Showing posts with label Reichstag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reichstag. Show all posts

Pariser Platz and Reichstag


During the time of two totalitarian dictatorships
From the first British cover of the bestselling 1992 thriller by Robert Harris set in a world in which Germany won World War II to providing the inspiration for the entrance to a millionaire's estate on Xiaoyun Road here in the capital of 'communist' China.
 
Pariser Platz during the official reception of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in May 1901; within two decades she will play host to Kaiser Wilhelm II after his abdication. The square was named after the French defeat in 1815 and now is again the premier square in Berlin, after having fallen with the so-called 'Death Strip' during the time of the Berlin Wall.
 
During the March 1920 Kapp putsch and the same site today, looking towards Unter der Linden. On March 13, 1920 Walther von Luettwitz personally activated a putsch, ordered Freikorps units into Berlin, and designated New York-born Dr. Wolfgang Kapp the new Chancellor. Kapp had been a member of the right-wing DNVP and, with like-minded individuals such as Erich Ludendorff, Colonel Max Bauer, and Waldemar Pabst, formed the Nationale Vereinigung (National Union) in October 1919. He was dedicated to the removal of the Republic and creation of a conservative dictatorship. At the start of the putsch, the legal government fled to Stuttgart. Because of insufficient preparations, the putschists failed to secure the support of Berlin’s bureaucracy, including the Reichsbank, and were greeted on 14 March by a general strike that doomed the action. Kapp resigned on 17 March and, with imprisonment threatening, fled to Sweden. When the 1922 trial of Traugott von Jagow, Kapp’s Interior Minister, fostered the view that the putschists had acted only as patriotic Germans, Kapp came home. Seriously ill with cancer, he surrendered to the Supreme Court and died before his case was decided. As aftermath to the foiled putsch, Germany’s internal politics were polarised: the Right became more adamant in its disapproval of the Republic, while the Left demanded resumption of the November Revolution. The uprising in the Ruhr of a so-called Red Army, a by-product of the putsch, compelled the hapless government to rely on the same Freikorps units that had just tried to displace it. German voters discerned the impairment of purpose. When elections were held in June 1920, the Weimar Coalition lost its majority; it would never regain it.  
The site during the last stage of the Battle of Berlin; the "Altbau" from the IG-Farben building behind the T34/85 is now a Starbucks.
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The Nazis' triumphal procession January 30, 1933 upon Hitler's appointment as Chancellor.
On 30 January 1933, the night of Hitler’s appointment to the chancellorship, massed Nazi marchers, mostly stormtroopers, poured through Berlin streets to the Brandenburg gate, waving torches and singing. They moved on past the Reich Chancellery where Hitler and Hindenburg stood on a balcony. Now the exodus began in earnest. Playwright Bertold Brecht left quickly for Vienna. Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, of “Three-Penny Opera” fame, fled to Paris. A number of conductors and composers fled to Switzerland or America. The unique, feverish, turbulent, and recklessly hedonistic Berlin of the twenties was gone.


 
When Hitler had been appointed Chancellor January 30, 1933, SA troops marched through. This painting by Arthur Kampf depicting this march makes a number of appearances in the video game Return to Castle Wolfenstein
 
Other parades through the Gate took place when Mussolini visited in 1937, for Hitler's 50th birthday in 1939, and in 1940 when the Wehrmacht celebrated their blitzkrieg triumphs over Poland and France.
 
Hitler August 1st 1936 at the opening of the Summer Olympic Games.A model for the Beijing Games set in another totalitarian regime:

With the Canadian flag in front during the Olympics and what appears to be the Bermudan Governor's flag on the right from a National Geographic article in the February 1937 issue titled "Changing Berlin". http://imperialflags.blogspot.com



Hitler's 50th Birthday celebrations
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Complete Agfachrome colour Nazi propaganda film from 1936 providing a portrait of everyday life in Berlin in this rare, well preserved film. Original soundtrack sans subtitles.

The site after the Third Reich. Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery joins the Deputy Supreme Commander in Chief of the Red Army, Marshal G Zhukov, the Commander of the 21st Army Group, Marshal Sokolovsky and General K Rokossovsky of the Red Army as they leave the Brandenburg Gate after decorating them at the July 12, 1945 ceremony.
The Brandenburg Gate had become the main focus for barter and the black market at the beginning of May, when liberated prisoners of war and forced labourers traded their loot. Ursula von Kardorff found all sorts of women prostituting themselves for food or the alternative currency of cigarettes. `Willkommen in Shanghai,' remarked one cynic. Young women of thirty looked years older, she noticed.
 
It is still possible to honour the Red Army's victory today (although an American tourist found reason to be offended in the contempt shown for her flag) provided one doesn't dwell on its "excesses"...
Does Djilas, who is himself a writer, not know what human suffering and the human heart are? Can't he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?
Stalin responding to complaints about the rapes and looting committed by the Red Army during the Second World War. Milovan Djilas, Conversations with Stalin, p. 95. Stalin would also suggest that "We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have their initiative."
The Soviets had known where to find the wine: 65,000 bottles of claret had been located to this end, and others beside. They had taken it from a walled-up section of the cellars of Berlin’s best hotel, the Adlon. The fate of the hotel was sealed by the discovery of the wine cellar. Russian lorries came to take away the contents, and very soon a fire broke out that was to destroy one of the few buildings in the street that had survived the conflict.

Before and after the war
The Gate today superimposed over the same view in 1989

Embassy of the United States of America

 
The American embassy after the war and after its official opening July 4, 2008.The night before he was murdered Rathenau spent at a dinner here given by Ambassador Alanson Houghton followed by a talk "that lasted until four o'clock in the morning with Hugo Stinnes, who disagreed often enough with him but at the same time admired many things he stood for." The Making of Adolf Hitler

The US Embassy in 1939 is on the left in this picture. USA is printed on the roof in an attempt to minimise damage from accidental aerial bombings which was impossible given its proximity to the Reichschancellery. The Brandenburg Gate is to the right. On the right is a photo of my school group in 2011.

On the other side of Pariser Platz, the French Embassy has recently been rebuilt on the site of France's prewar embassy.

Hotel Adlon
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One of the most famous hotels before the war, hosting the likes of Chaplin in his heyday, it was used as an hospital during the war with a luxury bunker below, its ruins were destroyed with its new incarnation rebuilt in 1997.

After Keitel had handed over a document signed by Dönitz confirming the unconditional surrender arranged in Rheims the day before ending the war,
[t]here were four full hours of toasts and many of the soldiers were literally under the table. When the festivities came to an end there was a massive cannonade, which some Berliners misinterpreted, imagining the war had started up all over again. The Soviets had known where to find the wine: 65,000 bottles of claret had been located to this end, and others beside. They had taken it from a walled-up section of the cellars of Berlin’s best hotel, the Adlon. The fate of the hotel was sealed by the discovery of the wine cellar. Russian lorries came to take away the contents, and very soon a fire broke out that was to destroy one of the few buildings in the street that had survived the conflict.

Left: May 3 1945 Right: The hotel beside Stalin's Portrait

Soviet soldiers hoisting the Soviet flag on the balcony of the Hotel Adlon.

The Adlon was the hotel where Michael Jackson infamously dangled his baby out of the window of his room on the third floor, holding it with one arm under its shoulders in November, 2002:
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Former Central Office of the Inspector General for Construction in the Reich Capital (Albert Speer's Office)
On the site near Albert Speer's former HQ was a timely display reminder about another fascist, single-party regime recently awarded the right to host the Olympics.
After a 56
million Euro restoration, Berlin's Academy of the Arts re-opened at its historic location at Pariser Platz 4 between the Adlon Hotel and Brandenburg Gate. Founded in 1696, the Academy of the Arts offers a look back at a turbulent history that includes Nazi domination, destruction during World War II, and the takeover by GDR Border Patrol after the division of Berlin. Designed by architects Behnisch & Partner and Werner Durth, the new glass and steel building is meant to reflect the dimensions of its original structure. Remnants of the former Academy have also been incorporated in the design, mirroring the building's history and destruction. Hitler had easy access to this building from his Chancellery which housed his 30 metre-long model for the reconstruction of Berlin:
The proposed Great Hall of the People (Große Halle, Halle des Volkes) with the Brandenburg Gate beside it for comparison.
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A brief computerised tour of the Berlin Speer had intended to construct (in German). A member of the Nazi Party from 1932, Albert Speer came to prominence when he organised the spectacular Party Rally at Nuremberg in 1934. Lasting for an entire week, the rally took as its theme, the Triumph of the Will, a celebration of the victory of National Socialism, and the establishment of Hitler's Reich. From this time onwards, Speer' s rise through the ranks of the Nazi hierarchy was assured. An architect by training, Speer went on to dominate the architectural climate of the Third Reich, working with Hitler on a range of huge and ostentatious projects, including plans for the complete rebuilding of Berlin. But of these schemes, few were ever to come to fruition, and of those that did fewer still were to survive the war.
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In this short trailer, Speer's work has been recreated in a detailed virtual 3D model, from his first commission for the Nazi Party in 1932, to the "Great Hall" that Hitler wished him to complete before 1950. This makes it possible to draw a direct comparison between the historic architecture of the old Berlin, and the buildings that were constructed and planned by the Nazis. Some of these buildings, which were originally erected under Albert Speer, still dominate the cityscape of modern Berlin, although their origin is largely unknown today.
Focusing on the time period between 1932 and 1940, the historic buildings of Voss Street were digitally recreated for this film. Aside from the architectural highlights on the street, such as the Ministry of Justice, the Bavarian legation and Palais Mosse, the film also discusses the building where Albert Speer executed his first contract for the Nazi Party in 1932. The way in which the construction of the New Reich's Chancellery influenced the character of the street is demonstrated, as well as the expansion of Voss Street that would have taken place by 1950. This expansion was never carried out, and formed part of the plans for the new Reich's Capital -- "Germania".
According to Hitler, Berlin could now finally become a 'truly’ German capital city: it was to be totally rebuilt and renamed Germania. Historians have devoted considerable attention to Hitler’s plans for the rebuilding of Berlin, but they have rarely acknowledged their effect on both the face of tourist Berlin and the meaning of a visit to the capital between 1933 and 1945. Yet it is impossible to overestimate the degree to which Berlin’s new buildings – among them, the Reich Chancellery, the Reich Sport Field, the Reich Ministry of Transportation and the Reich Aviation Ministry – became key sights for visitors to the city.
The Reichstag

The Gate and Reichstag in 1947
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Travel writer Andrew Quested in front of the Reichstag, Germany's parliament in Berlin. The name together with its monumental size make most people associate Germany's neoclassical parliamentary building with the Nazis, but Hitler and his party have little history here. After hosting parliamentary sessions since 1894, one month after Hitler was appointed chancellor in January 1933, it was set on fire by Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe. In the years during which it abutted the Wall as a conference centre, West Berliners played football on its lawn, while later artist Christo famously wrapped it in cloth. It did not serve as parliament again until a reunited German government returned to Berlin in 1999. Renovated by Sir Norman Foster, this building is perhaps the most public federal building in the world through its glass-dome tourist attraction. On the rooftop, photographs documenting the building's history circle the rim above the parliament chamber. Two ramps spiral up the side of the dome, an engineering feat even more fascinating than the panoramic view from the top.
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Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933 with scene from the film Rise of Evil depicting event.
On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag caught fire. When the police arrived they found Marinus van der Lubbe on the premises. After being tortured by the Gestapo he confessed to starting the Reichstag Fire. However he denied that he was part of a Communist conspiracy. Hermann Goering refused to believe him and he ordered the arrest of several leaders of the German Communist Party (KPD). When Hitler heard the news about the fire he gave orders that all leaders of the German Communist Party should "be hanged that very night." Paul von Hindenburg vetoed this decision but did agree that Hitler should take "dictatorial powers". KPD candidates in the election were arrested and Hermann Goering announced that the Nazi Party planned "to exterminate" German communists.
On 23rd March, 1933, the German Reichstag passed the Enabling Bill. This banned the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party from taking part in future election campaigns. This was followed by Nazi officials being put in charge of all local government in the provinces (7th April), trades unions being abolished, their funds taken and their leaders put in prison (2nd May), and a law passed making the Nazi Party the only legal political party in Germany (14th July).
Standing inside the preserved section of tunnel that connected the Reichstag to Goering's office across the street. According to Shirer (since pretty much discredited),
From Goering’s Reichstag President’s Palace an underground passage, built to carry the central heating system, ran to the Reichstag building. Through this tunnel Karl Ernst, a former hotel bellhop who had become the Berlin S,A. leader, led a small detachment of storm troopers on the night of February 27 to the Reichstag, where they scattered gasoline and self-igniting chemicals and then made their way quickly back to the palace the way they had come. At the same time a half-witted Dutch Communist with a passion for arson, Marinus van der Lubbe, had made his way into the huge, darkened and to him unfamiliar building and set some small fires of his own. This feeble-minded pyromaniac was a godsend to the Nazis, He had been picked up by the S.A. a few days before after having been overheard in a bar boasting that he had attempted to set fire to several public buildings and that he was going to try the Reichstag next. The coincidence that the Nazis had found a demented Communist arsonist who was out to do exactly what they themselves had determined to do seems incredible but is nevertheless supported by the evidence.

The council chamber then and now

Reichstag Memorial

Dieter Appett's memorial directly in front of the Reichstag commemorating the 96 Social Democratic and Communist Reichstag delegates murdered under the Third Reich.

Memorial room inside the Reichstag dedicated to those members killed or victimised during the NSDAP regime.


The photo on the right shows Berliners growing crops to supplement their rations in the south face of the ruin once the debris had been cleared. The same area today is parkland as seen in my photo below:

May 15, 1919, amidst a protest against the Versailles treaty, and today.  
More Soviet soldiers died getting from where I'm standing to get the picture of the Soviet standard on the roof for Stalin than the British, Canadians and Americans who died storming the beaches at Normandy...
The most costly photograph ever taken showing Mikhail Yegorov and Meliton Kantaria of the 756th Rifle Regiment raising a handmade Soviet flag over the Reichstag.
While the loose scrum fought in chaos, two men of the banner group tried to slip past to race for the roof with their red flag. They managed to reach the second floor before they were pinned down by machine-gun fire. The regiment claimed that a second attempt at 10.50 p.m. succeeded and the red flag flew from the cupola of the Reichstag. This version must be treated with extreme caution, since Soviet propaganda was fixated with the idea of the Reichstag being captured by 1 May. Whatever the exact time, the `hoisting of the Red Flag of Victory' was a superficial gesture at that stage, since even the official accounts acknowledge the ferocity of the fighting, which continued all night. As the Soviet troops fought their way upstairs, the Germans from the cellars attacked them from behind. At one point Lieutenant Klochkov saw a group of his soldiers crouched in a circle as if examining something on the floor. They all suddenly leaped back together and he saw that it was a hole. The group had just dropped grenades in unison on to the heads of unsuspecting Germans on the floor below.
Russian graffiti inside the Reichstag in Berlin written by victorious Soviet soldiers in 1945. Hidden for 30 years, the graffiti was rediscovered by architect Sir Norman Foster and his team when they began work on the building in 1995 and preserved as part of the concept of the Reichstag as a "living museum" of German history.
The Nazis' enemies had first been able to visualize their moment of vengeance just over two years before. On 1 February 1943, an angry Soviet colonel collared a group of emaciated German prisoners in the rubble of Stalingrad. "That's how Berlin is going to look!" he yelled, pointing to the ruined buildings all around. When I read those words some six years ago, I sensed immediately what my next book had to be. Among the graffiti preserved on the Reichstag's walls in Berlin, one can still see the two cities linked by Russians exulting in their revenge, forcing the invaders from their furthest point of eastward advance right back to the heart of the Reich.
From the preface to Antony Beevor's
Sergey Larenkov is a photographer who blends photos from WWII with current ones; here are a few of his showing the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate from http://sergey-larenkov.livejournal.com/
  
 
 In the first week of March, 2011, a 30-year old Canadian tourist was arrested on Saturday for posing for a photograph while giving the infamous Nazi salute outside the Reichstag according to the Telegraph. Berlin police arrived on the scene within seconds, handcuffed him and took his camera's memory card. The pose is a chargeable offence of up to six months in prison, yet the man was freed after being held in custody for several hours.


Konzerthaus Clou (Markthalle III)
 
Here on May 1 1927 the first mass event of the Nazis in Berlin where Adolf Hitler appeared took place. The Nazi propaganda papers “Völkischer Beobachter”, “Schwarzes Korps” and “Der Angriff” were also printed here. The Gestapo used the building for torture and interrogations. The hall served as an assembly camp for hundreds of Jewish forced labourers before their deportation. After the war the building became a no-go area because the Berlin Wall was built right in front of it and the border guards of the DDR used it. Next to the entrance is a plaque describing the history of this building

Swiss Embassy

 
The Swiss Embassy near the Reichstag was used as Soviet Red Army HQ during the battle for Berlin. This building is in fact the only one to emerge intact after the war.


 제1차 세계 대전 제2차 세계 대전 홀로코스트 뉘른베르크 전범 재판 하인리히 히믈러 나치 신나치주의 신비주의 히틀러 암살 미수 사건 독일 에바 브라운 겔리 라우발 브론디 베니토 무솔리니 이오시프 스탈린 하인리히 호프만 하인리히 바그너 나치당 파시스트당 파시즘 사회주의 계획경제 에르빈 롬멜 하인리히 괴링 블라디미르 레닌 샤를 드골 알베르트 슈페어 카를 되니츠 살러시 페렌츠 프란시스코 프랑코 히로히토 게르만 신화 흑마술 낭만주의