ten Nazi architecture
Welthauptstadt Germania World Capital Germania
|Fascist Stripped Classical (German) Not dis-similar to Washington D.C.|
|North-South Axis- Main Avenue with the Grosser Platz and the Grosse Hall above and the Triumphal Arch below.|
|East-West Axis, with the repositioned Siegessaeule.|
|Speer's famous streetlight design.|
Welthauptstadt ("World Capital") Germania was the name Adolf Hitler gave to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin, part of his vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II. Albert Speer, "the first architect of the Third Reich", produced many of the plans for the rebuilt city, only a small portion of which was realized before World War II.
The title "Welthauptstadt" was chosen because it was felt that Berlin's architecture was at that time too provincial and that there was need to put Berlin on a par with and exceed the quality of other world capitals such as London, Paris and Washington, D.C.
Some projects, such as the creation of a great city axis, which included broadening Charlottenburger Chaussee (today Straße des 17. Juni) and placing the Siegessäule in the center, far away from the Reichstag, where it originally stood, succeeded. Others, however, such as the creation of the Große Halle (Great Dome), had to be shelved due to the beginning of war.
The Olympiastadion in 1993, its pre-War architecture intact. Photo: James G. Howes.The first step in these plans was the Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics.This stadium would promote the rise of the Nazi government. 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 second Chancellery was destroyed by the Soviet army in 1945.
Almost none of the other buildings planned for Berlin were ever built. Berlin was to be reorganized along a central three-mile long avenue running through the Tiergarten. This would have served as a parade ground, and have been closed off to traffic. Vehicles would have instead been diverted into an underground highway running directly underneath the parade route; sections of this highway's tunnel structure were built, and still exist today. At the north end of the avenue, Speer planned to build an enormous domed building, the Volkshalle (people's hall), would still remain the largest enclosed space in the world. Although war came before the building could be built, all the necessary land was acquired, and the engineering plans were worked out. The building would be over two hundred meters (700 feet) high and two hundred and fifty meters (800 feet) in diameter, sixteen times larger than the dome of St. Peter's. At the southern end of the avenue would be an arch based on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but again, much larger; it would be almost a hundred meters (330 feet) high, and the Arc de Triomphe would have been able to fit inside its opening. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 caused the decision to postpone construction until after the war to save strategic materials.
Doubts persisted at the time as to whether the marshy Berlin ground could have taken the load of the proposed projects, leading to the construction of an exploration building (Schwerbelastungskörper, literal translation: Heavy load-bearing body), which still exists. It is basically an extremely heavy block of concrete used by the architects to test how much weight the ground was able to carry. Instruments monitored how far the block sank into the ground. The Schwerbelastungskörper sank 7 inches in the three years it was to be used for testing, a maximum depth of 2.5 inches was allowed. Using the evidence gathered by these gargantuan devices, it is unlikely the soil could have supported such structures without further preparation. 
Since there are no other references to the term "Welthauptstadt Germania" other than Albert Speer's autobiography, it is nowadays disputed whether the term was actually used by Hitler or if it had been made up by Speer himself.
At the time of the initial invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa) in June 1941, Hitler expected to win victory in World War II by 1945, and he then planned, after completing the construction of the Welthauptstadt Germania plan, to hold a great World's Fair in Berlin in 1950 and then retire to his hometown of Linz.
In his 1992 Robert Harris, author of the alternative history novel Fatherland, insists that Hitler's and Speer's vision of rebuilt and monumental Berlin would have been realized by 1964. Other researchers into the logistics of Hitler's Welthaupstadt have claimed that, owing to both the sheer amount of marble required and Berlin's marshy foundations, Germania would have sunk into the ground within a few years.
^ Speer, Albert (1970). Inside the Third Reich. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-82949-5.
^ History Channel, Cities Of The Underworld: Episode: 01 - Hitler's Underground Lair (5/5/07)
^ Speer, Albert Inside the Third Reich New York:1970--Macmillan P.139
Washington D.C. to Welthauptstadt Germania comparison?
Adolf Hitler planned to re-model Berlin and name it Welthauptstadt ("World Capital") Germania. It would have been a city full of towering, white, Greek and Roman-style imposing architecture.
Hitler wanted to impress the world by showing Nazi Germany's apparent strength through her capital's architecture.
I recently arrived back from Washington D.C. and I was struck at how similar the city compared to Hitler's idea of a great city.
Did Hitler and the Americans share the same aspirations for greatness and almost desperate desire to prove their power to the world?
Special thanks to Michael Shanks http://documents.stanford.edu/MichaelShanks/Home
"Speer was directed to make plans to rebuild Berlin, which was to become the capital of a supra-German state -- Welthauptstadt Germania. The first step in these plans was the Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics. 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 himto build a third, even larger Chancellery, although it was never begun. The second Chancellery was destroyed by the Soviet army in 1945.
Almost none of the other buildings planned for Berlin were ever built. Berlin was to be reorganized along a central three-mile long avenue. At the north end, Speer planned to build an enormous domed building, based on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The dome of the building would have been impractically large; it would be over seven hundred feet high and eight hundred feet in diameter, sixteen times larger than the dome of St. Peter's. At the southern end of the avenue would be an arch based on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but again, much larger; it would be almost four hundred feet high, and the Arc de Triomphe would have been able to fit inside its opening. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to the abandonment of these plans."
Notice how scale becomes key: larger than Versailles, larger than St. Peter's, larger, larger, larger. Architecture as monumentality on an unbelievably bombastic scale.
Plan of Main Avenue.
Central Berlin with the Main Avenue in the lower center.
Grosse Halle seem from under the Triumphal Arch.
By Arno Breker
From "The Scotsman"
Nazis' capital becomes a German internet hit
Allan Hall In Berlin
IT was to be Hitler’s Rome, the capital of the dictator’s 1,000-year reich, complete with triumphal avenue and a huge dome to hold 180,000 people for political rallies. But Germania was never built, and the country turned its back on the plans.
Now, however, thousands of Germans are now turning to a website to see a 3D animation of what Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer, had planned .
Since the company behind the project offered posters and an interactive CD of Germania last month, its website - panorama-berlin.de - has become the most visited in Germany. A company spokesman said: "There is a great deal of interest in what the capital might have turned out like. This is not a Nazi freak show, but satisfying an historical hunger."
|Special thanks to Michael Shanks