Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nazi architecture I

Nazi architecture rejected modem style. Official Nazi policy required a monumental neoclassical design for big buildings. This is the outside of the giant Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

Given that the Nazis believed in the intrinsic grandeur of the German nation and tile role of the party in cultivating this, art was expected to illustrate the power and self-confidence of the German people, and to demonstrate in tangible form how the Nazis had helped to achieve this. As no cultural product is more instantly tangible than bricks and mortar, it was to architecture that the Nazis turned to give expression to this claim. The emphasis here was on gigantic, monumental buildings. Probably the most famous of these is the complex built at Nuremberg for the Nazi Party rallies. Nothing illustrates better the sense of how architecture could promote the message of German splendour than Nazi plans to transform Berlin into the new imperial capital city, "Germania". The plans set out deliberately to rival the glory of ancient Rome by building everything in the neo-classical style and on an enormous scale. Accordingly, the centrepiece of the scheme was to be a great hall, 16 times bigger than St Peter's in Rome, with a dome that rose 290m (951 ft) into the air. It was to be an unmistakable, marble-clad statement of both the glory of the German people and the strength and permanence of the Nazi regime.

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