of Das Dritte Reich, (the Third Reich).
The Reichskulturkammer was headed by Dr. Paul Joseph Göbbels.
The Reichskulturkammer was to control all aspects of culture, and this included the fine arts, applied arts,  industrial design, sculpture, architecture and film.

‘Germany wants again a “German Art,” and this art shall and will be of eternal value, as are all truly creative values of a people.
Should this art, however, again lack this eternal value for our people, then indeed it will mean that it also has no higher value today
When, therefore, the cornerstone of this building was laid, it was with the intention of constructing a temple, not for a so-called modern art, but for a true and everlasting German art, that is, better still, a House for the art of the German people.
It is therefore imperative for the artist to erect monuments, not so much to a period, but to his people.
For time is changeable, years come and go.
Anything born of and thriving on a certain epoch alone would perish with it.
And not only all which had been created before us would fall victim to this mortality, but also what is being created today or will be created in the future.
But the National-Socialists know of only one mortality, and that is the mortality of the people itself:
As long as a people exists, however, it is the fixed pole in the flight of fleeting appearances.
It is the quality of being and lasting permanence.
And, indeed, for this reason, art as an expression of the essence of this being, is an eternal monument.’
Adolf Hitler


T R O O S T  A N D  S P E E R – A R C H I T E C T S   T O  T H E  F Ü H R E R

Hitler appreciated the neo-classical  architects of the 19th century such as Gottfried Semper, who built the Dresden Opera House, the Picture Gallery in Dresden, the court museums in Vienna and Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, who designed several buildings in Athens in 1840. He also admired the neo-baroque the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, and the neo-classical Law Courts of Brussels by the architect Poelaert.
Ultimately, he was always drawn back to inflated neo-baroque such as Kaiser Wilhelm II had fostered, through his court architect Ernst von Ihne.
Thus, in the realm of architecture, as in painting and sculpture, Hitler saw his ideal in the world of his youth: the world of 1880 to 1910, which stamped its imprint on his artistic taste as on his political and ideological conceptions.
The Führer did not have one particular style; there was no official architecture of the Reich, only the neoclassical baseline that was enlarged, multiplied, altered and exaggerated.
Hitler appreciated the permanent qualities of the classical style as it had a relationship between the Dorians and his own Germanic world.

P A U L   L U D W I G   T R O O S T

Paul Ludwig Troost (August 17, 1878 – March 21, 1934), born in Elberfeld, was a German architect.
An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil and advocated a restrained, lean architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament.
Troost graduated from designing steamship décor before World War I, and the fittings for showy transatlantic liners like the Europa, to a style that combined Spartan traditionalism with elements of modernity.
Although, before 1933 he did not belong to the leading group of German architects, he became Hitler’s foremost architect whose neo-classical style became for a time the official architecture of the Third Reich.
In the autumn of 1933, he was commissioned to rebuild and refurnish the Chancellery residence in Berlin.
Along with other architects, Troost planned and built State and municipal edifices throughout the country, including new administrative offices, social buildings for workers and bridges across the main highways.

One of the many structures he planned before his death was the House of German Art in Munich, intended to be a great temple for a “true, eternal art of the German people”.
It was a good example of the classical forms in monumental public buildings during the Third Reich, though subsequently Hitler moved away from the more restrained style of Troost, reverting to the imperial grandeur that he had admired in the Vienna Ringstraße of his youth.
Hitler’s relationship to Troost was that of a pupil to an admired teacher.

According to Albert Speer, who later became Hitler’s favorite architect, the Führer would impatiently greet Troost with the words: “I can’t wait, Herr Professor. Is there anything new? Let’s see it!” Troost would then lay out his latest plans and sketches.
Hitler frequently declared, according to Speer, that “he first learned what architecture was from Troost”‘.
The architect’s death on March 21, 1934, after a severe illness, was a painful blow, but Hitler remained close to his widow Gerdy Troost, whose architectural taste frequently coincided with his own, which made her (in Speer’s words) “a kind of arbiter of art in Munich.”
Troost was buried in the “Nordfriedhof” Cemetery (North Cemetery) in Munich.
The gravestone (see above left) still survives although the family name has been removed.
Hitler posthumously awarded Troost the German National Prize for Art and Science in 1936.


FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost

The Fuehrerbau, on the Königsplatz in Munich, was built from 1933 to 1937 by the architect Paul Ludwig Troost.
The first plans for the buildings date from the year 1931.
It was completed only three years after the death of Professor Troost by Leonhard Gall.
The building was used as the national administrative centre for the NSDAP.





GRAND STAIRCASE
FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





ADOLF HITLER’S STUDY
FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





MAIN CORRIDOR
FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost




EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost

The Ehrentempel (“honor temples”) were two structures in Munich, designed by Professor Paul  Ludwig Troost, and erected by the German Government in 1935, housing the sacrophagi of the sixteen members of the party who had been killed in the failed Beer hall putsch.
The Ehrentempel was made of limestone except for its roof which was made of steel and concrete with etched glass mosaics.
The pedestals of the temples were seventy feet wide.

The columns of the structures each extended twenty-three feet. The combined weight of the sacrophagi was over 2,900 pounds.
The following martyrs of the National Socialis German Workers Party were interred in the Ehrentempel:

Felix Alfarth, Andreas Bauriedl, Theodor Casella, William Ehrlich, Martin Faust,
Anton Hechenberger, Oskar Körner, Karl Kuhn, Karl Laforce, Kurt Neubauer,
Klaus von Pape,Theodor von der Pfordten, Johann Rickmers,Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, Lorenz Ritter von Stransky, Wilhelm Wolf
Adolf Wagner (buried in the grass mound between steps in 1944)





EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost







EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost




EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
(Tag Der Deutschen Kunst – Day of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost







EHRENTEMPEL AT DUSK – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost

DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
(The House of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost


DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
(The House of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost





DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
(The House of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost


DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
Paul Ludwig Troost




DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
Paul Ludwig Troost



DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
Paul Ludwig Troost






A L B E R T   S P E E R




Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, (March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect.
Speer was Adolf Hitler’s chief architect before assuming ministerial office. 
Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler’s inner circle.
Hitler commissioned him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.
Speer was born in Mannheim, into a wealthy middle class family.
Speer was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering.
Speer followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.
Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe.
In 1924 he transferred to the Technical University of Munich.
In 1925 he transferred again, this time to the Technical University of Berlin where he studied under Heinrich Tessenow, whom Speer greatly admired.
After passing his exams in 1927, Speer became Tessenow’s assistant, a high honor for a man of 22.
As such, Speer taught some of Tessenow’s classes while continuing his own postgraduate studies.
In Munich, and continuing in Berlin, Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters, who also studied under Tessenow.
In mid-1922, Speer began courting Margarete (Margret) Weber (1905–1987).
The two married in Berlin on August 28, 1928.
In 1931, Speer surrendered his position as Tessenow’s assistant, hoping to use his father’s connections to get commissions.
In July 1932, the Speers visited Berlin to help out the Party prior to the Reichstag elections. While they were there, Hanke recommended the young architect to Goebbels to help renovate the Party’s Berlin headquarters.

Speer, who had been about to leave with his wife for a vacation in East Prussia, agreed to do the work.
When the commission was completed, Speer returned to Mannheim and remained there as Hitler took office in January 1933.
After the Nazis took control, Hanke recalled Speer to Berlin. Goebbels, the new Propaganda Minister, commissioned Speer to renovate his Ministry’s building on Wilhelmplatz.
Speer also designed the 1933 May Day commemoration in Berlin.
Speer’s next major assignment was as liaison to the Berlin building trades for Paul Troost’s renovation of the Chancellery.
As Chancellor, Hitler had a residence in the building and came by every day to be briefed by Speer and the building supervisor on the progress of the renovations.
After one of these briefings, Hitler invited Speer to lunch.

Hitler evinced considerable interest in Speer during the luncheon, and later told Speer that he had been looking for a young architect capable of carrying out his architectural dreams for the new Germany.
Speer quickly became part of Hitler’s inner circle..
The two men found much in common: Hitler spoke of Speer as a “kindred spirit” for whom he had always maintained “the warmest human feelings”.
The young, ambitious architect was dazzled by his rapid rise and close proximity to Hitler, which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Party.

When Troost died on January 21, 1934, Speer effectively replaced him as the Party’s chief architect. Hitler appointed Speer as head of the Chief Office for Construction, which placed him nominally on Hess’s staff.[34]
One of Speer’s first commissions after Troost’s death was the Zeppelinfeld stadium—the Nürnberg parade grounds seen in Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. This huge work was capable of holding 340,000 people.
The tribune was influenced by the Pergamon Altar in Anatolia, but was magnified to an enormous scale.
Speer surrounded the site with 130 anti-aircraft searchlights. This created the effect of a “cathedral of light” or, as it was called by British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson, a “cathedral of ice”.
Nürnberg was to be the site of many more official Nazi buildings, most of which were never built; for example, the German Stadium would have accommodated 400,000 spectators, while an even larger rally ground would have held half a million Nazis.
While planning these structures, Speer invented the concept of “ruin value”: that major buildings should be constructed in such a way that they would leave aesthetically pleasing ruins for thousands of years into the future.
Such ruins would be a testament to the greatness of the Third Reich, just as ancient Greek or Roman ruins were symbols of the greatness of those civilizations.
Hitler enthusiastically embraced this concept, and ordered that all the Reich’s important buildings be constructed in accord with it.
In 1937, Hitler appointed Speer as General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital with the rank of undersecretary of state in the Reich government.
The position carried with it extraordinary powers over the Berlin city government and made Speer answerable to Hitler alone.

Hitler ordered Speer to make plans to rebuild Berlin.
The plans centered on a three-mile long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse, or Street of Magnificence; he also referred to it as the “North-South Axis”.
At the north end of the boulevard, Speer planned to build the Volkshalle, a huge assembly hall with a dome which would have been over 700 feet (210 m) high, with floor space for 180,000 people.
At the southern end of the avenue would be a huge triumphal arch; it would be almost 400 feet (120 m) high, and able to fit the Arc de Triomphe inside its opening.
The outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to the postponement, and eventual abandonment, of these plans.
In January 1938, Hitler asked Speer to build a new Reich Chancellery on the same site as the existing structure, and said he needed it for urgent foreign policy reasons no later than his next New Year’s reception for diplomats on January 10, 1939.



This was a huge undertaking, especially since the existing Chancellery was in full operation. Although the site could not be cleared until April, Speer was successful in building the large, impressive structure in nine months.
The structure included the “Marble Gallery”: at 146 metres long, almost twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
Speer employed thousands of workers in two shifts. Hitler, who had remained away from the project, was overwhelmed when Speer turned it over, fully furnished, two days early.
In appreciation for the architect’s work on the Chancellery, Hitler awarded Speer the Nazi Golden Party Badge.

Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler & Arno Breker – Paris – June 1940




REICH ADLER
Albert Speer
NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MARMORGALERIE – BERLIN
Albert Speer


In late January 1938, Adolf Hitler officially assigned his favourite architect Albert Speer to build the New Reich Chancellery around the corner on Voßstraße, a branch-off of Wilhelmstraße, requesting that the building be completed within a year.
Hitler commented that Bismarck’s Old Chancellery was “fit for a soap company” but not suitable as headquarters of a Greater German Reich. It nevertheless remained his official residence with its recently refurbished representation rooms on the groundfloor and private rooms on the upper floor where Hitler lived in the so called Führerwohnung (“Führer apartment”).
Hitler placed the entire northern side of the Voßstraße at Speer’s disposal assigning him the work of creating grand halls and salons which “will make an impression on people”.
Speer was given a blank cheque — Hitler stated that the cost of the project was immaterial — and was instructed that the building be of solid construction and that it be finished by the following January in time for the next New Year diplomatic reception to be held in the new building.
Over 4,000 workers toiled in shifts, so the work could be accomplished round-the-clock.
In the end it cost over 90 Million Reichsmark, well over one billion dollars today.
In his memoirs, Speer described the impression of the Reichskanzlei on a visitor:
The series of rooms comprising the approach to Hitler’s reception gallery were decorated with a rich variety of materials and colours and totalled 220 m (725 ft) in length.
The gallery itself was 145 m (480 ft) long. Hitler’s own office was 400 square meters in size.
From the exterior, the chancellery had a stern, authoritarian appearance.
From the Wilhelmplatz, visitors would enter the Chancellery through the Court of Honour (Ehrenhof). The building’s main entrance was flanked by two bronze statues by sculptor Arno Breker: “Wehrmacht” and “Partei” (“Armed Forces” and “Party”).
Hitler is said to have been greatly impressed by the building and was uncharacteristically effusive with his praise for Speer, lauding the architect as a “genius”.
The chancellor’s immense study was a particular favourite of the dictator.
The large marble-topped table served as an important part of the Nazi leader’s military headquarters, the study being used for military conferences from 1944 on. On the other hand, the Cabinet room was never used for its intended purpose.




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Reception Hall)
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – DOORWAY – BERLIN
Albert Speer







NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer



NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Marquetry Panel 
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING – DOORWAY – BERLIN
Albert Speer







NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Entrance to Ante Room)
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Entrance to Mosaic Hall)
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Entrance to Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer



NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer



NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer


NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Cabinet Room)
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Dining Room)
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Dining Room)
Albert Speer


NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Dining Room)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Reception Room)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Adolf Hitler’s Private Apartment)
Albert Speer


NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN

(Main Entrance)

Albert Speer
NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Main Entrance)
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Main Entrance)
Albert Speer



MAIN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer



MAIN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer


MAIN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer



The Reception Hall in the Reich’s Chancellery Garden
Albert Speer




GARDEN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer


GARDEN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer

SS-‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’ Barracks
Albert Speer


G E R M A N I A




GERMANIA
Albert Speer


Welthauptstadt Germania (“World Capital Germania”) refers to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin during the Nazi period, part of Adolf Hitler’s vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II.
Albert Speer, the “first architect of the Third Reich”, produced many of the plans for the rebuilt city in his capacity as overseer of the project, only a small portion of which was realized between the years 1937-1943 when construction took place.
Some projects, such as the creation of a great East-West city axis, which included broadening Charlottenburger Chaussee (today Straße des 17. Juni) and placing the Berlin victory column in the center, far away from the Reichstag, where it originally stood, succeeded.
Others, however, such as the creation of the Große Halle (Great Hall), had to be shelved owing to the beginning of war.
A great number of the old buildings in many of the planned construction areas were however demolished before the war and eventually defeat stopped the plans.
The combined name “Welthauptstadt Germania” for the project was coined by Albert Speer in his 1969 memoirs Inside the Third Reich. 





MODELL DER NEUGESTALTUNG – GERMANIA
Albert Speer


According to the records of Hitler’s Table Talk of 8 June 1942 Hitler toyed with the idea of renaming the renewed Berlin into ‘Germania’, in order to give a Greater Germanic world empire a clear central point:
The term Welthauptstadt (World Capital) was already used by Hitler three months prior on the night between the 11th and 12th of March 1942 in the Wolf’s Lair:
“Berlin as the World Capital will only be comparable with Ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Rome! What are London and Paris compared to that!”
—Werner Jochmann: Adolf Hitler. Monologe im Führerhauptquartier 1941–1944, p. 318. Munich, 1980.
The title ‘Welthauptstadt’ was chosen because it was felt that Berlin’s architecture was at that time too provincial and that there was need to put Berlin on a par with and exceed the quality of other world capitals such as London, Paris and especially Rome.



MODELL DER NEUGESTALTUNG – GERMANIA
Albert Speer



 GROßE HALLE – GERMANIA
Albert Speer


The sketch of the Volkshalle given by Hitler to Speer shows a traditional gabled pronaos supported by ten columns, a shallow rectangular intermediate block and behind it the domed main building.
However, there was little about Speer’s elaboration of the sketch that might be termed Doric, except perhaps for the triglyphs in the entablature, supported by the geminated red granite columns with their Egyptian palm-leaf capitals, previously employed by Speer in the portico outside Hitler’s study on the garden side of the new Chancellery (see above).




 GROßE HALLE – GERMANIA
Albert Speer


Speer’s Große Halle was to be the capital’s most important and impressive building in terms of its size and symbolism. Visually it was to have been the architectural centrepiece of Berlin as the world capital (Welthauptstadt).
Its dimensions were so large that it would have dwarfed every other structure in Berlin, including those on the north-south axis itself.
The oculus of the building’s dome, 46 metres (151 ft) in diameter, would have accommodated the entire rotunda of Hadrian’s Pantheon and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The dome of the Volkshalle was to rise from a massive granite podium 315 by 315 metres (1,033 × 1,033 ft) and 74 metres (243 ft) high, to a total inclusive height of 290 metres (950 ft). 
The resemblance of the Volkshalle to the Pantheon is far more obvious when their interiors are compared.
The large niche (50 metres high by 28 metres wide) at the north end of the Volkshalle was to be surfaced with gold mosaic and to enclose an eagle 24 metres (79 ft) high, beneath which was situated Hitler’s tribunal.
From here he would address 180,000 listeners, some standing in the central round arena, others seated in three concentric tiers of seats crowned by one hundred marble pillars, 24 metres (79 ft) high, which rose to meet the base of the coffered ceiling suspended from steel girders sheathed on the exterior with copper.
The three concentric tiers of seats enclosing a circular arena 140 metres (460 ft) in diameter owe nothing to the Pantheon but resemble the seating arrangements in Ludwig Ruff’s Congress Hall at Nuremberg, which was modeled on the Colosseum.
Other features of the Volkshalle’s interior are clearly indebted to Hadrian’s Pantheon: the coffered dome, the pillared zone, which here is continuous, except where it flanks the huge niche on the north side.
The second zone in the Pantheon, consisting of blind windows with intervening pilasters, is represented in Speer’s building by a zone above the pillars consisting of uniform, oblong shallow recesses.
The coffered dome rests on this zone. 
Hitler’s aspirations to world domination and the establishment of his New Order, already evident from architectural and decorative features of the new Chancellery, are even more clearly expressed here.
External symbols suggest that the domed hall was where Hitler as cosmocrator (Herr der Welt) would appear before his Herrenvolk: On top of the dome’s lantern was an eagle grasping in its claws not the usual swastika but the globe of the Earth (Erdball).
This combination of eagle and ball was well known in imperial Roman iconography, for example, the restored statue of Claudius holding a ball and eagle in his right hand.
The vast dome, on which it rested, as with Hadrian’s Pantheon, symbolically represented the vault of the sky spanning Hitler’s world empire.
The globe on the dome’s lantern was enhanced and emphasized by two monumental sculptures by Breker, each 15 metres high, which flanked the north façade of the building: at its west end Atlas supporting the heavens, at its east end Tellus supporting the Earth.
Both mythological figures were according to Speer, chosen by Hitler himself.




GROßE HALLE – GERMANIA
Albert Speer






Große Halle
Albert Speer



ZEPPLINFELD
Albert Speer






ZEPPLINFELD
Albert Speer








ZEPPLINFELD
Albert Speer







ZEPPLINFELD STADIUM
Albert Speer






ZEPPLINFELD STADIUM
Albert Speer







GERMAN PAVILLION – 1937 – PARIS
Albert Speer




GERMAN PAVILLION – 1937 – PARIS
Albert Speer

_____________________________________

Architektur im Dritten Reich – Architecture in the Third Reich

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


National Socialist architecture was an architectural plan which played a role in the party’s plans to create a cultural and spiritual rebirth in Germany as part of the Third Reich.
Imperial Roman Architecture
Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler was an admirer of imperial Rome and believed that some ancient Germans had, over time, become part of its social fabric and exerted influence on it.

He considered the Romans an early Aryan empire, and emulated their architecture in an original style inspired by both Neo-classicism and Art Deco, sometimes known as “Severe” Deco, erecting edifices as cult sites for the Party.
In this sense, the reliance of the Party’s architects on the ‘Deco’ aesthetic indicates, contrary to most liberal/Marxist critics, that National Socialist architectural tastes was essentially ‘modernist’, rather than ‘reactionary’ and ‘traditional’.

Pergamon Altar

Hitler also ordered the construction of a type of ‘Altar of Victory’, borrowed from the Greeks, who were, according to Völkisch ideology, inseminated with the seed of the Aryan peoples.

At the same time, because of his admiration for the Classical cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, he could not isolate and politicize German antiquity, as Benito Mussolini had done with respect to Roman antiquity, therefore he had to ‘import’ political symbols into Germany, and justify their presence on the grounds of racial ancestry, – the belief that ancient Greeks were among the ancestors of the Germans – linked to the same Aryan peoples.
Hitler’s desire to be the founder of a thousand-year Reich were in harmony with the Colosseum being associated with eternity.

Deutsches Stadion

He envisioned all future Olympic games to be held in Germany in the ‘Deutsches Stadion’.

He also anticipated that after winning the war, other nations would have no choice but to send their athletes to Germany every time the Olympic games were held.
Most regimes, especially new ones, wish to make their mark both physically and emotionally on the places they rule.
The most tangible way of doing so is by constructing buildings and monuments.
Architecture is considered to be the only art form that can actually physically meld with the world as well as influence the people who inhabit it.
Buildings, as autonomous things, must be addressed by the inhabitants as they go about their lives.

Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer

In this sense, people are “forced” to move in certain ways, or to look at specific things.

In so doing, Architecture affects not only the landscape, but also the mood of the populace who are served.
The National Socialists believed architecture played a key role in creating the ‘new order’. 
Architecture falls under cultural landscape, one of the most reflective relics of a culture.
The cultural landscape of a nation and era very directly mirror the customs, practices, and ideology of the society in which the landscape is made.
Moreover, not only major cities but also small villages were to express the achievement and the nature of the German people.
It seemed as though the basic design of commonly practiced architecture at the time was to be either left in place or modified within Germany’s dominion.
Reichtstag Building
Young Hitler

Hitler had fostered an appreciation of the fine arts since his youth; his particular interests were in architecture.

He was proud of his German heritage, extending this belief into his view of the arts, and often compared Munich to Vienna, two cities in which he resided.
In his dictated autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’, he commented that Munich was “the metropolis for German art” and stressed the fact that it was a purely Germany city, however, his critiques of German cities in the interwar period were that they lacked a sense of national community.
Hermann and Ferdinand Fellner

He criticized the Reichtstag Building as such.

Hitler was quite fond of the numerous theatres built by Hermann and Ferdinand Fellner, who built in the late classical style.
In addition, he appreciated the stricter architects of the 19th century such as

Münchner Festspiele Haus

Gottfried Semper, who built the Dresden Opera House, the Picture Gallery in Dresden, the court museums in Vienna and Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, who designed several buildings in Athens in 1840.
He greatly admired the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, and the Law Courts of Brussels by the architect Poelaert.

The Führer did not have one particular style; there was no official architecture of the Reich, only the neoclassical baseline.
Hitler appreciated the permanent qualities of the classical style, as it had a relationship between the Dorians and his own Germanic world.

______________________________________________


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


When Kubizek saw Hitler’s room for the first time, it reminded him of an “architect’s office.” Although Hitler painted landscapes and many other subjects, most of his works tended to be architectural structures.

Linz Landesmuseum

One of his hobbies was drawing or painting the finer buildings of Linz and making changes in their design.

His favorite buildings were of the Italian Renaissance style and his favorite building was the Landesmuseum which he considered “one of the peak achievements in German architecture.”
The richly ornamented gate and the hundred meter long sculptured panel above the main floor never ceased to impress him.
Kubizek and Hitler would take long walks around the city and Hitler would often stop to look over one building or another.
There he stood,” Kubizek would later write, “this pallid, skinny youth, with the first dark brown showing on his upper lip, in his shabby pepper-and-salt suit, threadbare at the elbows and collar, with his eyes glued to some architectural detail, analyzing the style, criticizing or praising the work, disapproving of the material–all this with such thoughtfulness and such expert knowledge as though he were the builder and would have to pay for every shortcoming out of his own pocket.”
According to Kubizek, some art lovers in Linz founded a society to promote the construction of a new theater.
Hitler joined the society and “took part in a competition for ideas.”
Hitler also made detailed drawings of the city’s layout, showing how it could be improved and beautified.
Adolf, Kubizek wrote, “could never walk the streets without being provoked by what he saw.
On more than one occasion Hitler noted that this or that building “shouldn’t be here“, because it distracted from a view or did not “fit into its surroundings.”
Kubizek would later write that Adolf’s ideas were not “sheer fantasy, but a well-disciplined, almost systematic process.”
______________________________________________
Three Primary Roles 

Haus der Deutschen Kunst



Nazi architecture has three primary roles in the creation of its new order: (i) Theatrical; (ii) Symbolic; (iii) Didactic.

In addition, the Nazis saw architecture as a method of producing buildings that had a function, but also served a larger purpose.
For example, the ‘House of German Art’ had the function of housing art, but through its form, style and design it had the purpose of being a community structure built using an Aryan style, which acted as a kind of temple to acceptable German art.





Stage 

May Day Celebrations – Lustgarten

Many National Socialist buildings were stages for communal activity, creations of space meant to embody the principles on which National Socialist ideology was based.

From Albert Speer’s use of banners for the May Day celebrations in the Lustgarten, to the Nazi co-option of the ‘Thing’ tradition, the National Socialists wanted to link themselves to a German past.
The link could be direct; a ‘Thingplatz’ (or Thingstätte) was a meeting place near or directly on a site of supposed special historical significance, used for the holding of festivals associated with a Germanic past.
This was an attempt to link the German people back to both their history and their land.

Thingplatz

The use of ‘Thing’ places was closely associated with the ‘blood and soil’ part of Nazi ideology, which involved the perceived right of those of German blood to occupy German land.
The Thingplatz would contain structures, which often included natural objects like stones and were built in the most natural setting possible.
These structures would be built following the pattern of an ancient Greek theatre, following a structure of a historical culture considered to be Aryan.
This stressing of a physical link between the past and National Socialism aided to legitimatize the Nazi view of history, or even the National Socialist regime itself.
Still, the ‘Thing’ movement was not successful.

The link could be indirect; the May Day celebrations of 1936 in Berlin took place in a Lustgarten that had been transformed into a stage.

Altes Museum

This transformation was not the standard dressing of a specific place but a creation of a new anonymous, pure, cubic space that freed itself from the immediate history of Berlin, the church and the monarchy, yet was still associated with the distant aura of a Hellenic past.
This was simply the creation of a new ceremonial place in direct competition with the former Royal Palace and Altes Museum, both even in the 1930s, still symbols of a royal Berlin.
The symbolism was clear; any speaker at the event would be standing in front of the Altes Museum, which housed Germany’s classical collection that could be seen by the audience only through Swastika banners.
There was a link between the new order and the classical past, but the new order was paramount.

The National Socialists would bring the community together using architecture, creating a stage for the community experience.

Große Halle

These buildings were also solely for the German people, the ‘Great Hall’ in Berlin was not a supranational People’s House like those being built in the Soviet Union, but the stage where tens of thousands of recharged citizens would enter into a solemn mystic union with the Leader of the German Nation.

The sheer size of the stage itself would magnify the importance of what was being said.
How these stages were set was also an issue, from the most mundane building to the grandest, the form and style used in their construction tell a great deal about and are symbols of those who created them, when they were created and why they were created.
Designs of this kind occasionally occur by accident; however, the architectural styles speak to the tastes of those who constructed the building or paid for its construction.
It also speaks to the tastes of the general architectural movements of the time and the regional variants that influenced them.
National Socialist buildings were an expression of the essence of the movement, built as a National Socialist building should be, regardless of the style used.

Symbolic

Determining what National Socialists saw as the concept of National Socialist Architecture is problematic.
Various members of the leadership had differing views and tastes and commentators see the same style in different ways.

 Nürnberg – Cathedral of Ice – Lichtdom

Some see the format used at the Nürnberg rallies as a mixture of Catholic ceremony and left-wing Expressionist form and lighting, while Sir Nevile Henderson saw a cathedral of ice.

Still, if a building was designed and built using the National Socialist version of what was German, it was considered German Architecture.
In general, there were two primary National Socialist styles of architecture.
National Socialist Architecture in its generalised sense was either a simplified version of neoclassical architecture, or a mimicry of peasant romanticism in buildings and structures.
The most notable example of this is the Wewelsburg castle complex redesigned in a very mythological way as a cult site for the SS.
Especially in the North Tower of the castle medieval Romanesque and Gothic architecture was model.

Wewelsburg

The Wewelsburg was to become “centre of the world”.

The neoclassical style was primarily used for urban state buildings or party buildings such as the Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg, the planned ‘Volkshalle’ for Berlin and the Dietrich Eckart Stage in Berlin.
This style was not just used for physical construction, but on the ordered columns of searchlights that formed Speer’s “cathedral of light” used at the Nuremberg Party Rallies.

Ordensburg – Krössinsee

The ‘peasant’ style was primarily used in rural settings for accommodation or community structures like the Ordensburg in Krössinsee.

It was also to be applied to rural new towns, as it represented a mythical medieval time when Germany was free of foreign and cosmopolitan influences.
This style was also used in a limited way for buildings with modern uses like weather service broadcasting and the administration building for the federal post office.
Most National Socialist Architecture was novel neither in style nor concept; it was not supposed to be.
Even a cursory inspection of what was intended for Berlin finds analogies all over the world. Long boulevards with important buildings along them can be found in the grid pattern road structures of Washington and New York, the Mall and Whitehall in London, and the boulevards of Paris.
Large domes can be found on the buildings of the Mughal Empire of India, the Capitol in Washington, the Pantheon and Basilica di San Pietro in Rome.
Even the “Kraft durch Freude” (“Strength through Joy”) resort at Prora is not wholly unlike the buildings envisaged by Le Corbusier in his “City of Three Million Inhabitants”.

Prora

Dr. Robert Ley envisaged Prora as a holiday camp designed to provide affordable holidays for the average worker. Prora was designed to house 20,000 holidaymakers, under the ideal that every worker deserved a holiday at the beach. Designed by Clemens Klotz (1886–1969), all rooms were planned to overlook the sea, while corridors and sanitation are located on the land side. Each room of 5 by 2.5 metres was to have two beds, an armoire (wardrobe) and a sink. There were communal toilets and showers and ballrooms on each floor.
Hitler’s plans for Prora were much more ambitious. He wanted a gigantic sea resort, the “most mighty and large one to ever have existed”, holding 20,000 beds. In the middle, a massive building was to be erected. At the same time, Hitler wanted it to be convertible into a military hospital in case of war. Hitler insisted that the plans of a massive indoor arena by architect Erich Putlitz be included. Putlitz’s Festival Hall was intended to be able to accommodate all 20,000 guests at the same time. His plans included two wave-swimming pools and a theatre. A large dock for passenger ships was also planned.

The building of a formal governmental zone outside the centre of an old city or totally on its own had become commonplace by the 1930s.
This is not to say their plans were simply an attempt to copy others, but that they were following a pattern already established in human society.

Edwin Lutyens – Viceroy’s Palace – New Dehli

The forms used may have been inspired by other city redevelopment plans like Edwin Lutyens’ Delhi, Burnham’s Chicago or even Walter Burley Griffin’s Canberra.

National Socialism is often viewed as ‘anti-modern’ and ‘romantic’, or having a pragmatic willingness to use modern means in pursuit of anti-modern purposes.

Bauhaus – Dessau
This confuses the National Socialist dislike of certain styles like the Bauhaus with a blanket dislike of all modern styles.
This was based mainly on what the Bauhaus and others were seen as representing, – foreign (Jewish internationalist) influences and the decadence of the Weimar Republic.

Ordensburg Vogelsang

This modern approach was not limited to the neo-classical buildings for city centres, but was also used for ‘peasant’ style buildings like Ordensburgs and Autobahn garages.

The neo-classical style used was not novel for the time; it was firmly anchored in time.
Speer’s style was assimilating the international 1930s style of public architecture, which was then being pursued as a ‘modernising classicism’.
This is in direct contrast to Peter Adams’s attempts to separate National Socialist art from the Zeitgeist and present.

Zepplinfeld Tribune – Albert Speer

To criticize Speer’s architectural style is to criticise buildings being built at the same time all over the world. 

Hitler saw the buildings of the past as direct representations of the culture that created them and how they were created.
Hitler believed they could be used by man to transmit his time, and its spirit, to posterity and that in his time, ultimately, all that remained to remind men of the great epochs of history was their monumental architecture.
National Socialist Architecture should speak to the conscience of a future Germany centuries from now.
As Hitler said in a speech,
The purpose of Nazi architecture and technology should be to create ruins that would last a thousand years and thereby overcome the transience of the market“.
Central to this was Albert Speer’s ‘Theory of Ruin Value’, in which the Nazis would build structures which even in a state of decay, after hundreds or thousands of years would more or less resemble Roman models.

Zepplinfeld Tribune – Albert Speer

Speer intended to produce this result by avoiding elements of modern construction such as steel girders and reinforced concrete which are subject to weathering, and by designing his buildings to withstand the impact of the wind even if the roofs and ceilings were so neglected that they no longer braced the walls.

In this respect, it can be seen that by going back to the materials of the past and by the proper engineering of buildings it was possible to create a permanence that was impossible with contemporary building materials and styles.
To Hitler, only the great cultural documents of humanity made of granite and marble could symbolize his new order.
The ‘theory of ruin value’ could be seen as a backward looking concept; however, what it actually does is look at the types of buildings that survive from the past, understand why they survived, and attempt to build the new buildings of the Reich based on such understanding.
In addition, the infrastructure and organization behind the provision of building material was purely of the time.

Albert Speer – Reichskanzlei
Entrance
Albert Speer – Reichskanzlei
Main Facade

Hitler was not like Shelley’s Ozymandias, a leader boasting about his power to the future, but rather a builder of symbolic expressions of the National Socialist movement, and of the new Germany they would create.

National Socialist buildings were not to be like the Reichstag, seen as a grandiose monument conjuring up historical reminiscences, but as symbols of a new Germany.
The buildings had to be suitable for their intended role.
An example of this is the rebuilt Reichskanzlei that was planned as a symbol of the Greater German Reich, which included Austria even though at the time of planning the Anschluss was still three years away.
So important was the symbolism of the buildings that their form was decided on long before their construction and in some cases, even before the events they were to symbolize.

Albert Speer – Neue Reichskanzlei – Marmorsaal
Albert Speer – Neue Reichskanzlei 

Speer himself remarked that many of the buildings Hitler asked him to construct were glorifying the victories he didn’t yet have in his pocket.

Hitler drew sketches of buildings he hoped to build as early as the 1920s, when there was not a shred of hope that they could ever be built.
The buildings had to look the part: the Reichskanzlei must look like the centre of the Reich, not the headquarters of a soap company.
Nazi buildings would be the great cultural documents that the new order would create in their stronger, protected community.

Wewelsburg

Symbolic architecture need not be built as it often already existed.
In 1941 the SS newspaper Das Schwarze Korps published an essay by Heinrich Himmler entitled “German Castles in the East”, in which he wrote, “When people are silent, stones speak. By means of the stone, great epochs speak to the present so that fellow citizens; are able to uplift themselves through the beauty of self-made buildings. Proud and self-assured, they should be able to look upon these works erected by their own community“.

Braunschweig –  Cathedral
Dom St. Blasii
Strasbourg Cathedral
Liebfrauenmünster zu Straßburg

Himmler continues by creating a cyclical process linking the people, their blood and their buildings, “Buildings are always erected by people. People are children of their blood, are members or their race. As blood speaks, so the people build“.

Where buildings held important cultural items, they would either be re-modelled like Braunschweig (Brunswick) Cathedral, which was the burial place of Henry the Lion, co-opted like Strasbourg Cathedral as the monument to Germany’s unknown soldier, or moved to a more appropriate position, like the Victory Column in Berlin.

During World War II, Strasbourg’s Cathedral was seen as a significant symbol of the Volk.
Adolf Hitler, who visited it on 28 June 1940, intended to transform the church into a “national sanctuary of the German people” or into a monument to the Unknown Soldier.

Leipziger Platz – Berlin

Like the Sacré-Coeur basilica in Montmartre or the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome, the new buildings of the National Socialists would replace the commercial buildings that were signs of the cultural decay and general break-up of the Berlin of the 1930s.
To express their true Aryan nature, the Nazis had to destroy the creations of non-Germans and the decadent past and accept Hitler’s judgment as to which way German art must go in order to fulfil its task as the expression of German character.
The new Berlin, like the new National Socialist Germany, would superimpose itself onto the decadence of the old.
The Nazi vision of a city would replace the visions of the past, they would replace the twilight, or the past, with clarity, cleanliness, and pure, distinct lines.

Symbols were not just limited to permanent buildings; familiar symbols of the north European past were used regularly in the decorations for National Socialist festivals.

Village Maypole
May Day Celebrations – Lustgarten

An example of this is the use of the Maypole at the May Day celebrations.

It is the traditional symbol throughout northern Europe of the end of winter and of the reawakening of nature and the focus of community events.
At the doors of the German Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exhibition were two sets of seven meter high statues that symbolized family and community.

1937 German Pavillion
1937 German Pavillion

The pavilion that was designed as a blatant symbol of National Socialist Germany was planned by a German, Albert Speer and built solely out of German materials shipped from within Germany.

Symbolism, graphic art and hortatory inscriptions were prominent in all forms of National Socialist approved architecture.
The eagle with the wreathed swastikas, heroic friezes and free-standing sculpture were common.
Often mottoes or quotations from ‘Mein Kampf’ or Hitler’s speeches were placed over doorways or carved into walls.



Die Neue Reichkanzlei
‘Die Partei’ – Arno Breker

The National Socialist message was conveyed in friezes, which extolled labour, motherhood, the agrarian life and other values.

Muscular nudes, symbolic of military and political strength, guarded the entrance to the Berlin Chancellery

Ordensburg Sonthofen

The Ordensburgen are the schools at which the ideology of National Socialism is taught to a picked group of youths who desire to dedicate their lives to political service.

The Ordensburgen’s architectural form derives from the fortresslike castles built by the Teutonic Knights whose mission it was to civilise and colonise the lands east of the Elbe.
Since it is the mission of the Ordensburg to train and develop a new order of leaders who are to take with them into practical life the ideals of the movement which they serve, this form represents an appropriate architectural symbol.
Didactic

Entartete Kunst
Entartete Kunst

Hitler saw architecture as “The Word In Stone,” a method of imparting a message.

This is not regime architecture primarily for general propaganda purposes as argued by Benton, but is work meant to impart a specific message.
This would be a message that all decent Germans would understand, like the lessons of events at the ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition staged in Munich in 1937.
They would not understand it because they were told to; they would understand it simply because of who they were.
The National Socialists chose new versions of past styles for most of their architecture.
This should not be viewed simply as an attempt to reconstruct the past, but rather an effort to use aspects of the past to create a new present.

Neo-Classical Architecture
Neue Wache – Berlin –  Karl Friedrich Schinkel

Most buildings are copies in some form or other, but for the National Socialists copying the past not only linked them to the past in general but also specifically to an Aryan past.

Neo-classical architecture and Renaissance architecture were direct representations of Aryan culture.
National Socialist architecture was also Aryan but of a Germanic nature.
Still, these analogues were not part of an attempt to recreate an actual past, but were meant to emphasize the importance of Aryan culture as a justification for the actions of the present.
Many other nations from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the United States have constructed major government buildings in historical styles to get across a specific message.

Schocken Department Store – Erich Mendelsohn

While Hitler saw the architecture of the Weimar Republic as an object lesson in cultural decline, the new buildings he would build would teach a different lesson, that of national rebirth.

The size of the buildings proposed for Berlin would be among the largest in the world, meant to instill in each individual German citizen the insignificance of individuals in relation to the community as a whole.
The distinct lack of any detailing at a human scale in the urban neo-classical building would have simply overawed.
The message of community would even affect holidays.
Clemens Klotz’s Prora would not only have a ‘Festhalle’ in which people would hear speeches and get involved in communal events but also give everyone the same view of the sea.
Engineering could be coupled with architecture to teach lessons too.
It is clear that the Autobahn was seen as a way of creating a community, which was both physically and symbolically linked.

Reichsautobahn

When Carl Theoder Protzen entitled his painting of the Autobahn bridge at Leipheim, “Clear the forest – dynamite the rock; conquer the valley; overcome the distance; stretch the road through the German land,” he was linking clear connections between what should be done and what it was to accomplish.

Building the Autobahn would not only teach the German people that they were linked together but also would show that it had been accomplished by Germans working together.
It would be an inspiration for the construction of the community of the German People.
The effort that went into the styling of Autobahn bridges and garages shows plainly that it was more than just a motorway.
In some circumstances, the design used for the Autobahn actually affects the functioning of its supposed purpose.

Adolf Hitler – Autobahn Construction

Adolf Hitler enthusiastically embraced an ambitious Reichsautobahn construction project and appointed Fritz Todt, the Inspector General of German Road Construction, to lead up the project. By 1936, 130,000 workers were directly employed in construction, as well as an additional 270,000 in the supply chain for construction equipment, steel, concrete, signage, maintenance equipment, etc. In rural areas, new camps to house the workers were built near construction sites. The job creation program aspect was not especially important because full employment was almost reached by 1936. The autobahns were not primarily intended as major infrastructure improvement of special value to the military as often stated because they were of no military value as all major military transports in Germany were done by train to save fuel. The propaganda ministry turned the construction of the autobahns into a major media event that attracted international attention.

The role the National Socialists hoped architecture would play in the creation of a new order was like that of a book: to provide a place to hold the message, the symbols to impart it and a teacher to read it.
Architecture, like every other art form, would be produced to serve the new National Socialist order.
For them, if this meant following existing architectural styles or providing analogues of other buildings, then so it is.

Cult of Victory
Arch of Triumph – Germania – Albert Speer

Both the National Socialists and the Romans employed architecture of colossal dimensions to overawe.

Both cultures were preoccupied with architectural monuments that celebrated or glorified a victory ideology: triumphal arches (the largest in the world would be built on Berlin’s north-south axis), columns, trophies, and a cult of pageantry associated with the subjugation of others.

Arch of Triumph – Germania

The National Socialists planned and built many military trophies and memorials (Mahnmäler), on the eastern borders of the Reich.

In the same way, the Romans had built celebratory trophies on the borders of their empire to commemorate victories and warn off would-be attackers.
One of the most prominent memorial buildings intended to commemorate Germany’s past and anticipated military glory was Wilhelm Kreis’s Soldatenhalle.



Wilhelm Kreis – Soldatenhalle

This was to be yet another cult centre to promote the regime’s glorification of war, patriotic self-sacrifice and virtutes militares.

The main architectural features of this building were overtly Roman.

Wilhelm Kreis – Soldatenhalle

A groin-vaulted crypt beneath the main barrel-vaulted hall was intended as a pantheon of generals exhibited here in effigy.

In addition, it functioned as a ‘herõon’, since the bones of Frederick the Great were to be placed in the building.
Flags and insignia played an important part in Nazi ceremonial and in the decoration of buildings.

Wilhelm Kreis (* March 17 1873 in Eltville , † August 13 1955 in Bad Honnef), is one of the most important German architects in the first half of the 20th Century. He also worked as a university teacher at the art academy in Dusseldorf and Dresden.

Wilhelm Kreis –  Extension of the Museum Island

Wilhelm was born on 17 county March 1873 in Eltville in the Rheingau , the sixth of nine children.
His father was a land surveyor.
Kreis worked under the direction of Albert Speer, for war projects in Dresden, and the gigantic plans for Berlin, notably the design for the massive ‘Soldiers Hall.’ Employing the respected Kreis brought Speer some legitimacy; Kreis responded by becoming an active supporter of National Socialism. He was named as one of the Reich’s most important artists in the Gottbegnadeten list of September 1944.

Wilhelm Kreis –  Extension of the Museum Island – Plan


Wilhelm Kreis –  Extension of the Museum Island 



SA Standard
SA Standard
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The eagle-topped standards carried by the SA at Nuremberg rallies were reminiscent of Roman legionary standards, the uniformity of which Hitler admired.

There can be little doubt that Hitler’s state architecture, even when seen today in photographs of architectural models, conveys a sense of “Power and Force” (Macht und Gewalt), which of course Hitler wanted it to embody.
Inevitably, after Hitler’s defeat, the colossal dimensions of his buildings tended to be seen as symbols of Hitler’s megalomania.
This is something of an oversimplification, since at the time the buildings were planned and erected, they were valid symbols of Germany’s rapidly rising power and expressed the optimism generated by Hitler’s spectacular initial victories.
The vast public buildings of ancient Rome have rarely been explained as symptoms of imperial megalomania since Roman imperialism, which generated money and labour necessary for the erection of Rome’s monumental buildings, was supremely successful and long-lived.
Hitler’s architecture is sometimes misjudged because he was building for the future in anticipation of a greatly enlarged Reich.
Here it is worth noting that Vitruvius perceived that Augustus was building on a large scale for future greatness.
It would be a mistake to regard his buildings as either psychologically ineffective or symbolically impotent.

Emperor Augustus
Forum of Augustus

This is certainly not the impression given by Speer or Giesler at the time they were articulating Hitler’s architectural plans.

Had Hitler achieved all his political and military aims, and had his successors consolidated and perhaps even expanded his territorial gains, the art and architecture of Germany would undoubtedly have reflected the sentiment that pervaded much of Rome’s art in the Augustan period, that is, a confidently assumed right to dominate others, which Virgil elegantly, if brutally, expressed in Aeneid 6.851-53: “Remember, Roman, to exercise dominion over nations. These will be your skills: to impose culture on peace, to spare the conquered and to war down the proud“.
This passage, so much in tune with National Socialist aspirations is repeatedly referred to in the political literature of Germany at the time.

Hermann Giesler with Adolf Hitler

Hermann Giesler (April 2, 1898, Siegen – January 20, 1987, Düsseldorf) was a German architect during the Third Reich, one of the two architects most favoured and rewarded by Adolf Hitler (the other being Albert Speer).
Hermann Giesler was born into a family of architects. He volunteered for the German Army in 1915, became a Lieutenant in the Pioneers (similar to the U.S. See-Bees) and ended as a WWI pilot. He completed his architectural study at the Munich Academy of Applied Art after the war.
Giesler was impressed by Oswald Spengler, whom he met in 1919 at a symposium at the Munich City Hall. In 1923 he married and had two sons. Beginning in 1930, he worked as an independent architect, winning several awards. He joined the NSDAP well before 1933.
In 1937 he gained a professorship, received the Grand Prix and gold medal for his architectural designs at the World Exhibition in Paris, and was assigned in 1938 to the overall design of Germany’s exhibits at the 1942 World Exhibition in Rome. That year, Adolf Hitler asked him to plan Munich’s architectural renovation, as well as to design and build his private residence at the Obersalzberg.

Hermann Giesler

Later on, Giesler was put in charge of planning Hitler’s pet project, the city of Linz. He worked on plans and a large model for the Danube Development of the Banks, and on designs for the cultural center, which Hitler regarded with particular interest.

Linz Art Museum – Hermann Giesler

When war broke out, he was promoted to generalbaurat and given the task of construction for war-related building projects in the Balticum (Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia). In 1942-44 he was chief of the Organization Todt (OT) Group North and from 1944-45, chief of OT Group VI (Baviria, Upper and Lower Austria).

Project Linz Model – Hermann Giesler with Adolf Hitler

Giesler later wrote about the friction between himself and Hitler’s other architect, Albert Speer, during 1940-42. It started with Speer’s dominant control of building-material, labor and construction and ended with Speer going behind Giesler’s back to take over the Linz project. Giesler called Speer “the Cesar Borgia of the 20th century.”
He published his memoir about his architectural and personal relationship with Hitler in 1977, and died in 1987.
Hermann Giesler was Hitler’s most favorite architect not Albert Speer. Adolf Hitler confided in Giesler often and Hitler enjoyed his company tremendously. Hitler became increasingly busy as the war began and even more so as the war progressed. Never the less Hitler always made time for his talks with Giesler which mostly centered around the topics of architecture and designing the city of Linz.

Albert Speer

After the war, Hermann Giesler was loyal to the end and he never turned on Hitler.
The same just cannot be said of Albert Speer who threw Hitler and his achievements right to the hyenas to save his own skin. Speer is a traitor to his Fuehrer and to National Socialism. It is because of this treachery that standard “history” and the media love to portray Speer as the “Good Nazi.” Albert Speer is and always will remain among the ranks of traitors. Here he finds his rightful place with the likes of Claus von Stauffenberg, Ernst Roehm, Fredrick Fromm, Ludwig Beck and their ilk.







City of Linz – Hermann Giesler 

City of Linz – Hermann Giesler 

City of Linz – Hermann Giesler 

City of Linz – Hermann Giesler 
City of Linz – Hermann Giesler 

Berlin’s Reshaping – Welthauptstadt Germania
Berlin

In ‘Mein Kampf’, Adolf Hitler states that industrialized German cities of his day lacked dominating public monuments and a central focus for community life.
In fact, criticism of the rapid industrialization of German cities after 1870 had already been voiced.

The ideal National Socialist city was not to be too large, since it was to reflect pre-industrial values and its state monuments, the products and symbols of collective effort (Gemeinschaftsarbeiten), were to be given maximum prominence by being centrally situated in the new and reshaped cities of the enlarged Reich.

Colosseum – Rome

Hitler’s comments in ‘Mein Kampf’ indicated that he saw buildings such as the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus as symbols of the political might and power of the Roman people.
Hitler stated, “Architecture is not only the spoken word in stone, but also is the expression of the faith and conviction of a community, or else it signifies the power, greatness and fame of a great man or ruler“.
In Hitler’s cultural address, “The Buildings of the Third Reich,” delivered in September 1937, in Nuremberg, he affirmed that the new buildings of the Reich were to reinforce the authority of the National Socialist party and the state, and at the same time provide “gigantic evidence of the community” (gigantischen Zeugen unserer Gemeinschaft).

Germania – Albert Speer

The architectural evidence of this authority could already be seen in Nuremberg, Munich and Berlin, and would become still more evident when more plans had been put into effect.

On September 19, 1933, Hitler told the mayor of Berlin that his city was “unsystematic”, but it was not until January 30, 1937, that Speer was officially put in charge of plans for the reshaping of Berlin, although he had been working on them unofficially in 1936.
The plan that Speer coordinated as ‘Inspector General of Construction’ (GBI) for the centre of Berlin was based on Roman, not Greek, planning principles.
The plan that Speer coordinated as ‘Inspector General of Construction’ (GBI) for the centre of Berlin was based on Roman, not Greek, planning principles.

Germania – Albert Speer
The plan that Speer coordinated as ‘Inspector General of Construction’ (GBI) for the centre of Berlin was based on Roman, not Greek, planning principles.
Speer’s plan was to create a central north-south axis, which was to intersect the major east-west axis at right angles.

On the north side of the junction a massive forum of about 350,000 square metres was planned, around which were to be situated buildings of the greatest political and physical dimensions: a vast domed ‘Volkshalle’ on the north side, Hitler’s vast new palace and chancellery on the west side and part of the south side, and on the east side the new High Command of the German armed forces and the now-dwarfed Reichstag.

The Volkshalle (“People’s Hall”), also called Große Halle (“Great Hall”) or Ruhmeshalle (“Hall of Glory”), was a huge domed monumental building.

Große Halle – Albert Speer

The project was never accomplished.
The word Volk had a particular resonance in Nazi thinking.
The term völkisch movement, which can be translated to English as “the people’s movement” or “the folkish movement”, derives from Volk but also implies an otherworldly and eternal essence. Before the First World War, völkisch thought had developed an attitude to the arts as the German Volk; that is, from an organically linked Aryan or Nordic community (Volksgemeinschaft), racially unpolluted and with its roots in the German soil of the Heimat (homeland).
Just as Augustus’s house on the Palatine was connected to the temple of Apollo, so Hitler’s palace was to have been connected by a cryptoporticus to the Volkshalle, which filled the entire north side of the forum. This truly enormous building was inspired by Hadrian’s Pantheon, which Hitler visited privately on May 7, 1938.
But Hitler’s interest in and admiration for the Pantheon predated this visit, since his sketch of the Volkshalle dates from about 1925.
Hermann Giesler records a conversation he had with Hitler in the winter of 1939/40, when Hitler was recalling his “Roman Impressions” (Römische Impressionen):
‘From the time I experienced this building – no description, picture or photograph did it justice – I became interested in its history. For a short while I stood in this space (the rotunda) – what majesty! I gazed at the large open oculus and saw the universe and sensed what had given this space the name Pantheon – God and the world are one.’

Volkshalle – Albert Speer

Hitler’s impressions of the Roman Pantheon were revived when on June 24, 1940 he made a tour of selected buildings in Paris, with the German architects Albert Speer, Hermann Giesler and Arno Breker, including the Paris Panthéon.
The sketch of the Volkshalle given by Hitler to Speer shows a traditional gabled pronaos, (A Greek term, pronaos is the entrance hall to the Greek temple (naos), a part of the portico), supported by ten columns, a shallow rectangular intermediate block and behind it the domed main building.
Giesler notes that the pronaos of the temple in Hitler’s sketch is reminiscent of Hadrian’s Pantheon and of the style of Friedrich Gilly or Karl Friedrich Schinkel, however, there was little about Speer’s elaboration of the sketch that might be termed Doric, except perhaps for the triglyphs (Triglyph is an architectural term for the vertically channeled tablets of the Doric frieze, so called because of the angular channels in them, two perfect and one divided, the two chamfered angles or hemiglyphs being reckoned as one), in the entablature, (An entablature refers to the superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals), supported by the geminated (paired) red granite columns with their Egyptian palm-leaf capitals, previously employed by Speer in the portico outside Hitler’s study on the garden side of the new Chancellery.

Volkshalle – Drawing – Albert Speer

Speer’s Volkshalle was to be the capital’s most important and impressive building in terms of its size and symbolism. Visually it was to have been the architectural centrepiece of Berlin as the world capital (Welthauptstadt). Its dimensions were so large that it would have dwarfed every other structure in Berlin, including those on the north-south axis itself. The oculus of the building’s dome, 46 metres (151 ft) in diameter, would have accommodated the entire rotunda of Hadrian’s Pantheon and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The dome of the Volkshalle was to rise from a massive granite podium 315 by 315 metres (1,033 ft × 1,033 ft) and 74 metres (243 ft) high, to a total inclusive height of 290 metres (950 ft). The diameter of the dome, 250 metres (820 ft), was to be exceeded, much to Speer’s annoyance, by the diameter of Giesler’s new domed railway station at the east end of Munich’s east-west axis. It was to be 15 metres (49 ft) greater in diameter than Speer’s Volkshalle.

Volkshalle – Section – Albert Speer

The resemblance of the Volkshalle to the Pantheon is far more obvious when their interiors are compared. The large niche (50 metres high by 28 metres wide) at the north end of the Volkshalle was to be surfaced with gold mosaic and to enclose an eagle 24 metres (79 ft) high, beneath which was situated Hitler’s tribunal. From here he would address 180,000 listeners, some standing in the central round arena, others seated in three concentric tiers of seats crowned by one hundred marble pillars, 24 metres (79 ft) high, which rose to meet the base of the coffered ceiling suspended from steel girders sheathed on the exterior with copper.[10]
The three concentric tiers of seats enclosing a circular arena 140 metres (460 ft) in diameter owe nothing to the Pantheon but resemble the seating arrangements in Ludwig Ruff’s Congress Hall at Nuremberg, which was modeled on the Colosseum. Other features of the Volkshalle’s interior are clearly indebted to Hadrian’s
Pantheon.

Volkshalle – Interior – Albert Speer

The coffered dome, the pillared zone, which here is continuous, except where it flanks the huge niche on the north side. The second zone in the Pantheon, consisting of blind windows with intervening pilasters, is represented in Speer’s building by a zone above the pillars consisting of uniform, oblong shallow recesses. The coffered dome rests on this zone. The design and size of the external decoration of this Volkshalle, are all exceptional and call for explanations that do not apply to community halls planned for Nazi fora in other German cities.
Hitler’s aspirations for the establishment of his New Order, already evident from architectural and decorative features of the new Chancellery, are even more clearly expressed here. On top of the dome’s lantern was an eagle grasping in its claws not the usual swastika but the globe of the Earth (Erdball). This combination of eagle and ball was well known in imperial Roman iconography, for example, the restored statue of Claudius holding a ball and eagle in his right hand. The vast dome, on which it rested, as with Hadrian’s Pantheon, symbolically represented the vault of the sky spanning Hitler’s world empire. The globe on the dome’s lantern was enhanced and emphasized by two monumental sculptures by Breker, each 15 metres high, which flanked the north façade of the building: at its west end Atlas supporting the heavens, at its east end Tellus supporting the Earth. Both mythological figures were according to Speer, chosen by Hitler himself. Despite the evidence these overt and largely traditional imperialistic symbols of domination over urbs and orbis, Giesler says that Speer was wrong to represent the Volkshalle as a symbol of World Domination (Weltherrschaft).

These buildings were to be placed in strong axial relationship around the forum designed to contain one million people, and were collectively to represent the “maiestas imperii” (The Majesty of the Empire) and make the new world capital, ‘Germania’, outshine its only avowed rival, Rome.

Deutsches Stadion – Albert Speer

The first step in these plans was the Berlin Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics. This stadium would promote the rise of the National Socialist government.
A much larger stadium capable of holding 400,000 spectators was planned alongside the  parade grounds in Nuremberg, but only the foundations were dug before the project was abandoned due to the outbreak of war.
Had this stadium been completed it would remain the largest in the world today by a considerable margin.

Panathenaic Stadium – Athens

On September 7, 1937, German construction workers laid the cornerstone for what was to become the world’s largest stadium — one that would hold over 400,000 spectators. Designed by Hitler’s close adviser Albert Speer, the monumental structure drew as much inspiration from the Greek Panathenaic Stadium of Athens as it did from Hitler’s brazen megalomania. But in the end, it was simply not meant to be, a project cut short by the demands of World War II and the eventual demise of the Third Reich.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Hitler unveiled a two-meter high model of the Deutsches Stadion (“German Stadium”) to an excited crowd of 24,000 people. He described it as “words of stone” that were to be stronger than anything that could ever be spoken. And indeed, Nazi architecture was grandiose.

Südbahnhof – Germania


The plan also called for the building of two new large railway stations as the planned North-South Axis would have severed the tracks leading to the old Anhalter and Potsdamer stations, forcing their closure.
These new stations would be built on the city’s main S-Bahn ring with the Nordbahnhof in Wedding and the larger Südbahnhof in Tempelhof-Schöneberg at the southern end of the avenue.

Neue Reichskanzlei – Berlin

The Anhalter Bahnhof, no longer used as a railway station, would have been turned into a swimming pool.
Speer also designed a new Chancellery, which included a vast hall designed to be twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
Hitler wanted him to build a third, even larger Chancellery, although it was never begun.

The plan for the centre of Berlin differed only in its dimensions from the plans drawn up for the reshaping of smaller German cities and for the establishment of new towns in conquered territories.
The order for the reshaping of other German cities was signed by Hitler on October 4, 1937.



Weimar City Centre

In each town, the new community buildings were not to be sited randomly, but were to have prominent (usually central) positions within the town plan.
The clarity, order and objectivity that Hitler aimed at in the layout of his towns and buildings were to be achieved in conquered territories in the East by founding new colonies and in Germany itself by reshaping the centres of already established towns and cities.

Weimar City Centre

In order to provide a town with centrally located community centres, principles of town planning reminiscent of Greek, but more especially Roman, methods were revived..

The airport halls of Tempelhof International Airport built by Ernst Sagebiel are still known as the largest built entities worldwide.
The colossal dimensions of Roman and National Socialist buildings also served to emphasize the insignificance of the individual engulfed in the architectural vastness of a state building.
The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s reactions on visiting the Pont du Gard in 1737 produced in him the response that Hitler hoped for Berlin, to impress with its grandeur.


Gauforum in Augsburg

Gauforum in Augsburg

Forum of Dresden – Wilhelm Kreis
Gauforum Frankfurt

Forum Weimar – Hermann Giesler


Architecture as Religion

A major difference between the neoclassical state architecture of National Socialist Germany and neoclassical architecture in other modern countries in Europe and America is that in Germany it was but one facet of a severely authoritarian state.
Its dictator aimed to establish architectural order; gridiron town plans, axial symmetry, hierarchical placement of state structure within urban space on a scale intended to reinforce the social and political order desired by the National Socialist state, which anticipated the displacement of Christian religion and ethical values by a new kind of worship based on the cult of National Socialist martyrs and leaders, and with a value system close to that of pre-Christian Rome.

Braunes Haus
Paul Ludwig Troost

The first National Socialist forum, Königsplatz in München  was planned in 1931-32 by Hitler and his architect Paul Ludwig Troost, whom Speer says Hitler regarded as the greatest German architect since Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
Troost had already redecorated the interior of the Braunes Haus (Palais Barlow) on Brienner Strasse in 1930 after its acquisition by the Nazi party (Lehmann-Haupt 113).

Ehren Tempel – Königsplatz – München

Troost, who like his successor, Speer, aimed to revive an early classical or Doric architecture, could not have found a more encouraging context for his endeavours than the neo classical architectural setting of Königsplatz, however, like Hitler, he found Bauhaus architecture distasteful, the Ehrentempel he designed was not uninfluenced by modernist tendencies, in no respect were his temples conventionally Doric.
In the summer of 1931 Troost prepared drawings for four party buildings that were to be erected at the east end of the forum, symmetrically placed along Arcisstrasse.
The literature of the period leaves little doubt that this new forum was regarded as a sacred cult centre, which was even referred to as “Acropolis Germainiae“.

Ehren Tempel – Königsplatz – München

Koenigsplatz was labeled the “Forum of the Movement” in reference to the birthplace of the National Socialist Party.
Hitler had then believed that the German cities “lacked the monumental urban spaces and structures required to build and maintain a sense of community,” and therefore moulded Koenigsplatz according to rectify these shortcomings.
Previous to the redesign, Koenigsplatz lacked an eastern wall, which contradicted the ideas of community and solidarity.
The eastern wall was added by the Party, and thus the new square was deemed a completion of the old square instead of a complete re-establishment.

Ehren Tempel – Königsplatz – München

Priority was given to the erection of two “martyrs” temples of identical shape named the ‘Ehrentempel’, placed just to either side of the square’s long axis.

In 1935, Hitler said the martyrs’ bodies were not to be buried out of sight in crypts, but should be placed in the open air, to act as eternal sentinels for the German nation.
Hitler later insisted on this detail when Hermann Giesler planned the ‘Volkshalle’ for Weimar’s forum.
He asked his architect to ensure that the two crypts, which were to contain the bodies of SA  men killed in Thuringia, which were to placed at the entrance to the ‘Volksahlle’, be lit by open oculi.

Königsplatz – München

It is interesting too that later still, in 1940, Hitler asked Giesler to plan his own mausoleum in Munich in such a way that his sarcophagus would be exposed to sun and rain.
It is worth noting that in Hitler’s will of May 2, 1938, written the day before he left Germany for his state visit to Rome, Hitler instructed that his body was to be put in a coffin similar to that of the other martyrs and placed in the Ehrentempel next to the Führerbau.

Troost’s temples in Königsplatz were thus regarded as ‘guard posts’, a notion reinforced by the presence of SS sentinels who stood guard at the entrance of each temple.

A year earlier Hitler had said that the blood of the martyrs was to be the baptismal water (Taufwasser) of the Third Reich.

Königsplatz – München

Such imagery perhaps disturbed devout Christians, yet it left no doubt that the cult of National Socialist heroes was to replace the worship of Christian martyrs.
This objective was demonstrated in another way: No National Socialist forum planned for any German city was to incorporate a new church, indeed, a cathedral (Quedlinburg) was turned into a shrine by the SS, who planned to treat the cathedrals of Brunswick and Strasbourg in the same way; in Munich a church was demolished to make way for new National Socialist buildings.

On September 6, 1938, Hitler made his position clear about the attitude of the National Socialists  toward religion.
He said that in its purpose National Socialism had no ‘mystic cult‘, only the care and leadership of a people defined by a common blood relationship.
He continued with the remark that Nazis had no rooms for worship but only halls for the people (that is, no churches, but ‘Volkshallen’) no open spaces for worship, but spaces for assemblies and parades (‘Aufmarschplätze’).

National Socialists had no religious retreats, only sports arenas and playing fields (Stadia), and the characteristic feature of Nazi places of assembly was not the ‘mystical gloom‘ of a cathedral, but the brightness and light of a hall that combined beauty with fitness for its purpose. Three days prior to making this statement, which relates precisely to the functions of National Socialist state building plans and types, Hitler had stated that worship for National Socialists was exclusively the cultivation of the ‘natural’ (that is, the Dionysiac).
In addition, Alfred Rosenberg made it clear that National Socialism and the Christian Church were incompatible.

However, Hitler’s model was that of a Roman Catholic church.
The mysticism of Christianity created buildings with a mysterious gloom which made men more ready to submit to the renunciation of self.
Hitler was deeply impressed by the organization, ritual and architecture of the church. In writing of the spell which an orator can weave over an audience, Hitler stated:
‘The same purpose is served by the artificial and yet mysterious twilight in Catholic churches’.
He might have envied the powerful influence, which the church exerted on the masses, for on one occasion Hitler declared:
the concluding meeting in Nuremberg must be exactly as solemnly and ceremonially performed as a service of the Catholic Church‘.
Whereas the National Socialist buildings should reflect the devout spirit of the movement, there was no place for mysticism in them.
Hitler stated once that National Socialism was cool-headed and realistic.
It “mirrored scientific knowledge“.
It was “not a religious cult“.

Volkshalle – Germania

Thus, the huge ‘Volkshalle’ was to dominate Berlin’s new forum and north-south axis.
The dome of Saint Peter’s would have fitted through the oculus in the dome of the Berlin Volkshalle.
The globe of the world, which was to be placed on the lantern of the Berlin ‘Volkshalle’, was firmly gripped in the talons of an imperial eagle, which were also ‘Reichsadler’, and the attribute of Zeus/Jupiter.
The political theme of a globe gripped by an eagle was rendered in bronze by the sculptor Ernst Andreas Rauch for the exhibition of art in the House of German Art in 1940.

Not only were churches excluded from the new fora but also so was the town hall (Rathaus) since the mayor (Bürgermeister) yielded to the Führer as the representative of local community and nation.
This was an essential feature of the leader principle (Führerprinzip).
In the Nuremberg Party Rallies, leader and led met together and everyone was filled with wonder at the event, in one of Hitler’s Nuremberg speeches he stated, “Not every one of you sees me and I do not see every one of you. But I feel you and you feel me !“.
A notable feature of these rallies was that they were often held at night with spectacular light effects, such as powerful search lights, creating pillars of white light many kilometres long around the perimeter of an assembly ground.

Cathedral of Light – Lichtdom

The effect of such a contrivance was described as a “Cathedral of Light” (Lichtdom).
The term is most appropriate, since Hitler had already stated in ‘Mein Kampf’ that the Church in its wisdom had studied the psychological appeal made upon worshippers by their surroundings: the use of artificially produced twilight casting its secret spell upon the congregation, as well as incense and burning candles. If the National Socialist speaker were to study the psychology of these effects, it would be beneficial. The lighting effects in Nuremberg, particularly at the Zeppelinfeld stadium, owed nothing to chance.
The congregationalizing of National Socialist souls in assembly buildings needed a suitable political framework to make it possible.

Ruinenwerttheorie – Theory of Ruin Value
The “Theory of Ruin Value” (Ruinenwerttheorie) was conceived by Albert Speer, who recommended that, in order to provide a “bridge to tradition” to future generations, modern “anonymous” materials such as steel girders and ferro-concrete should be avoided in the construction of monumental party buildings wherever possible, since such materials would not produce aesthetically acceptable ruins.
Thus the most politically significant buildings of the Reich would to some extent, even after falling into ruins after thousands of years, resemble their Roman models.
The quarries of the Reich could not supply enough granite and marble to build Hitler’s monuments for posterity.
Consequently, vast quantities of granite and marble were ordered from quarries in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, France and Italy.
In ‘Mein Kampf’, Hitler had stressed the need for increased expenditure on public buildings that in terms of durability and aesthetic appeal would match the ‘opera publica’ of the ancient world.
 .
Hitler’s Mausoleum

Hitler at the Tomb of Napoleon

During Hitler’s tour of Paris in June 1940 he visited Les Invalides, where he stood silently gazing upon Napoleon’s tomb.
But it was the classical Pantheon in Rome and its perfect shape that impressed Hitler during his visit in the Italian Capital in 1938.
In late 1940, Hitler advised Giesler about the Pantheon and the mausoleum he wanted to build.

 Les Invalides – Tomb of Napoleon
Imagine to yourself, Giesler, if Napoleon’s sarcophagus were placed beneath a large oculus, like that of the Pantheon“.
He goes on to express an almost mystical delight in the thought that the sarcophagus would be exposed to darkness and light, rain and snow and thus be linked directly to the universe.
Thus, Hitler decided on a mausoleum the design of which was based on that of the Pantheon, not in its original function as a temple but in its later function as a tomb of the famous: the artist Raphael and the kings Victor Emannuel II and Umberto I.
The mausoleum was to be connected to the ‘Halle der Partei’ at Munich by a bridge over Gabelsbergerstrasse, to become a party-political cult centre in the city regarded by Hitler as the home of the National Socialist party.

Giesler – Hitler-Mausoleum

The dimensions were slightly smaller than the Pantheon.
The oculus in the centre of the dome was to be one metre wider in diameter than that of the Pantheon (8.92 metres) to admit more light on Hitler’s sarcophagus, placed immediately under it on the floor of the rotunda.
The modest dimensions of the structure and its lack of rich decoration are at first sight puzzling in light of Hitler’s predilection for gigantic dimensions, but in this case the focal point of the building was the Führer’s sarcophagus, which was not to be dwarfed by dimension out of all proportion to the size of the sarcophagus itself.
Likewise, rich interior decoration would have distracted the attention of “pilgrims”.
Giesler’s scale model of the building apparently pleased Hitler, but the model and plans, kept by Hitler in the Reichskanzlei, are now probably in the hands of the Russians or have been destroyed.
It was perhaps because Hitler was so pleased with the design of his own mausoleum that in late autumn 1940 he asked Giesler to design a mausoleum for his parents in Linz.
Giesler gives no details of the structure, but it is clear from the photograph of his model that once more Hadrian’s Pantheon was the model.

Sculpture

Arno Breker
Arno Breker

Sculpture was used as part of, and in conjunction with, National Socialist architecture to embody the “German Spirit” of divine destiny.
Sculpture expressed the National Socialist obsession with the ideal body and espoused nationalistic, state approved values like loyalty, work, and family.
Josef Thorak and Arno Breker were the most famous sculptors of the Nazi regime.

Arno Breker was in a certain sense both the best and the worst of the Nazi artists.

Nominated as official state sculptor on Hitler’s birthday in 1937, his technique was excellent, and his choice of subject, poses, theme were outstanding.
Breker uses his numerous “naked men with swords” to unite the notions of health, strength, competition, collective action and willingness to sacrifice the self for the common good seen in many other Nazi works with explicit glorification of militarism.

Josef Thorak


Josef Thorak (7 February 1889 in Salzburg, Austria – 26 February 1952 in Hartmannsberg, Bavaria) was an Austrian-German sculptor.
In 1922, Thorak’s reputation increased when he created ‘Der sterbende Krieger’, a statue in memory to the dead of World War I of Stolpmünde.
In 1933 and in following years, Thorak joined Arno Breker as one of the two “official sculptors” of the Third Reich. In his government-issued studio outside Munich, Thorak worked on statues intended to represent the folk-life of Germany under Nazi coordination; these works tended to be heroic in scale, up to 65 feet (20 meters) in height. His official works from this period included a number of sculptures at the Berlin Olympic Stadium of 1936.
Albert Speer referred to Thorak as “more or less “my” sculptor, who frequently designed statues and reliefs for my buildings” and “who created the group of figures for the German pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair. His ‘Comradeship’ stood outside the pavilion, depicting two enormous nude males, clasping hands and standing defiantly side by side, in a pose of defense and racial camaraderie.

Some expressionist influences can be noticed in his neoclassical style.


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Deutsch Kultur im Dritten Reich – German Culture in the Third

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
DEUTSCH KULTUR IM DRITTEN REICH
(German Culture in the Third Reich)

Diana’s Rest – Saliger

The art of the Third Reich, the visual art produced in Germany between 1933 and 1945, was characterized by a style of Romantic realism (heroic realism) based on classical models.

While banning modern styles as degenerate, paintings and sculptures that were promoted that were academic in manner, and exalted values of formalised beauty, community (Volksgemeinschaft), nationalism and racial purity.

 Der Fuehrer Spricht
Paul Matthias Padua

Other popular themes for the art of the Third Reich were the ‘Volk’ at work, a return to the simple virtues of Heimat (love of homeland), the manly virtues of the National Socialist struggle, and the lauding of the female activities of child bearing and raising, symbolized by the phrase Kinder, Küche, Kirche (“children, kitchen, church”).

Female Nude
Ivo Saliger

Ivo Saliger 1894-1987  moved to Vienna in 1908 at the same time as Adolf Hitler but unlike Hitler he studied painting and etching techniques at the Academy of Vienna, under some of Austria’s finest artists such as Ferdinand Schmutzer. In 1920 Saliger assumed the post of professor of art at the Academy. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Ivo Saliger developed strong Art Deco elements within his art. Saliger’s paintings were frequently exhibited at the ‘Great German Art Exhibition’ held annually in Munich between 1937 and1944.


Similarly, music was expected to be formally structured and tonal, and free of Negroid jazz influence.
Films and plays were equally expected to portray the values of community (Volksgemeinschaft), nationalism racial purity.

Architecture for official, public buildings was monumental, and executed in a simplified classical idiom, while domestic architecture took it’s inspiration from völkisch forms and styles.

Contemporary Bauhaus styles, however, were used for buildings related to industry and technology.

Bäuerliche Venus, 1939
Sepp Hilz


‘Bauernfamilie’ – (Peasant Family)
Adolf Wissel

Among the well-known artists endorsed by the Third Reich were the sculptors Josef Thorak and Arno Breker, and painters Werner Peiner, Adolf Wissel and Conrad Hommel.

During the Third Reich artists, sculptors, architects, writers and designers with Jewish ancestry were forbidden to contribute work to the Volksgemeinschaft.
The rationale for this was to be found in the National Socialist’s racial philosophy.
According to this philosophy the Jewish people, with all its apparent intellectual qualities, was nevertheless without any true culture, especially without a culture of its own, for the sham culture which the Jew possessed  was the property of other peoples, and was mostly spoiled in Jewish hands.

When judging Jewry in its attitude toward the question of human culture, the National Socialists maintained that one has to keep before one’s eyes, as an essential characteristic, that there never has been Jewish art and, that above all, the two paragons of all the arts, architecture and music, owe nothing original to Jewry.
This philosophy stated that whatever the Jew achieves in the fields of art is either bowdlerization, or intellectual theft, because the Jews lack those qualities which distinguish creativity.
Adolf Hitler saw Greek and Roman art as uncontaminated by Jewish influences.
Modern art was seen as an act of aesthetic violence by the Jews against the German spirit (Deutsch Geistes).


Entartete Kunst 
Entartete Kunst Exhibition

The Jewish nature of art that was indecipherable, distorted, or that represented “depraved” subject matter was explained through the concept of degeneracy (Entartung), which held that distorted and corrupted art was a symptom of an inferior race.

By propagating the theory of degeneracy, the National Socialist racial philosophy combined  anti-Semitism with a drive to control culture, thus consolidating public support for both campaigns.
Their efforts in this regard were unquestionably aided by a popular hostility to Modernism that pre-dated their the establishment of the Third Reich.
The view that such art had reflected Germany’s condition and moral bankruptcy was widespread, and it was believed that many artists acted in a manner to overtly undermine or challenge popular values and morality.
Max Nordau
The term Entartung (or “degeneracy”) gained popularity in Germany by the late 19th century when the critic and author Max Nordau devised the theory presented in his 1892 book, ‘Entartung’.
Nordau developed a critique of modern art, which he explained as the work of those so corrupted and enfeebled by modern life that they have lost the self-control needed to produce coherent works.
Explaining the unfinished nature of Impressionism as the sign of degeneracy, he decried modern art, while praising traditional German culture (traditionellen Deutsch Kultur).
This theory of artistic degeneracy was seized upon by German National Socialists during the Weimar Republic as a rallying point for their demand for Aryan purity in art.
This view of art was grounded in a belief in a Germanic spirit (germanischen Geistes), defined as mystical, rural, moral, and bearing ancient wisdom,  – noble in the face of a tragic destiny, and existing long before the rise of the National Socialism.
Richard Wagner celebrated such ideas in his works.


Nietzsche Gedächtnishalle
Paul Schultze-Naumburg
Beginning before World War I, the well-known German architect and painter Paul Schultze-Naumburg’s influential writings, which invoked racial theories in condemning modern art and architecture, supplied much of the basis for Adolf Hitler’s belief that classical Greece and the Middle Ages were the true sources of Aryan art.


Schloss Freudenbern
Paul Schultze-Naumbur

Paul Schultze-Naumburg (10 June 1869 – 19 May 1949) was a German architect and one of the Third Reich’s most vocal political critics of modern architecture. Along with Alexander von Senger, Eugen Honig, Konrad Nonn, and German Bestelmeyer, Schultze-Naumburg was a member of a National Socialist group known as the Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure (KDAI). Schultze-Naumburg wrote ‘Kunstund Rasse’ (“Art and Race”), which was published in 1928

In September 1933 the Reichskulturkammer (RKK – Reich Culture Chamber) was established, with Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s ‘Reichminister für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda’ (Reich Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment) in charge.
Sub-chambers within the Culture Chamber, representing the individual arts (music, film, literature, architecture, and the visual arts) were created; these were membership groups consisting of artists supportive of the Party.
In the same year Hitler made a speach in which he defined the true nature of German Art.

Emblem of the Reichskulturkammer
 Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

‘Germany wants again a “German Art,” and this art shall and will be of eternal value, as are all truly creative values of a people.

Should this art, however, again lack this eternal value for our people, then indeed it will mean that it also has no higher value today
When, therefore, the cornerstone of this building was laid, it was with the intention of constructing a temple, not for a so-called modern art, but for a true and everlasting German art, that is, better still, a House for the art of the German people.
It is therefore imperative for the artist to erect monuments, not so much to a period, but to his people.
For time is changeable, years come and go.
Anything born of and thriving on a certain epoch alone would perish with it.
And not only all which had been created before us would fall victim to this mortality, but also what is being created today or will be created in the future.
But the National-Socialists know of only one mortality, and that is the mortality of the people itself:
As long as a people exists, however, it is the fixed pole in the flight of fleeting appearances.
It is the quality of being and lasting permanence.
And, indeed, for this reason, art as an expression of the essence of this being, is an eternal monument.’
Adolf Hitler 1933


 Reichskulturkammer
 Reichskulturkammer
(RKK – Reich Culture Chamber)

Goebbels also spoke on the subject  and defined the nature of the  Reichskulturkammer :
In future only those who are members of a chamber are allowed to be productive in our cultural life. Membership is open only to those who fulfill the entrance condition. In this way all unwanted and damaging elements have been excluded.”


By 1935 the Reich Culture Chamber had 100,000 members.
Degenerate artworks were purged from German museums.


Entartete Kunst Exhibition
 Haus der deutschen Kunst

These became the material for a defamatory exhibit, ‘Entartete Kunst’ (“Degenerate Art”), featuring over 650 paintings, sculptures, prints, and books from the collections of thirty two German museums, that premiered in Munich on July 19, 1937 and remained on view until November 30 before travelling to eleven other cities in Germany and Austria.

Coinciding with the ‘Entartete Kunst’ exhibition, the ‘Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung’ (Great German art exhibition) made its premier amid much pageantry.
This exhibition, held at the palatial Haus der deutschen Kunst (House of German Art), displayed the work of officially approved artists such as Arno Breker and Adolf Wissel.


CLASSICAL MUSIC IN THE THIRD REICH

Richard Wagner
Hans Pfitzner
At the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933, the musical establishment was re-ordered to accomodate National Socialist ideology. 
Richard Wagner and Hans Pfitzner were notable pre-existing composers who conceptualized a united order (Volksgemeinschaft) where music was an index of the German community.
In a time of disintegration, Wagner and Pfitzner wanted to revitalize the country through music.

Hans Erich Pfitzner (5 May 1869 – 22 May 1949) was a German composer and self-described anti-modernist. His own music – including pieces in all the major genres except the symphonic poem – was respected by contemporaries such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. Pfitzner’s works combine Romantic and Late Romantic elements with extended thematic development, atmospheric music drama, and the intimacy of chamber music. His greatest work of the period was the romantische Kantate ‘Von deutscher Seele’ (Of the German Soul) (1921).

Arnold Schonberg 
A book written about Hans Pfitzner and Wagner, published in Regseneberg in 1939, followed not only the birth of contemporary musical parties, but also of political parties in Germany.
The Wagner-Pfitzner stance contrasted ideas of other notable artists – Arnold Schonberg and Theodor W. Adorno – who wanted music to be autonomous from politics.
Hitler and Winifred Wagner
Although Wagner and Pfitzner came before the Third Reich, their sentiments and thoughts, Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk, were aproved of by Hitler and Joseph Goebbels.


Wagner was an extremely prolific writer, authoring hundreds of books, poems, and articles,  throughout his life. His writings covered a wide range of topics, including politics, philosophy, and detailed analyses of his own operas. Essays of note include “Art and Revolution” (1849), “Opera and Drama” (1851), an essay on the theory of opera. One of his most significant writings is “Das Judenthum in der Musik” (“Jewishness in Music”, 1850), a polemic directed against Jewish composers in general, and Giacomo Meyerbeer in particular.

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Hitler at Bayreuth 
Bayreuth – Festspeilhaus

The very emphasis on rootedness and on tradition underscored the National Socialist understanding of itself in a dialectic terms: old gods were mobilized against the false values of the immediate past to offer legitimacy to the epiphany of Adolf Hitler and the music representation of his realm.

Composers, librettists, educators, critics, and especially musicologists, through their public statements, intellectual writings, and journals contributed to the justification of a national Socialist view of musical culture.
Certain progressive journalism, pertaining to modern music, was purged.
Journals that had been sympathetic to the ‘German viewpoint,’ entrenched in Wagnerian ideals, like the ‘Zeischrift fur Musik’ and ‘Die Muzik’, showed confidence in the new regime and affirmed the process of intertwining government policies with music.


Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels used the ‘Volkscher Beobatcher’, a journal that was disseminated to the general public in addition to elites and party officials, as an organ of Reich Culture.
By the end of the 1930s the ‘Mitteilungen der Reichsmusikkammer’ became another prominent journal that reflected the music policy, organizational and personnel changes in musical institutions.
In the early years of the Third Reich, the musicologists and musicians redirected the orientation of music, defining what was ‘German Music’ and what was not.
National Socialist ideology was applied to the evaluation of musicians.
Musicians defined in the new German musical era were given new status, while their accomplishments and deeds were seen as direct accomplishments of the Third Reich.
Ludwig van Beethoven
The contribution of German musicologists led to the justification of Third Reich, and a ‘neue deutsche Musikkultur’ – (new German musical culture).
They defined the greater German values that musicians would have to identify with, because their duty was to integrate music and National Socialism so that they became inseparable.
Highly favoured was music which alluded to a mythic, heroic German past such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner.
Adolf Hitler honours Bruckner

Anton Bruckner was highly favoured, as his music was regarded as an expression of the zeitgeist of the German volk. 

The music of Arnold Schoenberg (and atonal music along with it), Felix Mendelssohn and many others was no longer played, because they were Jewish or of Jewish origin.
Music by non-German composers was tolerated if it was classically inspired, tonal, and not by a composer of Jewish origin or having ties to ideologies hostile to the Third Reich.


Richard Strauss
The Nazis recognized Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin for having German origins.
Music of the Russian Peter Tchaikovsky could be performed in the Third Reich, even after Operation Barbarossa.
Operas by Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini got frequent play.
Richard Strauss, probably the greates living German composer, served as the first director of the Propaganda Ministry’s music division, and Carl Orff produced much work during the Third Reich.

Carl Orff 

Carl Orff (July 10, 1895 – March 29, 1982) was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana (1937).
His Carmina Burana was hugely popular in the Third Reich after its premiere in Frankfurt in 1937.
In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential approach of music education for children.
Richard Georg Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras.
He is known for his operas, which include ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ and ‘Salome’; his lieder, especially his ‘Four Last Songs’; and his tone poems and other orchestral works, such as ‘Death and Transfiguration’, ‘Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks’, ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’, ‘An Alpine Symphony’, and ‘Metamorphosen’.
Strauss was also a prominent conductor throughout Germany and Austria.

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SCULPTURE

Josef Thorak – Male Nude
Arno Breker – Male Nude

Sculpture’s monumental possibilities gave it a special status in the expression of National Socialist racial theories.

The ‘Greater German Art Exhibition’ displayed, throughout the period of the Third Reich, a steady rise in the number of sculptures at the expense of paintings.
The most common image was of the heroic nude male, expressing the ideal of the Aryan race.
Arno Breker’s skill at this type of sculpture made him Hitler’s favourite sculptor.
Nude females were also common, though they tended to be less monumental.
In both cases, the physical form was to show no imperfections.
Josef Thorak was another official sculptor of the Third Reich owing to his skill at monumental sculpture.

ARNO BREKER

Arno Breker (July 19, 1900 – February 13, 1991) was a German sculptor, best known for his public works in Germany, which were the antithesis of “degenerate art”.

Breker was born in Elberfeld, in the west of Germany, the son of a stonemason.
He began to study architecture, along with stone-carving and anatomy, and at age 20 was accepted to the Düsseldorf Academy of Arts where he concentrated on sculpture.
He first visited Paris in 1924, shortly before finishing his studies.
In 1932, he was awarded a prize by the Prussian Ministry of Culture, which allowed him to stay in Rome for a year.

In 1934 he returned to Germany on the advice of Max Liebermann.
Breker was supported by many Nazi leaders, especially Adolf Hitler.

Even Rosenberg later hailed his sculptures as expressions of the “mighty momentum and will power” (“Wucht und Willenhaftigkeit”) of Nazi Germany.
He took commissions from the German Government from 1933 through 1942, for example participating in a show of his work in occupied Paris in 1942, where he met Jean Cocteau, who appreciated his work.
He maintained personal relationships with Albert Speer and with Hitler.

In 1936 he won the commission for two sculptures representing athletic prowess, intended for the 1936 Olympic games, one representing a “Zehnkämpfer” (The Decathlete) and the other “Die Siegerin” (‘The Victress’).
In 1937 Breker joined the Nazi Party and was made “official state sculptor” by Hitler, given a large property and provided a studio with thousand assistants.
Hitler also exempted him from military service.
His twin sculptures ‘Die Partei’ (‘The Party’) and ‘Das Heer (‘The Army’) held a prominent position at the entrance to Albert Speer’s Neuen Reichskanzlei (new Reich Chancellery).

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POPULAR MUSIC




Germany’s urban centres in the 1920s and 30s were buzzing with jazz clubs, cabaret houses and avant garde music.

In contrast, the National Socialist regime made concentrated efforts to shun modern music (which was considered degenerate and Jewish in nature) and instead embraced classical “German” music.






VÖLKISCH JAZZ

‘Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands;
In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;
As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation.
On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;
So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);
Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);
Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);
The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;
Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;
Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);
All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.’

Baldur von Blodheim
Reichsmusicfuhrer und Oberscharfuhrer SS

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Volksgemeinschaft
Reichsarbeitsdienst

The poster became an important medium for propaganda during this period.

Combining text and bold graphics, posters were extensively deployed both in Germany and in the areas occupied.
Their typography reflected National Socialist official ideology.
Imagery frequently drew on heroic realism.
Hitler Youth and the SS were depicted monumentally, with lighting posed to produce grandeur.





ARCHITECTURE

Reichsparteitagsgelände
Albert Speer

Adolf Hitler was an admirer of ancient Greece and imperial Rome, and believed that some ancient Germans had, over time, become part of its social fabric and exerted influence on it.

He considered the Romans an early Aryan empire, and emulated their architecture in an original style inspired by both neoclassicism and Art Deco, sometimes known as “severe” Deco.
He also ordered construction of a type of Altar of Victory, borrowed from the Greeks, who were, according to National Socialist ideology, inseminated with the seed of the Aryan peoples.
The National Socialists believed that architecture played a key role in creating their new order.
Architecture had a special importance to the politicians who sought to influence all aspects of human life.
Volkisch Domestic Architecture

Moreover, not only major cities but also small villages were to express the achievement and the nature of the German people.

It seemed as though the basic design of commonly practised architecture at the time was to be either left in place or modified within Germany’s dominion.
The new building style may have been intended to give the idea to the rest of the world and to the unconverted Germans that the era of the thousand-year Reich had, in fact, dawned.
Hitler was quite fond of the numerous theatres built by Hermann and Ferdinand Fellner, who built in the late baroque style.

Law Courts of Brussels 
Paris Opera

In addition, he appreciated the stricter architects of the 19th century such as Gottfried Semper, who built the Dresden Opera House, the Picture Gallery in Dresden, the court museums in Vienna, and Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, who designed several buildings in Athens in 1840.

He was also enthusiastic about the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, and the Law Courts of Brussels by the architect Poelaert.
Ultimately, he was always drawn back to inflated neo-baroque such as Kaiser Wilhelm II had fostered, through his court architect Ernst von Ihne.

Reichsparteitagsgelände
Albert Speer
Dietrich Eckart Bühne

Hitler later appreciated the permanent qualities of the classical style as it had a relationship between the Dorians and his own Germanic world.

The neoclassical style was primarily used for urban state buildings or party buildings such as the Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg, the planned Volkshalle for Berlin and the Dietrich Eckart Bühne in Berlin.

Ordensburg Sonthofen

The völkish style was primarily used in rural settings for accommodation or community structures like the Ordensburg in Krössinsee, Ordensburg Vogelsang in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ordensburg Krössinsee in Pomerania.

Ordensburg Vogelsang

Ordensburgen were four schools developed for the National Socialist elite. There were strict requirements for admission to the school. Junker candidates had to be aged between 25 and 30 years old, belong to either the NSDAP, the Hitler Youth, the Sturmabteilung, or the Schutzstaffel, be physically completely healthy, and be pure-blooded with no hereditary defects. The schools themselves were typically völkish style buildings with extensive facilities. Vogelsang, for instance, reportedly contained the world’s largest gymnasium at the time. Each student attended all four institutions in sequence, for specialty training, finishing in Marienburg.

It was also to be applied to rural new towns as it represented a mythical medieval time when Germany was free of foreign and cosmopolitan influences.
This style was also used in a limited way for buildings with modern uses like weather service broadcasting and the administration building for the federal post office.

 Reichsautobahn 1936

National Socialism is often viewed as anti-modern and romantic, or having a pragmatic willingness to use modern means in pursuit of anti-modern purposes.

This confuses the Nazi dislike of certain styles like the Bauhaus with a blanket dislike of all modern styles.
This was based mainly on what the Bauhaus and others were seen as representing, like foreign influences or the decadence of the Weimar Republic.
The lack of any human scale details or plain exteriors may have produced an overwhelming effect, but this style was common from the 1910s onwards.

By 1936, 130,000 workers were directly employed in the construction of autobahns, as well as an additional 270,000 in the supply chain for construction equipment, steel, concrete, sign-age  maintenance equipment, etc. In rural areas, new camps to house the workers were built near construction sites. The job creation program aspect was not especially important because full employment was almost reached by 1936. The autobahns were not primarily intended as major infrastructure improvement of special value to the military as often stated because they were of no military value as all major military transports in Germany were done by train to save fuel.

This modern approach was not limited to the neo-classical buildings for city centres, but was also used for völkisch buildings like Ordensburgs and Autobahn garages.
The National Socialists chose new versions of past styles for most of their architecture.
This should not be viewed simply as an attempt to reconstruct the past, but rather an effort to use aspects of the past to create a new present.
Most buildings are ‘copied’ in some form or other, but for the Nazis, copying the past not only linked them to the past in general but also specifically to an Aryan past.
Neo-classical architecture was a direct representation of Aryan culture.
Völkish architecture was also Aryan but of a Germanic nature.
Still, these analogues were not part of an attempt to recreate an actual past, but were meant to emphasize the importance of Aryan culture as a justification for the actions of the present.
While Hitler saw the architecture of the Weimar Republic as an object lesson in cultural decline, the new buildings he would build would teach a different lesson, that of national rebirth.

PAUL TROOST

The first major architect of the Third Reich, and one of the greatest architects of the 20th Century, was Paul Ludwig Troost (17 August 1878 – 21 January 1934).

Troost born in Elberfeld in Westfalen.  An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved individual with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil and advocated a restrained, lean architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament.

Hitler and Troost

In 1933 he became Hitler’s foremost architect ,whose neo-classical style became for a time the official architecture of the Third Reich.

His work filled Hitler with enthusiasm, and he planned and built state and municipal edifices throughout Germany.
In the autumn of 1933, he was commissioned to rebuild and refurnish the Chancellery residence in Berlin.

Along with other architects, Troost planned and built State and municipal edifices throughout the country, including new administrative offices, social buildings for workers and bridges across the main highways.

Ehrentempel at Dusk

One of the many structures he planned before his death was the Haus der deutschen Kunst (House of German Art) in Munich, intended to be a great temple for a “true, eternal art of the German people”.
It was a good example of the classical forms in monumental public buildings during the Third Reich, though subsequently Hitler moved away from the more restrained style of Troost, reverting to a more ornate style.
Hitler’s relationship to Troost was that of a pupil to an admired teacher.
According to Albert Speer, who later became Hitler’s favorite architect, the Führer would impatiently greet Troost with the words: “I can’t wait, Herr Professor. Is there anything new? Let’s see it !” Troost would then lay out his latest plans and sketches.
Hitler frequently declared, according to Speer, that “he first learned what architecture was from Troost”‘.

Hitler at the Grave of
Paul Troost

Paul Ludwig Troost
1878 – 1934
The architect’s death on 21 January 1934, was a painful blow, but Hitler remained close to his widow Gerdy Troost, whose architectural taste frequently coincided with his own, which made her (in Speer’s words) “a kind of arbiter of art in Munich.

Troost was buried in the “Nordfriedhof” Cemetery (North Cemetery) in Munich.
The gravestone still survives although the family name has been removed.
Hitler posthumously awarded Troost the German National Prize for Art and Science in 1936.
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ALBERT SPEER

Albert Speer (born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer – March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect.

As a young man Speer  followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.

Speer as a Student
Heinrich Tessenow 
Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe.
In 1924 he transferred to the “much more reputable” Technical University of Munich.
In 1925 he transferred again, this time to the Technical University of Berlin where he studied under Heinrich Tessenow, whom Speer greatly admired.

Heinrich Tessenow (April 7, 1876 – November 1, 1950) was a German architect, professor, and urban planner. He was born in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 
His father was a carpenter, and he studied as an apprentice before studying architecture in a building trade school in Leipzig and at the Technical University of Munich, where he later taught.

Magdeburg Hindenburg-Gedenkalle
(Fahnenhalle) – 1937 – 39
Festspielhaus Hellerau – Dresden

Tessenow taught at the Institute of Technology in Berlin-Charlottenburg from 1926 until 1934. Tessenow is also known through his student, and one-time assistant, the Reichsarchitect Albert Speer. Tessenow taught Speer in 1925 and became Tessenow’s assistant in 1927 at the age of 23. Speer’s memoirs describe Tessenow’s personal, discursive, informal teaching style, and his preference for architecture that expressed national culture and simplified forms. He was known for the saying, “The simplest form is not always the best, but the best is always simple.


After passing his exams in 1927, Speer became Tessenow’s assistant, a high honor for a man of 22.[11] As such, Speer taught some of Tessenow’s classes while continuing his own postgraduate studies.
Hitler mit Albert Speer

In Munich, and continuing in Berlin, Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters, who also studied under Tessenow.
Hitler spoke of Speer as a “kindred spirit” for whom he had always maintained “the warmest human feelings“.
The young, ambitious architect was dazzled by his rapid rise and close proximity to Hitler, which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Party.

Zepplinfeld Stadium 

When Troost died on January 21, 1934, Speer effectively replaced him as the Party’s chief architect. Hitler appointed Speer as head of the Chief Office for Construction.

One of Speer’s first commissions after Troost’s death was the Zeppelinfeld stadium—the Nürnberg parade grounds seen in Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. This huge work was capable of holding 340,000 people.

Germania

The tribune was influenced by the Pergamon Altar in Anatolia, but was magnified to an enormous scale.
Hitler ordered Speer to make plans to rebuild Berlin.
The plans centered on a three-mile long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse, or Street of Magnificence; he also referred to it as the “North-South Axis”.
At the north end of the boulevard, Speer planned to build the Volkshalle, a huge assembly hall with a dome which would have been over 700 feet (210 m) high, with floor space for 180,000 people.
At the southern end of the avenue would be a huge triumphal arch; it would be almost 400 feet (120 m) high.

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Sculpture and Architecture

Olympic Stadium
Monumental Reich Adler

Sculpture was used as part of, and in conjunction with, National Socialist architecture to embody the “German Spirit” of divine destiny.
Sculpture expressed the National Socialist obsession with the ideal body, and espoused nationalistic, state approved values like loyalty, work, and family.
Josef Thorak and Arno Breker were the most famous sculptors of the Third Reich.
Arno Breker was nominated as official state sculptor on Hitler’s birthday in 1937.
His technique was excellent, and his choice of subject, poses, and themes were outstanding. Breker uses his numerous “heroic male nudes” to unite the notions of health, strength, competition, collective action and willingness to sacrifice the self for the common good.


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Der Körperkultur im Dritten Reich


Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen


Kultur, in the Third Reich was not just a matter of the ‘academic and applied arts’ – National Socialism was also concerned with ‘physical culture’ – after all, the sculptors and artists needed to model from life.

On a deeper level National Socialism believed that physical beauty and physical perfection was concomitant with an ‘enobled (veredelte Seele) spirituality’.
‘Veredelte Seele’ was believed to be a condition exclusively attained by the Aryan race – and counld not be achieved by non Aryans, and particularly the Jewish race.
The Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (NSRL) (National Socialist League of the Reich for Physical Exercise), known as Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (DRL) until 1938, was the umbrella organization for sports during the Third Reich.
The NSRL was led by the Reichssportführer, who after 1934 was at the same time presiding over the German National Olympic Committee.
The NSRL’s leaders were Hans von Tschammer und Osten (1933–1943), Arno Breitmeyer (1943–1944) and Karl Ritter von Halt (1944–1945).
Sports Organizations Prior to the Third Reich
The 1916 Summer Olympics had been awarded to Berlin, but were cancelled because of the  World War I. 
The Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Olympische Spiele (DRA or DRAfOS) “German Imperial Commission for Olympic Games”, was the German Olympic Sports organization at that time.
In 1917 the “German Imperial Commission for Olympic Games” was renamed Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen (DRA), (sometimes also DRL or, more rarely, DRAfL) (“German Imperial Commission for Physical Exercise”).
The name change reflected Germany’s protest against the fact that Germany and other Central Powers were being excluded from the “Olympic family” which was dominated by the Entente Powers – an interesting example of the corruption of sport by politics.

Carl Diem

The Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen was led by Theodor Lewald and Carl Diem was its Secretary General.

Even though it saw itself as the pan-German umbrella organization for sports, the fact is that it did not represent all types of sports and sports associations of Germany.
A great number of sport clubs, especially those stemming from industrial workers’ background, had not joined the DRA.
After the ‘Enabling Act’ which legally gave Hitler dictatorial control of Germany in March 1933, all sports organizations connected to the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party, and  the church, were banned.
This ban affected especially the sports clubs of industrial workers, most of which were called to split up on their own (Selbstauflösung) before the first semester of 1933 was over.
The more conservative nationalistic and bourgeois clubs were allowed to subsist into the following year.
Hans von Tschammer und Osten

In April 1933, Hans von Tschammer und Osten was named Reichskommissar für Turnen und Sport (Commissioner for Gymnastics and Sports of the Reich).

Von Tschammer, however, would keep his predecessor in a high position in the sports body, and years later he would appoint Theodor Lewald as president of the ‘Organizing Committee of the Berlin Olympic Games’.
Hans von Tschammer und Osten was an aristocratic SA group leader.
In the name of ‘gleichschaltung’ he disbanded the Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen on May 5, 1933 (officially on May 10).
Gleichschaltung, meaning “coordination”, “making the same”, “bringing into line”, is a term for the process by which the Third Reich successively established a system of control and tight coordination over all aspects of society.
Von Tschammer was then elevated to Reichssportführer on July 19 and the whole sports sphere in Germany was placed under his power.
Sports and propaganda in Nazi Germany: The Aryan ideal
The Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (DRL) was established on July 27, 1934 as the official Sports governing body of the Third Reich.
It would quickly become a formidable system within the German nation.
After the DRL’s foundation all other German sport associations gradually lost their freedom and were coopted into the DRL as units (“Fachämter”).
Even the most prestigious ones, like the ‘German Football Association’ (DFB) were incorperated .
Hans von Tschammer und Osten

Von Tschammer’s goal was to build a formidable sports body in which all German sports associations would be involved.

His vision was that physical exercise would “improve the morale and productivity of German workers” as well as making sports a source of national pride for the Germans.
Sporting skills were made a criterion for school graduation, as well as a necessary qualification for certain jobs and admission to universities.
In 1935 journalist Guido von Mengden, was named public relations officer of the ‘Reich Sports Office’.
He became the personal advisor and consultant of the Reichssportführer in 1936.
Von Mengden became the chief editor of NS-Sport, the official organ of the Reich Sports Office.
Other DRL/NSRL publications included ‘Dietwart’, a sports magazine with excellent illustrations and ‘Sport und Staat’ (Sports and State), a massive four-volume report on the organized sports activities in the Third Reich.
Sport und Staat was made by Arno Breitmeyer and Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.
This lavishly illustrated work had many pictures and information about the various Nazi organizations, i.e. SA, NSKK, Bund Deutscher Mädel, Hitler Jugend, etc.
The aims of the promotion of sports in the Third Reich included strengthening the spirit of every German, as well as making German citizens feel that they were part of a wider national purpose.
This was in line with the ideals of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the “Father of physical exercises“, who connected the steeling of one’s own body to a healthy spirit and promoted the idea of a unified, strong Germany.

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (August 11, 1778 – October 15, 1852) was a German gymnastics educator and nationalist. He is commonly known as Turnvater Jahn, roughly meaning “father of gymnastics”.
Brooding upon what he saw as the humiliation of his native land by Napoleon, Jahn conceived the idea of restoring the spirits of his countrymen by the development of their physical and moral powers through the practice of gymnastics. The first Turnplatz, or open-air gymnasium, was opened by Jahn in Berlin in 1811, and the Turnverein (gymnastics association) movement spread rapidly. Young gymnasts were taught to regard themselves as members of a kind of guild for the emancipation of their fatherland. This nationalistic spirit was nourished in no small degree by the writings of Jahn.

Another aim  was the demonstration of Aryan physical superiority.

Von Tschammer’s impressively staged events of sports pageantry not only enhanced the physical activity, but also the nationalism of Germans.
‘Nordic aesthetic beauty’, and commitment to Germanic ideals of race went hand in hand during the Third Reich, and von Tschammer und Osten implemented a policy of racial exclusion within sports.
Athletes of Jewish origin were excluded from participation in relevant sporting events.

Nacktkultur

German Nacktkultur, or Freikörperkultur (free body movement), refers to a network of private clubs that promoted nudism as a way of linking the modern body more closely to nature, giving it a freer presence in the great outdoors.

‘Nacktende Mensch’
Heinrich Pudor (Heinrich Scham, 1865–1943) supposedly coined the term Nacktkultur around 1903.
His book ‘Nacktende Mensch’ (1893) and the three-volume ‘Nacktkultur’ (1906) established an enduring link between Nacktkultur, vegetarianism, social reform, and racial hygiene (including anti-Semitism).
However, Rothschuh claims that Nacktkultur first appeared in Germany in the 1870s, along with the animal protection, vegetarian, and natural healing movements.
Nudity was an important feature of Freikörperkultur well before World War I, and the idea of nudity as a healthful activity apparently owed something to the medical profession’s efforts to combat such diseases as tuberculosis with what before the war was called ‘Luft und Licht Therapie’ (air and light therapy) or ‘Heliotherapie’.
As late as 1922 a Munich film-maker  Robert Reinert, released a film (‘Nerven’) that concluded with scenes of nude bodies in the mountains finally cured of neurasthenic ailments contracted in a decadent urban environment.
Membership in the more than two hundred German nudist clubs seems to have appealed equally to men and women.
The movement produced numerous journals, and by the late 1920s books on the subject of Nacktkultur were only slightly less numerous than all those devoted to sportsand dance.

Nacktkultur

Yet Nacktkultur, at that time, had no unified ideology.
Nacktkultur was a constellation of subcultures, each of them pursuing values that were not always, or even usually, common to the constellation as a whole.

Indeed, one might even say that, for each subculture, the naked body functioned as a sign of ideological difference rather than as a universal identifier in relation to the alienating pressures of modernity.
The tendency to read Nacktkultur as an anti-intellectual, völkisch (or, at least, conservative) response to the problems of urbanization and rationalization results from an emphasis on two issues often associated with the phenomenon: the use of racial and eugenic theory to justify nudism; and the idea that “natural” nudism was anti-erotic and did not disturb conventional sexual morality.
But Nacktkultur was actually much more complex than we might suppose from such a focus. Something deeper is at stake in critiques of Nacktkultur that seek to bestow a stable political identity on the constellation of subcultures and in the subcultures that seek to bestow a stable political identity on the naked body itself.
Far from being, as some have considered, anti-intellectual, it spawned a considerable philosophical discourse that ascribed deep metaphysical significance to the human body.

Körpersinn – Body Sense
Male Nude – Männlicher Akt

In his insightful book ‘Körpersinn’ (Body Sense) – (1927), Wolfgang Graeser gave perhaps the most direct articulation of this preoccupation with constructing a metaphysics of the body:

The dark, chaotic side of Western technocracy has damned the body, branded it with hell and sin. But in the luminous side, the body stands anew in unconcealed clarity. Exposed and naked is our thinking. Now we comprehend the body, uncaged and without veiling insinuations. Radiant bronze skin mirrors the light of the Olympian sun with the same pure sobriety as the sparkling pistons of clearly formed machines“.

Wolfgang Graeser (1906-1928), whose book Körpersinn (1927), remains an engrossing commentary on the body culture of the era.
Graeser was a protégé of Oswald Spengler, and he shared the master’s vision of apocalyptic transformation in Western civilization:
The evolution of the West now stands in its final stage. The path is prescribed upon which we must move forward“.
This path “can only come out of those sources of life which gymnastics has rediscovered,” for “so long as we feel the red pulse of our bloodstream our being is assured“. 

Körpersinn – Body Sense

Graeser’s book contained no pictures, no “totems” (as he put it) of body culture, no discussion of any body culture personalities, no discussion of any techniques, specific dances, body types, schools of physical education, or documented achievements; it did not even contain any dates, except for frequent reference to the war as the decisive moment in the awakening of modern “body sense.”
Although he clearly differentiated the objectives of sport, gymnastics, and dance, Graeser treated them as abstract theoretical categories, which he did not analyze in relation to subcategories or specific manifestations.
He specified sport as the most “rational” mode of body culture. Graeser sought to reveal the metaphysical significance of the body.


Martin Heidegger
An even deeper thinker, Martin Heidegger, made a relevant contribution to theories on the metaphysics of the body when, in his work ‘Sein und Zeit’ (Being and Time) (1927), he linked the mysterious concept of “unveiling” simultaneously to the construction of truth and to the manifestation of being itself.

Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the “question of Being”.
His best known book, ‘Sein und Zeit‘ (Being and Time), is considered one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century.
Writing extensively on Nietzsche in his later career, and offering a “phenomenological critique of Kant” in his ‘Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik’ (Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics), Heidegger is known for his post-Kantian philosophy. Heidegger’s influence has been far reaching, from philosophy to theology, deconstructionism, cultural anthropology, literary theory, architecture, and artificial intelligence.
Heidegger supported National Socialism and the Third Reich.

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Nackte Mädchen
Nackte Junge
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Perceptions and images of human bodies are apparently the source of the most powerful and disturbing emotions people can experience.

Perhaps this relation to perception is due to the fact that bodies (their flesh, at any rate) for the most part remain hidden by clothes.
Similarly, the flesh itself hides an intricate and mysterious field of invisible activities whose material identity no microscope can yet reveal, activities we designate by such terms as “emotion,” “desire,” “drive,” “consciousness,” “memory,” “mind,” “soul,” and “the unconscious.”
The invisibility of these activities is itself evidence of a dark, formless, or metaphysical dimension to the body.
But if we associate modern identity with an anti-metaphysical belief system that achieves its strongest expression through antifigural abstraction, then we do not need to see the body itself as a relevant sign of modern identity: all that matters is a modern mind.
By pushing representation and performance toward ever greater intensities of abstraction, much of modernist culture attempted to demystify the body and liberate people from the deep—hence, dark—controls over perception emanating from the body or its image.
No more nudes,” demanded the futurists, for they understood well that memory structures emotion, and nothing stirs emotion so profoundly as the sight of the naked body.
Thus, the liberation of people from memory, from the past, depended on their being freed from the emotions they attach to the body.

Nackt Junge
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Nackt Hitlerjugend

Much of modernist cultural history until recently has avoided dealing with strands of modernism that focus perception on the body rather than away from it, perhaps because modern identity seems less difficult to achieve or comprehend when it is aligned with a constant idea of the body that lies beyond the grasp of those conditions of perception and signification that make identity modern.

‘Nacktkultur’ projected an ambiguous political identity because it treated the body as a double sign: on the one hand, it presented nudity as a return to an eternal primeval; on the other hand, it regarded modern identity as an unprecedented condition of nakedness.
With the rise of Völkisch movements and National Socialism, nudism burst out of its bourgeois enclaves.
By the late 1920s the lure of the ‘nudist arcadia’ had extended its influence across the best part of the ideological spectrum and thereby furnished clear proof that the naked body could become the focus of reformist, educational and aesthetic ideas.
It was a telling symptom of the degree of material uncertainty and mental anxiety then prevailing that human beings felt compelled to return to the most basic point of orientation, the body, in order to redefine their perception of society and their relation to it.
The cult of the naked body had its origins in Germany around the turn of the twentieth century. The German FKK clubs-the literal translation of Freikoerperkultur is “bare (or open-air) body culture” – from which naturism took its cue, retain even now some of the high-minded ideals associated with nudism in the first third of the century.

FKK – Javelin Thrower
FKK – Freikoerperkultur

At first many German and Austrian nudists were suspicious to the National Socialist regime, though not because of the free body cult.
Instead it was because the practice wasn’t official.
There was not a prudish or anti-pleasure atmosphere, though permissiveness was always coupled with thoughts on race, however, due to their willingness to be co-opted by the party, nudists achieved official state recognition fairly quickly.
The greatest success of the movement was the 1942 “Police Decree for the Regulation of Bathing,” which allowed nude swimming.

During the Third Reich Hans Surén published “Mensch und Sonne,” a collection of nude photographs.

Nackt Hitlerjugend Jungen Duschen

Though the numerous photographs of nude bodies no doubt enhanced the appeal of the book, the main attraction was the radiant mythic apparatus Surén constructed to justify a new culture based on “naked living.”
From Surén’s perspective, it was necessary to detach nudity from the association with sickness it had acquired through its use in ‘Luft und Licht Therapie’, and from its stigmatization by anxiety-ridden forces of “prudery” that were poisoning modern civilization.

Convergence of Health, Strength, and Beauty

Open nudity, for Surén, was a sign of health, strength, and beauty (relating nudity to the visual arts); the text implied that people do not “open” their nudity to the world unless their bodies possess all three qualities.
Surén saw nudity as the key to achieving a convergence of health, strength, and beauty.
As long as people remained remote from their own bodies, as long as they were unable to see their own bodies, they could not possibly enjoy health, strength, or beauty.
Because nudity was a natural condition, the proper setting for its manifestation was the great outdoors.
Almost all the photos in ‘Der Mensch und die Sonne’ showed nude bodies in flower-speckled meadows, sun-drenched beaches, grassy flatlands, tranquil marshes, and snow-bright alpine slopes.
He perceived nudity above all as a matter of the body’s relation to sunlight, of its power to see and be seen in a great, open space in which nothing hides the horizon.

Nackt Hitlerjugend an der Nordsee

The “friendship” between sunlight and flesh motivated activities that strengthened and
beautified the body.
The urge to be naked, he believed, lies dormant within us, yet it is as strong as the urge to feel the light of the sun.
The primary activity was gymnastics, with hiking, swimming, and non-competitive sports (such as archery) assuming subordinate significance.
Not surprisingly, Surén promoted his own gymnastic method, which stressed the use of medicine balls, weights, and throw-thrust exercises.
Naked exercises achieved maximum effect when performed in groups rather than alone.
Yet he separated nude gymnastics from competitive sports, which could have unhealthy consequences for the body.
And though he accepted nude dancing as an agreeable component of Nacktkultur , he clearly regarded it as an activity for women.
The profound freedom offered by the conjunction of nudity, sunlight, and open space depended on the perfection of self-discipline resulting from gymnastic training.
Despite his emphasis on group performance, Surén saw nudity and gymnastics as modes of self-discovery and will formation.
The photographs, which feature both men and women, tend to portray “blood and soil” motifs, with a glorification of Aryan supermen (and women).

Mensch und Sonne

It has been suggested that some of the photographs have homoerotic undertones to them, and some feature full frontal male and female nudity.
What is interesting about ‘Mensch und Sonne’, is that it was officially endorsed by the the government of the Third Reich as being in agreement with its political and racial ideology. 
Völkisch groups and National Socialists promoted nudism, and at one point promoted premarital sex for the purpose of breeding a new generation of the master race.
The SS magazine, ‘Das Schwarze Korps’, advertized  Surén’s book, even giving it an entire page in a pre-Christmas issue.
In that edition the magazine stated that : “We want a strong and joyful affirmation of body awareness, because we need it to build a strong and self-confident race.”
Nudity was seen partly as a means of encouraging the “health of the race.”


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‘Archaic Postmodernity’

National Socialist dignitaries devoted much energy to the promotion of German sculptors and helped them considerably in the execution of massive bas-reliefs and in the erection of monumental stone and bronze sculptures.
The political goal was obvious: to bring German art as close as possible to the German people, so that any German citizen, regardless social standing, could identify himself or herself with a specific artistic achievement.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the German art of that time witnessed a return to ‘classicism‘.
Models from Antiquity and the Renaissance were to some extent adapted to the needs of National Socialist Germany.
Numerous German sculptors benefited from the logistic and financial support of the political elite.

‘Flora’ – Arno Breker
Arno Breker
Their sculptures resembled, either by form, or by composition, the works of Praxiteles or Phidias of ancient Greece, or the sculptures of Michelangelo during the Renaissance.
The most prominent German sculptors of that time were Arno Breker, Josef Thorak, and Fritz Klimsch, who although enjoying the significant resources of the National Socialist regime, were never members of the NSDAP.
Sculptures of female nudes, such as “Flora” by Breker, “Girl” by Fehrle, or “Glance” by Klimsch, show beautiful and geometrically defined women with perfect bodies, narrow ankles, and well rounded and well-proportioned breasts.

Fritz Klimsch (10 February 1870, Frankfurt am Main – 30 March 1960, Freiburg) was a German sculptor.
Klimsch studied at the Royal College for the Academic Fine Arts in Berlin, and was then a student of Fritz Schaper. In 1898 Klimsch was a founding member of the Berlin Secession.
In the era of National Socialism Klimsch was highly regarded as an artist, and created busts of Erich Ludendorff, Wilhelm Frick and Adolf Hitler. According to a diary entry by Goebbels, Klimsch was the most mature of our sculptors. A genius. In September 1944 Klimsch was named in the highest rank of artists of the Third Reich, in the Gottbegnadeten list.
Shortly before his death in 1960 Klimsch received the Federal Cross of Merit. He was an honorary citizen of Saige, where he was buried.

Male Nude
Fritz Klimsch 1870-1960 
‘Bauer’
Jacob Wilhelm Fehrle – 1884-1974
In addition, the fact that many sculptures show nude males embracing nude females indicates that National Socialism was by no means a “conservative” or “reactionary” movement, and that Puritan Anglo-Saxon prudishness was completely alien to it.
It is difficult to deny the great talent of Breker or Klimsch, even if some critics characterize their sculptures as workmanlike ‘copies‘ of classic artists.

Etude pour l`Action enchaînée, bronze 1905
Aristide Maillol
As a young man, Breker lived in France where he was influenced by his future friend and sculptor, Aristide Maillol.

Aristide Joseph Bonaventure Maillol (December 8, 1861 – September 27, 1944) was a French Catalan sculptor, painter, and printmaker.
The subject of nearly all of Maillol’s mature work is the female body, treated with a classical emphasis on stable forms. The figurative style of his large bronzes, and his serene classicism set a standard for European and American)figure sculpture until the end of World War II.

In spite of his political troubles, Breker continued to work after the war making busts of his friends, (Salvador Dali, Hassan II, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, etc).
It should be noted that Breker, in the wake of the Allied occupation of Germany, was requested by the Soviets to continue his artistic career in the Soviet Union – an offer that he refused.



The New Soviet Man and Woman
Prometheus – Arno Breker
It goes without saying that it is possible to draw certain parallels between the gigantism of the plastic art in National Socialist Germany and that of the Soviet Union (the naked Prometheus vis-à-vis the muscular and shirtless hammer-holding proletarian!).
Yet the differences are again glaring: in Communist countries one could never find sculptures representing nude women and men – which confirms the thesis that Communism, although politically frightening, was primarily a prudish and conservative system.
Indeed, even today, one can hardly encounter pictorial or plastic representations of embracing couples in China, Cuba, or in North Korea.
Neverthless, the sculptures of Venus or nymphs by Breker or Thorak display nothing provocative or pornographic; they rarely trigger sexual fantasies or erotic dreams, as is perhaps the case with the naked beauties painted by the Jewish-Italian artist Amadeo Modigliani.
You and Me – Arno Breker
Upon the faces of the sculptures representing nude women made by German artists, one comes across an enigmatic and aristocratic smile, and a deep sense of the tragic, which reflect, symbolically, the feelings of a whole nation in search of its geopolitical identity.
Little trace can be found of female coquetry or flirtatiousness, such as one encounters among the nudes painted by the French realist, Gustave Courbet, by the Impressionist Edouard Manet, or by Paul Cézanne.
German painting of that time represents a chapter apart.
Contrary to widespread ideas, “kitsch” was never part of art in National Socialist Germany. Indeed, the German National Socialist authorities adopted repressive measures against kitsch” in the arts resembling those invoked against alleged “degenerate art.”
Regarding painting, the early school of expressionism was abandoned and even severely repressed by the authorities as “degenerate art.”
Expressionism, as opposed to Impressionism which originated in France, is paradoxically the typical feature of the German character and temperament, just as it is of other Germanic peoples (Flemings, Scandinavians).
Nevertheless, German artists of the expressionist school did not obtain the regime’s green light to exhibit their works.

Edvard Munch
Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Schools of thought that had emerged from cultural circles such as ‘Die Brücke’ or ‘Neue Sachligkeit’ at the beginning of the twentieth century, were assailed by the National Socialist censorship.
Nevertheless, Dr. Joseph Goebbels was a great admirer of expressionist artists, and was on friendly terms with the Norwegian forerunner of expressionism, the famous painter, Edvard Munch.
In December 1933, Goebbels sent a telegram to Edvard Munch on his seventieth birthday describing him as the spiritual heir of the Nordic spirit.
Goebbels was also among the first to send condolences to his family on the occasion of his death in January 1944.

Edvard Munch (Norwegian: [ˈɛdvɑʈ muŋk]  ( listen); 1863–1944) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes built upon some of the main tenets of late 19th-century Symbolism and greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century. One of his most well-known works is ‘The Scream’ of 1893.

Gottfried Benn
There were thus serious differences among Völkisch politicians and academics regarding the nature and artistic value of expressionism, not just in its pictorial form, but also as poetic expression, as indicated by a still much admired German expressionist poet and cultural pessimist, Gottfried Benn, who was himself very close to National Socialism, and who, in his earlier days, conceived of National Socialism as first and foremost a cultural movement.
This is important because it shows that the National Socialist experiment, contrary to the later liberal-communist propaganda, was by no means a monolithic movement, and that considerable personal and  æsthetical differences prevailed among its high ranking members and sympathizers.
The German painters, who, between 1933 and 1945, gained considerable reputation were by and large neo-classicist portraitists and landscape painters, who avoided pathetic and exaggerated compositions, and attempted to rid artistic work of every trace of the influence of Cubism and abstract art.

Paul Matthias Padua – Ser Fuehrer Spricht – 1939
Overall, one can sense in many of their paintings the revival of the taste for primitive art and a return to the Flemish masters of the fifteenth century.
Certain parallels can again be drawn with the paintings known as “socialist-realist” in the Soviet Union and other communist countries, however, even here the difference is obvious.
Whereas one can see on the paintings of Soviet artists peasants and workmen adorned with their perpetual grins, and in the background a factory under construction, on the German paintings of that time seldom can one see signs of industrialization.

Sepp Hilz – Bäuerliche Venus, 1939
Traces of the asphalt, chimneys spewing fumes, or factories in full gear – such as one can observe among “socialist-realist” painters (and in their titanic and apocalyptic form among the futuristic artists in fascistic Italy!), very rarely appear in the German paintings of that period.
Just as one can draw a comparison between German sculptors and Soviet sculptors, one can also notice a difference between figurative art under Communism and figurative art under National Socialism.
In the art galleries of the Third Reich the scenes of attractive rural nymphs abound (Amadeus Dier, Johannes Beutner, Sepp Hilz, etc).
These pastoral beauties, which can be observed on oil paintings, exude family harmony, and seem to anticipate a well-deserved rest after a hard day’s work in the cornfields.
Also worth mentioning is the artist and a wood engraver, Ernst von Dombrowski, whose scenes of country life and young children playing, still win great praise from critics.
In conclusion, one can state that the German sculpture of that time, proclaims, at least as a rule, a message of racial and Promethean hygiene, while the paintings of that time reveal a distinct and populist (völkisch) tendency that can hardly be misconstrued for any ideological or political speculation.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


Deutschland – Germany – a Brief History

DEUTSCHLAND
(Germany)

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100.
During the Migration Age, the Germanic tribes expanded southward, and established successor kingdoms throughout much of Europe.

The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Nordic Bronze Age or the Pre-Roman Iron Age.

From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south, east and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe.

Under Augustus (see right), the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus began to invade Germania (an area extending roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains). In AD 9, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius (see below left).
  
Arminius, also known as Armin or Hermann (18 BC/17 BC – 21 AD) was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
Arminius’s influence held an allied coalition of Germanic tribes together in opposition to the Romans but after defeats by the Roman general Germanicus, nephew of the Emperor Tiberius, his influence waned and Arminius was assassinated on the orders of rival Germanic chiefs.
    
Arminius’s decimation of the Roman legions in the Teutoburg forest had a far-reaching effect on the subsequent history of both the ancient Germanic peoples and on the Roman Empire.
The Romans were to make no more concerted attempts to conquer and permanently hold Germania beyond the river Rhine.
    
By AD 100, when Tacitus wrote Germania, Germanic tribes had settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus), occupying most of the area of modern Germany; Austria, southern Bavaria and the western Rhineland, however, were Roman provinces.
    
In the 3rd century a number of large West Germanic tribes emerged: Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisii, Sicambri, and Thuringii.
Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands.
After the invasion of the Huns in 375, and with the decline of Rome from 395, Germanic tribes moved further south-west.
Simultaneously several large tribes formed in what is now Germany and displaced the smaller Germanic tribes.
Large areas (known since the Merovingian period as Austrasia) were occupied by the Franks, and Northern Germany was ruled by the Saxons and Slavs.

A great step forward in the establishing of the German identity was the founding of the Teutonic Knights.
The Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem (Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem – Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum), commonly the Teutonic Order or the Deutscher Orden, also Deutschherren- or Deutschritterorden), is a German medieval military order. 
It was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since they also served as a crusading military order in the Middle Ages.
The military membership was always small, with volunteers and mercenaries augmenting the force as needed.
In 1224 the Knights petitioned Pope Honorius III to be placed directly under the authority of the Papal See.

In 1346, the Duchy of Estonia was sold, by the King of Denmar, for 19,000 Köln marks, to the Teutonic Order.
The Teutonic lands in Prussia were split in two after the Peace of Thorn in 1466.

The western part of Teutonic Prussia was converted into Royal Prussia.
The monastic state in the east was secularized in 1525 during the Protestant Reformation when it was replaced by the Duchy of Prussia, a Polish fief governed by the House of Hohenzollern.
In old texts and in Latin the term Prut(h)enia refers to “Teutonic Prussia”, “Royal Prussia” and ‘”Ducal Prussia” alike.
In battle the Knights were the tip of a crusading invasion of the pagan lands of the Baltic.
They ravaged and conquered Courland and Prussia and parts of Poland and western Russia, waging ruthless campaigns against ‘‘the northern Saracens.’’
They settled in conquered lands as the new aristocracy, enserfing native populations.
The legacy of the ‘‘Drang nach Osten’’ (‘‘Drive to the East’’) of the ‘‘Sword Brethren’’ was the Christianization and enfeoffment of Prussia by force of arms and merciless war with Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Muscovy.
The northern crusades, especially the long forest-ambush campaigns of the 14th century against animist Lithuanians, were among the most ferocious of the entire Middle Ages.
On July 15, 1410 the Teutonic Knights were beaten decisively and with huge losses by a Polish-Lithuanian army at Tannenberg.
That ended their Baltic crusade and accelerated a terminal military decline.
After he defeat of the Teutonic Knights the emphasis of German identity fell on the Holy Roman Empire.

Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (see right).
The Heiliges Römisches Reich (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum), was a realm (Reich) that existed from 962–1806 in Central Europe. It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor.
Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes.
In its last centuries, its character became quite close to a union of territories.
The empire’s territory was centred on the Kingdom of Germany, and included neighbouring territories, which at its peak included the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Burgundy.
For much of its history, the Empire consisted of hundreds of smaller sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities and other domains.
Otto I (see left) was crowned King of Germany in 962, but he is nevertheless considered to have been the first Römisch-Deutscher Kaiser (Holy Roman Emperor) in retrospect.
Otto was the first emperor of the realm who was not a member of the earlier Carolingian dynasty.
The last Holy Roman Emperor was Francis II, who abdicated and dissolved the Empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. 
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was officially changed to the Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation (the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum Nationis Germanicæ).
The territories and dominion of the Holy Roman Empire in terms of present-day states comprised Germany (except Southern Schleswig), Austria (except Burgenland), the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Slovenia (except Prekmurje), besides significant parts of eastern France (mainly Artois, Alsace, Franche-Comté, Savoy and Lorraine), northern Italy (mainly Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Trentino and South Tyrol), and western Poland (mainly Silesia, Pomerania and Neumark).
The Holy Roman Empire was the First Reich.

During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation which had been inaugurated by the German monk Martin (Luther see left), while southern and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations, with the two factions clashing in the Thirty Years’ War.

Unleashed in the early sixteenth century, the Reformation put an abrupt end to the relative unity that had existed for the previous thousand years in Western Christendom under the Roman Catholic Church.
The Reformation, which began in Germany but spread quickly throughout Europe, was initiated in response to the growing sense of corruption and administrative abuse in the church.
It expressed an alternate vision of Christian practice, and led to the creation and rise of Protestantism, with all its individual branches.
Though rooted in a broad dissatisfaction with the church, the birth of the Reformation can be traced to the protests of one man, the German Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483–1546)
The German territories were occupied during the Napoleonic Wars.
The subsequent defeat of Napoleon enabled conservative and reactionary regimes such as those of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Austrian Empire and Tsarist Russia to survive, laying the groundwork for the Congress of Vienna and the alliance that strove to oppose radical demands for change ushered in by the French Revolution.
The Great Powers at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 aimed to restore Europe (as far as possible) to its pre-war conditions by combating both liberalism and nationalism and by creating barriers around France.
With Austria’s position on the continent now intact and ostensibly secure under its reactionary premier Klemens von Metternich, the Habsburg empire would serve as a barrier to contain the emergence of Italian and German nation-states as well, in addition to containing France. But this reactionary balance of power, aimed at blocking German and Italian nationalism on the continent, was precarious.
After Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815, the surviving member states of the defunct Holy Roman Empire joined to form the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) — a rather loose organization, especially because the two great rivals, the Austrian Empire and the Prussian kingdom, each feared domination by the other.
In Prussia the Hohenzollern rulers forged a centralized state.
By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Prussia was a socially and institutionally backward state, grounded in the virtues of its established military aristocracy (the Junkers), stratified by rigid hierarchical lines.

After 1815, Prussia’s defeats by Napoleonic France highlighted the need for administrative, economic, and social reforms to improve the efficiency of the bureaucracy and encourage practical merit-based education. Inspired by the Napoleonic organization of German and Italian principalities, the reforms of Karl August von Hardenberg (see left) and Count Stein were conservative, enacted to preserve aristocratic privilege while modernizing institutions.
Outside Prussia, industrialization progressed slowly, and was held back because of political disunity, conflicts of interest between the nobility and merchants, and the continued existence of the guild system, which discouraged competition and innovation.
While this kept the middle class small, affording the old order a measure of stability not seen in France, Prussia’s vulnerability to Napoleon’s military proved to many among the old order that a fragile, divided, and backward Germany would be easy prey for its cohesive and industrializing neighbour.

The reforms laid the foundation for Prussia’s future military might by professionalizing the military and decreeing universal military conscription.
In order to industrialize Prussia, working within the framework provided by the old aristocratic institutions, land reforms were enacted to break the monopoly of the Junkers on landownership, thereby also abolishing, among other things, the feudal practice of serfdom.

Although the forces unleashed by the French Revolution were seemingly under control after the Vienna Congress, the conflict between conservative forces and liberal nationalists was only deferred at best.

The era until the failed 1848 revolution, in which these tensions built up, is commonly referred to as Vormärz (“pre-March”), in reference to the outbreak of riots in March 1848.
This conflict pitted the forces of the old order against those inspired by the French Revolution and the Rights of Man.
The sociological breakdown of the competition was, roughly, one side engaged mostly in commerce, trade and industry, and the other side associated with landowning aristocracy or military aristocracy (the Junker) in Prussia, the Habsburg monarchy in Austria, and the conservative notables of the small princely states and city-states in Germany.
Meanwhile, demands for change from below had been fomenting since the influence of the French Revolution.
Throughout the German Confederation, Austrian influence was paramount, drawing the ire of the nationalist movements.
Metternich considered nationalism, especially the nationalist youth movement, the most pressing danger: German nationalism might not only repudiate Austrian dominance of the Confederation, but also stimulate nationalist sentiment within the Austrian Empire itself.
In a multi-national polyglot state in which Slavs and Magyars outnumbered the Germans, the prospects of Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Serb, or Croatian sentiment along with middle class liberalism was certainly horrifying.

The Vormärz era saw the rise of figures like August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Ludwig Uhland, Georg Herwegh, Heinrich Heine (see left) , Georg Büchner, Ludwig Börne and Bettina von Arnim. Father Friedrich Jahn’s gymnastic associations exposed middle class German youth to nationalist and democratic ideas, which took the form of the nationalistic and liberal democratic college fraternities known as the Burschenschaften.
The Wartburg Festival in 1817 celebrated Martin Luther as a proto-German nationalist, linking Lutheranism to German nationalism, and helping arouse religious sentiments for the cause of German nationhood.

The festival culminated in the burning of several books and other items that symbolized reactionary attitudes. One item was a book by August von Kotzebue.
In 1819, Kotzebue was accused of spying for Russia, and then murdered by a theological student, Karl Ludwig Sand, who was executed for the crime.
Sand belonged to a militant nationalist faction of the Burschenschaften.
Metternich (see right) used the murder as a pretext to issue the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819, which dissolved the Burschenschaften, cracked down on the liberal press, and seriously restricted academic freedom.

German artists and intellectuals, heavily influenced by the French Revolution, turned to Romanticism.
At the universities, high-powered professors developed international reputations, especially in the humanities led by history and philology, which brought a new historical perspective to the study of political history, theology, philosophy, language, and literature.

With Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) in philosophy, Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) in theology and Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886) in history, the University of Berlin, founded in 1810, became the world’s leading university.
Von Ranke, for example, professionalized history and set the world standard for historiography. By the 1830s mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology had emerged with world class science, led by Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) in natural science and Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) in mathematics.
Young intellectuals often turned to politics, but their support for the failed Revolution of 1848 forced many into exile.

News of the 1848 Revolution in Paris quickly reached discontented bourgeois liberals, republicans and more radical workingmen.
The first revolutionary uprisings in Germany began in the state of Baden in March 1848.
Within a few days, there were revolutionary uprisings in other states including Austria, and finally in Prussia.
On 15 March 1848, the subjects of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia vented their long-repressed political aspirations in violent rioting in Berlin, while barricades were erected in the streets of Paris.

King Louis-Philippe (see right) of France fled to Great Britain.
Friedrich Wilhelm gave in to the popular fury, and promised a constitution, a parliament, and support for German unification. But at least his regime was still standing.
On 18 May the Frankfurt Parliament (Frankfurt Assembly) opened its first session, with delegates from various German states.
It was immediately divided between those favoring a kleindeutsche (small German) or grossdeutsche (greater German) solution.
The former favored offering the imperial crown to Prussia.
The latter favored the Habsburg crown in Vienna, which would integrate Austria proper and Bohemia (but not Hungary) into the new Germany.
From May to December, the Assembly eloquently debated academic topics while conservatives swiftly moved against the reformers.
As in Austria and Russia, this middle-class assertion increased authoritarian and reactionary sentiments among the landed upper class, whose economic position was declining.
They turned to political levers to preserve their rule.
As the Prussian army proved loyal, and the peasants were uninterested, Friedrich Wilhelm regained his confidence.
The Assembly issued its Declaration of the Rights of the German people, a constitution was drawn up (excluding Austria which openly rejected the Assembly), and the leadership of the Reich was offered to Friedrich Wilhelm, who refused to “pick up a crown from the gutter”. Thousands of middle class liberals fled abroad, especially to the United States.
In 1849, Friedrich Wilhelm proposed his own constitution.

His document concentrated real power in the hands of the King and the upper classes, and called for a confederation of North German states (the Erfurt Union) (see left).
Austria and Russia, fearing a strong, Prussian-dominated Germany, responded by pressuring Saxony and Hanover to withdraw, and forced Prussia to abandon the scheme in a treaty dubbed the “humiliation of Olmütz”.

A new generation of statesmen responded to popular demands for national unity for their own ends, continuing Prussia’s tradition of autocracy and reform from above.
Germany found an able leader to accomplish the seemingly paradoxical task of conservative modernization.

Bismarck was appointed by Wilhelm IV of Prussia (the future Kaiser Wilhelm I) to circumvent the liberals in the Landtag who resisted Wilhelm’s autocratic militarism.
Bismarck told the Diet, “The great questions of the day are not decided by speeches and majority votes…but by blood and iron” –that is, by warfare and industrial might.
Prussia already had a great army; it was now augmented by rapid growth of economic power.
Gradually Bismarck won over the middle class, reacting to the revolutionary sentiments expressed in 1848 by providing them with the economic opportunities for which the urban middle sectors had been fighting.

Bismarck successfully waged war on Denmark in 1864.

The Second Schleswig War – (Deutsch-Dänischer Krieg) – was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question.

It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.
Denmark fought Prussia and Austria.
Like the First Schleswig War (1848–51), it was fought for control of the duchies because of succession disputes concerning the duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg when the Danish king died without an heir acceptable to the German Confederation.
Decisive controversy arose due to the passing of the November Constitution, which integrated the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom in violation of the London Protocol.
Reasons for the war were the ethnic controversy in Schleswig and the co-existence of conflicting political systems within the Danish unitary state.
The war ended on 30 October 1864, when the Treaty of Vienna caused Denmark’s cession of the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Saxe-Lauenburg to Prussia and Austria.
It was the last victorious conflict of the Austrian Empire/Austria-Hungary in its history.

The Austro-Prussian War (in Germany known as the Seven Weeks War, or the Unification War,  was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side, and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the other, that resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states.
In the Italian unification process, this is called the Third Independence War.
In English it is also commonly known as the Seven Weeks’ War.

The major result of the war was a shift in power among the German states away from Austrian and towards Prussian hegemony, and impetus towards the unification of all of the northern German states in a Kleindeutschland that excluded Austria.
It saw the abolition of the German Confederation and its partial replacement by a North German Confederation that excluded Austria and the South German states.
The war also resulted in the Italian annexation of the Austrian province of Venetia.
Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled Bismark to create the North German Federation (Norddeutscher Bund) and to exclude Austria, formerly the leading German state, from the federation’s affairs.

The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War (19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871) was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria.

The complete Prussian and German victory brought about the final unification of Germany under King Wilhelm I of Prussia.
It also marked the downfall of Napoleon III and the end of the Second French Empire, which was replaced by the French Third Republic.
As part of the settlement, the territory of Alsace and part of Lorraine was taken by Prussia to become a part of Germany, which it would retain until the end of World War I when it was returned to France in the Treaty of Versailles.

After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was proclaimed 1871 in Versailles (see left), uniting all scattered parts of Germany except Austria (Kleindeutschland, or “Lesser Germany”).
With almost two thirds of its territory and population, Prussia was the dominating constituent of the new state; the Hohenzollern King of Prussia ruled as its concurrent Emperor, and Berlin became its capital.
In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Bismarck’s foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany under Emperor William I secured Germany’s position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war.
Unofficially, the transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states occurred over nearly a century of experimentation.
Unification exposed several glaring religious, linguistic, social, and cultural differences between and among the inhabitants of the new nation, suggesting that 1871 only represents one moment in a continuum of the larger unification processes.

Under Wilhelm II (see right), however, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course leading to friction with neighbouring countries.

As a result of the Berlin Conference in 1884 Germany claimed several colonies including German East Africa, German South-West Africa, Togo, and Cameroon.
Most alliances in which Germany had previously been involved were not renewed, and new alliances excluded the country.

Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert
Seine Kaiserliche und Königliche Majestät
der Deutsche Kaiser, König von Preußen
After his Abdication

Wilhelm II – Kaiser von Deutschland
und König von Preußen

Wilhelm II – (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert;) (27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918.

He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe. Crowned in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose “New Course” in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led to World War I. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview that cost him most of his power in 1908. His generals dictated policy during World War I with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.

Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand
von Österreich

The assassination of the Arch-duke Franz Ferdinand (see left), Austria’s crown prince on 28 June 1914 triggered World War I.

Germany, as part of the Central Powers, suffered defeat against the Allies in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time.
An estimated two million German soldiers died in World War I.
The German Revolution broke out in November 1918, and Emperor Wilhelm II and all German ruling princes abdicated.

An armistice ended the war on 11 November, and Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.

The treaty, which placed all the blame for causing the war on Germany, along with crippling reparations, was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war.

Karl Franz Joseph Ludwig Hubert Georg Otto Marie
Kaiserliche und Königliche Apostolische Majestät,
Karl I von Österreich
At the beginning of the German Revolution in November 1918, Germany was declared a republic.
In Austria the Kaiser Franz Joseph died in 1916 and was succeeded by Karl I (see right).
In 1917 Kaiser Karl I abdicated and Austria, like Germany was declared a republic.
In Germany the struggle for power continued, with radical-left communists seizing power in Bavaria.

The revolution came to an end on 11 August 1919, when the Weimar Constitution (see left) was signed by President Friedrich Ebert (see right).

Suffering from the Great Depression, the harsh peace conditions dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, and a long succession of unstable governments, Germans increasingly lacked identification with the government. 
This was exacerbated by a widespread right-wing Dolchstoßlegende, or stab-in-the-back myth, which argued that Germany had lost World War I because of those who wanted to overthrow the government.
The Weimar government was accused of betraying Germany by signing the Versailles Treaty. By 1932, the German Communist Party and the Nazi Party controlled the majority of parliament, fuelled by discontent with the Weimar government.

After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.

The national Socialist Government was known as the Third Reich.
On 27 February 1933 the Reichstag building went up in flames (see left), and a consequent emergency decree abrogated basic citizens’ rights.

An Enabling Act passed in parliament gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power.
Only the Social Democratic Party voted against it, while Communist MPs had already been imprisoned.

Using his powers to crush any actual or potential resistance, Adolf Hitler (see right) established a centralised state within months.

Industry was revitalised with a focus on military rearmament.
In 1935, Germany reacquired control of the Saar and in 1936 military control of the Rhineland, both of which had been lost in the Treaty of Versailles.
In 1938 the Anchluss took place, uniting Germany and the Ostmark, and 1939 Czechoslovakia were brought under German control, and the invasion of Poland was prepared through the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and Operation Himmler.
On 1 September 1939 the German Wehrmacht launched a blitzkrieg on Poland, which was swiftly occupied by Germany and by the Soviet Red Army.
The UK and France declared war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II.
After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany.
In 1990 Germany was reunified.

for more information about Germany see

  
  
  
  
  

Münster

  

MÜNSTER – WESTFALEN
   
A GERMAN CITY

Around 1 A.D. there were numerous incursions through Westphalen and perhaps even some permanent Roman or Romanized settlements.
The Battle of Teutoburg Forest took place near Osnabrück and some of the tribes who fought at this battle came from the area of Westphalen.
Charlemagne is thought to have spent considerable time in Paderborn and nearby parts.
His Saxon Wars also partly took place in what is thought of as Westphalen today.
Popular legends link his adversary Widukind to places near Detmold, Bielefeld, Lemgo, Osnabrück and other places in Westphalen.
Widukind was buried in Enger, which is also a subject of a legend.
Along with Eastphalia and Engern, Westfalahi was originally a district of the Duchy of Saxony. In 1180 Westphalen was elevated to the rank of a duchy by Emperor Barbarossa.
The Duchy of Westphalia comprised only a small area south of the Lippe River.
Parts of Westphalen came under Brandenburg-Prussian control during the 17th and 18th centuries, but most of it remained divided duchies and other feudal areas of power.

The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 (see left), signed in Münster and Osnabrück, ended the Thirty Years’ War.

The concept of nation-state sovereignty resulting from the treaty became known as “Westphalian sovereignty”.
As a result of the Protestant Reformation, there is no dominant religion in Westphalen.
Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism are on relatively equal footing.
Lutheranism is strong in the eastern and northern parts with numerous free churches.
Münster and especially Paderborn are thought of as Catholic.
Osnabrück is divided almost equally between Catholicism and Protestantism.
After the defeat of the Prussian Army at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 made the Westphalian territories part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, ruled by Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte (see right), from 1807–13. 
It was founded by Napoleon and was a French vassal state.
This state only shared the name with the historical region; it contained only a relatively small part of Westphalen, consisting instead mostly of Hessian and Eastphalian regions.
After the Congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Prussia (see left) received a large amount of territory in the Westphalian region and created the province of Westphalen in 1815.
The northernmost portions of the former kingdom, including the town of Osnabrück, had become part of the states of Hanover and Oldenburg.
THE REGION OF MÜNSTER
Münster is one of the five Regierungsbezirke of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, located in the north of the state, and named after the city of Münster.
It includes the area which in medieval times was known as the Dreingau.
Regierungsbezirk Münster covers mostly the rural lands of the Münsterland which is famous for its castles, e.g. Castle Nordkirchen and Castle Ahaus.
The region offers more the 100 castles, all linked up by the bike path 100 Schlösser Route.
The history of the Regierungsbezirk dates back to 1815, when it was one of the original 25 Regierungsbezirke created as a subdivision of the provinces of Prussia.
THE CITY OF MÜNSTER


The city of Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region.
It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland.
The city is best known as the location of the Anabaptist rebellion during the Protestant Reformation, as the site of the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.
Münster gained the status of a Großstadt with more than 100,000 inhabitants in 1915.
Currently there are around 270,000 people living in the city, with about 48,500 students, only some of whom are recorded in the official population statistics as having their primary residence in Münster.
In the Middle Ages Münster was a leading member of the Hanseatic League.
In 1534, the Anabaptists led by John of Leiden, took power in the Münster Rebellion and founded a democratic proto-socialistic state.
They claimed all property, burned all books except the Bible, and called it the “New Jerusalem”.
John of Leiden believed he would lead the elect from Münster to capture the entire world and purify it of evil with the sword in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ and the beginning of the Millenium, however, the town was recaptured in 1535; the Anabaptists were tortured to death, their corpses were exhibited in cages, which can still be seen hanging on the Tower of St. Lambert’s steeple.
Part of the signing of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 was held in Münster.
This ended the Thirty Years’ War.
It also guaranteed the future of the prince-bishop and the diocese; the area was to be exclusively Roman Catholic.

Palace of the Prince-Bishops of Münster

The last outstanding palace of the German baroque period is created according to plans by Johann Conrad Schlaun.
In 1780 the University of Münster (today called “Westphalian Wilhelms-University”) was established, now a major European centre for excellence in education and research with large faculties in the arts, humanities, theology, sciences, business and law.
Currently there are about 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled.

In 1802 Münster was conquered by Prussia during the Napoleonic Wars.

It became the capital of the Prussian province of Westphalia.
A century later in 1899 the city’s harbour started operations when the city was linked to the Dortmund-Ems Canal.
In the Second World war about 91% of the Old City and 63% of the entire city was destroyed by Allied air raids (see left).
In the 1950s the Old City was rebuilt to match its pre-war state, though many of the surrounding buildings were replaced with cheaper modern structures.
It was also for several decades a garrison town for the British forces stationed in West Germany.
ANNETTE VON DROSTE-HÜLSHOFF

One of the most significant citizens of  was Annette von Droste-Hülshoff
Anna Elizabeth von Droste-Hülshoff, known Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (January 10, 1797 – May 25, 1848), was a 19th century German author, and one of the most important German poets.
She was born at the family castle called Burg Hülshoff (now a part of Havixbeck) inside the Prince-Bishopric of Münster into an aristocratic, Catholic family of Westphalia.
She was educated by private tutors and began to write as a child.
Her earliest poems are derivative and conventional but in 1820 her work began to show marked originality when she embarked on a cycle of religious poems, ‘Das geistliche Jahr’ (The Spiritual Year).
In the history of German poetry she is an isolated and independent figure.
She shares with the Romantic writers an awareness of the power of man’s imagination and a keen sense of his exposed and precarious position in a world of danger and mystery, but her poetry has none of the vagueness of emotional mood and the sweetness of sound that characterize theirs.
Nor did she intend that it should. Indifferent to contemporary taste, she pursued her own ideals in her own way. ‘Ich mag und will jetzt nicht berühmt werden,’ she once wrote, ‘aber nach hundert Jahre möcht ich gelesen werden.’
And indeed she was ahead of her time.
Her keen sensory perception and her precise recording of phenomena make her appear as a herald of the new realistic literature of the latter part of the century.
With her unusual combination of imaginative vision with close accurate observation and depiction of reality, she thus stands at the point of transition between Romanticism and Realism and does not belong wholly to either.

Im Grase

Süße Ruh’, süßer Taumel im Gras,
Von des Krautes Arome umhaucht,
Tiefe Flut, tief tief trunkne Flut,
Wenn die Wolk’ am Azure verraucht,
Wenn aufs müde, schwimmende Haupt
Süßes Lachen gaukelt herab,
Liebe Stimme säuselt und träuft
Wie die Lindenblüt’ auf ein Grab.
Wenn im Busen die Toten dann,
Jede Leiche sich streckt und regt,
Leise, leise den Odem zieht,
Die geschloßne Wimper bewegt,
Tote Lieb’, tote Lust, tote Zeit,
All die Schätze, im Schutt verwühlt,
Sich berühren mit schüchternem Klang
Gleich den Glöckchen, vom Winde umspielt.
Stunden, flüchtger ihr als der Kuß
Eines Strahls auf den trauernden See,
Als des ziehenden Vogels Lied,
Das mir nieder perlt aus der Höh,
Als des schillernden Käfers Blitz,
Wenn den Sonnenpfad er durcheilt,
Als der heiße Druck einer Hand,
Die zum letzten Male verweilt.
Dennoch, Himmel, immer mir nur
Dieses Eine mir: für das Lied
Jedes freien Vogels im Blau
Eine Seele, die mit ihm zieht,
Nur für jeden kärglichen Strahl
Meinen farbig schillernden Saum,
Jeder warmen Hand meinen Druck,
Und für jedes Glück meinen Traum.

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff

IN THE GRASS
Sweet repose, sweet tumbling in the grass.
Umhaucht of the herb aromas,
Flood depth, deep, deep intoxicating tide
If the smoky cloud on Azure
When tired again shimmering main
Sweet smile flutters down
Love drips and voice whispers
As the lime blossoms
As the Lindenblüt on a grave.
When in the bosom of the dead, then,
Each body stretches and stimulates
Quietly, quietly takes the breath.
The closed eyelid moves
Dead lovers, dead like, dead time,
All the treasures tousled in the rubble,
Touch with a shy tone
Like the bell, the wind plays around
Hours, her volatile than the kiss
A beam on the grieving Lake
As the drawing bird song,
That trickles down to me from the heights.
As a flash of iridescent beetle,
When the sun path, he hurries through,
When the pressure of a hot hand
The dwelling for the last time.
Nevertheless, the sky, I always just
This one myself, for the song
Each bird in the free blue
A soul that goes with them,
For each beam meager
My iridescent hem.
Each warm hand in mine pressure
And for every happiness my dream.
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff

Münster – Arial View

Prinzipalmarkt – Münster

The Prinzipalmarkt is the historic principal marketplace of Münster, Germany.
It is shaped by historic buildings with picturesque pediments attached to one another.
It extends from St. Lambert’s Church (Lambertikirche) in the north to the Town House Tower (Stadthausturm) in the south and is home to luxurious shops and cafés.
The centre of the eastern side, opposite the south-eastern entrance to Domplatz, (Cathedral Square) is dominated by the Historical City Hall of Münster.
Having been largely destroyed during World War II, the Prinzipalmarkt was reconstructed from 1947 to 1958, most buildings true to the original.

Lambertikirche – Münster

St Lambert’s Church was built in 1375, with three cages hanging from its tower above the clock face.
In 1535 these cages were used to display the corpses of Jan van Leiden and other leaders of the Münster Rebellion, who promoted polygamy and renunciation of all property.

St. Paulus Dom – Münster

St.-Paulus-Dom (Münster Cathedral) is a cathedral in the German city of Münster.
It is the city’s main church and one of its most important historical monuments, as well as the centre of the Diocese of Münster since that diocese’s foundation in 805.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in the 13th century in a mixture of late Romanesque and early Gothic styles.
It has been completely restored after World War II damage.
It includes an astronomical clock of 1540, adorned with hand-painted zodiac symbols, which traces the movement of the planets, and plays a Glockenspiel tune every noon.
St. Paulus Dom – Münster

St. Paulus Dom – Münster

Städtische Bühnen Münster
The house of the Städtische Bühnen Münster was the first new theatre building in post-war Germany.
For its design, the Deilmann/von Hausen/Rave/Ruhnau team of architects had incorporated the garden front of the old Romberger Hof into the new building.
On completion in 1956, the complex created from various interleaved structures was celebrated by the professional world as being a “liberating clap of thunder” for theatre architecture.





Städtische Bühnen Münster







Städtische Bühnen Münster