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Hitler's Berlin

Hitler's Berlin: Abused City

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    Hitler's Berlin
    Book Description:

    From his first visit to Berlin in 1916, Hitler was preoccupied and fascinated by Germany's great capital city. In this vivid and entirely new account of Hitler's relationship with Berlin, Thomas Friedrich explores how Hitler identified with the city, how his political aspirations were reflected in architectural aspirations for the capital, and how Berlin surprisingly influenced the development of Hitler's political ideas.

    A leading expert on the twentieth-century history of Berlin, Friedrich employs new and little-known German sources to track Hitler's attitudes and plans for the city. Even while he despised both the cosmopolitan culture of the Weimar Republic and the profound Jewish influence on the city, Hitler was drawn to the grandiosity of its architecture and its imperial spirit. He dreamed of transforming Berlin into a capital that would reflect his autocracy, and he used the city for such varied purposes as testing his anti-Semitic policies and demonstrating the might of the Third Reich. Illuminating Berlin's burdened years under Nazi subjection, Friedrich offers new understandings of Hitler and his politics, architectural views, and artistic opinions.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18488-4
    Subjects: History, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  6. Preface
    (pp. x-xiv)
    Thomas Friedrich
  7. 1 ‘It’s a wonderful city’ 1916–18: HITLER’S EARLY VISITS TO BERLIN
    (pp. 1-20)

    The building still exists. It is one of those countless blocks of rented flats that were built in Berlin and the surrounding area from around 1830 – the start of the Industrial Revolution in Germany. Even by that date the city was already growing exponentially. Each year another ten thousand immigrants would arrive, so that by 1877 the city’s population was over a million. By 1905 that figure had doubled. After that, the growth rate declined, but only because better transport links meant that the suburbs and neighbouring communities were able to absorb the influx of new arrivals: the municipality...

  8. 2 ‘Not away from Berlin but towards Berlin’ 1919–25: A SOCIAL CLIMBER FROM MUNICH ON HIS WAY NORTH
    (pp. 21-49)

    Early in the afternoon of 17 March 1920 an open sports plane – even at this date a relatively antiquated model – landed on the airfield of the army’s training ground at Jüterbog, some 45 miles south of Berlin. At the controls was twenty-eight-year-old Lieutenant Robert von Greim, one of Germany’s heroes from the aerial battles of the First World War. A quarter of a century later he was briefly to become commander-in-chief of the German Air Force.³ Until the second half of the nineteenth century Jüterbog had been a sleepy provincial town in the shadow of the industrial centre...

  9. 3 ‘It is the Gau’s tragedy that it never had a real leader’ 1922–6: SETBACKS IN BUILDING UP THE NSDAP IN BERLIN
    (pp. 50-77)
    Adolf Hitler

    The history of right-wing extremism in Berlin during the early post-war period is not just a tale of political organizations and parties that necessarily evolved in public and in the broad light of day. For long stretches it is also a tale of secret allegiances, conspiratorial circles and putschists who did all they could to remain hidden from public view until the moment of planned or actual attack. There were times when their activities resembled nothing so much as a scene from a Ruritanian operetta, notably in the case of the Freikorps leader Gerhard Roßbach, who shortly before the Kapp...

  10. 4 ‘A second headquarters’ 1926: GOEBBELS TAKES OVER THE RUNNING OF THE PARTY IN BERLIN
    (pp. 78-106)

    In an autobiographical note that he was invited to contribute toKürschner’s German Reichstagin 1928, Joseph Goebbels, who had been elected to the Reichstag as a member of the NSDAP on 20 May of that year, described himself as a ‘writer from Friedenau’ and explained that he had been politically active ‘since 1922’.³ This was not in fact true, but why should Goebbels – born in the Rhineland town of Rheydt on 29 October 1897 and head of Berlin’s National Socialists since November 1926 – not bring forward the date of his ‘decision to become a politician’, just as...

  11. 5 ‘The alternative Berlin is lying in wait, ready to pounce’ 1927–8: THE SUCCESSES OF A DANGEROUSLY MISJUDGED SPLINTER GROUP
    (pp. 107-138)

    The photograph shows a man no longer in the first flush of youth. He is wearing a trench coat, his hair is carefully parted and he is staring ahead of him with a particularly serious, even a surly expression. Nothing about the photograph reveals the fact that he has just completed a rhetorical tour de force. Followed by his chauffeur, Julius Schreck, he is seen leaving a side entrance at the Clou restaurant in Berlin’s Zimmerstraße and forcing his way to his car past a crowd of policemen, journalists, curious onlookers and a handful of party members. The man in...

  12. 6 ‘The movement is now gaining ground in worrying ways’ 1928–30: THE BREAKTHROUGH AS THE DOMINANT PARTY OF THE RIGHT
    (pp. 139-177)

    It is now several decades since the Sportpalast ceased to be one of Berlin’s most recognizable landmarks. All that remains is a legend. Built in the Potsdamer Straße in SchÖneberg at the end of 1910 as the biggest indoor ice-skating rink in the world, it could equally be converted for use as a boxing arena, ballroom, roller-skating rink, velodrome, theatre, hippodrome or meeting place.³ It gained its legendary aura by 1925 at the latest, when the architect Oskar Kaufmann redesigned the building, adding curved lines and a new rear wall, repainting the interior in yellows and reds and investing the...

  13. 7 ‘Hitler is standing at the gates of Berlin’ 1930: THE NSDAP BETWEEN LEGITIMATE TACTICS AND OPEN VIOLENCE
    (pp. 178-203)

    ‘Well, delight on our part and dismay on that of our enemies,’ Goebbels noted in his diary two days after the sensational result of the Reichstag elections on 14 September 1930. ‘One hundred and seven seats at a stroke. No one had expected that of us. […] Hitler is beside himself with glee.’ The NSDAP had captured 18.3 per cent of the vote. ‘We just need to stay calm! I have to break off for a couple of days, and then our work can continue. I have already started to reorganize the Gau.’⁵ Even on election night the ‘revolutionary’ Gauleiter...

  14. 8 ‘He hates Berlin and loves Munich’ 1931: THE CAPITAL AS THE BUTT OF RIDICULE AND VITUPERATION
    (pp. 204-241)

    It seemed as if the new year in Berlin was going to begin as 1930 had ended: with attacks by the SA. In December 1930 the SA had formed the active nucleus of the ‘indignant nationalist masses’ that Goebbels had succeeded in mobilizing over a period of several days, leading to the street riots that had resulted in the ban on all further screenings ofAll Quiet on the Western Front. Although the new year also brought with it ‘a certain amount of annoyance’ after two members of the Reichsbanner had been ‘shot by some of our own men’, Goebbels...

  15. 9 ‘The power struggle is just beginning’ 1932: THE START OF A DECISIVE YEAR
    (pp. 242-272)

    By the start of 1932 Berlin’s population had stagnated at 4.29 million. As had been the case during other economic crises, most recently in 1923–4, the city had lost its attraction for potential immigrants, while the increasingly difficult jobs market had persuaded many others to leave, so that the population had sunk by about sixty thousand over a two-year period and was now lower than it had been in 1929. The unemployment figures, conversely, continued to rise, from around 466,000 in January 1931 to 595,000 in January 1932 and 615,000 by the middle of February 1932. By the end...

  16. 10 ‘German Berlin is on the march’ 1932–3: THE ROAD TO POWER
    (pp. 273-315)

    The second round of voting in the presidential elections produced the expected result when Hindenburg won an absolute majority with 53 per cent of the vote and was duly re-elected. But the turnout was lower than in the first round, and the Communist candidate, Ernst Thälmann, now won just 10.2 per cent of the vote as compared with 13.2 per cent only a few weeks earlier. Meanwhile, Hitler’s share had gone up from 30.1 to 36.8 per cent, adding more than two million votes to his overall total.⁴

    The press that supported the ‘state front’, as the parties and other...

  17. 11 ‘A real and genuine capital’ 1933 AND LATER: HITLER’S METROPOLIS
    (pp. 316-372)

    Within hours of his appointment as chancellor, Hitler was holding his first cabinet meeting. He wasted no time on preliminaries but immediately raised the question of whether the new government should ban the Communist Party or aim, rather, at holding new elections. He was afraid that if the KPD were banned, there would be serious internal struggles and possibly even a general strike. At a time when the economy needed stability, a general strike, he argued, posed far greater risks than the uncertainty bound up with new elections. Alfred Hugenberg, the chairman of the DNVP and the new minister not...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 373-440)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 441-455)
  20. Index
    (pp. 456-482)