For twelve tumultuous years of the ‘one thousand’ to which Adolf Hitler aspired, Berlin was the capital city of the Third Reich. At the end of this era, the city lay in tatters, reduced by the Führer’s tyrannical ambitions to the largest mass of ruins anywhere in Europe. Join me in exploring this period with the Essential Third Reich Tour – or, for those who wish to explore further, let’s take the Extended version of this tour together.
ESSENTIAL THIRD REICH TOUR:
On this tour, which comprehensively covers the darkest chapter in Berlin’s history, we can pursue Hitler’s rapid rise to power from the building in which Hitler made his first speech made in the capital to the location of his first Berlin home. We will see the site of Albert Speer’s colossal Reich Chancellery and stand in its garden, directly above the bunker in which Hitler committed suicide in 1945.
Despite the devastation of WWII bombing in Berlin, several architectural legacies of the National Socialist dictatorship can be found in the city today.
We’ll see Göring’s Reich Aviation Ministry and Göbbels’ so-called Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, as well as pursuing the history of other prolific Nazis such as Rudolf Hess (whose Headquarters we will also see) and Martin Bormann, discussing the latest research on their mysterious fates. We will stand at the site of the former ‘Reich Central Security Office’, the Headquarter buildings of the Gestapo and SS, and visit the new Topography of Terror museum. We will find the last traces of the red marble used in the Mosaics Hall of Hitler’s Chancellery. We’ll discuss the experiences of everyday Berliners under the swastika and explore the city’s recent development of a unique culture of memory in tribute to the victims of Hitler’s genocidal policies. Together we can visit the Jewish memorial, gay memorial, and Sinti and Roma memorial, each of which has been built since the turn of the century.
EXTENDED THIRD REICH TOUR:
For those with a strong interest in this period, we can extend our tour to cover every one of the major Third Reich locations in Berlin. We will visit all of the locations of the Essential tour, and go on to explore the legacy of architects Albert Speer, Werner March and Ernst Sagabiel in search of traces of ‘Germania’, the ‘World Capital’ with which Hitler intended to replace Berlin after World War Two. We will see the site of the ‘Central Office of the Inspector General for Construction in the Reich Capital Berlin’, where ‘Germania’ was planned, and go on to visit Speer’s ‘Schwerbelastungskoerper’, one of the prototypical elements of Germania, as well as the vast Olympic Stadium built for the Games of 1936, and the now-defunct Tempelhof Airport, expanded by the Nazis into what was then one of the world’s largest buildings. We will discover some of the last ‘Reichsadler’ or ‘Nazi eagles‘ left in the city.
We will visit the site of the Columbiahaus, Berlin’s notorious inner-city concentration camp, and will travel to Plötzensee Prison, where 2,891 victims of the Nazi regime where executed, including many of the suspected co-conspirators of the ‘Operation Valkyrie’ plot against Hitler’s life. We’ll visit the former army headquarters known as the Bendlerblock, in which Valkyrie was planned by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and his associates, and which now houses the German Resistance Museum.