Die Erste Liebe von Hitler – Hitler’s First Love


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Die Erste Liebe von Hitler



Hitler’s first love was undoubtedly his mother – Klara.
Edmund Hitler would have been Adolf’s second love.
Edmund Hitler (March 24, 1894 – February 2, 1900) was the fourth child of Klara and Alois Hitler, and the youngest brother of Adolf Hitler.
Edmund died of Measles on February 2, 1900 at the age of 5, leaving Adolf and Paula as the only surviving children of the Hitler family.
After the death of Edmund, Adolf’s personality underwent a dramatic change – from being a happy compliant boy to being one who was mood, poorly behaved and ‘difficult’.

Questions have been raised concerning Adolf Hitler’s sexuality ever since he first came to political prominence in the 1920s.
An individual’s sexuality, of course, does not effect the validity of his beliefs or work – and we can look to many historical examples of individuals who exhibited sexual preferences outside the so-called ‘norm’, who have had a major impact in various historical, cultural, political and academic spheres.
However, an understanding of an individual’s sexuality will often give a greater insight into the general behavior, activities and beliefs of that individual.
Examples would be the relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion, Hadrian and Antinuous – or more recently Ludwig II and Wagner etc.

There is much evidence to support the theory that Hitler had distinct homosexual, or homoerotic tendencies.
Many of his friendships and associations suggest this, and in particular, his decidedly ‘homoerotic’ relationship with August Kubizek.

Wappen von Kaiser Franz Josef
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Our story begins in Linz, a provincial city in Österreich.
Große Wappen der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Österreich was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in Central Europe.
The union was a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, under which the House of Habsburg agreed to share power with the separate Hungarian government, dividing the territory of the former Austrian Empire between them.
The Austrian and the Hungarian lands became independent entities enjoying equal status. Austria-Hungary was a multinational realm and one of the world’s great powers at the time.

Kleines Wappen des Kaisertums Österreich
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Kleines Wappen des Königreiches Ungarn
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The dual monarchy had existed for 51 years until it dissolved on 31 October 1918 before a military defeat on the Italian front of the First World War.
The realm comprised modern-day Austria (see right – small arms of Austria), Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.
The Habsburg monarch ruled as Emperor of Austria over the western and northern half of the country that was the Austrian Empire (Cisleithania or Lands represented in the Imperial Council), and as King of Hungary over the Kingdom of Hungary (see small arms left) (Transleithania or Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen) which enjoyed a great deal of sovereignty with only a few joint affairs (principally foreign relations and defence).
The division was so marked in fact that there was no common citizenship: a person was either an Austrian or a Hungarian citizen (legally it wasn’t allowed to hold both citizenships at the same time).
The two capitals of the Monarchy were Vienna for Austria and Buda for Hungary, the latter united with neighbouring Pest as Budapest from 1870.
Vienna, however, would serve as the nation’s primary capital.

Austria-Hungary was geographically the second largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire (621,538 square kilometres (239,977 sq mi) in 1905), and the third most populous (after Russia and the German Empire).
As a multinational empire and great power in an era of national awakening, it found its political life dominated by disputes among the eleven principal national groups.
The Monarchy bore the name internationally of “Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie” (on decision by Franz Joseph I in 1868).

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Austria–Hungary


Empire of Austria (Cisleithania): 1. Bohemia, 2. Bukovina, 3. Carinthia, 4. Carniola, 5. Dalmatia, 6. Galicia, 7. Küstenland, 8. Lower Austria, 9. Moravia, 10. Salzburg, 11. Silesia, 12. Styria, 13. Tyrol, 14. Upper Austria, 15. Vorarlberg;
Kingdom of Hungary (Transleithania): 16. Hungary proper 17. Croatia-Slavonia;
Austrian-Hungarian Condominium: 18. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Österreich-Ungarn 1910: Cisleithanien: 1. Böhmen, 2. Bukowina, 3. Kärnten, 4. Krain, 5. Dalmatien, 6. Galizien, 7. Küstenland, 8. Österreich unter der Enns, 9. Mähren, 10. Salzburg, 11. Schlesien, 12. Steiermark, 13. Tirol, 14. Österreich ob der Enns, 15. Vorarlberg; Transleithanien: 16. Ungarn, 17. Kroatien und Slawonien; 18. Bosnien und Herzegowina

Linz and Vienna – the two cities that feature prominently in Kubizek’s account – are indicated in gold – other provincial capitals of the empire are indicated in red.



Kaiser Franz Josef

During the period covered by Kubizek’s account, the ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was Franz Joseph I (see right).
Franz Joseph I (Hungarian: I. Ferenc József, 18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916) was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.
In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of Ministerpräsident Felix zu Schwarzenberg’s plan to end the Revolutions of 1848 in Austria, which allowed Ferdinand’s nephew Franz Joseph to ascend to the throne.
Largely considered to be a reactionary, Franz Joseph spent his early reign resisting constitutionalism in his domains.
The Austrian Empire was forced to cede most of its claim to Lombardy–Venetia to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia following the conclusion of the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, and the Third Italian War of Independence in 1866.

Austro-Prussian War
Crown Prince Rudolf

Although Franz Joseph ceded no territory to the Kingdom of Prussia after the Austrian defeat in the Austro-Prussian War (see left), the Peace of Prague (23 August 1866) settled the German question in favor of Prussia, which prevented the unification of Germany under the House of Habsburg (Großdeutsche Lösung).
Franz Joseph was troubled by nationalism during his entire reign.
He concluded the Ausgleich of 1867, which granted greater autonomy to Hungary, hence transforming the Austrian Empire into the Austro-Hungarian Empire under his Dual Monarchy.
His domains were then ruled peacefully for the next 45 years, although Franz Joseph’s personal life became increasingly tragic after the suicide of his son, the Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889 (see right), and the assassination of his wife, the Empress Elisabeth in 1898.
Franz Joseph died on 21 November 1916, after ruling his domains for almost 68 years.

He was succeeded by his grandnephew Karl.

This was the political situation in which Adolf hitler and August Kubizek grew up.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Stadtwappen Linz


Linz Opera House

Kubizek, then sixteen, first met Adolf Hitler, fifteen, late in 1904.
While at the Linz Opera one evening Adolf Hitler met August Kubizek who was to become, many would say, his best, and probably only friend.

Practicing frugality, Kubizek and Hitler often used to arrive early at the Landestheater to get a good standing place.
They began competing with one another for one of the two columns which supported the Royal box.
The wooden columns offered the luxury of something to lean against during the sometimes lengthy performances.
In time they recognized one another and became acquainted.

August Kubizek

August Kubizek (Gustav or Gustl) was nine months older than Adolf Hitler (Adi) and was a mild-mannered and sensitive youth, with a look of intelligence.

He was the son of a small businessman, and lived above his father’s upholstery shop in the family quarters on Klamm Strasse, not far from where Adolf Hitler lived.
He was determined to be a renowned musician.
At the time he could already play the piano, violin, trumpet and trombone and was studying music theory.
He also played the viola for the local Music Society and the Symphony Orchestra.

When he wasn’t pursuing his dream he worked in his father’s shop refinishing furniture.

Young Adolf Hitler

Kubizek noted that “Adolf,” because of his recent sickness, was a pale and skinny youth.

But what captured his main attention was Adolf’s glistening eyes and curious hairdo which was combed straight down over his forehead.
Kubizek found that Adolf, like rebellious teenagers in every generation, wore his curious hairdo because no one else did. Kubizek, an only child, was one of those protected teenagers who have an adoration of the rebellious and “admiration” was his strongest point in cultivating a friendship.
As Kubizek would write: “It was this very fact, that he was out of the ordinary, that attracted me even more.”
As their friendship matured, Hitler never addressed Kubizek by August but called him ‘Gustl‘ or ‘Gustav’, which, interestingly, had been the name of Hitler’s oldest deceased brother.
Kubizek, however, in reality played the part of an idolizing younger brother, and also a romantic partner.
Hitler was extremely independent, however, and it often happened that they did not meet for days, even when they were on the best of terms.
Although “Gustl” found Adolf high-strung, he also found him reserved.
Hitler was formal and aloof in his dealings with others and was insistent on “good manners and correct behavior.”
Unusual for a teenager, Hitler seldom became overly friendly and there were few teenagers his age that he liked.
He had nothing but disdain for ‘young people‘ who wasted their time in shallow talk and mundane pursuits.
He considered most teenagers superficial for he was, as Kubizek said, much more mature than most people of his age.

Linz Countryside

Walking was the only exercise that appealed to Hitler and he and Kubizek often took long walks around the town or hiked into the nearby woods.

They had their favorite trails and their favorite swimming hole – and at that time swimming – always in the nude – was an all male activity.
On these excursions, a walking stick was the only requirement and Adolf would wear a colored shirt and (in place of the normal necktie) “a silk cord with two tassels hanging down.”
Kubizek was particularly amazed by Adolf’s refined speech which made him very persuasive, even with grown-ups.
Kubizek was always astonished at how, when they were alone, Hitler could rant on about a particular subject and get himself worked up; yet, when dealing with others he kept calm and had an air of reasonableness.
Hitler was normally polite to people, was not vain, and could be very sensitive if he felt someone was unhappy or sick.
Kubizek also wrote that Adolf helped him through difficult times and always have time for people he liked.
Hitler was well-liked and respected by almost everyone he met.
Kubizek was also awed by the seriousness and wide range of knowledge Hitler showed for one as young as he was.
While most teenage boys interests are mainly confined to sports, comradeship and embellished stories or beliefs concerning the opposite sex, Hitler’s interests were boundless. 

Wright Bothers

He was interested in agriculture, city planning, mythology, history, politics, and world events, including air travel.

The Wright bothers had flown their heavier-than-air plane at Kitty Hawk a few years before and Hitler was very impressed.
He was interested in everything, Kubizek noted, and wasn’t indifferent about anything.
Kubizek would come to write a book about his experiences with the young Hitler.
If the portents in retrospect and the occasional melodramatic moments are overlooked, he describes Hitler as a fairly normal teenager with an inquiring mind.
Since many historians like to portray the young Hitler as unbalanced, ignorant, lazy, and stupid, a few have attempted to discredit Kubizek anytime he portrays the young Hitler in a decent light.

Paula Hitler

Paula Hitler, however (who was about the only acquaintance who never tried to capitalize on her brother’s name), stated that as a teenager Adolf had opinions about everything and constantly read.

She also stated that he often used to give persuasive lectures on themes concerning history and politics to her and her mother.
Paula, equal to her mother, was a quiet, docile and honest woman.
She took a back seat to her brother when still a child and remained there all her life.
She kept house for him during the “good” years and later learned applied art and led an obscure life in Vienna.
She never married and spent the last years of her life living in the area of Berchtesgaden – her brother’s last home. She died on June 1, 1960 almost unnoticed or un-mourned.

Paula Hitler (Paula Wolf)[1] (21 January 1896 in Hafeld, Austria[2] – 1 June 1960 in Berchtesgaden) was the younger sister of Adolf Hitle,r and the last child of Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Paula was the only full sibling of Adolf Hitler to survive into adulthood.
Paula was six years old when her father Alois, a retired customs official, died, and eleven when she lost her mother Klara, after which the Austrian government provided a small pension to Paula and Adolf, however, the amount was relatively meager and Adolf, who was by then old enough to support himself, agreed to sign his share over to her. Paula later moved to Vienna where she worked as a secretary. She had no contact with her brother during the period comprising his difficult years as a painter in Vienna and later Munich, military service during World War I and early political activities back in Munich. She was delighted to meet him again in Vienna during the early 1930s. By her own account, after losing a job with a Viennese insurance company in 1930 when her employers found out who she was, Paula received financial support from her brother (which continued until 1945), lived under the assumed family name ‘Wolf’ at Hitler’s request (this was a childhood nickname of his which he had also used during the 1920s for security purposes) and worked sporadically. She later claimed to have seen her brother about once a year during the 1930s and early 1940s. She worked as a secretary in a military hospital for much of World War II.

As Kubizek further described Hitler:
There was an incredible earnestness in him, a thoroughness, a. true passionate interest in everything that happened and, most important, an unfailing devotion to the beauty, majesty and grandeur of art.”
Because of their common knowledge in theater, painting, architecture, writing, poetry, and especially music and opera, they became close friends, and Hitler confided in Kubizek.
Hitler told Kubizek his dream of becoming a painter; “my beautiful dream of the future,” as he referred to it.
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.”
Hitler always had a secluded spot outside of town where he could be alone.

Schloß Wildberg – Linz

One spot was a bench along a winding trail (Turmleitenweg), and another, when he really wanted to be alone, was a large, overhanging rock perched high above the Danube near by.   Here he could think and cultivate his plans and ideas, including one, way ahead of its time, to turn Wildberg Castle (north of Linz) into an “open-air museum.”

This “island where the centuries had stood still,” (Adolf’s very words according to Kubizek) was to have a permanent population of men, women and children in medieval costumes demonstrating their crafts and trades.
Hitler thought the castle would serve as a place of study for all those who wanted to learn about life as it was lived in the Middle Ages.
And, it could pay for itself by charging admission to tourists.
Hitler also nurtured ideas of becoming a poet, writer or playwright.
Kubizek was enormously impressed by some of Hitler’s poems.
There was one, a sonnet, that Hitler attempted to extend into a play.
That Hitler “devoted himself to writing, poetry, drawing, painting and to going to the theater,” had Kubizek’s complete admiration.
Another thing that impressed Kubizek was Hitler’s complete self-assurance that one day he would become famous.
In time they came to dream about their success and how they would either build their own villa or renovate a large flat where struggling “lofty minded” artists with talent could come and find shelter.
Hitler made numerous sketches of the proposed villa.
On the other hand, if they opted for the flat, they proposed to rent the entire second floor of a huge building adjoining the Nibelungen Bridge which crossed the Danube between Linz and the suburb of Urfahr.
They bought a lottery ticket and dreamed about how they would spend it furnishing their new abode if they won.
Their plan was to find a refined and distinguished older woman to serve as host, and two other “females” to serve as cook and housemaid.
The women were to be of impeccable character since, at this point of their lives, they had high ideals concerning women.
As was usual for most sixteen and seventeen year olds of their day, both Hitler and Kubizek kept their distance from young women.
Flirtations” were out of the question and even a conversation with a young girl, outside the necessary everyday dealings, was rare.

‘Sacred Virgin’ – Ludwig Fahrenkrog

To further complicate their situation, Kubizek noted that Hitler, like himself, was very shy around young women and found it difficult to communicate with them.

They were caught between that unrelenting biological urge to reproduce, and the fear of the unknown.
Rather then admit their fears they consoled themselves, as Kubizek noted, in waiting for that “sacred” virgin that would lead to marriage and children.
Kubizek also noted that Hitler was a night person.
If he wanted to think or something was bothering him, he would take lengthy night walks to the outskirts of the city and now and then climb the nearby hills on the west side of town.
If he wasn’t thinking he would paint or read late into the night.
He seldom rose early except when absolutely necessary.
Hitler was aware that early risers see themselves as superior to late risers, but he never tried to hide his sleeping habits.
Mark Twain

(Since he was known to be aware of Mark Twain’s writings, it’s possible that he knew about Twain’s comment that he never went to bed as long as he had someone to talk to, and he never got up early unless it was “damn important.”)

Kubizek noted that anytime Adolf was up early in the morning, something had to be “very special.”
If Adolf slept too late, however, Klara would send the younger Paula to wake him with the words, “go and give him a kiss.”
Adolf, who hated to be kissed or hugged, would jump out of bed the moment his sister got near him.
As their friendship continued, Kubizek would find that Hitler would sometimes become impatient or angry when someone disagreed with him.
Kubizek took great care not to clash with Adolf and always yielded except on musical matters. 
Kubizek would acknowledge that there were times he thought his friendship with Adolf was over, but they would meet by chance, usually at a concert, and patch up their differences.
Eduard Bloch

Around this time the Hitler family began seeing a new doctor named Eduard Bloch.

He described “Adolf” as a “well mannered,” “neat,” “obedient boy” who would “bow…courteously” whenever they met.
He found Adolf to be “neither robust nor sickly” but “‘frail looking'” with “large, melancholy and thoughtful….gray-blue eyes….inherited from his mother.” 
Dr. Bloch, like Kubizek, also described Adolf as a “quiet,” and a “well-bred boy of fourteen or fifteen” who was “old for his age.”*
Two-and-a-half months before Hitler turned seventeen his grandmother died on Feb, 8, 1906. Klara’s mother had been loved by the whole family which went into deep mourning.
For the fourth time in six winters Hitler saw another close family member laid to rest.
With a school year lost and spring approaching, Hitler began making plans for his future.
Klara still had hopes that her son would take his final test to obtain his diploma and enter a local technical school and become a civil servant like his father.
Adolf, on the other hand, pleaded that sitting in an office wasn’t for him.
Hans Makart

He saw artists as a better class of society and his dream was to become a great artist, possibly like one of his three favorites, Rubens, or the moderns: Hans Makart or Anselm Feuerback.

Hans Makart (May 28, 1840 – October 3, 1884) was a 19th-century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with almost cult-like adulation. The “Makartstil”, which determined the culture of an entire era in Vienna, was an aestheticism the likes of which hadn’t been seen before him and has not been replicated to this day. Called the “magician of colors”, he painted in brilliant colors and fluid forms, which placed the design and the aesthetic of the work before all else. His paintings were usually large-scale and theatrical productions of historical motifs.

Anselm Feuerbach

Anselm Feuerbach (12 September 1829 – 4 January 1880) was a German painter. He was the leading classicist painter of the German 19th-century school. He was steeped in classic knowledge, and his figure compositions have the statuesque dignity and simplicity of Greek art. He was the first to realize the danger arising from contempt of technique, that mastery of craftsmanship was needed to express even the loftiest ideas, and that an ill-drawn coloured cartoon can never be the supreme achievement in art.

Interestingly, these two artists had very dissimilar styles.

Makart’s style was flamboyant and ‘mannerist’, whereas Feuerbach style was cool and classical, and much closers to the style favoured by Hitler in his later years.
Hitler also developed a great liking for Franz von Stuck and Arnold Böcklin – but that would come later.
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Hitler decided that he wanted to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (known then as the Vienna School of Fine Arts) that autumn.

A diploma was not necessary for admittance to the academy and he undoubtedly pointed out the good marks he had received in art during his last year of school.
Although not opposed to his studying art, Klara was strongly opposed to his relocating in Vienna.
She had been terribly shaken by his recent sickness and his frail appearance worried her.
He was her only surviving son and she wanted him by her side.
Vienna was a hundred miles away.
For Hitler’s seventeenth birthday, Klara gave in to her son’s insistence.
She gave him enough money for a vacation in Vienna where he could gather information on the Academy.
She did so, however, with the hope that he would get the idea out of his system and give up his idea of leaving home.
Shortly after his birthday, he arrived in Vienna where, after the blandness of Linz, he was immediately enchanted by the large metropolis.
Klara had misjudged her son.

The Vienna Trip

Ringstrasse und Opernhaus – Wien
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Stadtwappen Wien

Hitler spent his days sight-seeing and sketching many of Vienna’s wonders.
He spent most of his evenings visiting the music halls, theaters, and especially the opera which overwhelmed him when compared to the caliber of Linz’s.
Just walking the stairs of the Burg Theater or the State Opera House was enough to make any youth feel he was part of a world of power and grandeur. As he would later recall: “Never shall I forget the gracious spectacle of the Vienna Opera, the women sparkling with diadems and fine clothes.”

Vienna Postcard

Hitler sent postcards to his family and friends including Hagmuller, Kubizek and Dr. Bloch, voicing his enthusiasm.

He returned home more convinced than ever that he wanted to return to Vienna by late September when admission tests to the academy began.
Although the family finances were adequate, Klara did everything to dissuade him.
The love that mother and son had for each other was obvious to everyone, but the thought of being separated from her son was unbearable to Klara.
She was intent that he should choose a profession which would keep him at home.
During the family’s summer vacation on the farm that Summer, Adolf was hammered with alternative proposals for pursuing a more sensible career.
He became alienated and kept to himself.
Adolf Hitler – Zeichnung Hund

He whiled away the hours by drawing  in his sketch book, painting, reading or taking long solitary walks.

When the family returned home he was further barraged with suggestions by Angela’s husband, Leo.
Klara even had her baker friend and his wife attempt to secure Adolf a position as a baker’s apprentice which he refused.
When a neighbor, no doubt at Klara’s urging, suggested a position with the postal service, Adolf answered that he intended to become an artist.
Undaunted, Klara continued searching for an excuse to keep her son at home.
Kubizek had been taking piano lessons from an expensive Polish teacher named Josef Prewatzki.
Around the end of September when Adolf wanted to leave for Vienna, Klara suggested that he join Kubizek.
Klara knew her son occasionally thought about becoming a poet or writer.

Heitzmann und Sohn – Piano

With his love for music and the opera she attempted to convince him to study music so he could go on to become a composer, or possibly write operas.

Klara’s persistence finally paid off. Adolf relented.
The relieved Klara brought him a piano made by Heitzmann-Flugel, whose pianos were among the best in the world.
Hitler began piano lessons on October 2, 1906.
As with any subject he enjoyed, or found interest in, he threw himself into it.
He never missed a class and paid by the month.
According to the teacher, he was a little timid and was bored easily by finger exercises but he had a good ear for music, practiced his scales conscientiously and progressed steadily.
His sister Paula remembered that he would sit at the large piano at home for hours practicing. With the examinations to the art academy over for another year, life in the Hitler household settled down.
Hitler and ‘Rienzi’

Richard Wagner

In the Winter of 1906, Hitler and Kubizek attended an opera of Richard Wagner’s ‘Rienzi – der Letzte der Tribunen ‘.

The story is set in fourteenth century Rome and tells the story of a man of the people, trying to free them from the oppression of the upper classes.
The privileged make an attempt to kill Rienzi but are overpowered and after violating their oath of submission are exterminated.
Rienzi rises to the position of dictator and in one scene the trumpets blare and the people shout: “Heil, Rienzi. Heil the tribune of the people.

Rienzi der Letzte der Tribunen – Richard Wagner

Hitler was completely enthralled by the music and by the character of the rebel Rienzi who had been goaded to political action after witnessing the death of his younger brother.

Rienzi in the end, however, is stoned and burned to death by those who never really wanted the freedom he offered.
The long opera was not over until after midnight and Hitler, quite out of context, showed a side of his personality that Kubizek had never seen.
After the performance Hitler talked for over an hour about politics.
Like many young thinkers of the lower middle class he was beginning to develop a hard attitude against the upper echelon -“the social order which made everything dependent on whether or not you had money,” as he put it.

Stephanie Rabatsch

Because of those persons of quality he was first exposed to in high school, he appears to “have acquired a tenacious ‘class consciousness.'”

His turn of mind was no doubt compounded by the fact that Stefanie (his supposed, fantasy ‘girl-friend‘) and “her society,” as he put it, were out of his reach.
Undoubtedly influenced by the writers of the time, the seventeen year old Hitler also began to believe strongly in destiny.
The fact that two of his brothers died before he was born, and another was born and died after him, caused him to wonder why he was spared.
He confided to Kubizek that he believed in fate and that even he could be called upon someday by the people “to lead them out of servitude to heights of freedom.”
(This at first appears to be one of Kubizek’s exaggerations or recollections borrowed from others (including Mein Kampf), however, Adolf Hitler would tell more than one person that the “beginning” of his success began the first time he saw the opera Rienzi. It would be hard to deny that the first time he saw the opera was with Kubizek.)
Years later Hitler would comment to another friend on the story of Rienzi: “Listening to this blessed music as a young man in the theater at Linz, I had the vision that I too must someday succeed in uniting the German Reich and making it great once more.”
He believed that he was destined for a “special mission.”

Klara Hitler

In January of 1907 Klara fell ill and doctor Bloch summoned Adolf and Angela for a conference on the situation.

They learned that Klara had breast cancer and her only chance for survival was a serious operation.
Dr. Bloch was touched by Adolf’s tears and concern and recognized the strong “attachment that existed between mother and son.”*
Klara entered the hospital in mid January and on Jan 18, 1907, during an operation performed by a surgeon named Karl Urban, one of her breasts was removed.
She had little concern about herself but was most concerned about her children if she should die.
She did not hide from Dr. Bloch that her gravest concern was for her son.
Adolf is still so young,” she said repeatedly to him.

Dr Eduard Bloch

While she lavished her son with almost everything he wanted, she herself spent the next two and a half weeks recuperating in a third class ward of the hospital even though she could have afforded better.

Adolf visited her every day.
When Adolf’s recuperating mother returned home he, possibly afraid of disturbing her or unable to concentrate, discontinued his piano practice and lessons.
He resumed his painting and drawing.
Both Kubizek and Dr. Bloch (who called and at times administered Klara morphine to relieve her pain) speak of Adolf’s attentiveness to his mother and the fear in his eyes on bad days.
Dr. Bloch stated that this was not a pathological relationship, only deep affection between a mother who adored her son and a son who adored his mother.
As the months passed Klara appeared to have recovered.

 Home at Urfahr

Wappen Ufar
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Urfahr

In May the family moved to a new, two storied apartment building on Bluten Strasse in the Urfahr district.

Here Klara could venture out for walks or do her shopping without climbing as many stairs.
She now apparently had a change of heart about Adolf’s desire to become an artist.
When Klara’s sisters and especially Angela’s husband suggested to her that Adolf should give up his artistic desires and get a job, she now replied: “He is different from us.”
Late that summer she withdrew Adolf’s patrimony, now over 700 kronen, and gave it to him along with her blessings to pursue his dream of becoming a painter.
If Adolf was frugal, the money he received was enough for tuition and living expenses in Vienna for over a year.

Stumper Gasse – Wien
Gustl Kubizek

In Sept. of 1907 his plans were made to leave for the academy’s admission test.

Shortly before his departure Klara’s health took a turn for the worse, but examinations for entrance to the academy were scheduled for Oct. lst and 2nd and he would have to wait another year if he didn’t go then.
When Kubizek came to see Adolf off, there were tears all around as Klara, Paula and Adolf bid farewell.
They were aware that once accepted, he would begin classes in a week and he might not return till the holidays.
When he arrived in Vienna, he rented a single room on Stumper Gasse (Stumper Lane) which was only a few blocks southwest from the railroad station (Westbahnhof) that served all trains going west.
If word arrived that his mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse, he could catch a train and, for a little over seven Kronen, be back in less than three and a half hours.

Artist Admissions Test

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Along with 51 other candidates, Adolf Hitler was refused admittance to the art Academy.

He was crushed.
All his dreams were dashed.
The fact that out of 113 original candidates only 28 were admitted did not console him. 
For over a week he roamed the streets of Vienna not knowing what to do.
He then received word that his mother had taken another turn for the worse.
Hitler returned home immediately to be by his mother’s side. 

Dr. Eduard Bloch

On October 22nd. he consulted with Dr. Bloch and found that Klara was in very serious condition.

The operation had occurred too late and the disease was spreading rapidly.
An experimental treatment was attempted which only added to her suffering.
Within a short time she needed constant attention.
Her bed was moved to the kitchen/living room area which was the warmest room in the house.
Although Adolf admitted to others that he had failed to gain admittance to the academy, he didn’t burden his mother with his rejection and assured her that he was accepted and would become an artist someday.
Klara spent the next two months in constant pain which she bore well believing “that her fate was God’s will.”
However, the ever present Adolf according to neighbors, Kubizek, and Dr. Bloch, anguished over her suffering.
Although Klara’s sister Johanna also helped care for Klara, Adolf took over as man of the house.
He was in constant attendance to his mother and did whatever possible to make her comfortable.
Dressed in his old clothes, he scrubbed floors, helped with the washing, and cooked her favorite meals which she greatly appreciated.
He took charge of his eleven year old sister, Paula, and even tutored her.
In late November, Klara had a serious relapse.
Adolf slept on the couch near her bed and did what he could to comfort her.
He read aloud to her the sentimental novels she loved even though he hated them.
He drew her picture and on some days held her hand for hours on end.
As Paula would state years later: “…my brother Adolf spoiled my mother during this last time of her life with overflowing tenderness.
He was indefatigable in his care for her, wanted to comply with any desire she could possibly have and did all to demonstrate his great love for her.”
When Kubizek or Dr. Bloch visited they found the normally high strung and proud Adolf quiet, gentle and apprehensive.

Weihnachtsbaum

If Klara showed any signs of improvement, Dr. Bloch noted, Adolf’s eyes would light up and he would take an optimistic view.

With the holidays approaching a Christmas tree was placed in the living room in hopes of lifting her spirits.
On Dec 20th. Dr. Bloch made two house calls and saw that the end was near.
Kubizek also visited and saw her lying, weak and barely able to speak.
Her thoughts, however, were of her son.
When the distraught Adolf left the room momentarily she managed to whisper to Kubizek: “Go on being a good friend to my son when I’m no longer here.”*
At 2a.m. the following morning, with Adolf at her bedside, Klara, age 47, died in the glow of the lighted Christmas tree.
Adolf was crushed. Dr. Bloch stated: “In all my career I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolf Hitler.”
Two days later, on Christmas Eve, Adolf followed the hearse which drove to Leonding three miles away.

Leonding Kirche und der Familie Hitler Grab

The funeral Mass was held in the small church across the road from where they used to live and Klara was laid to rest beside her husband.

After everyone else had left, Adolf remained behind at her grave site as though unable to tear himself away.
Hitler would remember the lighted Christmas tree in the house and the memory was so bitter for him that he could never again enjoy Christmas.
He hated when it snowed, and was always in an emotional state around the holidays.
For the rest of his life he would usually spend Christmas Eve alone.
Almost twenty years later he would write in Mein Kampf: “My father I respected, my mother I loved.
He himself wrote the announcement of the passing away of his “deeply, loved, never-to-be-forgotten mother.”
For the rest of his life he would always have a picture of his mother on his person or nearby, and whenever the occasion arose would proudly and lovingly show it.

Dr Eduard Bloch

Dr. Bloch, who was Jewish, would later emigrate to the safety of the United States but still refused to repudiate his statements, including the one that described the young Hitler as “a fine and exemplary son who bore such a deep love and concern for his dear mother which one finds on this globe only in extremely exceptional cases.”

Kubizek, also, in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the psychologists, newsmen, historians in residence and other persons of quality, who never ceased to degrade the young Hitler as an uncaring son, would later write: “Adolf really loved his mother. I swear to it before God and man.
As Klara’s oldest child, Adolf, under the guidance of his legal guardian, the Mayor of Leonding, Josef Mayrhofer, took care of all of his mother’s personal unfinished business and paid all her debts with the estate left behind.
Surviving documents show that the doctor bill outstanding was 300 kronen while the funeral and coffin, cost 370 kronen -an extremely large sum for a lower middle class family to pay.
Adolf also gave a part of his inheritance to his stepsister since she and her husband agreed to take on the responsibility of raising the eleven year old Paula.
He thanked neighbors for their help and even gave one of his best paintings to a couple who had showed particular loyalty during his mothers sickness.

Josef  Mayrhofer

His legal guardian, Josef  Mayrhofer found the young Hitler’s actions “laudable.”

Since their father had been a State official, the “orphans” Paula and Adolf were now eligible for 600 Kronen annually between them.
Their guardian split the pension down the center.
The eighteen year old Adolf Hitler was to receive 300 kronen a year in monthly payments until he was twenty-four years old or until he became self-supporting.
Hitler, now armed with a letter of recommendation from his influential landlord (which described Hitler as a “nice, steadygoing …. serious and ambitious young man … mature and sensible beyond his years,”) decided to return to Vienna.
If fortune did not smile on him, he could retake the examination test to the Art Academy later that year.
As “my father had accomplished fifty years before,” he would later write, “I too, wanted to become ‘something.'”
Kubizek also wanted to leave Linz and enter the Academy of Music in Vienna but his father was against him leaving at the time.
Hitler made a trip to Kubizek’s house and persuaded the old man to let him go.
Kubizek would follow him shortly.
With what was left from his inheritance, Hitler left for Vienna in mid February 1908, in search of a “special mission.”

Hitler and Kubizek in Vienna

Westbahnhof – Wien

On a cold foggy evening in late February 1908, August Kubizek arrived in Vienna.
As he stood amidst the confusion of the railroad station (Westbahnhof), he saw his friend approaching through the crowd.
Hitler was wearing his dark, good quality overcoat and broad-brimmed hat.
Already at ease in his new environment, he wore kid gloves and carried a walking stick with an ivory handle.
The slim Adolf, Kubizek thought, “appeared almost elegant.”
After a warm greeting, they kissed on the cheek in the Austrian manner, they made their way to Hitler’s apartment.
After a short walk Hitler stopped in front of an imposing and distinguished building on Stumper Gasse.
With Kubizek on his heels, Hitler entered the arched entrance off to one side, passed through the more elaborate section of the building, crossed a small courtyard and entered the humbler rear section of the building.

Stumpergasse 29 – Wien

They went up the polished stone staircase to the “second floor” (3rd in America) and entered a small room.
This was the same building Hitler had stayed during his attempt to enter the Art Academy a few months before.
The monthly rent was ten kronen and although respectable, it was a no frills establishment in a lower middle class neighborhood.
Hitler’s monthly pension of 25 kronen only covered the cost of a meager diet, so he had to be frugal with what was left of his inheritance.
Like most tenement houses it was infested with bugs and the whole floor, six small apartments, had only one lavatory.
After Hitler cleared away the numerous sketches that lay around his room, he and Kubizek had something to eat.
Although Hitler was still suffering and bitter over his mother’s death, he insisted on taking Kubizek on a tour of the city.

Ringstrasse

They made their way to the Ringstrasse, the great boulevard (where once stood the city battlements) which circles the inner city.
Hitler’s blue eyes blazed excitedly as he pointed out many of the cities historical landmarks. Just off the Ring was the Art Academy which he still hoped to enter, and not far away was the Music Conservatory which Kubizek hoped to attend.
Like any young man who grows and matures in a small town, Kubizek, like Hitler was overwhelmed by the vast and thriving city.

Stephansdom Wien

Kubizek particularly wanted to see the immense soaring spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral but it was shrouded in the fog.
In one of his letters, Hitler had offered Kubizek the advantage of staying with him for awhile. Hitler, however, was still the independent type and knowing that he and Kubizek had their differences, he had added: “Later we shall see.”
Hitler’s small room was not large enough to hold a piano that Kubizek would need to practice on so they spent the next morning looking for a room for Kubizek.
It proved difficult.
Vienna was the most overcrowded capital city in Europe.
Almost half the population lived in one or two rooms, and in the working districts 4 to 5 persons shared these “flats.”
The few rooms they found available were either sleazy, did not allow piano playing, or were too small to hold a grand piano.
After a fruitless search in the immediate vicinity, they finally came to a house with a sign: “Room to Let.”
They were admitted into the house by a maid and introduced to an elegant looking middle aged woman wearing a silk dressing gown, fur-lined slippers and little else.
As she showed them around the house, including the available bedroom, she appeared to take a shine to Hitler.
She suggested that Hitler rent the available room and turn his room on Stumper Gasse over to Kubizek.
At that moment the belt of her dressing gown became loose and her gown opened momentarily.
“Oh, excuse me, gentlemen,” she calmly said as she redid the belt.
Too fainthearted and too unworldly to take advantage of such an opportune moment, Hitler and Kubizek beat a hasty retreat.
They returned to their apartment and Hitler persuaded the landlady to give up her larger room next door for theirs.
By the end of the day they had settled into the larger room, #17, for an additional 10 kronen a month.
Because of the housing shortage, the normal rent for a one or two room flat ran from twenty-two to twenty-eight kronen per month in the laboring districts.
Their room was a real bargain.
Kubizek was again amazed by Hitler’s gift of persuasion.

Wiener Musikhochschule

Within a few days of his arrival, Kubizek took his test and was admitted to the Wiener Musikhochschule, (Music Conservatory).
Kubizek’s easy accomplishment magnified Hitler’s failure to enter the Art Academy, and he appeared envious for a time.
While Kubizek began attending morning classes, Hitler spent his time in one pursuit after another.
Some days Hitler relentlessly worked on his drawings, on another day, he would sit for hours reading on architecture, another, working tirelessly on an idea he had for a short story, the next, practicing on the piano Kubizek had rented.
Kubizek would state that Hitler was never idle, but always “filled with a tireless urge to be active.”

Alfred Roller

Interestingly, Hitler never made use of the letter of recommendation he had received which introduced him to one of Vienna’s best known stage designers, Alfred Roller.
Years later he would comment: “One got absolutely nothing in Austria without letters of introduction.
When I arrived in Vienna, I had one to Roller, but I didn’t use it.
If I’d presented myself to him with this introduction, he’d have engaged me at once.
No doubt it’s better that things went otherwise.
It’s not a bad thing for me that I had to have a rough time of it.”*
Having to live on a minimum budget, they spent their leisure time visiting the Vienna Woods, taking boat trips on the Danube and even once took a train trip to the Alps and climbed a mountain.
They also visited the numerous coffee houses in the area.
The Viennese cuisine was delightful;” Hitler would later recall, “at breakfast nothing was eaten, at mid day … [people] lunched off a cup of coffee and two croissants, and the coffee in the little coffee-shops was as good as that in the famous restaurants.
For lunch, even in the fashionable places, only soup, a main dish and dessert were served–there was never an entree.
One of Hitler’s favorite coffee-shops (which served a particular nut-cake he enjoyed) was a favorite of Jewish college students.
To an inquiring mind, Vienna offered much for no cost.
Hitler and Kubizek spent much of their free time touring the city.
They strolled the avenues and visited the countless museums, churches, historical sites, parks and plazas.

Schwarzenberg Platz – Wien

Hitler was particularly fond of the Schwarzenberg Platz, especially at night when the fanciful illuminated fountains produced incredible lighting effects.
Most of Hitler’s praises, however, were bestowed upon Vienna’s huge and ornate buildings.
He was very impressed by Schonbrunn Castle, the elegant 1200 room, royal summer residence of the Hapsburgs which had once been home to Napoleon himself.
After viewing such luxury, Hitler often grumbled about the sparse room they had to return to.

Wiener Sängerknaben

On Sundays, Hitler enjoyed listening to musical groups or soloists performing at the city chapel. He was particularly found of the Vienna Boys Choir.
There were also the countless parades, pageantry and social events which accompanied the Hapsburg dynasty.
These events were normally stern, formal and dignified affairs that showed off the ruling dynasty as lofty and untouchable.
In an age and in an empire that also believed in armed might, military holidays were celebrated with all the trappings of a society prepared for war.
Two or three evenings each week they went to a theater, opera, or concert because as a student, Kubizek could often get free tickets.
At concerts, Hitler was very fond of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anton Brukner

He enjoyed some of the music of the masters, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and also the Romanticists, Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn and especially Bruckner who had been an organist at the old Linz Cathedral for twelve years.
Like most Viennese, Hitler also enjoyed the music of Johann Strauss and the Hungarian Liszt.
When attending the theater Hitler preferred the more serious works, and Vienna’s theaters offered masterpieces by some of Europe’s best playwrights.
Vienna was also a famed joyful and carefree city, and its less dignified theaters offered worldly, lighthearted and often risqué performances.

Franz Lehar

Although Hitler never admitted to attending anything too risqué, he enjoyed Franz Lehar’s ‘The Merry Widow’ and often whistled Lehar’s happy tunes.
At the theater one evening a group of young men were causing a disturbance. Hitler and Kubizek attempted to silence them.
The leader of the group refused to keep his mouth shut and Hitler punched him in the side.
When Hitler and Kubizek left the theater they found that the noisemaker had summoned a policeman who attempted to arrest Hitler.
Hitler explained the situation and persuaded the policeman to let him go.
Hitler then caught up with the troublemaker and gave him, to quote Kubizek, “a sound box on the ears.”
Just as in Linz, the opera was still Hitler’s first choice in entertainment, but opera seats in Vienna were extremely expensive.
Although Hitler preferred a seat in the upper balcony, to save money, he and Kubizek usually took the cheapest standing room.
Like most people who go to movies today, Hitler did not care for foreign works.
He was only interested in German customs, German feeling, and German thought.

Verdi – Aida

Except for Verdi’s opera, Aida – the love story of an Ethiopian slave girl and an Egyptian warrior – he didn’t care for most Italian operas because of the many plots involving “daggers.”
He also wasn’t particularly fond of French operas and considered Gounod’s Faust (there are two rapes within the opera) vulgar.
Not even the Russian Tchaikovsky met with his approval.
On the other hand he appreciated many of the works of the Germans Beethoven and Weber and was especially delighted with Mozart’s anti-establishment comedy of infidelity, Figaro.

Richard Wagner

His favorite works were by the highly acclaimed Richard Wagner who wrote about figures of medieval history, saga, and myth.
Most of Wagner’s heroes were purely human and were torn between desire and morality -Wagner believed in the first.
During Hitler’s years in Vienna, 15 different productions of Wagner’s operas were performed in over 420 performances at the State Opera House alone.
Hitler attended every new offering and saw some of the performances over and over again. “I was so poor, during the Viennese period of my life,” Hitler would later recall, “that I had to restrict myself to seeing only the finest spectacles.

Tristan und Isolde

Thus I heard [Wagner’s] ‘Tristan’ thirty or forty times, and always from the best companies.”
Every young man has his idol and Wagner was Hitler’s.
For me, Wagner is something Godly and his music is my religion,” Hitler would later tell an American reporter.
Kubizek also noted Hitler’s devotion to Wagner.
When Hitler attended a Wagner opera the music had a profound, exhilarating influence on him.
When talking to friends or other opera buffs, Hitler always praised Wagner with passionate devotion.
Wagner not only wrote the music but the librettos (words) for his operas.
He refused allegiance to any set forms.

Siegfried – from ‘Die Nibelungen’ – Fritz Lang – 1924


Besides composing, writing and producing his operas he occasionally took on the role of stage manager, director, and conductor.
He referred to his mission as the ‘Kunstwerk der Zukunft‘ (art work of the future) and to his ‘music dramas’ as ‘Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work). Wagner saw the orchestra as just adding to the action on the stage (much like background music in movies today), but he ruffled the egos of many persons of quality by concealing the conductor and orchestra so they would not distract from the performance.

Siegfried – from ‘Die Nibelungen’ – Fritz Lang – 1924

Many of the themes of Wagner’s music dramas were grounded on lofty German myths and legends which revealed human emotions that influence nearly all issues and relations.
Like Wagner, Hitler was enthralled by the past, and believed that great significance lay in German mythology.

‘Lohengrin’







One of Hitler’s favorites was ‘Lohengrin’.
He could amaze opera buffs by reciting the entire libretto by heart.
While living with Kubizek, he saw ‘Lohengrin’ ten times.
Lohengrin’s pomp, pageantry, and dramatic interest is compelling.
It is considered by many to be the finest of all romantic grand operas.
The plot is set in the tenth century and involves a beautiful blonde maiden who is falsely accused of murder. To her rescue comes the gallant Lohengrin, the “Knight of the Swan,” who will champion the accused and later marry her.
The love duet is exquisite (“one of the sweetest and tenderest passages of which the Lyric stage can boast”) and there is also the haunting Bridal Chorus.
Besides the compelling music and German nationalism, Hitler no doubt associated with the silver-armored hero with his pure soul and wondrous flashing eyes.
In the end, ‘Lohengrin’, called Fuhrer (leader) by his followers, is forced to reveal that he is a “Knight of the Holy Grail” and must give up love for a higher calling.

Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself inspired by the epic of Garin le Loherain. It is part of the Knight of the Swan tradition.

The opera has proved inspirational towards other works of art. Among those deeply moved by the fairy-tale opera was the young King Ludwig II of Bavaria. ‘Der Märchenkönig’ (‘The Fairy-tale King’) as he was dubbed later built his ideal fairy-tale castle and dubbed it “New Swan Stone,” or “Neuschwanstein”, after the Swan Knight. It was King Ludwig’s patronage that later gave Wagner the means and opportunity to compose, build a theatre for, and stage his epic cycle, the Ring of the Nibelung.

‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’

Another of Hitler’s favorites was ‘Die Meistersingers’ which is told in terms of a simple love story.
The plot involves a young songwriter who comes up against traditional rules and methods.
In the end he overcomes the rank prejudices of The Master Singers and while preserving what is best in art tradition, succeeds and wins the heroin for his bride.

As with ‘Lohengrin’, Hitler knew the ‘Meistersingers’ by heart.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) is an opera by Richard Wagner. It is among the longest operas still commonly performed today, usually taking around four and a half hours. It was first performed at the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater in Munich, on June 21, 1868. The conductor at the premiere was Hans von Bülow.

The story takes place in Nuremberg during the middle of the 16th century. At the time, Nuremberg was an Imperial Free City, and one of the centers of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. The story revolves around the real-life guild of Meistersinger (Master Singers), an association of amateur poets and musicians, mostly from the middle class and often master craftsmen in their main professions. The Mastersingers developed a craftsmanlike approach to music-making, with an intricate system of rules for composing and performing songs. The work draws much of its charm from its faithful depiction of the Nuremberg of the era and the traditions of the Mastersinger guild. One of the main characters, the cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, is based on an actual historical figure: Hans Sachs (1494–1576), the most famous of the historical Mastersingers.

If an indication of the ideals and beliefs of a young man can be judged on the entertainment he enjoys, the young Hitler appears very normal for his time.
‘Aida’, and ‘Figaro’, are two of the most popular operas ever performed in their time.
‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ and ‘Lohengrin’ have, almost since their conceptions been German favorites.
Hitler’s enjoying ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ is comparable to young people in every generation enjoying stories whose plots rebel against tradition and the old folks.

‘Tristan und Isolde’ 

The story was written by Wagner to scorn the establishment that once rejected him.
The love story, however, is the backbone of the action and everything else is centered around it. The same thing can be said for ‘Lohengrin’ and especially ‘Tristan und Isolde’ which is about love and (did they love the night) little else.
That Hitler repeatedly enjoyed these operas places him in the majority of young men of his day who had high ideals concerning love.
During their trips to the opera, concert or theater, Kubizek noticed that women would flirt with Hitler despite his usually modest clothing and reserved manner.
On one occasion, a young lady handed Hitler a note informing him where she would be stopping after the performance.
Kubizek believed that women were attracted to Hitler because of his aloof but distinguished manners, or brilliant eyes, or some mysterious quality that can’t be described.
Hitler never responded to these opportunities.

Lucie Weidt

Like many eighteen year olds, Hitler had his favorite actress, Lucie Weidt (a gifted soprano ten years older than Hitler), “roused his enthusiasm in the part of Elsa in Lohengrin.”*
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, noted during this period that people seldom, if ever discussed their sex drive.
Hitler never talked about his desires or his sex life.
When discussing the subject in an impersonal way, Hitler, according to Kubizek, found the loose morals in Vienna shocking.
His belief was influenced by the terribly high rate of syphilis that existed in Europe at that time, and the incurable and horrible consequences of contracting it.
A cure would not be readily available for a few years and complications of the heart, blood vessels, bones, skin, and finally paralysis and insanity were common.
Hitler, like many others of his time had a fear of catching the disease and would later condemn the government for its “complete capitulation” when an all out “fight” was needed to bring the “plague” under control to insure the “health” of the nation.
Vienna, nonetheless, thrived with centers of prostitution and cafes where the sexes mixed liberally.
A survey of doctors, carried out while Hitler lived in Vienna, revealed that only 4% of the doctors had their first sexual experience with middle class young women who might qualify as potential wives, 17% had their first experience with lower class waitresses or the like, while 75% had their first romp with prostitutes.
Legalized prostitution in Austria dated from the Liberal ascendancy three decades before. When Hitler arrived in Vienna, any girl sixteen or older could register or apply for a license.
She was then free to practice the profession as long as she could prove mental competence and meet simple health rules.
Even with such liberal regulations, there was still a thriving free lance business throughout Vienna, and it was estimated that over 10,000 girls went unregistered.
On their evening excursions on the town, there were occasions when Kubizek and Hitler were approached by lone streetwalkers.
According to Kubizek, in every instance the “ladies” ignored him, and asked Hitler if he wanted to go with them.
Kubizek thought that these girls of the “unholy city” were attracted to Hitler because they may have seen him as a man of moral restraint from the religious countryside.
Hitler always refused.
Kubizek had to get up early in the morning for classes and usually retired early while Hitler was often awake and out till late at night.
There were times Hitler would go out and not return till the following day.
Hitler, as earlier in Linz, also had suggestions for Vienna’s planning and layout.
He believed in wider streets, pollution control, and less crowding.
He advocated the destruction of old tenement housing and the building of lower income housing where workers could live cheaply.
He believed that there should be more areas set aside for parks and green areas.
He thought it unthinkable that railroads should run through a city, tying up people and traffic. Railroads, he believed, should be rerouted to the outskirts and what trains that had to enter the city should be placed underground.
These revolutionary ideas were already starting to have their effects in some of the larger cities throughout the world and Hitler no doubt read about them.
That an eighteen year old could grasped their long range significance and advocated such a policy is noteworthy.
As he had in Linz, he spent quite a bit of time working on drawings and the details of such planning.
Kubizek, in the meantime, continued with his classes and it was becoming apparent that he was one of the star pupils in the music school.
He was constantly sought after to tutor other classmates and to perform in small musical groups in the homes of some of the wealthy and cultivated of Vienna.
Occasionally Hitler went along and “enjoyed himself very much” though he normally chose to play the part of the silent listener.
As he was in no financial position to buy new clothes, it was only his inadequate dress, Kubizek observed, that made him feel uneasy.
Hitler was proud of his friend’s achievements but witnessing what appeared to be Kubizek’s easy accomplishment, he began searching for a road to instant success.
Although he continued drawing, he did little painting that summer.

Hofburg – Wien

The Hofburg, containing among other things, one of the most extensive (and beautiful) libraries in the world, was only a mile away from their room and Hitler visited there regularly.
He continued to read on architecture and art, but also mythology, religion, history and biography.
In his reading on architecture he acquired an extensive amount of history on many of Linz’s buildings and appears to have attempted to write a handbook or manual on the subject.
He then worked tirelessly on a short story he titled ‘The Next Morning‘.
He talked about becoming a playwright and after weeks of research at the library began a script centered on the time Christianity was introduced in Germany.

‘Die Melonenesser’
Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo

He then switched to a play about the Spanish painter, Bartolome Murillo, who’s art work Hitler knew well.
Murillo had also been a “poor orphan” and became famous for his charming paintings of religious subjects and sweet street urchins.
After a vigorous start, Hitler put the idea aside.
When Hitler felt dejected he would walk to Schonbrunn Castle and spend his time in the huge adjoining park where miles of shaded walks wended their ways among clumps of trees, arbors, vast formal flower beds and elaborate fountains.
Along with other attractions the park also contained a zoo and the Gloriette, an elaborate stone pavilion surmounted by a huge imperial eagle.
Hitler’s favorite spot was a stone bench not far from the Gloriette where he enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels.
(The stone bench, along with the descendants of those birds and squirrels, are still there at this writing.)
He never went to the park on Sundays since he did not like crowds, and the noisy and carefree spirit of most of the young people annoyed him.
Sooner or later however, he would conceive another idea and wholeheartedly throw himself into it.

Hof-Library – Wien

After numerous day trips to the Hof-Library and night after night of continuous writing, he abandoned one idea after another.
After countless false starts as a playwright or writer, he suddenly decided to become a composer.
Hitler spent months working on a Wagnerian type opera which would have been understood by ancient Germans.
The work was to be performed with rattles, drums, reeds, crude brass wind instruments, primitive harps, and bone and wood flutes.
He searched excitedly through volumes of the Hof-Library studying ancient music and looking for the types of musical instruments used by ancient Germans.
That he had no formal musical training, other than four months of piano lessons, daunted him not.
To make up for his lack of knowledge he read the scores and librettos of a large number of operas and acquired an amazing knowledge of stagecraft.
He worked on his opera night after night plotting the story, producing drawings for the sets, sketching the main characters in charcoal and composing the music with Kubizek’s help. Kubizek acknowledged that the prelude turned out very presentable (after he had convinced Hitler to add a few modern instruments) but Hitler was not satisfied.
It reduced him to utter despair,” Kubizek wrote, “that he had an ideal in his head, a musical idea which he considered bold and important, without being able to pin it down.”
Hitler finally realized that success as a composer was as hard to come by as that of a painter or writer and finally gave up.

Schönbrunn Park – Wien

Dejected, he would return to the park and feed the pigeons and squirrels until another idea dawned.
Hitler came up with an idea for a traveling symphony.
He felt it was unfair that only the lucky few in the major cities were privileged to hear first rate performances.
His mobile orchestra was to travel to small towns where less fortunate people could hear other than second rate performances.
He spent quite a deal of time working out the intricate little details, including the composition of the group, their feeding, dress, direction, and rehearsal time.
He decided that only German composers would be played and he even timed the length of each piece while at concerts.
The orchestra was not only to perform classic and romantic works (the oldies so to speak), but also the works of modern, young and unknown composers.
As with traveling “concerts” today the ideal was plausible, but the lack of adequate public halls in small towns made him abandon the idea.
He then returned to the park.
Like all idealistic young men on a minimum budget, Hitler became disillusioned and he soon developed a strong social conscious.

Franzenring – Reichsratsgebäude – Wien

He would visit the Parliament when it was in session, and on a few occasions even dragged Kubizek along.

The Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna is where the two houses of the Parliament of Austria conduct their sessions. The building is located on the Ringstraße boulevard in the first district Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace and the Palace of Justice.

The foundation stone was laid in 1874; the building was completed in 1883. The architect responsible for its Greek revival style was Theophil Edvard Hansen. He designed the building holistically, each element harmonizing with the others and was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration, such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and numerous other elements. Hansen was honored by Emperor Franz Joseph with the title of Freiherr (Baron) after its completion. One of the building’s most famous features is the Pallas Athena fountain in front of the main entrance, built by Hansen from 1898 to 1902.

Hitler was amazed at the lack of action.
He had expected to see stately men in control, debating and pondering over the problems of their day.
What he saw was dissension, filibustering, confusion, rants, threats, procedure, formality and wordy nonsense.
He came away disillusioned and was appalled by politicians and their, as he called it, “ridiculous institution.”*
The Viennese are noted for their criticism (“a grumble a day keeps bad temper away,” is one of their mottoes) and Hitler fit in well.
“Isn’t this a dog’s life,” became one of his favorite sayings and he began to blame government for his situation.
He became impatient and developed a deep contempt for most politicians.
He began raging openly against, as he called them: “the well-born and all powerful people.”
He felt that the government should provide grants to students with ability and that poor working young women should receive trousseaus to encourage marriage so as to cut down on fatherless children and sex-related diseases.
He believed the government should do something to decrease the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed by promoting non-alcoholic drinks.
And, he still felt that more should be done to house the working class.
Hitler actually worked out a plan for housing those with low incomes.
Using his interior plan as a starting point, the standard building was to be a two storied, four family residence.
Under no condition was any building to contain more than 16 families and all should be surrounded by gardens, trees, and play grounds.
He thought professional landlords unfair and believed that housing should be owned and built by the government and the rent set to cover the cost and maintenance of the building.
He devoted much of his thinking to moving people out of  “distress and poverty.”*
The longer Hitler lived in the giant city, the more he saw of the inequalities.
While the upper classes practiced an almost complete indifference, those of the younger and poorer generation began to openly criticize their leaders.
Hitler became one of them for he could not understand the apathy and resignation of politicians and leading intellectuals.
Their stance that “nothing can be done about it,” earned them his undying hatred. “He who resigned,” Hitler stated, “lost his right to live.”

Alios Hitler

He saw these men of education with their professional training as a group of “idiots.
No doubt remembering that his more-than-qualified father had been held in the same position for seventeen years because of his background, Hitler felt that men who actually showed ability should be chosen to manage affairs as opposed to those with formal qualifications, class and connections.
With what was left of his inheritance running low and knowing that his pension would only support a meager living, disillusionment soon vented itself in anger.
For no apparent reason, there were days when he would go into a rage about the unfairness of life.
Any disagreement or rebuke on Kubizek’s part only heightened his anger.
A while later he would be calm, cooperative and charming.
But, Kubizek noted, it was contrary to his nature to ignore important issues, and there were days he would read or see something that would set him off all over again.
Hitler was often abrupt, moody, and brash, but Kubizek stated that he could never be angry with Hitler because he regarded him as a “visionary.”
For a long time, I had it rough in Vienna,” Hitler would later recall.
For months I never even had a hot meal. I lived on milk and dry bread but spent thirteen kreuzers day after day on cigarettes.
I smoked twenty-five to forty a day.
One day the thought came to me: ’Instead of spending thirteen kreuzers on cigarettes, buy butter for your bread.
That would be five kreuzers a day and I’d have money left over.’
Soon after that thought, I threw my cigarettes in the Danube and have never touched another“.
There is nothing worse than a reformed – whatever – and Hitler soon began ranting about the government’s involvement in the tobacco industry.
He argued that the State was ruining the health of its own people for monetary gains.
He felt all tobacco factories should be closed and the importation of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes be forbidden.
(Later, when Hitler became Fuhrer and his European conquests seemed unstoppable, he made the statement: “Before going into retirement, I shall order that all the cigarette packets on sale in my Europe should have on the label, in letters of fire, the slogan: ‘Danger, tobacco smoke kills; danger: Cancer.'”)
Reflecting on Hitler’s meager fare, Kubizek concluded that much of Hitler’s anger stemmed from his financial situation.
Kubizek suggested that Hitler go to the “soup kitchen” and get a decent free meal.
Hitler angrily retorted that going to a soup kitchen was demeaning and that such “contemptible institutions…only symbolized the segregation of the social classes.”
Many of Vienna’s population lived in similar circumstances and Hitler “unhesitatingly” associated with the “simple, decent but underprivileged people.
He thought something should be done for the “‘little man,‘ the ‘poor betrayed masses.‘”
He ranted about the “tight fisted” ways of the upper classes.

‘Down and Outs’ in Vienna

As Kubizek would later state: “Everywhere we noticed a deep chasm between the social classes….We saw the splendid mansions of the nobility with garishly attired servants in front, and the sumptuous hotels in which Vienna’s rich society – the old nobility, the captains of industry, landowners and magnates – held their lavish parties. Poverty, need, hunger on the one side, and reckless enjoyment of life, sensuality and prodigal luxury on the other.”
The obvious social injustice embittered Hitler and the presumptuous and arrogant demeanor of the upper classes “roused in him a demoniacal hatred.”
He continuously railed “against the privileged position of certain classes.”
Although Kubizek always portrayed Hitler as a serious and stern young man, there was another side of him.
Kubizek took a short trip home for the Easter holiday and wrote Hitler that he had contracted an eye infection, and that when he returned he might be wearing glasses.
Kubizek knew his constant practicing on the piano distracted or annoyed Hitler at times so he also mentioned that he was also going to bring a viola, testing what Hitler’s reaction would be. On April 20, 1908, the day of his 19th birthday, Hitler wrote back (after making a joke about the bad weather in Vienna):
I am deeply sorry to hear that you are going blind.
It means you will play more wrong notes and keys.
The blinder you become, the deafer I will become. Oh dear.”
He also added that he was going out to buy “cotton” for his ears.
He then signed the letter: “Your friend, Adolf Hitler.
Kubizek returned shortly after and, in June, completed his first period at the Conservatory with excellent grades.
He was privileged to conduct the end-of-term concert where three of his songs were sung and part of his sextet for strings was performed.
At a gathering in the “artists’ room,” Kubizek was showered with praises by his teachers and classmates as Hitler sat quietly by himself watching.
It appeared that for Kubizek, success was just around the corner.
Kubizek went home in July to work in the family business for the summer.
Since he was nearly a year older than Hitler he was now of military age and was required to report for a physical.
Found to be fit, he was to undergo eight weeks of training for the Army Reserve and would not return till November.
Hitler’s landlady also took a trip to visit her brother and Hitler looked after the building for her until she returned.
Hitler kept in touch with Kubizek and on one occasion, referring to one of his ideas for a book, wrote: “Since your departure I have been working very hard often again until 2 or 3 in the morning.”
Knowing Hitler was running short of money Kubizek and his mother sent him some food packages.
A few days later the proud Hitler would write on a postcard dated July 19, 1908:

        Dear friend!

        My best thanks for your kindness. You don’t need to send me butter and cheese 

        now. But I thank you most gratefully for the kind thought. Tonight I am going
        to see Lohengrin. Kindest regards to you and your esteemed parents.

                                                                                            Adolf Hitler.


A few days later Hitler would write again mentioning that he was not feeling well.
It was not until August 17 that Kubizek heard from him again.
This time he mentioned that he had got over a “sharp attack of bronchial catarrh,” but was “writing quite a lot lately.”
Late that August, Hitler took a trip to the Wooded Quarter for a family gathering on the Spital farm.
Besides his two aunts and their families, his step-sister Angela and her family were also present.
Hitler still disliked Angela’s husband and had considered putting off the trip, but was no doubt shown the new addition to Angela’s family – a two month old daughter called “Geli.”
He also saw his twelve year old sister, Paula, who was now a pretty, quiet and reserved girl. Hitler had previously given Paula the book ‘Don Quixote’ (possibly after reading it) as a birthday gift and got into an argument with her because she disapproved of a list of books he obviously had read and suggested for her education.
Since they were never very close, her rejection of his advice separated them further.
Although “fond” of one another, as Paula would later state, they remained fairly distant all their lives.
Before returning to Vienna, Hitler sent Gustl a postcard wishing him the “best” on his Name-day.
It would be the last contact Kubizek would have with Hitler for thirty years. (After a promising beginning Kubizek’s artistic dreams would be shattered by der Große Krieg.
He became a “clerk.“)
In Sept 1908 the nineteen year old Hitler applied for entrance to Vienna’s Art Academy again. The drawings he submitted on this occasion were not considered adequate.
He was notified, that this time he would not even be permitted to take the test.
The 1908 entry in the Academy’s list read:

The following gentlemen …. #24 Adolf Hitler … April 20, 1889, German, Catholic …. Not admitted to test.

Again he was crushed.
This time he asked for a reason and was told that his abilities lay in architecture and it was recommended that he study that field.
This judgment is borne out by his surviving drawings and paintings which show a flare for architectural renderings.
To enter the Architectural branch of the Academy, however, a diploma was necessary.
What I had defiantly neglected in the high school ” Hitler stated, “now took its bitter revenge.”
Since he lacked a diploma he would have to show that he was “exceptionally gifted” to enter the architecture field.
Hitler was realistic enough to know that he did not possess such abilities and never attempted to register.
As Hitler would show many times in his life, he could not face people when things were going bad.
Although Kubizek had previously offered Hitler financial help, Hitler, as with the food packages, was too proud to accept, and decided to end their relationship.
Because of his failure to gain admittance to the Academy for the second time, he no doubt felt ashamed to face Kubizek, or anyone else.
Around the same time, Hitler also quit writing Hagmuller, the boy who used to have his lunch at the Hitler house in Linz, and they also “lost touch.”
On Nov. 18, 1908, with Kubizek expected back in a few days, the dejected Hitler gave notice to his landlady.
Without leaving a forwarding address he moved to a building across from the railway yards.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

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.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013