bunker berlin

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The demolition of Berlin’s Zoo flak tower, known in german as the Flakturm Tiergarten, Zoo Tower.

One of the few flak towers successfully destroyed, as the rest, mostly outside of Berlin, would be left alone simply because demolishing was and still is far too costly, a testament of how well-build they were. 

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On this day, 16 January, in 1945, with Berlin under massive Allied bombardment, Adolf Hitler moved into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker. Located beneath Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, it was the last of the Führer Headquarters to be used by Hitler. Here, during the last week of April that year, he married Eva Braun, before they turned to suicide. It was of course a must-see for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill three months later.

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As for Hitler it was suicide not treason that brought his enterprise to its end. He himself had incarnated it and himself terminated it. So as not be bound Prometheus cast himself into the abyss. Germany profoundly seduced followed her Fuehrer ecstatically. Until the very end she was to serve him slavishly with greater exertions that any people has ever furnished ever    
any leader. Hitler`s attempt was superhuman and inhuman. He maintained it without stint,without respite. Until the final hours of agony in the depths of a Berlin bunker, he remained it unquestioned, inflexible, pitiless, as he had ben duaring his days of supreme glory. For the terrible greatness  of his conflict and his memory, he had chosen never to hesitate, compromise or retreat. The Titan who tries to lift the world can nether bow nor bend.

Charles de Gaulle,1946

Architecture was one of Adolf Hitler’s passions, and he commissioned hundreds of buildings and arenas reminiscent of imperial Rome to inspire and intimidate.

It’s a legacy Germany has struggled to erase by re-purposing or razing Nazi-era structures. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, for example, was placed in an old SS barracks in Nuremburg, while the German Finance Ministry took over the Nazi aviation building in Berlin.

The Berlin bunker where Hitler spent his final days was reduced to a parking lot.

Usually there’s little or no complaint about these refurbishments. But one government-sanctioned plan for a Third Reich landmark is sparking a public outcry — a commercial exploitation of the biggest Nazi relic on the Baltic Sea coast.

It’s a resort Hitler built between 1936 and 1939 along sandy, white beaches for working-class Germans, one that was grandiose even by Nazi standards. Concrete dormitories that are six-stories high and 550-yards wide were erected side by side over 2.8 miles of pristine coastline on the northern island of Ruegen.

But the sprawling retreat that was meant to house and indoctrinate up to 20,000 people in National Socialism — each for less than $9 a day — never actually opened because of the impending war, says Katja Lucke, co-director of the Documentation Center, a museum at the site that details the resort’s Nazi history.

“Everyone was thinking, ‘What is going on with this complex?’” real estate developer Ulrich Busch recalls. “It was a huge, ugly, fallen-down angel on the seaside. And a lot of people were saying: 'Hey, we have to tear it down.’ But a lot of people were also saying: 'It’s a historical site and we have to protect it.’”

Along Germany’s Coast, A Nazi Resort Becomes An Upscale Destination

Photo caption: Katja Lucke, chief historian of the Prora resort complex on the German island of Ruegen, worries that redevelopment of the site as an upscale holiday destination glosses over a dangerous part of German history that shouldn’t be forgotten. The Nazis built the complex in the 1930s, but abandoned it during World War II. Credit: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Preach it! Today’s the day, in 1944, that Parisians finally said “fuck it” to Germany’s occupation during WWII. This struggle to free Paris, known as the Battle for Paris or the Liberation of Paris, began on 19 August and lasted until 25 August.

So to set things up, the Germans had occupied Paris since 22 June 1940, when Paris surrendered to the Germans. They figured then, rather than to fight tooth and nail and still lose - already in a still-weakened state since WWI - to better surrender now, lay low, build up a badass Resistance team, and then kick Germany in the balls when it wasn’t looking and take back what was theirs.

There was one problem - they wanted to liberate Paris, however Hitler had threatened to blow it up if Allies stepped foot inside the city.

Because of that, and because the Western Allies wanted to focus only on Berlin before the Soviets got there and mucked everything up, they decided to hold off on Paris for the time being.

Well General Charles “Total Badass” de Gaulle, told the Allies to go suck it, and convinced the Allies to make Paris a priority (probably with his fists).

On the 19th, the attack began. Germans and French - any French who could hold a weapon - skirmished in the streets. Barricades were set up, flags were waved, Javert killed himself probably, the Nazi prison Fort de Romainville was liberated, the Grand Palais was set on fire by the Germans, and after several days of fighting it looked as if things might be at a standstill - the Germans lacked the numbers to go on the offensive, and the French lacked the weaponry to really drive the Germans out.

AND THEN, on the 24th of August, all of Paris (sans the Germans) celebrated with the arrival of the 2nd Armoured French Division and the 4th US Infantry division - aka actual help!

The French 4th Divison plowed through Western Paris, like an aggressive Roomba attacking a cat, and the Americans took out the east of the city.

The next day, on the 25th of August, the Germans decided they weren’t paid enough for this bullshit, and surrendered. Hitler was over in his bunker in Berlin screaming at them NOT to surrender but the Germans in Paris pretty much reacted to that with:

The French took 12,500 German POWs, and the next two days were spent in celebration.

Hooray!

“Adolf Hitler decorates members of his Nazi youth organization "Hitler Jugend” in a photo reportedly taken in front of the Chancellery Bunker in Berlin, on April 25, 1945. That was just four days before Hitler committed suicide.“

(AP)

Hitler’s Final Words

Deep in his bunker in Berlin, with Soviet troops closing in, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler woke his personal secretary Gertrude Junge on April 29, 1945. He then dictated his “political testament” and his personal will, instructing Junge to type the documents out in triplicate and bring them to him.

Signature page of Hitler’s will. (National Archives Identifier 6883511)
From the series:  Personal Papers of Adolf Hitler, 12/7/1934 - 1/20/1966

The dictator then headed to another room in the bunker to marry Eva Braun and wait for Junge to finish her typing assignment. Hitler wanted copies of this testament and will to go to three different locations and wanted to see the couriers on their way before moving to the next item on his plan.

The couriers left. Finally, at 3:30 p.m. on April 30, 1945—the war in Europe just eight days from an Allied victory—Hitler and his new bride committed suicide.

Today, one set of the documents is in the holdings of the National Archives, where it first went on display in April 1946. The article “Hitler’s Final Words” in the Spring 2015 issue of Prologue magazine also tells the story of the documents’ journey to the National Archives.

via Prologue: Pieces of History » Hitler’s Final Words