Author Topic: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy  (Read 11046 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2007, 04:07:58 PM »
While it's accuracy isn't always perfect, wikipedia has a good (and lengthy) article on the Dresden bombing with many quotes from those involved in the decision (letters, memos, etc) and addresses many of the issues raised in various previous posts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II

The bombing of Dresden was one of the actions cited later in revisions of what is now called the Law of Armed Conflict (which is what the US fights under even though most people just say the Geneva Convention, there were later articles added to expand and include conduct throughout the later 1940s and early 1950s) which in 1954 at the Hague convention sought to protect cultural, historical and religious sites from deliberate attack to demoralize a public or government.
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Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2007, 05:34:53 PM »

The rebuilding of Dresden post world war two is quite remarkable. The interesting thing is that most of it had taken place before the collapse of East Germany. In West Germany hardly any historical buildings were rebuilt. It was claimed it was too expensive and as a result much heritage was lost to the bulldozer rather than as a result of bombing. Even the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was partially demolished in West Berlin. There was far more left standing that could have been restored. Instead much was bulldozed.


the historic aspects of Dresden were most definitely NOT rebuilt under East German rule for the most part. The Alt Stadt lay in sheer rubble except for the semper opera house that was finallly restored by 1985. The Swinger was restored as well and the Hauptkirche was made useable (but not restored). the entire Prager Strasse from the Hauptbahnhof to the the Alt Stadt was a massive concrete pedestrian mall lined by hideous communist style buildings that reflected nothing of Dresden's past. the neu stadt fell victim to the expedient communist style and low budgets as well. Only since 1989 when Die frauenkirche was rebuilt, the Buhl terrace completed, palace completed, taschenberg palais turn into a hotel and gentrification of a few residential blocks in the neu stadt north of the river has Dresden begun to significant efforts made to recreate pre-bombing look.

My Dresden friends, both pre 1989 and post 1989 are appallled and saddened that the city will likely never regaqin its former architectural glory. The buildings that have come back are jewels to honor and see, but remain only a fraction of what was once there.

The ironic blessing in disquise about the communist era relative to rebuilding is not that there was no money to either bulldoze rubble or build much afterward. So, a vast amount of WWII rubble remained in the east of Germany up to the Wall coming down. Part of the penalty the Russians levied on East Geramany was not allowing the country to build much back that once had been. The communists felt most of the German architecture and former buildings were exemplary of German power which was NOT to be recreated.
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Offline Greenowl

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2007, 03:04:53 PM »
Thanks for that information Dmitri. I will see if I can order “Dresden Tuesday 13 February 1945” by Frederick Taylor via my local book shop next week. It sounds most interesting. I was not aware that the Americans confused Prague with Dresden, although they must have realised their mistake in good time, as the damage to Prague was relatively light. I don’t know that it could be described at “friendly fire”, as Prague was, after all, in the hands of the Nazis at that time. In this regard, the constant air raids on cities in the north of France (Le Havre, Dieppe etc) during the German occupation was pretty harrowing. The climax was the dreadful battle for Caen in summer 1944. Because Caen was not taken during the D-Day assault, it became the focal point for a series of battles during June, July and August, 1944. The allied air raid (Bomber Command and the United States 8th Air Force) on 9th. July 1944 destroyed 75% of the city and killed 4000 civilians. The re-building of Caen took 17 years. Today, little of the pre-war city remains. Another bombing raid by the U.S. 8th Air Force north of Falaise at around the same time went badly wrong, when instead of bombing the target they bombed allied (Canadian and Polish) units well short of the bomb line, leading to the deaths of 65 men plus another 250 wounded. I have seen photos of the destruction of Caen and it resembles Dresden in terms of the damage inflicted. When the allies finally took the city they were slightly bemused to find that some of remaining citizens were extremely hostile to them on account of the bombing.

With regard to the “concrete pedestrian mall lined by hideous communist style buildings”(Pragerstrasse) in Dresden mentioned by Herr Kaiser: it is interesting to note that Le Havre (which suffered a total of 132 allied air raids in the course of the Second World War. The heaviest was the British raid of 5th and 6th. September 1944, which led to 5.000 deaths) was rebuilt in exactly the same style based on plans drawn up by the architect Auguste Perret in the early 1950s. It is now on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. I frankly can’t see much difference between the rebuilding of Le Havre and the Pragerstrasse in Dresden. I have copied the criteria for the inclusion of Le Havre from the UNESCO World Heritage site below (I hope they won’t object);  “Criterion (ii): The post-war reconstruction plan of Le Havre is an outstanding example and a landmark of the integration of urban planning traditions and a pioneer implementation of modern developments in architecture, technology, and town planning. Criterion (iv): Le Havre is an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture based on the unity of methodology and system of prefabrication, the systematic use of a modular grid and the innovative exploitation of the potential of concrete”.  Mind you, I’m not being critical, as I like Le Havre and spent many happy summers there when I was young......

Thanks for that link Grandduchessella!


Offline Silja

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2007, 02:17:52 PM »
In West Germany hardly any historical buildings were rebuilt.


I beg your pardon???? Hardly is a bit exaggerated. Many of the major historic buildings were in fact rebuilt. Lots of others weren't  - quite right - and quite a few  were even demolished after the war - as in any other country too. This has always been very unfortunate indeed.

Offline Silja

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2007, 02:25:16 PM »
Even the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was partially demolished in West Berlin. There was far more left standing that could have been restored. Instead much was bulldozed.


Nevertheless this church was of little architectural or historic interest. It was simply one of many neo Gothic churches from the turn of the century. Unlike lots of other buildings this church wasn't such a great loss.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2007, 10:19:32 AM »
Even the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was partially demolished in West Berlin. There was far more left standing that could have been restored. Instead much was bulldozed.


Nevertheless this church was of little architectural or historic interest. It was simply one of many neo Gothic churches from the turn of the century. Unlike lots of other buildings this church wasn't such a great loss.

Plus, and very importantly, the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelem church was PURPOSEFULLY allowed to remain in a ruined aspect as a war memorial. that was a concious decision rather than fully demolish the structure. the ajoining new campanile and auditorium were build to demonstrate the contrast between war destruction and modern rebuilding.
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Offline Mari

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2007, 03:13:54 AM »


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Dresden's malestrom of fire was not unique, though. It had some level of regret since it was carried out at the end of the war with few supportable reasons

According to Ken Burns WWII Series the Big Three met in the Crimea. That was Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. Stalin had been pushing for the bombing of German Cities. He pushed hard again for this and the Allies agreed. Russia had paid dearly in Men. Dresden was chosen  because German Troops were coming through Dresden for the  purpose of reinforcing the Eastern Front. In fact the Battle of the Bulge proved that Hitler was determined to mass a giant force on that front. the bombing of the other German Cities were also part of the agreement with Stalin to help the Russian troops reach further into the interior of Germany. This information comes from the Series which is well documented. However,  I am certainly interested in reading any of the other recommended material posted on this thread.

Actual footage, and interviews with Fighter Pilots, Infantry, Marines, Navy, etc.   Some of the footage, both German and American , is really hard to sit through because it is very graphic  but interesting if you like WWII history direct from the mouths of those that fought it. They also show the fighting in the Phillipines.   www.pbs.org/thewar/?campaign=pbshomefeatures_1_thewar_2007-10-02
shows pictures and quotes through the link PBS ...so far I've watched 8 hours.

Quote
In the mountains of Italy, the men learned to sleep while marching – it was “a kind of coma,” one remembered – and when they got a chance to lie down, they preferred to sleep on rocks rather than bare ground because rocks were relatively dry. For everyone, keeping dry was of the utmost importance.