What do think of Third Reich architecture ?

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
Ezboard

What do think of Third Reich architecture ?

Post by Ezboard » 29 Sep 2002 15:36

John Brown
Visitor
(1/27/01 11:21:36 pm)
Reply What do think of Third Reich architecture ?
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I would like to get away from all the atrocity and war threads for a moment and ask the posters what they think of the architecture and designs of the Third Reich.Some like the new Reickskanzlerei were quite impressive in my opinion.Also the design on flags and pennants for various organizations are very catchy.See the website FLAGS OF THE WORLD at
fotw.vexillum.com/flags/de^933af.html#clf
For instance I collect stamps and the ones from the third reich are quite "modern" in design when compared to what was issued by other countries at the time,especially by the US.

Scott Smith
Member
Posts: 198
(1/28/01 1:38:49 am)
Reply Re: What do think of Third Reich architecture ?
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I like modern and neo-Gothic. But Speer's neo-Classical and neo-Baroque styles seem appropriate for government buildings, at least in a capital city.

pdhinkle
Member
Posts: 156
(1/28/01 2:08:37 am)
Reply Third Reich architecture ?
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By Speer or whom ever it is Impressive, massive and well built.

Marcus Wendel
Webmaster
Posts: 984
(1/28/01 12:37:41 pm)
Reply Re: What do think of Third Reich architecture ?
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John,

I like the neo-classical (or whatever the correct term is) design that was used/planned to be used on the major government buildings.
Did this architecture influence the regular buildings that were built during that period or did the continue to be built in the style that was used in the Weimar years?
Can anyone recommend a few books on the architecture of the Reich?

For images of Speer's work, check out this site: http://www.dataphone.se/~ms/speer/welcom.htm

The design used on things such as flags, medals and uniforms are also very fascinating, at least to me.

btw. the main Third Reich page of FOTW is at fotw.vexillum.com/flags/de193345.html

/Marcus

Geoff Walden
New Member
Posts: 1
(1/29/01 10:56:25 am)
Reply 3rd Reich Architecture Books
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A good period book on 3rd Reich architecture is Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938. It covers several different styles of architecture (including churches and private houses, as well as different types of government buildings) and has many good photos. Some of the styles were decidely modern ... even looking more like the 60s. The book also covers architectural sculpture.

I have a line on a post-war book, but I haven't seen it yet. Robert Scholz, "Architektur and bildende Kunst 1933-1945," Oldendorf, 1977.

Myself, I like the Speer/Troost style of neo-Classicism. It's easy to recognize while driving around in Germany. :)



Marcus Wendel
Webmaster
Posts: 991
(1/29/01 7:25:46 pm)
Reply Re: 3rd Reich Architecture Books
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Geoff,

Thanks, I'll try those books.

/Marcus

Geoff Walden
New Member
Posts: 2
(2/5/01 2:58:01 pm)
Reply Scholz architecture book
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I got a copy of the Scholz book. It covers not just architecture but also sculpture and painting. It is a good book, with a huge picture section.

For books in German, including this book and the Rittich book, you can order from http://www.zvab.com (don't order the DM38 copy of the Scholz book from the dealer in Schweinfurt - that's the one I picked up in his shop the other day :).

Geoff

Kaschner
Member
Posts: 38
(2/7/01 2:31:05 am)
Reply Third Reich Architecture
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Mr Brown, I'm sorry to say that I find Troost's and particularly Speer's architectural designs much too stolid, pompous, pretentious and overblown for my taste. From an architectural design give me the White House any time over the Reichskanzlei - although I must admit that I think the latter epitomizes the image that Hitler and the Nazis were looking for, and of course in that sense was a success. IMHO some of the stuff under Mussolini (e.g. the Foro Mussolini in Rome) captured the same image but was much finer - perhaps because the Italian architectural tradition stems directly from classical Rome. But the neo-classicism of both countries was Roman inspired, not Greek, and totally missed the harmony and elegance of the latter's architecture.

But I quite agree with you about flag designs. The conversion of the plain old three horizontally striped schwartz-weiss-rot flag of the 2d Empire into the Nazi flag, with the black swastica in a white circle on a red field, keeping the old colors but in a vigorous and energetic transformation was a marvel of inspiration. Every once in a while the Germans seem to come up with a design that to my mind truly captures the Platonic essence of a thing. What could be more pistol-like than the German "Luger" pistol? What could be more like an automobile should be than the Mercedes (at least during the 1930s)? More like a fighter aircraft ( WWI vintage) than the Albatross or the Fokker Tri-decker? More like a warrior's helmet than the Pickelhaube?

And I also agree with you about 3d Reich postage stamps, but only up to a point. (I'm a collector myself, and specialize in Germany, Plebiscite areas and Baltic States). Until they started putting Hitler's portrait on them I think the designs were excellent. They displayed a dynamic modernism that I find striking - as you say, far superior to anything we were producing in the US at the time (I sometimes think that during the late 1930s and most of the 1940s-and for several decades thereafter- the US must have felt itself to be in a contest to produce the ugliest stamps in the world.) They were also more attractive than the French stamps of the period, which I think surprising. But the idolization of Hitler by plastering his face on design after design I found offensive (although I have to admit the designs as such were pretty good). Even Stalin didn't stoop to that.

John Brown
Visitor
(2/7/01 3:45:44 am)
Reply stamps
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Pleasure to see a fellow collector on the forum,Mr.Kashner.Regarding the number of appearances of Hitler on stamps during the Third Reich,I must disagree with you.Except for the annual commemorative stamp for his birthday begun in 1937 (which was by the way the first time he appeared on stamps)and four Reichsparteitage,the only other stamps were of course the definitive set starting in 1941 which replaced the Hindenburg series.I'm more surprised that it took eight years before they put him on the regular issue. The president of Germany has always appeared on it's stamps starting in the Weimar era and continued in the Federal Republic (the Gustav Heineman series and others)and also during the DDR era.
I have to agree with you about Stalin though.I think he appeared less times on Soviet stamps but then again they plastered Lenin on every second stamp.
As far as comparing the White house with the Reichskanzlei,I don't know but having seen and toured the WH the first and only time in 1959 before major restorations where begun I was very disappointed and couldn't believe that this is the residency of the most powerful man in the world.






Kaschner
Member
Posts: 39
(2/7/01 7:15:14 pm)
Reply Stamps
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Mr Brown: You are of course quite right that Hitler's appearance on German stamps did not establish a precedent. Ebert and Hindenburg both appeared prominently during their presidency. I just think with Hitler it was a bit overdone (but I think their designs were well suited to their purpose). On reflection, I'm surprised that William II did not insist on being portrayed on stamps of the 2d Reich. His cousins in Russia and England were not so modest, and somehow it seems out of character. :-)

madJim
Visitor
(2/16/01 2:29:31 am)
Reply Speer
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In an interview Speer said of his plans: Looking back I'm glad it wasn't built, it would have been incredibly boring!

pdhinkle
Member
Posts: 202
(2/16/01 1:42:23 pm)
Reply Speer/2nd thoughts
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Like it has been said, for the time Speer was good and had Hitlers approval. It ran with the propoganda of the time. Few can create something eternal.

Goggi
Member
Posts: 204
(2/17/01 8:44:45 am)
Reply Architecture
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Mr Kaschner,
One of the reasons that Hitler appeared so often on the German stamps is the fee which everybody got when his face was used for postal purposes. Hitler's income from stamps was marvellous! ---
I agree with you that that the Third Reich Architecture was more Roman than Greek, but on the Romans was a heavy Greek influence and, therefore, I think it is best to summarize Speer's Designs as "Neo-Classical". Besides, I think, it is still to early to hand out final judgements about what was done and what was omitted: History will decide in the future! Architectural discussions started with the Tower of Babylon and, if you would have asked a slave just pushing up the big boulders on the ramps of the Pyramids, about the impression of the structure on mankind, I am not sure whether his judgement would have been positive! Let's wait and see!

Marcus: There are two art books which I can recommend:
"Art of the Third Reich" by Peter Adam (ISBN 0-8109-2615-6(pbk.))
"Art in the Third Reich" by Berthold Hinz (ISBN 0-394-41640-6). This is a translation of the German Title:"Die Malerei im deutschen Faschismus: Kunst und Konterrevolution".

Kaschner
Member
Posts: 60
(2/17/01 11:43:34 pm)
Reply Architecture
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Goggi: Thanks, I didn't know about the fee for appearing on German postage stamps. That explains a lot!
OK, but I'm afraid I'm not going to have all that much longer to wait and see.:-)

Marcus Wendel
Webmaster
Posts: 1034
(2/18/01 4:01:15 pm)
Reply Re: Architecture
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Goggi,

Thanks, I will try those books too.

/Marcus

Geoff Walden
New Member
Posts: 4
(2/20/01 9:56:08 am)
Reply Gerdy Troost's book
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Another good period book is Frau Professor Gerdy Troost's "Das Bau in Neuen Reich" (Bayreuth, various editions, 1938-40s). I just got a copy of the 1938 edition, which can be found pretty cheap. It has lots of good photos in it - the source for the architectural photos in most post-war books.

Gerdy Troost was the widow of architect Dr. Paul Ludwig Troost, and her husband's works feature prominently in the book.

Geoff

charing
New Member
Posts: 1
(3/18/01 4:09:15 am)
Reply Re: What do think of Third Reich architecture ?
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I taught a course on the architecture of the Third Reich in the late 1970's at Georgia Tech. In reality, while it had some contemporary influences, it was basically retrograde -- a throw back to more classical (for governmental reasons) and more Romantic (for propaganda reasons) architecture. What was most interesting was the scale: buildings designed -- and some built -- at a scale the architectural world had not seen since the visionary (and largely unbuilt)works of the 18th Century architects Gilly and Ledoux.

A number of good books exist in english and German on Architecture in the Third Reich. Some additional ones that haven't been mentioned are:

Teut, Anna ARCHITEKTUR IM DRITTEN REICH 1933-45 (1967)
Lane, Barbara Miller ARCHITECTURE AND POLITICS IN GERMANY 1918-1945 (1968)
Taylor, Robert THE WORD IN STONE: THE ROLE OF ARCHITECTURE IN THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY (1974)
Balfour, Alan BERLIN: THE POLITICS OF ORDER 1789-1987(Not entirely on the Third Reich)
Hochman, Elaine S. ARCHITECTS OF FORTUNE: MIES VAN DER ROHE AND THE THIRD REICH
Helmer, Stephen HITLER'S BERLIN: THE SPEER PLANS FOR RESHAPING THE CITY


Lee Dunagan



Max Martinson
Visitor
(3/21/01 2:00:21 pm)
Reply Architecture as an Expresson of it's Creator
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There is a well established principle that states that good architecture should be an expression of the culture that creates it. The Nazi architecture does actually a pretty good job at giving an expression of the time and place where it was created. The well known plans for Berlin are by far not the best the architecture of the Reich has to offer (eventhough the former Luftwaffe headquarters is quite impressive; the last time I visited Berlin this was the main office of the Treuhand, state office for privatization of East-German industry etc. only the eagle was missing).

For connoisseurs I would recommend the town of Linz in Austria. It was ment to become one of "Gau" capitals of the future German state. Seen with an architects eyes many of the efects used are quite ingenious.

Remains of this architecture can be found in many parts of Europe. Look especially for windowpanes in travertine. Plans of many cities/town in countries like Norway are still influenced by the choises made during the occupation.

Talking of travertine. Mies van der Rohe, the world famous architect, was no foe to nazism to begin with (take a look at the sculpture at his Barcelona world fair pavilion... ring any bells). His classicistic ideals were to an extent compatible with his "more darkly brown" colleagues. He too built on the tradition of Prussian classicists like Schinkell. Van der Rohe ended up fleeing to the U.S. before the war and being of paramount influence in corportate and public architecture in all of the western world (there is peculiar paralell in von Braun's carees...).

When it comes to Italian Fascist arichitecture: there were two schools. The southern school, in the Rome region, produced the works most commonly associated with Mussolini. However the true gems are to be found in the north. The two masters of this school were Fignini and Terragni. Especially Terragni's Casa del Fascio by the Lake Como is a real masterpiece (presently a police station). Because of these buildings Le Corbusier (an other of the truly great architects) was for a long time a great fan of Mussolini's.

I am a practicing architect with a masters degree and have always been a great fan of the esthetics of the third reich. For the truly hard core fan I can give a "Geheim Tipp". In the small Norwegian county of Valer in the province of Østfold there is an island in the Oslo fjord where the German used to have a query for the local granit. The production of building stones was also done on the island. Many of these stones are still there. Which building they were actually ment for I don't know but the island is a true monument to the rise and ruin of somebodys dream...

Cantankerous
Member
Posts: 525
Joined: 01 Sep 2019 21:22
Location: Newport Coast

Re: What do think of Third Reich architecture ?

Post by Cantankerous » 11 Feb 2021 20:49

The dome of the Volkshalle reminds me of the dome of the one famous cathedral in Florence, and the columns of the entrance to the Volkshalle are similar to those of neoclassical buildings. However, it strikes me that many government buildings, including the headquarters of the RLM, combined neoclassical columns with utilitarian architecture. The planned Triumphal Arch would have been impressive had it been built, similar to the Arc de Triomphe.

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