Monday 13 August 2012

WWII week: berlin calling

We don’t pretend to be historians or true Kriegstourists, but I was noticing that we have visited and happened upon quite a few significant relics and reminders of World War II, especially Nazi Germany’s enduing monuments and dread ambitions. Here is the next installment of this series—this time from the capital. Berlin’s architecture is framed in the styles of many eras and diverse regimes, from Prussian princes to the German Democratic Republic, and has many other examples of war time buildings besides—like the old Tempelhof airport, but the Olympic stadium and park that hosted the 1936 summer games was a showcase of propaganda for all the world to see.
Live television broadcasts (among the first in the world ) of the events and invocation also went down as the Earth’s first embassy to the rest of the Universe—signals beamed transnationally and then escaping into space at the speed of light for any other civilization with a sensitive enough aerial antenna to receive. Another strange assembly gathered because of the fighting and desire to create spectacle are these heroic statues in the forecourt of the Citadel at Spandau. These historic German figures were removed from their spots along Siegsalle (Victory Alley)—along with the Siegssaule (The Victory Column, which was originally in front of the Parliament Building, the Bundestag)—because they were in the way of Albert Speer’s plans to create the World-Capital Germania, with a colossal peoples’ hall spanning this avenue. Speer’s plans were never realized and with subsequent revolutions, the statues have been in storage ever since.