Tag Archives: Hitler

Sunday Documentary: Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin

Flakturm in Humboldthain Park: Screenshot from Nazi Megastructures - Fortress Berlin by National Geographic

Photo: Screenshot from Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin by National Geographic

The National Geographic documentary, Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin, tells how, determined to fight on to the bitter end, Adolf Hitler, with the help of his architect, Albert Speer, attempted to turn Berlin into a fortress with World War II approaching its conclusion.

Having turned the tide in the war, the Red Army was making significant progress into Germany.  At Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights), near the Polish border, irrigation ditches were widened to act as tank traps, slowing down the Soviet army’s advance on Berlin.

The outer ring of Berlin’s defences was a natural obstacle, the Teltowkanal (Teltow Canal), and considerable armaments have been amassed at Flughafen Berlin Tempelhof (Tempelhof Airport).

The city was further protected by three enormous Flak Towers, concrete monoliths mounted with heavy artillery, of which only the Flakturm in Humboldthain park remains today.

At the centre of Hitler’s defences is the Führerbunker, from where he directs his forces in their last desperate attempts to hold Berlin.

A mixture of archive footage, computer reconstructions, and expert opinions with the likes of a tour guide from Berliner Unterwelten (who offer tours of the surviving Flakturm, as wells as other architectural treasures under Berlin) Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin is a fascinating portrait of Hitler’s ultimately futile defence plans.

Nazi Megastructures – Fortress Berlin

Sunday Documentary: Lost Worlds – Hitler’s Supercity

Lost Worlds - Hitler's Supercity (a screenshote of Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer)

In today’s Sunday Documentary, I return to a subject covered in two previous documentaries posted here – Hitler’s Henchmen – Speer – The Architect and Hitler’s Hidden City – Hitler’s unrealised plans for Welthauptstadt Germania as drawn up by Albert Speer.

From around the 15-minute mark there is a very interesting section about the man-made lake in Nuremberg that marks the site of the foundations for a stadium four times the size of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.  The stadium would be capable of holding 400,00 people and Hitler intended that it would host the Olympic Games every year.

This documentary also includes a visit to one of Berlin’s most unusual attractions, the Schwerbelastungskörper, a massive cylinder of concrete in the Tempelhof district used to test the ground for the placement of the planned Triumphal Arch of Welthauptstadt Germania.

Lost Worlds – Hitler’s Supercity

Sunday Documentary: Hitler’s Hidden City

Hitler's Hidden City (screenshot from the National Geographic documentary)

Probably the best Berlin Documentary I’ve watched, Hitler’s Hidden City by National Geographic follows the work of Berliner Unterwelten (Berlin Underworld Association) – a group of researchers and explorers dedicated to uncovering underground bunkers and tunnels in Berlin.

Amongst the most impressive discoveries are the train and car tunnels designed to carry traffic below Unter den Linden, though never used.  The tunnels were needed in order to create a vast open square in front of the Volkshalle or Grosse Halle as part of Hitler’s Welthauptstadt Germania, as envisioned by his architect, Albert Speer.

In the lead up to the Second World War, Hitler also instructed his architects to design a massive network of tunnels and bunkers to protect the citizens of Berlin from the aerial threat posed by the British and American bombers.

Watch out for Dr Elke Dittrich (at 29 minutes) who led the tour I took of Tempelhof Airport during Berlin Fashion Week.

I originally posted a link to this documentary on my Facebook page before I started my Sunday Documentary series of posts on the blog.

Hitler’s Hidden City

Apocalypse: The Rise of Hitler

Nazi uniforms at the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) in Berlin

Did you know that Hugo Boss designed the uniforms for the SS and the Hitler Youth?  That was just one of the facts that I learned by watching Apocalypse: The Rise of Hitler, which charts Hitler’s life from his birth on 20 April 1889 to his suicide on 30 April 1945.

Apocalypse: The Rise of Hitler, like Hitler’s Hidden City, which featured in my A Year In The Life Of Berlin post, is an excellent documentary from National Geographic.

Part 1: Becoming Hitler

 

Part 2: The Führer