Germania: A Nightmare Deferred March 17, 2013Posted by Beachcombing in : Contemporary , trackback
‘Egypt’s might is tumbled down/ Down a-down the deeps of thought;/ Greece is fallen and Troy town,/ Glorious Rome hath lost her crown,/ Venice’s pride is nought./ But the dreams their children dreamed/ Fleeting, unsubstantial, vain/ Shadowy as the shadows seemed/ Airy nothing, as they deemed,/ These remain.’
Beautiful poem Mary (Coleridge), but thankfully some of ‘the dreams their children dreamed’ remained in the museum of nasty platonic ideals. Take that Nazi wet dream, World Capital Germania: Berlin revamped to take on its new role as whip-handed global master. Here in marble and white dressed stones Hitler and his chief architect Albert Speer fantasized with lego bricks and papermache while the real Reich was collapsing under the weight of American and British bombs and Soviet steel and lead. The only substantial part of Germania to be built was the Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens memorably humiliated Hitler in 1936. Unlike their fascist cousins over the Alps Nazi architects did not prove world beaters. In fact, most modern architects looking at the remains of Speers designs cannot even bring themselves to get moralistic, they are felled by the square monolithic mediocrity of Hitler’s ‘words in stone’, row after row of militaristic dolls house with some faux classical flourishes.
At the centre of the city was to be the five kilometre Prachtallee the Wonder Boulevard, down which Germany’s returning legionaries would march after their victories in Brazil, Alaska and India. Never trust a society that wants to put a marching ground at the heart of their civilization. A park, a financial district, a patch of green ok, but if you hear the sound of marching feet, reach for your maxim gun (should you have one). Other highlights included the Grosse Halle (the Great Hall). Here 180,000 Berliners (Germaniaers) were to come and to listen to an eighty-year old Hitler recall ‘the good old days’ when German soldiers were murdering every man woman and child east of the German border.
What with the crap buildings, the girls walking with pom-poms next to battle-hardened SS on the Wonder Boulevard and the constant speech-making Germania would probably have had a pretty bad write up from Lonely Planet. Where not to spend your summer holidays…
There are three types of images that survive of Germania. First, there are the designs themselves, some of which are sprinkled above. Second, there are the photographs showing Hitler and Speer salivating over their toys: in some cases at a date when they must have known that it would never happen. Then, third, and frustratingly we have not been able to find these, there are pictures of Germania ruined, in the 1001 year of the thousand year reich. Hitler specifically asked Speer to create these because he wanted to make sure when his civilization was done, the wreck would be worthy of the memory of Germania. Its bad enough to meet human beings who worry constantly what their society looks like, rather than how that society operates: there is something far worse about someone who is worried about the dressage a millennium from now. Can anyone find or supply any of these images? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The WWW deserves them…
31 March 2012: GOPartisan writes in ‘Perhaps the chief reason Hitler wanted to change the name of the capital to ‘Germania’ is that the word ‘Berlin’ has Slavic roots.’ Thanks GOP!