Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hitler's new chancellery

For building the Neue Reichkanzlei (Reich Chancellery), Hitler issued a blank cheque to his favorite architect Albert Speer. (In fact, the total costs exceeded 90 Million Reichsmark, more than a billion dollars today.)

Hitler wanted to create an impressive building to wow foreign diplomats, who were supposed to be intimidated by having to walk hundreds of meters through the building on expensive yet slippery marble before they would meet the F├╝hrer.

The sheer dimensions of the rooms and hallways (some up to 20 meters in heights) and the extravagant decorations (nearly 150 paintings were bought from museums) were designed to reflect the power of the Third Reich and instill in the visitor a sense of worthlessness.

Even though the building was only lightly damaged by air bombings, the Soviet occupation force decided to tear it down shortly after the ending of the war, as it had become one of the symbols of the Nazi reign. Some pieces of the extraordinary marble mosaics are said to have been reused in a Berlin subway station.

einestages: 70 Jahre Neue Reichskanzlei

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