The Beginning of the Nazi Project to Tear Down and Rebuild Berlin into the "World Capital Germania"; Albert Speer's Plans to Transform the Grunewald Forest and Berlin Olympic Grounds into a Colossal Technical and Military University Campus.
Three lithographed maps (one of which on two unjoined sheets) and one lithographed profile, all of which folding into original blindstamped card portfolio folder, emblazoned with the Reichsadler Nazi eagle and the words: "WETTBEWERB HOCHSCHULSTADT BERLIN" (i.e., "Competition: University City Berlin").
In 1937, following the Berlin Olympics, Albert Speer was appointed Der Generalbauinspektor für die Reichshauptstadt Berlin ("The General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital Berlin") and tasked with developing plans to rebuild Berlin as a "world capital" city, renamed "Germania", filled with monumental architecture and wide boulevards, in the mode of Ancient Rome and Babylon. The first step in that effort was the redevelopment and expansion of the campus of Berlin Technical University. A spot was selected near the Olympic Stadium and the Grunewald forest, along the city's "East-West axis". These plans included a new faculty of defense technology under General Karl Becker, built as a part of the greater academic town (Hochschulstadt) in the adjacent west-wise Grunewald forest.
Hitler presented his hopes for the transformed city in his speech on the laying of the foundation stone for the new campus:
It is, therefore, my unalterable will and determination to provide Berlin with those streets, buildings and public squares that will make it suitable and worthy for all times, which to be the capital of the German Reich ... To this sacred conviction, I now lay the foundation stone for the Defense Technology Faculty of the Technical University in Berlin as the first building that comes into being in the execution of these plans. It should become a memorial to German culture, German knowledge and power."
Not only the Berlin universities but also the affiliated clinics and the zoological and botanical garden were to be rebuilt according to ideas of the General Building Inspector. On the Reichssportfeld, all students were supposed to do sports according to an antique model. Hitler had seen the plans on March 9, 1937, and personally determined that the new building should not take place on Franklinstrasse as originally planned, but on the right and left of Heerstrasse, as shown here. The private houses around the Scholzplatz were demolished in the course of the redesign.
The constructions costs were high even by Nazi standards and amounted to more than 80 million Reichsmark for the Defense Technology Faculty alone. For the campus, an unprecedented architectural competition was held, but its prize money of 100,000 RM was never decided. In the last months before the beginning of the war, only the construction of the Defense Technology Faculty was pushed forward, until it too came to a standstill due to material shortages and was finally stopped.
Goering had ordered the cessation of all war-unimportant construction projects in February 1940; the Defense Technology Faculty remained shell. The start of the war prevented the construction of a new military college!
The three maps in the portfolio consist of the following:
1. "Stadtplan von Berlin." A plan of the site for the campus, as it stood in November 1937. This example is made more interesting because a previous (probably contemporary) owner has marked out the broad boulevards and plots of the new campus in pencil manuscript.
2. A two-sheet map of the Olympic Stadium, Spandau, and wider area, including Charlottenburg. Dated 1936.
3. Plan of the redeveloped area, with the name "Der Generalbauinspektor für die Reichshauptstadt Berlin". The map shows the five main components of the new campus:
Militärärztliche Akademie (Military Medical Academy)
Universität Naturwissenschftl. Teil (University of Natural Sciences part)
Universität Geisteswissenschaftlicher Teil (University Humanities part)
Technische Hochschule (Technical University)
In 1950, Albert Speer had been in Spandau Prison (shown on one of the maps here) for four years after his conviction for war crimes. On June 22, the "first architect of the Third Reich" noted in his diary: "In these weeks of 1950, the first phase of the construction of the new world capital, Germania, was to be completed. When I promised Hitler this date in 1939, he raved about a major World Exhibition to be held in 1950 in the still-empty buildings."