Wilhelmstrasse – Offices of the Nazi Reich

17 11 2007

Wilhelmstrasse is a street in the center of Berlin (Mitte), which runs south from Unter den Linden for some 2 km, until its junction with Stresemannstrasse, near Hallesches Ufer. From mid 19th century the street was the administrative center of the Kingdom of Prussia, and during the Nazi period it became the administrative center of the Third Reich.

This street and the Friedrichstrasse were given their names on 1740, in commemoration of Friedrich Wilhelm the first. The Prussian Reich Chancellery stood on Wilhelmstrasse 77.

In 1938-9, Albert Speer built Hitler a new Reich Chancellery on the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Voss-strasse, to the south of the old Chancellery. The square opposite that building, called Wilhelmplatz, no longer exists.

During the Weimar Republic, the Reich President’s official residence was on Wilhelmstrasse 73. During the Nazi era, after Hitler became both Chancellor and President, this building housed the German Foreign Office.

The Finance Ministry was on Wilhelmstrasse 61, and Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry was on Wilhelmstrasse 89. The Agriculture Ministry of the Reich stood at Wilhelmstrasse 72, and it still does so today – the only government ministry now located on its pre-war site.

The only major building from the Nazi era which survived Wilhelmstrasse is Göring’s Reich Air Ministry on Wilhelmstrasse 81-85. I heard that it was not bombed as a sort of a pact between German and British pilots not to bomb each other’s headquarters, but it sounds to me like some sort of a myth.

The British Embassy was also located on Wilhelmstrasse, no. 70-71, and has returned to this location in 2000 (it sits in a very interesting building, jolly colors).

Hitler’s famous bunker, where the bastard offed himself, was located beneath the garden of the old Reich Chancellery. I think they reopened it or something like that, but I don’t really care about those stuff, so maybe you should consult the Berlin Underground Society if you’re interested in such things.

Anyway, during the Soviet period, all the ruins of the government buildings were demolished, as the GDR considered them to be a relic of the Prussian and Nazi militarism and imperialism. In the late 1950s, the street was almost empty of buildings, and in the 1980s, apartment blocks were built there (which nowadays house a lot of recent immigrants. Another “Hitler rolling” moment…).

Here is a link about the Führerbunker, and another with impressive photos of Third Reich buildings in Berlin.



One response to “Wilhelmstrasse – Offices of the Nazi Reich”

22 11 2007
GREAD lion (01:24:03) :

Thanks for your great post !

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