The reichsadler still looks over the town. On the right is a tour of Berchtesgaden showing all the main sites described below. Berchtesgaden is a town in southern Bavaria on the border with Austria. Although Berchtesgaden itself is nestled in a deep valley, it lent its name to Adolf Hitler’s retreat, officially known as the Berghof, on the Obersalzberg, 1,640 feet above the town. Also perched on the Obersalzberg were chalets occupied by Hermann Göring and Martin Bormann, among other top-ranking Nazis. To all appearances a large holiday retreat, the Berghof was often used by Hitler for important conferences, including that with Austrian chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg in February 1938, compelling him to accept Anschluss, and the meeting with Britain’s prime minister Neville Chamberlain in September 1938, in which Hitler presented his demands with regard to Czechoslovakia. A network of bunkers and air raid shelters existed under the Berghof, and a private elevator, its shaft cut through solid rock, connected it with Hitler’s sanctum sanctorum, “Eagle’s Nest,” at the very top of the mountain. The Berghof proper was destroyed in an Allied air raid in April 1945, and the building’s ruins were razed in 1952. A stand of trees was planted on the site. Eagle’s Nest survived the bombing and is now a teahouse, which may be visited by tourists.
The Duke of Windsor, formerly HM King Edward VIII, arriving in 1937 and reviewing a squad of ϟϟ with Robert Ley before meeting Hitler at the Berghof. To Hitler's mind,
His successor, the weak and ill-prepared King George VI, was wholly in the grip of his "evil and anti-German advisers." When Edward, now Duke of Windsor, visited Berchtesgaden in October 1937 he told Hitler much that confirmed this view. Unfortunately, the record of their meeting would also vanish from the files captured in 1945. Hitler's War (46)
In front of the station and Hitler's own private entrance, constructed in 1940
Standing in front of the Rathaus and when the Yanks arrived, April 1945
The fresco on the right replaced the earlier one that celebrated the killing of Soviet soldiers
The official Berchtesgaden site: http://www.berchtesgadener-land.com/ind ... 845C898F63
The website for Frommer's guide: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/mu ... 30359.html
The website for Frommer's guide: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/mu ... 30359.html
In the summer of 1935 Hitler had decided to enlarge his modest country house into one more suitable for his public duties, to be known as the Berghof. He paid for the project out of his own money, but that was nothing but a gesture, since Bormann drew upon other sources for the subsidiary buildings, sums disproportionately greater than the amount Hitler himself provided.Hitler did not just sketch the plans for the Berghof. He borrowed drawing board, T-square, and other implements from me to draw the ground plan, renderings, and cross sections of his building to scale, refusing any help with the matter. There were only two other designs on which Hitler expended the personal care that he applied to his Obersalzberg house: that of the new Reich war flag and his own standard as Chief of State.Speer (85) Inside the Third Reich
Photos taken July 5, 1945
HITLER HAD RETURNED to the Berghof, high above the little Alpine town of Berchtesgaden, early on February 6, 1938. It was here that he always came when he had to ponder the path ahead. Ever since he had first been driven up the rough mountain paths on the pillion seat of a motorbike, he had been in love with this Obersalzberg mountainside – a green ridge straddling lakes and pine forests, velvet pastures and dairy herds. Here in the late 1920s he had purchased a cottage with the royalties earned by Mein Kampf and articles published under a pseudonym by the Hearst Press and the New York Times in America. Around this cottage he had built his Berghof. The air up here was clean and pure. ‘Fresh air is the finest form of nourishment,’ he would say.David Irving, Hitler's War, p.99
A terrific website showing the site today can be found at: http://chrishowells.co.uk/?page_id=22&cpage=1#comment-20482.
Rarely seen 1945 footage of the first American soldier entering the already partially looted Hitler's private bunker under the Berghof, near Berchtesgaden.The Cross of Lorraine indicates French troops came to liberate the wine
Air vents to the bunker complex
Steps leading up to the former Landhaus Göring.Atelier Speer
As the towns and cities crumpled in ruins, Göring vacationed at his mountain villa above Berchtesgaden, inferring that provided he did not bomb Churchill, the latter, being a gentle- man, would not bomb him. That spring of 1943 he met only infrequently with his Führer, now recuperating himself from the winter’s ordeals only a few hundred yards up the Obersalzberg hillside and brooding upon Citadel, his coming great tank offensive at Kursk.Irving (566) Göring: A Biography
The Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)
In the summer of 1937, Martin Bormann had observed how his Chief liked strolling down to the tea pavilion; he decided to construct for the Fuhrer a new teahouse to rival any other in the world. That August Bormann had selected the craggy peak of the 5,500-foot Kehlstein, not far from the Berghof, and personally hammered in the marking pegs together with Fritz Todt. By September 16, 1938, this ‘Eagle’s Nest’ was finished. At four P.M. Hitler, Todt, and Bormann drove up to the new eyrie – Bormann proud, but Hitler sceptical. He had known nothing of Bormann’s surprise plan until it was too late to revoke; according to Julius Schaub, Hitler blamed it on Bormann’s folie des grandeurs, smiled indulgently, and let himself be persuaded that it would serve to impress foreign visitors.
The new road ended some way below the Kehlstein’s peak. A parking area had been blasted out of the rockface, into which were set massive bronze doors, topped with a granite slab reading ‘Built 1938.’ The doors swung open and the car drove on into the mountain along a 170-yard tunnel wide enough for two cars to pass. At the tunnel’s end was a circular vault not unlike a church choir: facing them were bronze sliding doors. Bormann invited Hitler into the windowless room beyond the doors – an elevator with walls of polished brass, mirrors, and upholstered chairs. They were lifted to the very crest of the Kehlstein.
As Hitler stepped out, he found himself looking over a view even more majestic than from the Berghof. Hitler spent an hour up here. He was in fact silently alarmed by the thumping of his heart at this altitude, and he was short of breath (this he told his doctors). On the next day, the seventeenth, he took Dr. Goebbels and his senior henchmen up to this mountaintop retreat and briefed them about the talks with Chamberlain – this ‘ice-cool,’ calculating Englishman. He expressed high praise for their propaganda effort, saying: ‘We’ve half won the war already.’ Goebbels was optimistic that Prague would buckle under the war of nerves, but Hitler disagreed. ‘In 1948,’ he explained, ‘it will be just three hundred years since the Peace of Münster. We’ve got to liquidate that peace treaty by then.’ He visited this lofty eyrie only once more over the next few days, and only seldom afterward.David Irving (120-121) Hitler's War
Driving up from Berchtesgaden to the Eagle's Nest along the road made by Italians; a formidable technical feat- passing through five tunnels and offering breathtaking views. It climbs a dramatic 1,300 feet (800 metres) in just 3.9 miles (6.5 km). The Kehlsteinhaus was commissioned by Nazi party official Martin Bormann as a surprise birthday present for Adolf Hitler. From start to finish, the entire construction project – including the road – was completed in just 13 months. It was built under harsh conditions with machinery considered primitive by today’s standards. The project concluded in August 1938, prior to its formal presentation to Hitler on his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939. The right video shows a tour leading to and of the Eagle's Nest shot in 2007. At the end of the video is a couple of shots of the train station at Berchtesgaden, including Hitler's private terminal.
The ruins of it after the war
American GIs at the entrance to the 130 metre-long tunnel leading to the lift with 1938 foundation stone above and in front in 2007
Inside the tunnel to the lift, then and now
Furniture in lift waiting room that remains still whilst the lift itself sports brass walls
The Scharitzkehlzimmer or so-called Eva Braun Room and as it appears today, stripped of its RM 24,000 Gobelin tapestry
Large hall during Hitler's time, now serving as a restaurant
The site of the June 3, 1944 reception after the wedding of Eva Braun's younger sister Gretl to SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein, later shot in the last days of the bunker On the right is Hitler's own painting of the room...
Hitler on the terrace and a brief tour of the Eagle's Nest
The Kehlsteinhouse shown on top, with what had really served as Hitler's teehaus below on the Mooslahnerkopf with the same site from my guesthouse at night, still eerily lit up.The Eagle's Nest's website: http://www.eagles-nest.de/index2_e.htm
The teahouse had been built at one of Hitler's favourite lookout points above the Berchtesgaden valley. The company always marvelled at the panorama in the same phrases. Hitler always agreed in much the same language. The teahouse itself consisted of a round room about twenty- five feet in diameter, pleasing in its proportions, with a row of small-paned windows and a :6replace along the interior wall. The company sat in easy chairs around the round table, with Eva Braun and one of the other ladies again at Hitler's side. Those who did not find seats went into a small adjoining room. According to taste, one had tea, coffee, or chocolate, and various types of cake and cookies, followed by liqueurs. Here, at the coffee table, Hitler was particularly fond of drifting into endless monologues. The subjects were mostly familiar to the company, who therefore listened absently, though pretending attention. Occasionally
Hitler himself fell asleep over one of his monologues. The company then continued chatting in whispers, hoping that he would awaken in time for the evening meal. It was all very familial.
Speer (89) Inside the Third Reich
Other sites in southern Bavaria
Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (303):
In the early morning of the 30th a fast-moving column of cars tore down the road from Munich to Wiessee where Rohm and Heines were still asleep in their beds at the Hanselbauer Hotel. The accounts of what happened at Wiessee are contradictory. Heines, the S.A. Obergrappenfuhrer for Silesia, a convicted murderer who was found sleeping with one of Rohm's young men, is said to have been dragged out and shot on the road. Other accounts say he was taken to Munich with Rohm and shot there.Lambacher Hof
Hitler usually ordered preparations for the drive to "the mountain"-Obersalzberg. We rode over dusty highways in several open cars; the autobahn to Salzburg did not exist in those days, although it was being built on a priority basis. Usually the motorcade stopped for coffee in a village inn at Lambach am Chiemsee, which served delicious pastries that Hitler could scarcely ever resist. Then the passengers in the following cars once more swallowed dust for two hours, for the column rode in close file.
Speer (46) Inside the Third Reich
Hitler below the bridge in 1935 and today, the third pylon being added after the bridge had been bombed during the war.
Schloss LinderhofGradually the network of highways spread. They followed routes that engineers had previously claimed impassable, for example across broad moors like the south shore of Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria. Long viaducts like the Mangfall bridge, 200 feet high, were personally selected by Hitler from seventy competing designs, for their simple but solid lines: "What we’re building," he explained, "will still be standing long after we’ve passed on." He toured the sites and spoke with the workers. "When I’m as old as you," he flattered one seventy-year-old labourer at Darmstadt, "I’d like to be able to work like you now." In November 1936, he gave orders that the Reich’s western frontiers were to be marked on the autobahns by monuments 130 feet high. Hitler's War (21)
The town rathaus was built in 1939. The paintings remain on the façade save for the swastikas.
The rathaus in town, then and now
In 1936 this was the site of the Winter Olympic Games. Hitler had taken full advantage of the staging of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games in Garmisch- Partenkirchen and the summer games in Berlin to divert the attention of the German public and the international community as an whole from his military and political activities, in particular his goal of extending the military sovereignty of the Reich to the Rhineland and of prolonging the one-year compulsory military service to two years, having earlier chosen the shorter term of service only to make its introduction politically and psychologically more acceptable.
The rathaus in town, then and now
Standing in front of the Barracks for the Gebirgsartilleriebataillon 225 which still displays the WWII soldier on its façade. During the war, a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located in the town. Steve McQueen's motorcycle stunts and many other scenes in The Great Escape were filmed in and around the town.
Also in the Allgäu is this town where Hitler visited a number of times, speaking here at the Kornhaus on March 24, 1928. His July 30, 1932 speech produced the following line used as a Wochenspruch later in the opening weeks of the war: “I do not believe in any right that is not protected by force."