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Monumentality and Modernity in Hitler’s Berlin

The North-South Axis of the Greater Berlin Plan

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Hsiu-Ling Kuo

The contentious relationship between modernism and totalitarianism is a key element in the architectural history of the twentieth century. Post-war historiography refused to admit any overlap between the high modernism of the 1920s and the architecture of National Socialism, as it contradicted the definition of modernism as the essential architectural expression of liberal democracy. However, National Socialist architectural history cannot be fully explored without the broader historical context of modernity. Similarly, a true understanding of modernism in architecture must acknowledge its authoritarian aspects.
This book clarifies the architectural discourse in which the Greater Berlin Project of the Third Reich was produced. The association of monumentality with National Socialist architecture in the 1930s created a polarization between the classical tradition and radical modernism that provoked vigorous and acrimonious debate that lasted into the 1980s. In the attempt to reconcile the paradoxical and competing aspirations for monumentality and historicity on one hand, and for technological advance on the other, the planning of Berlin is shown to reflect the wider paradoxes of National Socialist ideology.

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Primary and Archival Sources Bundesarchiv, Berlin Humboldt University, manuscript collection, Berlin Landesarchiv, Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin Technical University, Berlin Printed Sources Adam, Peter, Art of the Third Reich (New York: Harry Abrams, 1992). Adorno, Theodor W., The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. J. M. Bern- stein, ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 1991; reprinted 2002). —— and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment (London: Verso, 1997; first edition, 1944). Anderson, Stanford, ‘The “New Empiricism – Bay Region Axis”: Kay Fisker and Postwar Debates on Functionalism, Regionalism, and Monumentality,’ Journal of Architectural Education, vol. 50, no. 3 (February 1997), 197–207. ——, Peter Behrens and a New Architecture for the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000). Arendt, Hannah, On Violence (London: Allen Lane, 1970). Arndt, Karl, Georg Friedrich Koch and Lars Olof Larsson, Albert Speer: Architektur (Frankfurt am Main and Berlin: Propyläen, 1995). Bärnreuther, Andrea, ‘Berlin im Zugrif f totalitärer Planung. Städtebaulicher Funk- tionalismus im Spannungsfeld von Großstadtfeindlichkeit, Megalomanie und Ordnungsvorstellungen neuer Größenordnung’ in Thorsten Scheer et al., eds, Stadt der Architektur, Architektur der Stadt, Berlin 1900–2000 (Berlin: Beuer- mann, 2000), 200–11. 222 Bibliography Bahr, Hermann, ‘Die Moderne’ originally published in Moderne Dichtung (1 January 1890), tr. Christiane Crasemann Collins, published in Francesco Dal Co, Figures of Thoughts and Architecture, 288–91. Balg, Ilse, ed., Martin Mächler – Weltstadt Berlin (Berlin: Wannsee Verlag, 1986). Banham, Reyner, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (Oxford: Architectural Press, 1996; original edition,...

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