Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Welthauptstadt ("World Capital") Germania was the name Adolf Hitler gave to the projected renewal of Berlin, part of his vision for the future of Germany after the proposed victory in World War II. Albert Speer, "the first architect of the Third Reich", produced many of the plans for the rebuilt city, only a few of which were realized.
Some projects, such as the creation of a great city axis, which included broadening Unter den Linden and placing the Siegessäule in the center, far away from the Reichstag, where it originally stood, succeeded. Others, however, such as the creation of the Große Halle (Great Dome), had to be ended due to the beginning of war.
The first step in these plans was the Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics. Speer also designed a new Chancellery, which included a vast hall designed to be twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Hitler wanted him to build a third, even larger Chancellery, although it was never begun. The second Chancellery was destroyed by the Soviet army in 1945.
Almost none of the other buildings planned for Berlin were ever built. Berlin was to be reorganized along a central three-mile long avenue. At the north end, Speer planned to build an enormous domed building, based on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The dome of the building would have been impractically large; it would be over seven hundred feet (200 meters) high and eight hundred feet (250 meters) in diameter, sixteen times larger than the dome of St. Peter's. At the southern end of the avenue would be an arch based on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but again, much larger; it would be almost four hundred feet (100 meters) high, and the Arc de Triomphe would have been able to fit inside its opening. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 caused the decision to postpone construction until after the war, to avoid material demands.
There still exist a few so-called exploration buildings, basically extremely heavy blocks of concrete, used by the architects to test how much weight the ground was able to carry.
In his 1992 alternative history novel Fatherland, author Robert Harris posits that Hitler's and Speer's vision of rebuilt and monumental Berlin was realized by 1964. Other researchers into the logistics of Hitler's Welthaupstadt have claimed that, owing to both the sheer amount of marble and Berlin's marshy foundations, Germania would have sunk into the ground within a few years.
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